Recent Fire Damage Posts
Protect your pets from fire damage
Approximately 500,000 pets are affected by fires every year, according to the United States Fire Administration. Promote the safety of the people and animals in your home in the event of a fire emergency by planning ahead. From preventative caution to making an evacuation plan that includes pet safety, here are three pet preparation steps you can take today.
It's important to keep animals away from open flames such as candles. Make sure your candles are in a secure location that cannot be knocked over.
In the event of a fire, if your pets are not able to make it out of the house with you, let the responding firefighters know that. They will do everything they can to recover your animals from the home.
Make sure you have all your pets records in a secure place so they can be accessed in the event of a fire.
Pets are like family. Make sure they are apart of your fire evacuation plan.
The Facts About Cleaning Smoke Damage After a House Fire
The Facts About Cleaning Smoke Damage After a House Fire
Many homeowners think that they can clean-up smoke damage to their home after it has been burned in a fire. Unfortunately, that is never a good idea. Cleaning up smoke and soot damage requires professionals to do the job.
Bring in the Fire Damage Pros
First off, a house that has been burned in a fire is typically not safe to enter or spend time in. The integrity of walls and floors may have been damaged, along with other hazards. It’s important not to enter the home until professionals tell you it is safe to do so.
While you should not undertake trying to clean up smoke and soot damage from a house fire yourself, you should get the professionals into your as soon as possible. Ash and smoke, if left untreated, will cause corrosion, discoloration and a lingering powerful and offensive odor. Ash, specifically, will start causing damage and discoloration almost immediately and the damage may be permanent and irreversible. Anything that was made of plastic will begin discoloring within minutes. Metals will easily tarnish and corrode, and fiberglass will begin to yellow.
If you get fire damage restoration professionals in soon enough after a house fire, they can mitigate or eliminate the smoke and ash damage from the fire and prevent further damage to your property. Unfortunately, if you don’t get the pros in early, the damage becomes worse and worse and the costs to repair will begin to skyrocket within just a few weeks!
Know Who to Hire
Many companies claim to be fire damage restoration specialists, but they may not actually have the proper training and certification to do the job. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is the primary oversight agency for the industry. Companies recognized, registered and certified by the IICRC will have taken extensive coursework to earn their certification.
What a Trained and Certified Fire Damage Restoration Professional Does
A trained and certified fire damage restoration professional will first identify all affected materials and the source of odors, if possible. They will be extremely thorough. They will identify what can be salvaged and cleaned and what cannot be and must be completely replaced. They will then begin the clean-up process by removing built-up ash residue. Once the ash is cleaned, they can better identify the sources of odors, which they will treat with special detergents made to neutralize the odors. Once fire damaged materials are treated, they will be sealed to prevent future odors from emitting into your home.
If you or anyone you know is in need of smoke or fire damage restoration services.
We are here to help! Contact us today.
American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign
It’s time to spring forward! As people TURN their clocks forward one hour, the American Red Cross reminds everyone to TEST their smoke alarms.
This weekend is also a good time for everyone to take these lifesaving steps to help prepare households for home fires, the nation’s most frequent disaster:
- Check smoke alarms and replace batteries if needed. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half. Test smoke alarms once a month. Change the batteries at least once a year, if your model requires it. Place smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms, and sleeping areas.
- Create and practice your home fire escape plan. Fire experts agree that people may have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it’s too late. This weekend, create a home fire escape plan with your household and practice it until everyone can escape in less than two minutes. Escape plans should include at least two ways to escape from every room and a meeting spot at a safe distance away from your home, such as your neighbor’s home or landmark like a specific tree in your front yard, where everyone knows where to meet.
HOME FIRE CAMPAIGN SAVING LIVES
Each year, the Red Cross responds to more than 62,000 disasters—the vast majority of which are home fires. Every day, seven people die in home fires, and most tragedies occur in homes without working smoke alarms. That’s why the Red Cross launched the Home Fire Campaign with community partners in 2014 to reduce needless deaths and injuries.
So far, the Home Fire Campaign has reached more than 1.7 million people and is credited with saving more than 500 lives across the country. The campaign’s volunteers and partners have also:
- Installed more than 1.5 million free smoke alarms
- Reached more than 1.3 million children through youth preparedness programs
- Made more than 660,000 households safer from the threat of home fires
People can visit redcross.org/homefires for free resources and to learn more about how to protect themselves and their loved homes from fire, or contact their local Red Cross to find out about smoke alarm installation events in their community.
Getting Rid of Soot Odors after Fire Damage
Getting Rid of Soot Odors after Fire Damage
Any Cleveland homeowner who is unfortunate enough to face a house fire of any size knows that the lingering smell of soot is unpleasant. We at SERVPRO see this all the time in our work – even after restoration is complete and the affected area is thoroughly cleaned, the smell of soot often lingers and is very distressing for homeowners.
In some cases, the best way to remove smoke smells after fire damage is utilizing a piece of equipment called an ozone machine. Ozone machines are odor removal powerhouses. They are capable of removing even pungent soot odors and making a home smell fresh and clean once more.
There is only one drawback of ozone machines, and that is that we cannot use them in places where there are people, plants or pets. That means that they are not suitable for use in fire restoration situations where you are still living in your home during cleaning. However, if you have to move out for a few days during restoration, ozone is an ideal solution for post-fire smells.
Ozone is a naturally occurring gas. Ozone occurs after lightning strikes or during thunderstorms and is responsible for the fresh, clean smell you notice in the air after a storm passes.
Ozone is also known as nature’s deodorizer due to its ability to remove unpleasant smells. SERVPRO of Gateway uses it in fire restoration situations because it has a powerful deodorizing effect on lingering soot smells.
How does ozone act as a deodorizer? It is a straightforward process. Ozone is an unstable molecule, and it reacts quickly to other molecules when it comes into contact with them. The extra oxygen atom in the ozone binds to odor particles and destroys them. This chemical reaction takes the molecules apart and thus gets rid of the smell.
We train our certified technicians to apply ozone with due care and attention. We properly contain the affected area, and our team knows just how much ozone to apply for maximum effect.
Because ozone has a short life, your home is safe to inhabit very soon after the treatment is complete.
For situations where it seems impossible to get rid of that lingering smell, ozone is a powerful solution.
For help dealing with the cleanup after a fire, call SERVPRO of Gateway for help.
Let us handle the fire damage
Fires inside the home can be a terrifying ordeal. Flames, smoke, and ash can destroy many of your personal belongings and can also damage floors, carpets, and furniture inside the house. Once firefighters extinguish fires, dirt, debris, and strong smoke odors can remain inside the structure. We’re Faster to Any Size Disaster, which is why calling us can be helpful.
SERVPRO of Gateway professional fire damage teams in Cuyahoga County are certified and can restore your house if possible. The techs may employ fans, and top-grade air scrubbing and fogging equipment to eliminate heavy smoke odors fast. Plus, the crew can use industrial cleaning products to remove ash, soot, and debris from the affected surfaces such as your ceilings, counter-tops, walls, and floors. The team may also apply odor removal deodorants to remove smoke odors from materials affected by the flames such as upholstery, curtains, and carpeting.
In some cases, we may need to utilize portable ozone machine to get rid of offensive and lingering smoke odors. Ozone machines use activated oxygen to neutralize and eliminate strong smells and to purify the atmosphere inside the structure. If we employ this type of equipment, all occupants and any pets inside the structure must leave the house until the job is complete due to the strong chemicals. You can rely on us to make sure the air quality inside your home is safe when you return.
If necessary, the team can perform minor repairs to secure the structure such as boarding a window or door or covering and sealing a hole in the roof. Securing the home can help prevent human and wildlife intruders from invading your house. If significant repairs are necessary, SERVPRO we can do the repairs and restoration as well. The crew can also remove burned or charred contents from the structure like carpeting, tables, chairs, clothing, and drapes. The technicians can clean, sanitize and store any materials they remove from the house and keep them in a safe storage area on or off-site until the job is complete.
SERVPRO of Gateway offers fast and reliable fire damage restoration that can return your home to its preloss condition. Contact us at 216-575-1985 any time of the day or night. We are close by and here to help.
What to Do Until We Arrive During a Fire Damage
House fire damage
A fire can be devastating. It leaves behind soot, smoke damage and a host of other problems. Fire damages can affect ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting, and floors will often need thorough professional cleaning. If your home or business suffers a fire, it is important to take the appropriate steps to prevent further damage until your local SERVPRO of Gateway arrives. The following tips may help reduce damage and increase the chances of a successful restoration:
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet
- Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls, and woodwork. n Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery, and carpet traffic areas
- If electricity is off, empty freezer/ refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor
- Wipe soot from chrome kitchen/ bathroom faucets, trim and appliances, then protect these surfaces with a light coating of lubricant
- If heat is off during winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures
- Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system
Call SERVPRO of Gateway at 216-575-1985, if you've had a fire or would like to know how we can help in the event you do.
Ways to Prevent Fire Damage Part 1
Soot covered walls after a Christmas Eve grease fire.
With the holidays behind us hopefully everyone has put up their Christmas decorations. As homeowners it is essential to be mindful of the presence of fire hazards and to minimize the possibility of them causing a structure fire. A good example is keeping around a severely dehydrated, and highly flammable Christmas tree too long. SERVPRO of Gateway has compiled the following prevention tips for some areas in your home to help keep you and your loved ones safe from possible fire hazards throughout the new year.
In the kitchen:
• Avoid leaving cooking food unattended. If a grease fire occurs, use baking soda to extinguish it. NEVER use water on a grease fire. You can smother the fire in the pan by starving it of oxygen by placing a lid over it. Always supervise children that are cooking and educate on the dangers of fire and cooking appliances.
• Be aware of where you leave pot holders, dish towels, aprons and any cooking utensils.
• Ensure that electrical appliances are far from sinks, flames or hot plates
• Invest in carbon monoxide detector if your home does not already have one if you use natural gas for heating and cooking.
In living areas & bedrooms:
• Make your home a smoke free environment if possible, or at least ensure that cigars, cigarettes, and pipes are properly extinguished prior to disposal as they may continue to burn and may reignite.
• Recycle and replace appliances with damaged electrical cords
• Avoid running electrical wires or cords under the weight of heavy furniture and rugs
• If you feel that you often have to unplug an appliance to plug in another because your outlet is overloaded, reconsider spacing out appliances to other outlets
• Be aware that clothing or draperies do not rest atop lighting such as desk lamps.
Take a moment from your day to check the areas in your home and see if there are any possible fire hazards.
Check out our next blog for fire safety prevention tips for your bathrooms and garage from SERVPRO of Gateway.
Ways to Prevent Fire Damage Part 2
Fire damaged bathroom after a Christmas Eve grease fire.
In our previous blog SERVPRO of Gateway covered some fire safety tips for the kitchen, living areas, and bedrooms. Here you’ll find more suggestions on locating possible fire hazards that exist in your home and reminders of how to keep you and your loved ones safe from structure fires.
In the bathroom:
• Ensure that proper care is taken when using candles in a restroom for deodorizing and that they are snuffed out before you leave
• Use appropriate incense plates or burners; do not leave cones or sticks lying on counters, shelving or windowsills
• Turn off hair styling irons before you walk away from it and invest in fire resistant holders
• Do not use, or charge, electronic devices near you while you are showering or bathing
• Before leaving home turn off any wax or oil potpourri pots
In the garage/storage:
• Chemicals such as fuels, solvents, cleaning agents, thinners, adhesives, and paints could ignite or explode due to improper storage. Make sure you take time to organize chemicals and to properly store them, preferably away from the house if possible. Dispose of anything that is damaged or leaking.
• Do not use stoves or barbecue grills inside the garage; you could not only start a fire, but also die from carbon monoxide inhalation
• If fire extinguishers are present in the home, ensure that everyone knows its location and how to use it. We also recommend having a fire plan in place.
Now, this is not a comprehensive list by any means, but these tips should be covered with family and/or roommates so that everyone understands where fire hazards exist for everyone’s safety and well-being. SERVPRO of Gateway hopes you never have to experience the effects of a fire loss where you live, but we are here to help if you ever need our services. Call us 24 hours a day at 216-575-1985
Home Fire Escape Plan
Every second counts during a fire. Fire experts agree, people have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it’s too late to get out.
In a matter of moments, a small flame can become a major fire, making it critical to be prepared with an escape plan in place. A survey conducted by the American Red Cross shows only 26 percent of families have developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. Once a plan is developed, it is critical that everyone in the home understands the plan; the best way to do this is by practicing the escape plan at least twice a year. Increase your chance of surviving a fire by ensuring you have working smoke detectors in place, building an escape plan, and then practicing the escape plan. The following are a few steps to help you develop an emergency escape plan:
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 floors. 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 from your home where everyone can meet after they’ve escaped. Make sure to mark the meeting location 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. SERVPRO of Gateway wants you to stay safe and prepare now to ensure you are ready for any disaster.
Fire Damage Restoration Services
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 Gateway 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 SERVPRO of Gateway 216-575-1985
Dryer Vent Cleaning Importance
We all know to clean out the lint screen of our dryers, right? Did you know if you aren’t cleaning the lint out of the INSIDE and VENT of your dryer you are putting your family in danger of a house fire? Over time lint will build up and settle in the bottom of your dryer and in your dryer vent. If you don’t clean this out the heat from the dryer can ignite a fire inside your dryer. You know what the boy scouts say, “lint is the great to start a fire”.
Here is an experience from someone who recently had a fire in her dryer and was lucky enough it didn’t start her house on fire.
Counting our blessings today… Last night we smelled something "burning" right as we were going to bed. We thought it was our renters burning food or something in their oven. We had windows open and fans going but didn't really think much of it. Well this afternoon I went to get clothes out of the dryer, they smelled horrible!!! Like a cross between camp fire smoke and cigarette smoke. So I threw them back in the washer and told my husband. When he got home we pulled the bottom portion of the dryer off just to check things out. To our amazement (we haven't had this dryer THAT long - but bought it from someone else) there was burnt/singed lint everywhere. There had been a lint fire inside the bottom of our dryer last night. Our house seriously could have caught on fire. I'm so glad it didn't. Hence - we are counting our blessings today and I am spreading the word to all that you should go clean out under your lint catcher thing so your house doesn't start on fire!
Here are a few tips from www.familyhandyman.com on how to clean the lint out of your dryer.
Cleaning your dryer vents is so important when it comes to preventing fires. Call SERVPRO of Gateway today!
Commom causes of Fires in Homes
Here are top 5 most common causes of house fires as identified by the National Fire Protection Association.
From 2007-2011, the NFPA says there were an average of 10,630 fires in the U.S. that were started by candles, causing 115 deaths, 903 injuries and approximately $418 million in property damage. That is an average of 29 candle fires per day.
- Never leave a candle burning near flammable items.
- Never leave a candle burning in a child’s room or an unoccupied room.
- Make sure candles fit securing into candle holders so they won’t tip over.
- Blow out any candles before leaving a room or going to sleep
While the number of fires caused by smoking is trending downward, the NFPA found that there were still an average of 17,600 related fires per year resulting in 490 deaths and more than $516 million in property damage.
- If you smoke, consider smoking outside.
- Use wide, sturdy ashtrays to catch butts and ashes.
- Look for cigarette butts under furniture and between seat cushions to make sure no lit butts have fallen someplace where they can’t be seen.
- Don’t smoke in bed, when you’re tired or around medical oxygen.
- Electrical & Lighting
According to the NFPA, in 2011 approximately 47,700 home structure fires were caused by some sort of electrical failure or malfunction. These resulted in 418 deaths, 1,570 injuries and $1.4 billion in property damage.
- Don’t overload outlets or electrical cords.
- Make sure you have the right cord for the job – inside cords for inside, heavy duty/outside cords for outdoor use.
- Don’t leave Christmas lights, Christmas trees, or halogen lights on overnight or when not at home.
- Consider having an electrician perform an annual checkup of your home’s wiring.
- Dryers & Washing Machines
Clothes dryer fires happen more often than one might think, accounting for 16,800 home structure fires in 2010 and doing more than $236 million in property damage.
- Clean the lint screen frequently and don’t run the dryer without it.
- For gas and propane dryers, make sure there aren’t any leaks in the lines.
- Vent the dryer to the outside of the house and ensure nothing blocks the vent pipe.
- Clean the vent pipe and the area where the screen is housed.
- Keep the area around the dryer free of combustible materials.
How to Prevent Electrical fires
Electrical fires cause millions of dollars in damages, while also claiming lives in the process. There are so many possible causes for these types of fires. One of these causes can be faulty wiring through out the house, and overloading connection for more than they were designed for. Improper use of extension cords and power strips can cause a situation. Even something as simple as small animals chewing through wiring in the wall can cause a fire.
You can prevent electrical fires in the home by following a few safety tips. When purchasing a used heating appliance, make sure the temperature switch will shut down the equipment if the thermostat fails. When doing duct work, make sure you use a licensed professional. Anywhere there is an electric current, there is a chance of a fire. By the time you see or smell smoke, the electrical fire may already be out of control. SERVPRO of Gateway wants you to stay safe and take action immediately to repair and replace faulty wiring in your home to reduce the risk of an unwarranted situation. Know the signs before the fire even starts. Call 1-800-933-7179
Removal of Soot
Whether you operate a single facility or hundreds of commercial properties nationwide, a fire damage requires prompt action to reduce losses and costly down time. Who can you trust to provide dependable services and information?
Soot Removal. Our technicians are highly trained and certified in smoke and soot removal. Pictured is our Fire Damage Supervisor using a special sponge designed to pull smoke and soot off surfaces. This is the dry cleaning portion of removal. Next, depending on the surface (paint/wood/fabric type) we would wet clean the surface using SERVPRO grade chemicals. For the rest of the space odor removal and air purification systems would be put in place.
Our technicians respond quickly, providing a full line of cleaning and mitigation services to help ensure faster recovery. We utilize technology designed specifically to provide you and your insurance company with quick. dependable information necessary to make more informed decisions faster, saving both time and money.