Recent Fire Damage Posts
Not every home will catch on fire, but the best way to keep your family and home safe from a fire is to take action before it happens!
For your loved ones, take the time to:
- practice fire drills with your family;
- have an escape plan from each room; and,
- have a designated meeting place outside of your home to make sure everyone has safely made it out of the house.
For your home, take some precautionary steps now to fireproof your home:
- Check Your Smoke Alarms Often: Your smoke alarms will alert you of a fire before you see or smell smoke. Check them at least every six months.
- Keep A Fire Extinguisher In Your Home: A fire extinguisher can be used to put out some small fires and stop them from spreading. Every home should have one. If your home has more than one story, it's a good idea to have a fire extinguisher on each level.
- Never Leave Candles Unattended: Candles can easily catch furniture, papers and even hanging pictures and décor on fire. Be sure to extinguish candles when you leave the room and especially if you leave your home.
- Remove Clutter: Clutter that is too close to a heat source can catch fire. Once clutter catches on fire, it can make the fire worse and even stop you from getting out of your home during a fire. Get rid of clutter that could catch fire or block an escape route.
- Check Your Electric Cords, Sockets and Exposed Wires: Check your electric cords and exposed wires often to make sure they are intact and not damaged. Make sure the wall sockets are not too full and that all the plugs are secure.
Acting on these safety precautions will give you and your family peace of mind.
Periodically Replace Your Smoke Detectors
We all know that it’s a good habit to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors every twelve months. But did you know that smoke detectors lose their effectiveness over time? Because most smoke detectors contain some electronic components, the average lifespan is 8-10 years. At that point, the entire unit should be replaced. When you replace the unit, write the date purchased on the inside cover, so that you’ll always know when you purchased that unit.
Generally a smoke detector will let you know if the battery is low. If the smoke detector keeps chirping or there is a blinking red light you might need to change the battery. The smoke detector red light could also indicate that it is over 10 years old and needs to be replaced. A hard wired smoke detector with a red blinking light could indicate there is a problem with the wire connection.
A smoke detector in good working order is an essential component of your home's safety equipment and having at least one smoke detector means that you, your family and your home are safer.
SAFETY TIPS FOR USING YOUR STOVE/COOKTOP
Almost every residence has a stove or cooktop which is used on a daily basis to prepare meals. These are important appliances in anyone’s household, but life can be dangerous if you are not practicing safety and caution while using them. Cooking-related fires are the primary cause of residential fires in the U.S., but most kitchen fires are preventable, if you follow these safety tips:
- Never leave cooking food unattended.
- Do a safety check before each use.
- Make sure that there are no food particles or grease residue on the stove top.
- If you have a gas stove or cooktop and you smell gas, open a window, leave the building and call the gas company.
- Be sure to follow safety guidelines when using stove top burners.
- Never use a pot that is too small or big for the burner.
- Never leave a burner on that does not have a filled pot or pan on it.
- Do not leave an empty pan on a hot burners.
- Keep all flammable items (e.g. oven mitts, towels and paper) away from the burners.
- Check for body safety:
- Tie back long hair.
- Roll up long sleeves.
- Remove loose jewelry.
- Keep a fire extinguisher, baking soda and metal lids nearby to put out fires quickly.
After A Fire
If your home or office should sustain fire damage, occupant safety should be your first concern! After the fire fighters have left, consider the following before going in the building:
- Is the house or office building structurally sound?
- Wet materials can be very heavy, so be careful lifting any contents that are wet.
- Common post-fire accidents involve slip and fall hazards or electrical-related incidents.
- Only do activities that can be safely performed.
What NOT To Do After A Fire
- Don't attempt to clean or use any electrical appliances that may have been close to the fire or that were exposed to high heat or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
- Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire or exposed to high heat or water.
- Don't turn on any lights or electrical appliances or fixtures if the walls or ceiling have fire damage or are wet. There might be damage to the wiring.
- Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery.
- Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning could set smoke odor.
What To Do After A Fire
- Call a qualified restoration company, like SERVPRO of McKinney, for proper cleaning of the structure and contents that were not destroyed.
- Limit movement in the home or office to prevent soot particles from becoming embedded into the carpet or upholstered furniture.
- Keep your hands clean to avoid further damage to upholstery, walls and woodwork.
- Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet.
- If the electricity is off, empty the refrigerator and freezer, then keep the doors open.
- Clean and protect metallic finishes, like chrome or brass, with a light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
- Change the HVAC filter.
- Tape double layers of cheesecloth over the air registers.
- Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves.
Choosing a Fire Extenguisher
Did you know there are five different types of fire extinguishers and that each type is designed for different types of fire? Whether for your home or business, it’s important to have the correct type of fire extinguisher available.
Class A: This is the most common fire extinguisher. It can be used to put out fires in ordinary combustibles such as cloth, wood, rubber, paper and many plastics.
Class B: This type of fire extinguisher is used on fires involving flammable liquids, such as grease, gasoline or oil.
Class C: These fire extinguishers are designed for fires involving appliances, tools, or other equipment electrically energized or plugged in.
Class D: These fire extinguishers are for use on flammable metals, and are typically found only in factories that work with flammable metals.
Class K: This type of fire extinguisher is intended for use on fires that involve vegetable oils, animal oils or fats in cooking appliances. Class K fire extinguishers are generally found in commercial kitchens, but are becoming more popular for use in home kitchens.
Multi-Use: There are fire extinguishers available that are able to be used on several different types of fires. A combination of Classes A, B and C is a common multi-use fire extinguisher.
Heating Safety Tips
With the cold weather quickly approaching brings the need for heaters. Follow these proper safety tips shared by the National Fire Protection Association will help keep you and your family safe during this cold weather season.
Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fires and deaths. Half of home heating equipment fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February. Some simple steps taken can prevent most heating-related fires from happening.
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, for example: the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
- Have a three-foot minimum “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
- Never use your oven to heat your home.
- Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
- Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year only by a qualified professional.
- Remember to always turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
- Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop the sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should always be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container then a safe distance away from your home.
- Test smoke alarms at least once a month.
A home fire can be devastating. The most important aspect is that you made it out of your home safely. You will begin asking yourself if some of your belongings can be saved. SERVPRO of McKinney professionals are experts in cleaning your contents after a fire. We can help answer these questions on what is restorable and what is not for you as we walk the property.
The first thing you will have to do is get rid of the water and moisture. Not doing so will cause further secondary damage and allow mold the chance to grow. We have the proper equipment to extract remaining water and air movers and dehumidifiers to properly dry out your structure. Put furniture on wood blocks if possible and hang clothes, draperies and pillows outside to dry. For non-damaged items, content storage is recommended so nothing can cause harm to them. We can help in this process as well.
For clothes, our professionals recommend dry cleaning. Don’t attempt to clean the clothes, draperies and any other textile items yourself as this can cause permanent damage to them and generally will not remove the soot. If salvageable, a restoration expert can remove the soot from your damaged items.
After you get rid of the soot, you will want to get rid of the smoke smell in textiles and throughout the home. Thoroughly vent your home as much as possible. The experts at SERVPRO of McKinney use specialized procedures such as ozone treatment and thermal fogging to effectively remove the smell. We have a ozone room at our warehouse to place your contents in.
Non-porous items are generally easier to clean than porous items. Ultrasonic treatment and high-pressure water are some of the procedures used. Our equipment and specially formulated cleaning products can successfully remove contamination from your belongings and restore them to preloss condition.
These are a few of the helpful ways you can follow to clean your content after a home fire. The professionals at SERVPRO of McKinney have the proper expertise, tools and equipment to get the job done right and can help with dry cleaning, content cleaning and content storage.
When To Use a Fire Extinguisher
Do you know where the closest fire extinguisher is in your home or place of work? Even more importantly, do you know how to use it? Both of these things are very important to know so you know what to do in case of an emergency and to keep you safe. Listed below are some tips on when to use a fire extinguisher during an emergency.
- The outside of the extinguisher is clean, and all parts are operable and not damaged or restricted
- You have identified an escape, and the fire is not between you and the route
- You have alerted other occupants, and someone has called the fire department
- You are safe from the toxic smoke produced by the fire
- The fire is contained to a single object, such as a wastebasket
These tips are good to know so you can safely use a fire extinguisher. It is also good to familiarize yourself with the location of the fire extinguisher in your home and workplace. Stay safe!
Even a small fire can cause odors for years to come if the affected areas are not properly cleaned and deodorized. Fire, smoke and soot damage in your home or business can create unpleasant and potentially permanent problems.
As various materials burn, the smoke produced travels throughout the structure, leaving odorous residues and deposits on surfaces and in hard to reach places. Unless fast, professional action is taken, these residues and deposits can cause permanent damage to contents and may result in resurfacing odors.
SERVPRO Of McKinney professionals provide specialized services that rid in your home or business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. Any restorable item in affected areas will be professionally cleaned and ozoned, including: furniture, draperies and upholstery, electronics, art, flooring, walls, ceilings, HVAC air ducts, and more.
SERVPRO Of McKinney professionals do not cover up lingering odors with a fragrance, they seek out and remove the sources of the odor. Ask our professionals to explain the various deodorization methods available and which will work best for you.
If you or a customer suffer a fire damage or some other accident and require deodorization services contact SERVPRO Of McKinney. Wether it's fire, water or mold damage, or just stubborn odor that refuses to go away.
Do's and Don'ts After a Fire
A fire in your home can be a devastating experience. Contact SERVPRO of McKinney to help you with the restoration process, but here are some important Do’s and Don’ts to help you before we arrive:
Limit movement in the house to prevent soot particles from being embedded into carpet and upholstery.
Keep your hands clean. Soot on your hands can further soil upholstery, wall and woodwork.
Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
If the electricity is off, empty the refrigerator and freezer completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor.
Wipe soot from chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim and appliances, then protect these surfaces with a light coating of lubricants.
Change HVAC filter, but leave the system off until a trained professional can check the system.
If the HVAC system is left on, tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.
Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting SERVPRO of McKinney.
Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without first contacting SERVPRO of McKinney.
Attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to the fire, heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.
Consume any food or beverage that may have been stored close to the fire, heat or water. (These items may be contaminated.)
Turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock, and air movement may cause secondary damage.
Send garments to the dry cleaners. Improper cleaning may set in smoke odor.
Smoke and Soot Cleanup
Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and soot facts:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper 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, SERVPRO will assess the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. 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.
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is unique, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.
Do You Have An Exit Plan?
Every second counts during a fire. In a matter of moments, a small flame can turn into a major fire, making it critical to be prepared by having an escape plan in place. A survey conducted by the American Red Cross shows only 6 percent of families have developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. Once a plan is developed, it is critical everyone in the home understands the plan; the best way to do this is by practicing the escape plan at least twice a year. The following are a few suggestions to help you develop an emergency plan for your family.
Draw a map of each level of your home and show all doors and windows. Find two ways to get out of each room. Make sure all doors and windows that lead outside open easily.
Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas on the second and third floor. Only purchase collapsible escape ladders evaluated by a recognized testing laboratory. Store them near the window where they will be used.
Choose an outside meeting place a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they've escaped. Make sure to mark the location of the meeting place on your escape plan.
Teach children how to escape on their own in case you cannot help them.
Plan for everyone in your home with special considerations for elderly or disabled individuals.
Practice your fire escape plan at night and during the daytime.
We encourage you to make a plan NOW!