Recent Fire Damage Posts
Bedford, Mass. Residents: Trust Our Professional Fire Cleanup and Restoration Team
Bedford, Mass. residents trust SERVPRO for Fire Cleanup and Restoration
Following a house fire, you will have many important decisions to make. You may be in shock, and you may not know whom to trust.
Bedford, Mass. Fire Cleanup
SERVPRO of Lexington/Bedford has over 35 years of experience helping Bedford residents recover from the trauma of a house fire. Our personnel understand the flood of emotions associated with disaster, and we help homeowners understand their path forward through restoration and recovery.
Your first concern will be the safety of your family, pets, and property.
You will want to secure your home if the walls have been breached. Our fire restoration technicians begin by boarding up exterior walls to protect your property.
You need to be aware of the ongoing threat to your safety from ashes and soot particulates in the air. Burning materials release harmful chemicals that you and your loved ones should not breathe.
We will set up air filters to clean the air. If you are occupying part of the home, we will set up containment to keep the contamination confined and protect your health.
Soot particulates may have entered your HVAC ductwork. We will block off vents to the ducts to prevent further contamination.
Drying Your Property
Many fire damage jobs include extensive water damage as well. Water used to extinguish the flames will need to be removed before fire cleanup can begin.
Our water restoration technicians will assess the situation and develop a plan for drying the building in accordance with Institute for Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) standards. If you can get everything dry within three days, many of your belongings can be saved.
Evaluating Your Property
Some of your property will not be salvageable. Our experienced fire crews will advise you on what can restored and what should be discarded.
Your soft goods may require cleaning by a fire restoration dry cleaning company. Your electronic devices may require inspection and restoration by a certified electronics restorer. We will help you understand which items need a specialist and can refer you to our trusted partners.
Soot has a way of getting into every space in a building. Even the back corners of closed cabinets will be coated with an ugly, oily residue.
You need special, commercial cleaning compounds to remove soot without setting stains into fabrics and wallcoverings. You also need to be sure all odor causing molecules are removed from the building, otherwise you risk unpleasant aromas lingering for years.
Our crews will clean every surface in your home and on your salvageable contents. We are trained to remove every trace of residue and know where to look for hidden soot.
We will also apply state-of-the-art technology to find and neutralize odor-causing molecules lurking in your building materials.
And we will clean your HVAC ducts to prevent redistribution of the soot.
Professional Peace of Mind
A fire can be devastating. The impact on your life and sense of security can overwhelm you.
At SERVPRO, our crews are certified by the IICRC in the science of fire restoration. When you partner with us, you can trust that you have an experienced, professional team to guide you through the process of fire cleanup and restoration.
You have been through enough. Let our crews help you get your home back and restore your property to preloss condition.
When Your New Home Smells Like Smoke
Smoke odors have to go
Buying a house always contains a level of risk. You can’t always see what is going on inside the walls or utility systems, and neither can the inspector.
Recent home buyers of a single-family ranch called us because several days after moving in, their home suddenly had an overwhelming smoke odor. They couldn’t find a fire, but they needed our help in removing the odor before they finished unpacking.
Upon arrival, our production manager discovered the smell was strongest in the area of the basement fireplace. The homeowners had not yet used the fireplace, so they couldn’t understand why that would make their entire house smell like smoke.
Our production manager investigated further and found that the chimney damper was open and unable to close fully. High winds were blowing soot particulates through the fireplace, and they had entered the HVAC system and spread throughout the home.
Containment and Air Filter
The chimney would require a specialist to repair, so our first step was to seal the fireplace to stop the particulates entering the home. We also set up a HEPA-filtered air filtration device to pull soot particulates out of the air.
We proceeded to clean all surfaces including ceilings, walls, baseboards, trim, flooring, windows, and cabinets. Additionally, we cleaned all of the contents that had already been unpacked.
Our technicians also completed a thorough duct cleaning to ensure the HVAC system would not redistribute soot in the home.
Finally, we installed an ozone machine to fully neutralize any remaining odors. During this step, the homeowners were unable to occupy the home for about 24 hours.
Call for Odor Removal
Give SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford a call if you smell something you shouldn’t in your home. We have the tools and technical knowhow to make your space smell nice and allow occupants to breathe easy.
A Small Fire Makes a Big Mess in Arlington, Mass.
All it takes one candle to light a building on fire
Fire is one of the most destructive forces on earth. Even small blazes release dangerous compounds that coat every surface and can contaminate the air.
You may also have water or the discharge from a fire extinguisher adding to the mess.
Should you start cleaning on your own, you may find you made the problem worse.
Church Fire in Arlington, MA
Shortly before Christmas, our franchise responded to a fire loss in a church. A candle had caught an altar wreath on fire. While fighting the fire, the fire department discharged powdered chemical fire retardant which dispersed throughout the building and affected all the walls, ceilings, floors, contents, and HVAC system.
With Christmas Eve looming, everyone was feeling the pressure to clean the building as much as possible before the holiday services. Usual protocol recommends washing all surfaces including ceilings, but the policyholder decided against installing scaffolding to reach the upper walls and ceilings up to twenty feet high.
Several HEPA-filtered air filtration devices circulated all the air in the building and scrubbed particulates out of the air for a couple of days, while our crew cleaned all lower walls, floors, windows, fixtures, and other objects.
The restoration technicians completed cleaning all the lower surfaces on Dec. 22rd and the HVAC ductwork on Dec. 24th, just in time for the Christmas Eve service.
Commercial Fire Response
SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford understands the importance of time in the restoration process. Our commercial fire response crews will work with you to ensure your building is operational as soon as possible following a fire.
Lexington, Mass. Oven Fire in Condo
A fire in one room usually causes soot damage in every room
Even a small kitchen fire may require a large cleaning effort to restore the dwelling and contents to preloss condition. Losses in condominiums have an extra layer of complexity when the insurance policy on the structure is separate from the policy for the contents.
Fortunately, our SERVPRO franchise has 35 years of experience negotiating the claims process and providing the documentation insurance carriers need for approval. We can keep the claims separate while restoring both the dwelling and its contents.
Oven Fire in Lexington Condo
Last fall, our franchise responded to a soot loss in a condominium unit caused by a fire in the oven on a Saturday. The homeowner had used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire. In addition to the soot, the entire contents of the extinguisher were discharged, and the dust from the discharge entered the HVAC system and circulated into every room in the condo.
Air Quality Concerns
Particulates from the extinguisher discharge and soot posed a threat to inhabitants of the home. Our technicians set up a HEPA-filtered air filtration device over the weekend to collect airborne particles. We also installed a 4-optic hydroxyl generator and a dry vapor system to control odors.
The homeowners wished to remain in their home. Knowing the approval process can take some time, especially when dealing with two different insurance carriers, we performed some preliminary kitchen cleaning that weekend before receiving the approval. This permitted the homeowners to use their kitchen and have a replacement stove installed.
After we received the proper approvals, our fire restoration technicians began the arduous process of cleaning every surface, fixture, and object in the affected rooms. Soot finds its way into every space air occupies, even remote corners of closets and cabinets.
The crew cleaned ceilings, walls, doors, windows, and floors. They cleaned every fixture, appliance, and hard-surface object in the home. They recommended sending soft goods like clothing to a restoration dry cleaner to remove all soot and odor.
Check Your Fire Extinguisher
This oven fire was much less destructive than it might have been because the homeowners had a working extinguisher they employed to knock the fire down quickly. You can increase your safety in a kitchen fire by checking your fire extinguishers to be sure they are operational.
Several Kidde extinguishers were recalled in 2017. If you have a Kidde fire extinguisher, you should compare it to those on this page to see if yours was one of the recalled devices.
Make sure all able adults in your home know how to operate your fire extinguishers and where they are located.
Children should not be permitted to operate fire extinguishers. Children are taught in school to flee fires and find help, and that advice should not be countered in the home.
After the Fire
If you should suffer an oven fire in your home, call SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford for experienced professionals who will restore your home to preloss condition as quickly as possible. We are always “Here to Help.”
Protect Your Home from Fire
An ounce of fire prevention is truly worth a pound of cure
As we head into the winter season in Middlesex County, we can expect to see residential fires on the rise. Statistically, January is the month in which the U.S. sees the highest percentage of house fires.
More Deadly Fires
Fires in the home cause great concern because although only eight percent of total fires occur in the home, they cause 23 percent of the injuries and 30 percent of the deaths. Of the deaths, about 60 percent occurred in homes with smoke alarms missing or not working.
Cooking is the number one cause of fires in the home. You can protect your family by
- Keeping combustible materials away from the stove and other cooking appliances
- And monitoring children when they are cooking.
Short circuits and other appliance malfunctions also cause many house fires. Again, keeping flammable items away from space heaters and other appliances that get hot will help protect your home and family.
Never leave a space heater on when sleeping or not in the room with the heater. Unplug electric appliances when not in use.
Smoke Alarms Save Lives
Be sure to check your smoke detectors monthly and replace your batteries annually. You should also replace your detectors when they are ten years old or according to the manufacturer’s recommendation. Fires happen, but many do not have to be fatal.
Call SERVPRO for Professional Fire Restoration
Should you have the misfortune to suffer a fire in your home, you can call SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford anytime day or night at 781-861-0500 to speak with a caring individual who will help you start taking back your home. Our fire restoration technicians are certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification to provide professional restoration services according to industry standards.
We can dry wet materials, clean the soot, and filter harmful particulates out of the air. We will even deal with your insurance company to help them understand the scope of your loss. We want to be your first choice to make fire “Like it never even happened.”
Furnace Puff Back in Lincoln, Mass.
Puff Backs Can Leave Harmful Residue on Surfaces and in Air
Aging homes in Massachusetts have aging heating systems. Some of the older systems are subject to malfunctions. When they break down, we have a situation often referred to as a “puff back.”
Lincoln Puff Back Clean up
For example, our franchise responded to a puff back in Lincoln, Mass. The furnace in a 1939 colonial had malfunctioned and forced soot throughout the home. Every object in every room of the house was covered with a fine film of soot.
Contacting the Adjuster
Our estimator arrived on site to assess the extent of the damage. He contacted the adjuster to obtain authorization for our services. He then presented the plan for restoration to the homeowner.
Cleaning All Surfaces
Soot is sneaky. The pressure of a puff back forces soot into the tiniest of openings. Homeowners are always surprised to find soot at the back of closed cabinets and behind the contents of closets. Following a fire or puff back, our certified Fire Restoration Technicians are tasked to wipe down every surface: walls, floors, ceilings, and fixtures, as well as all sides of all contents.
Clearing the Air
In addition to the deposits on all surfaces, a puff back also leaves chemicals and other particulates floating in the air. These byproducts may be hazardous and can cause odors to persist. For this Lincoln puff back, our crew installed three HEPA-filtered air filtration devices to scrub all the particulates out of the air.
Smoke odors penetrate porous materials that are difficult to clean on the surface. We employ an industrial odor-neutralizing system to eliminate lingering malodors. This machine uses a nontoxic dry vapor that penetrates everywhere the soot and smoke went. The vapor leaves a home with a pleasant aroma without damaging fabric, plants, or electronic devices.
Trust Professionals for Puff Backs
Attempting to clean soot with conventional cleaners may actually set the stains into your walls and furnishings. Additionally, the air in your home may not be healthy to breathe following a furnace malfunction. Even if you think you have cleaned successfully, you may experience an overpowering smoke odor the next time it rains.
Regular maintenance should keep your heating system functioning normally. However, if you experience a puff back, you should contact us as soon as possible. At SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford we pride ourselves on making it “Like it never even happened.”
Fire Retardant Application in Lexington, Mass.
Treat your draperies and upholstery with fire retardant to protect your property and anyone in the building
Picture a piece of newspaper flaring up in a campfire. As bad as any fire can be, when certain materials like untreated fabrics touch a flame, they can flare up just like piece of paper. Suddenly, a small fire becomes a huge conflagration.
Restaurants, hotels, schools and other commercial entities should use fabrics treated with a flame retardant for all draperies and upholstered furniture. In fact, fire retardant is mandated by law in many locations.
How It Works
Fire retardant works by causing materials to self-extinguish and fail to spread flames. Materials may still char, but they should not flare up and ignite other items.
Applying Fire Retardant
SERVPRO® of Lexington-Bedford applies flame retardant and certifies the application for the local health and fire departments. Our crew can treat draperies in place, so you do not need to rehang your window dressings following our visit.
Cleaning Drapes and Upholstery
If you would like, our technicians can clean your upholstery and window dressings before applying fire retardant. Some cleaning methods remove applied retardant, so we advise cleaning first to get the most from your treatment.
Wide Range of Coverage
SERVPRO flame retardant works on a variety of soft goods, including décor items. Call us today at 781-861-0500 to learn how little it would cost to treat the fabrics in your business. We offer free estimates and the peace of mind of knowing your facility is not a tinderbox.
Soot Cleaning in Lexington, Mass.
Many homeowners make a soot job worse when they try to clean it themselves
Soot is a mess that requires professional cleaning. Soot not only contains ashes but also oily residue that makes it persistent. Depending on the materials burned, soot may also contain hazardous chemicals. Household cleaners may fix the soot into fabrics and wallcoverings. Even worse, soot particles are so small they can travel throughout a home and into every nook and cranny.
Here at SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford, we seek to educate everyone in our area about the perils of do-it-yourself soot cleanup. Still, some people insist on trying.
Do Not Vacuum Soot
We recently received a call from a homeowner in Lexington, Mass. who tried to vacuum out her fireplace. The vacuum did not have a filter small enough to capture soot particles, so the homeowner wound up blowing the mess all over the first floor of the home.
This house has a forced hot air heating system, so the soot went in the intake grate, through the heating system, and out the ducts to any rooms the vacuum missed. Every surface of the house and its contents were covered in a thin layer of soot.
Call a Fire Restoration Tech
Our production technicians have the training and certification to properly clean soot the first time. Had we been called in originally, we would have set up containment to keep the mess in one room and used a HEPA-filtered vacuum to capture even the tiniest particles.
Instead, our fire restoration crew spent several days cleaning the walls, ceilings, floors and all of the contents in the home. The final bill was about ten times what it would have been had we been called in the first place.
When you have a sooty situation, call the professionals at 781-861-0500 for a free estimate. We can make it, “Like it never even happened.”
Removing Soot From Your Home
Trust Professionals to clean soot from your home
After a fire in your home, you will likely find soot everywhere. The heat of a fire pushes soot into every nook and cranny, deep into cupboards and closets coating every surface.
Do Not DIY
Some homeowners are tempted to clean the soot on their own. Do-it-yourself cleaning is not recommended following a fire. The soot particles are so small they can get behind walls and between floorboards. Even when surfaces appear clean, smoke smells can linger for years due these hidden particles.
Another issue is the HVAC system. Soot will hide inside the ducts for heating or air conditioning systems. Once a homeowner believes the house is clean and turns on one of these systems, the soot in the ducts will once again blanket the house.
Consult a professional before you make your problems worse.
Fire Restoration Professionals
If you have a fire in your home, you should act fast to prevent further damage. Most importantly, you should trust the cleanup to fire restoration professionals with the training and experience to remove soot thoroughly the first time. They can show you what can be cleaned, what should be discarded, and when you can safely turn on your HVAC and electricity again. They can communicate the scope of your loss to your insurance company.
At SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford, we have over 33 years of experience responding to fire damages and removing soot for homeowners in Middlesex County. Our fire restoration technicians are certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, and they are on call 24/7 to respond quickly and secure your home if needed.
Trust SERVPRO for Soot Cleanup
We hope you never have a fire in your home, and we strive to educate homeowners about fire prevention. However, should you suffer a fire or puffback and you need soot removed from your home, you can trust our fire restoration technicians to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Holiday Fire Safety
Protect your home and family from fires during the holidays
During this holiday season, SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford would like you to exercise caution when staging your holiday décor and preparing holiday meals. Holiday decorations and food preparation are the culprits in many house fires that occur during November, December, and January.
Candles light up many events during the season. Unfortunately, candles also start 55 percent of home decoration fires in December. Christmas, New Year’s Day, and New Year’s Eve are the top three days for house fires started by candles.
Place candles carefully away from flammable items. Keep them out of reach of children and pets. If you cannot protect your candles from cats, consider using flameless candles for your celebration.
Approximately 200 house fires each year involve Christmas trees. More alarming is the fact that one in every 32 Christmas tree fires will result in death.
You lessen your risk when you:
- Keep live trees watered
- Inspect tree lights for exposed wiring
- Replace old lights with newer, safer ones
- Place candles and space heaters far from trees
- Secure tree against tipping
Do not permit a situation where an active child or pet could knock over a tree and have it touch a lit candle or fireplace.
Cooking Holiday Dinners
The top three days for home cooking fires are Thanksgiving, the day before Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Hectic cooks trying to do too much, houseguests helping in unfamiliar kitchens, and decorations placed too close to cooking equipment all contribute to these fires.
Keep decorations and other flammable items away from cooking equipment. Take care when using slow cookers, roasting pans, and other cooking appliances. Place all cooking appliances where they cannot be knocked over. Do not use extension cords as they may not be rated for the appliance you are using and they can create tripping hazards that lead to burns and fires.
SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford wishes you all the best this holiday season. We hope your friends and family enjoy safe celebrations. Remember we are here 24/7 throughout the year to assist should disaster strike.
No Renter’s Insurance in Lexington, Mass. House Fire
Your landlord's insurance does not cover your contents in a fire.
Do you rent a house or apartment? Do you have renter’s insurance? Unfortunately, our franchise is frequently called to the scene of fires where tenants do not have coverage for their contents. No coverage means they risk losing everything they value in the event of a fire or other catastrophe. Fires are always terrible, but fires without proper insurance are heartbreaking.
Earlier this year, we were called to clean after a fire in a house in Lexington, Mass. A short circuit caused an oven range fire that affected the whole house, especially the kitchen. Heavy soot covered all surfaces and contents, including cabinet and closet interiors.
The property owner had insurance to cover the building. Our certified fire technicians were able to clean the soot off the ceiling, walls, and floors. However, we could only clean the exterior of the cabinets and closets, because the insurance company and property owner would only agree to pay for their areas of responsibility.
No Tenant’s Insurance
The tenant was on the hook for any contents cleaning, but the tenant did not have renter’s insurance to cover the contents. Without renter’s insurance, any destroyed items were a total loss for the tenant. Even worse, if the tenant did not have the right training and materials for soot removal, there is a good chance the tenant damaged items that could have been restored by an experienced fire restoration cleaner.
Talk to Your Insurance Agent/Carrier
If you currently rent a house or apartment and you do not have renter’s insurance, please take the time to get a quote for this coverage. You will likely find the coverage is less expensive than you expected and well worth protecting everything you keep in your home.
Here at SERVPRO of Lexington-Bedford, we are committed to restoring property following a fire or flood. Please consider carrying the right insurance coverage to ensure we are able to make your disaster "Like it never even happened."
What NOT To Do Following a Fire
Do not attempt to clean after a fire without consulting a restoration professional
After a fire, you will want to act quickly to save and restore your property. We recently shared tips about things you should do after a fire. However, there are many things you should not do.
Consult a professional before attempting any of the following.
Washing painted walls and other surfaces with conventional cleaners can actually set the soot into the material. Call in a restoration professional who has the commercial products designed for safe soot removal.
Soot on fabrics like carpet and upholstery should be treated by a fire restoration carpet cleaner. Otherwise, you risk permanent damage.
Televisions, radios, and computers that have been exposed to fire, water, or excessive heat should be considered hazards until examined by an authorized repair service.
Consuming Contaminated Food
If food or beverages were stored close to high heat, fire, or water, they may be contaminated. Err on the side of caution and consult a restoration professional before consuming food that may no longer be safe to consume.
Turning on Electrical Appliances
If the power is off, you should not turn it back on until it has been inspected by an electrician. Even if the power is still on, you should not turn on ceiling fans, overhead lights, or other devices that may have been damaged by water or fire.
Sending Clothes to the Cleaner
Not all dry cleaners are specialized in post-fire clothing restoration. Clothes you hope to keep should be sent to a dry cleaner who specializes in fire restoration.
Fires are traumatizing events. Once the flames are extinguished, trust SERVPRO® of Lexington-Bedford to guide you through the process of taking back your life. We have the proper cleaning solutions and experienced partners to safely preserve and restore your property.
What To Do Following a Fire
Trust professionals for fire cleanup
You know that a quick response during a fire directly affects the extent of the damage. Acting quickly to evacuate people and pets and extinguish the fire will minimize the impact and cost of the fire.
Did you realize that acting quickly following a fire is also important to control costs? Most fires are also water damages when water is used to extinguish the flames. The water damage must be dried as soon as possible to prevent secondary damage caused by mold and other microbes.
Here are some quick tips for a proper response following a fire.
Hire a Professional Restoration Company
Restoration companies are committed to saving your belongings and moving you back into your building as quickly as they can. They have the knowledge and experience to treat soot-contaminated surfaces and save the property that can be saved.
Minimize Activity in the Home
Until the soot is cleaned, you do not want to be moving around and grinding particles into your carpets and flooring. Avoid touching objects with your hands as you may transfer soot this way as well.
You can put dry, colorfast towels or old linens down on the traffic areas to allow necessary movement without picking up soot on your shoes.
Protect Your HVAC System
Cover air registers with two layers of cheesecloth to prevent particles entering your HVAC system. Change the air filter, but do not turn the system back on until it has been checked by an HVAC professional.
Save Your Refrigerator and Freezer
If the power is out, you should remove food from your refrigerator and freezer then prop the doors open to prevent rotten odors. Do not consume any food that may have been contaminated by the fire.
Save Your Plumbing
If the temperatures are cold and your heat is off, you can pour RV antifreeze into your sinks, tubs, toilets and holding tanks to prevent them from freezing.
Wipe the soot off chrome fixtures in the kitchen and bath, then lightly coat them with a lubricant.
Wash Your House Plants
Be sure to wipe both sides of the leaves to permit them to breathe clean air again.
Follow Professional Advice
Here at SERVPRO® of Lexington-Bedford, we have been helping people in Massachusetts recover from fires for over thirty years. We hope you never need our services. However, if you do have a fire in our area, call us and we will restore your property and make it “Like it never even happened.”
Why a Brighton Pizza Shop Chose SERVPRO for Fire Restoration
Fires can shut down restaurants for days. Call SERVPRO to get back in business ASAP.
Fires can shut down restaurants for days. Soot must be removed from affected surfaces, fumes must be deodorized, and any water damage must be cleaned and dried.
Many city health departments will require a health inspection before allowing a restaurant to reopen after a fire.
Our franchise professionals have the experience and Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Certification (IICRC) certifications to properly assist restaurants in reopening as quickly as possible.
Time Is Money
When a restaurant is closed for a meal, every minute is lost revenue for the business. Most restaurants run on a slim margin and cannot recoup money lost when forced to close. Employees also suffer a loss when they cannot work.
At SERVPRO® of Lexington-Bedford, we make every effort to restore a business following a fire as soon as possible to reduce the financial impact on owners and employees.
Brighton Pizza Shop
Last spring, the exterior shingles on a Brighton, Mass. pizza shop caught fire during lunch, contaminating two levels of the restaurant. The Boston Board of Health closed the pizza shop until it could pass inspection.
The owner had only one question, “Can you have my shop ready for inspection tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.?”
Our IICRC-certified technicians worked into the night:
- Cleaned all surfaces to remove soot
- Deodorized with thermal fog
- Scrubbed the air with HEPA-filtered devices
- Cleaned the ducts and HVAC system
We also sent a crew to stand by during the health inspection in case the inspector raised any issues. The inspector was satisfied with the cleaning and deodorizing and permitted the restaurant to open the morning after the fire.
Hire SERVPRO for Fire Restoration
When your restaurant needs to get back in business quickly following a fire, call our office at 781-861-0500. We will make it “Like it never even happened.”
PASS the Fire!
Fires aren't something we come across too often but once they start they can become massive. Portable fire extinguishers aid in being a life and property saving tool. The NFPA (The National Fire Protection Association hopes the word PASS will help people remember how to properly use a fire extinguisher
Pull the pin. Hold the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.
Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side
Reading the instructions on the extinguisher and familiarizing yourself with one helps you prepare incase a fire breaks out. There are limitations to fire extinguishers so it is important that you have the correct type and use them for the correct purposes! If you need more help on finding the appropriate extinguisher visit www.NFPA.org
Tis the Season for Safety
Lights and decorations add to the mood of the holiday season, but if they are not used properly your holidays can go from festive to frightening. Follow these simple safety tips and you can greatly reduce the fire risk in your home or business.
Candle Safety - December is the peak month for home candle fires. More than half of all candle fires start because the candles were too close to flammable objects. Consider using flameless candles instead of real candles
Christmas Tree Safety - Local fire departments respond to an average of 250 Christmas tree related fires every year. If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant. If you choose a live tree, pick a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched. Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source.
Decorative Lights - When purchasing decorative lights, make sure they are properly labeled and have been inspected by an independent testing laboratory. It is also important to ensure you have the correct type of lights; some lights are designed for only indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
Remember to turn off all candles and lights when exiting the room or before falling asleep!
Carbon Monoxide: A Silent Killer
You can't see or smell carbon dioxide, but at high levels, it can kill a person in minutes. CO is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels, like gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas and propane burn incompletely. An excess of CO, leading to CO poisoning, can result from faulty furnaces or other heating appliances, portable generators, water heaters, clothes dryers or idling cars left running in garages.
Taking some basic , precautionary steps can help eliminate the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Have fuel-burning appliances, like oil and gas furnaces, gas or kerosene heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves, inspected by a trained professional every year
- Open the damper for proper ventilation before using the fireplace
- Never use your oven or stovetop to heat your home
- Make sure all fuel-burning vented equipment is vented to the outside to avoid CO poisoning. Keep the venting for exhaust clear and unblocked
- If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Never run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not blocked with snow, ice or other materials
- Make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of snow and other debris
- Only use barbecue grills outside, away from all doors, windows, vents and other building openings. Some grills can produce CO gas. Never use grills inside the home or the garage, even if the doors are open.
- Use portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from all doors, windows, vents and other building openings to prevent exhaust fumes from entering the home.
Fire, Smoke & Soot Restoration Services
SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can help provide a solution to your property's fire damage needs.
- Structural Cleaning - After a smoke or fire damage, ceilings, walls woodwork, carpeting and floors will often need a through cleaning. A SERVPRO Franchise Professional will pretest to determine the extent of damage, and then use the specific equipment and cleaning products required to clean and protect the different types of surfaces found in your facility. Depending on the amount of soot, the local SERVPRO Franchise Professional may even be able to reduce the cost of recovery by cleaning lighter soot deposits found on some surfaces, eliminating the expense incurred with repainting or refinishing.
- Contents Cleaning - All of the tolerable contents in affected areas will be professionally cleaned and deodorized. This included area rugs, furniture, draperies and upholstery. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals begin by carefully inspecting and testing all fabrics in the structure to determine which cleaning methods are most appropriate. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can provide wet or dry cleaning services. Additionally, all the other restorable contents will be cleaned and deodorized to pre-loss condition. Finally, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can provide an inventory list of all "to be claimed" items if requested.
- Deodorization - SERVPRO Franchise Professionals provide specialized services that rid your place of business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals do not merely cover up lingering odors with a fragrance, they seek out the sources of the odor and remove them.
Fire and Smoke Do's and Dont's
- Limit the movement in the house to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets
- Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork
- Place dry, colorfast towels on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas
- If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator completely and prop doors open
- Clean soot from chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim and appliances and protect with a light coating of petroleum jelly or oil
- Pour RV antifreeze into sinks, toilet bowls and tubs if heat is off during freezing season
- Wash both sides of leaves on house plants
- Change HVAC filter
- Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or our of the HVAC system
- Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional
- Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional
- Attempt to clean any electrical appliances (TV sets, radios, etc...) that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service
- Consume any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water (They may be contaminated)
- Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. Wiring may be wet or damaged
- Send Garments to the dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor
Know your Smoke
A fire loss is very complex because of the unique behavior of smoke. That is why is it important to have trained technicians at your home or place of business. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals know their smoke!
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas
- Smoke migrates to upper levels of a structure
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, using holes around pipes to go from floor to floor
- The type of smoke will greatly affect the restoration process
Types of Smoke
- Wet Smoke - Plastics and Rubbers
- 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
- Fuel Oil Soot - Furnace Puff Backs
- While "puff backs" can create havoc for your insured, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can in most cases restore the contents and structure
- Other Types - Tear gas, fingerprint powder and fire extinguisher residue
- Special loss situations require special care. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals are trained to handle your toughest losses!
Emergency Fire Damage Tips
Fires are scary monsters whose's flames can engulf a home in under 5 minutes. In case you ever face a fire here are some tips to stay safe:
- Keep hands clean
- Limit movement in the home to prevent further damage
- Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on carpeted traffic areas to prevent more soiling
- If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open
- Wipe soot from chrome on faucets and appliances then protect with a light coating of lubricant
- Do not attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting a SERVPRO® Franchise Professional
- Do not attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting SERVPRO® Franchise Professional
- Do not attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire or water without consulting a repair service