Recent Fire Damage Posts

Fire Safety Tips for Children

3/28/2019 (Permalink)

According to the American Burn Association, children are the most susceptible to burn injuries. 24% of all burn injuries happen to children under the age of 15. At some point in time, children are going to be curious about fire, but it can be dangerous and costly.

Here are some tips to follow to keep your family safe according to the National Protection Association:

  • Be sure to keep all matches and lighters out of the reach of children, preferably somewhere up high or in a locked cabinet.
  • Closely supervise your children, making sure that they are away from any fire sources, including lit candles, cigarettes, fire pits, and stoves.
  • Take advantage of any opportunity to teach your children about fire safety.
  • Explain that fires are something to be taken seriously as they move very fast and can hurt you with contact.
  • Teach young children to not touch matches or lighters, and to notify an adult immediately if found.
  • Establish a clear set of rules and consequences about unsupervised and unapproved uses of fire.
  • Remember, children are always watching. Make sure you set a good example by handling fire in a safe manner.
  • Show your children appreciation for displaying respect and age-appropriate responsibility when it comes to fire.

If your children happen to burn themselves, cool the burn by running it under cold water for 10 to 15 minutes.

If it is a more serious burn, CALL 9-1-1.

Cleaning salvageable items after a home fire

3/28/2019 (Permalink)

A home fire is devastating. The most important aspect is that you made it out of your home safely and are now able to return to it. You might ask yourself if some of your belongings can be saved. SERVPRO® of South Frisco/The Colony, experts in content cleaning, know that most smoke-damaged belongings can be cleaned.  Here are some tips on how to clean your salvageable belongings.

  • Get Rid of the Water

The first thing you will have to do is get rid of the water and moisture. Not doing so will cause further damage and give mold a chance to grow. The way to do this is with a powerful water pump and press extractor. Dry wet carpets and furniture and hang clothes, draperies and pillows outside to dry. For non-damaged items, content storage is recommended so nothing can cause harm to them.

  • Dry Clean Clothes

For clothes, most restoration professionals recommend dry cleaning. Don’t attempt to clean clothes, draperies and any other textile items yourself as this can cause permanent damage to them. A restoration expert can assess if the soot can be removed from your damaged items.

  • Remove the smoke smell.

After you get rid of the soot, you will want to get rid of the smoke smell in textiles and throughout the home. Thoroughly vent your house and get box fans and dehumidifiers to help expedite the process. The experts at SERVPRO® of South Frisco/The Colony use specialized procedures such as ozone treatment and thermal fogging to effectively remove the smell. 

  • Clean Non-porous Items

Non-porous items are generally easier to clean than porous items. Ultrasonic treatment and high-pressure water are some of the procedures SERVPRO® of South Frisco/The Colony are utilizing. Our equipment can remove contamination from your belongings and help restore them. 

Your local SERVPRO® of South Frisco/The Colony restoration professionals have the proper expertise, tools and equipment to get the job done right and can help with dry cleaning, content cleaning and content storage.

Why do I need SERVPRO® professionals to help clean after a house/building fire

3/28/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot are very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. At SERVPRO® of South Frisco/The Colony, our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke:

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO® of South Frisco/The Colony will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber:

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood:

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire:

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  

SERVPRO® of South Frisco/The Colony has the equipment, expertise, and experience to help properly restore your fire and smoke damaged home or business.

How to reduce your risk of a house fire?

3/28/2019 (Permalink)

In this blog post we will explain how you can reduce the risk of a fire starting in your home. We also want you to consider the five most common causes of house fires:

  1. Cooking equipment 
  2. Heating equipment 
  3. Electrical distribution and lighting equipment
  4. Intentional fires 
  5. Smoking materials 
  6. Candles

In this blog post we will explain how you can reduce the risk of a fire starting in your home.

  1. Cooking equipment.
    • Be alert when cooking and don’t leave food unattended
    • DO NOT throw water on a grease fire- put a lid on the pan or powdery material such as baking soda to smother the fire
    • If an oven fire flares up, turn the oven off and leave the door shut until the fire extinguishes itself
    • Keep clothing, pot holders, paper towels and other flammable items away from fires
    • Keep working smoke detectors in the house, and have a fire extinguisher nearby just in case
  2. Heating equipment.
    • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater
    • Maintain a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters
    • Turn off space heaters and make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before going to bed or leaving home
    • If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes; keep children and pets away from space heaters
    • Make sure your fireplace is properly cleaned and checked before the cold weather season starts.
    • Keep the fire in your fireplace by using a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs
    • Make sure wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys, and furnaces are professionally inspected and cleaned once a year
  3. Electrical distribution and lighting equipment.
    • Don’t overload outlets or electrical cords
    • Make sure you have the right cord for the job – inside cords for inside, heavy duty/outside cords for outdoor use
    • Don’t leave Christmas lights, Christmas trees, or halogen lights on overnight, or when not at home
    • Consider having an electrician perform an annual checkup of your home’s wiring
  4. Intentional fires.
    • Consider what could burn
    • Remove overgrown vegetation
    • Remove abandoned cars
    • Secure vacant homes
    • Watch for kids
    • Get to know your neighborhood
    • Report suspicious activity
    • Work with your community
    • Watch local businesses
    • Organize a watch program
    • Install and test smoke alarms
    • Call 911
  5. Smoking materials.
    • If you smoke, consider smoking outside
    • Use wide, sturdy ashtrays to catch butts and ashes
    • Look for cigarette butts under furniture and between seat cushions to make sure no lit butts have fallen someplace where they can’t be seen
    • This one might be obvious, but nonetheless, don’t smoke in bed, when you’re tired, or around medical oxygen
  6. Candles.
    • Never leave a candle burning near flammable items
    • Never leave a candle burning in a child’s room or an unoccupied room
    • Make sure candles fit securing into candle holders so they won’t tip over
    • Blow out any candles before leaving a room or going to sleep.

      Insurance coverage is very important in protecting your home and belongings.

      Know what you own- document everything in a video. Educate yourself on the policy you are buying and choose your agent based on your needs.

You can follow every piece of advice above, and the chances are positive that you’ll avoid any type of fire in your home. However, even though the risk is greatly reduced, accidents still happen.

Know what you own- document everything in a video. Educate yourself on the policy you are buying and choose your agent based on your needs. The bottom line is that you need to make sure you have enough coverage in the event of a major loss. Insurance coverage is very important in protecting your home and belongings.

Protect your most valuable possessions: Review and Practice Fire Safety

3/25/2019 (Permalink)

Many home fires can be prevented if you learn, follow and teach family members safety and prevention guidelines. 

  • Smoke Detectors: on every floor of your home. If you call our local Fire Departments they can you decide the best location to have them installed. Be certain to test and replace batteries on your smoke detectors on a regular basis.
  • 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. A fire extinguisher should be tested yearly to ensure they are in working order.   
  • 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.

  • Store flammable liquids in appropriate containers: Dispose of all unused newspapers, rags, and other flammable material. Keep everything away from electrical outlets.
  • Create an emergency escape plan with your family in case of a fire. Agree on meeting place outside of the home where you will meet and ensure everyone is out safely. Have a practice fire drill. 
  • If your home is on fire DO NOT STAY IN THE HOUSE!
  • If your house is on fire and you are inside a closed room, feel the door with the back of your hand before you open it to see if it hot. 
  • Breathing smoke can be very dangerous! Heat rises, so there will be more smoke higher in the room. Get on your hands and knees and crawl to the nearest exit away from the fire.
  • If your clothing should catch on fire, DO NOT RUN! REMEMBER STOP, DROP, and ROLL! If your sleeves are not on fire use your arms to cover/protect your face.These safety tips can help keep you and your family stay safe! 

What You Should Do When Dealing with Fire Damage

7/25/2018 (Permalink)

What You Should Do When Dealing with Fire Damage in Your Home

Life has enough interruptions and bumps along the way without the unwanted disaster of a house fire. The aftermath is almost as bad but much longer-lasting. Even small fires can use the assistance of a professional cleanup/restoration company. Cooking fires that spread beyond the stove, barbecue grills that go up in smoke, and even small appliances that catch fire can cause damage to surrounding areas. 

Small Fires can Pose High Risks 

While you should never pour water on a grease fire, nor on an electrical one, many times that is a person's first reaction anywhere. This can cause even more damage. Cooking fires and electrical shorts are common causes of Seattle home and business fire damage.  It can also create physical risks to people standing nearby. With grease fires, baking soda should be poured into the pan and any grease or oil that has caught fire outside of the cooking pan or skillet instead of water. 

With electrical fires the appliance should be unplugged if it can be safely done, but not by pulling on the cord. This can cause the cord to snap, leaving the plug, without the cord, still in the outlet. The power to the area where this is happening should be shut off at the fuse box as quickly as possible to eliminate the hazard. 

After the Fire is Out, It's Time to Repair the Damage 

When there's been a localized fire, you should have someone assess the damages for you. This can often help with insurance documentation.

Damage can range from blackened walls and countertops to heavily burned surfaces, electrical wires being damaged and requiring replacement, to floors suffering damage so severe they must be replaced to be safe again. Having experts conduct the repairs needed can expedite insurance claims being resolved, as well. 

Locally Owned Company with National Resources

We have highly trained and skilled professionals who are experienced in all sizes of fire damage clean up and restoration. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help clean up and repair fire damage, no matter how large or small. 

Fire Caused By Lightning Strike

2/9/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Fire Caused By Lightning Strike Lightning strike causes total loss

Whether you are building a new home, remodeling an existing home or even repairing a home that has been damaged, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) a lightning protection system can be a worthwhile investment.

Damage caused by lightning, such as fire, is covered by standard homeowners insurance policies; and some policies provide coverage for damage from power surges that are the direct result of a lightning strike.

“Lightning losses were $790 million in 2015 and the average cost per claim rose 64 percent from 2010 to 2015,” explained Loretta Worters, a vice president with the I.I.I. “The $3,000 or $4,000 it will cost to install a lightning protection system could prevent a deadly house fire and save on costly repairs,” she added.

The growing market for smart home technology makes installing a lightning protection system even more important, noted the I.I.I. It is also an opportunity for designers, builders and code officials to include lightning protection systems in their plans.

A lightning protection system does not attract lightning, a common misconception, noted the LPI. Lightning will strike a location whether there is lightning protection in place or not. A lightning protection system directs the harmful current from a lightning strike to the ground, leaving the structure and its contents undamaged.

“Keep in mind lightning protection system design and installation is complex and not a do-it-yourself project,” said Loehr. “Installation is not typically within the scope of expertise held by general contractors, roofers or even electricians--which is why the work is typically sub-contracted out to specialists.”

Always hire an LPI-certified expert who specializes in lightning protection and utilizes UL-listed components and equipment to install your system, and make sure the materials and methods comply with national safety standards. 

“If you contract to install a lightning protection system, keep the receipt and let your insurance professional know about this improvement. That will ensure it is included in the cost of rebuilding your home should a disaster occur,” said Worters. “It may even help reduce your insurance costs.”

SERVPRO of South Frisco/The Colony specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property

Beware of Fire Damage from Your Clogged Dryer Exhaust Duct

2/9/2018 (Permalink)

Most of us don’t think about maintenance on our clothes dryers, but we should! The U.S. Fire Administration reports that every year there are thousands of home fires started by clothes dryers. Lint and debris can build up in your dryer vent, reducing air flow to the dryer, backing up dryer exhaust gases, which can result in a fire hazard. It is recommended you have your dryer exhaust system cleaned at least twice a year.

How to tell if you dryer vent is clogged

  • Normal drying cycle is not drying clothes
  • If it takes more than 40 minutes to dry a load of clothes
  • Clothes smell musty after normal cycle
  • Clothes are hotter at the end of the cycle
  • Large amount of lint accumulates in the lint trap
  • Your laundry area is more humid
  • Burnt smell in your laundry room
  • Outside dryer vent cover is not lifting

What you can do to reduce the risk

  • Clean your lint filter after each load of clothes
  • Use dryer sheet and fabric softener sparingly
  • Remove the back of the dryer to vacuum out lint that is trapped
  • Keep area around dryer free of dust and debris
  • The duct line that vents outside should be as short as possible

There are tips online on how to clean you dryer vent system, but it is recommended you hire a professional. The cost is $100 - $150 depending on the length and location of the vent. In addition to the reduced threat of fire, a cleaning can pay for itself in less than a year through the improved efficiency with less drying time required.

Industry terms for Fire damage

1/31/2018 (Permalink)

When a property experiences a fire, a homeowner and commercial property manager will begin to hear a lot of terms they may be unfamiliar with.  Familiarizing yourself with this vocabulary will help facilitate your understanding of what is happening.

Rest assured that if you should ever need our help, our expert team will walk you through the process of cleanup and restoration.

Fire Damage:  This is a general term that says a fire was the cause of loss.

Stabilizing the Structure:  This refers to the need to make a structure safe enough for our technicians to begin cleanup and remediation work.  The fire must be completely put out.  It may also include roof tarping, board-up, temporary fencing, and a security guard.

Roof Tarping:  A thick, weatherproof piece of plastic tarping will be attached to the roof to prevent precipitation from entering the building and causing secondary damage.  

Board-Up:  When pieces of board are placed over damaged windows and doors to prevent precipitation from entering the building and also to deter possible break-ins.

Temporary Fencing:  When a temporary fence is installed around the perimeter of the property or highly damaged areas to prevent possible break-ins and keep the general public away from sensitive areas.

Security Guard:  When a structure cannot be immediately stabilized (for example, it’s raining and it’s not safe to tarp the roof), a 24-hour security guard can be hired to protect the property.

Secondary Damage:  A damage that occurred which did not come from the original source.  For example, in a fire damage, the fire is the primary damage.  Secondary damage may come from the water used during firefighting efforts.

Pre-Loss Condition:  Means to put the property back together the way it was before the fire damage. This is the goal of the insurance company when a fire damage occurs.

Smoke Damage:  When smoke particles have embedded themselves in a material, like a wall, clothing, or piece of furniture.  Smoke damage cannot usually be seen, but it can be smelled.  Cleaning and deodorization should take place.

Soot Damage:  When soot has sullied a material.  Soot is produced by the incomplete burning during the fire.  It is acidic and causes damage to materials when it’s not properly or promptly cleaned.  Cleaning and deodorization should take place.

Demolition:  When a material has experienced permanent damage and cannot be cleaned, it is removed and thrown away.

Containment:  When thick plastic is set up in order to isolate the airspace of a room.  This is done so that deodorization techniques can be more effective or to prevent an unaffected area of a property from becoming contaminated.

Air Scrubber:  A machine that cleans the air.  

HEPA Filter: High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance filter can catch particles as small as 0.3 microns.  This is our filter of choice when using an air scrubber.

Deodorization:  When an item or property is rid of smells caused by the fire damage.

Structural Framing:  The structure of the property, like beams.  If the structure has been damaged, it must be replaced.

Contents:  Anything that is not part of the structure, like furniture.  When affected, contents can either be cleaned on-site or taken back to our cleaning facility.

Textiles:  If you turned the property upside down and everything fell out, the items that fell and did not break are textiles.  These include clothing, shoes, plush animals, etcetera.  When affected, textiles are taken back to our facility for cleaning.

Pack-out / Pack-Back:  When the structure isn’t safe, contents and textiles are moved out of the property and taken to our facilities for cleaning and storage.  They are returned when the property is clean, reconstructed, and safe for inhabitants.  Items may also be delivered to a second location if the owner would like them returned sooner.

Storage:  Items that have been packed-out are stored in our facilities until they can be returned.

HVAC & Duct Work:  Heating, Ventilation, and Air Condition system.  Ducts are the pathways for the cold or warm air to travel around the property.  Many times, the HVAC system needs to be cleaned after a fire damage because smoke has accumulated inside of it