Recent Fire Damage Posts

Preventing a Kitchen Fire

11/5/2021 (Permalink)

Kitchen pan on 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. 

Hot Tips 

  • 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

10/25/2021 (Permalink)

Deep fryer with potato wedges. 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

10/20/2021 (Permalink)

Electrical strip with too many plugs in outlet. 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

10/1/2021 (Permalink)

Family with masks carving pumpkins. 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

9/28/2021 (Permalink)

Fire flames. 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.” 

One Hour: 

Within one hour from notice of loss, we will contact you to arrange for service. You will know help is on the way! 

Four Hours: 

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. 

Detailed Explanation: 

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. 

Pretesting: 

We will begin pretesting for restorability, working from the source of the damage outward. 

Eight Hours: 

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. 

Final Walk-Through: 

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. 

Circuit Overload

9/22/2021 (Permalink)

Wire on fire plugged into an outlet. 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!

9/22/2021 (Permalink)

Smoke coming out of second story house. 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

8/27/2021 (Permalink)

White smoke detector. 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. 

Unexpected Fire Hazards in Your Home

7/27/2021 (Permalink)

A house on fire. 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

7/26/2021 (Permalink)

Woman's arm with an open microwave door. 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.” 

Bonfire Safety

7/14/2021 (Permalink)

Burning logs. 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 

Bonfire Safety: 

  • 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!