Recent Fire Damage Posts
Dalmatians As Fire Dogs
The breed's evolution to fire dog began as early as the mid 1700"s. They were used as stable guards and they also ran with the carriages to guard whatever was in the carriage, whether it was passengers or goods. The Dalmatians served as stable and carriage guards because they are unequaled as a companion. He can be broken as a pointer, he will even run a rabbit if need be. He will follow his master all day on foot, or after a carriage, and will be interested in everything going on. There is also a theory that their role developed from the breed's notable affinity towards horses. The ongoing curiosity about Dalmatians even led to a Harvard study to understand how the dogs were drawn to their coach positions. Certain dogs would automatically gravitate toward certain positions, whether it was the back or right under the horse. Dalmatians are natural born "fire dogs".
Pets And Fire Safety in the Home
Every year, 500,000 pets suffer from smoke inhalation and 40,000 lose their lives in home fires. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that nearly 1,000 home fires each year are started by family pets. As many pet parents know first hand, pets may become unsettled or anxious once a smoke alarm sounds, hiding rather than exiting. Pets who are already prone to anxiety when a smoke alarm sounds may become even more so when their owners are not at home. There are some simple safety tips that can make a big impact in protecting your family and pets. Like with human children, homes most often require pet proofing. Stove knobs and hot appliances can be knocked over or turned on by curious pets. Never leave a lit candle within reach of a pet. Consider attaching a decal to a window near entrances to let rescuers know how many animals are inside. Make sure to include your pets in your fire escape plan. Stay aware of their typical hiding spots and where they often nap in case you must evacuate quickly. And finally, when you leave home, consider confining them to a certain area to make it easier for first responders to remove them quickly.
Pets & Carbon Monoxide
According to a recent survey, 53 percent of pet owner's in the US aren't confident they could identify the symptoms of CO poisoning in their pets. If you suspect your pet may be experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning, remove them from the environment immediately and contact your vet. They can perform a CO toxicity evaluation which is done through a blood test. And make sure to save contact information for your veterinarian in a place where you and other family members can easily access it. Also, be sure your pet's microchip information is current in case you become separated in an emergency. Here is a short list of symptoms that may indicate that your pet has CO poisoning: nausea, vomiting, labored or difficulty breathing, sleepiness or lethargy, uncoordinated movement, disturbances in gait, seizures, heart arrhythmia, coughing, deafness, blindness, and coma. Purchase CO alarms! Consider installing more than one alarm on each level of your home. Pay careful attention to rooms where you and your family spend a great deal of time including living areas, bedrooms and hallways.
How A House Fire Spreads
It only takes 30 seconds for a small flame to turn into a full-blown life-threatening fire. According to Glenn Gaines, the Deputy US Fire Administrator, fires kill more Americans each year than all natural disasters in the United States combined. And even if individuals are spared, fire can cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage - up to $50,000 to rebuild a kitchen engulfed in flames.
What's most alarming is that home fires have become more dangerous and devastating recently because of the flammability of the materials in the house. Thirty years ago, you had an average of about 14 to 17 minutes to escape a house fire. Now, occupants have roughly 2 to 3 minutes to get out. Fire testing conducted by UL has found a home with mostly synthetic-based furnishings can be entirely engulfed in less than 4 minutes.
Kitchen Fire: Ignition
Since cooking fires account for almost half (44 percent) of all home fires, stovetop cooking can be one of the most dangerous. A few seconds is all it takes for a pot or pan to boil over a rim, spilling flammable oil-laden contents directly onto the flames. The flashpoint of many common cooking oils is around 600 degrees F, but when gas or electric burners are placed on high, temperatures can approach 1000 degrees F.
Within seconds of a flame-up, fire easily spreads. Spattered grease or oil residue on a dirty stovetop will ignite, causing flames to travel across the range. Oil residue on cooking utensils also ignite, and other combustibles like paper towels, paper or cardboard packaging, and dry dish towels nearby will begin to smolder and burn. Smoke - a deadly cocktail of hot gases, including carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, water vapor, hydrogen sulfate and unburned hydrocarbons (ash or soot)- rises up off the flames with the heated air.
And the Fire Continues To Burn, Part 1
As the fire grows hotter and hotter, more flammable objects and furnishings will ignite from spreading flames, including wooden cabinets and countertops, wallpaper, hanging baskets, and curtains. With the fire moving beyond the stovetop and other areas beginning to burn, a dense plume of hot air and smoke rises and spreads across the ceiling. If you're still in the room, this hot, smoky air can instantly burn the inside of your breathing passages. Plus, fires generate highly poisonous gases, including carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide (created when insulation, carpets, clothing, and plastics burn). Just two or three breaths of it and you could pass out.
As the flames intensify, the smoke and hot air rising off the fire are more than 190 degrees F. Heat from the fire radiates to other parts of the kitchen, heating up tables, chairs, shelves, and cookbooks.
And the Fire Continues To Burn- Part 2
The fire consumes kitchen cabinets, wood countertops and shelves stocked with plastic storage containers and dry goods like cardboard boxes of cereal, crackers, and cookies. More and more heat is generated. The temperature in the upper layer of hot gases rises to 400 degrees F-hot enough to kill people. Compounding the heat is a very dense smoke cloud hovering just a few feet above the floor. It may also include more toxic components like arsenic (used as a wood preservative) and lead (from old paint) as well as irritants like ammonia, oxides of nitrogen, hydrogen chloride and isocyanates.
The fire can now spread by two paths: direct flame contact or by auto-ignition, the temperature at which objects will spontaneously burst into flames without being touched by flames. The auto-ignition temperatures of hard and soft wood used in furnishings and home construction fall between 595 degrees F to 739 degrees F.
In just 3.5 minutes, the heat from a room fire can reach 1100 degrees F. As this happens, flashover occurs. Everything in the room bursts into flames- wood dining table, wood and upholstered chairs, cookbooks, curtains, and wall decorations. The oxygen in the room is virtually sucked out (used up during the rapid combustion); glass windows shatter. Balls of fire and flames shoot out windows and doorways. The upstairs fills with thick, hot, noxious smoke and the stairwell is impassible. When you have a flashover in a room, temperatures can reach up to 1,400 degrees F- now, all the other rooms in the house are severely at risk.
Flames pour through the doorway into the neighboring living room, setting the carpet and upholstered furniture on fire. Synthetics like polyurethane and polyester foam in sofas, pillows, an carpets release tremendous amounts of heat.
The Aftermath of a House Fire
Extensive property damage extends to the entire house. Even in rooms untouched by flames, high heat has softened window glass, melted plastic, caused paint to blister and charred wood. Most appliances are a combination of metal and plastic, so even if they are still standing, chances are they are ruined, with innards melted and destroyed beyond repair. And after flames are extinguished danger still lurks: many of the burned or metal plastics and synthetic materials in your home will continue to off-gas toxins. It is unsafe for anyone to enter the structure. Likewise, unseen weaknesses in the structure may still cause collapse.
Firefighter's, on average, use nearly 3,000 gallons of water on a house fire. Firefighters may also vent off hot smoke and gases either by breaking upstairs windows or cutting a hole in the roof. They may also use dry chemicals to retard fir spread and extinguish flames.
The High Point Fire Department was officially organized in 1890 as a volunteer membership, which was the beginning of a long tradition of service for High Point. The first paid firefighters for High Point operated from a residence. Mrs. Fuller's residence on Trade Street was where the fire horse was kept and cared for.
In 1915 the first motorized apparatus was purchased, a Studebaker hose wagon. This spurred great growth within HPFD, which rapidly continued to expand and grow. The Department is now 14 fire stations in size, employing 234 personnel, with more than 40 pieces of apparatus. Service to the city is the driving force of HPFD and the motto denoted this by saying, "Safety, Commitment, Excellence since 1890."
SERVPRO of High Point has worked with the HPFD over the years to the betterment of the community.
Fire Explorers Post 434
Exploring is Learning for Life's career education program for young men and women who are at least 14 years old (and completed 8th grade) and not yet 21 years old. Fire and Emergency Service Exploring is a hands on program that exposes participants to many career experiences, leadership opportunities and community service activities. HPFD Explorer Post 434 is designed to instill the importance of teamwork. accountability and ethics in young men and women who become part of the explorer post. The goal of this explorer post is to be representative of the great city of High Point by involving a cross section of demographics and socio-economic status. Fire Explorers are always looking for enthusiastic and motivated teens to join their program. It could be a game changer for some at risk youths.
Sounds of Fire Safety
National Fire Protection Week is October 3-9, 2021.
This year's theme, "Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety"
will draw public attention to the different sounds that modern smoke and carbon monoxide alarms make, and what actions we should take when we hear them.
According to the National Fire Protection Agency report, working smoke alarms reduce the risk of dying in a fire by more than half. The same report entitled "Smoke Alarms in the US" stated 41% of household fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarm or 16% in homes with alarms that failed to activate.
The key points of "Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety" include: !) Respond immediately to smoke or carbon monoxide alarm sound by exiting the home. 2) If your alarm begins to chirp, it means the batteries need to be replaced or the alarm replaced altogether. 3) Test all smoke and CO alarms on a monthly basis. 4) Install a bed shaker and strobe light alarms if someone in your household is deaf or hard of hearing. 5)Know the difference between the sound of a stroke alarm and a CO alarm - three beeps for smoke, four beeps for CO.
Class A and B Fires
Class A fires are the most common type of fire and the kind that most of us are familiar with. They involve solid combustible materials such as wood, paper, cloth, trash, or plastic. You might start Class A fires intentionally when lighting a match or starting a bonfire. Class A fires are the easiest to extinguish. It is recommended to use a water or foam fire extinguisher. You can also use water to douse the fire, as it can remove the fire's heat supply. Class B fires involve ignitable liquids or gases like petroleum grease, alcohol, paint, propane, or gasoline. These types of fires might occur anywhere flammable liquids or gases are stored or used. It's very important NOT to use a water extinguisher on a Class B fire. The stream of fire might spread the flaming material rather than extinguish it. Class B fires should be extinguished using foam, powder, or carbon dioxide extinguishers. These types of extinguishers work by cutting off a fire's oxygen supply.
Class C, D and K Fires
Class C fires involve electrical equipment. This type of fire might be started by old wiring in walls, frayed electrical cords, worn out breaker boxes, or faulty appliances. Electrical fires are most common in both homes and industrial settings. The first thing you should try to do if an electrical fire starts is to disconnect the appliance or item from its power source only if it is safe to do so. If possible, you should try to extinguish the flames using a carbon dioxide or dry powder fire extinguisher. If and when the power source is disconnected, the fire can become a different class of fire, typically Class A.
Class D fires are oftentimes caused by alkali metals such as potassium, magnesium, aluminum, and sodium, as these can ignite when exposed to air or water. Although you're unlikely to face a Class D blaze in your home, it is advised to extinguish these types of fires with a dry powder extinguisher ONLY.
Class K blazes include cooking oils. Because of the high flash point of cooking oils and fats, Class K fires often start when a pan is left unattended for too long on a stove. You should extinguish a Class K fire with a wet chemical extinguisher. These are mandatory in many commercial kitchens, and are a good investment if you do any amount of cooking at home.
Importance of Contents Claim Inventory Service
What most people don't realize is that there are a lot of factors that go into the proper clean up and restoration of fire jobs. For the property owner, it is a very stressful time as you can imagine, and SERVPRO of High Point takes the state of mind and feelings of the property owner very seriously. We always show extreme compassion when performing the clean up protocols. Not only is the property structure damaged, but so are their beloved contents. Part of the clean up process is what is called "contents claim inventory service". This entails detailed analysis of a property owner's treasured belongings. The process is as follows: taking photos of all household goods. Packing up all damaged contents. Transporting contents to SERVPRO of High Point facility. Sorting through all contents in determining salvageable from non salvageable contents. Photographing all non salvageable items for insurance purposes. Contacting property owner with non salvageable list. Encouraging property owners to come review, at our facility, the non salvageable items in case some of them may have sentimental value. Thoroughly clean all salvageable items, then carefully wrap them in packaging paper, putting them into new boxes. These possessions will be stored at our facility until the property is fully repaired and ready for move in. And of course lastly, SERVPRO of High Point will transport all salvageable inventory back to the property owner.
The Behavior of Smoke
The damage to your property following a fire can often be complicated due to the unique behavior 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. SERVPRO of High Point professionals are thoroughly trained in fire cleanup and restoration and know the different types of smoke and their behavior patterns. Knowing this information is vital to proper restoration. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of High Point professionals will survey the loss to determine the extent of impact from fire, smoke, heat, and moisture on the building materials and its contents. The soot will then be tested to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. Pretesting determines the proper cleaning method and allows your SERVPRO professionals to focus on saving your precious items. Smoke can penetrate various cavities within the structure, causing hidden damage and odor. Our knowledge of building systems helps us investigate how far smoke damage may have spread.
Facts About Smoke
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. There are several types of smoke. Let's begin with wet smoke. This includes plastic and rubber. Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, and smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean. Then there is dry smoke. This includes paper and wood. Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises, so smoke rises too. Next is what is known as protein fire residue. This is produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire. It is virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, and has an extreme pungent odor. In addition there is what is known as fuel oil soot. This is caused by furnace puff backs. While "puff backs" can create havoc for property owners, SERVPRO of High Point professionals can restore the contents and structure fairly quickly. And lastly, there is tear gas, fingerprint powder, and fire extinguisher residue which are considered special loss situations and require special care.
The Importance of Fire Extinguishers
A portable fire extinguisher can be a life and property saving tool when used correctly. In order to operate a fire extinguisher, the 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 fire extinguisher at the base of the fire. SQUEEZE the lever slowly and evenly. SWEEP the nozzle from side to side. Read the instructions on the fire extinguisher and become familiar with them before a fire breaks out. Encourage your family members and co-workers to do the same. And remember, extinguishers do have their limitations! It is also important to ensure you have the correct type of extinguisher for your home and business. There are five classes of extinguishers. Class A: This is the most common extinguisher and can be used to put out fires in ordinary combustibles such as cloth, wood, rubber, paper, and many plastics. Class B: Used on fires involving flammable liquids, such as grease, gasoline, and oil. Class C: Designed for fires involving appliances, tools, or other equipment electronically energized or plugged in. Class D: For use on flammable metals. Class K: Intended for use on fires that involve vegetable oils, animal oils, or fats in cooking appliances. These are generally found in commercial kitchens.
Facts About Fires
Did you know cooking equipment is the leading cause of residential fires? Since the holiday season has begun, you will find yourself in the kitchen more often while hosting friends and family, and fire precautions should be top of mind. A property owner experiences a flood of emotions when fire ravages their business or home. Fear, uncertainty, stress, and doubt about the future of the property and their livelihood can be overwhelming to the property owner long after the flames have been extinguished and the smoke has cleared. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) offers the following eye opening statistics on structure fires: More than one quarter (27%) of reported fires occurred in homes within the last year. Even worse, 79% of fire related deaths were caused by home fires. On average, U.S. fire departments respond to an estimated average of 354,400 home insurance fires per year, resulting in $6.9 billion in direct property damage. Most home fires and fire casualties result from five causes: cooking, heating, electrical distribution and lighting equipment, intentional fire setting, and smoking materials.
Serve Up Fire Safety In The Kitchen
October is Fire Prevention Month and an excellent time to examine the emergency preparedness plans for your home and business, including your fire escape plan. Do you have a fire escape plan? Have you changed your smoke alarm batteries within the last year? Are you prepared for whatever happens? The National Fire Protection Association sets aside a designated week each October to focus on fire prevention. Fire Prevention Week is October 4-10, 2020. The 2020 theme is "Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!" This topic works to educate everyone about the simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves, and those around them, safe in the kitchen. Did you know? Cooking is the number one cause of home fires and home fire injuries, according to NFPA. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of fires in the kitchen. Once a fire alarm goes off, you only have less than two minutes to get out safely, yet only 8 percent of people surveyed said getting out was the first thought they had after hearing a fire alarm go off. Make a fire escape plan today!
Keep Fall Fire Free
The fall season brings cooler temperatures, beautiful colors, and an abundance of outdoor activities. Plan ahead this season to help ensure it is safe and fire-free. Fall decorations, like dried flowers and cornstalks, are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations away from open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters. Keep emergency exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes. Teach children to stay away from open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop, and roll if their clothing catches fire. Remember safety first when choosing a Halloween costume. Consider avoiding billowing fabric. It is safest to use a flashlight or battery operated candle in a jack-o-lantern. Use extreme caution if using a real candle. And most importantly, as your follow these safety guidelines, make sure to have fun and enjoy helping all neighbors and friends to stay safe too!
Each year, around the holidays, families gather together to celebrate by preparing a delicious feast. However, not everyone practices safe cooking habits. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. It's important to be alert to prevent holiday cooking fires. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, do not use the stovetop or oven. Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food. If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen while the food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking. Keep anything that can catch fire, like oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, or hand towels, away from the stovetop.
Cooking fires are among the most common types of house fires, causing around 48 percent of all residential fires. They are often caused by greases that become overheated on a stove or in an oven. (About 600 degrees Fahrenheit, on average.) When it reaches that point, it's usually too late. Thoroughly clean your cookware to prevent grease from building up over time. Portable cooking appliances, such as toasters and electric griddles can also be a source of fires. Never leave these portable appliances unsupervised, and make sure they are cool to the touch when storing them away. Toasters should be regularly cleaned of crumbs that might ignite if they build up inside the appliance. During the outdoor cooking season, barbecue grills left unattended on a wooden deck or near the exterior walls of a home can also be a source of fire. A heated grill next to a wooden fence can easily cause fire, and grills have been known to ignite the exterior walls of a home or garage if positioned too close.
Various types of electrical faults in home wiring cause about 51,000 fires each year, accounting for nearly 500 deaths, 1,400 injuries, and about $1.3 billion in property damage according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International. Most typically, electric fires occur because of short circuits causing arcing (sparking) that ignites building materials, or from circuits that are overloaded with current, causing wires to overheat. Electrical problems account for about 10 percent of all residential fires, but this type of fire is often deadly, accounting for almost 19 percent of deaths due to home fire. This is likely because electrical fires often ignite in hidden locations and build into major fires before residents are aware of them. And such fires frequently may ignite while residents are sleeping. Properly installed electrical systems are very safe, with a number of built-in protective features, but old, faulty wiring systems can be susceptible to short circuits and overloading. It's a good idea to have your wiring checked out by a professional electrician, especially if you live in an older home.
The Behavior of Smoke
The damage to your property following a fire can often be complicated due to the unique behavior 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. Your SERVPRO of High Point professionals are thoroughly trained in fire cleanup and know the different types of smoke and their behavior patterns. Before work begins, SERVPRO of High Point will survey the loss to determine the extent of impact from fire, smoke, heat, and moisture on the building materials and its contents. The soot will then be tested to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. Pretesting determines the proper cleaning method and allows your SERVPRO professionals to focus on saving your precious items. Smoke can penetrate various cavities within the structure, causing hidden damage and odor. Our knowledge of building systems helps us investigate how far smoke damage may have spread.
Facts About Smoke
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. There are various types of smoke that may be in play in a fire. There is what is called Wet Smoke. This is made up of plastic and rubber. Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky and smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean. Then there is Dry Smoke. This is made up of paper and wood. Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises, therefore smoke rises. Protein Fire Residue is the third type of smoke. This is produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire. It is virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, and has an extreme pungent odor. Fuel Oil Soot is our final type of smoke. This involves furnace puff backs. While "puff backs" can create havoc for homeowners, in most cases SERVPRO of High Point can restore the contents and structure quickly.
Cooking Over The Holidays
Did you know that cooking is the main cause of home fires and injuries? To steer clear of these types of tragedies, remember to never leave cooking food unattended. Stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling, or broiling food. You must check food regularly while cooking and remain in the home while kitchen equipment is in use. Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on. Remember to keep small children away from the cooking area. Enforce a " kid free zone" and make them stay at least three feet away from the stove and oven. Keep anything flammable like pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels away from the stove, oven or other appliances in the kitchen that generates heat.
As the holiday season is officially upon us, there are several safety tips that we must remember to ensure that all of our memories are fond ones. When cooking, do not wear loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking. Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease build-up. Purchase a fire extinguisher to keep in the kitchen year round. Contact the local fire department for training on the proper use of fire extinguishers if you are unsure. Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving home to make sure all kitchen appliances like stoves, ovens, and toasters are turned off. Install a smoke alarm near the kitchen,on each level of the home,near sleeping areas, and inside and outside of bedrooms. Use the test button to check it is working properly every month. Replace the batteries at least once a year.
Pretty lights, candles, and decorations are just a few of the items bringing charm and cheer to the holiday season. However, if they are not used carefully your holidays may go from festive to frightening. Make sure to place Christmas trees, candles, and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles. Make sure light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer's instructions. Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving your property or going to bed.Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over. Keep curious pets and children away from Christmas trees. And finally, designate one person to walk around your property to ensure all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.
Plan and Practice Your Escape!
October is Fire Prevention Month and an excellent time to examine the emergency preparedness plans for your home and business, including your fire escape plan. Do you have a fire escape plan? Have you changed your smoke alarm batteries within the last year? Are you prepared if a disaster strikes? The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sets aside a designated week each October to focus on fire prevention. The 2019 theme is "Not Every Hero Wears A Cape. Plan and Practice your Escape!" According to the NFPA, once the fire alarm goes off, "you could have less than one to two minutes to escape safely", yet only 8 percent of people surveyed said getting out was their first thought after hearing a fire alarm. Creating, implementing, and practicing a fire escape plan for your home or business may be the difference between safety and tragedy. Make a plan today! Escape planning and practice can help you make the most of the time you have, giving everyone in your home or business enough time to get out.
Every Second Counts
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 and have an escape plan in place. A survey conducted by the American Red Cross shows only 26 percent of families and businesses have developed and practiced a fire escape plan. Once a plan is developed, it is critical everyone in the home or office 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 it. Your professionals at SERVPRO of High Point want you to stay safe, informed, and prepared to help ensure you are ready for any disaster that comes your way.
Preparing For A Fire
In preparing for a fire, you need to draw a map of each level of your home or business and show all the doors and all the 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 in front of your home where everyone can meet after they've escaped. Make sure to mark the location of the meeting area on your escape plan. Teach children how to escape on their own in case you cannot help them. Plan for everyone in your home or office, with special considerations for the elderly or disabled individuals. SERVPRO of High Point wants you to stay safe, informed, and prepared to help ensure you are ready for any disaster that comes your way.
Always Celebrate Safely
The fourth of July is a time to celebrate with friends and family at a barbeque or picnic. With traditions like fireworks and bonfires, there may be some potential dangers along the way. In order to celebrate safely when it comes to these events, consider the following tips provided by the U.S. Fire Administration. The best way to enjoy fireworks is to view public fireworks displays put on by professionals. If you plan to use fireworks, ensure that they are legal in your area. Always read the directions and warning labels on fireworks. If a device is not marked with the contents, directions, and a warning label, do not light it. Supervise children around fireworks at all times. Stand several feet away from lit fireworks. If a firework does not go off, do not stand over it to investigate. Pour water over it and dispose of it.
National Pet Fire Safety Day
National Pet Fire Safety Day is observed annually on July 15th. Just like fire drills, pets need consideration when preparing for unexpected fire emergencies. Our pets are as much a part of our family as any other member. This day stresses the importance of protecting them. Taking preventable measures now can both save your home and your pet. Many times our pets can cause a fire if we don't take the proper steps. Extinguish open flames. Pets are curious and certainly not cautious. Wagging tails haphazardly knock over candles. Curious kitties will paw at sizzling grease, quickly sending a kitchen up in flames. Remove knobs from the stove. When not in use, they can get accidently turned on. Consider flameless candles for ambiance and backup lighting in the event of a power outage. Replace glass water bowls with metal or plastic. Outside on wooden decks, they can heat up and actually start a fire. Store leashes and collars near the entrance of your home. When away, have your pets in the main living area for easy rescue. Secure young pets when away from home. This can help avoid fire hazards. Pet kennels or in a pet-proofed room are options. Fire alert window clings helps firefighters identifying the room your pets are located and identify the number of pets in the home. Add one to the window of the room you keep your pets when you are away. Keep it updated with the number of pets who reside with you and your current phone number. And finally, have a plan when you are home. Know which family members will be responsible for each pet.
Smoke alarms save lives when properly installed and maintained, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). In homes, smoke alarms should be in every bedroom and on every level, including the basement. Test smoke alarms monthly using the test button. Smoke alarms with non-replaceable batteries need the entire smoke alarm unit replaced every ten years. Other alarms need batteries replaced every year and the unit replaced every ten years. If the alarm chirps signaling low battery, take the proper steps to replace the unit or the batteries immediately. Never disable or remove the battery from an alarm. Almost half of fires where smoke alarms were present but did not activate had missing or disconnected batteries. If you need help installing, testing, or changing batteries in your smoke alarms, contact your local fire department, an electrician, or the American Red Cross.
October Is Fire Prevention Month
October is Fire Prevention Month - a perfect time to examine emergency preparedness plans for your home and business, including your fire escape plan. Do you have a fire escape plan? Have you changed your smoke alarm batteries within the last year? The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) designates a week each October to focus on fire prevention awareness. The 2018 theme is "Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere." This theme hopes to create awarenes in the steps necessary to reduce the chance of a fire and how to react in the event a fire does happen. The NFPA states the following: "LOOK" for places fire could start. Identify potential hazards and take care of them. "LISTEN" for the sound of the smoke alarm. "LEARN" two ways out of every room and make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily and are free of clutter.
What To Do If You Have Fire and Smoke Damage
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. Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery, and carpet traffic areas. If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor. Wipe soot from chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim and appliances, then protect these surfaces with a light coating of lubricant. If heat is off during the winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks, and tubs, to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures. Wash both sides of leaves on house plants. Change the HVAC filter, but leave the system off until a trained professional can check the system. Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.
Destroy Odors With Deodorization
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. With technicians certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration (IICRC), SERVPRO of High Point provides specialized services that can rid your home or business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. SERVPRO of High Point does not cover up lingering odors with a fragrance; they seek out and remove the sources of the odor. If you suffer from a fire damage or some other accident and require deodorization services, contact SERVPRO of High Point. Whether it's fire, water, or mold damage, or just a stubborn odor that refuses to go away, we'll make it "Like it never even happened."
Dangers Of Fireworks...
FIREWORKS SAFETY!!! It's fireworks season! According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), an average of 18,500 fires are started every year by fireworks. This includes 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside and other fires. "These fires caused an average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries, and an average of $43 million in direct property damage", says the NFPA. Do you think sparklers are the safe way to go ? NOPE: they account for about a fourth of emergency room fireworks injuries. STAY SAFE THIS SUMMER by paying close attention to children at firework events, and avoiding the use of consumer fireworks. It is always suggested to go to an approved fire works display as to minimize any harm that may come to you and your family.
CELEBRATE SAFELY WITH A RECIPE FOR SAFETY
Each November, families father to celebrate Thanksgiving by preparing a delicious feast, but if you don’t practice safe cooking habits, your holiday could become hazardous very quickly. According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. It’s important to be alert to prevent cooking fires.
- Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.
- Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling or broiling food.
- If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
- Keep anything that can catch fire, oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains, away from stovetop.
If you have a cooking fire, consider the following safety protocols to help keep you and your family safe.
- Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
- Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
- For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep door closed.
- If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
- Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
Your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals wish you a safe and happy holiday season.
DID YOU KNOW?
Thanksgiving is the leading day for home cooking fires, with three times the average number.
Protein Fires Are A Unique Challenge
Protein Fire Pot
Contrary to most house fires that occur, the typical kitchen fire or “protein fire” produce little visible smoke residue. Protein fires create an especially unique restoration challenge. The low level of heat reduces the animal fat and food protein and leaves a thin layer of film on surfaces. Many homeowners mistakenly underestimate the damage as there may be little or no black residue that you would expect to see after a typical fire. The layer of film that is produced from these fires can create a rancid strong odor that also compromises the structure and contents. These protein residues penetrate cabinets, drawers, air ducts, furniture, clothing, draperies etc. Here are some important facts regarding this type of fire.
- Protein fires generally leave little visible residue that can sometimes be overlooked at first.
- They create a significantly more repugnant smell than most other fires.
- The nature of the burn causes the odor to permeate structure and furniture even more completely than other fires.
- Require extremely thorough cleaning by a trained professional to remove the odor.
- Sometimes require a sealing agent or even repainting to completely eradicate the odor.
- May require multiple attempts and methods to achieve customer satisfaction.
It is also important to recognize that perception of odor is highly individual. There are no tools available to “measure” smell, and as a result, a homeowner may perceive odors that technicians or even neighbors cannot. Often, because of the strong link between smell and memory, a homeowner may experience “phantom odors” where the memory of the event causes reproduction of the odor even after thorough cleaning. It takes extensive cleaning of walls, floors, ceilings and contents of the home to rid the home of these odors and should be handled by professional cleaning and restoration company no matter what size of job.
Fire Extinguisher Tips
Make sure when choosing a fire extinguisher for your home or business that you choose the right class of extinguisher for the job. Fire extinguishers are broken into classes and each class is designed to extinguish different types of fires. Here are the different classes of extinguishers:
Class A – This is the most common extinguisher and can be used to put out fires in ordinary combustibles such as cloth, wood, rubber, paper and many plastics.
Class B – Used on fires involving flammable liquids such as grease, gasoline and oil.
Class C – Designed for fires involving appliances, tools, or other equipment electrically charged or plugged in.
Class D – For use on flammable metals; often specific for the type of metal in question. These are typically found only in factories working with these metals.
Class K – Intended for use on fires that involve vegetable oils, animal oils, or fats in cooking appliances. These extinguishers are generally found in commercial kitchens, but are becoming more popular in the residential market for use in kitchens.
***Information provided by the National Fire Protection Association.
Occasionally, you may have smoke damage in your home that seems harmless. Some examples of these incidents are burning a dinner, “puff-backs” from a furnace, smoke from a candle or lamp, or even a small fire from an appliance that you are to put out quickly with an extinguisher…but what about the smoke? Experienced fire restoration professionals know that areas seemingly unaffected by fire damage are still a danger to homeowners. Smoke can penetrate within cavities of the structure, causing hidden damage and odor. Smoke can coat your entire home with soot and leave toxic residues that can act as an irritant if not properly cleaned and can cause health issues. Now, before I go further, I would like to point out that planning ahead to prevent fires in the home is the best thing you can do.
Here are some things you may not know about smoke:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, using holes around pipes and your HVAC duct work to go from floor to floor and throughout your home.
- There are several types of smoke which affect how it acts and determines what type of cleaning process is required.
Types of smoke include:
- Wet smoke – results from smoldering fires with low heat. Residues are sticky, smeary and with pungent odors. Smoke webs can be difficult to clean.
- Dry Smoke – results from fast burning fires at high temperatures. Residues are often dry, powdery, small, non-smeary smoke particles.
- Protein Smoke – here’s your burning chicken. Virtually invisible residues that discolor paints and varnishes. Extreme pungent odor.
- Fuel-Oil Soot Smoke – this is a result of a furnace malfunction (commonly known as a “puff-back”)
When having someone clean up smoke damage in your home, it’s important that they perform an inspection and do pretesting. A fire damage restoration professional should determine the extent of the smoke and fire damage, make sure unaffected areas are protected, determine which materials can be restored and which need to be replaced, and the most effective cleaning methods. These steps also allow the focus to be on saving precious items and keepsakes for you.