Recent Fire Damage Posts
Smoke Alarms Save Lives
Smoke Alarms Save Lives
What role do smoke alarms play in your everyday life? Smoke alarms are in your home, the places where you shop, in children’s schools, in doctors’ offices, in work buildings, they are all around us and for good reason. Smoke alarms play a vital role in keeping us safer.
Smoke alarms come in different types and in residential and commercial ratings. Many residential smoke alarms are battery operated. If your smoke alarms have batteries, do you have a schedule to change them? Change the batteries consistently, mark it on your calendar as a reminder. If you would rather have a disposable smoke alarm, you can buy a smoke alarm that has a ten-year battery life and at the end of ten years you replace the entire smoke alarm--now that is convenience!
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), approximately two-thirds of U.S. household fire deaths result from fires in homes with:
• No smoke alarms
• Working smoke alarms with old or missing batteries
Whether it's a household setting or in a business, the selection and maintenance of an early warning system is critical to save lives and minimize property loss.
Fire Burning Laws
The Virginia Department of Forestry website states the following on burning.
- No burning until after 4:00 p.m. February 15 through April 30 of each year, if the fire is in or within 300 feet of woodland, brush land or field containing dry grass or other flammable material.
- Fire shall not be left unattended if within 150 feet of woodland, brush land or fields containing dry grass.
- No new fires set or fuel added after midnight.
- Law applies to campfires, warming fires, brush piles, leaves, household trash, stumps, fields of broom straw and brush or anything capable of spreading fire.
- The law provides for a penalty of up to $500, plus payment of court costs and fire suppression costs if the fire escapes.
- Please remember to check with the county that you will be burning in, individual counties can also have their own burning laws in addition to state regulations.
- Always, make safety your number one policy.
If you must burn…Follow these safety tips.
- Beware of power lines, trees and structures.
- Clear all flammable materials, such as dry leaves and dry grass, from around the fire.
- Have water and hand tools, such as a shovel and/or rake, available.
- Have communication available or have someone nearby who can call for help in case of an emergency.
- Burn when the humidity is high and the wind is calm.
- Stay with the fire until it is completely out.
- Please make sure all children are supervised and kept a safe distance from the fire.
- Always make safety your number one policy (Reminder per The Virginia Department of Forestry AND SERVPRO of Fredericksburg)
NOT EVERYTHING IS SAFE TO BURN IN YOUR FIREPLACE OR WOOD STOVE
Please remember not everything is safe to burn in your fireplace or wood stove. Sometimes items that you think would be safe to burn are not. Some items can cause serious health issues or safety issues if burned. For example, burning glossy paper such as wrapping paper or newspaper ads could possibly put toxins or carcinogens in the air that you breathe. Some items burn faster than others creating a high, intensely hot flame that could catch any built -up creosote in a chimney on fire. Below is a list of a few items you should never put in your fireplace or wood stove.
- Paper, Bows, Glossy Paper, Cardboard & Packaging
- Plastics, Pine Needles, Live Garland, Live Wreaths or Flowers
- Styrofoam Containers, Egg Cartons, Dryer Lint
- Painted, Varnished, Stained or Treated Wood
- Engineered Wood (Plywood, Particle Board, Pressed Board, OSB) Glue compounds are used in the layering of these woods.
- Green Wood – Wood that is not dry will produce a lot of smoke and creosote.
- Driftwood – Driftwood contains salt which is corrosive. When heated, corrosion is accelerated and toxic fumes are produced.
These are just some of the items you should never burn. Please follow all safety directions on your wood burning appliance.
Always have a fire extinguisher and a carbon monoxide detector nearby and change the batteries on a schedule.
Safe Holiday Decorating Tips
Everyone is in the swing of the Holiday Season and we are all blessed in one way or another with good food, good friends, and wonderful family and beautiful decorations. Here are a few helpful safety tips from SERVPRO of Fredericksburg when decorating.
- Make sure your smoke detectors are in good working order & have good batteries.
- When using a real tree, always put it in a container that will hold water & hydrate.
- Always hang stockings at least 3 ft. from a heat source.
- Make sure all electrical lights & extension cords have the label if a nationally recognized testing company.
- Be careful where you place lit candles & never leave them unattended or burning overnight.
Have a happy & safe Holiday !
Dryer Vent Fires
When was the last time you had your clothes dryer vent cleaned? Dryer lines get clogged due to moisture and lint from materials. Not only does this affect the level of the performance of the dryer and how it dries the materials that you put in it, but it is a danger to you and your family. According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly 17,000 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year. These clothes dryer fires cause around 51 deaths, 380 injuries, and $236 million in property loss. Unsurprisingly, the leading cause of these fires, at 34%, is the failure to clean dryer vents.
Christmas Tree Safety Tips
The holidays are in full force and with Christmas being right around the corner many people are
beginning to buy and put up their trees.
Below are a few Christmas tree safety tips to ensure you have a happy and safe holiday season.
- When choosing a tree try to choose one high in moisture rather than a dry one. One
thing to look for is needles that do not fall off when touched.
- Water your tree daily to ensure it doesn’t dry out and pose a potential fire hazard.
- Always turn off tree lights when you are leaving your home or at night.
- Make sure your tree is away from heat sources such as candles, fireplaces, radiators, heat vents, etc.
- Replace any strands of lights that have loose bulbs or frayed wires.
- Check the label before choosing lights to place on your tree. Some lights are specifically made for outdoors vs. indoors. Also, opt for low watt lights.
- At most only attach three strings of lights to an extension cord.
Fireplace Safety Tips
Fireplace Safety Tips
Fireplace Safety Tips
~Have your fireplace inspected annually by a professional chimney sweep. Have repairs done to your fireplace and/or chimney before using.
~Make sure your chimney has a cap to prevent animals and debris from entering.
~To prevent the buildup of creosote (which can cause fires) burn only seasoned hardwood or manufactured logs in your fireplace.
~When using manufactured logs, please read the instructions on the bag. Manufactured logs burn hotter than natural wood and can warp metal chimneys if you burn more than one at a time.
~Slow and steady burns generate less smoke and are much safer, a roaring fire can crack your chimney. Make sure your damper is adjusted properly.
~Practice safe stacking. Positioning of logs near the back of the fireplace to prevent fire and ashes from finding a way out of the hearth and into your home is always the safest way to stack your wood.
~Always have glass doors or a screen guard (Spark Guard) made for a fireplace.
~Wood burning heat sources put off carbon monoxide, please make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector.
~Keep The area around the fireplace clear of flammable objects and during the holidays do not use your fireplace if you use it to put decorations on and around.
~Do not burn paper with fancy finishes in it, like glossy paper-wrapping paper, shiny paper, bows, foam peanuts, etc.
~Always use a metal bucket for the ashes and immediately take it outside and place away from the house.
~Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM SERVPRO® OF FREDERICKSBURG
Christmas Tree Safety Tips
Christmas Tree Safety
Christmas Tree Safety Tips From SERVPRO® of Fredericksburg:
~When purchasing a live tree, choose a tree with fresh green needles that do not fall off when touched.
~Before placing the tree in the stand cut 2” off the base of the trunk.
~Place your tree at least three feet away from any heat source.
~Do not place your tree where it will block an exit.
~Place live trees in a stand that will hold water and check water daily.
~Remember your pets and don’t let them drink the water for the tree.
~Please remember pets are curious and cords are a danger for them.
~Use lights that are listed by a qualified testing laboratory.
~Never use lights that are frayed or damaged.
~Always unplug Christmas lights when going to bed or leaving home.
Have a Safe and Happy Holiday Season from your friends at SERVPRO® of Fredericksburg!
Fire Pit Safety
Apple cider, hot cocoa, s.mores, hayrides and fire pits.
Sounds like so much fun but we also must remember the safety that comes along with fire.
Fire pits are pretty to look at and fun to sit around but safety pre-cautions are a must, here are a few simple rules to follow to keep everyone enjoying the activities.
~Keep all fire pits a safe distance from surrounding plants and buildings. Check with your local city or county to make sure you are observing the distance required by law.
~Never use a fire pit under a structure over-hang or an awning.
~Make sure all wood you use is seasoned for the proper length of time.
~It is best to cut wood so that it will fit inside the fire pit leaving very little remaining outside.
~Never use lighting fluids to help get a fire started.
~Never burn composite wood, plywood, painted materials or treated lumber as these materials release toxins into the air.
~Get a screen for your fire pit-it will help contain sparks.
~It is best to avoid wearing loose hanging clothes near the flames.
~Please never leave children or pets unattended around fire pits.
~It is a must to have a bucket of water and a fire blanket nearby for emergency.
~Always extinguish your fire pit before leaving it.
Fire pit safety brought to you by SERVPRO® of Fredericksburg
Staying Warm (and Safe) in Winter Weather
During the winter months, there are many types of heat sources used in our homes and businesses to keep us warm and comfortable. Anytime we use a portable heat source there comes a fire risk with it, so we must create boundaries and remind ourselves of the dangers that come with comfort.
Below are some friendly reminders to help keep everyone safe when using portable heat sources.
~ Keep anything flammable at least three feet away from heating equipment, like kerosene heaters, electric space heaters, electric heating blankets, etc.
~ Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room, they should never be left on without supervision.
~ Never leave a child alone with a portable heat source.
~ Always use the right fuel in the heater, only use what the directions call for.
~ Test your smoke alarms monthly and change your batteries on a schedule.