Recent Fire Damage Posts
Invasive Smoke Damage: Here’s What To Know
In terms of emergencies in homes and businesses, it’s common knowledge that fires can be incredibly destructive. Lurking alongside fires, however, is often an invisible concern that can be just as harmful as fire damage: Smoke damage. Smoke is an invasive substance, sometimes requiring greater restoration services than one would expect. Let’s take a closer look at the nature of smoke damage in order to get a better idea of the effects it can have on your home or business.
Why Is Smoke Invasive?
Smoke can infiltrate even the smallest cracks or crevices. When homeowners or business owners attempt to get rid of soot particles, the substance only smears. Drywall, which is porous in nature, is another easy target for smoke. For this reason, smoke can make its way into insulation and in this case, demolition is often required in order to eliminate the odor of the smoke. Smoke damage also varies in severity depending on the kind of contents that are affected, as well as their location in relation to the source of the smoke.
Surprising Effects of Smoke Damage
In the wake of a fire, physical residue resembling the shape of spider webs can be left behind. These aren’t actual spider webs, but they may still be a cause for concern. What you see on your walls and ceilings are webs made up of smoke. Other times, the presence of smoke damage is not visible. When a protein burns, the resulting “protein fire” does not mark its presence with the soot or dark smoke that we often associate with fires. In the absence of visible damage, homeowners and business owners often wonder why the smoke odor will not go away. Another effect of smoke damage that is important to consider is the acidic quality of soot, which can therefore cause metal substances to corrode. Over time, this can be detrimental to your home or business.
Why Is Demolition Necessary?
Because smoke damage does not always leave a trail of visible damage, it can be difficult to understand the need for demolition and rebuild work after a fire. If your home or business experiences significant fire damage, demolition is often necessary in order to provide a thorough cleaning and restoration. Scrubbing surfaces is not enough when it comes to eliminating smoke odor. Cracks and crevices are the favorite hiding places of smoke and soot, as they commonly nestle themselves in the gaps between plaster or drywall and interior firewall. Additionally, smoke odor tends to hide in insulation and other areas, returning in full force the next time the weather is hot and humid. Even with intense scrubbing, without demolition, it is almost as though the smoke was never cleaned.
How Do We Combat Invasive Smoke Damage at SERVPRO?
Our first priority when combating smoke damage is removing materials that are charred or burned from the home or business. We also tend to “chase” the smoke, which involves surveying any open areas in which the smoke may have traveled in order to track its spread. This process helps us in identifying and thoroughly inspecting every area in your home or business that has been impacted by smoke. Next, we dive into the remediation work. It is not uncommon for water to accompany smoke damage, so we utilize our specialized tools and equipment in order to complete the water extraction. We also work to remove the smoke odor by placing equipment around that home. Lastly, after demolition and cleaning work is complete, we apply a sealant, which works to encase any smoke odor that remains in hard-to-reach areas, such as small crevices.
Trust SERVPRO with Smoke Damage
Because of the invasive nature of smoke damage, it is critical that you call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West at (717) 510-6779 immediately if your home or business has been affected. You can trust our team of smoke damage professionals and reputable techniques to get the job done. We offer a wide array of services, ranging from contents cleaning to deodorizing services, that will work to eliminate smoke and soot from every kind of surface. While our Fire Damage Restoration services are well-known, we also provide a laundry list of Building Services that make us capable of taking care of your home or business’ restoration and rebuild projects alike. To learn more about the Building Services that we offer, click here. There’s no need to look anywhere beyond SERVPRO in the event that your home or business is impacted by a fire. We are standing by 24/7, prepared to make your smoke damage “Like it never even happened,” by having your back throughout the fire and smoke damage restoration, demolition, and rebuild processes.
Fire Damage Curtains? Here's What to Do.
The fierce blaze of a fire is capable of creating intense destruction in homes and businesses alike. Fires can make their mark by damaging everything from furniture and personal belongings to the overall structure of the building. For this reason, it is critical that fire damage is avoided in every way possible by acting immediately after the fire has been extinguished. You’ve likely seen articles about different ways to clean surfaces after a fire on the internet or in magazines. However, you may be wondering, what should I do with fire-damaged textiles? Fabrics and curtains in particular, which can be found throughout homes and businesses, are flammable and can easily sustain fire damage. The good news is that you shouldn’t take fire damaged curtains to the garbage bin just yet. They might just be salvageable with professional cleaning. Let’s walk through some ways in which you can care for your curtains after a fire:
How to Care for Fire-Damaged Curtains
Two types of damage can result from a fire: smoke damage and soot damage. Your curtains may have experienced one or both and each type requires unique cleaning processes.
In order to effectively combat smoke damage to curtains following a fire, it is crucial to first eliminate the odor. If enough time passes before the odor is removed, it may become trapped in the fabric, which can further damage the curtains. You can trust SERVPRO and our professional deodorizing treatments to get the job done. As soon as the smoke odor is removed, we can get to work cleaning your curtains, utilizing our Drapes and Blinds Services, and restoring them to their pre-fire condition.
In a similar manner to smoke damage, soot damage also requires immediate action in order to most effectively decrease the amount of serious damage sustained by your curtains. In this case, however, soot particles are what requires immediate removal. Because soot is oil-based, if soot sits on curtains for an extended period of time, curtains can develop soot stains, which are more difficult to remove. Following the removal process, cleaning the curtains is possible. There are many different options when it comes to cleaning curtains and be sure to give us a call if you are uncertain of the best cleaning method for your curtains. Here at SERVPRO, we provide dependable drapery cleaning services, utilizing our professional cleaning equipment.
Preventing Additional Fire Damage
It is critical to exercise caution during the process of cleaning up after a fire in order to protect your home or business from unnecessary, additional fire damage. Generally, it is beneficial to avoid touching damaged curtains after a fire. During the process of putting a fire out, curtains may become wet. In order to prevent mold growth, make sure that they are dried immediately. After a fire, it may also be advantageous to facilitate air circulation by keeping the windows of your home or business open. Consider also exploring fire-resistant options when purchasing curtains, as these can significantly decrease the risk of fire damage to curtains in the future. Lastly, the importance of practicing fire safety can not be emphasized enough. Testing fire alarms on a regular basis and practicing general fire safety can make a world of difference in protecting your home or business.
Got Fire Damage? Protect Your Belongings with SERVPRO
If your home or business has endured a fire and experienced fire damage as a result, look no further than SERVPRO of Harrisburg West for the help that you need. Our wide variety of content restoration services will provide your belongings with the care and attention that they deserve. Call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West today at (717) 510-6779 for professional and trustworthy fire damage restoration services that will fit your needs, from fire-damaged contents restoration to drapery cleaning services. For more information, be sure to visit our fire-specific Caring For Your Belongings page.
Restoring Your Home After a Fire
For homeowners, residential fires are a nightmare. Devastating the home and its contents, a fire can turn the lives of those living in the home upside-down in a matter of minutes. With life as you knew it uprooted, the urge to take matters into your own hands and combat the fire damage cleanup is understandable. However, one misstep could actually make matters worse. When dealing with the aftermath of a fire, it is critical that you take steps to restore your home, but it’s even more important that your home is protected from further damage. Continue reading for some of our professional Fire Damage Tips, as well as ways in which you can keep your home fire-safe in the future.
Fire Damage Restoration Tips
The following are some of our Fire Damage Tips, which we have put together after years of experience in fire damage restoration. These can be helpful in the process of quickly restoring your home.
- Lessen Movement
When you move around your house after a fire, movement can cause fire soot particles to travel into the air. Those particles can inflict additional damage to fabrics, carpets, and upholstery in your home. In order to prevent further soot damage, keep movement to a minimum and exercise caution when moving throughout your home.
- Don’t Attempt to Clean Without Professional Guidance
Without professional guidance, attempting to clean surfaces or items in your home may be more harmful than helpful. Before you attempt to wash fire-damaged carpets or surfaces, be sure to consult professional fire damage cleaners. It can be dangerous to clean electronic appliances or devices that have been exposed to or damaged by fire, heat, or water.
- Keep Hands Clean
Objects in your home can sustain additional damage if they are handled with unclean hands that carry soot particles or other remnants of the fire. In order to protect items from unnecessary damage, be sure to thoroughly clean your hands or wear clean gloves when attempting fire damage cleanup.
Preventing Future Fires
While your first priority is mitigating the fire damage or smoke damage and restoring your home, taking steps to prevent future fires in your home is just as important. The American Red Cross recommends that you take the following preventative measures:
- Check on Your Smoke Detectors
Remember to inspect your home’s smoke detectors and change batteries regularly to make sure that they are functioning properly. Smoke detectors should be located in multiple rooms throughout your home. Consider interconnecting your home’s smoke detectors in order to improve communication between them, as every alarm will sound when one detects smoke, alerting you as soon as possible.
- Fire-Proof Your Home
When furniture shopping, it may be beneficial to select fire-resistant items. These days, you can buy a wide range of fire-proof pieces, from couches to house plants. By furnishing your home with fire-resistant items, you can prevent any fire that ignites in your home from spreading, saving you valuable time.
- Limit Fire Risks
Even in simple activities that you perform every day at home, from heating your home to using electronics, steps can be taken to protect your home from fires. When you see a frayed wire or cord, replace it immediately, even if it still seems to be doing its job. It’s better to be safe than sorry. When heating your home during the colder months, be sure to clean heating sources, such as your chimney or stove tops, prior to use.
Fire Damage? Call SERVPRO
We know that residential fires can be overwhelming, and deciding what comes next is challenging. A good first step is picking up the phone and calling SERVPRO of Harrisburg West at (717) 510-6779 immediately. We’ll arrive quickly and initiate a damage assessment, which along with our professional expertise, will help you make sense of the situation. SERVPRO is here to help your home recover from the fire with our restoration fire damage services and make the fire damage or smoke damage “Like it never even happened.” Interested in more of our Fire Damage Tips? Check them out here.
A Fire Restoration Process You Can Trust
Beneath the surface of the physical destruction that fires can inflict upon homes and businesses, fires can also turn the lives of those who live or work in them upside down without warning. At SERVPRO, we have seen both the physical effects and the personal impacts that fires can have, which is why restoring homes and businesses to their pre-fire condition as soon as possible is our top priority. Every day, we aim to live up to our famous saying, “Like it never even happened,” as we work to help our customers return to normal. Even with the uncertainty that surrounds a fire, you can take comfort in our tried and true, 7-step fire restoration process. Our fire restoration process begins with a simple phone call. Keep reading to learn more about our 7 steps, which culminate in a thorough fire damage restoration that you can trust.
- Emergency Contact
After the fire has been extinguished, be sure to call SERVPRO immediately. We understand that no fire is the same, which is why we work with you to ensure that we personalize our restoration services to fit your unique needs. Making SERVPRO your first call guarantees that we will arrive immediately with the appropriate equipment and resources to best serve your needs.
- Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment
When our team of fire damage experts arrives on the scene, they will survey the extent of the property’s fire damage. Depending on the scope of the fire, smoke, and soot loss, we will craft the most effective restoration plan for your home or business.
- Immediate Board-Up and Roof-Tarp Services
Fires can destroy objects such as windows, roofs, and doors, leaving areas of the home exposed and susceptible to further damage. In order to prevent any additional damage, our team will cover these areas with tarps or boards before we begin work, keeping your home safe during the entire restoration process.
- Water Removal and Drying
During the process of extinguishing a fire, it is not uncommon for the affected property to sustain some amount of water damage. If your home or business has experienced water damage, our team will first remove all standing water. Next, we will utilize air movers and dehumidifiers to thoroughly remove the remaining water in order to complete the process of drying the property.
- Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces
The next step in our fire restoration process is removing any traces of smoke and soot that remain on surfaces, including ceilings and walls, after a fire. We utilize special equipment in order to make certain that all smoke and soot is removed.
- Cleaning and Sanitizing
After removing smoke and soot residue, we work to clean and sanitize objects that have endured fire damage. We thoroughly clean, sanitize, and disinfect every salvageable item using a wide variety of cleaning techniques. Additionally, we make certain that all odors are eradicated by putting fogging equipment and industrial scrubbers to use. Our goal is to give your home or business a superior clean.
To finish our fire restoration process, we place the finishing touches on the project by completing major or minor repairs to restore your home or business to its condition prior to the fire. Major repairs can involve rebuilding areas or rooms of the property that have been damaged. Minor repairs may include replacing drywall, installing new carpet, or giving a room a fresh coat of paint.
In Need of Fire Damage Restoration? Call SERVPRO Today
If your home or business has experienced a devastating fire and is in need of fire damage restoration services, make sure that SERVPRO your first call. When our customers’ lives have been flipped upside down as a result of a fire, we have a responsibility here at SERVPRO to restore their lives and properties back to normal. You can put your trust in the 7 steps of our fire restoration process that will guide you through the distress of a destructive fire by making certain that your home or business makes a full recovery as if there was never a fire in the first place. For more information concerning our fire restoration process and services, click here. To begin restoring your property with the fire restoration process, call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West at (717) 510-6779 today.
Three Hidden Residential Fire Hazards
27% of all fires ignite in residential homes, according to the National Fire Protection Agency. When we think of fire hazards in the home, objects that involve electricity or an open flame come to mind, such as electrical wiring and the stove. These are merely the more obvious catalysts of residential fires, as there can be other, lesser-known fire hazards in the home. Let’s learn more about 3 hidden residential fire hazards:
Especially among those of us working at home, experiencing our laptops overheating while we’re working is a common occurrence. Overheated laptops can cause a fire to ignite when they are left sitting on a blanket, bed comforter, sofa, or another fabric surface.
We know malfunctioning electrical wiring to be dangerous when it comes to starting fires in the home, but it’s important to view electrical outlets in the same regard. Inside of electrical outlets are blades that can loosen over time. Have you ever attempted to plug a cord into an old outlet and then watched it fall out? This is a tell-tale sign that the outlet’s blades have become too loose. In this condition, there is a greater chance of a fire igniting, as the blades are capable of conducting extreme heat.
Have you ever watched someone start a fire with a magnifying glass? Magnifying glasses and other types of glassware, including drinking glasses and vases, can ignite a fire when a focused ray of light passes through them and there is a flammable object nearby. In order to avoid this in your home, consider moving glassware away from windows.
The safety of residents of your home, as well as your home itself, are at risk when residential fires spark, as they often spread through the home quickly. Remember these hidden fire hazards and keep them in the back of your mind in order to prevent an unwanted fire.
In the event that a fire ignites in your home, causing fire damage, call SERVPRO. Our team of fire damage experts can be trusted to arrive quickly and remediate any areas of your home that have sustained fire damage in a timely manner. Be sure to read our Fire Brochure and for more information about our fire damage services, click here.
Halloween Fire Safety Tips
We here at SERVPRO Harrisburg West take the holidays very seriously, especially when it gives us an excuse to decorate the office and dress up. That's why, if you ever stop by the warehouse, you can find members of the team here sporting witch hats and pitchforks as early as October 1st. We really like to go all out and honestly, now that there are bits of bowls of candy everywhere, we can't complain. A lot of us, much like yourselves, are setting up and decking out our houses with all sorts of spooky gear. fog machines, light shows, animatronics, speakers, sometimes even a lifesize talking vampire. Some of our homes have ended up looking like they might as well be the stage for a heavy metal show, and what do both heavy metal shows and decked out houses both need to succeed? A ton of electricity. In fact, a good haunted house has been estimated to cost some owners around $281.32 a week in just electricity. Left unnoticed, these can not only rack up quite a frightening bill but can be a huge fire hazard, turning your Halloween night into an actual nightmare.
So what can you do in order to take the right precautions and keep your home and family safe?Ditch the Crops
A common theme that many people have when setting up their haunted houses makes it look like a farmhouse. It is not unusual to see dried cornstalks, hay bales or piles of wood sitting in front of the houses of citizens. Generally speaking, it is not the safest idea to leave these things around open flames or devices susceptible of causing fires.Switch to Switches
With the previous statement. Who loves a good jack-o-lantern. We sure do. One thing to keep in mind is that most people use open flames in jack-o-lanterns or luminaries, and if you're not careful, this can be another major fire hazard. We suggest converting these to LED lamps. They're reusable, safer, and come in a number of different colors.Keep an Eye on Your Costume
Wardrobe malfunctions are another common concern. Long draping sashes, flowing skirts, acrylic hairpieces, string parts, all these objects can be caught over an open flame, or entangled in some kind of machinery, presenting terrible issues.Always Check Your Equipment
Maybe it's you who decide to take out some form of heavy power tools or farm equipment and drop them in the front lawn. Always check the equipment before starting it. Gas caps, saw blades, fuel lines, extension cords, ensure proper protection when deciding to mess with heavy machinery on Halloween night. When in doubt, always remember the important acronym, K.I.S.S.Test Your Outlets
Particularly those placed outside in the elements. We at SERVPRO know a lot about "daisy-chaining" and how to do it safely, it's part of the work, but it can get messy quickly. Always make sure how much power you put in and how much the outlet can take before plugging in something else, particularly if your house looks like a death metal album cover.
Accident prevention is the secret to making smart, measured choices that can save you long-term. We still aim to provide people with solutions to daily issues, hoping they will never again need our services. We know how hard house fires can be for families, and we will always be here to get people back in action in their time of need. If all else fails, you can always call your nearest SERVPRO for support.
A Fire Hazard in the Home: The Clothes Dryer
While cleaning the lint filter on a regular basis, it is also important to take several other steps in order to protect your laundry room and the rest
Threatening significant damage, residential fires are a common concern for homeowners. It may be surprising to know that an object in the laundry room is a leading cause of residential fires. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, the clothes dryer, a machine that we use daily, accounts for 92% of laundry room fires. Even if a fire ignites in the laundry room, it is important to note that fires can spread quickly to other areas of the home. For these reasons, it is beneficial to understand why dryer fires ignite so that you can best protect your entire home while continuing to use the clothes dryer regularly.
Clean That Lint Filter!
Neglecting one of the simplest steps when using the dryer, cleaning the lint filter, can result in devastating consequences. One of the primary catalysts for dryer fires is failing to clean them between uses, a task that only takes a few seconds. Lint, which accumulates during each use in the lint trap, is highly flammable in and of itself, but it can also restrict airflow, thus increasing the risk for fire. For these reasons, it isn’t sufficient to only clean the lint filter every few days. Instead, be sure to remove lint from the filter in between every use. By taking a few moments to clean out the lint filter, you can greatly reduce the chances of a dangerous fire igniting in your home.
Other Ways to Prevent Dryer Fires
While cleaning the lint filter on a regular basis, it is also important to take several other steps in order to protect your laundry room and the rest of your home from the potentially devastating consequences of a fire.
- Pay Close Attention To Clothing Labels
If you take a look at the tags of clothes, linens, towels, and other fabric materials, you’ll likely see specified instructions for drying. It is imperative that these directions, which can range from “tumble dry low” to “high heat”, be followed as closely as possible. Items that require low heat sometimes contain types of rubber that should not be exposed to high heat.
- Move Flammable Objects Away from the Dryer
It is not uncommon for household cleaning supplies to be stored in the laundry room. It is important to note that cleaning materials are often flammable. If these items are kept in your laundry room, make sure to keep them a safe distance from the dryer at all times to decrease the chances of any fire that ignites spreading quickly.
- Check the Outdoor Vent Flap
Outdoor vent flaps allow lint and hot air to escape clothes dryers. If the vent flap becomes obstructed by debris of any kind, keeping lint and hot air stuck in the unit, your dryer may be at greater risk for fire. Therefore, it is imperative that outdoor vent flaps are inspected regularly.
If Disaster Strikes…
Even after following all of these steps to prevent a fire from igniting as a result of your clothes dryer, accidents can still happen. If your home has experienced a dryer fire, make sure that SERVPRO is your first call. We understand how distressing residential fires can be and our fire damage experts will work diligently to restore your home quickly, getting things back to normal as soon as possible. Call SERVPRO of Harrisburg West today and learn more about our trusted fire damage services by clicking here.
Condo Fire in Frederick
Our parent franchise SERVPRO of Hunt Valley & Harford County was dispatched to a large fire loss in which the roof needed to be addressed so that any incoming storms would not soak through and damage the rest of the condos below. We are always on the lookout for the best technology in order to provide the highest level of service to all of our customers. That's why we're the best in the industry
For more information, and progress photos, check out our Facebook post!
"SERVPRO of Hunt Valley & Harford County, along with SERVPRO of Frederick County were recently called to mitigate a devastating condo fire. The roof of the 12 unit building was completely destroyed. Check out these pictures to see the installation progress on the temporary roof and shrink wrap installed last week. This will protect the condo units through the restoration process until a permanent roof can be rebuilt. Isais didn’t stand a chance."
Fire Up the Barbecue: Gas Grill Safety
It is estimated that an average of 8,900 home fires are the result of gas grills each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association
The month of June is famous for backyard barbecues and cookouts. The grill is a staple for
these events and often, they are gas grills, which are usually powered by propane tanks or
cylinders. While grilling should be fun and enjoyable, it is important to recognize that gas grills are a prominent fire hazard. It is estimated that an average of 8,900 home fires are the result of gas grills each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. By understanding
how to safely go about each step in the grilling process, you can minimize the risk of a fire
igniting while keeping your summer cookouts enjoyable and safe.
Using a Propane Cylinder Safely
It is important to check your propane cylinder for damage, such as rust or dents, prior to use. If
you find that the propane cylinder is damaged, refrain from using that particular cylinder.
Additionally, make sure that the propane cylinder is not overfilled before firing up the grill.
Maintaining a distance of at least 10 ft between the propane cylinder and any combustible items
is crucial at all times. It is also extremely unsafe for children to be within close proximity to the
propane cylinder while it is in use. When not in use, propane cylinders should never be stored
inside. Instead, they should be kept in an outdoor location with sufficient ventilation in an upright
position. However, they should not be kept beside or underneath the gas grill.
Gas Grill Safety
Before any kind of cookout, be sure to check your grill for gas leaks. In order to do this, spray a
soapy water solution on the grill fitting and turn on the gas. Bubbles forming on that line
indicates a leak. Another important step is to check the hose that runs from the propane cylinder to the grill for any holes, which may leak gas. Also, be sure to remove any blockages that you find in the grill, which can range from bugs to old food grease, before you use the grill. Make
certain that the grill is located on a level surface in a ventilated outdoor space and don’t leave
the grill unattended while grilling. At any point while grilling you begin to smell gas, evacuate the
area and call the fire department from a safe distance. In the event of an emergency, it may be
beneficial to have a fire extinguisher on hand.
Once you’re finished grilling and the food is smelling wonderful, don’t forget to completely close the valve of the propane cylinder and turn off the grill’s burner controls. Before placing a cover over the grill, make sure that it has thoroughly cooled down.
In the Event of a Fire…
Adhering to safe grilling practices can reduce the chances of the ignition of an unwanted fire,
but regardless of how careful you are, accidents cannot be completely voided. If your home has experienced fire damage due to a gas grill mishap, be sure to call SERVPRO. From fire damage to smoke and soot damage, our team of skilled fire damage specialists will speedily remediate the damage so that you can continue to enjoy your sizzling summer barbecues and cookouts
Home Cooking Fire Safety
Most, but not all, house fires originate from the kitchen.
Did you know that the most common cause of household fires stems from something that many of us do multiple times every day? Cooking can be the culprit of unwanted fires in the kitchen that can spread to other areas if they are not dealt with immediately. You may be wondering, without avoiding cooking, how can the chances of an unwanted fire igniting be decreased? Follow the steps below before and during cooking in order to prevent the ignition of an unwanted kitchen fire while cooking.
Before turning on the stove or the oven, make sure that your cooking space does not contain any flammable objects, such as paper towels, oven mitts, or towels. Next, be sure to clean any leftover oil, grease, or food debris that may have accumulated on stove tops or inside of ovens since the last time you cooked, as such substances can catch fire easily. In addition to ovens and stove tops, pots and pans can also include grease and oil residue from past cooking experiences. Therefore, it is important to make sure that the insides and outsides of pots and pans are cleaned thoroughly in order to prevent an undesired fire from igniting. Even though it only requires a quick moment of your time, cleaning all cooking surfaces and materials that you plan to use while cooking is a crucial step in protecting your home from a dangerous fire as a result of cooking.
When it is time to begin cooking, it is of the utmost importance that you pay attention throughout the cooking process. The chance of a fire igniting and becoming out of control increases when cooking objects are left unattended. However, it may not always be possible to keep a constant watchful eye while cooking. Therefore, if it is required that you leave the room for a moment while cooking, be sure to temporarily turn off the stove. It may also not be reasonable to be present in the kitchen for the entire period of time required when cooking something that must be baked or roasted for a significant length of time. In this case, remember to check on the cooking at a regular interval in order to decrease the chances of a fire igniting without your knowledge.
Taking preventative measures will help decrease the probability of an unwanted fire igniting while cooking, but even with our best intentions, it is still possible. If your home is equipped with functional smoke alarms and there is a fire extinguisher always kept in the kitchen, your home will be further protected. In the event that a fire breaks out, only attempt to extinguish it yourself if it is small and contained. If the fire is large and unmanageable, exit the house as quickly and safely as possible while making sure that all of the other occupants of the house also escape safely and call 911 as soon as possible. Once the fire has been contained and extinguished, remember to call SERVPRO in order to ensure a speedy and effective repair of any damage caused by the fire.
Space Heater Safety
Fire Caused by Space Heater
As we bid October farewell and enter November, a heated home will be more necessary than ever to provide refuge from the rapidly dropping outdoor temperatures in Harrisburg West. In addition to central heating systems, many homeowners also turn to space heaters for extra warmth. Though space heaters can create a warm and cozy indoor environment, they can also lead to irreparable destruction. According to a 2013 study published by The Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 25,000 residential fires and 300 deaths are caused annually by space heaters. Despite their potential safety hazards, you and your family can safely utilize space heaters and enjoy their warmth during the approaching cold months if you develop a basic understanding of space heater safety.
If space heaters come into contact with combustible objects, such as curtains, furniture, rugs, or clothes, a fire can ignite. In order to avoid such a disaster, at least 3 feet should separate space heaters from any kind of combustible object. It is important to keep in mind that a fire could also ignite if a space heater is knocked over. Therefore, space heaters should be kept on flat, level surfaces and away from popular pathways within the house. Before usage, always be sure to inspect the space heater for any damage to the unit itself, its cords, or plugs. In the event that you discover damage, refrain from plugging it in. Lastly, it is imperative that your space heater is never left unattended while in use. Without someone nearby who could detect the smoke, smoke smell, or observe the first flames, a fire emanating from the space heater could become dangerous and cause destruction. If you must leave the room, always be sure to properly turn off and unplug the space heater.
Exercising caution while using a space heater can help to reduce the chance of a dangerous situation arising, but it cannot eliminate the risk entirely. Therefore, having smoke detectors and alarms installed on each floor of your home would be a beneficial system to have in place in case an accident occurs. It may also be helpful to keep a close eye on children and pets in your home, as injury could result from them coming into contact with a space heater. Finally, if your space heater usage results in a fire, call SERVPRO to restore any fire damage.
Promoting Fire Safety in the Workplace
When it comes to home fire safety, many of know the basics: regularly testing smoke alarms, replacing batteries, and knowing the location of our fire extinguishers. Workplace fire safety, however, is a bit more of a grey area. However, informing employees of potential fire hazards, what to do if a fire ignites, and how to exit the office building can prove imperative in protecting your workplace from the potential consequences of a harmful fire.
Taking preventative measures prior to a fire can decrease the probability of your workplace undergoing significant fire damage. Be on the lookout for damaged electrical appliances such as telephones, computers, and even desk lamps, as electrical complications can cause a fire to ignite. Upon discovering a faulty electrical appliance, remove it from the office space and replace it with a piece of equipment that functions properly. In addition, fires can also be prevented by informing office workers of how to properly utilize electrical equipment. Smoke alarms should also be installed throughout the workplace so that workers can be promptly alerted of a fire, allowing them enough time to escape the office. Just as you would in your home, check that the alarms are always working properly and regularly replace their batteries. These alarms should be dispersed throughout the workplace so that the alarm is audible to every employee, regardless of their location in the building.
While it is important to take preventative measures, it is also crucial to have an emergency plan in place that can be implemented in the event of a fire. Employees should know the ins and outs of the plan, including which exit to use and where to meet outside of the building. If employees understand this plan prior to an emergency, exiting the building as efficiently as possible will be a more feasible task. Lastly, all employees should know the location of fire extinguishers in the office and be able to operate them in the event that they are faced with a fire.
Taking preventative measures, always looking for fire safety hazards, and understanding the office’s emergency escape plan can protect your workplace from a potentially devastating fire.
Home Fire Safety 101
Igniting in the blink of an eye and spreading throughout your home in a matter of minutes, household fires can leave your home in shambles. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that your family does everything necessary in order to buy time during a fire emergency. Learning which items to have in your home and how to use them to your advantage can help save time and protect your home from destruction.
Keeping at least one fire extinguisher in an accessible place in your home can help to douse a fire in its beginning stages. While there are various types of fire extinguishers in existence, there is a specific kind that is best for home use: ABC fire extinguishers. Household fires usually fall under classes A, B, or C. Class A fires signify those that are started by paper, wood, or trash. Class B fires include those instigated by flammable liquids or gases. Lastly, Class C fires indicate those started by electrical complications. Make sure that you feel comfortable using the fire extinguisher so that no time is wasted reading the instructions during a fire.
For each floor of your home, make sure that there is one smoke alarm. For additional protection, install another smoke alarm for every sleeping area. These smoke alarms pick up on smoke as soon as a fire ignites, giving your family as much time as necessary to escape and call for help. In order to guarantee that they are working sufficiently, change the batteries in your smoke alarms and test them routinely. In addition to smoke alarms, putting a carbon monoxide detector in a central location inside of your home can help to also notify your family of the presence of dangerous fumes in your home.
Enforce Safe Practices
Educating your children about basic fire safety can help to keep everyone aware and alert. Inform them of the dangers of playing with fire and keep items such as matches or lighters out of their reach. Finally, talking through what to do in the event of a fire and establishing a meeting place outside as a family can help to keep everyone calm during an emergency.
Preventing Garage Fires
Many homes catch fire every year from an unexpected source outside of their home: the garage. The risk of a home catching fire is increased if the garage is connected or attached to the home. As this is a common cause of residential fires, it is important to understand what causes garage fires to start. With the causes in mind, you can take preventative measures to protect your home from the dangers of garage fires.
Archaic or even just aging circuits as well as outlets that are overpowered by too many electrical appliances can spark as a result of these electrical complications. These sparks make the chances of nearby combustible items igniting more likely, which could exacerbate the situation, as those items allow the fire to grow rather quickly. Investigating the state of your garage’s wiring system, which can be completed by an electrician, would be a practical solution to this problem. Alongside of this, stick to wall outlets as your primary power source for electrical appliances in the garage, as relying on extension cords can lead to further electrical issues.
Garages are frequently used as storage solutions, but keeping clutter piled in your garage could escalate the scope of the fire in seconds if one were to ignite. If piles of flammable objects fill your garage, a small fire can gain traction and dramatically increase in size rapidly. Cleaning out your garage can decrease the probability of this happening.
Normally residing in garages, oil, gasoline, paint, and other flammable liquids can become dangerous when met with a flame or spark. These liquids will ignite under such circumstances, fueling the fire and creating a more dangerous situation. Simply storing flammable liquids somewhere like a shed that is a fair distance from your home would be a much safer practice, as the fire would become isolated away from your home.
During the winter months when propane tanks aren’t being used for grilling, some people decide to store the tanks in their garage. Doing so poses danger to your home, however, considering that propane tanks can easily catch fire. Instead of keeping them in the garage, store propane tanks in safer, outdoor areas where there is plenty of ventilation.
In addition to abiding by these guidelines, taking supplemental precautions can help to protect your home in case of an emergency. One of which includes keeping a fire extinguisher either in your home or inside of the garage that could be grabbed quickly in an emergency. Another preventative measure to take includes installing heat alarms in your garage in order to detect a potential fire faster.
How Do Electrical Fires Start?
We usually associate items such as candles or matches that generate visible flames with the ignition of household fires, but electrical problems cause a significant percentage of those residential fires. The risk of an electrical fire is enhanced during the winter months, as people turn to heating systems such as space heaters to deal with the cold weather. Understanding which factors cause electrical fires can help you to take preventative measures against them.
What Causes Electrical Fires
Utilizing light bulbs with a greater wattage than what is recommended by a specific light fixture can cause an electrical fire to ignite. Stick to the wattage that is recommended in order to prevent electrical fires from starting. Combustible items, when placed too close to light bulbs, can overheat and ignite, so make sure that items such as cloth and paper are kept at a safe distance away from light fixtures in order to prevent a fire.
If you are using damaged wires that are torn or frayed in order to power electrical appliances, you are at a greater risk of an electrical fire igniting in your home. When wires are damaged, heat can be transferred to nearby combustible items within your home, including rugs and curtains. Be sure to also keep wires off of carpets, as they are combustible and can ignite if a damaged wire is running over top or underneath of them.
Powering electrical appliances using an extension cord when appliances are not located near a wall outlet can enhance the probability of an electrical fire igniting. Electrical appliances must be plugged into wall outlets because extension cords are designed for short-term use and therefore cannot be substitutes for permanent wiring systems. Powering electrical appliances through wall outlets instead of extension cords is a much safer practice and can help protect your home from electrical fires. If doing so seems impossible due to a lack of wall outlets, hire an electrician to install more or stick to the necessities when it comes to powering electrical appliances.
Lastly, keep the age of your home in mind when deciding how many electrical appliances to power in your home. Many homes that are 20 years or older in age were constructed in a time when homes didn’t require as much electrical power, so their wiring systems may not be strong enough to accommodate the volume of electrical appliances found in modern homes. It is also important to recognize that breaker systems in older homes may fail if there is a power overload and therefore give no warning before an electrical fire ignites.
How to Prevent Grease Fires
It’s common knowledge that “grease is the word”, but did you know that grease is also a common starter of kitchen fires? From the moment they begin to burn, grease fires can grow rapidly, so it is important to understand how to prevent them. By understanding what constitutes safe methods as well as dangerous methods when cooking with hot oil, you can best protect your home from the destructive effects of grease fires.
Remove any combustible items from the cooking space before you begin cooking. Cookbooks and paper towels are among the combustible items that, if a grease fire were to ignite, could catch fire and potentially increase the size and severity of the grease fire. While cooking, monitor the cooking space as closely as possible, as grease fires most commonly break out when the cooking space is left unattended. If you intend on drinking any cocktails before the meal, be sure to save them until you have finished cooking. Cooking while under the influence can lead to misjudgment, which could result in dangerous cooking and the ignition of a grease fire. Even if you practice safe cooking habits, the risk of a grease fire starting is always present, so keep a metal lid and baking soda handy when cooking, as they could be used to smother the fire. Keep in mind, though, that you should only rely on baking soda when dealing with a small grease fire.
Refrain from throwing or tossing food into hot oil, as doing so can cause the oil to splatter across the cooking surface and ignite a grease fire. Make sure to gently and carefully place the food into the hot oil instead to prevent the oil from splashing. It is also important if you’re cooking frozen food in oil to allow that food to thaw before cooking. In the event that a grease fire ignites while you’re cooking, abstain from throwing any type of liquid onto the flame. While it is a common reaction to throw water onto any other fire, throwing water or any other liquid onto a grease fire can instead cause the fire to grow.
Preventing Fire Damage in Your Home
Preventing Fire Damage in Your Home
How Can Fires Start in Homes?
Several objects that are commonly found inside homes can cause fires including hair spray as well as other aerosol cans, shaving cream, hand sanitizer, and rubbing alcohol among others. It is necessary to be aware that these items are flammable in order to practice caution when handling them.
Blown sockets as well as hot plugs and sockets can increase the risk of a fire igniting in the home. Flames can result from exploded wires that spark, however, a flame does not need to be present for there to be a chance of a fire starting.
Proceed With Caution When…
- Smoking Indoors
Careless smoking while indoors is the number one reason as to why fires start in homes, so extreme caution must be taken when smoking indoors. It is important to completely put out all cigarettes. Also, refrain from falling asleep with a cigarette still burning and using improper ashtrays.
- Burning Candles Indoors
While many of us burn candles inside regularly, it is still important to monitor them in order to protect against candle flames catching any other objects on fire. Candle flames can be blown by drafts such as those originating from open windows. If those drafts reach flammable objects, it can result in a larger and more dangerous fire. Also keep candles in proper candle holders in order to better constrict the flame.
Avoid These Combinations
Avoid placing certain household objects beside one another in order to decrease the risk of fire. Electrical appliances and water should not be placed within close proximity to one another, nor should grease be kept by an open flame or linens/clothes by a heater. Make sure to prevent flames from spreading to other objects from fireplaces by ensuring that it’s protected by a screen or glass doors.
5 Tips For Preventing Fires In Your Home
- Change out frayed wires for new ones
- Check the batteries in your smoke detectors every month
- Check heating devices in your home regularly
- Monitor objects placed on top of hot surfaces
- Store a fire extinguisher somewhere handy