Recent Fire Damage Posts
Is Your Business Prepared for a Fire?
Fire Preparedness Means More Than Simply Owning a Fire Extinguisher
A fire is every business owner’s nightmare. Your insurance policy will ensure you can rebuild in the event of a fire. But what about protecting your most important assets: your life and the lives of your employees? To avoid the unspeakable tragedy of losing employees in a fire, it’s necessary to build a fire escape plan.
Tips for Your Business’ Emergency Fire Plan
- Ensure your business has the proper number of smoke alarms. In newer homes, the National Fire Alarm Code (NFPA 72) requires hard-wired, interconnected smoke alarms with battery backup on every building level, outside each work area, and inside each office. If your building is older and smoke alarms are not already in place, install them on every level and outside each work area at a minimum. Test your alarms once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year.
- Teach employees what smoke alarms look and sound like. If your smoke alarm has a test feature, set aside time for a training in which you or a professional teach your employees the fire escape plan and include a smoke alarm test. If it does not have a test feature, there are videos online which provide demonstrations of what smoke alarms sound and look like. Teaching employees to recognize an alarm and know the plan of action ahead of time will give employees more confidence to remain calm during the emergency.
- Ensure everyone in the building knows two ways to escape from every room. It may not be an ideal route, but knowing a second exit from a room is advisable. It is also essential to establish a meeting spot outside the building to ensure everyone's arrival to safety. Depending on the size of the building, this may require a customized escape diagram.
- Establish an emergency communications plan. As part of your building’s fire escape plan, make sure everyone knows who and how to contact in the event of an emergency.
- Practice escaping from your building at least twice a year. This may seem excessive, but fire drills can save lives in the event of a real fire. Employees come and go, so frequently performing this drill makes sure all employees know what to do.
Call SERVPRO of Oviedo / Winter Springs East if your business suffers commercial fire damage at (407) 985-3200.
BBQ Fire Safety
Follow These Tips to Avoid a Barbecue Fire
The arrival of nice weather calls for grilling out with friends and family. Unfortunately, a grill fire is a real safety hazard, and in the right circumstances, a fun get-together can turn into a disaster in a hurry. You can avoid a barbecue fire by following these tips:
- Keep the Grill in a Safe Location
Keep the grill outside on a level surface at least 10 feet from buildings and other flammable objects. Never grill under an overhang or in an enclosed area. Be sure to monitor it closely until it cools.
- Keep Children and Pets at a Distance
Children and pets should stay at least three feet away from the grill. Ensure that pets on tie-downs cannot reach the grill; they can wrap their line around the grill and pull it over. It will keep them at a safe distance if a grill fire occurs.
- Be Mindful of Loose Clothing
Make sure that you wear appropriate attire when you grill. You can tie back everything with an apron. For added safety, use long tongs and spatulas and wear heat-resistant grill gloves.
- Use a Chimney Starter
A chimney starter is a much safer option than lighter fluid. It will also light the coals more evenly.
- Practice the Two-Zone Method
This simple, versatile method creates a much safer grilling experience. Put the hot charcoal on one side of the grill and leave the other side empty. If a flare-up occurs, move the food to the other side until the flame subsides, then move it back to continue cooking. The two-zone method can improve your food quality because it creates a searing side and another side for flame-free slow cooking.
Keep a fire extinguisher near. Do NOT use water; it can make a grease fire flare up. Instead, close the grill lid until the outbreak subsides. If your house sustains fire damage or smoke damage from a grill fire, SERVPRO of Oviedo/Winter Springs East can return it to its original state.
Fire Prevention: Protect Your Home and Family
Fire prevention can save your home and your life.
You protect your family by locking doors at night, monitoring who they spend time with and where they go. But do you consider fire prevention and preparedness tips?
As a homeowner, the thought of a fire breaking out in your house is a nightmare scenario. It puts your family’s safety at risk, and you could lose many possessions including your home itself. Avoid this frightful scenario and potentially save lives by reducing the risk of fire.
Maintain Smoke Alarms
All homes should have smoke alarms to alert you to fire danger. One or two alarm devices are not enough if you have multiple levels or a larger property. Your home should have a working smoke alarm in every bedroom and an additional alarm per floor. Maintain your smoke alarms to ensure they are effective in the unfortunate incident of a fire.
- Test your smoke alarm once per month by pressing their tester button.
- Change the batteries in your smoke alarm at least once per year.
- Never disconnect your smoke alarm.
Practice an Evacuation Plan
It is a wise idea to explain rules for safely exiting the home. Putting together a simple to understand plan for all family members is an easy way to make sure you and your family are on the same page in the event of a fire emergency.
Something as simple as identifying a meeting location outside, explaining how to open tricky windows, or showing how to remove cut window screens is a great start for teaching young children safe fire evacuation. Teaching administration of tools like the fire extinguisher and its location can prevent small kitchen fires from forming catastrophes.
Keep an Eye on the Dryer
Of major appliances, the dryer is perhaps the most significant potential culprit for starting a fire apart from countertop ovens and griddles. Check the filter and remove lint buildup after every load. Doing this also helps dry time, so it’s a win-win! We also recommend inspecting the outside vent and the hose leading from the dryer to the vent for proper ventilation. There are many YouTube tutorials that explain the ins and outs of dryers and their filters—those videos may be useful for extra, seasonal, deep cleanings.
Being aware of electrical problems is an important fire precaution. Never overload your outlets. Also, be mindful when you use power strips, especially with computers and TVs. If an outlet looks dingy, it could be blown which indicates hidden problems. Outlet inspection is especially necessary for rental apartments or townhomes. Take precaution and call a professional electrician or property maintenance for help. We do not recommend fixing electrical problems. This is not a DIY project.
Be Careful When You Cook
Because there are many silent heat sources in a kitchen, fire prevention is most likely and therefore most important here. Make sure your oven is clean and functioning correctly. If the oven emits an unusual amount of heat when closed and cooking, there may be problems with the seal or heating mechanism. It does not hurt to have a professional look at the appliance to ensure the temperature regulation mechanisms are working properly.
If all is functioning, it is wise to use the self-clean setting when your oven looks particularly grimey. This will heat the inside of the oven to a high temperature, burning stuck-on residue. When the self-cleaning is done, the food particles inside will be ash and can be easily wiped out. This is a simple and effective way to clean an oven. However, do not leave your oven unattended while this process is happening.
In fact, never leave any kitchen appliance unattended, especially food on the stove. A good rule of thumb is to store items off and away from the stove—you may not know when a child messes with the dials or an adult forgetfully leaves a burner on. In this age, stoves have smart locks that prevent accidental dial clicks. Regardless, putting items away ASAP as opposed to leaving them on the stove is a good, safe practice.
You can have peace of mind when you follow these fire prevention guidelines. We, at SERVPRO, want you to help prepare you. Still, accidents happen. In the event of an unfortunate situation, we offer fire damage services like Fire & Smoke Restoration, soot and odor removal and contents cleaning. If you have fire damage, contact SERVPRO of Ovideo / Winter Springs East at (407) 542-0000.
Why is My Smoke Alarm Beeping?
In addition to potentially causing significant fire damage, flames and smoke can endanger the lives of everyone inside your home. A properly functioning fire alarm can alert you to danger and help save lives. For this reason, every household should have this lifesaving device.
Sometimes, however, a smoke detector may act sporadically, chirping loudly or going off despite the absence of smoke. Often, there is a simple explanation for this erratic and—let’s be real, annoying!—behavior.
Why Is My Smoke Alarm So Annoying?
1. Weak Battery
Batteries have a limited lifespan. A chirping alarm may indicate that your device needs a new battery.
2. Improperly Installed Battery
A loose battery or terminal obstruction may cause your fire alarm to chirp intermittently. Use the self-check button on your smoke alarm to ensure the battery works after installation.
3. Dirty Sensing Chamber
Dust and dirt can sometimes obstruct the sensing chamber, resulting in a false alert. To help prevent this problem, you should routinely wipe your detectors with a dusting cloth.
4. Interference From Steam
Steam can also interfere with your detector’s sensing capability. This may be a particularly challenging problem for units located near bathrooms. To help reduce the likelihood of an inadvertent alert, close the bathroom door while showering and turn on the fan.
5. Interrupted Power Supply
An interrupted power supply may also cause erroneous beeping. You should examine each detector’s wiring for loose connections. If you notice lights dimming spontaneously, especially when an appliance is in use, contact a licensed electrician to help you inspect your home’s wiring.
6. End of Lifespan
Did you know your smoke detector can essentially expire? The average lifespan for most smoke detectors is 8 – 10 years. After this period, the unit’s sensing capacity may diminish, reducing its effectiveness. If an older device is chirping, it may be time to replace it with a new one.
A fire alarm may not spare your home from a destructive fire or smoke damage, but this valuable safety device may one day save your life. To help safeguard your well-being, you should promptly investigate a chirping detector and replace batteries, or the entire unit, as needed.
Call SERVPRO of Oviedo/Winter Springs East if you have smoke or fire damage, at (407) 542-0000. We proudly serve Oviedo, FL, Chuluota, FL, Winter Springs, FL, Geneva, FL, and surrounding areas.
Home Fires and Smoke Damage Aftermath
Fire Damage Consists of More Than Flames
The damages from flames after a fire are not the only damages incurred. Flames can move throughout the home quickly, burning and ruining every item in their path, but once the flames have been extinguished, the home is left with soot and smoke damages, too. Smoke damage can completely devastate a home if not properly and swiftly addressed. In fact, smoke damage can occur in rooms where the flames were not even present.
With so much attention placed on the flames, people often overlook the dangers linked to smoke damage. The following are some of the most common issues of smoke damage after a home fire:
- Toxic air
- Smoke odor in upholstered furniture, drapery, clothing, carpets, and in the air
- Warped plastic
- Warped wood
- Yellow stains on walls and ceilings
- Household textiles covered in soot
Salvaging items that have smoke damage is a complicated issue. A smoke damage expert will need to assess the home and the impacted items to determine what can be saved. In addition, smoke damage experts will tackle lingering smoke in less obvious places like crevices and cracks where particles may linger, since the smell can last for months following a fire.
Smoke Damage is as Dangerous as Fire Damage
During a fire, the materials that burn produce toxic smoke filled with microscopic particles known as soot. These tiny particles become charged from the extreme heat and migrate to cooler air found in other parts of the house, forming soot webs. Because this smoke is often scorching, it can cause additional damage by melting plastics, scorching fabrics, and textiles and spreading toxic gasses that will kill any living thing in its path. That's why smoke alarms throughout your home are critical to saving lives.
Don’t Grab, Just Go.
The Department of Homeland Security says, "In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can [...] turn into a major fire…Most deadly fires occur in the home when people are asleep. If you wake up to a fire, you won't have time to grab valuables because the fire spreads too quickly, and the smoke is too thick. There is only time to escape."
Call Us Today for a FREE Fire Damage Estimate
Restoring smoke and fire-damaged items costs less than replacing them. We love when we can restore your belongings, especially items with sentimental value. Call SERVPRO of Oviedo / Winter Springs East at (407) 542-0000 for a free fire damage consultation. We have helped hundreds of families recover from house fire damages and our fire damage repair and restoration specialists have years of experience.
Fire Cleanup and Restoration After a Fire Incident
Have commercial fire damage? Call SERVPRO of Oviedo / Winter Springs East today.
A fire in a business or in a home leaves in its wake devastating damage to the property owner. The abrupt nature with which disaster unfolds only contributes to the tragedy. After firefighters have extinguished the flames, commercial fire damage restoration crews can make all the difference between what is saved and what is lost.
What do fire cleanup crews do?
Fire cleanup and restoration crews enter the home after the fire has settled. Working fast, yet thoroughly and efficiently, they bear the smoke smell as they try to save and restore the family's home and belongings. The crew must be conversant with the various restoration methods to tackle fire damage and soot damage, and smoke damage.
These skilled individuals work on the burned home with a unified purpose; to do everything they can and restore as much household belongings as possible. The steps taken between the fire in business or fire in home incidents differ slightly with each fire restoration company. Nevertheless, these actions follow the same pattern. These standard steps are:
Step 1: Contact Emergency Services
Just like firefighters, established and reputable commercial fire damage restoration crews offer emergency services and can come to your help quickly when contacted. Such a service becomes essential when a fire in business or fire in home incidences occur in the middle of the night and disrupt the family's continued stay and comfort. Immediate emergency services also ensure no further commercial fire damage, smoke damage, or soot damage occurs.
Step 2: Assess and Inspect
The next step taken by fire cleanup crews involves assessing the degree of damage the property suffered. The team carefully inspects all smoke damage, fire damage, and soot damage, and air quality to get to the root of any smoke smell. As the walls and furniture often bear significant damage, they are carefully inspected too. This step helps commercial fire damage crews understand the full scope of the damage and develop a work plan for reinstatement. It also enables the owner to get an accurate quote and project timeline.
Step 3: Tarp and Seal
This is the onset of the actual restoration after a commercial fire damage incident. The fire cleanup crew's key motive at this stage is to prevent smoke damage or soot damage suffered from worsening. Consequently, any leaks from damaged water pipes are sealed to prevent water damage. A burned hole in the roof is also a very common fire damage incident and can be fixed easily by installing a tarp.
Step 4: Clean Up
After a fire in the home or a fire in the business incident, the next phase is cleaning up. The fire cleanup crew will do their best to clean away the soot dust and smoke and have the property look as normal as possible after a commercial fire damage incident. Any water damage restoration due to standing pools also begins here. The restoration crew works to rid your property of any smoke smell and other odors at this stage. Finally, during this step, the team will remove any items that have been damaged beyond repair.
Step 5: Repair and Renovate
At this point, actual restoration and repair of furniture and other installations damaged by the fire begin. Carpets are re-installed while walls are repainted, and wallpaper is put up again. The intention while repairing is to get rid of any signs of soot damage, smoke damage, and any fire damage to the property and have it looking as good as new with no smoke smell felt. The best commercial fire damage restoration crews go a step further and offer repair and renovation. This provides relief to owners as they can redesign their homes or belongings to have an entirely new look.
At the end of the process, fire victims are restored to their state before the fire in the home or a fire in the business incident and return to their everyday lives. This is enabled by fire cleanup crews who continually work quickly and efficiently to help victims move on from the calamity. Although their work does not entirely erase the fire incident, it enables the affected to move on.
Fire Damage Restoration Techniques in Orlando, FL
For professional dry cleaning after a fire, call SERVPRO of Oviedo / Winter Springs East at (407) 542-0000, 24/7. We're Faster to Any Size Disaster®.
Fire Damage Restoration: Dry Cleaning Methods
Once something burns at your property in Orlando, you have a possibility of structural issues. Fire damage cleanup can come in a variety of forms. Heat can burn flammable materials inside a structure, forcing removal and replacement of those materials. Smoke coming from the blaze can also cause soils, soot residues, and intense aromas to exist.
Luckily, our experienced and trained SERVPRO team knows that mitigating fire damage can include a variety of replacing, restoring, and cleaning techniques. Various kinds of fire residues can adhere to each surface in your home differently, and we can help with it all.
When our SERVPRO technicians work with hard surfaces, we can use water based-detergents and other wet cleaning methods. However, for porous surfaces, wet techniques could cause the soot to soak deeper into the material. Dry cleaning methods that use agitation can prove useful in these cases.
SERVPRO conducts the dry cleaning agitation technique with softer tools such as dusters or brushes. Special vacuums are also useful when removing some soot residues and using compressed air to blow off the soot.
Residues that adhere to some of your contents and building surface materials could work better in medium agitation cleaning techniques. Dry sponges are an example of a medium agitation method, and they can be useful when removing soot residues from drywall. Dusting cloths or crumbling cleaners that work like a pencil eraser are also useful.
When mitigating smoke-related problems inside your home, SERVPRO has the necessary tools, techniques and knowledge. For professional assistance after a fire, call SERVPRO of Oviedo / Winter Springs East at (407) 542-0000, 24/7. We're Faster to Any Size Disaster®.
How To Provide First Aid for Workplace Burns
A burn is one of the most common types of injuries, especially in the workplace. Often the result of fire damage may have a variety of causes. Burn injuries range from very minor to fatal, and everyone at a business should know how to deal with one. Fortunately, first aid for a lesser burn injury is quite straightforward.
Types of Burn Injuries
A burn from fire damage is probably the first thing that comes to mind for most people. However, burns can come from surprising sources:
- Solar radiation
- Ionizing radiation, such as from radioactive materials
There are differences between how they are treated, but the overriding factor is how serious the burn is. However, your first action should always be to remove anyone from the source of the injury.
Serious burns are a medical emergency. If you have any doubts as to severity, call 911, and follow their advice.
Minor burns, known as first-degree burns, will usually leave an area of red, tender skin. Second-degree burns will leave the impacted area mottled, may be swollen, and can cause blisters to appear quickly. Third-degree burns, the most serious, are a deeply penetrating injury that requires immediate professional attention. The skin may have a leathery appearance, significant blistering, and may show black or yellow areas.
Minor Burn First Aid
First-degree burns can usually be treated in the workplace unless they cover an exceptionally large area or have impacted overly sensitive body parts like the eyes. Soak the area in cool water or apply a clean, wet towel for about five minutes. Allow it to dry, then apply an ointment. Aloe vera or antibiotic ointments work very well. For second-degree burns, soak the area longer – about 15 minutes or so.
Once everyone is safe and cared for after a fire, call a professional restoration company to repair the fire damage and remove the smoke odor. They can help you deal with insurance adjusters and protect any areas of your business left exposed after the fire.
Understanding How Your Homeowner's Policy Protects You Against Fire Loss
Take Time To Consider Your Coverage Limits
No homeowner expects fire damage to happen. Most people rest easy, believing they are free of any imminent fire disasters. Unfortunately, residential fires happen every day, and aside from calling a fire damage restoration company in Geneva, FL, homeowners can call their insurance providers. Most essential policies cover at least four areas should a fire occur.
- Liability Protection
- Personal Property
- Living Expenses
A homeowner's insurance policy covers a specific value, typically the cost of the home. Dwelling coverage pays for either repair to your property or to recover the loss of a home. Policies are typically valued for either the replacement cost of the house or the actual cash value of the property.
Every property owner should evaluate their liability protection. Sometimes, a fire can spread from one home to another. Depending on how the fire began, a property owner needs to make sure they cannot be held liable for fire damage to a neighbor's property, which is the purpose of liability protection.
Nearly every homeowner's policy will also have personal property protection, which helps to replace or repair specific personal effects. The personal property portion of your policy can cover smoke damage to furniture and clothing, but it can also help cover the losses of more expensive items, like jewelry.
Your homeowner policy may even cover additional living expenses, beyond the recovery of damages. Sometimes, you will need to live off-site for the reconstruction of your home. Some policies will cover a portion of these living expenses, up to 30% of the dwelling limit.
While fire damage is not often expected, a homeowner should be prepared. Insurance coverage is the best way to protect against significant loss, and so is having a restoration company on standby. Take time to consider your coverage limits, and reach out to a local restoration specialist for a home assessment.
Fire Prevention, Protect your Home and Family
You protect your family by locking doors at night, monitoring who they spend time with and where they are going. It’s important to add fire preparation to your safety regimen. As a homeowner, the thought of a fire breaking out in your house is a nightmare scenario. Your family’s safety is at risk, and you could lose precious possessions and your home itself. The preparation steps below will reduce the risk of fire and potentially save a life.
Maintain Smoke Alarms
All homes should have smoke alarms to alert you to fire danger. One or two devices are not enough. Your home should have one in every bedroom and an additional alarm per floor. Maintain your smoke alarms to ensure they are effective.
- Test your smoke alarm once a month.
- Change the batteries in your smoke alarm at least once a year.
- Never disconnect your smoke alarm.
Keep an Eye on the Dryer
Of all your appliances, your dryer is perhaps the most significant potential culprit for starting a fire. Check the filter and remove lint buildup after every load. We also recommend inspecting the outside vent and the hose leading from the dryer to the vent for proper ventilation.
Watch the Outlets
Being aware of electrical problems is an important fire precaution. Never overload your outlets with cords. Also, be mindful when you use power strips, especially with computers and TVs.
Be Careful When You Cook
Fire prevention starts in the kitchen, where there are many different heat sources. Make sure your oven is clean and functioning correctly. Also, never leave food on the stove unattended.
You can have peace of mind when you follow these fire prevention guidelines. If you need further direction, contact SERVPRO of Ovideo / Winter Springs East at (407) 542-0000.