Recent Fire Damage Posts
Potential Causes Of Fire/Water Damage: Leaving Appliances Running When No One Is Home
SERVPRO of Springfield/Mt Vernon highlights how you can avoid fire damage and water damage disasters by turning off appliances before leaving the house or going to bed. Springfield/Mt Vernon specializes in fire damage and water damage restoration services, urges homeowners to turn off major appliances when leaving home. Otherwise, the consequences could be catastrophic.
Home appliances make life around the house more comfortable, save time, conserve energy, and use much less water than in the past. While older dishwashers use as many as ten to fifteen gallons of water per load, more modern units use between one and four gallons of water. A new washing machine needs only about seven gallons of water, but the older versions need up to 19 gallons of water. Technology has revolutionized the functionality of both the dishwasher and the washing machine. An ENERGY STAR Certified clothes dryer cuts energy consumption by 20%, saving the homeowner more than $200 over the appliance's lifetime. ENERGY STAR certification is not currently available for space heaters, but electric infrared space heaters are nearly 100% efficient in converting electricity to heat.
How frequently are these appliances used in the average home?
- Dishwasher: 5 loads per week
- Washing machine: 6 loads per week
- Clothes dryer: 6 loads per week
The growth of the virtual workforce has contributed to an already expanding demand for space heaters to heat single rooms or enclosed workspaces. Space heaters can be found in almost every home or apartment.
Though these four appliances — the dishwasher, the washing machine, the clothes dryer, and the space heater — are more efficient and safer than ever, leaving them unattended while in operation increases the risk of fire damage, water damage, or both.
What Is A Puffback?
As the weather gets colder, more and more homeowners are turning on their heating systems for the first time in months. Unfortunately for many, this means the possibility of puffbacks.
What are puffbacks, and what causes them?
Puffbacks usually take place due to lack of maintenance or age-related issues. A puffback occurs when a boiler or furnace misfires, causing an explosion of unburned fuel in the combustion chamber. This causes a release of smoke and soot that can be both incredibly messy and dangerous. Luckily, there are a few simple ways to prevent a puffback from occurring in your home.
First and foremost, ensure that your heater is inspected annually by a qualified technician. This is crucial, as this annual inspection will ensure that all parts of the heater are functioning properly. Regular inspections are also very important as manufacturers have the ability to ask for records of these should you ever have a warranty claim.
Listen for strange sounds and pay attention to any strange odors. Most heating systems will usually give plenty of warning prior to a puffback occurring through soot and gas odors throughout the building. If you hear any unusual noises when your heater starts up, unburned oil is probably being ignited. Keep an eye out for any oil leaks and soot on and around your heater and keep the area around the heater clean and free of any dust, debris, or content (storage items, paper, boxes etc.). If you notice any of these warning signs, call a qualified service technician immediately to diagnose the issues and make repairs.After a puffback, the soot can cover everything in your home. This means walls, furniture, curtains, and even inside drawers! Soot is not just powdery; it is black, sticky, and includes a mixture of oil. This makes it especially difficult to clean. If you experience a puffback in your home, call a trained HVAC technician to repair your heating system.
Call us at 703-644-0620 or email at Office@SERVPRO10476.com to help clean the chemicals and soot left behind to make it "Like it never even happened."
How To Use A Fire Extinguisher
From the moment that you see the active fire in your home to when it is extinguished, you will do anything in your means to try and get it put out as soon as you can. If this doesn’t extinguish the flames then the second line of defense arrives which is the team of firefighters. When they arrive they bust down the door and hose down the remaining blaze which means more water soaking the room.
Pull the pin; this will then break the tamper seal.
Aim low; you need to hit the flames where the source is hottest, the base.
Squeeze the handle; this will disperse the extinguishing agent on the flame. The agent will remove oxygen from the blaze, ultimately putting the fire out.
Sweep from side to side; the critical thing to remember is DON'T LET GO OF THE HANDLE until it is fully extinguished.
Fires in the Warmer Months
Looking forward to the warmer weather after the long cold months of winter. Spring is in full bloom, and summer is right around the corner.
It's a time of renewal and getting outdoors. There are plenty of activities to do outdoors such as hiking, going to the lake, grilling, and barbecuing with friends and family, just to name a few.
With the warmer weather families will begin to gather for reunions, graduations and the seasonal cookouts that everyone loves. That also brings with it the risks of increased fires.
Unfortunately, spring sees more daily fires on average than any time of year. But by being cautious, you can minimize fires at home this season.
Here are some great places to start:
The grill: Grills are one of the biggest culprits of spring fires. It presents a substantial risk due to the combination of flame, grease, heat and gas. But just taking a few precautions can greatly reduce the risk of a fire on the barbecue grill! Make sure the grill is cleaned prior to every use and that all parts are in proper working order. Replace any worn or damaged components before grilling and keep the grill at least six feet away from any flammable objects, especially the home! Lack of proper cleaning is responsible for almost 20% of grill fires!
The fire pit. While the grill gets it share of blame for accidental fires, the fire pit can be dangerous as well. Gathering on a cool spring or summer evening around a fire pit can provide some of the best rest and relaxation after a long day or week. Keep these safety tips in mind: Kids should never be left alone or around a fire pit. Keep a bucket of water close by at all times. Don't add pine needles or leaves to a fire pit as this can cause "flare-ups" and embers can be carried away by the wind. If you are cooking hot dogs or roasting marshmallows do it over the embers and not the open flame, which will help avoid the flame damage and help you get that elusive perfect roasted finish that you're looking for.
Chimneys and dryer vents. Chimneys should be inspected and cleaned by a professional at least once every season. Ash, soot and creosote buildup is a major cause of fires, and with proper maintenance, this risk can be reduced. The failure to clean dryer vents is a leading cause of fires that emanate from the dryer.
Our technicians are on speed dial 24/7 for emergencies. If you encounter fire damage at your home or business, no matter the cause, we will be there faster and have it cleaned up sooner. Experience the SERVPRO of Springfield/Mt Vernon difference.
A fire is one of the most destructive elements of nature and can turn a habitable home into a heap of dust within a short amount of time. Even though there are proactive methods to control the destruction of the house, you cannot snub the damage that may have already occurred. Not only do the flames from a fire cause charring on things like cabinets, but you would be looking at the smoke, which causes widespread damage. The smoke penetrates carpets, clothing, furniture, upholstery, and other porous materials. The ultimate goal of fire restoration in damaged homes is to reinstate the property and contents to pre-incident condition, leaving a clean and safe environment. If cleaning is not done properly, the smoke odor lingers, and further ruin can occur to your contents and structure. SERVPRO professionals start by evaluating the situation, including the extent of the damage, to know what they are dealing with. Depending on the situation, our crews can use onsite and offsite techniques to restore your home. Onsite restoration may include the removal of odor particles using the following equipment:
- Air Scrubbers
- Thermal Fogging
- Ozone Treatments
Cleaning Smoke Damage
Only some restoration projects require a pack out. Some contents can be manipulated and cleaned within their respective spaces. SERVPRO crews might even clean items onsite and then move them to a designated area that has not been affected to be stored. However, when cleanup requires multiple treatments, contents could be packed and taken to the Franchise Warehouse for cleaning.
SERVPRO of Springfield/Mt Vernon knows rebuilding a fire damaged home can be stressful, but you don't have to face fire restoration alone. Call us at (703)644-0620. We're Faster To Any Size Disaster.
When Pack Out Services Are Needed
In servicing our community, we have come across losses of all sizes. There unfortunately have been cases where areas of a home are so heavily affected that thorough steps are needed to fulfill proper restoration including packing out rooms or an entire residence. Why does this happen and what can this mean for you and your family?
- Reasons for Packing services
Each project we restore is evaluated on a case by case basis but the following are guidelines we employ to ensure the health, safety and proper restoration of every project. First, a source of loss may be considered Category 3 where all affected materials (touched by the source of loss) need to be removed. Another scenario often occurs when a home is built before 1985 and tests positive for lead and asbestos. Per industry standards affected materials with lead and asbestos require a very specific procedure for removal. These are two common scenarios that require access to all affected materials which may run behind, under, in between and/or above personal belongings and furniture.
It's important to our team to help guide each homeowner through this step. What may already be a difficult process can become seemingly even more overwhelmingly. However with our expert packing teams you can rest easy. After obtaining approval from your insurance, we work directly with you to make sure you have access to the items you need and the rest is covered, padded and sealed under lock and key.
Dealing with water damage in your home alone is no easy task, we are here to help our community no matter the scope of the job!
Do You Know How To Put A Grease Fire Out...?
Grease fires happen when oil, grease or fat get hot enough to ignite. Grease fires can be extremely dangerous because grease is a liquid that can easily spread. If you suspect the fire is larger than you can handle contact 9-1-1.
NEVER THROW WATER ONTO A GREASE FIRE THIS CAN CAUSE THE FIRE TO WORSEN.
Steps to take if this happens to you:
- Turn off the Stove – If you’re cooking and a pot catches fire, the first step is to remove the heat source. Turn off the burner or oven. (If your grease fire is in the oven, leave the door closed.) A fire can reignite if it’s not smothered.
- Cover with a Lid – Using a metal pan lid or baking sheet can be another to way to cut off oxygen to a grease fire. Do not use any type of Kitchen fabric the material may catch fire. ALWAYS avoid using glass or ceramic pan lids these materials can shatter.
- Products to use – Baking soda or salt can help to extinguish the fire; however this would require smothering the fire with salt or baking soda to fully extinguish the fire. Sometimes it’s easier and more effective to quickly find a lid & cover the fire. *DO NOT USE FLOUR OR BAKING POWDER as these products are highly combustible and can explode.*
- It is always recommended to have a fire extinguisher close by.
Do You Know How To Respond To A House Fire?
It’s that time of year again.
A fire can start from any number of sources: a faulty wire, an overloaded outlet, a kitchen accident, or a bonfire left unattended. If your home catches fire it’s important to know how to respond quickly and effectively.
If a Fire Starts, Here Is What You Need To Know:
The first line of defense against a fire is to know how to safely use the right fire extinguisher for a house fire. This simple step can save lives and tens of thousands in property damages. If the fire loses control, immediately get out and stay out, then call 9-1-1. Leave all your things where they are and save yourself.
If your clothing catches on fire, remember the old phrase: Stop, Drop, and Roll.
If you live in a building with elevators, it is important to use the stairs in case of a fire. A fire can short out the elevator electrical system, and the shaft can act like a chimney and rapidly fill up with dangerous smoke.
Understanding how to use doors to your advantage during a fire can mean the difference between life and death. If the door or handle is warm, do not open it. If you can't escape through the primary way, find another way out. Do not open any doors that are warm to the touch.
If some, heat, or flames block your exits, close any doors around you, place a wet towel under the doors and call the fire department or 9-1-1. Tell them exactly where you are so they know where to find you.
If you're near a window that you can't use as an escape, open it and wave a brightly colored cloth or use your phone flashlight to signal for help.
What To Do After a Fire:
After a fire, it is important to contact a professional fire damage restoration company like SERVPRO of Springfield/Mt Vernon. We have the training, experience, and equipment to properly restore your home - "Like it never even happened."
If you try to clean up the fire damage yourself, you could end up making the situation worse both in your home and with your insurance company's process.
Call us today! (703)644-0620
30 Seconds Is ALL It Takes!!!
Did you know the most common cause of a grease fire is cooking food unattended? Two of every five homes start in the kitchen while food is cooking. It takes less than 30 seconds for a fire to start, so never leave your pan unattended.
Oils and grease are highly flammable, which means they can catch fire easily. Studies have shown that different oils burn at different temperatures. Any oil you purchase from a grocery store is capable of catching on fire.
The most flammable cooking oil has to be coconut oil it has a smoke point of 385°F or 196°C and a flash point of 563°F or 295°C. It may catch fire easily than other oils in comparison. If you catch your cooking oil boiling and smoking this is a sign to turn down the heat.
Oils have a smoke point – What does “Smoke Point Mean?”
The “smoke point” is also referred to as the burning point of cooking oils & fats. When an oil or fat is heated past its “smoke point” it gives off bluish smoke.
The most recommended cooking oils to use that tend to have a higher smoke point making them suitable for frying – Peanut oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, safflower oil & corn oil.
SERVPRO of Springfield/Mt Vernon keeps your safety a priority. IF there is a fire in your home, call SERVPRO of Springfield/Mt Vernon (703)644-0620.
What to do after a fire
Have you had a fire in your home? "Devastating" is an understatement when experiencing the chaos of a fire in your home. Not only is it difficult to deal with the loss, but the clean-up can be, too. If it is a small isolated fire, getting the area cleaned and repaired should be a priority! The first thing to consider is the ash and smoke damage. These can lead to corrosion, unpleasant odor, and discoloration. Getting ash and smoke cleaned up immediately will prevent any of these from leading to an even larger problem. Take immediate action by following these steps if you find yourself handling the aftermath of a house fire: 1. Contact your insurance company. 2. Contact your local fire restoration company. 3. Take photographs of the damage. 4. Keep a record of all conversations with your insurance company. 5. Make a list of everything you lost or that was destroyed. 6. Find a place to stay while your restoration company cleans up your property. While a house fire is a difficult experience, it helps to have a game plan in place. So remember these steps for the next time you or someone you know is handling the aftermath of a house fire, and call SERVPRO® of Springfield/Mt. Vernon
Common causes of fire
Do you and your family know the common causes of fires?
Here are a few common causes to look out for:
- 48% of all fires are caused by cooking.
- Remember to turn off source of heat.
- Have a fire extinguisher on hand.
- Do not put anything close to the heater.
- Follow guidelines on how the heater can run.
- Electrical Fires
- Make sure fireplaces and lighting are up to code and are safe.
- Ensure alarms are replaced
- Never lay cigarettes, cigars, etc., down and forget about them.
- Smoke outside to avoid any potential fires related to dropping or forgetting about the item.
- Never leave a candle unattended.
- All materials should remain 12 inches away from all candles.
These are just some tips in order to prevent fires. SERVPRO of Springfield/Mt. Vernon keeps your safety a priority and we hope you and family values that as well. Other things to have in place is a route for you and your family if there ever was a fire. Also, everyone in your family should know the route and plan in place. IF there is a fire in your home, call SERVPRO of Springfield/Mt. Vernon.
Electric heater safety
As winter begins to hit and temperature begins to drop, you may choose to buy a space heater for warm up your home, apartment, or work space. Space heaters are a good alternative if you do not want to turn up your thermostat to heat up your home. However, space heaters, if not used correctly, can cause fire damage to your property. Here are some tips that you can use to prevent any disaster caused by a space heater:
- Leave the heater on level floor, don’t place on carpet - it can overheat and start a fire.
- Do not use in bathroom, unless it is designed for it - moisture can damage the heater.
- Keep three feet away from flammable materials and out of the way of children and pets.
- Should always be plugged directly into wall outlet, don’t use with extension cord because it can cause overheating.
- Don’t leave heater unattended, make sure to unplug when not in use.
- Install smoke alarms on every floor.
If you run into any issues with fire damage, call SERVPRO of Springfield/Mt. Vernon
What Kind of Smoke Detector Do I need?
There are 3 types of smoke detector alarms on the market today. They are Ionization, Photoelectric and Combination.
An ionization smoke alarm contains a small amount of radioactive material. The radiation passes through an ionization chamber which is an air-filled space between two electrodes and permits a small, constant current between the electrodes.
When smoke that enters the chamber absorbs the alpha particles, it reduces the ionization and interrupts the current, setting off the alarm.
This type of alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires.
The Photoelectric smoke alarms operate using a light source.
A light beam collimating system and a photoelectric sensor. When smoke enters the optical chamber and crosses the path of the light beam, some light is scattered by the smoke particles, directing it at the sensor and thus activating the alarm.
This type of alarm is generally more responsive to fires that begin with a long period of smoldering.
Combination smoke alarms feature both ionization and photoelectric technologies. Ionization smoke alarms respond faster to high energy fires, whereas photoelectric detectors respond better to low energy smoldering fires. The best overall protection is provided by using combination smoke alarms.
Quickly and Safely Fire suppression 101
Did you know there were 4 Different types of fires?
These are the easiest to put out, and the best way to put them out is using water, ex. a water hose or a bucket full of water. A foam fire extinguisher would also be a great option on Class A fires.
- Class B
- Flammable Liquids
- grease (cooking grease)
NEVER EVER use WATER on a Class B fire. This will cause the flaming material to scatter rather than extinguish it. The best course of action is using a powder like baking soda, or a carbon dioxide extinguisher. A foam fire extinguisher would also work.
- Class C
- old wiring
- fault equipment
- bad/damaged wiring
First, shut off power to the electrical fire. That could be as easy as shutting off a breaker, or unplugging the appliance. Then use a carbon dioxide or dry powder to extinguish the flames if they remain or if any appeared.
- Class D (uncommon)
- metal ignition
- mainly in laboratories or industrial type buildings
The best course of action is to use a fire extinguisher if the fire is small enough, otherwise call 911 and evacuate the area.
What Do I Need to Do to Reduce Damages After a Fire?
SERVPRO Fire Restoration Technicians Provide Emergency Response Services in Springfield/Mt. Vernon
After a fire, one thing is sure. There is much work to do before you regain your sense of normality. Even the smallest of fires can have extremely damaging impacts on your home. SERVPRO emergency response technicians move quickly to mitigate further damages.
Can I Stay in My Home After a Fire?
SERVPRO Technicians May Prep Your Home So You Can Remain
Depending on the extent of fire in your Springfield home, SERVPRO technicians may decide to use additional precautions to ensure your home is livable. If you are remaining in your home, they deodorize first to eliminate some of the strong odors. They also clean the most used portions of your home, such as your kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms.
What Do SERVPRO Emergency Technicians Do to Secure My House?
- Board up windows and doors.
- Address electrical hazards.
- Inspect the home for structural issues for safety purposes.
- If power is out, set up emergency lighting and access to flashlights.
What Else Should I Do Right Away if I want to Stay in My Home?
- Put towels or old sheets over furniture to limit further damage from smoke residue.
- Seal off the parts of the home that were not impacted by the fire.
- Do not eat any contaminated food or use contaminated products.
- Pull clothing out that you need right away for cleaning.
We understand the importance of wanting to stay in your home after a fire since displacement can add additional complications to getting your life back in order. Our technicians check for structural integrity and safety hazards and begin working to keep you in your home while they restore it to pre loss condition.
For 24/7 assistance after a fire, Contact SERVPRO of Springfield/Mt. Vernon at 703-644-0620. We’re Faster To Any Size Disaster.
What Renters Can Expect From Their Coverage
Fire Protection: What Renters Can Expect From Their Coverage
What Renters Can Expect From Their Coverage
Many tenants buy renter’s insurance to cover the cost of replacing their personal belongings if they are damaged or destroyed by an accident in the building where they live. Your coverage, however, may pay for much more than just item replacement. It’s important to talk to your agent, so you know just how much you can expect your insurance company to pay if the place you are renting in Springfield/Mt. Vernon, catches fire.
Part of the fire restoration process is determining which items can be cleaned and saved and which must be thrown away. Your insurance coverage should pay for:
- Cleaning costs
- Replacement costs
Make sure your policy states that it pays replacement cost rather than the actual cash value of your items. The purpose of insurance is to make you whole again, and replacing lost belongings is a good start.
If the fire was caused by your negligence, you might be liable for any damages you cause to other people or to the structure itself. Your renter’s insurance probably has a clause that protects you from legal costs. Your policy may cover damage to your neighbor’s belongings or the property itself, as well as cover medical bills of anyone injured in the fire if you bear some responsibility for its starting.
Fire restoration experts may work quickly, but there are probably going to be some nights that you are unable to stay in your rented space. Finding a temporary place to live can be expensive. Your insurance policy is likely to cover this as well. You can include your shelter needs as part of the fallout of the fire damage to your home when you file your claim.
Your renter’s insurance does cover the loss of your belongings, but it can also cover other losses. Your insurance agent can help you build a solid policy that takes all potential expenses of the fire into consideration.
The Most Common Types of House Fires
In this blog, we are going to talk about the most common fires and how you can help reduce the risk of a fire starting in your home. The 4 most common types of fires include kitchen, electrical, heater, and smoking fires. With that being said fires can start with cooking, heating equipment, anything electrical, smoking, and candles. It is extremely important to keep an eye on these things that can start potential fires as you can help prevent having a house fire. Below listed are the 4 most common types of house fires.
Cooking fires are the #1 cause of house fires and usually start in the kitchen. This accounts for 42% of all reported incidents. Grease fires are one of the most common causes of kitchen fires and can get out of hand quickly if unattended. Be sure to never leave your cooking unsupervised because it doesn’t take long for a fire to start.
Every year there are about 50,000 electrical fires due to faulty wiring. A majority of the fires start because of short circuits, which causes sparking that light building materials on fire. These are one of the deadliest fires as well. Most residential fires that start this way are in hidden areas, so it takes a while for the homeowner to realize there is a fire. Electrical systems that are installed correctly are very safe, however old faulty wiring systems can be susceptible to short circuits.
Heating equipment is responsible for 15% of all residential fires. Usually, heater fires start by having fabrics and other combustibles close to them allowing them to catch fire. Never leave your home with a heater running and be sure not to leave anything close to them.
While smoking only accounts for 5% of house fires it is extremely dangerous. Most homeowners usually fall asleep before the fire starts. Since these are deadly fires it is important to be extremely cautious when you smoke inside.
Fires can always be prevented by using caution. SERVPRO of Springfield/Mt. Vernon offers fire restorations and reconstruction. Feel free to contact us for any fire related questions you might have, we will be happy to assist you. 703-644-0620
How to be prepared for a fire incident in your office
Nobody ever thinks or likes to prepare for a dangerous terrifying fire situation but in order to work with a peace of mind in the office, you should know these simple strategies to safely confront a fire situation in your office. Have your peers know these strategies by hand because it can make a huge difference when a fire hazard arises.
- Have an evacuation plan and make sure to share it with the staff. Make sure this evacuation plan meets legal requirements. This plan should be customized to the unique size of your office work place.
- Make sure all employees know how to properly use a fire extinguisher. If not, be sure to have proper training sessions on how to do so.
- Fire drills are very important. Have at least 2 a year with all the staff participating in it. This will help in plan out where all of you will meet in case of an actual fire situation. It’s important that everyone has an easy route to an escape exit, this drill will help establish this route
- Keep smoke detectors up to date and make sure they are functional. Have a few around the office so the staff can hear them clearly in case of a fire. Make sure everyone knows what the fire alarm sounds like.
- In order to reduce potential hazards frequently check the conditions of electrical cables and replace them if they seem old or wear out. Take a look to see if they are overloaded.
Know that you know a few strategies practice them in your work place to keep every one safe. It is also highly important that the evacuation plan is somewhere visible where all the employees can see it because not everyone will be able to remember the evacuation plan. Have the plan somewhere visible such as the office break room or the office kitchen. Keep the plan and employees update in order to work in a safely planed office and in the case of a fire incident SERVPRO of Springfield/Mt. Vernon is a phone call away.
How to prevent house fires
Kitchen damaged by a fire.
House fires are one of the most common types of disasters in the country. The good news is they are pretty easy to prevent. Keep reading to find some easy steps to prevent fires in your home or business.
- Be sure to constantly check that your smoke detectors are in working order. Set a monthly alarm on your smartphone so you are reminded to check the batteries in your smoke detectors. Monthly smoke alarm checks are one very easy way to prevent fires.
- Check furnace filters, space heaters, and water heaters. Dust can build up in furnace filters and cause fires. Water heaters, especially those that run on gas, can also pose a threat if anything is placed near the heating element. Also, be mindful of the placement of space heaters so that they are not placed near any flammable items.
- The kitchen is the most commonplace for house fires to start. Make sure to keep any flammable items away from the stove. Also never leave the kitchen unattended when something is cooking, even if it is a tea kettle or an electric griddle.
- Make sure you properly manage your wires. Whether it’s your home office, living room, or entertainment room everyone usually has a room in their home with a bunch of tangled wires that you can never seem to unwind. Not only does this look bad, but it causes a fire hazard. Be sure to take some time and separate tangled wires. Also, don’t forget to replace damaged wires you may come across.
- Do not leave an open flame unattended. This includes candles, a gas stove, and the fireplace. It is important that when you are done using an open flame that it is properly put out to prevent fires.
- Make sure you have a working fire extinguisher handy. Double-check expiration dates on fire extinguishers and replace them when they go bad.
- Always have a plan. Make a fire escape plan with multiple exits in case of an emergency. Make sure everyone in the house is prepared and knows the best way to get out of your home if there is a fire.
Dangers of Hoarding
Many fire departments are experiencing serious fires, injuries, and deaths as the result of compulsive hoarding behavior
NFPA - Hoarding and fire safety
The excessive accumulation of materials in homes poses a significant threat to firefighters fighting fires and responding to other emergencies in these homes and to residents and neighbors. Often, the local fire department will be contacted to help deal with this serious issue. Since studies suggest that between three and five percent of the population are compulsive hoarders, fire departments must become familiar with this issue and how to effectively handle it.
NFPA - Hoarding and fire safety
- Hoarding can be a fire hazard. Many occupants die in fires in these homes. Often, blocked exits prevent escape from the home. In addition, many people who are hoarding are injured when they trip over things or when materials fall on them.
- Responding firefighters can be put at risk due to obstructed exits, falling objects, and excessive fire loading that can lead to collapse. Hoarding makes fighting fires and searching for occupants far more difficult.
- Those living adjacent to an occupied structure can be quickly affected when a fire occurs, due to excessive smoke and fire conditions.
Fire Damage Prevention DOs and DON'Ts
Are you a homeowner or property manager in Springfield / Mt. Vernon Virginia? In the case of a fire, do you know what to do before help arrives? Regardless of your fire cleanup and restoration knowledge, allow us to help you minimize the damage to your home as you await the arrival of emergency service professionals.
The first 48 hours after a fire disaster can make all the difference between fire cleanup and restoration versus complete replacement of your property and belongings.
Check out these tips for fire damage prevention to your Virginia home:
- Limit movement of persons and furniture to prevent soot particles from settling into your home.
- Prevent soiled furniture by covering upholstered belongings with clean towels or old linens.
- Remove soot from chrome faucets, trim, and appliances.
- Attempt to clean walls or painted surfaces without contacting SERVPRO.
- Shampoo carpet or upholstery without consulting fire cleanup professionals.
- Clean or repair electrical equipment.
- Clean clothes- improper cleaning may permanently stain clothes with soot and smoke odor.
In the case of a house fire, remove yourself from the property as quickly as possible, call 911, then call SERVPRO of Springfield/ Mt. Vernon-- your trusted Fire and Water Cleanup and Restoration experts. Our professional staff can help prevent fire damage from creating long-term problems in your home. We provide fast response to any size disaster, with services ranging from fire cleanup to contents claim inventory and document restoration.
Call us with your fire restoration needs - (703) 644-0620. We offer our 24-hour emergency cleanup services 365 days a year.
Fire Pit Safety Reminders
One of the newest “items to have” for both summer and winter months is a Fire Pit. Fire pits come in various shapes and materials, brick, metal, concrete and more. Many individuals are even constructing their own fire pits based on pictures that they see, or out of sheer desire and creativity. Fire pits can be propane or wood burning or natural gas. Please note Propane and Natural Gas are NOT the same.
While a fire pit may be the new “must-have” item in home and garden, users must remember to implement detailed safety practices for users to maintain. This may include using a poker, log grabber, or shovel when adjusting burning logs or assuring that enough space exists between seats and the pit so that pedestrians may easily walk by.
Please remember: do not leave a lit or burning fire pit unattended. Wind may blow fumes and embers into surrounding areas which may create a significant fire hazard. Please also note that embers can remain a fire hazard for days if not adequately dealt with, so double check before leaving the fire pit that there is no residual heat present.
PREVENT FIRES - Inspect your Smoke detectors regularily
Checking the batteries and the status of your smoke detectors regularly is so much more important than the average home owner thinks it is.
We know they are checked before you rent or buy a house. We know they are checked when you sell a home. These legal steps have been added for your protection, so get in the habit of taking the extra steps necessary of checking them periodically and log it somewhere.
One of the first items mentioned when a residential fire happens if there is an injury or fatality; is that the smoke detectors were or were not operable. Something so simple can save hundreds of dollars in damage and maybe even a life.
Some states have now required detectors that have sealed batteries guaranteed active for 10 years, Maryland recently enacted the law. Take the time to check the status of your detector and test it on a regular basis.
Electrical Safety Counterfeit Products Portable Heaters
Recent data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that, on average, there are more than 400 electrocutions
- More than 3,000 electrical fires are caused by extension cords each year, resulting in 50 deaths and 270 injuries.
- Large appliances cause nearly 20 percent of consumer-product electrocutions annually.
- U.S. Customs confiscates more than $3 million in consumer electrical products each year, and explains that products with counterfeit certification marks, including CSA, UL and ETL, have not been tested for shock and fire hazards.
Sales of electrical products increase during the winter months. Sales of Counterfeit Electrical products is on the rise, these items have not met the testing and safety standards and can result in injury, death and property damage. Purchase your products from reputable dealers and check for certification marks.
PORTABLE HEATER SAFETY:
- Keep all furniture, draperies, and other household objects at least three feet from the in-wall fan heaters and 12 inches from baseboard heaters.
- Keep portable space heaters at least three feet away from all flammable materials, such as furniture and draperies. ? Plug portable space heaters directly into the outlet; do not use an extension cord.
- If an in-wall or baseboard heater is shut off at the circuit breaker, be sure to lock or tag the circuit breaker to prevent someone from inadvertently turning it back on.
- Some portable space heaters, electric in-wall fan heaters and baseboard heaters have been subject to product recalls. Check your brand and model number and visit www.cpsc.gov for possible information about your heater.
Holiday Fires are twice as likely
Holidays are the peak times for fires
The U.S. Fire Administration reports more than double the number of open flame fires on Christmas Day than the average day. Property loss in a Holiday Fire is about 34% greater than in a regular fire, and loss of life is and fatalities is about 70% higher if the cause is a Christmas Tree.
*One if every four Christmas Tree fires is due to Electrical problems.
*A heat source too close to the tree causes 1 in every four Christmas Tree fires.
*The top 3 days for Candle Fires are Christmas, New Year's Day and Christmas Eve.
*Candles start 2 out of 5 Home Decoration fires.
Mak and effort nto get Holiday, candle and "Christmas tree fire" Safety outreach materials.
Source: National Fire Protection Association
Springfield/ Mt. Vernon Fire, Smoke and Soot Clean up
Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and soot facts:
- 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
There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Springfield/ Mt. Vernon will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:
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.
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 703-644-0620