Recent Fire Damage Posts
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.
10 Tips To Make Your Home Safer From Fires
It’s an unfortunate tragedy. Your home in Bibb county, AL has been ravaged by a raging fire. A restoration company has come to the rescue to return your home back to its prior condition. Hopefully you will never experience such loss again, but it is wise to prepare your home in the event of future disasters. Even if your home has never been devastated by a fire, the following fire preparation tips can prove beneficial in giving you greater 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
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
Easy steps to use fire extinguishers
Easy to use fire extinguisher!
Portable fire extinguishers can be life and property saving tools when used correctly. 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. You never know when or where the fire will start and having more than one person know how to use an extinguisher could save you from excessive damage to your home or save a life.
Safe grilling tips
Grilling season has finally arrived!
The weather is getting nicer, and the urge to grill is getting stronger. 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.
By following these steps this will help you have a safe and happy grilling season.
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.