Recent Fire Damage Posts

Space Heater Fire Damage Prevention Tips

4/30/2019 (Permalink)

If not used correctly, a portable space heater is a potential fire damage hazard. Following the manufacturer’s recommendations is essential to maintain a safe environment for you and your loved ones. If your living spaces cannot be adequately heated through the installed heating system for the building itself, contact your landlord or do research to upgrade your home HVAC system. Government assistance may be available for those of lower incomes, and if the upgrade is considered environmentally conscious, many times there are rebates available for these types of improvements.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when thinking about preventing fires and fire damage while using a space heater:

  • Your heater should be Underwriters Listed (UL) approved for intended use.
  • A thermostat with an automatic shutoff that activates at the desired temperature is a great safety feature.
  • Your heater should be kept at least 3 feet, or 36 inches, away from all combustible materials, such as cabinets, desks, trash cans, paper, and cardboard.
  • Never place a space heater under a desk or other enclosed area.
  • Your space heater must be monitored while in operation. If the heater is missing parts, such as control knobs, feet, or heat guards, take it out of service immediately and either have it repaired or replaced.
  • Plug any heater directly into a wall unit, never an extension cord.
  • Never use a space heater in areas that will not be occupied continually.
  • Never use portable space heaters in damp areas, such as bathrooms or kitchens, and only use away from exits, walkways, and paths of travel.
  • During use, check often to determine if the plug or cord of the heater, the wall outlet, or the faceplate is hot. If this is the case, discontinue the use of the heater immediately, and contact a qualified electrician to replace all faulty parts to help prevent possible fire damage.
  • Always make sure that your space heater is set up on a stable and level surface in an area where it won’t be knocked over or accidentally moved too close to combustible objects or materials to avoid possible fires and fire damage.  

During the winter months, over 79 percent of all home fire deaths involve the misuse of space heaters. Here at SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties, we care about your safety. Call us for help with water damages or fire damages to your home or business, and don’t forget that we are experts in the area of mold remediation and prevention.

Winter Cleaning Tips to Keep You Safe from Fire Damage

2/5/2019 (Permalink)

A fireplace is a wonderful thing to have where people gather for warmth and companionship.  A lit fireplace provides a wonderful ambiance to any room, and even more fantastic to have during really severe cold weather, such as blizzards and ice storms. The mantel is a great place to display pictures of family and friends or decorations for celebrations like Valentine’s Day or birthdays.

But a fireplace can also be dangerous if not cared for properly. Animals can build nests in your chimney during the warmer months without you ever knowing, and we can all just imagine what can happen when the first fire of the season is lit in a case like that!

Here are some precautions to think about; being prepared can greatly reduce the chance of a chimney fire in your home fireplace.

  • First, do an inspection. (If you have a steep roof, then this isn’t a DIY project, and you need to enlist the help of a professional, for obvious safety reasons.) There are certified chimney sweeps throughout the country and they can easily be enlisted to help with your winter chimney cleaning project. During the inspection, you are looking for creosote buildup. It may not seem like a big deal, but it ignites at only 451 degrees and expands from there, possibly increasing temperatures to over 2,000 degrees. At that temperature, it can engulf your entire chimney and potentially destroy your home or cause some serious fire damage.
  • If you are in the habit of burning green wood, make sure you have your chimney cleaned or inspected every 50 burns or so. To know whether your wood is green or not, look for moisture bubbling out from the cut ends of the log. Wet, green wood doesn’t burn cleanly and will send particles up your chimney, which in turn builds up as creosote and soot. Choose hardwoods such as oak or birch, which burn hotter and cleaner.
  • A professional cleaning would include an inspection for soot build-up and for cracks or obstructions that could cause issues. Older chimneys can sometimes have gaps in the clay liner where mortar has fallen out, which causes water damage and can make your chimney unstable. If you do find yourself in need of a chimney sweep, look for someone who is insured and properly certified in your area. They will ensure that you are safe from fire damage due to an unkempt fireplace and chimney  

The  SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties team has years of experience dealing with fire damage, and we’re here to handle any damages in your home or business, should the worst ever happen. We also take care of water damage restoration, and keep in mind that we are also mold prevention and remediation specialists able to offer mold inspection and mold remediation services, as well.

Winter Fire Damage to Be Prepared for

12/11/2018 (Permalink)

A fireplace is one of the things most of us look forward to using when cold weather rolls around. They lend such a cozy ambiance to any home, no matter the size. We also will be pulling out the heavier blankets and space heaters and lighting the furnace for the first time in a while. Perhaps your home is even outfitted with an old-fashioned potbelly stove! All of these cold weather items can, if not properly cared for and used, can become a fire damage hazard. Here are some helpful suggestions to help keep your home and loved ones safe from winter fire damage:

TIPS:

  • Have smoke and carbon monoxide alarms installed throughout the home and keep them in working order at all times.
  • Ensure that materials such as carpet, drapes, and furniture are kept away from the fireplace, furnace, or space heaters while they are in use. All of these materials are combustible and must be watched carefully to avoid fire damage to your home. Use a firescreen to keep children and pets away from the fireplace flames and to make sure that sparks are not projected near anything that could catch fire.
  • Never leave space heaters running when you are not in the room and don’t use them during the night while everyone is sleeping. If something goes wrong, you will want to be awake and alert. Never leave a child or a pet in a room with a space heater unattended.
  • Check the cords and plugs for your space heaters thoroughly on a regular basis to make sure they are in good repair at all times.
  • Keep the ash accumulation in your fireplace or potbelly stove under control, cleaning them out when the ash reaches the bottom of the grate. An accumulation can impede airflow and also make building a fire more difficult. When removing ash, it’s a good idea to wear a dust mask and gloves.
  • A certified sweep in your area can inspect and clean your wood-burning fireplace and chimney; once a year or more can keep you and your family safe from fire damage and smoke damage. The Chimney Safety of America maintains a list of approximately 1500 chimney professionals that actively carry the Certified Chimney Sweep credentials, and they can be contacted in 49 of the 50 states.
  • A good way to test the safety of your fireplace is by lighting a few small pieces of seasoned wood. If the smoke doesn’t exit up into the chimney but goes out into the room, immediately troubleshoot and correct any problems. These can include creosote or soot buildup, debris in the chimney such as bird or animal nests, a closed or partially closed damper, or even wood that is damp; all of which can pose serious fire hazards and risk fire damage and smoke damage.
  • Make sure you burn only seasoned wood in your fireplace or potbelly stove. This should be wood that has been cut and dried under cover for 6 -12 months. Greenwood does not burn as thoroughly and creates more soot and creosote buildup, creating problems with your fireplace. Hardwoods, such as oak, ash, and maple are dense and heavy, delivering more heat than lighter softwoods, such as pine, poplar, and cedar; you should have no problems finding these woods from many area sources.

These simple tips can keep your home fire-safe all winter long. Remember to call SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties if you need any help with fire damage, water damage or mold cleanup around your home or office this winter season.

Five Professional Methods Used to Clean Up Smoke Damage in Your Home

10/24/2018 (Permalink)

Fire, smoke, and soot will affect everything in your home, from the structure itself to your appliances and personal belongings. After a fire, contacting a cleaning professional will be very helpful. The SERVPRO team of Huron and East Seneca Counties knows how to get your home back to normal as quickly as possible.

SERVPRO specializes in restoring the contents of a home that have received fire damage or water damage. They will assess all your belongings carefully to determine what items can be restored to their “pre-fire” condition. Here are five steps that a professional cleaning company can use to get you back to normal after a fire:

  • Foam cleaning. This method is used for upholstery since it can shrink or bleed if water is used.
  • Dry cleaning. This method is used to clean light residue.
  • Wet cleaning. This is a very effective cleaning method used to remove moderate to heavy residues.
  • Immersion cleaning. This method is one where items are dipped into a bath of cleaning product.
  • Document/photo restoration. Here at SERVPRO of Huron and East Seneca Counties, we are experienced in document and photo restoration. In the event that vital records or personal heirlooms have been damaged, we can use professional methods to bring these items back to their original state.

Electronics that have been damaged by fire present a serious hazard; never attempt to turn on or operate any electrical device that could possibly have been affected! Smoke residue contains acids that corrode metal and that can cause electronic failure in a device. You will want to be very careful with your computers (both PC and laptop), televisions, video game consoles, and cd/DVD players. When it comes to your smartphone, relay on a professional for help here, too.

If the damage to your home or business is such that it will need extensive restoration or cleaning, SERVPRO of Huron and East Seneca Counties can organize an efficient move-out process of all affected areas. Removing your items from places that have sustained smoke damages will aid in a quicker remodeling process and will protect your property. After the restoration is complete, move-in can be coordinated easily. If you have sustained fire damage to your home, visit us on our website or call us today for assistance: (419) 443 1790. We offer our services to a wide area across the greater East Seneca areas, including Milan, Lakeside Marblehead, New London, and more!

Coming Up with a Family Emergency Plan

9/18/2018 (Permalink)

Make sure your loved ones are safe and their basic needs are met by developing a family emergency plan to put into place in the event of a disaster by having a plan. It is easy to panic during an emergency, so being prepared can help to minimize that panic and enable you to help your family in a calm and safe manner.

An emergency plan should include a disaster supply kit and essential supplies, and they should be easily accessible in a place that is pre-arranged.

A disaster supply kit should include medical supplies, medications, non-perishable foods and water, batteries, blankets and clothing. When you are putting your kit together, make sure the items you include meet basic needs - don’t worry about luxury items. The basic necessities are food, water, clothing, and shelter, so focus on making sure your family has these items.  

An emergency plan that is easy to follow is also a good idea. If your family includes older children or adults, you will want to make sure that they can remember what to do, so keep it as simple as you can, using places that are familiar if possible. In the event of a house fire, for example, direct your family to a safe meeting place that is close by, like a neighbor’s house, and for a large scale emergency, use a familiar building in the area such as a church or school, where the family can meet up.

Directives for each member will ensure that everyone knows what they are supposed to do during an emergency. Each family member can be assigned a partner to keep track of, for example, and someone can be in charge of carrying the emergency kit to the meeting place. Discuss it together and pick the best person for the job.

Create an emergency checklist and put it somewhere memorable. It should include emergency contacts such as addresses and phone numbers. Add important items to the list to take from the home, like spare car keys, vital records, and pets.

Natural disasters may knock out power, contaminate drinking water, or make it difficult for first responders to get to you. Have an emergency food supply, consisting of canned and non-perishable items, including bottled water. This is especially important for families that reside in areas prone to events such as blizzards, hurricanes, earthquakes and wildfires.

Click here for more information of our residential services for emergencies.

Here at SERVPRO of Huron and East Seneca Counties, we care about you and your family. Be safe! (419) 441-1790.

Fire Safety in the Office

8/21/2018 (Permalink)

Practicing fire safety in your business will save you time and money and keep the people you work with safe. Here are some tips that will help you:

  • Have high-quality smoke detectors installed on or near the ceilings of your office in all areas where people gather to work and be sure to include storage areas, warehouses, and outlying buildings. Installing Carbon Monoxide alarms in the same areas is a wise choice, as well, since CO is an odorless and colorless gas produced by burning fuels and can be difficult to detect.
  • Ensure that you have multipurpose fire extinguishers readily accessible in several areas of your property, and make sure your staff knows where they are and how they are properly used.
  • Schedule HVAC unit inspections on a regular basis. Employ a professional for these types of specialized tasks.
  • Create an escape plan for your staff, and take the necessary steps to ensure that everyone understands it and can follow the plan in case of fire. Post your evacuation plan in public areas so that both your staff and customers are aware of where to go in the event of a fire. Second story buildings should have an escape ladder, and post warnings near any elevators that they are not to be used in case of a fire.
  • Contact your local fire department for tips and directions on the requirements for businesses in your area to promote fire safety. You can schedule an inspection by the Fire Marshall to ensure that you are compliant with all area rules.
  • There are remote monitors available today that can alert you if there is a fire in your buildings while you are absent. They can be plugged into an electrical outlet easily and connected to your internet, and the downloaded app will send you updates and notifications.
  • During repair or remodeling to your business property, make sure fire-resistant building materials are used whenever possible.

Call the team here at SERVPRO of Huron and East Seneca Counties for assistance with fire safety. We are always available for large-scale cleanups after fire and water damage in both residential and commercial properties, as well. Our phone number is (419) 443 1790. We’re here to help!

Safety Tips for Using a Fire Extinguisher

7/10/2018 (Permalink)

Fire extinguishers are a valuable tool in the fight against smaller fires and can also be used to protect evacuation routes in the event of a larger fire when emergency personnel are on their way. OSHA has stated that the most common emergency occurrence owners of homes and small businesses should plan for is fire. Here are some tips that will help in the event of a fire.

Homeowners should take the time to know how to use the fire extinguisher kept in their home. OSHA requires employers to train their staff thoroughly on how to use a fire extinguisher correctly as well and to accurately assess the situation if a fire is to occur, properly determining when an evacuation needs to take place. OSHA has established annual training for employees as a minimal requirement for all places of business, and this training is helpful for homeowners as well.  

The PASS training technique can be used, and is outlined here:

  • P. Pull the pin on the extinguisher.
  • A. Aim the nozzle of the hose at the base of the fire.
  • S. Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
  • S. Sweep the nozzle from side to side, directed at the base of the flames, until the fire is extinguished.

Once someone knows how to properly operate a fire extinguisher, they should then also be trained to follow fire safety protocol. They should know how to:

  • Locate and activate the fire alarm.
  • Call the fire department and emergency responders immediately.
  • Determine a safe evacuation route that will direct people away from flames, excessive heat, and smoke. They should also know how to keep the route from becoming blocked,
  • Use the PASS technique for discharging a fire extinguisher (outlined above), and know the importance of backing away from the area if the fire flares up again.
  • Evacuate the area immediately if the fire is still going and the extinguisher is empty, or if the fire grows beyond what can be safely handled without fire department personnel.

Fire extinguishers are made to handle small fires only. If the environment becomes too dangerous or the fire becomes too large, everyone should know when and how to evacuate. Excessive smoke and heat, impaired evacuation routes, and poor visibility are all conditions that can arise really quickly, and people need to understand that safety comes first and foremost.

SERVPRO of Huron and East Seneca Counties is here to help in the event of cleanups both large and small, after fire and water damages have been sustained in your home or business. We also handle mold remediation. Call us today at (419) 443-1790, or visit our website: SERVPRO of Huron and East Seneca Counties

Fire and Smoke Damage

11/8/2016 (Permalink)

One of the most predictable and most damaging types of disasters that can happen in your home is fire damage. Large or small, fires can start at just about any time of the year, and lead to costly and prominent damage in your home. Burned objects, rooms, and fixtures, smoke, water, ash, and other types of damage can result from the same fire. As a result, most residential fires come with some other problems as well, requiring professional advice and cleanup. In addition to demanding cleanup situations and complex damage scenarios, fires create safety hazards in homes releasing toxic chemicals and compromising structural integrity. As a result, unless the fire was put out quickly and caused little significant damage, experts recommend employing professional services for fire damage cleanup and restoration. 
 
Fire damage cleanup is not only difficult to clean up by yourself, but also dangerous. Fire can burn through most materials in houses, and often comes into contact with toxic or unstable substances along the way. It could be cooking materials, cleaning supplies, gardening chemicals, or even simply the insulation behind your walls. There is a variety of otherwise innocuous materials that can present a hazard, and some can be deadly. Soot is often a by-product of incomplete combustion of plastics, vinyl, and rubber materials leaving behind a sticky, oily residue and potentially harmful gases.
 
Additionally, water damage from fire hoses or superheated burst pipes can create safety hazards as well. Water can further weaken the structure itself, mix with spilled or dried chemicals around the house. Electrical cables or devices can shock users, and mold growths may present additional health hazards. Cleanup is best left to professionals from SERVPRO, who know how to deal with these issues and have appropriate safety gear along with industrial grade equipment ranging from water pumps, to ozone filtering devices, and air scrubbers.

SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties proudly serves you and specializes in fire, smoke, mold, water and biohazard damage to both commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, SERVPRO is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. We cover areas like Tiffin, Fremont, Norwalk, Willard, Bellevue, Carey, New London, Bloomville, Attica, and Monroeville. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROhuroneastsenecacounties.com or call us at 419-443-1790.

Knowing Who To Call After A Fire - SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties

6/14/2016 (Permalink)

When you find that your property has experienced fire damage, responding appropriately and immediately is important. If you don't take quick action, your home could be subjected to secondary water damage from the fire department's extinguishing efforts resulting in additional structural damage, and health hazards. The best course of action to take during the aftermath of a fire is to hire a fire damage restoration company. SERVPRO offers the following information to help you in your quest for a return to normalcy.

Obtain A Referral from Your Insurance Agent
One strategy you can use for gaining help from a fire damage restoration company is to request a referral from your insurance company. Insurance companies have a list of preferred vendors. SERVPRO is one such provider whose name is on over 315 lists from insurance companies, property management firms, and local, state, and federal agencies. An added benefit of acquiring a referral from your insurance provider is that it increases the likelihood that your insurance adjuster and the restoration representatives will work well together. We will gladly assist with the claims process, help manage the paperwork, and coordinate a concise plan of action to restore your home.

Do Your Research
After the fire, it's critically vital that you obtain services from the best company out there. Follow your agent's advice. But also, if you feel more comfortabe, research on your own. One thing to keep in mind during the research process is that each fire is unique and will have a distinct impact on your home. For this reason, you need to select a fire damage restoration company that offers a wide range of services.
• HVAC system cleaning of smoke and soot
• Debris safely removed
• Extensive water extraction and drying
• Potential structural rebuild, repair before replacing to mitigate costs

Why Choose SERVPRO?
After fire damage to your home, you want fast, professional service. To ensure that the fire remediation process is completed quickly and correctly to protect your personal property and to restore safety and sanitation, you need to hire a premier fire damage restoration company.
• 24/7 Emergency Services
• IICRC-Certified Fire Damage Clean Up Specialists
• Fast Response
• Trusted Industry Leader With More Than 1,650 Franchises, localized for your particular needs
• Preferred Vendor For Many Local And National Insurance  and Property Management Companies

Over the years, our company's professionals at SERVPRO have proven to provide outstanding value to our clients. Your property will be restored using the latest cleaning techniques and equipment. Our cutting edge services will return your home to pre-fire loss condition "Like it never even happened."

SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties proudly serves you and specializes in fire, smoke, mold, water and biohazard damage to both commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, SERVPRO is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. We cover areas like Tiffin, Fremont, Norwalk, Willard, Bellevue, Carey, New London, Bloomville, Attica, and Monroeville. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROhuroneastsenecacounties.com or call us at 419-443-1790.

How To Deal: After A Fire

4/12/2016 (Permalink)

The time following a fire in your home or business can be very overwhelming. Surrounded by your soot-covered and flame-damaged possessions, it’s easy to feel exhausted and depressed. The biggest triumph was that hopefully everyone got out safely. A way to ensure this is by getting one of our E.R.P.'s in place before the disaster takes place. Once the smoke clears, you will need to deal with all of your things, and the sooner the better.

Right at the beginning, it’s important to keep calm and be organized. Take notes on every conversation and online correspondence with your insurance company and restoration professionals, because in any stressful situation, miscommunication can happen. Save all receipts and original documents; only give photocopies upon request.

Make sure to call a professional as soon as possible. The quicker work can get started the better! Either calling SERVPRO right off the bat or calling your agent and asking for SERVPRO to help you is best. That way the claim process can get started and SERVPRO will be notified to get the your home or business as soon as possible.

SERVPRO will work with your insurance company to initiate a fire damage recovery plan and closely with you and your adjustor to determine which of your possessions can be cleaned…and which need to be inventoried for replacement. Often these services can be provided on site, but in the event that your contents have to be removed SERVPRO offers the capability to inventory, package, transport and store your belongings in a safe, heated facility.

Now that you know the initial steps of the fire damage recovery process, here are a few tips on what NOT to do before the pros arrive:

  • Do not wipe or attempt to wash fire residue from walls, ceilings, or other absorbent surfaces
  • Do not use carpeting or upholstered furniture impacted by heavy smoke residues or debris
  • Do not use food items or canned goods exposed to heat
  • Do not turn on computers, televisions, stereos or electrical appliances until they have been professionally cleaned and checked

With preparation, resources and SERVPRO on your side; plus a healthy dose of patience and perspective, you will make it through the process of fire damage recovery.

SERVPRO of Huron and East Seneca Counties specializes in the complete repair of fire, smoke, wind, flooded basements, water and vandalism damage to both commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the SERVPRO disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROhuroneastsenecacounties.com/ or call 419-443-1790.

Soot Damage

3/1/2016 (Permalink)

Time is of the Essence when dealing with smoke or fire damage.

Within Minutes: Acid soot residues yellow plastics and can permanently discolor highly porous materials.

Within Hours: Fiber glass fixtures may yellow and uncoated metals tarnish. Furniture finishes may start to discolor.

Within Days: Painted walls can yellow permanently. Metal surfaces corrode and pit. Wood furniture requires refinishing and vinyl floors refinished or replaced.

No matter what the time frame you need to cover your hands when working with soot and smoke damage. The oils in your hands will set in the soot and make it more difficult to get out if at all. (List of do's and dont's for fire in previous blogs.)

SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties proudly serves you and specializes in fire, smoke, mold, water and biohazard damage to both commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, SERVPRO is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. We cover areas like Tiffin, Fremont, Norwalk, Willard, Bellevue, Carey, New London, Bloomville, Attica, and Monroeville. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROhuroneastsenecacounties.com or call us at 419-443-1790.

Emergency Fire Damage Tips

2/11/2016 (Permalink)

- Keep hands clean or wear gloves when dealing with fire damage.

-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 coat 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 a SERVPRO franchise professional.

-Do not attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to the fire or water without consulting a repair service.

SERVPRO of Huron & East Seneca Counties proudly serves you and specializes in fire, smoke, mold, water and biohazard damage to both commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, SERVPRO is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. We cover areas like Tiffin, Fremont, Norwalk, Willard, Bellevue, Carey, New London, Bloomville, Attica, and Monroeville. For more information, visit http://www.SERVPROhuroneastsenecacounties.com or call us at 419-443-1790.