Archived Fire Damage Blog Posts
Celebrate Safely This Holiday Season
It is as important to keep safety top of mind with a small family gathering as it is with a large holiday party.
Local SERVPRO fire restoration specialists say use common sense and caution to help control risk of holiday season home fires!
In a year when large holiday gatherings may not be possible, fire damage restoration specialists at SERVPRO of West Sterling Heights say to focus on family decorating traditions and more intimate celebrations may take on extra significance. It is as important to keep safety top of mind with a small family gathering as it is with a large holiday party. We all enjoy bringing the glow of the holiday season to our homes with Christmas trees or menorahs and candlelight, but these statistics from the U.S. Fire Administration show how easy it is for home decorating to turn into a home disaster.
- The top three days for home candle fires are Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve.
- More than half of the home decoration fires in December are started by candles.
- A heat source too close to the Christmas tree causes one in every four winter fires.
- On average, one of every 52 reported home Christmas tree fires resulted in death.
In addition to exercising caution with candles and heat sources, it is important to follow manufacturers’ guidelines for holiday lighting. According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical distribution, or lighting equipment was involved in 44% of home Christmas tree fires. Though Christmas tree fires may not be common, they can be devastating to more than the house itself. They can destroy irreplaceable photos, mementos, and family heirlooms and even cost lives. To help keep your holidays bright and your home and family safe, use common sense with candles and tree placement and follow these important home decorating guidelines.
- Only use decorations that are flame-retardant or not flammable.
- Check holiday lights each year for frayed wires or excessive wear.
- Don’t link more than three strands of holiday lights.
In a year when so many of the things we take for granted have changed, we know people will still come together – in person or virtually – to celebrate family and holiday traditions. Stay safe’ has become a common expression in the context of public health, but this holiday season, we urge all Metro-Detroit home and business owners to think about ‘staying safe’ in their homes as they prepare for and enjoy the holiday season.
SERVPRO is an industry leader and provider of fire and water cleanup and restoration services. For more fire prevention and fire safety tips and information about fire and water damage restoration services, call 586-480-2400.
Preventing a Kitchen Fire
More home fires start in the kitchen than anywhere else.
More home fires start in the kitchen than anywhere else. Every year, cooking was involved in an estimated 156,300 home fires that caused:
- 470 deaths
- 5,390 injuries
- $1 billion in property damage
These Numbers could be greatly reduced if people paid more attention when they cooked and practiced simple fire safety behaviors.
Unattended Cooking is The Leading Cause of Kitchen Fires
- Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling of broiling food
- Check food regularly – use a timer to remind you the stove/oven is On
- If you must leave – turn the oven Off
Stay Alert to Avoid Stirring Up Trouble
- Don’t use the oven or stovetop if you are sleepy, have consumed alcohol or are using drugs.
- Keep pot handles turned in
- When you microwave food, open the container slowly to let steam escape and let food cool before eating
- Cool a burn under water for 3 to 5 minutes and cover it with a clean dry cloth
- If the burn is bigger than your fist, seek immediate medical assistance
Flammable Objects -Keep Away from the Stove
- Keep anything that can burn a safe distance away from the stove
- Clean up food and grease from burners and the stovetop
- Wear short, tight-fighting, or lightly-rolled sleeves. If clothes catch fire, stop, drop and roll over and over or back and forth to put the fire out. Get medical help.
Be Ready to React Fast to a Cooking Fire
- When in doubt – just get out!
- If you try to fight fire with a fire extinguisher, be sure:
- Other people are leaving the home
- Someone is calling the fire department
- You have a clear exit path
- If a small fire starts:
- Slide a lid over the pan
- Turn Off the burner
- Leave the pan covered until it is completely cool
- For an oven or microwave fire, turn off the unit and keep the door closed.
If you do have a problem in the kitchen or any other room in the house give SERVPRO of West Sterling Heights a call. We will clean up all fire, smoke and water damage.
Deep Fryer Safety
Deep frying is more dangerous than any other types of cooking because it involves cooking oil and grease.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, deep fryer fires cause an average of 5 deaths, 60 injuries, and more than $15 million in property damage each year. Deep fryers are great for cooking up some delicious food for gatherings, etc. But frying is more dangerous than any other types of cooking because it involves cooking oil and grease. Not to mention, deep fryers involve larger quantities of hot cooking oil, so it creates a higher risk of injury and loss.
To avoid a fire, please follow these safety tips provided by The National Fire Protection Association:
- Always use cooking equipment tested and approved by a recognized testing facility.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions and code requirements when installing and operating cooking equipment.
- Plug cooking appliances directly into an outlet. Never use an extension cord for a cooking appliance as it can overload the circuit and cause a fire. Watch what you heat!
- The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. Stay in the kitchen when you are frying food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the deep fryer.
- Do not use too much deep-frying oil. Having too much will result in excessive spillage.
- Stay alert! To prevent cooking fires, you must be alert.
- Keep the deep fryer clean and change cooking oil regularly.
- Keep pets away to prevent them from knocking over the deep fryer or knocking something onto or into the deep fryer.
- Keep anything that can catch fire – potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, boxes, food packaging, towels, or curtains – away from your deep fryer.
If you happen to have damage from a fryer fire, we have specialized equipment, specific training, and certifications that allow us to restore your home to pre-fire condition "Like it never even happened."
Electrical Fires - How They Start
Most electrical fires are caused by faulty electrical outlets and outdated appliances.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, the second leading of cause of house fires in the U.S. is from electrical failures or malfunctions. Most electrical fires are caused by faulty electrical outlets and outdated appliances. The following are the most common reasons why electrical fires happen:
Old electrical sockets and unsafe appliances
Appliances that are old and overused and those that fall short of modern safety standards are the worst culprits. Frayed electrical cords, self-jointed wires, and worn-out sockets that are not properly grounded are major causes of fires. They become ready outlets for directing heat and fire to carpets, rugs, curtains, and combustible plastic. Older appliances draw more power than the wall sockets can handle.
Using light fixtures that exceed the permissible wattage
A very common cause of fires is plugging lights, lighting appliances and bulbs into electrical sockets that cannot handle higher wattage levels. Antique lighting appliances may have defective wiring that makes the appliance unstable by overheating. Decorating lights with colored paper and cloth shades can increase the risk of fire when the material or fabric heats up.
Using multiple appliances plugged into an extension cord
Unrestricted use of extension cords is a major fire hazard. The risk of fire increases when your TV, home theatre, computer and other appliances are all plugged into a single extension cord. This creates excessive power load on a single socket which may not be designed to handle that load. So, there is a social and economic cost to damaged wiring!
Locating portable heaters near combustible materials
Portable space heaters that use coils are potentially dangerous when they are positioned carelessly near curtains and rugs and adjacent to beds and cloth covered furniture. The chances of inflammable material meeting the red-hot coils increase the risk of fire.
Wiring that becomes defective with the passage of time
Over a period of time, you add more electrical appliances such as wide screen televisions, home theatre, microwave oven, refrigerator, and air conditioners. The outdated home wiring cannot handle the increased power load. Older wiring tends to heat up quickly and catches fire. If the breaker boxes are themselves defective, they cannot prevent overheated electrical panels from catching fire.
Halloween Safety Tips
With a season full of tricks and treats, SERVPRO wants to provide with fire safety tips to ensure a safe and fun Halloween.
With a season full of tricks and treats, SERVPRO wants to provide with fire safety tips to ensure a safe and fun Halloween. Halloween decorations are the first thing to ignite in over than 1,000 reported home fires each year. Whether you are trick or treating, throwing a party, or staying inside, decorations can be a lurking fire risk and it is important to be aware.
From the National Fire Protection Association, here are five Halloween fire safety tips:
- Use a battery-operated candle or glow stick in jack-o-lanterns.
- When choosing costumes, stay away from long trailing fabric.
- Teach young children to stay away from open flames, including jack-o-lanterns with candles in them.
- Keep all decorations away from open flames, especially cornstalks, dried flowers, and crepe paper.
- Provide young children with glow sticks or flashlights to carry with their costume.
- Remember to keep all exits clear of decorations so escape routes are not blocked. Also, make sure all smoke alarms are working properly.
Everyone one is entitled to one good scare on Halloween but let’s keep a house fire out of it. Don’t be haunted with fire damage. Follow these steps to enjoy your spooky season with tricks and treats.
Your friends at SERVPRO are wishing you a happy and safe Halloween. As always, if the unexpected happens, SERVPRO is here to help with fire and water damage.
Emergency Fire Damage Process
Fire and smoke damage is especially destructive.
Fire and smoke damage is especially destructive. In many cases, your property will also suffer from water damage from firefighting efforts. With our emergency fire damage process, we can get your property back to pre-fire condition “Like it never even happened.”
Within one hour from notice of loss, we will contact you to arrange for service. You will know help is on the way!
Within four hours of loss notification, we will be on-site to start mitigation services. The key to reducing damage and saving money is responding quickly to your damage.
A trained, uniformed, and equipped SERVPRO professional will walk you through the job process step-by-step, explaining what to expect and the anticipated outcome.
We will begin pretesting for restorability, working from the source of the damage outward.
Within eight business hours of on-site arrival, a verbal briefing of scope will be communicated to the appropriate person, normally your adjuster or property manager.
Cleaning, Restoration, & Deodorization:
We will work neatly and efficiently to help you regain control of your property when a damaging event has taken over. We use state-of-the-art restoration techniques to ensure your property is taken care of right the first time.
After the work has been completed, a final walk-through will be conducted with you to help ensure your satisfaction.
Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s Corporate Training Facility to regular IICRC industry certifications, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.
Have you ever plugged in too many devices into one outlet at once?
Have you ever plugged in too many devices into one outlet at once? Everything seemed fined and all of a sudden, the power goes off. You more than likely created a circuit overload in your home.
All electrical circuits are designed to handle a certain amount of electricity. When you bring in more electricity than a circuit can handle, a circuit overload will occur, potentially causing a fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical fires are one of the leading causes of structure fire annually. Which is accounted for nearly 13% of reported home fires and results in 420 fatalities, 1,520 injuries and nearly $1.5 billion in property damage.
How can you prevent a potential house fire by an overloaded circuit? Follow the tips below:
- Never plug more than two devices into an outlet at once.
- Know the amount of power you are putting on an outlet or circuit.
- Large appliances like refrigerators and dryers should be plugged into their own outlet since they are heavy power users.
- If you see that you have been overloading an outlet or circuit in your home, you should consider contacting a professional to help resolve the problem.
If an electrical fire does occur, we are always here to help 24/7. We specialize in fire and water damage restoration, the cornerstone of our business. We have extensive fire damage cleanup and restoration training to get your property back to pre-fire condition.
For more information about how to prevent electrical fires in your home, visit nfpa.org.
Be Prepared for a Fire!
House fires come when you are least expecting it and can spread quickly throughout your home with little time to escape.
House fires come when you are least expecting it and can spread quickly throughout your home with little time to escape. That is why it is important to create a fire safety plan for you and your loved ones.
The National Fire Protection Association has very useful tips to help you be prepared if you have a house fire.
Escape Planning Tips:
- Get everyone in your household together to make a plan. Inspect all possible exits and escape routes in your home. If you have children, consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, and mark the locations of smoke alarms.
- Install smoke alarms in each bedroom, outside of each bedroom, and on every level of your house.
- When walking through your plan, check to make sure your escape routes are clear, and doors and windows can open easily.
- Choose an outside meeting place that is a safe distance from your home.
- Make sure your street number is clearly visible from the road. If it is not, paint it on the curb or install house numbers to make sure that emergency responder can find your house.
- Have everyone in your household memorize the fire departments phone number.
- If you have infants, older adults, or family members with mobility limitations in your household, make sure that someone is assigned to help them in a drill and the event of an emergency.
- Inform visitors about your fire plan.
- Be prepared for a real fire, once you hear smoke alarms, get out immediately.
- Once you are out of the house, DO NOT go back in.
It is always better to be safe than sorry. It is also important to be prepared in an event of a fire. For more information on how to create your fire plan, visit nfpa.org!
The Importance of Smoke Alarms
Smoke alarms save lives every day.
Smoke alarms save lives every day. Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a crucial role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out. Here at SERVPRO, we want to keep you and your loved ones safe.
Here is what you need to know
- A closed-door may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home.
- Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.
- Larger homes may need extra smoke alarms.
- Test your smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working. If the alarm still does not work replace the batteries, and if it still doesn’t work replace it.
- There are two kinds of alarms. Ionization smoke alarms are quicker to warn about flaming fires. Photoelectric alarms are quicker to warn about smoldering fires. It is best to use both types of alarms in the home.
- When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside. Don’t wait
- Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years whether they are still working or not.
Facts about smoke alarms
- Smoke alarms provide an early warning of a fire, giving people additional escape time. In 2012-2016, smoke alarms were present in three-quarters (74%) and sounded in more than half (53%) of the home fires reported to U.S. fire departments.
- Almost three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms (40%) or no smoke alarms that were working (17%).
- The death rate per 1,000 reported home fires was more than twice as high in homes that did not have any working smoke alarms (12.3 deaths per 1,000 fires), either because no smoke alarm was present or an alarm was present but did not operate), as it was in homes with working smoke alarms (5.7 per 1,000 fires).
- In fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, more than two of every five (43%) of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries.
- Dead batteries caused one-quarter (25%) of the smoke alarm failures.
For more information on smoke alarms and other fire protection related information visit the website for the National Fire Protection Association.
Always Prioritize Safety as You Grill
For us, enjoying summer is all about getting outside with family and firing up the grill, but safety is key to making sure this stays a fun activity.
For us, enjoying summer is all about getting outside with family and firing up the grill, but safety is key to making sure this stays a fun activity. Grilling dangers are something many people do not discuss, but as with any open flame, the risk of a grill fire is there every time you light yours up. Fortunately, a bit of prevention goes a long way.
It is reported by the U.S. Fire Administration that grill fires occur at least 5,700 times every year, making them more prevalent than many realize. Grilling can be a fun and safe activity, however, as long as you follow the proper fire safety protocols when you do it.
Keep Grilling Fun, Safe and Fire-Free
Create a safe zone around your grill. It is convenient to place your grill in a spot close to your home but giving yourself plenty of surrounding space is important in case of flare-ups. Three feet is the recommended distance to have around your grill, free from wood, siding or any other flammable materials.
Clean your grill grates often. By keeping your grill grates clean, you are able to keep the temperature inside your grill steadier and reduce the chances of a sudden fire starting. Built-on food particles can get extremely hot when the grill is in use, even suddenly igniting in some cases. A quick scrape after each grill session can go a long way in reducing this danger.
Never leave the grill unattended. There is no safe way to ever leave a grill unattended, even if the lid is closed. Fires only take a second to start, so your best bet to circumvent damage is by always being nearby with a fire extinguisher just in case. Even for a quick break, it is best to have someone take over your grill station to keep a vigilant eye out.
Inspect the grill regularly. The components of a grill are not made to last forever, and even if you are using yours regularly, you never know when something could finally give out. Before you ever light your grill, do a visual inspection to make sure everything looks like it is in good shape and there are no areas that could lead to a gas leak on your connectors.
If you have a grill fire that does damage to your home, we are here to help. You can call on SERVPRO, day or night, to have a quick response from our restoration experts.
Unexpected Fire Hazards in Your Home
Some of the most dangerous fire hazards in your home are completely unexpected and are things you might not think about daily.
Some of the most dangerous fire hazards in your home are completely unexpected and are things you might not think about daily. Not all fire hazards are so predictable like leaving a candle unattended or smoking inside your house. The lesser-known fire hazards are just as troubling than most common ones because you do not see them coming until it is too late.
Here are some unexpected fire hazards in your home that you should pay attention to:
- Dryer lint – Excessive heat and lint buildup is just asking for trouble. It is important to clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct regularly.
- Dust – Dust can be a fire hazard if it collects near floor heaters, electronics and sockets. If sparks fly, dust piles can ignite and start a house fire. Be sure to look under appliances and remove dust buildup.
- Gas water heater – Clothes piled too close to a gas water heater can ignite when the water heater comes on.
- Laptops – Laptops running for long periods of time tend to get hot. A hot laptop that is left on a bed, couch, blanket or other soft surfaces can prevent air flow in and out of the cooling vents. This can produce enough heat to ignite and start a fire.
- Crumbs in the toaster – Have you checked your toaster crumbs recently? As crumbs pile up on the bottom, a spark can easily catch fire and start a flame that catches on to items surrounding the toaster.
- Leaves in gutters – Allowing leaves to gather up in your gutters or bushes to over grow can cause a major fire risk. Be sure to clean your gutters and your lawn regularly to reduce the risk of a fire.
An unexpected fire is devastating and can destroy your home along with your personal belongs. Be proactive in protecting your home from a fire hazard. Be alert and check your house routinely. If the unimaginable ever does happen, we are always ready to help.
Microwave Oven Safety
When not maintained properly, microwaves ovens can become extremely hazardous.
We have all thought about the left-over pizza in our refrigerators and cannot wait to get home to reheat it in a microwave oven. These appliances are great to reheat and enjoy leftovers and other snacks without the hassle of actually cooking them. But did you know that there are potential hazards to microwaves?
When not maintained properly, microwaves ovens can become extremely hazardous. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 1 in 6 of microwave ovens cause home fires every year. Once a fire is ignited in the microwave, it can quickly catch the whole appliance on fire. This can lead to the fire spreading to other areas of your kitchen and potentially your whole house. These fires can cause an annual average of 10 deaths, 150 injuries, and around $31 million in property damage.
To prevent potential, follow these tips below:
- Purchase a microwave oven that is listed by a qualified testing laboratory. Make sure to complete and return the product registration card. This way the manufacturer can reach you if there is a recall on the product.
- Make sure children are supervised when using microwaves.
- Plug the microwave oven directly into the wall outlet – never use an extension cord.
- Make sure the microwave oven is at a safe height, within easy reach of all users.
- Open food slowly, away from the face. Hot steam or the food itself can cause burns.
- Food heats unevenly in microwave ovens. Stir and test before eating or giving to children.
- Never heat a baby bottle in the microwave.
- Clean regularly.
If a fire happens to break out, follow these steps:
- Leave the door to the microwave closed.
- Turn the microwave off and unplug it from the wall.
- Call the fire department immediately.
Home fires happen unexpectedly and are can sometimes be out of control. Remember if your home suffers from fire damage, SERVPRO will be ready to help and make it “Like it never even happened.”
Any open flame is a potential risk for a disaster.
Cozy, cool nights spent by the fire with friends and family while roasting marshmallows and enjoying each other’s presence is a recipe for a good night. All while maintaining 6 ft a part of course!
Surrounding a campfire with loved ones creates special memories that you can cherish forever. Let us continue to create these memories by practicing bonfire safety!
Starting the Fire:
- Make sure your fire pit is enclosed and there is enough room for a seating area
- Make sure that your bonfire is 10 ft away from your home or any structures
- Do not use gasoline or lighter fluid to start or relight the bonfire
- Keep a bucket of water or hose handy in case of emergencies
- Do not leave bonfire unattended
- Keep children and pets away from the bonfire
- Do not throw fireworks into the bonfire
- Do not burn aerosols or anything that may produce toxic fumes or explode
Putting Out the Fire:
- Use a shovel to spread out the ashes to let them cool down. Slowly pour water over the ashes and check to be sure that the fire is completely out
Any open flame is a potential risk for a disaster. So next time you are planning a bonfire, use these tips to ensure everyone’s safety. As always, we are ready for whatever happens. If your bonfire gets out of hand and causes fire damage, you know we will be there to help!
Bad Habits That Can Start a Fire
Fire and smoke damage is especially destructive.
House fires are more common than you may realize, with potential fire starters like dust, laptops and lint traps hiding in plain sight throughout your home, disguised as harmless but can be deadly.
Are you guilty of these bad habits that could start an unexpected fire in your home?
Misusing electric blankets: A warm and cozy electric blanket is a welcome comfort in the winter but, it also poses a potential fire hazard. Never allow pets to snuggle on top and do not pile extra covers over the electric blanket. Excessive heat buildup may lead to fire. Never bend the coils, always keep your blanket at its lowest setting and always turn it off in the morning.
Piling up dirty rags: A wood stain may be the perfect finishing touch on a DIY project, but later, that pile of oil-soaked rags you tossed in the corner could trigger the perfect storm. Those rags are a very real fire hazard if left unattended. The rags could oxidize and spontaneously combust, causing a house fire. Two proper ways to dispose of oily rags are to lay them flat outside to dry or to put them in a metal can filled with water and a tight-fitting lid.
Lingering dryer lint: We're sure you know emptying the lint screen increases your dryer’s efficiency, but did you know that lint is flammable? The combination of lint buildup and excessive heat is a recipe for disaster. Make sure to clean the interior of the dryer frame as well as the dryer vent and exhaust duct regularly to clear away lint and clogs and to reduce the risk of fire.
Letting your laptop overheat: If you own a laptop, you know how hot it can get, leaving your computer on your bed, chair, rug or other soft flammable surface, you increase the risk of restricting airflow through the cooling vents. This can cause your laptop to overheat and possibly catch fire. Keeping your laptop on a desk or table will help prevent fires.
Using too many extension cords: Extension cords are meant to be a temporary response to a lack of electrical outlets; not a permanent solution. The reason why is this: connecting many cords for a significant amount of time causes an overload that will lead to a short circuit - which could start a fire. Hiring a qualified electrician to install additional outlets could help you avoid this problem altogether.
Disregarding dust: Built up dust can be a fire hazard if it collects in and around electrical sockets, electronics and even floor heaters. Vacuuming on a regular basis, especially behind electronics, will significantly reduce the chance of dust particles catching fire.
Improperly storing batteries: Storing 9-volt batteries in your kitchen junk drawer might be putting your home and family at risk. When loose batteries roll around with other metals such as paper clips or screws, the two terminals could short out, possibly generating enough heat to ignite flammables nearby. If storing the batteries in the original package is not an option, place a piece of electrical tape over the terminal to prevent this possibility.
Unwanted guests: Rodents like mice and rats like to chew on electrical wires to control the length of their teeth. Over time, they can remove the sheathing, this leaves the wires exposed. The electrical current travelling through the wire generate heat and if the wire is exposed this could lead to sparks, which in turn could ignite the surrounding surface. Call an exterminator if you suspect you have rodents.
Forgetting the chimney sweep: There are common cause of chimney fires, such as, dead birds, raccoon nests, cracked mortar and built-up creosote. The National Fire Protection Association recommends a professional chimney sweep at least once a year. Also, when building a fire in your fireplace, never light it with kerosene. Always use an approved fire starter.
Overlooking the range hood: Ovens and cook tops are the most common sources of kitchen fires. But range hoods are also a potential threat. Grease builds up over time and can drip down onto the cook top, possibly starting a fire. These flames could easily reach your cabinets and before you know it your kitchen could be engulfed. Regularly clean and maintain your range hood to keep your kitchen out of harm’s way.
Furniture arrangement: Furniture placed too close to a wood stove could spontaneously ignite. Pyrolysis is the chemical decomposition of a combustible item. This occurs when an object is continually exposed to a heat source and dries out. This leading-yet seldom considered cause of fires does not even require a direct flame. It only takes heat and time.
Why Choose SERVPRO
Fire and smoke damage is especially destructive. In many instances, your Mid-Michigan property will also suffer from water damage from firefighting efforts. We specialize in both fire and water damage restoration. It’s the cornerstone of our business. SERVPRO of West Sterling Heights has specialized equipment, specific training, and certifications that allow us to restore your home to pre-fire condition "Like it never even happened."
Smell Natural Gas?
If any of your appliances run on gas, invest in gas detectors, and remain vigilant for signs of a gas leak.
Many people assume that natural gas explosions are a thing of the past, back when regulations were not as strict as they are today. However, the truth is that gas fires continue to occur at an alarming rate and, sadly, they often result in much more dire consequences than fire damage. You can prevent a gas fire by recognizing the signs of a gas leak.
Determine if Your Home Utilizes Natural Gas
Before you learn the signs of a gas leak, you should determine which aspects of your home use natural gasses. You may be at risk for a gas leak if any of the following appliances use the natural commodity:
- Hot water heater
- AC unit
- Heating system
If any of your appliances run on gas, invest in gas detectors, and remain vigilant for signs of a gas leak.
What to Do If You Suspect a Gas Leak
A gas leak can quickly lead to a gas fire which can quickly lead to a gas explosion. For this reason, it is imperative that you recognize the signs of a leak and take proper measures to prevent disaster:
- Check the stove: If it is safe to do so, walk over to your stove to make sure all the burners are off.
- Open the doors and windows: If you cannot find the source of the leak, open all the doors and windows to help the gasses escape.
- Do not flip any switches: A light switch can cause a spark, which can cause an explosion. Keep all the lights off if you suspect a gas leak.
- Shut off your gas meter: If you do not know where your gas meter is located, now's the time to find it. If you smell gasses, locate the meter, and turn it off.
A gas fire can be extremely dangerous. For this reason, the best thing you can do if you suspect a gas leak is to leave your home ASAP and call 911. If a fire does occur, the SERVPRO of West Sterling Heights fire damage cleanup crew can help with the restoration process. Call us today at 586-480-2400.
Grease fires are the most dangerous when it comes to cooking fires.
Grease fires are the most dangerous when it comes to cooking fires and are responsible for 1 in every 5 home fire deaths. Below are some tips on how to prevent and put out grease fires. These tips could help save your or a loved one's life.
- Before you start cooking make sure burner is cool and wipe up any spills.
- Pay attention to heat ratings for cooking oil. Some oils can be heated more than others before catching fire so if you are cooking and notice the oil start to smoke that means it is close to catching fire.
- As soon as you start to see it smoke carefully remove the pan from the heat source.
- Avoid heating grease before putting food into it because when you drop food in it can make the grease splash out which in turn can cause grease burns or it can also hit the heat source and catch fire.
- Carefully clean spills as soon as they happen by first removing food from heat source, turning off heat source, and waiting for burner to cool.
- When deep frying, make sure you use a pan or cooking container big enough.
- Use a utensil that will allow you to put the food into the grease without dropping and without your hands coming close to the hot grease.
- Use a screen that covers the pan to reduce the chance of splatters outside the pan.
- If you are a new or inexperienced cook do not attempt to deep fry for the first time unless you have an experienced cook with you.
- NEVER add water to grease.
Putting out a grease fire
- Turn off source of heat
- Do NOT pour water on it. Water and oil do not mix and when you add water it will sink right to the bottom and evaporate instantly, spreading flaming oil everywhere.
- Attempt to remove all oxygen from the flame. Cover with another pot or baking pan.
- If you cannot cover it, dump lots of baking soda on it.
If you have a grease fire, we are here to help! SERVPRO of West Sterling Heights specializes in fire and water damage restoration. We have the specific damage restoration training, personnel and equipment to restore your home quickly to pre-fire conditions.
When it comes to grilling with an open flame, it is best to be prepared and know safe grilling practices.
What happens when the weather gets warmer day by day? Besides everyone being in better moods and enjoying the nice weather, it is the initiation of grilling season.
According to the National Fire Association, an average of 9,600 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues occur every year. Gas grills contribute 7,900 homes fires a year while charcoal grills chip in 1,300.
It is always better to be safe rather than sorry. That is why it is important to brush up on grilling safety before summer is in full swing. Whether you are a grill master or not, these tips can help prevent a disaster from taking place.
- Do not light or turn on a grill inside a garage or indoor space
- Do not wear loose clothing
- Keep the grill 10 ft away from your house and other structures
- Open the grill lid before lighting it
- Make sure your grill is on a flat and stable base
- Use a long match or a mechanical lighter specific to grilling
- Do not leave a grill unattended
- Keep children and pets away the grill
- Be aware of wind, it may blow sparks
- Never use water on a grease fire, baking soda over the flames is a better option
- Always have a fire extinguisher nearby in case of an emergency
- Allow the grill to cool completely before moving it or covering it up
- Clean out the inside of the grill and empty debris into a metal container
- Store matches, lighter fluid, and lighters away from children and pets
When it comes to grilling with an open flame, it is best to be prepared and know safe grilling practices. For more grilling safety, go to the National Fire Protection Association to find more information.
We Can Handle Smoke and Soot Damage
Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. 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 Saginaw 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.
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – (586) 480-2400
Fire Restoration Process
Professional fire restoration companies like SERVPRO are available for emergency service. In some instances, a fire may cause damage such as burn holes in the roof. In these cases, a restoration company can quickly come out to the property and secure the building from further damage.
The next step is to assess the damage caused by the fire. During this step, the fire damage restoration company, like SERVPRO, will look to see the length the fire, smoke and soot traveled as well as the effect the fire had on the furniture and walls. The company can make an action plan and provide an accurate quote and time estimate.
Tarp and Sealing
Once restoration is underway, the company's main concern is to prevent further damage from happening, such as leaks due to holes in the wall or a burnt roof or a burst water tank or pipe. The company will quickly stop the source off the leak before water spreads to additional parts of the building.
After stopping any leaks, the restoration company will clear away dust, soot and smoke from surfaces as well as begin saving the property from water damage. The company will use submersible pumps to remove standing water. Then the area will be dried and sanitized. Carpets will be cleaned, and other measures taken to remove the odors caused by smoke. Finally, items that are beyond repair will be removed and replaced.
Renovation and Repairs
During the renovation and repair stage, the fire restoration company, like SERVPRO, will repair or replace cabinets, install new carpet, repaint walls, replace wallpaper and fix other damage in order to restore the property back to its original appearance. The company can also use this opportunity to improve the property, allowing it to look better than it did before the fire occurred.
Fire Prevention Debriefing
After the restoration process is complete, the company will offer ideas on preventing fires from happening in the future. If the fire were avoidable, the company could provide design advice and fire alert tools such as smoke detectors.
Smoking obviously isn’t the best habit to have. The dangers of smoking go beyond the harmful effects it has on one’s body, but it can also cause deadly fires. Cigarette butts can ignite:
- Dry underbrush outdoors
- Improper ash cans
According to The National Fire Association, there is an average of 18,100 reported home fires that were started by smoking materials. Also, smoking fires killed an average of 590 people annually and caused up to $476 million in direct property damage.
Butts can ignite much more, including your home. It is important to be aware of what can easily ignite a fire in your home while smoking. Here are some smoke safety tips to follow:
- Use only fire-safe cigarettes.
- Smoke outside. Most deaths result from fires that started in living rooms, family rooms and dens or in bedrooms.
- Keep cigarettes, lighters, matches, and other smoking materials up high out of the reach of children, in a locked cabinet.
- Use a deep, sturdy ashtray. Place it away from anything that can burn.
- Do not discard cigarettes in vegetation such as mulch, potted plants or landscaping, peat moss, dried grasses, leaves or other things that could ignite easily.
- Before you throw away butts and ashes, make sure they are out, and dousing in water or sand is the best way to do that.
If your home ever suffers from fire damage from a cigarette, please reach out to us at 586-480-2400. We can restore your home and even get rid of the smell.
How to Put Out an Electrical Fire
Electricity is an essential part of life. From lights to heating systems to TV’s, it provides the energy for most powered objects in a house. Electricity is important to have in every home, but it can also be extremely dangerous. According to the National Fire Protection Association, electrical failures or malfunctions are the second leading cause of home fire in the united states. Electrical failures and malfunctions also accounted for the highest share of civilian deaths and direct property damage.
If an electrical fire were to break out in your home, here are actions that you should do immediately:
Cut off the Electricity – If the device that is causing the fire is found and you can safely reach the cord, unplug it.
Add Sodium Bicarbonate – If the fire is small, you may put it out by pouring baking soda on it.
Don’t Use Water – Using water to put out an electrical fire can put you at risk for being shocked or electrocuted because water is a natural conductor of electricity. Water also may cause the fire to spread by conducting electricity throughout the room and potentially igniting flammable materials.
Remove the Oxygen Source – An electrical fire may also be put out by removing the oxygen source with a heavy blanket or clothing if the fire is small.
Check Your Fire Extinguisher – Electrical fires are considered a Class C Fire, which means that you will need to have an extinguisher that is appropriate for this type of fire. Residential fire extinguishers are often multi-purpose and labeled as ABC, but it is very important to make sure that it is before using it on an electrical fire.
For more information on electrical fires, visit Fire Rescue 1.
If your home suffers from an electrical fire, do not hesitate to call SERVPRO of West Sterling Heights. Our team is available 24/7 and will restore your home to pre-fire condition “Like it never even happened.”
Create Your Fire Escape Plan
“Practice makes perfect,” a saying we have all heard but never for a home fire escape plan. You probably never thought of practicing for a fire to start in your home, but it could potentially save you and your loved ones if the imaginable were to happen. According to the National Fire Protection Association, an average of 353,100 reported home structure fires and 2,620 associated civilian deaths in the United States each year. With those numbers, having a fire safety plan is never bad to have.
It has been said that your ability to get out depends on advance warning from smoke alarms as well as advance planning. Fire can spread quickly through your home, leaving you very little time to escape safely.
It is highly advised to install smoke alarms in inside and outside every sleeping room. Also, it is advised to install alarms on every level of the home. Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.
Before a fire happens, get everyone in your household together and make a plan. Be sure to walk through your home and examine all possible exits and escape routes if the imaginable were to happen. If you have children, draw a floor plan of your home and mark two ways out of each room, including windows and doors.
Setting Up Your Home Fire Escape Plan:
- Draw a map of your home. Show all doors and windows.
- Visit each room. Find two ways out.
- All windows and doors should open easily. You should be able to use them to get outside.
- Make sure your home has smoke alarms. Push the test button to make sure each alarm is working.
- Pick a meeting place outside. It should be in front of your home. Everyone will meet at the meeting place.
- Make sure your house or building number can be seen from the street.
- Practice your plan twice a year, making it as realistic as possible.
For more fire safety plan tips, visit the National Fire Protection Association.
Now that we are in winter months, you may be using your fireplace to heat up your home. Residential fire safety is crucial, especially when you have open flames within in your home. It’s important to know that any type of fireplace, whether wood-burning, gas, or electric, creates potential danger to your home and loved ones.
Fireplace Safety Tips:
- Open a window while the fire is it.
- Be sure the damper or flue is open before lighting or starting a fire, and until embers have completely stopped burning, to draw smoke out of the house.
- Check the damper by looking up into the chimney with a flashlight or mirror.
- Use smaller pieces of dry and well-aged wood for home fire safety, avoiding wet or green wood, which cause more smoke and soot buildup in the chimney.
- Have a professional check the chimney annually.
- When cleaning a fireplace, remove ashes from previous fires, keeping levels of the to 1 inch or less for less smoke
- Check for animal nests or other blockages that could prevent smoke from escaping.
- Make sure the area around the fireplace is clear of anything that is potentially flammable.
- Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended and be sure it’s completely out before going to bed or leaving the house.
- Home fireplace safety should include keeping a fire extinguisher on hand.
Fire and smoke damage is especially destructive. In many instances, your Saginaw property will also suffer from water damage from firefighting efforts. We specialize in both fire and water damage restoration; it’s the cornerstone of our business. SERVPRO of West Sterling Heights has specialized equipment, specific training, and certifications that allow us to restore your home to pre-fire condition "Like it never even happened."