Recent Fire Damage Posts

Home Fire Safety

5/9/2019 (Permalink)

House fires are sudden and unexpected.  Studies show that you may only have two minutes to escape from a home fire and get to safety, which does not seem like much time.  However, Following these tips from the Red Cross will not only help you prevent house fires, but they will also help you prepare and make sure your family is safe if one ever does occur.

  1. Get Rid of Fire Hazards

Identifying and taking the necessary precautions to ensure that you do not have fire hazards in your home is important.  This means all electronic items that produce heat should always be at least three feet away from anything flammable.  All space heaters and electric blankets should always be turned off when they are not being used.

  1. Always Avoid Smoking in Bed

Smoking in bed is dangerous because of the possibility of hot ashes igniting your flammable bedding.  It is also important to make sure all candles are put out when being left unattended.

  1. Make Sure Your Children Are Informed

Talk to your children about the importance of not playing with lighters, matches, and fire.  You can take an extra precautionary step by keeping all matches and lighters up high and out of reach or locked up in a place that your children cannot access.

  1. Check Your Smoke Alarms

Be sure you have working smoke detectors on every floor of your home and on the inside and outside of every sleeping area.  These should be checked monthly to ensure the batteries are working, and they should be replaces every 10 years.

  1. Make a Plan

Discuss your outside meeting spot with your family and come up with an escape plan.  This escape plan should be practiced at least twice a year, and you should make sure that every member of your family is able to escape in less than two minutes.

Candle Safety Tips from the National Candle Association

11/12/2018 (Permalink)

CANDLE SAFETY RULES

  • Always keep a burning candle within sight. Extinguish all candles when leaving a room or before going to sleep. Be sure the wick ember is no longer glowing.
  • Never burn a candle on or near anything that can catch fire. Keep burning candles away from furniture, drapes, bedding, carpets, books, paper, flammable decorations, etc.
  • Keep burning candles out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Trim candlewicks to ¼ inch each time before burning. Long or crooked wicks can cause uneven burning and dripping.
  • Always use a candle-holder specifically designed for candle use. The holder should be heat resistant, sturdy, and large enough to contain any drips or melted wax.
  • Be sure the candle-holder is placed on a stable, heat-resistant surface. This can help prevent heat damage to underlying surfaces and prevent glass containers from breaking.
  • Keep the wax pool free of wick trimmings, matches and debris at all times.
  • Always read and follow the manufacturer’s use and safety instructions carefully. Don’t burn a candle longer than the manufacturer recommends.
  • Keep burning candles away from drafts, vents, ceiling fans and air currents. This will help prevent rapid, uneven burning, and avoid flame flare-ups and sooting. Drafts can also blow nearby lightweight items into the flame where they could catch fire.
  • Always burn candles in a well-ventilated room. Don’t burn too many candles in a small room or in a “tight” home where air exchange is limited.
  • Don’t burn a candle all the way down. Extinguish the flame if it comes too close to the holder or container. For a margin of safety, discontinue burning a candle when 2 inches of wax remains or ½ inch if in a container.
  • Never touch or move a burning candle or container candle when the wax is liquid.
  • Never use a knife or sharp object to remove wax drippings from a glass holder. It might scratch, weaken, or cause the glass to break upon subsequent use.
  • Place burning candles at least three inches apart from one another. This helps ensure they don’t melt one another, or create their own drafts to cause improper burning.
  • Use a snuffer to extinguish a candle. It’s the safest way to prevent hot wax splatters.
  • Never extinguish candles with water. The water can cause the hot wax to splatter and might cause a glass container to break.
  • Be very careful if using candles during a power outage. Flashlights and other battery-powered lights are safer sources of light during a power failure.
  • Extinguish a candle if it repeatedly smokes, flickers, or the flame becomes too high.  The candle isn’t burning properly. Cool, trim the wick, then check for drafts before relighting.
  • Never use a candle as a night light.

The Importance of Having a Fire Escape Plan

10/15/2018 (Permalink)

Fire prevention month is in full swing, so what better time to start developing your family's Fire Escape Plan.  Creating a fire escape plan that everyone in your household knows and has practiced can make all the difference if a fire threatens your home.  Below are some facts on Fire Escape Planning provided by the National Fire Protection Association.

Escape Planning:

  • According to an NFPA survey, only one in every three American households has actually developed and practiced a home fire-escape plan.
  • While 71% of Americans have an escape plan in case of a fire, only 47% of them have practiced it.
  • One-third of American households who made an estimate thought they would have at least six minutes before a fire in their home became threatening. The time available is often less. And only eight% said their first thought upon hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out.

For a helpful guide to guide to get you and your family started on your fire escape plan, click here!

Fire Prevention Week : The 3 L's You Need To Know!

10/8/2018 (Permalink)

"Look, Listen, Learn"

These are the 3 Ls that the NFPA or National Fire Prevention Association states are necessary for you and your family to know and remember when it comes down to fire prevention and reaction.

This week is National Fire Prevention Week, and the theme is, “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere.™”  Not only does this theme shed light on the how you can work toward preventing fires, but it is crucial to remember in the case that a fire does occur because it can help you determine how to react.

The NFPA States:

Look” for places fire could start.  Take a good look around your home.  Identify potential fire hazards and take care of them.

“LISTEN” for the sound of the smoke alarm.  You could have only minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds.  Go to your outside meeting place, which should be a safe distance from the home and where everyone should know to meet.

“LEARN” two way out of every room and make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily and are free of clutter. 

Share this information with your friends and family and start getting prepared now, it can make all the difference if a fire does occur!

The Facts on Smoke and Soot Damage

7/6/2018 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot are both 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 level 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 Montgomery & Pulaski Counties will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred.  The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during the pretesting.  Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke - Platic and Rubber

  • Low heart smoldering
  • Pungent odor, sticky, smeary
  • Smoke webs are more difficult to clean

Dry Smoke - Paper and Wood

  • High temperatures, fast burning
  • heat rises therefor smoke rises

Protein Fire Residue - Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible
  • Discolors paints and varnished
  • Extremely 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 as well as treat your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?

Call SERVPRO of Montgomery & Pulaski Counties TODAY!

540-731-3080

Firework Safety

6/26/2018 (Permalink)

With the 4th of July just around the corner, we are seeing the pop-up fireworks shops all over.  They have every type of firework you can imagine ranging from a smaller scale popper to a full-blown sky display for your viewing pleasure.  As beautiful as the sky may look lit up with all the colors of these fireworks, it is important that we are making sure we are taking the necessary precautions to keep our loved ones, neighbors, and surrounding homes safe on this holiday. 

Fireworks cause nearly 20,000 home fires each year! (NFPA.org)

This why it is safest to leave the firework shows to the professionals, but if you must put on your own show it is important to follow these recommended safety tips provided by Fireworksafety.org to ensure you are keeping yourself and your surroundings as safe as possible.

Recommended Safety Tips:

  • Obey all laws regarding the use of fireworks
  • Know your fireworks: read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting
  • A responsible adult should always be present to supervise all firework activities. NEVER allow fireworks to get into the hands of children
  • Alcohol and fireworks do not mix.
  • Wear safety glasses when shooting off your fireworks
  • light one firework at a time, and move away quickly
  • Use fireworks outside in a clear area, away from all buildings and vehicles
  • Never relight a "dud" firework.  Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water
  • Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them into metal or glass containers
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks
  • Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and place in a metal trashcan away from any building or combustible materials until the next day
  • FAA regulations PROHIBIT the possession and transportation of fireworks in your checked baggage or carry-on luggage
  • Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department

Don't let a firework mishap ruin your Independence Day, be safe when handling any and all fireworks!

Awareness Month Fire Facts

5/9/2018 (Permalink)

It is the second week of May, which means it is our Fire week for Awareness Month.  Here are some fire facts provided by Fire Rescue 1 to help keep you in the know!

1. Fire Triangle

There are three components that are necessary for fire to exist: heat, oxygen, and fuel.  A fire can only ignite and start if all components are present.  Once a fire has started, it can be extinguished if any one of these components is removed.

2. Fire Kills

There are over 3,800 people who die from fire-related deaths in the U.S. each year.  There is an average of 60 firefighters who die each year in the line of duty.  Most of these fires reported could have been prevented if proper fire safety had been practiced or if fire alarms had been working.

3. They Start in the Kitchen

Most house fires are started in a kitchen.  Cooking is the leading cause of all home fire injuries that take place throughout the country, and most of the cooking fires are started due to overheated grease and unattended cooking.

4. Leading Causes of Death

Smoking is the leading cause of death by fire in the United States.  This is followed by heating equipment.  

5. Arson

The third most common cause of home fires is arson.  

6. Smoke Inhalation

The smoke caused from a fire can sometimes be even more dangerous than the flames.  More people die from the actual smoke inhalation than they do from the flames of the fire.  Fire sucks all the oxygen from rooms and replaces it with a poisonous smoke and gasses before the fire has even reached the room.  Many people die from lack of oxygen before the fire will even reach their room.

7. Candles

Candles are the cause for about 9,300 home fires and 86 home fire deaths between 2009-2013 alone.  They were also responsible for 827 injuries and $374 million in property damages, so make sure you are putting out all candles when they are going to be unattended!

8. Smoke Alarms

Approximately 2/3 of all fire deaths happen in homes where the fire alarms were not working.  Your chances of dying in a home fire are cut by 50% if you have a working fire alarm, so make sure test yours once a month to make sure they are working properly!

Clothes Dryers Safety Tips from FEMA

11/27/2017 (Permalink)

Clothes dryer do’s

Installation

  • Have your clothes dryer installed by a professional.
  • Make sure the correct electrical plug and outlet are used and that the dryer is connected properly.
  • Read manufacturers' instructions and warnings in use and care manuals that come with new dryers.

Cleaning

  • Clean the lint filter before and after each load of laundry. Don’t forget to clean the back of the dryer where lint can build up. In addition, clean the lint filter with a nylon brush at least every six months or more often if it becomes clogged.
  • Clean lint out of the vent pipe every three months.
  • Have your dryer cleaned regularly by a professional, especially if it is taking longer than normal for clothes to dry.

Maintenance

  • Inspect the venting system behind the dryer to ensure it is not damaged or restricted.
  • Put a covering on outside wall dampers to keep out rain, snow and dirt.
  • Make sure the outdoor vent covering opens when the dryer is on.
  • Replace coiled-wire foil or plastic venting with rigid, non-ribbed metal duct.
  • Have gas-powered dryers inspected every year by a professional to ensure that the gas line and connection are together and free of leaks.
  • Check regularly to make sure nests of small animals and insects are not blocking the outside vent.
  • Keep the area around the clothes dryer free of items that can burn.
  • If you will be away from home for an extended time, unplug or disconnect the dryer.

Clothes dryer don’t's

  • Don’t use a clothes dryer without a lint filter or with a lint filter that is loose, damaged or clogged.
  • Don’t overload the dryer.
  • Don’t use a wire screen or cloth to cover the wall damper. They can collect lint and clog the dryer vent.
  • Don’t dry anything containing foam, rubber or plastic. An example of an item not to place in a dryer is a bathroom rug with a rubber backing.
  • Don’t dry any item for which manufacturers' instructions state “dry away from heat.”
  • Don’t dry glass fiber materials (unless manufacturers' instructions allow).
  • Don’t dry items that have come into contact with anything flammable like alcohol, cooking oils or gasoline. Dry them outdoors or in a well-ventilated room, away from heat.
  • Don’t leave a clothes dryer running if you leave home or when you go to bed.

Holiday Cooking Safety Tips

11/14/2017 (Permalink)

Each November, families gather to celebrate Thanksgiving by preparing a delicious feast, but
if you don’t practice safe cooking habits, your holiday 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 fire—oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels, or
curtains—away from the stovetop.


If you have a cooking fire, Follow 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.


SERVPRO of Montgomery & Pulaski Counties wish you a safe and happy holiday season. 


Source: National Fire Protection Association

Is your Fire Damage being restored by a IICRC Certified Firm?

12/27/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Is your Fire Damage being restored by a IICRC Certified Firm? SERVPRO of Montgomery & Pulaski Co. is IICRC Certified!

If a house sustains fire damage, proper cleanup is crucial as the ash, soot and water will wreak havoc on what remains.  It’s bad enough there was a fire, but the water and chemicals used to extinguish it can cause secondary damage.  The remnants will continue to do damage long after the flames are extinguished.

The average person will attempt conventional cleaning methods like renting a steam cleaner and using common cleaning agents available at the store.  Unfortunately, this will barely make an impact on the problem and could cause bigger issues.  Chemical agents could react with the residue and cause permanent damage, and in some cases, they may cause toxic fumes.  Fire damage cleanup is one of the most difficult jobs out there, and it should be left to a professional for the best results.

When selecting a firm that does the restoration, consider what type of training they have. Do they have health and safety certifications? Are they experienced in a wide range of repair? Do they have proof of proper insurance and licenses?  The company that has the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) fire and smoke restoration Certified Firm meets all of these expectations and conditions. An IICRC-certified firm understands the need for a quick response.  Immediate action is necessary because the longer the delay, the harder and more costly the job will be as reactions within the damaged material can continue to occur. The fire may be gone, but the ash, soot and smoke odors that remain can continue to do harm.  Certified firms will use their knowledge of fire restoration to accurately test the damage and apply the proper repair techniques to bring the items back to pre-loss condition when possible.

Also, when hiring an IICRC certified firm you can be sure that they are up to date with the latest technologies and techniques. In order for these firms to keep their certification, they are required to take continuing education programs.  So when confronted with fire damage cleanup, choose an IICRC-certified professional

 

copyright:  IICRC

Stop the fire BEFORE it starts

8/4/2016 (Permalink)

Before you send your child off to college, make sure you are complying with the safety regulations. The campus usually requires documentation of flame retardant materials.

“Curtains, draperies, wall hangings, blankets, banners and other decorative materials suspended from wall, closets, or other vertical surfaces must be flame resistant or noncombustible. Proof of flame resistance may be requested during a fire inspection” 
"2016 Virginia Tech Division of Student Affairs; Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code; Fire & Safety Regulations for Residents ©"

Flame Stop is a water-based fire retardant coating for most synthetic and natural fibers, and is particularly recommended for the treatment of drapes, upholstery, fabrics, paper, rugs, carpets, mattress covers, bedspreads and most porous decorative materials. Flame Stop is a pyrolytic formulation that prevents the spread of flame by developing a self-extinguishing reaction.
Please call- 540-389-5818 for a free estimate

Dryer Fires on the rise

11/6/2015 (Permalink)

Dryer fires are responsible for a significant number of damages, injuries, and deaths every year. There are approximately 15,600 structure fires, 400 injuries, and 15 deaths reported annually as a result of dryer fires. According to the United States Fire Administration, every year clothes dryer fires account for over $100 million in losses. Also, dryer fires involving commercial dryers have a 78% higher injury rate than residential dryer fires.   

Holiday Fire Safety Tips

12/8/2014 (Permalink)

Follow these simple safety tips, to reduce the fire risk to your home or buisiness this holiday season:

1.  Place Christmas trees, candles and other holiday decorations at least 3 feet away from heat sources.

2.  Purchase flame retardant metallic or artificial trees.  If purchasing a live tree, water regularly.

3.  Make sure light strings or other decorations are in good condition.  Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords.

4.  Unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.

5.  Never use lit candles to decorate a tree.  Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.

6.  Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over.

7.  Keep flammable items away from stove top - oven mitts, pot holders, wooden utensils, etc.

8.  Designate one person to walk around your home to make sure that all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.

9.  Smoke alarms save lives.  Install smoke alarms near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed.  Test smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries at least once a year. 

Fire Safety Tip

8/4/2014 (Permalink)

Overloaded outlets can cause #fires and other life threatening dangers. Keep your home or office safe by understanding your property's electrical demands.

Protect Your Home & Business From Heating Hazards

1/3/2014 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Protect Your Home & Business From Heating Hazards Fire Safety

Tips to help prevent fires in your home or office from heating sources:

1.  Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified professional.

2.  Use heating equipment that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.

3.  All heaters need space.  Keep flammable objects at least three feet away from heating equipment.

4.  Plug space heaters directly into outlets.  Never use a power strip or extension cord.

5.  When using fuel burning heaters, use only the type of fuel specified by the manufacturer.

6.  Install and maintain carbon monoxide and smoke alarms inside your home and business.  Test alarms monthly.

7.  Remember to turn off portable heaters before leaving the room or going to bed.

8.  When using a wood-burning fireplace, make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to help prevent sparks from flying into the room.  Spent fireplace ashes should be cool before removing and putting them into a metal container.  The container should be stored away from your home or business.

Safety tips provided by National Fire Prevention Association