Recent Fire Damage Posts
Thanksgiving Safety Tips - Pandemic Edition
Wishing you and your family a safe Thanksgiving!
Last Thanksgiving was weird enough. But let's talk about this year. Thanksgiving still isn't the same, but at least we can feel some relief from the progression in combating COVID-19. Though things are looking more hopeful, we should still keep up the good work of cleanliness.
With festivities around the corner, we here at SERVPRO of Cenreville, Marion & Selma want to share what YOU need to know to keep your family safe this year. We also want to share the other major safety hazard... house fires. House fires can begin in an instant, normally because cooking is left unattended in the kitchen.
Wonder what you can do to stay safe and keep your kitchen under control? Follow these simple safety tips on preventing fires. In addition, due to widespread fear on the pandemic we have also included some safety tips to help prevent the spread of the virus.
Fire Safety Tips
- Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stove top so you can keep an eye on the food.
- Stay in the kitchen when cooking and check on frequently on your dishes.
- Keep children away from the stove by at least 3 feet.
- Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
- Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
COVID-19 Safety Tips
- Save the fine china. Disposable utensils/cups/plates not only keeps germs from piling in your sink, but also less cleanup afterwards.
- Keep two trashcans out to help prevent germy trash laying around.
- Have germ-x available at your entrance and the beginning of the food line.
- Avoid crowding around in the kitchen or any other food-preparation areas.
- Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets.
- If the weather is right, why not put up tables and eat outside?
- If that's not an option, bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors to allow circulation.
- Ideally, we suggest keeping your guest list minimal.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
- Call us to aid your cleaning needs!
We are here for all of your cleanup and fire restoration needs. Make sure that you're practicing fire safety this Holiday season and exercising precaution with company this year.
Backyard Fire Pit Safety Tips
Cooler Weather is Here
Here in Centreville, AL its a tradition to enjoy the cooler nights outside around a homemade fire pit! Many of us are looking forward to spending time gathering around them to enjoy time with family and friends. Before you start dreaming of moonlit nights and toasted marshmallows, take a moment to check out some of these tips from Allstate to remember.
Tips & Tricks:
- Whether you prefer a built-in or portable fire pit, choose one that is not too large for the area. The pit should be a minimum of 10 feet away from any structures or combustible materials as well as away from trees, fences, sheds, power lines, and telephone wires.
- Make sure that the seating area is large enough and properly placed for comfort and ventilation.
- Check wind direction before lighting a fire.
- Don’t use flammable fluids (gasoline, lighter fluid, etc.) to light or relight fires.
- To start the fire, use a lighter to ignite crumpled pieces of paper covered with small sticks. Then, add larger sticks and a log or two to keep it burning.
- Burn only dry material. Damp material will create excess smoke.
- Don’t wear flammable clothing (like nylon) or any loose-fitting clothing.
- Never leave the fire unattended, and keep pets and children far away from the fire as they will be attracted to it.
- Keep a fire extinguisher, garden hose, or bucket of water nearby.
- As the fire dies down, use a shovel and spread out the ashes to allow them to cool down. Then slowly pour water over those ashes and watch them closely to be sure that no burning embers remain or reignite. Put the cooled ashes in a specially designated ash storage metal can.
Fire & Smoke Deodorization
Aftermath: Foul Oder
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.
Our dedicated SERVPRO of Centreville, Marion, and Selma technicians are certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration (IICRC). SERVPRO also provides specialized services that can rid your home or business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. We don't cover up lingering odors with a fragrance; we seek out and remove the odor from the source.
Grease Fire Awareness
Cooking Oil Gone Wrong
Be prepared for the worst. If your oil catches on fire, here's what to do:
• Turn the Heat Off - Don't try to move the pot. You might accidentally splash yourself or your kitchen with burning oil. And that would be bad.
• Cover the Pot with a Metal Lid - Fire cannot exist in the absence of oxygen. With the lid on (and the heat off), the fire should quickly consume all the oxygen and put itself out. Use a metal lid since glass will shatter.
• Pour on Baking Soda - Baking soda will extinguish grease fires, but only if they're small. It takes a lot of baking soda to do the job.
• Spray the Pot with a Class B Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher - This is your last resort, as fire extinguishers will contaminate your kitchen. Still, it's better than the alternative if the fire is getting out of control.
• Get Out and Call 911 - If the fire does break out of control, don't try to be a hero. Get out and find a phone to call 911.
Whatever you do, don't do the following:
• Do Not Use Water - Pouring water can cause the oil to splash and spread the fire. The vaporizing water can also carry grease particles in it, also spreading the fire.
• Do Not Move the Pot or Carry It Outside - Throwing the pot outside might seem logical in the frenzy of the moment. But trying to move the pot might splash burning oil on you, your home, and anything outside.
• Do Not Throw Any Other Baking Product On the Fire - Flour might look like baking soda, but it won't react the same. Only baking soda can help put out a grease fire.
Make Your Home Safer for the Family
10 Tips to Make Your Home Safer Against Fires
Fires cause tragedies. Imagine your home (wether in Centreville, Marion or Selma areas) being ravaged by a raging fire. To think about the reality of it is scary, but it can help you to start thinking about prevention. We don't want you or your family to ever experience such a loss, but it is wise to prepare your home in the event of future disasters.
Join us in having peace-of-mind regarding fire safety in your home:
1. Smoke alarms: Test smoke alarms monthly and replace batteries annually.
2. Prepare children: Teach fire preparation to children, including the dangers of fire. Make sure they know the proper use of 911 for emergencies. Keep matches and lighters out of their reach.
3. Plan where to go: Create an escape plan and make sure everyone in the household is aware of it. Choose an outside meeting spot for all family members to gather upon escaping. Conduct practice drills at least twice a year.
4. Share contact information: Make sure all household members know who to contact in the event that they cannot find each other during a home fire.
5. Educate on proper techniques: Teach everyone in the household to stop, drop and roll in the event their clothes catch on fire.
6. Take action if you smoke: Smokers should take extra precautions, as many residential fire deaths are caused by smoking materials. Avoid smoking in bed, especially while sleepy or medicated. It is better to smoke outside.
7. Handle heaters: Portable heaters should be turned off when not in use.
8. Take care of candles: Candles should be extinguished when not in use, and never left unattended.
9. Store other sources of light: Speaking of candles, consider using flashlights during a power outage instead of candles.
10. Examine the home for other fire hazards: Check the electrical wiring and home heating sources to make sure they are safe
Grilling Safety — How to Stay Fire-Free
To make sure you have a safe grilling season, we will provide a list of safety precautions, such as how to check your gas lines before you start grilling and where to place your grill. Grilling is supposed to be fun and relaxing. Don't let one grilling mistake ruin your summer!
General grilling tips:
- Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
- The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under leaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
- Never leave your grill unattended.
Before you use your grill:
Check the major connection points between the gas (propane) tank hose and the regulator and cylinder, and where the hose connects to the burners. Tighten if loose.
- Check the gas (propane) tank hose for potential gas leaks. To do that:
- Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose using a brush or spray bottle.
- Turn the propane tank on. If there is a gas leak, the propane will release bubbles around the hose (big enough to see).
- If there are no bubbles, your grill is safe to use.
- If there are bubbles, turn off the tank and check connections If the leaks continue, then have your grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
- If the leak doesn’t stop, call the fire department immediately.
When the grill is on:
- As you are cooking, if you smell gas, turn off the gas tank and burners.
- If the leak stops immediately, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
- If the smell continues, move away from the grill and call the fire department immediately. Do not move the grill.
- There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
- If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire once it starts burning.
- Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
- There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use an open flame. Be sure to use an extension cord rated for outdoor use.
- When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.
We wish you a safe and happy grilling season!
Local Fire Restoration
After a Fire
A fire damage can be more involved than you may realize. Smoky residue saturates every opening because of the convection pattern that flames typically form during ignition. The soot constructs up in layers that may end up being solidified and tough to eliminate which is another reason to leave the cleaning to a specialist.
When the cleaning teams arrive, they promptly different salvageable items from charred debris, taking the things creating the strongest odors out for cleaning.
Following a fire, wall surface areas can be harmed by soot. Non-water based cleaners need to be used to remove soot from walls. These kinds of chemicals should be handled by a specialist due to the fumes and toxicity. Water-based cleaning items can cause spots to bleed into plaster walls, which is why a trained specialist should be left to deal with these chemicals.
"What could possibly happen if I do it myself?"
A professional restoration team reduces the after-effects a blaze can have on the health of those who return in. If a homeowner does not have the property restored by a professional, the results can be found later on down the line. To an untrained eye, they might believe the issue has been fixed. Homeowners who do it themselves may experience the remaining impacts of indoor air pollution for numerous months later on, which could also form an increased respiratory discomfort.
We are trained to help remove your belongings as well as cleaning and storing them until your property has been restored to its original condition. We want to save as much as possible.
"Like it never even happened."
What Alabama areas are taken care of by SERVPRO of Centreville, Marion & Selma? We cover more than our franchise name. We take pride in taking care of our local counties, as you can find towards the bottom of our homepage.
We are more than just a business. We are part of our community. Several times a day we help people over the phone, whether it be a carpet cleaning question or tips regarding their concerns.
Fire Extinguishers: The Step By Step
Fire Extinguishers– Gotta Have 'Em & Gotta Know How to Use 'Em
Portable fire extinguishers are life and property saving tools when used correctly. Before an accident occurs, it's seriously beneficial to read the instructions on the fire extinguisher and become familiar with them before a fire breaks out.
In order to operate an extinguisher, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests remembering the word PASS:
Pull the pin. Hold the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.
Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
It is always a good idea to show everyone in your household how to use a fire extinguisher in case of fire. Idea: set up an area outside for the kids to practice on. It goes without saying but, fires are unpredictable. If more than one person knows how to use an extinguisher, you could save yourself from excessive damage to your home or better yet— save a life.
Winter Safety Tips
No one likes to be cold! Portable electric space heaters can be a convenient source of supplemental heat for your home or work place during cold weather. Unfortunately, they can pose significant fire and electric shock hazards if not used properly.
How to keep your home safe and warm:
- Make sure your space heater has the label showing that it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory.
- Before using any space heater, read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels carefully.
- Inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections before each use. If frayed, worn or damaged, do not use the heater.
- Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when you're leaving a room or going to sleep, and don't let pets or children play too close to a space heater.
- Space heaters are only meant to provide supplemental heat and should never be used to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothing or thaw pipes.
- Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home and outside all sleeping areas and test them once a month.
- Proper placement of space heaters is critical. Heaters must be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including papers, clothing and rugs.
- Locate space heaters out of high traffic areas and doorways where they may pose a tripping hazard.
- Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord or power strip, which could overheat and result in a fire. Do not plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater.
- Place space heaters on level, flat surfaces. Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture, or carpet, which can overheat and start a fire.
- Always unplug and safely store the heater when it is not in use.
Fire Damages in the Winter
- Never leave the kitchen or hot appliances unattended while cooking.
- Keep paper products, towels, potholders and other flammable materials away from the stove.
- Clean your stove and oven often to avoid grease build up.
- Keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from the stove while food is being prepared.
- Be sure to extinguish all candles before heading to bed at night.
- Never leave the room with any candles burning.
- Candles should be placed at a minimum of three feet from combustible materials such as your Christmas tree and/or decorations, curtains, blankets, etc
- There are a variety of flameless scent options available on the market today, such as: wax warmers, oil diffusers and plug in air fresheners.
- The warmth of your home may be tempting to smoke in during cold weather, but avoid smoking indoors at all costs. Most deaths result from fires that started in living rooms, family rooms and dens or in bedrooms.
- Keep cigarettes, lighters, matches and other smoking materials away from children, either high out of reach or locked in a cabinet.
- Always use a sturdy, deep ashtray to put out smoking materials. Never discard your cigarette in vegetation such as plants, peat moss, mulch or anything else that can ignite easily.
- Before you toss butts and ashes, ensure they are completely out. Douse them with water or sand to be certain.
- Never use lit candles to decorate your tree.
- Replace any string of lights that has loose bulb connections, frayed wires or a worn appearance with a new strand. Read the manufacturers instructions for how many light strands you can connect. Overloading your outlet and/or power strip can be very dangerous.
- Always turn Christmas lights off before you leave the house and before heading off to bed.
Dryers & Washing Machines
- Clean lint filters every time you use the dryer.
- You should also have your dryer vent and ductwork professionally cleaned once a year.
- In the interim of those cleanings, frequently check your vents and ductwork to ensure nothing is getting backed up. Make sure someone is home and awake while the cycle is going.
If using a real tree, be sure to choose one with fresh, green needles that don’t fall off when touched.Cut 2” off the trunk before you place it on the stand. Add water to your tree daily to ensure the needles don’t dry out, real trees are extremely flammable when dry.
As with other combustibles, keep your tree three feet away from any heat sources like radiators, fireplaces, heat vents, etc. Make sure your tree isn’t blocking an exit out of the home, like a hallway or door.
A clean clothes dryer reduces your chance of fire
According to the National Fire Protection Agency, between 2010-2014 US fire departments responded to an estimated 15,970 fires each year involving clothes dryers and washing machines. Clothes dryers accounted for 92% of those fires, washing machines and washer dryer combinations accounted for the remainder.
Doing laundry is most likely part of your everyday routine. But did you know how important taking care of your clothes dryer is to the safety of your home? Failure to clean dryers is the leading cause of home clothes dryer fires. With a few simple safety tips, you can help prevent a clothes dryer fire.
- Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
- Do not use the dryer without a lint filter.
- Make sure you clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry. Remove lint that has collected around the drum.
- Rigid or flexible metal venting material should be used to sustain proper air flow and drying time.
- Make sure the air exhaust vent pipe is not restricted and the outdoor vent flap will open when the dryer is operating. Once a year, or more often if you notice that it is taking longer than normal for your clothes to dry, clean lint out of the vent pipe or have a dryer lint removal service do it for you.
- Keep dryers in good working order. Gas dryers should be inspected by a qualified professional to make sure that the gas line and connection are intact and free of leaks.
- Make sure the right plug and outlet are used and that the machine is connected properly.
- Follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions and don’t overload your dryer.
- Turn the dryer off if you leave home or when you go to bed.
And don’t forget…
Dryers should be properly grounded. Check the outdoor vent flap to make sure it is not covered by anything. Keep the area around your dryer clear of things that can burn, like boxes, cleaning supplies and clothing, etc. Clothes that have come in contact with flammable substances, like gasoline, paint thinner, or similar solvents should be laid outside to dry, then can be washed and dried as usual.
If you experience smoke or fire damage in your home or business anywhere in The Blackbelt area, call SERVPRO of Centreville, Marion, and Selma at 205-926-6010 to clean and restore you to preloss condition. We have highly trained technicians and top of line equipment to help clean and repair your fire loss, no matter how large or small
Teaching children what to do in a fire.
In 2014, there were an estimated 367,500 reported home structure fires and 2,745 associated civilian deaths. In the United States Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as one or two minutes to escape safely once the alarm sounds. A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound. Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors. Also, mark the location of each smoke alarm. Make sure to have a meeting location outside the home.
Kitchen fires are more common than we think, more than 166,100 house fires are responded to by U.S. fire departments each year.
Some Safety tips:
1. Always keep one or more fire extinguishers in your home, one in the kitchen, and one in your storage areas, pantry, or laundry room.
2. Never have any oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.
3. Place smoke alarms all throughout your house to always know when a fire is in your home.
4. If a fire occurs in your home GET OUT, STAY OUT, and CALL FOR HELP.
Once the fire is put call SERVPRO of Centreville, Marion, and Selma to help take the cleaning out of your hands. 205-926-6010
how to use: a fire place
STEP 1: Stay Safe
Before bringing out the lighter, it’s vital to understand safety precautions for using a fireplace. First, always double-check that your fire extinguisher, smoke detector, and carbon monoxide detector are each in working order (check those batteries!). Remove anything flammable within three feet of the fireplace in case stray sparks escape the hearth, and use a fireplace screen as well. Make sure the flue isn’t blocked by obstructions like an animal’s nest, especially if this is your first time using the fireplace. If the system hasn’t been recently inspected, hire a chimney sweep certified by the Chimney Safety institute of America (CSIA) to do the job.
STEP 2: Gather the Kindling
Gather kindling in a variety of sizes (small, medium, and large) for the proper fire-building technique that is outlined below. To emit less smoke and soot, make sure the wood is dry, well-seasoned, and split a minimum of six months ago. You can choose either hardwood or softwood for the fire; while hardwoods like oak or maple burn longer and create more sustained heat, softwoods like cedar or pine start fires easier because they ignite quickly. Whatever you don’t use can return to the firewood rack, best stored outdoors in an elevated and covered location.
Note: Never burn trash, plastic, painted materials, or anything with chemical treatment like scraps of pressure-treated wood—these materials can release harmful chemicals into your home.
STEP 3: Open the Damper
The damper is a movable plate inside the flue. When opened, it allows the smoke and ash to travel safely up the chimney. If you start a fire with a closed damper, however, the smoke will have no escape route and circle back into the house.
Adjust the damper as needed with the handle located inside of the chimney. It will move either front to back, left to right, or in a clockwise or counterclockwise rotation. Check to make sure you opened it properly by sticking your head in the flue and looking upwards, using a flashlight if necessary. You should see up the flue without any obstructions if the damper is open; a closed damper will block your view entirely.
STEP 4: Prime the Flue
Now, gauge the temperature. If you feel a rush of cold air (which usually occurs if the chimney is built on the outside of the house), then you need to prime the flue—in order words, you need to preheat it. Otherwise, the cold draft may cause smoke to blow into the room. Light a roll of newspaper and hold it against the open damper to send warm air into the flue. The draft should reverse after a few minutes, making your fireplace ready for action.
STEP 5: Build the Fire
While there are multiple ways to build a fire, the CSIA recommends the top-down method, which produces less smoke and requires less tending. Start by donning thick fireplace gloves and grabbing a metal poker. Position large pieces of wood in the bottom of the fireplace in one row, perpendicular to the opening of the fireplace. Next, take mid-sized pieces of wood, and stack four or five rows on top of the base layer in alternating directions. Make sure the stack takes up no more than half the height of your fireplace. Now add your smallest pieces of wood, making sure these pieces are very dry. The tiniest bits (which can take the form of wood shavings or bunched-up newspapers) should be at the very top.
Light the top of the stack with a single match. The fire should travel down, igniting the pieces underneath without prompting. Let the fire burn for as long as you’d like. Don’t close the damper until the fire is completely out and all the embers have stopped burning.
STEP 6: Clean the Ashes
The CSIA says you can leave a bed of ashes between one to two inches in the fireplace as an insulating layer, which helps the next fire to burn. But when you need to dispose of ashes, proceed with caution. Coals may take several hours or several days to completely cool, and ash could still be burning during that time. Using a metal shovel, scoop ashes into a metal container with a tight-fitting lid. Store the container outdoors away from the house, and not in trash cansor on decks.
Following these steps could avoid a major fire damage.
safety during the holidays
For many people November is a time to enjoy cooler temperatures, beautifully colored leaves and family oriented get togethers, like Thanksgiving. While you are busy whipping up delicious dishes, it is also important to take time to remember safety.
Cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires and home fire-related injuries in the United States. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) reports U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 357,000 home structure fires each year. 45% of these fires are attributed to home cooking fires. These fires are also responsible for thousands of injuries and more than $6.9 billion in property damage each year.
Please remember to be as safe as possible and take precautions during the upcoming holiday season.
Fire damage in your home
Fire damage in your home can be a stressful event. Damage to your personal belongings and home are just some of the concerns you may experience. Timely response and thorough mitigation can alleviate these concerns. The first 24 hours can make the difference between restoring versus replacing your property and personal belongings. Our 1-4-8 Service Response Guidelines can help prevent fire damage from creating long-term problems.
We provide timely response with mitigation services ranging from fire, smoke and soot removal to contents claim inventory and document restoration. These services help ensure your property, belongings and memories are restored to preloss condition when possible.
What you can do until help arrives:
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from spreading and additional damage from occurring
- Place clean towels or old linens on rugs and high traffic areas and upholstery
- Coat chrome faucets, trim and appliances with petroleum jelly or oil
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpet
- Wash any walls or painted surfaces
- Shampoo carpets or upholstery
- Clean any electrical equipment
- Send clothing to dry cleaner since improper cleaning may set smoke odor
SERVPRO of Centreville, Marion, and Selma understands your home is more than four walls. Your home includes your memories and personal belongings. We are trained in caring for both you and your home. By responding quickly with a full line of fire cleanup and restoration services, SERVPRO of Centreville, Marion, and Selma can help you restore your home and personal belongings.
Before you risk doing further damage by attempting to clean up the damage yourself, call SERVPRO of Centreville, Marion, and Selma, the fire damage cleanup and restoration professionals at 205-926-6010.
Extension cord safety
Every year around 3,330 homes fires are caused by extension cords. This results in about 50 deaths and over 250 injuries. These fires start when extension cords overheat when they are not used properly. Keep these tips in mind to help prevent extension cord fires.
- Do not overload extension cords with plugs.
- Check that they are not damaged. There should be no frayed sockets, loose wires, bare wires, and no cracks.
- Do not run cords through walls or ceilings. If the cord is covered the heat cannot escape and result in a fire.
- Never force a fit by cutting off parts from a three-prong plug to fit into a two-slot outlet.
- Make sure the extension cords are used for their intended purpose such as indoor or outdoor use.
- Do not use a power strip with heaters or fans because they can over heat.
Your home is filled with electric powered items so always be sure to use proper extension cord safety
Fireplace safety in your home
- 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.
Dealing with Smoke and Soot
Fire damage to kitchen
It's devastating to experience the chaos of a fire in your home. Not only is it difficult to deal with the loss, but the clean up too. If it is a small isolated fire, getting the area cleaned and repaired should be a priority.
The first thing to consider is the ash and smoke damage that occurred. These can lead to corrosion, discoloration and unpleasant odor. Getting ash and smoke cleaned up immediately will prevent any of these from leading to an even larger problem.
Take action and follow these steps if you find yourself handling the aftermath of a house fire.
1. Contact your insurance company.
2. Contact your local fire restoration company - SERVPRO of Centreville ,Marion and Selma
3. Take photographs of the damage.
4. Keep a record of all conversations with your insurance company.
5. Make a list of everything you lost or that was destroyed.
6. We can help guide you to someone to find a place for you and your family to stay while your restoration company cleans up your property.
So remember these steps for the next time you or a loved one is handling the aftermath of a house fire.