Recent Fire Damage Posts

Every Second Counts

4/1/2019 (Permalink)

In a fire, seconds count. Seconds can mean the difference between residents of our community escaping safely from a fire or having their lives end in tragedy.

Everyone needs to have an escape plan!

  • Draw a map of your home with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
  • Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
  • Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
  • Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
  • Close doors behind you as you leave – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
  • Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.

via http://www.nfpa.org/

Have you contacted your local fire department? See how you can get involved with them and your community to prevent house fires. Sometimes they will have events or give out smoke detectors for your home. Don't think this could never happen to you because it easily could. We don't have control over everything in our homes! Be safe and have a plan!

Fire Extinguishers Valuable Tools

4/1/2019 (Permalink)

Portable fire extinguishers can be life and property saving tools when used correctly. In order to operate an extinguisher, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests remembering the word PASS:

P - Pull the pin. Hold the nozzle pointing away from your and release the locking mechanism.

A - Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.

S - Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.

S - Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

Read the instructions on the fire extinguisher and become familiar with them before a fire breaks out. Remember, extinguishers do have limitations. It is also important to ensure you have the correct type of extinguisher for your facility. To find more information on choosing the appropriate class of extinguisher, please visit the NFPA website at nfpa.org.

*Courtesy of the SERVPRO Restoration Newsline Volume 28, Issue 2.

Practice Fire Safety

3/27/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Practice Fire Safety Fireplace
  • Fireplaces should not be used as furnaces. Use a fireplace for a short-duration fire — no longer than five hours.
  • Keep the glass open to allow air to be drawn up to cool the chimney, but keep the screen closed to prevent sparks from jumping onto the carpeting.
  • Never leave a fire unattended when children are in the house. Adults, even if near, should not allow children to play near or with fire tools and equipment.
  • Open a window when using the fireplace to prevent the room from becoming smoky. The air coming in from the window will go up the chimney.
  • Before making a fire, open the glass doors, pull aside the screen curtains, and place the kindling, newspaper and logs inside. Next, open the damper and a window. The window needs to be open only a few inches. You can check to make sure the smoke will go up the chimney properly by lighting a match, quickly blowing it out and watching the smoke to see whether it's going up and out.
  • Keep a nonflammable rug (available at fireplace-supply stores) in front of the fireplace so that sparks won't melt or otherwise damage your carpeting.
  • Use fireplace tools to handle burning logs. Never use your hands.
  • Use a chimney cap to prevent water damage, to keep animals from nesting and to keep debris from blocking the chimney and causing carbon monoxide to flow into the house. Use a spark arrester to help prevent sparks from flying out, which could start a fire on the roof or lawn.
  • Glass doors may develop tough stains from flames and heat. To clean them, make sure the glass doors are cool, then scrape off any thick gunk deposits with a razor blade. Add a squirt of liquid dishwashing detergent to a bucket of warm water, or add a cup of vinegar to a gallon of water. Spray or sponge the cleaner on, and then wipe it away with newspaper (which is lint-free). Another option is to buy glass cleaner at a fireplace store.
  • Fireplace coals can remain hot enough to start a fire for up to three days, so always wait at least that long before removing the ashes. At that point, close the damper to prevent cold air in the flue from stirring up excess dust while you're removing the ashes. Be sure to wear a dust mask and open a window in the same room as the fireplace to prevent negative air pressure. Use a shovel to scoop the ashes into a metal container. Store the container far from combustible materials and surfaces and wood floors.
  • Never use a vacuum to clean up ashes, because live coals may remain in those ashes.
  • Have a certified chimney sweep inspect and clean the chimney when necessary. Have him show you how to check it yourself, too. The chimney should be checked at least once a year or after about 80 fires.
  • Shine brass fireplace utensils with Worcestershire sauce and a toothbrush.
  • Clean the firebox (the area where the logs burn) at least once a week during the months you use it, when ash builds up. Leave about an inch of ash because it acts as insulation, allowing the coals to heat faster and retain the heat easier. Keep the firebox completely clean during the months when the fireplace is not in use.
  • To clean an exterior slate hearth, wash, dry and coat it with lemon oil every six weeks to make it shine. For cleaning exterior brick hearths, buy a brick cleaner at a fireplace shop.

 via HGTV.com 

Fire! What You See, and What You Don't!

11/27/2018 (Permalink)

The flames can be dramatic while watching a news story about a home or apartment fire on the television or the internet. Rightly so because they cause the most visible damage to your property during a fire. But, it is the smoke and soot that are the silent and sometimes invisible hazards that could cost lives. Water is also a reason for damage after a fire. Even firefighters themselves may cause some damage before they can completely put out a fire. Here are 10 important things to know about fires.

  1. In a fire, more people die from inhaling smoke than from the flames. Never think that if you avoid the flames you are safe. Always keep away from smoke.
  2. Soot is a coating of fine, black dust created when wood, coal, or oil-based substances are burned.  These carbon particles float into the air and settle anywhere.  Inhaling soot can caused severe lung deficiencies or even death. 
  3. If soot contaminates items in your home or business, a fire restoration service provider like SERVPRO of Lynchburg, Bedford and Campbell Counties must assess the damage to see if restoration is possible.
  4. The worst possible effect of soot is its tendency to cause cancer and cause serious defects in newborns. Soot produces poly cyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. These hydrocarbons are responsible for gene mutation for particular groups of genes. They can cause birth defects and increase the chances of getting cancer.
  5. Water’s great at putting out most fires but the water itself can cause great damage. You must make sure, after the fire is out, that your home or business is completely dried.
  6. Mold colonies can begin to grow just 48 hours after water damage occurs.  The combination of fire, water, and mold damage to your commercial property or home could result in a complete loss if not handled properly. See our posts about mold,  mold myths, and how to clean up mold.
  7. Use caution if you decide to do some of the cleanup after a fire. Never start your cleaning process until you’re properly attired. Wear heavy-duty gloves, safety goggles, and a face mask. Carefully cover your nose and make sure your safety glasses have no place for dust or soot to get into your eyes. If in doubt, call on the services of a professional restoration company as you may do more harm than good. Some household cleaning products may actually set a stain on your home or personal belongings.
  8. Firefighters are true heroes. However, they often must break windows and cut holes in the roof of buildings on fire. As a fire burns, the fire moves up and down and across, growing very fast. Firefighters break windows and cut holes in roofs to provide ventilation that slows the fire’s growth. Ventilation also helps get rid of dark smoke that makes it hard for firefighters to see where they’re going. The holes and broken windows help firefighters fight the fire more quickly. The bottom line is that breaking windows and cutting holes in roofs help save lives and property.  9. Firefighters will also cut holes in walls at times. That’s not about ventilation. It’s done so the fire department is sure that the fire is completely out. Fire departments don’t want to risk leaving a fire that’s not visible but is still active inside the walls or in other hidden places. 
  9. If you have a fire, get a copy of the fire report. In most areas, a fire report is a public document. Ask for it at the fire department or fire marshal’s office. The fire report will help you with information to begin the restoration process.

SERVPRO of Lynchburg, Bedford and Campbell Counties stands ready to respond 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to your catastrophic event. Please call us with your questions or concerns at 434.525.9559 or visit us at www.SERVPROlynchburgbedfordcampbellcounties.com for more information.

Better yet, save our contact information in your phone for when an emergency strikes you. When you think fire, smoke, water damage, think SERVPRO. Locally owned and operated.         

Prevent Electrical Fires in Your Home

8/14/2018 (Permalink)

Electrical fires are the cause of many house fires, and can be some of the most difficult to put out due to the difficulty of identifying the source. Proper care of electrical outlets and appliances will help to prevent electrical fires.  It is very important to follow manufacturer guidelines when using electrical appliance and systems, such as the wattage guidelines given when changing lightbulbs.  Be sure that you do not plug in too many electrical units into one outlet, as this could burn out the outlet and cause a fire.  Be sure that you have your wiring checked regularly by an electrician. Faulty wiring is a leading cause of electrical fires and is a common problem in many homes.  If you hear a sparking sound near a particular electrical outlet or appliance, or see smoke or smell burning after plugging a unit in, immediately unplug the object and call an electrician to check your wiring.

                Finally, if an electrical fire does occur, do NOT attempt to put the blaze out with water.  This will only make the fire worse and could shock or electrocute you.  If safe to do so, attempt to unplug the source.  Put the fire out using baking soda or a blanket to smother the flames.  If the fire is larger, a class C fire extinguisher can be used.  If the fire continues to grow, leave immediately! Do not be tempted to put out a growing fire by yourself.  Allow the firefighters to do so.

                If your home has been damaged by fire, please call SERVPRO of Lynchburg/Bedford & Campbell Counties at (434)-525-9559.  

Common Causes of House Fires

7/20/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Common Causes of House Fires Electrical failures are the cause of many home fires.

Common Causes of Fires in Homes and How to Avoid Them:

Fires can start very quickly and once started they can be very difficult to stop. The damage left by fire goes beyond the objects that were directly burned by the flames.  Smoke and soot left from the fire can spread throughout a home or business into areas that the fire itself did not reach.  The clean-up required from smoke damage is often more extensive than the clean-up required for areas that were burned.

While there are several steps you can take to address the damage after a fire has occurred, the best solution is always prevention, and prevention requires awareness of possible hazards that could cause fires.

Below is a list of the most common causes of fires in homes:

  1. Heaters
  2. Clothing dryers
  3. Unattended stoves
  4. Electrical failures/overburdened electrical outlets

Should you experience a fire loss, SERVPRO of Lynchburg / Bedford & Campbell Counties has teams of professional and highly-trained technicians who specialize in fire-damage repair and recovery.

Fire, Smoke & Soot Cleanup

9/7/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Fire, Smoke & Soot Cleanup Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Lynchburg or Bedford Home.

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 of Lynchburg/Bedford & Campbell Counties will test 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. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, 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. 

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?  Call Us Today – 434-525-9559

Lynchburg, Bedford, & Campbell County Smoke/Soot Cleanup

9/19/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Lynchburg, Bedford, & Campbell County Smoke/Soot Cleanup Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Lynchburg, Bedford, or Campbell County Home.

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 of Lynchburg / Bedford and Campbell Counties will test 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. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, 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.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 434-525-9559

The American Red Cross Has This to Say About Kitchen Fires:

9/9/2015 (Permalink)

Fire Damage The American Red Cross Has This to Say About Kitchen Fires: Avoid Kitchen Fires with These Tips

The never-ending winter weather is keeping a lot of people stuck inside and that means more of us spending time in the kitchen cooking.

 

Did you know the kitchen is where more home fires occur than anywhere else in the house and that cooking is the number one cause of home fires? The American Red Cross has steps everyone can follow to avoid a cooking fire:

1. Never leave cooking food unattended – stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If you have to leave the kitchen, even for a second, turn off the stove.

2. Check your food regularly while cooking and remain in the home while cooking.

3. Use a timer so you’ll remember that the stove or oven is on.

4. Don’t wear loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.

5. Keep the kids away from the cooking area. Enforce a “kid-free zone” and make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.

6. Keep anything that can catch fire - pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from your stove, oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.

7. Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.

8. Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher to keep in your kitchen. Contact your local fire department to take training on the proper use of extinguishers.]

9. Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.

10. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.

 

To learn how to prevent a fire in your home and how to keep members of your household safe, you can take our cooking safety quiz and download the Red Cross Fire Prevention and Safety ChecklistDownloadable fact sheets are also available on how to avoid home heating fires, candle safety, proper use of smoke alarms and teaching your children what to do in the event of a fire