Recent Fire Damage Posts

Fire In The Kitchen

5/18/2019 (Permalink)

Having a kitchen full of friends and family adds to the joy of any dinner party, yet it can also be a distraction leading to disaster. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) there were 1,730 home cooking fires started in 2014 on Thanksgiving Day. Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy says, “People are preparing multiple dishes for many guests and there can be plenty of distractions in the home, which can make it all too easy to forget what’s on the stove. That’s when cooking mishaps are most likely to occur.”

Here are some tips to reduce the risk of cooking fires.

  • Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stove top.
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling or broiling food.
  • If you are simmering, baking or roasting food, check it regularly. Using a timer may help you to do this more often. Remain in the kitchen while food is cooking.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stove top.

What To Do If A Fire Starts

  • 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.
  • If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear path to exit your residence. 
  • 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 stove top. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
  • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

Safety considerations for cooking with oil

Oil is a key ingredient found in the majority of today’s kitchens. Whether a recipe calls for frying or sauteing, we include oil in almost all of our daily cooking. When using any of the many oils to prepare your meals--like olive, canola, corn or soybean-- consider the following safety tips when cooking: 

  • Always stay in the kitchen when frying on the stove top.
  • Keep an eye on what you fry. If you see wisps of smoke or the oil smells, immediately turn off the burner and/or carefully remove the pan from the burner. Smoke is a danger sign that the oil is too hot.
  • Heat the oil slowly to the temperature you need for frying or sauteing.
  • Add food gently to the pot or pan so the oil does not splatter.
  • Always cook with a lid beside your pan. If you have a fire, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Do not remove the cover because the fire could start again. Let the pan cool for a long time. Never throw water or use a fire extinguisher on the fire.
  • If the fire does not go out or you don’t feel comfortable sliding a lid over the pan, get everyone out of your home. Call the fire department from outside. 

For more tips and the full list go to https://www.nfpa.org/

Avoid Holiday Hazards

5/18/2019 (Permalink)

Candles and lights add a simple yet elegant touch to your home or dinner table during the holidays. However, without the proper precautions this season can go from festive to frightening in an instant.

Did you know December is the peak time of year for home candle fires? Reduce the risk of home fires with the following tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

  1. Keep candles 12" away from anything flammable. Flame-less candles are a great alternative in achieving the same look without the dangers of an open flame.
  2. Use sturdy candle holders that don't easily tip over. Follow the "Three's" rule to have a clean uncluttered look while keeping things safe. The 'Three's' rule is to pair or group your decorations in three's of varying heights, shapes and sizes. This adds interest without cluttering the surface.
  3. Keep your tree, if you have one, 3 ft away from any heat source such as the fireplace, radiator, space heaters, candles or air vents.
  4. Not all holiday lights are for indoor use; double check the instructions for the lights you have before putting them up.
  5. Do not use lights that are worn, have broken cords or have loose bulbs. Yes, it can get expensive buying new lights each year but it's worth your family's safety!
  6. When your tree is dry it's time to get rid of it. Do not leave old trees inside your home, garage or outside leaning against your home or any structure. Check with your local community for safe tree disposal.
  7. Designate one person to properly ensure all candles and lights are properly extinguished and turned off after guests leave or before going to bed.

If disaster does strike during this holiday season, Don't Panic as SERVPRO of East Riverside City is here for you 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.

Common Flammable Liquids in Your Home

5/16/2019 (Permalink)

You may be aware that there is an abundance of combustible liquids in our homes but you may not know that more than 43,000 home fires are caused by these everyday items each year, resulting in 200 deaths, 2,500 injuries and $469 million in property damage. Here are some of the most common flammable liquids you probably have in your home.

Do not panic – there is little chance you will set your house on fire with these items as long as proper precautions are followed.

Nail Polish Remover

This every day liquid used by most women is composed of a highly flammable liquid: acetone. A woman in Cypress, Texas was burned when a nearby candle ignited her nail polish remover.

However, this is a rare occurrence. Be mindful of having open flames nearby while doing your nails.

Rubbing Alcohol

We all have a bottle of rubbing alcohol in our medicine cabinets and we do not see this item as hazardous. If rubbing alcohol is used correctly it poses no harm to you our your house although it is very flammable and vaporizes quickly. Although some have used rubbing alcohol to kill bedbugs by pouring it over the affected fabrics, this is not a good idea! The alcohol then can easily catch fire, especially once placed into the washer or dryer.

Gasoline, Paint thinner & Turpentine

While it is a good idea to store gasoline in case of an emergency it must be stored properly to avoid fire hazards, along with paint thinner or turpentine.

Approximately 8,000 home fires are started annually due to the improper storage of these flammable materials. Gasoline needs to be stored in an UL-approved container at room temperature away from any heat sources such as a water heater or furnace. Paint thinners and turpentine should be in a tightly sealed container away from heat source.

Lighter Fluid

Most grill masters are aware of the dangers of lighter fluids and take safety precautions to maintain a controlled burn for the perfect burgers or ribs. So shouldn’t you do the same while storing these items?

Aerosol Cans

It’s common knowledge that aerosol cans contain flammable propellant. As seen in many movies, a flame mixed with any common aerosol can be turned into a weapon. While this is an exaggeration, it is unwise to leave any aerosol cans near an open flame or in an area where they can overheat, which can lead to the can exploding.

Fire Extinguisher ABC's

5/16/2019 (Permalink)

Most home fires start out small. A variety of factors contribute to a fire spreading from small to large, but with a fire extinguisher handy on each floor of your home – most importantly, one in the kitchen – you can quickly put out a small fire without calling 911.

Before You Buy

It is important to know that different kinds of fires often require different kinds of fire extinguishers. For the home, the best is an “ABC” dry chemical fire extinguisher. This multipurpose extinguisher is perfect for the home because it can put out the three most common types of home fire. Those are:

Class A: wood and paper fires

Class B: Grease and oil fires

Class C: electrical fires

It is important to remember that an extinguisher for a class A fire, which is water based, should never be used on a class B grease fire. This will not put out the flame. Rather, it will actually spread the flames.

PASS

Once you have chosen your fire extinguisher you should read all of the instructions. A typical fire extinguisher contains only about 10 seconds of extinguishing power, so knowing how to operate it ahead of time means nothing goes to waste. All extinguishers work in a similar manner. An easy way to remember how to use one is by memorizing the acronym  PASS

PULL the pin at the top

                Before you pull the pin make sure everyone is safely out of the house and that you have the exit behind you to escape safely.

AIM the nozzle at the base of the fire, not at the flames

SQUEEZE the handle to release the extinguishing agent

SWEEP the spray back and forth across the fire until it’s out

Having a fire extinguisher in your home is not enough. Like any other tool it needs to be maintained. Every month, dry chemical extinguishers (like the recommended ABC) needs to be shaken to prevent the powder from settling. If your extinguisher has a pressure gauge, consistently check that it is not too high or too low. Keep the extinguisher clean and wipe off any oil or grease residue that may accumulate from cooking. Never use an old extinguisher with signs of damage such as dents or rust.

Smoke and Soot Clean-Up

5/13/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot can be very invasive and may 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, the professionals at SERVPRO of East Riverside will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage that is contained in your residence. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pre-testing. 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

Each situation involving smoke and fire damage  is unique. This means that any solution must be tailored to the specific needs of each job.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We, at SERVPRO of East Riverside, make it a priority to treat your family with the utmost respect and empathy.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage? SERVPRO of East Riverside City is here to help 24/7 365 just call #951-222-2224

Home Fire Help

5/10/2019 (Permalink)

A house fire is one of the worst things that can happen to a homeowner. The fear, uncertainty and overwhelming feelings of helplessness can last long after the flames have been put out. SERVPRO is here to help.

When possible, our goal is to help you restore your home and belongings as if the fire had never even happened. This makes it so you can keep your memories instead of having to replace them.

If a fire ravages through your home or office do not risk doing any further damage by attempting to clean the damage by yourself. Your first call is to the heroes at the fire department; your second call should be to SERVPRO, the professional fire damage cleanup and restoration heroes!

In the mean time here are some things you can do to prevent further damage until help arrives.

What to do until Help Arrives:

  • Limit movement in the home or fire damaged area to prevent soot from spreading and causing additional damage
  • Place clean towels or old linens, if available, on rugs and high traffic areas and upholstery
  • Wipe any soot off chrome faucets, trim and appliances then protect these surfaces with petroleum jelly or oil
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpet left behind after the flames were extinguished
  • If electricity is off, empty the refrigerator and freezer completely and prop the doors open to help prevent odor
  • If you have house plants wash, both sides of the leaves
  • Change the HVAC filter but leave the system turned off until a trained professional can check the system
  • Do not wash any walls or painted surfaces
  • Do not shampoo carpet or upholstery
  • Do not clean any electrical equipment
  • Do not send clothing to a dry cleaner as improper cleaning may cause a smokey odor to set in

Remember SERVPRO of East Riverside is available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. With industry-approved training, IICRC certification, cutting-edge technology and open communication, our crew is ready to restore not only your home but your peace of mind as well. 

Fire Danger in Your Laundry Room

4/30/2019 (Permalink)

One of the most dreaded household chores is Laundry! As annoying as these trips may be there is a benefit to going down to the laundry mat – not having to clean your Dryer Vents!

When was the last time you thought about cleaning out your dryer vent? Truthfully, I can’t remember either. Think about all the lint that gets trapped and collected with each load of wash. We all empty the lint trap with each load, which is just a small amount from what is sent down the vent. Now imagine how much is collected over 5, 10 or even 15 years!?

The old adage is true--out of sight out of mind. This oversight can actually cost us our home and potentially even our lives. Averages of 2,900 Dryer Fires are reported each year! The good news is is that this can all be easily prevented. HowClean you’re Dryer Vents.

Easy way to test if your vents need to be cleaned:

  1. Your laundry takes longer to dry
  2. The dryer may be hotter to the touch than usual
  3. A burning smell may be present with the dryer is running

DIY is the big thing today, but some things are best left to the professionals. This is one of those things! Call us today for an estimate on cleaning out your vents, while we’re at it might as well look at your AC ducts. When was the last time you had your AC unit and ducts checked?

Click here for more information on Dryer Vents http://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/clothes_dryers.html

Smoke Alarms Save Lives

8/14/2018 (Permalink)

Smoke alarms play a vital role in saving lives and, when properly installed, can cut the risk of injury in half.

It is required that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors be installed in every bedroom, outside all sleeping quarters and on every level of the home. Business owners should consult their local Fire Marshall to ensure that specific building fire codes and smoke detector requirements are met.

Following these recommendations are great, but having proper smoke alarms in place is just the start to protecting your family and property. Having an escape plan allows your family, employees or clients to escape quickly and safely in an emergency situation keeping everyone out of harm’s way.

Tips on Installation & Maintenance

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, including the basement.

  • Smoke alarms should be installed away from the kitchen to prevent false alarms. Generally, about 10 feet from all cooking appliances.

  • Test your alarms at least once a month using the test button.

  • Replace batteries in all alarms at least once a year. If an alarm “chirps” the battery is low and should be replaced right away.

  • Replace all smoke alarms every 10 years.

Smoke Alarm Facts

  • 3 out of 5 fire deaths occur in homes where the smoke detectors are not working properly.

  • Smoke alarm failures usually result from missing, disconnected or dead batteries.

  • More than one third (37%) of home fire deaths result from fires in which no smoke alarms are present.

  • The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.

For Business Owners

  • See our blog on SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile for your business.

  • This helps you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance of an emergency is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business