Recent Fire Damage Posts
Flammable Everyday Items
At SERVPRO of Fredericksburg, our teams respond to multiple Fire Damage calls every month. Upon arrival, we first find the source of damage/ start of fire. Most indoor fires are started from flammable items. Here are some highly flammable items to keep in mind when using them:
Rubbing Alcohol- The main ingredient in rubbing alcohol is alcohol. Alcohol is a very flammable substance and should not be used anywhere around high heat sources. If mixed with open flames, alcohol reacts quickly and spreads fires very fast and uncontrollably. Many people do not realize how dangerous rubbing alcohol really is.
Aerosols- Often, we find aerosols in forms of deodorants, spray paints, hair sprays, and some cleaning products. Kids often get to an age where they may find it fun to light a lighter while spraying one of these chemical products. These products are highly flammable and not to be used around open flame or high heat. They are not something to play with.
Mattresses- Many mattress fires start in homes of smokers. Even though it is frowned upon, many smokers do smoke in bed. Hot ask on mattresses causes smoke and flames. These particular fires normally start small but when flame starts on mattresses, it goes up quick and is hard to put out.
Nail Polish & Remover- Nail polish and removers seem harmless, but they are not. Many people do not know to what extent nail polishes are flammable.
Dryer Lint- SERVPRO has responded to many dryer fires and this highly due to the mix of the dryer’s high heat and the lint formed from the clothing. Make sure to remove the lint from the dryer as it can cause the dryer to overheat and the lint to catch fire.
Cooking Oil- Ah, cooking oil; one of the number one source of kitchen fires. When cooking oil or grease fires start, do not throw the pan in the sink. It will cause more damage. Use a fire extinguisher or baking soda if you have enough. Whatever you do, do not add water to a grease or oil-based fire.
If you do experience a fire, call SERVPRO of Fredericksburg. We have a trained team of professionals to take care of the damage for you and make it "Like it never even happened."
NEW YEARS Fire Safety Tips
NEW YEARS FIRE SAFETY CHECKLIST
Check Those Smoke Alarms- Smoke alarms do have shelf lives; they do not last forever. Replacing your smoke alarms every so often is suggested. Just because you replace batteries, that does not mean your smoke alarm is working properly. Be sure to test your smoke alarm routinely by using the test button on the outside of your alarm. If you are in doubt of it working, replace.
Educate The People in Your Home- Everyone in your home should be taught how to use fire safety equipment. Also, they should all be aware of a fire escape route and know it well. Everyone should know how to get out of the house, who is responsible for who and/or what belongings, and also where to meet outside of the home in worse case scenarios.
Maintain Older Appliances or Get New Appliances- Old appliances often have broken or cracked electric cords which could electrically fires. Be sure to maintain old appliances or purchase new ones if you see any signs of possible fire hazard.
Turn off Heaters- During cold months of the year, many people use space heaters to warm rooms that do not get much central air. Some people even use space heaters to heat their entire house. When there is no one in the room or home, it is highly suggested to shut off space heaters. Space heaters have been the cause of many house fires and need to be maintained and looked at every year.
If a fire does hit your home, give SERVPRO a call. We can fix any fire damage and restore your home "Like it never even happened."
Fire Safety Tips for Christmas
SERVPRO Owner James Wenger, Marketing Manager Kaitlyn Tavakoli and Insurance Specialist Amber Brower attending the CHRISTMAS PARADE
THE HOLIDAYS ARE UPON US
Ah, the Christmas holiday is upon us! That means decorations, food, presents and family! Here at SERVPRO of Fredericksburg, we like to offer tips so you can enjoy a safe, fun, happy holiday.
First, be mindful of where you put the Christmas tree along with decorations. If you plan on using the fireplace, do not place any flammable decorations or the Christmas tree anywhere close by. Many fires are caused by trees and ornaments catching fire from the fire place.
When it comes down to cooking, always be aware of the oven; the temperature, and the timings in which food items need to go in and out. Here at SERVPRO of Fredericksburg, our team has a Christmas dinner party yearly where each teammate brings a dish. Here at SERVPRO, we suggest that when cooking food, use a clean oven, free of grease build up. Grease fires are the most common household fires. Also, when cooking our holiday meal, we know to not wear long sleeves and to protect our hands with oven mitts. Always set hot food on pot holders.
Christmas is a magical time of year and all of us here at SERVPRO wish you and your family the happiest of holidays. If you ever need us for fire or water damage, don't hesitate to call. 540-373-7000.
Importance of Fire Safety Equipment – Use and Upkeep.
Importance of Fire Safety Equipment – Use and Upkeep.
While you may not always be thinking about your fire safety equipment in your home, it is crucially important to maintain your Fire Safety Equipment.
While you do not expect a fire, you need to expect the unexpected, in order to be prepared. Fire Extinguishers have stopped hundreds of thousands of fires from becoming out of control and creating total losses. Fire extinguishers save lives, homes, and buildings. To operate one, a common phrase is used - PASS. Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep.
PULL- Pull the pin outward. Pull until the tamper seal is broken.
AIM- Aim the nozzle toward the base of the fire (lowest point of fire)
SQUEEZE - Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
SWEEP- Sweep from side to side at the base of the fire until it appears to be out.
Fire extinguishers do not last forever. To find out if your fire extinguisher is expired, look for a date on the body of the cylinder. If it is expired, purchase a new one. If there is no date, either purchase a new one or get that one serviced by a professional.
For upkeep, first, make sure the fire extinguisher is in a convenient safe place. Check for damage such as dents, rust, cracks or corrosion. You also want to make sure the gauge’s needle is pointed toward the green ‘charged’ portion. If you see that the extinguisher is damaged or low on charge, replace it. You can purchase fire extinguishers at many large outlet stores along with hardware stores.
Smoke Detectors/ Alarms
Smoke detectors save lives. Once again, thousands of fires have been detected and alarms activated before fires caused fatal or total loss damages. There are many different types of smoke detectors. Some are wire connected throughout the house, some are battery operated singularly. Either way, they are to be put in every room of the house.
The most important upkeep of smoke detectors is to keep them charged and test them every month. Most are battery operated and you must test each one to make sure they are working properly. Press and hold the test button on the smoke detector. It can take a few seconds to begin, but a loud, ear-piercing siren should emanate from the smoke detector while the button is pressed. If the sound is weak or nonexistent, replace the batteries.
While you cannot control when the fire happens, you can control the fire with the right equipment. Most businesses and some homes are also equipped with a sprinkler system. Mandatory however, is the smoke detectors, alarms and having at least one fire extinguisher in your home. These pieces of equipment save lives and are to be inspected and maintained regularly.
SERVPRO of Fredericksburg will always be around to help with the aftermath. But we want you to be prepared for when disaster strikes. Keep your safety equipment maintained and up to par! If you need us, call us, we are here 24/7 for you.
SERVPRO of Fredericksburg
How to Remove Smoke Smell after a Fire
How to Remove Smoke Smell after a Fire
A fire is a tragic accident that can take a very long time to heal from- emotionally and physically. SERVPRO of Fredericksburg is here for you 100% along the way. A big struggle people have after a home or building fire is getting rid of the smoke smell. Stubborn smoke odors can linger in a home for quite a long time. Smoke soaks into materials and makes the smell so hard to get rid of. It seeps into your walls, your bedding, your furniture, your wood floor, your HVAC, it seeps into the entirety of the house. This is why a professional is suggested.
Getting rid of the smell is a hard task but here is where you will want to start:
The first step to getting rid of the smell is airing out the house. Open all the doors and windows to give your home some breathing air. Turn on high speed fans in each room and let each room air out for 20 minutes with fans in each of them! You clean every inch of the house to completely get rid of the smoke smell. Drapes, curtains, table covers, clothing, everything must be washed.
After the initial airing, then the deep cleaning begins. Deep clean every inch of the house to get rid of the smoke smell. Drapes, curtains, tables, rugs, carpets, blinds, everything needs scrubbed, washed and cleaned. Wash all solid surfaces with a mixture of dish soap, white vinegar and warm water. Unless you buy products from professionals, that’s a good mix to go with. The HVAC system will need a very deep cleaning to stop the spread of the odor.
Afterwards, repaint the walls and ceiling. The soot from the fire and the odor must be gone before you do this to ensure no smell will come back. New paint covering will work to remove smoke odor if the soot is gone. Use cleaning products that contain ammonia or glycol. When painting, apply a primer and use latex paint as a finish.
Professionals, such as SERVPRO are recommended for this job, as we have all the necessary equipment, cleaners, licensed crew chiefs, and products needed to completely deodorize smoke smell.
The importance of home emergency preparation for fires.
The importance of home emergency preparation for fires.
The unthinkable. A fire, a situation you hope never will happen to you, but they do happen. It is crucially important to be prepared for the worst at all times. When making an emergency plan for fires, some factors you must take into consideration are:
- Amount of people in the home
- Ages of the residents
- Animals and house hold pets
- Personal belongings that are crucial to be kept
These are important as you want to make sure everyone and everything you care deeply about are safe and secure if a disaster occurs.
You also want a plan of action and to practice that plan with the whole family. There are different actions to be taken when a fire occurs. This depends mostly upon if there are people inside your home when the fire starts and what type of fire you are dealing with. If no one is in the home when the fire starts, your first reaction is going to be to try to put the fire out. There are different types of fires in which you will need to use different ways to put them out if you can. If you are unsuccessful at safely putting the fire out, you must call 911 and tell them the address and that your home has caught fire and you need immediate assistance. The operator should be able to guide you and tell you what to do until help arrives.
Some typical house fires include
Kitchen fires/ Grease fires- Kitchens are the place most fires start due to there being a large supply of heating devices, electrical outlets, and people using cooking equipment. Most kitchen fires are grease fires and this is mostly due to people leaving the stove top on unattended. To put out a grease fire, you will want to cut off the heat supply, cover the pan with a lid, use a fire extinguisher and or douse the fire in either baking soda or salt if needed. DO NOT throw the pan in the sink and turn the water on. The grease will spread everywhere and so will the fire.
Electrical fires- For electrical fires you will want to first cut the power source off if possible. Similar to grease fires, you will want to use baking soda to douse it in and or a fire extinguisher. DO NOT use water on an electrical fire, this is very dangerous and you could further injure yourself or worse.
If you cannot put the fire out yourself, evacuate the home and wait for help to arrive. Fires spread quickly, you may only have time to get your family and yourself to safety. This is why it is important to keep all crucial documents either in a fire and flood safe box, and also close to the exit of the home so you may have time to grab it on your way out. Many fire-safe boxes can handle house fires just fine so do not be in a panic to get those documents. Just focus on getting your family and yourself to safety. You should, in preparation, have a designated spot outside of the house for everyone to meet if a fire occurs. This way you will know that everyone is safe just incase anyone gets separated on the way out. Close any doors on your way out of the house to keep the fire from spreading even faster. Less air, less oxygen, less fire. And remember, smoke alarms save lives. Make sure yours are working properly. Properly working fire alarms and a solid plan on action for if disaster strikes makes for a safer outcome from a potential fatal situation.
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.