Archived Fire Damage Blog Posts
Smoke Alarms: Life Savers
Smoke alarms save lives when properly installed and maintained, according to the National fire Protection Association (NFPA). In homes, smoke alarms should be in every bedroom and on every level including the basement. In office and commercial environments, check your state requirements or contact your local Fire Marshall to help ensure all codes are met.
Test smoke alarms monthly using the test button. Smoke alarms with non-replaceable batteries need the entire smoke alarm unit replaced every ten years. Other alarms need batteries replaced every year, and the unit replaced every ten years. If the alarm chirps signaling low battery, take the proper steps to replace the unit or the batteries immediately. Never disable or remove the battery from an alarm. Almost half of fires where smoke alarms were present but did not activate has missing or disconnected batteries (NFPA).
In larger commercial facilities, hard wired or wireless smoke alarms offer benefits such as not needing to be tested as often and activating throughout the entire building if smoke is detected in just one area (NFPA).
If you need help installing, testing or changing batteries in your smoke alarms, contact your local fire department, an electrician or the American Red Cross.
Be sure your home or workplace has a fire emergency plan in place and conduct regular fire drills. For more information on emergency preparedness, contact the SERVPRO of Orange/Nederland/Lumberton today.
Smoke Alarm Tips
- Install smoke alarms in every bedroom. They should be outside each sleeping areas and on every level of the home.
- Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
- It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When on smoke alarm sounds, they all sound.
- Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure that the alarm is working.
- Current alarms on the market employ different types of technology including multi-sensing, which could include smoke and carbon monoxide combined.
- Today's smoke alarms alarms will be more technologically advanced to respond to a multitude of fire conditions, yet mitigate false alarms.
- A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms.
- People who are hard of hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
- Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.
*Source: NFPA-Nation Fire Protection Association
The Importance of Cleaning Dryer Vents
According to FEMA, failure to clean home dryers causes 34% of home dryer fires. Home dryer fires cause $35 million in property loss and can even cause injury or death.
To reduce the risk of these fires happening in your home or business, SERVPRO of Orange/Nederland/Lumberton can help clean dryer vents and ducts that may have lint buildup. Other tips for keeping your dryer vents clean from the National Fire Protection Agency include cleaning the lint filter before and after each load and making sure the outdoor vent flap will open and is not restricted by snow, a bird’s nest, or other potential obstacles.
For more information about cleaning dryer vents and other safety tips, contact the SERVPRO of Orange/Nederland/Lumberton today!
In the event of a fire, a working smoke alarm increases your chances of surviving a fire. Here are some smoke alarm tips to help keep you and your family safe:
- Install a dual sensor smoke alarm. These contain both ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors. Ionization smoke alarms are more responsive to flaming fires while photoelectric smoke alarms are more responsive to fires that begin with a long smoldering period.
- Test batteries monthly.
- Replace the batteries in a battery-powered and hard-wired smoke alarms at least once a year.
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home. Also, place them inside and outside sleeping areas.
- Replace the actual smoke alarm unit every 8-10 years or according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Never disable a smoke alarm while cooking.
Did you know that each year more than 12,600 people are injured in home fires in the United States? It is important to be prepared and know the facts about home fires.
- Home fires can be prevented.
- Fire is fast. In two minutes, a fire could kill you. In only five minutes, a whole house can be engulfed in flames.
- Fire is very hot! However, heat and smoke have the potential to be more dangerous than the flames.
- Hot air can burn your lungs and fire produces poisonous gas that can make you sleepy and unable to escape.
- Fire is very dark. This can make it difficult to find your way out of your house during a fire.
- Fire is deadly! Fire uses up oxygen you need to breathe.
You can always be prepared to prevent deadly fires in your home. Just taking a few precautions can help save you and your family.
These fire facts were found on www.ready.gov!
Type of Smoke
Did you know that there are different types of smoke? Each type of smoke can cause a wide array of damages to your home in the event of a fire. The damage resulting from a fire can be complicated due to the different types of smoke.
- Wet Smoke (Plastic and Rubber): Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
- Dry Smoke (Paper and Wood): Fast-burning, high temperatures; heat rises, therefore smoke rises.
- Protein Fire Residue (Produced by the evaporation of material rather than from a fire): Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
- Fuel Oil Soot (Furnace Puff Backs): While “puff backs” can create havoc for homeowners, SERVPRO of Orange/Nederland/Lumberton can, in most cases, restore the contents and structure quickly.
- Other Types (Tear gas, fingerprint powder, and fire extinguisher residue): Special loss situations require special care.
SERVPRO of Orange/Nederland/Lumberton is trained and certified in Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration. Our knowledge helps restore your home back to preloss condition.
November and December families are brought together to celebrate the holiday season by preparing a delicious feast, but if you don’t practice safe cooking habits, your holidays could become hazardous very quickly. According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. It’s important to be alert to prevent cooking fires.
- Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.
- Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food.
- If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly. Remain in the kitchen while food is cooking and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
- Keep anything that can catch on fire—oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels, or curtains—away from the stovetop.
If you have a cooking fire, consider the following safety protocols to help keep you and your family safe.
- Just get out! When you leave close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
- Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
- For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
- If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
- Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
Halt Winter Heating Hazards
SERVPRO is ready for any size disaster. This is one of our trucks that is ready at a moments notice.
Halt Winter Heating Hazards
The winter season is here and with it comes shorter days and lower temperatures. No matter where you live, winter brings a change in the weather. In a effort to keep our homes and workplaces cozy, many people use alternative hear sources like fireplaces, portable space heaters, and wood burning stoves. Did you know, heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths? According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment fires cause an estimated $1 billion in direct property damage annually. Keep the following safety tips in mind to help reduce your risk of heating-related fire.
- Keep anything flammable at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or a portable space heater. Have a three foot “kid friendly zone” around open fires and space heaters.
- Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
- Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
- Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
- Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
- Test smoke alarms monthly.
50% of all residential heating-related fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February.
If your property does suffer fire damage, contact the SERVPRO of Orange/Nederland/Lumberton Professionals to help make it “like it never even happened.”
SERVPRO is quietly taking to the streets, every hour of every day, proving that whenever there is a house full of water or an office full of smoke, there is also a van full of clean.
Understanding The Behavior Of Smoke
This is a picture of a dishwasher that has been half cleaned due to a kitchen fire.
Understanding the Behavior of SMOKE
The damage to your property following a fire can often be complicated due to the unique behavior of smoke. There are two different types of smoke-wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals are thoroughly trained in fire cleanup and restoration and know the different types of smoke and their behavior patterns. Knowing this information is vital to proper restoration. Before restoration begins, the SERVPRO of Orange/Nederland/Lumberton Professionals will survey the loss to determine the extent of impact from fire, smoke, heat, and moisture on the building materials and contents. The soot will then be tested to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. Pretesting determines the proper cleaning method and allows SERVPRO of Orange/Nederland/Lumberton Professionals to focus on saving your precious items.
The SERVPRO of Orange/Nederland/Lumberton Professionals know smoke can penetrate various cavities within the structure, causing hidden damage and odor. Their knowledge of building systems helps them investigate how far smoke damage may have spread. The following are additional facts you may not know about smoke.
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Different types of Smoke
- Wet Smoke (Plastic and Rubber) - Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean
- Dry Smoke (Paper and Wood) – Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
- Protein Fire Residue (Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire) – Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
- Fuel Oil Soot (Furnace Puff Backs) – While “puff backs” can create havoc for homeowners, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can, in most cases, restore the contents and structure quickly.
- Other Types (Tear gas, fingerprint powder and fire extinguisher residue) – Special loss situations require special care.
SERVPRO of Orange/Nederland/Lumberton Professionals are trained to handle even the toughest losses. If your home or business suffers fire or smoke damage, contact your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals to help make it “Like it never even happened.”
Fire, The Facts
SERVPRO Orange/Nederland/Lumberton cleaning up after a fire loss.
JUST THE FACTS
In 2014, fires caused 2745 deaths, 11,825 injuries, and $6.8 Billion in property damage.
Three out of five home fire deaths are caused by fires in homes with no smoke alarms or not working alarms.
Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.
In fires considered large enough to activate the smoke alarm, hardwired alarms operated 94 percent of the time, while battery powered alarms operated 80 percent of the time.
When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.
One quarter of home fire deaths are caused by fires that start in the bedroom. Another quarter result from fires in the living room, family room or den.
One-third of survey respondents who made an estimate thought they would have at least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life-threatening. The time available is often much less. Only 8 percent said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out.
Facts provided by National Fire Protection Association, nfpa.org
WHAT TO DO UNTIL HELP ARRIVES
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet.
- Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
- Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas
- If electricity is off, empty freezer/refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor.
- Wipe soot from chrome kitchen/bathroom faucets, trim and appliances, then protect these surfaces with a light coating of lubricant.
- If heat is off during winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures.
- Change HVAC filters; leave system off until a trained professional can check the system.
- Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.
- Don’t attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting your SERVPRO® Franchise Professional.
- Don’t attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting your SERVPRO® Franchise Professional.
- Do not attempt to clean any electrical appliances (TV sets, radios, etc.) that may have been close to fire, heat, or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.
- Do not consume any food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water, as they may be contaminated.
- If ceiling is wet, do not turn on ceiling fans. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock, and air movement may create secondary damage.
- Don’t send garments to the dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set in smoke odor.