Recent Fire Damage Posts
Winter has arrived, along with bitter cold and freezing temperatures. In an effort to keep living and working spaces cozy, many residents and employees turn to alternative heat sources. The most common form of alternative heat comes from portable space heaters. These devices can generate a lot of extra heat, but if used improperly, can also create a serious safety hazard.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating is the leading cause of home fire deaths. Almost half of these deaths occur during the months of December, January, and February. Statistics show most of these fires also involved stationary or portable heaters. In 2009, heating equipment fires were responsible for an estimated $1.1 billion in direct property damage.
When used as directed and maintained properly, space heaters can be used safely. When purchasing a space heater, make sure it has been evaluated by an independent testing Laboratory; this will generally be indicated on the box or tag. Before operating the heater, read the manufacturer’s instructions. For more ways to minimize the risk of a heating related fire, review the tips list here:
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from the heating equipment, like furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
- Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters, or central heating equipment according to local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
- Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
- Remember to turn off portable heaters when leaving a room.
- Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
- Test smoke alarms monthly.
SERVPRO of Iredell County professionals are dedicated to restoring both the property and the lives of customers being helped. The number one goal is returning damaged areas and items to preloss condition, doing all we can to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Tips to Avoid Electrical Fires
A recent report from the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) shows home electrical fires claim the lives of 280 Americans each year and injure 1,000 more. Many electrical fires in the home or workplace care caused by overloaded circuits and extension cords. Many electrical fires can be avoided if basic safety precautions are taken.
· Routinely check your electrical appliances and wiring.
· Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately
· Replace any electrical tool or appliance if it overheats, shorts out, causes even small electrical shocks, or gives off smoke or sparks.
· If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
· Use electrical extension cords wisely; never overload extension cords or wall sockets
Fire Damage Restoration
The fire trucks may be gone but without proper immediate response, the real damage and the costs are just beginning. To return your residential or commercial property to its preloss condition requires professional restoration. This is not the job for a do-it-yourself property owner.
Professional restoration technicians know that damage increases and restoration costs escalate the longer neutralization, corrosion control and cleaning is delayed. When homeowners prolong the restoration of their home, they extend the effects brought on by the smoke exposure. The following is an initial timeline of the effects of fire and smoke on a home:
Within Minutes: Acid soot residues cause plastics to yellow; small appliances located close to the source of combustion discolor; highly porous materials (marble, alabaster) discolor permanently.
Within Hours: Acid residues stain grout in bathrooms; fiberglass bath fixtures may yellow; uncoated metals tarnish, counter tops may yellow; finishes on appliances, particularly refrigerators, may yellow; furniture finishes may discolor.
For results you can have confidence in, the IICRC recommends hiring a certified restoration firm. Restoration to a property can be complex. Proper smoke and odor removal are tasks that require technicians certified in these specific areas.
When selecting a certified restoration firm several factors must be considered:
- Formal and up-to-date specialized training
- Health and safety certifications
- Experience in a wide range of restoration projects
- Proof of proper insurance and licenses
Tips on what to do after a fire in your Mooresville home
What to Do After a Home Fire
Recovering from a fire can be a physically and mentally draining process.
When fire strikes, lives are suddenly turned around. Often, the hardest part is knowing where to begin and who to contact.
Contact your insurance company or agent right away.
Ask your agent:
- What to do about the immediate needs of your home. This includes pumping out water and covering doors, windows, and other openings.
- What you should do first. Some companies may ask you to make a list of everything that was damaged by the fire. They will ask you to describe these in detail and say how much you paid for the items.
Entering the home after the fire:
- Do not enter a damaged home or apartment unless the fire department says it is safe to go in!
- Fires can start again even if they appear to be out.
- Soot and dirty water left behind may contain things that could make you sick. Do not eat, drink, or breathe in anything that has been near the fire’s flames, smoke, soot, or water used to put the fire out.
SERVPRO technicians are experts in cleaning and/or restoring your personal items.
Celebrate Summer Safely
Each year, families and friends across the country enjoy summer months with barbecues, camping trips, or by cooling off in a pool or lake. In order to enjoy these occasions, it is important to keep safety top of mind to ensure you have fun in the sun. According to a recent study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly 5000 Americans are injured by charcoal/wood-burning and propane grill fires.
The following tips, provided by the National Fire Protection Association, will help keep you safe all summer long:
- When using a charcoal grill, only use starter fluids designed for barbeque grills; do not add fluid after coals have been lit.
- When using a gas grill, ensure the hose connection is tight: check hoses for leaks. Applying soapy water to the hoses will easily and safely reveal any leaks.
- Be sure to extinguish all smoking materials and shut down any motors and heating devices before fueling a boat. In case of a spill, wipe up fuel and check for fuel leakage and odors.
- When camping, always use a flame retardant tent and set up camp far awat from the campfire. Always extinguish the fire before going to sleep or leaving the campsite. To extinguish, cover with dirt and pour water over the fire.
- Store liquid fire starter (not gasoline) away from your tent and campfire and only use dry kindling to freshen a campfire.
The summer season should be a time to make memories and enjoy the great outdoors but please keep safety in mind.
Thunderstorms and Lightning
All thunderstorms are dangerous. Every thunderstorm produces lightning. While lightning fatalities have decreased over the past 30 years, lightning continues to be one of the top three storm-related killers in the United States.
On average in the U.S., lightning kills 51 people and injures hundreds more. Although most lightning victims survive, people struck by lightning often report a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms.
Other associated dangers of thunderstorms include tornadoes, strong winds, hail and flash flooding. Flash flooding is responsible for more fatalities – more than 140 annually – than any other thunderstorm-associated hazard. Dry thunderstorms that do not produce rain that reaches the ground are most prevalent in the western United States. Falling raindrops evaporate, but lightning can still reach the ground and can start wildfires.
To prepare for a thunderstorm, you should do the following:
- To begin preparing, you should build an emergency kit and make a family communications plan.
- Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage during a severe thunderstorm.
- Postpone outdoor activities.
- Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
- Get inside a home, building, or hard top automobile (not a convertible). Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.
- Remember, rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal.
- Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades or curtains.
- Unplug any electronic equipment well before the storm arrives.
A Fire Extinguisher can be a Life Saving Tool
The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) recommends individuals be properly trained in order to use and maintain an extinguisher. USFA says an extinguisher should only be used if:
- You have alerted other occupants and someone has called the fire department.
- The fire is small and contained to a single object, such as a wastebasket.
- You are safe from toxic smoke produced by the fire.
- You have a means of escape identified and the fire is not between you and the escape route.
- Your instincts tell you that it is safe to use an extinguisher.
10 Fire Tips For Your Home
For most people, homes are one-time assets, containing their most precious belongings. A home is the most important thing you own. It is prudent to ensure the security of your home and family from destructive elements such as fire.
Many homes are destroyed due to fires. Fires may occur due to accidents through carelessness or negligence. It is therefore essential to know of ways and means to keep your house safe from fires.
Listed below are 10 tips for ensuring fire safety for your home:
1 Install a few smoke detectors, preferably on each level. Smoke detectors help save lives and property with early-warning mechanisms. All instructions regarding smoke detectors must be observed scrupulously.
2 Maintain and test smoke detectors periodically. Replace smoke alarm batteries. Most detectors give out signals when the batteries get low to avoid the danger of forgetting about you batteries.
3 Keep an eye out for potential fire hazards. Look for things like frayed or torn cords on electrical devices such as televisions, stereo systems, lamps or computers. Watch out for heaters that are too close to flammable items such as clothing, fabric, books, magazines or old newspapers.
4 Keep match boxes and lighters out of reach of children. Children are fascinated with fire, and curiosity can get dangerous. Keep temptation at bay by hiding matches and lighters. Better still, keep them locked away.
5 Stay on guard when cooking or baking in the kitchen. Many home fires begin in the kitchen. It's always best to be cautious and exercise care in attending to areas that are prone to fire accidents.
6 Have an emergency fire-exit plan handy at all times. Family members should be aware of this plan, and safety drills are in order from time to time. Escape plans have helped families to be safe in fires.
7 Always exercise caution when using, placing or lighting candles. Candles can easily allow other things to catch fire if you are not careful. Have proper candle holders, protective covers and extinguishers for candles.
8 Avoid electrical fires by always unplugging all electronic devices and appliances after use. Plugged-in appliances and electronic devices are fire hazards.
9 Take good care of fireplaces or wood-burning stoves that you use during the winter. Ensure proper safety and upkeep of such devices and keep children out of reach of fire.
10 Teach children about the hazards of fire and ensure they are aware of fire safety rules. Remember, the wellbeing of your family is important and everyone is responsible in understanding the hazards of fire.
Red Cross Fire Safety Tips
Did you know that if a fire starts in your home, you may have just two minutes to escape?
The most effective way to protect yourself and your home from fire is to identify and remove fire hazards. 60 percent of house fire deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarms. During a home fire, working smoke alarms and a fire escape plan that has been practiced regularly can save lives.
- If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL for HELP.
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
- Test smoke alarms once a month, if they’re not working, change the batteries.
- Talk with all household members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.