Recent Fire Damage Posts
How to Keep Your Heated Home Happy
The winter months can be cold and dreary. There’s nothing like heating up your home and curling up on the couch to watch a movie, or a read a book, or cooking a warm meal to keep you cozy. Heating your home is simple, but there are many dangers that come with doing so. Follow these steps to keep you and your home safe from a fire.
Cooking that warm meal sounds like a good idea, but there are some dangers lurking in your kitchen. To help keep yourself safe, keep flammable objects like kitchen towels and food packaging away from stovetops and flames. Do not leave the kitchen while you are cooking something. Make sure children are at least 3 feet away from the stove. If you are fatigued or have been drinking alcohol, avoid cooking.
Candles are a very common home décor, especially in the winter months. Though they are pretty and smell nice, they can cause serious injury and harm. When lighting a candle, make sure you have placed the candle away from things that could catch on fire. You should never go to bed or leave the house without blowing the candle out. Lastly, make sure children and pets are kept away from burning candles.
Keeping your home warm during the cold months is something we all do. Furnaces, fireplaces, and heaters are all different types of heating devices you may have around your home. To keep you and your family safe, keep children away from heating units and make a three-foot safety zone. Avoid using your oven to heat your home. Make sure to have all chimneys and heating equipment checked regularly by a professional. Keep all flammable items away from heating units. Lastly, make sure you have installed all equipment as stated in the manufacturer's instructions.
By following these steps, you will surely be able to keep your and your family safe during this winter. If a disaster does strike, we are available 24/7/365. Give us a call at 205-921-1449.
Dangerous Dryer Vents
Drying our clothes in the dryer is a common, almost every day thing we do. Did you know that the lint from your clothing and towels fill up in the lint filter, vent, and dryer hose? When those items become heavily clogged with lint, they become a fire hazard. Most people do not know that those things need to be cleaned out pretty regularly to ensure that they are not becoming clogged up. Almost 5,000 homes are caught in fires by the build up of dryer lint. The lint filter/screen should be cleaned with every load of laundry that you do. The vent should be cleaned once a year, at minimum. The hose for the dryer to vent to the outside should be cleaned out once a year as well. If you are checking your hose and see that yours is “accordion style”, you might want to switch it out to a smooth hose. The ridges in those “accordion style” hoses can trap and hold lint.
How To Use A Portable Fire Extinguisher
Portable fire extinguishers can be life and property saving tools when used correctly. In order to operate an extinguisher, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests remembering the word PASS:
P - Pull the pin. Hold the nozzle pointing away from your and release the locking mechanism.
A - Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
S - Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
S - Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
Read the instructions on the fire extinguisher and become familiar with them before a fire breaks out. Remember, extinguishers do have limitations. It is also important to ensure you have the correct type of extinguisher for your facility. To find more information on choosing the appropriate class of extinguisher, please visit the NFPA website at nfpa.org.
*Courtesy of the SERVPRO Restoration Newsline Volume 28, Issue 2.
Avoiding Kitchen Fires
Avoiding Kitchen Fires
Cooking fires are the most common household fires, and you do not have to have a huge, commercial-sized range for a fire to start. From stray dishtowels to grease spills, even a very small cook top in a studio apartment can create a blaze. You should know tips ahead of time to keep you and your family safe in the kitchen.
When cooking, remain in your kitchen. It may seem like the obvious thing to do, but most cooking fires and fire damage occur from unattended cooking. If you must step away from the stove for any reason, first turn the heat off and move the pan to a burner that is cool.
When a cooking fire has flared up in your kitchen, be sure to contact SERVPRO after the fire is out. We are a professional and experienced fire damage restoration company, and we can repair and clean your home thoroughly for you.
When cooking, use a timer. Regularly check the food, whether you are baking, roasting, simmering, or boiling. When you use a timer, it helps remind you to check on your dish. You also need to keep the stove top clear of any oven mitts, dishtowels, paper towels or anything that can catch on fire.
Keep your stove top clean and wipe up any spills. When a stove top or oven is dirty, cooking with them is an invitation for potential fires. The buildup of grease is very flammable, so clean your stove each time you cook and wipe up any spills right away.
You should also avoid overheating your oils. Cooking oil which is overheated can start to bubble up and smoke, causing it to ignite and spill out. If you are not sure of the smoking point for your cooking oils, you can find charts online. Also, do not dispose of any oil before it has had time to cool. Tossing hot grease into your trash can could make it go up in flames. Putting it in an old food can after it cools is safer before tossing it out.
Our SERVPRO technicians can help you after a fire to put your house back together again. We do an initial inspection and fire damage assessment, plus immediate board-up services if needed. Water removal and drying are done to clean up firefighting efforts, and we remove smoke and soot from all affected services.
SERVPRO knows what works when it comes to fire damage remediation. Give us a call at (205)-921-1449 whenever you need our help after a fire.
Safety For Fire Damage Clean Up In Your Home!
SERVPRO Puts Safety First after Fire Damage in Your Home
If you store flammable liquids in your home’s garage such as turpentine, gasoline, or paint thinner, they can be dangerous if not stored properly. Gasoline alone starts around eight thousand house fires each year. A reason this happens is that it is often stored incorrectly in the garage. For instance, when stored in a glass jar with a metal lid, the lid can create a spark if the jar falls off the shelf.
Flammable liquids in your home should always be stored at room temperature away from any heat sources in the proper containers. If you have suffered a fire and fire damage from one of these catching fire, however, you want to get the damage taken care of as quickly as possible once the fire is out. Our SERVPRO staff can assist you in cleaning and repairing your home, as we are professionally trained to do so.
Many times, fires cause structural damage to buildings, which can pose safety hazards. We are always cautious of falling or loose debris and watch for damaged structural components which could cause puncture wounds. We wear work safety boots and hard hats for added protection when inspecting your home after a fire. We also keep you and your family out until we ensure that it is safe. Warnings of potential risks are made known with barrier tape and signs.
SERVPRO staff also need to be aware of trip, slip, and fall hazards. Most of these accidents can be prevented by following some simple measures. We inspect your home for potential slippery surfaces and tripping obstacles. Wet floors from putting out the fire can be slippery, or a dry floor can be hazardous if a surface nearby is wet.
Structures which are damaged by fire can present different trip and fall hazards. Walkways, floors, and aisles should be kept clean, dry, and free of any protruding splinters, nails, holes, loose boards, or projections. Holes in the floor are covered as well.
SERVPRO ensures that you and our workers are safe while we are restoring your home after fire damage. Reach out to us right away once the fire is out so we can begin helping you.
Fires DO Affect HVAC Systems
Smoke & Fire Damage Are Common After a Fire in Your Russellville, Hamilton, & Fayette Property
A fire in any home is a frightening sight. Fortunately, most of the damage after the flames have been put out is from smoke and soot residues. Smoke and soot are easier to restore than removing scorched and burned property, but it does take time and patience.
One item residents forget about before or after fire damage has occurred at their home is the air and heat or HVAC system. It may not be necessary to clean the HVAC after a fire, but it must be inspected to make certain. If the system is turned on with residue still inside, it is possible to contaminate the entire house in a matter of minutes. SERVPRO has developed a thorough list of questions to inspect an HVAC system and another to clean and repair it if there is smoke or soot residue.
First, how close was the fire to the HVAC vents or the furnace unit?
Did smoke enter either the supply or return sides of the system?
How long did the fire burn? Was the HVAC in operation at any time while the fire was active?
These questions help us determine just how likely there is contamination, the type of residue, and how extensive it might be. Do not assume there is no contamination because the HVAC was off. An active fire creates air pressure which can force smoke into the system if it burns long enough. An inspection provides the information we need to answer these questions and prepare a restoration plan.
Are mechanical components of the HVAC damaged? Do they need to be replaced? If so, our technicians can service most HVAC systems. For certain brands, it may be necessary to call in one of their technicians to perform the work.
Is the ductwork sheet metal, duct board, or flex duct? Sheet metal ducts are easy to clean, duct board is a bit more difficult, and flex duct may have to be replaced because it is not cost effective to pull it out and stretch it to clean out every crease.
Are the filters contaminated? If yes, then they must be replaced. It is a precautionary practice to toss all filters before the fire and run new filters, inspect, and replace again if the residue is exceptionally thick.
Does the HVAC need to be disassembled? Taking it apart may be required if the residue is particularly thick and resists cleaning.
Once we or your contractor has rebuilt the HVAC, our technicians seal the ductwork as tightly as possible to prevent additional contamination and then test it.
This process is not simple, but restoring the HVAC system in your home is the final, needed step before it is truly safe to return. For SERVPRO of Russellville, Hamilton, & Fayette this is not just a job. We understand the need to go back to normal after a fire or any other disaster. Call us today at (205) 921-1449 to begin.
Emergency Fire Damage Tips
SERVPRO of Russellville, Hamilton, & Fayette is your go to for professional service and restoration in the event of a fire in your home or business. The following Dos and Don'ts will guide you to help reduce damage and increase the chance of a successful restoration.
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into carpet and avoid tracking.
- Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls, and woodwork.
- If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor.
- Wipe soot from metal kitchen and bathroom faucets, trip, and appliances.
- If heat is off during winter, poor RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks, and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures.
- Remove soot particles from plants with a damp cloth.
- Change HVAC filter, but 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 SERVPRO of Russellville, Hamilton, & Fayette.
- Don't attempt to shampoo carpet, rugs, or upholstered furniture without first consulting SERVPRO of Russellville, Hamilton, & Fayette.
- Don't 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.
- Don't consume any food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat, or water. They may be contaminated.
- Don't turn on ceiling fixtures in ceiling is wet. Wiring may be wet or damage 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.
When fire and water damage take control of your life, let SERVPRO of Russellville, Hamilton, & Fayette help you take it back.
Smoke & Soot Facts
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 Russellville, Hamilton, & Fayette 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 – (205) 921-1449
When a Commercial Fire Damages Your Business, Call SERVPRO of Russellville, Hamilton, & Fayette
When a fire ravages your business property, you may wonder how you will be able to repair all of the fire damage. Some Russellville, Hamilton, & Fayette area commercial fire damages will result in a full loss, but others may only impact a small area of the property and business. Regardless of how large or small the fire was, you may need the property repaired as soon as possible so that operations can resume. Until this happens, you and your clients may be inconvenienced, and the business profit will decrease. With a few important steps, you can rectify commercial fire damage and get your operations back to normal as soon as possible.
Surveying the Damage
An important first step to take in the commercial fire damage restoration process is to survey the damage to your property. Through a quick overview of the damage, you will get a better idea of the scope of a repair project, and you can estimate how long it will take to get the damage repaired. Keep in mind that a fire often inflicts more damage than just the area affected by the flames. Smoke damage, for example, may spread throughout a property even when the fire was contained to a particular room of the building. Water damage incurred from the firefighters putting out the fire may also be present. Each of these types of damage will require a different overall repair process and may lengthen the overall restorative job.
Cleaning the Property
Clean the property and removing the ashes and soot are a high priority to limit damage and odors. In some cases, water extraction is necessary. Afterward, you will be able to determine other areas that may need to be cleaned. For example, carpeting or furnishings may require special professional cleaning techniques if they have been damaged by smoke or water.
Repairing the Area
While some areas impacted by the fire will need to be professionally cleaned, others will need to be repaired or replaced. For example, any charred areas that have been burned by the fire often will need to be entirely replaced and will not be salvageable. It can be difficult to determine which areas can be repaired or replaced and which can be cleaned, but a professional team of fire damage remediation professionals from SERVPRO can assist you in this area. We can inventory and document all salvageable and non-salvageable business items such as computers, copiers, furnishings, retail stock, and documents. Our team can also interact with your insurance provider to mitigate damages, costs, and your downtime.
If your business property has been affected by a fire, our team of fire damage specialists can help. As a locally owned company, we can respond quickly to your request for assistance with fire damage repair services. Contact SERVPRO of Russellville, Hamilton, & Fayette today at (205)-921-1449 for assistance.
The Many Faces Of Fire Damage
If your property in Russellville, Hamilton, or Fayette suffers from fire damage, you should talk to someone on our team. We are experts at minimizing current damage and keeping damage from increasing in severity. Even after a fire has been extinguished, its effects can continue to grow. We can stop that with state-of-the-art equipment.
Damage can be found even after small fires. These can happen anywhere in the home. They remain small when someone is present and can extinguish the fire before it can spread. The kitchen and bathroom are the most common, with the laundry room and garage coming in second. Bedrooms, living and dining rooms, and hallways can also have fires take place, but these areas are the least common. Patios are also prone to having fires, especially if outdoors cooking is done, or children experiment with a range of items, from fireworks to magnifying lenses
Fire damage can range from discolored concrete and natural rock outside to charred walls and scorched carpets inside. Drywall can suffer additional damage if water is heavily applied when there is a fire, although drywall should resist small, low-temperature fires. Paneling and wallpaper will burn, however, no matter what it is applied to as a covering. Our team members are creative in matching or updating, your pre-fire décor.
Kitchens can experience scorched countertops and cabinets, which need either repairing or replacing. If the cabinet doors are warped from the heat and then the cold from putting the fire out with either water or a fire extinguisher, they are typically replaced as needed. Then the remaining ones are cleaned and re-stained if needed. If floors have been soaked with water in the effort to extinguish the fire, we at SERVPRO are equipped, and experienced, in getting it dry quickly so that underlay and any support beams are not damaged
For fires in the garage and patio areas, we can quickly clean-up scorched concrete so that residues are not tracked into your home, as these can contain harmful substances that were once inert. Vinyl siding that has been damaged can also be repaired. Scorched and burned areas of grass can also be reseeded and started back on track. We can also create and provide an inventory list of damaged items, particularly, but not exclusively, for the garage area. We can list which items are damaged beyond repair, salvageable, or undetermined for insurance purposes.
If you've had a fire in your Russellville, Hamilton, or Fayette area home cause damage, don't try repairing the area yourself. You need to call us at SERVPRO of Cullman/Blount Counties at (205) 921-1449. We’ll help you get your home’s beauty back on center stage and put the fire behind you.