Recent Fire Damage Posts
Keep Dryers Lint Free
A dryer seems like a convenient, safe appliance that lets you forget it and go. However, if you don’t maintain it properly, a lint fire can happen, which can cause severe fire damage to your home.
A Surprising Amount of Lint
Depending on your family size or how often you go through clothes, it is likely that you do a lot more laundry than you realize. An average family does approximately eight to 10 loads a week. Every load means small fabric, dust, and dirt particles are collecting in your dryer’s lint trap, vent and duct work. Lint is highly combustible, making it vital to eliminate.
Cleaning Out the Lint
Instead of dealing with a potential dryer fire and needing expert help in repairing the damage, good habits can go a long way.
Lint traps should be cleaned after every load. Most appliances make this easy. The trap usually slides out and the lint can be lifted off. Any lint that is leftover should be scrubbed off with a brush. Every few weeks, the screen should be rinsed with water. While the screen is out, vacuum in and around its entry point.
Approximately once a year, unplug the dryer and inspect the vent and hose or pipe connected to the dryer. Wipe lint off of the opening and clean any leftover in the hose or pipe. A brush can be used to clean the interior of the vent.
Don’t forget the exterior vent. Ensure the vent flap is still attached and working properly. Vacuum or wipe out the opening. This should be done a few times a year.
Extra Safety Tips
To further avoid a lint fire, ensure your dryer is properly installed. Additionally, avoid drying clothes stained with chemicals, gas, oil or cleaning products, and only operate the dryer while at home.
In most cases, a lint fire happens because of improper cleaning and maintenance. Taking a little extra to be safe is worth it.
How To Use a Fire Extinguisher
Types of Fire Extinguishers
There are many hazards within the home that can cause a fire to break out, but with proper care and basic safety, this is a rare problem. Accidents still do happen though, and it never hurts to be prepared if the situation calls for it. Owning a small fire extinguisher and having it in a handy spot, such as the kitchen pantry, can be a life saver.
Of course, making the decision to take it out and use it can be tricky, as you must know what type of fire it is, what type of fire extinguisher can be used safely, and whether or not it is a safe enough situation to handle it yourself without instead evacuating and calling the fire department. Consult OSHA’s website to determine which type of extinguisher would be the best for your home. There are many types, including multi-purpose, as well as Class K which is specifically for putting out a kitchen fire.
There are situations when even if you are able to get to the fire extinguisher, the fire may be growing too quickly, and it would be better to call emergency services before you attempt to control the situation.
Operate Your Fire Extinguisher
The following technique called PASS is useful for operating most extinguishers:
Pull: Pull the pin and break the tamper seal.
Aim: Aim at the base of the fire with the hose or nozzle.
Squeeze: Squeeze the handle.
Sweep: Use a sweeping motion to spray the chemicals along the base until it goes out, then wait to see if it reignites, and repeat if necessary.
If there are any doubts about your ability to handle a fire, evacuate and call 911. Especially in the case of a kitchen fire, burning oils are incredibly dangerous and having the right type of chemicals in your extinguisher is crucial for your safety. Fire damage restoration services are much more affordable than risking your life!
How to Maintain Your Microwave for Optimal Performance
Clean your microwave regularly, both inside and out, to keep it working effectively.
Arriving home at the end of the workday, the convenience of a microwave often makes it your go-to cooking appliance. It should come as no surprise that over 90% of U.S. homes have one. Depending on the features they offer, microwaves can be fairly expensive investments for many people but well worth the money in time saved. Since it would be missed if you didn’t have one, it’s important to maintain it for optimal performance and to avoid foul odors such as a smoke smell. Here are some tips to keep your appliance running efficiently while giving it the longest life possible:
- Where to Place It
A space of three inches on all sides should be maintained. Microwaves tend to heat on the outside when operating, so the vents should be given ample space to dissipate the heat and avoid overheating. Keep it away from a sink or other water source; splashing water on it could cause a short or burn it out.
- How to Keep It Running Efficiently
Microwaves require regular cleanings, both inside and out, to keep them working effectively. Everyone has had the annoying experience of food splattering during the heating process. If it’s not cleaned right away, it will dry and stick, causing a smoke smell from the burnt-on food and possibly damaging the appliance. Be sure to cover food as it heats. Clean with a soft rag and a solution of baking soda and vinegar to get rid of odors. Make sure to wipe around the vents and vent grill.
- What to Avoid Placing in It
Whatever you do, avoid putting anything metal, even aluminum foil, in the oven. This will cause a fire or explosion. Be careful about reheating food in plastic dishes. Only use items that are labeled as microwave-safe.
If your home sustains fire damage from your microwave, call on SERVPRO of South Albany County’s fire damage restoration experts to assist with a thorough cleanup. These specialists can also help get rid of any lingering smoke smell. Call (518) 456-1111 today!
Think Twice Before You Plug That Space Heater In
Be sure to follow safety precautions when using a space heater to prevent a fire from happening.
It is that time of year when there is a chill in the air and a little extra warmth is needed. However if not used properly, space heaters can be very dangerous. Here are some great space heater safety tips to prevent a fire in your home this winter season.
Electric space heaters are generally more expensive to operate than combustion space heaters, but they are the only unvented space heaters that are safe to operate inside your home. Although electric space heaters avoid indoor air quality concerns, they still pose burn and fire hazards and should be used with caution.
- Place heater on a hard, level surface
- Turn heater off when you leave
- Keep heater 3 ft. from the nearest object
- Avoid using extension cords
- Look for heaters with tip over and over heat protection
- Keep heaters away from water and flammable items such as papers, blankets, and curtains.
Educating yourself about the safety hazards that come with the improper use of portable heaters will help you achieve better peace of mind as you keep your home warm, comfortable, and fire hazard-free this winter.
Christmas Tree Fires Account for Millions of Dollars in Property Damage Annually
Christmas trees and holiday decorations account for millions of dollars in property damage every year. Please share these basic safety tips to ensure your family's well being this holiday season.
- Look for a fresh tree, these are less likely to catch fire. Vibrant green needles that do not fall off easily. The Frazier Fir is a great choice and has a softer needle that does not dry out as quickly.
- Remember to water your tree immediately after getting it home and once it’s in the stand. Continue to water the tree until it stops taking water.
- Keep your tree away from heat sources, candles and other electronics.
- All your Christmas lights should be UL or ETL/ITSNA tested for safety, and you should throw away damaged lights.
- Be sure to plug outdoor lights into a ground-fault circuit interrupter protected receptacle.
- Keep all your candles away from your Christmas tree, surrounding furniture and décor. If possible avoid candles all together, especially this time of year when there tend to be more flammable items around the home.
- Don’t forget to turn your Christmas tree lights off each night.
- When your tree's needles begin to fall, it is time to take it down.
Follow these guidelines and avoid being another statistic in the National Fire Protection Association or United States Fire Administration report this holiday season. Of course, if you do have an emergency contact us immediately along with the local emergency response departments needed. We will be there to help you get things back, "Like it never even happened."
Thanksgiving Safety Tips
The kitchen is the heart of the home, especially at Thanksgiving. Kids love to be involved in holiday preparations. Safety in the kitchen is important, especially on Thanksgiving Day when there is a lot of activity and people at home.
- Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
- Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
- Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
- Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
- Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
- Keep knives out of the reach of children.
- Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee
maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
- Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
- Never leave children alone in a room with a lit candle.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
Thanksgiving is the leading day of the year for home fires involving cooking equipment. Follow these tips from the National Fire Protection Association to ensure you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving. And remember, if you do have an emergency, SERVPRO of South Albany County is here to make it “Like it never happened.”
Halloween Fire Safety Tips
Use battery-operated candles in your jack-o-lanterns to avoid potential fire hazards.
Halloween is a fun, and spooky, time of year for kids. Make trick-or-treating safe for your little ghouls with a few easy safety tips.
- When choosing a costume, stay away from long trailing fabric. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so he or she can see out.
- Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costume.
- Keep all decorations away from open flames and other heat sources like light bulbs and heaters. Dried flowers,corn stalks and crepe paper catch fire easily.
- Use a battery-operated candle or glow-stick in jack-o- lanterns. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside jack-o- lanterns, use long, fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of the way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards.
- Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
- Make sure all smoke alarms in the home are working.
Tell children to stay away from open flames including jack-o-lanterns with candles in them. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire. Have them practice, stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out.
Back to School, Fire Safety 101
This time of year children around the country start college. For many of them, it will be their first time living away from home, for others they will be returning to complete their studies and spend time with college friends. In recent years it has become quite common for colleges to build apartment-style dorm suites that allow a small group of students (normally 4-6) to share an apartment like space with common living spaces and, in some, even a kitchen. While this may be fun for the students it does present the potential for fire. Kitchen fires are the most common cause of residential fires and when so many young people have access to their own kitchen (some for the first time!) there is much more potential something could go wrong affecting everyone in the building! If your child is off to school be sure to remind them of the dangers of fire in the kitchen and that they have a working fire extinguisher nearby.
How Space Heaters Can Cause Fires
Space heaters continue to be a source of household fires resulting in fire damage. Sometimes it is a case of the space heater sparking a fire, or causing a plug to overheat and causing a fire inside a wall at the plug's location. Both types of fires leave water, smoke, soot and odor problems that must be addressed quickly to prevent secondary damage from occurring.
Once the fire is out in your home, your SERVPRO team can go to work for you. First, they quickly access the damage to gauge the scope of the fire and immediately begin to remove any standing water from putting out the blaze using the most expedient method for your situation.
After removing the water, air movers can be used to dry the affected areas and discourage mold growth. Then, we can begin addressing the residual fire damage to the structure of the home. Smoke can contain soot, ash, and also harmful tars and carbons. Carbon monoxide is of particular concern, as it is harmful and has no odor to alert you to its presence. That is why it is standard for SERVPRO to test the burned areas for carbon monoxide to ensure your home doesn't contain harmful fumes.
We use special cleaners and dry sponges to remove smoke and soot residue on nonporous surfaces and objects. After thoroughly cleaning the floors and walls, the removal of the odor from the affected room or rooms is the final step in the remediation process. One method that effectively removes odors quickly is the use of a thermal fogger which recreates the heat and pressure of the fire and pushes deodorizer in the room and over possessions in the same manner the smoke penetrated them.
You can rely on the experts at SERVPRO of South Albany County to come to your home any time of the day or night to turn back the clock on your fire damage.
Avoid a Dryer Fire
Do you have a dryer? Of course you do. One of the most needed appliances in our homes can also cause the most damage if not taken care of properly. The fear of a dryer fire is one that is not commonly heard of, however, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are an estimated annual 15,500 fires, 10 deaths and 10 injuries due to clothes dryer fires. Several hundred people a year are also subjected to carbon monoxide poisoning from improper dryer vent setups. The financial costs come to nearly $100,000,000 per year. In some cases faulty appliances are to blame, but many fires can be prevented with proper dryer venting.
Here are some small steps to take to Avoid a Dryer Fire:
1. Dryer's produce large amounts of lint. Be sure to clean the lint trap after EVERY use of the dryer.
2. Dryer Vents should ONLY be made of metal and be short and straight. Bends and curves result in lint buildup increasing the risk of a fire.
3. Do not run the dryer when you are away from home or sleeping.
Contact SERVPRO of South Albany County today for fire damage restoration.
How Fire Damage Can Continue to Affect Your Home
Fire damage does not end the moment the firefighters leave your home or once the fire has been successfully put out. More damage may result from the water that was used to extinguish the fire; therefore, our restoration team employs specialized techniques to attend to the various challenges that arise. Though the restoration procedures may sound the same, your property requires unique solutions after such experiences.
The Fire Damage Restoration process begins the moment you call our SERVPRO team. We understand that such situations require an immediate response, and our representatives usually ask questions regarding the event. By responding to our questions, we are in a position to immediately respond with appropriate resources and equipment. To determine the extent of the damage caused by the soot, smoke, and fire, we perform a careful inspection of the building. The examination helps us to formulate a relevant plan of action.
Some fire incidents may compromise the roofs, walls, and windows of your property. By offering immediate roof-tarp and board-up solutions, we can attend to such concerns. Such services ensure the security of the building is maintained and help in minimizing further damage. If water is present, we employ appropriate water removal techniques. For instance, pumps to physically extract the water, as well as using air movers and dehumidifiers to dry wet areas.
When soot particles are mixed with water and penetrate hard to reach areas, rotting may take place, and the odor challenge may result. Our SERVPRO technicians are trained to locate and eliminate the unpleasant odors through a process known as deodorization. We can use thermal foggers to dispense deodorants into target locations and neutralize the odor causing particles. Where possible, we physically remove any decomposed particles to control the odor problem.
Fire Damage in an 1800's Home
A fire occurred at our customer’s home in their kitchen due to a cardboard box catching fire near an electric stove. Our customer stated that there was 5 to 6 feet of backsplash affected by the fire and white ash from the cardboard and paper towels throughout the home. Our technicians spent several days properly cleaning the homes structure, contents, and upholstery. Due to the ornate woodwork and moldings within the home, along with the historic wallpaper that dated back to the 1800’s, we took extra time to insure these areas were properly restored. In the photo you will see the wallpaper that covered the ceiling of the dining area and the ornate base of the dining room's chandelier. When our work was completed the customers were very satisfied with our quality of work and timely restoration.
Our Process for Fire Damage Restoration
We’re not going to kid you. Fire damage restoration is tough work. People call SERVPRO of South Albany County frequently to ask for advice on how to clean up after a fire. Here are seven of the best tips we give people who ask about fire damage restoration.
Most people can put these tips into practice. But remember that fire damage restoration takes time, work, and skill. Realistically consider whether you want to try these ideas on your own or whether you’d be better off hiring trained experts who will guarantee their work.
- Remove Smoke Damage
With any fire you’ll have a degree of smoke damage to your walls, wall paper, and paint. If the smoke damage is not too serious, you should be able to scrub it clean with detergents and bleach. Soot from smoke damage is greasy stuff, so always try to dust as much of it off from a surface before trying to scrub the surface clean. Often, you’ll want to repaint, but make sure all surfaces are clean and dry before you paint.
- Limit Activity & Other Simple Fire Damage Restoration Steps
Until your house is restored, limit your activity and movement in the house. This helps prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets. Keep people’s hands clean so you don’t further soil upholstery, walls, and woodwork. Protect your things by placing clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery, and carpet traffic areas. Before you clean know the best cleaning method for that particular cleaning job (one example: Clean and protect chrome with a light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.) Wash both sides of the leaves on your houseplants. Change your HVAC filter and tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.
- Get Rid of Mold & Mildew
Firefighters are great. They save many a live and many a home. But they do introduce mold and mildew into houses when they must use water to extinguish the fire. SERVPRO highly recommends you hire fire damage restoration professionals to deal with mold and mildew. Mold and mildew can cause serious health problems. It’s difficult for a nonprofessional to know for certain if he’s clean up all the areas affected by the mold and mildew. And mold and mildew can contaminate your furniture, carpets, clothing, mattresses, walls, and vents. The best thing you can do immediately is to air out every room and clean out all vents and filters.
- Replace Carpets. Clean And Dry Your Floors
Your floors and carpets end up absorbing the worst of the damage from all the water used to put out a fire. In almost every case, SERVPRO recommends that you pull up any carpets that have water damage and replace them. Water can also seep underneath vinyl flooring and into the cracks in hardwood. You must address this. If you have experience with flooring, you can lift it up and clean under it. But you may want to call a professional fire damage restoration company to assist you.
- Avoid Smearing Soot Into Clothing
Cleaning smoke damage from clothing is one of the biggest jobs you’ll have after a fire. Make sure you don’t smear the greasy soot into the clothing or just throw the smoky clothes into the wash. Often times dry cleaning is the best bet, and you should ask around local dry cleaners to see if any have experience with post-fire laundry. Removing odor is another issue and we’ve covered it in another blog post.
- Scrub, Soak, And Cleaning Dishes
Dishes are also important items to clean thoroughly after a fire because they will be in contact with your food. Scrub all dishes well, let them soak in a solution of bleach and water (2 tablespoons of bleach per gallon) for at least 20 minutes and scrub some more for safety. When in doubt, if a dish, pot, or pan won’t come clean, cut your losses and throw it out – especially rubber or wooden dishes that absorb smoke.
Restaurant Fire Damage Restoration
SERVPRO of South Albany County was called after this fast food restaurant had a fire that started near the fryer in the kitchen area. The fire department extinguished the fire, which turned this fire and soot job into a water job as well. While the employees and customers were safe, there was work to be done to get this restaurant cleaned out and back to operation. Our fire and commercial cleaning crews were ready to respond. They used the professional drying equipment first, then moved on to the demo work, then finished with the detailed cleaning phase. Our team worked with the restaurant owners to make this process as smooth as possible.
Are You Prepare for a Home Fire?
House fires can be devastating for a family. You may never truly feel prepared, but there are steps you can take to become prepared. The American Red Cross has gone to great lengths on their web page providing tips and suggestions on home fire prevention.
The 7 Ways to Prepare for a Home Fire
- Install the right number of smoke alarms. Test them once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year.
- Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.
- Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home and know the family meeting spot outside of your home.
- Establish a family emergency communications plan and ensure that all household members know who to contact if they cannot find one another.
- Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year. Press the smoke alarm test button or yell “Fire“ to alert everyone that they must get out.
- Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.
- Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.
Preventing Electrical Fires
Electrical fires are one of the top five causes of fires in manufacturing plants. Here a non-exhaustive list of specific electrical hazards:
- Wiring that is exposed or not up to code
- Overloaded outlets
- Extension cords
- Overloaded circuits
- Static discharge
The damage caused by these fires can quickly compound thanks to several of the other items on this list. Any of the above hazards can cause a spark, which can serve as an ignition source for combustible dust, as well as flammable liquids and gasses.
How to prevent electrical fire incidents
As with the previous risks, the key to preventing electrical fires is awareness and prevention. This involves training, maintenance, and following best practices. Here are a few to put into practice right now:
- Don’t overload electrical equipment or circuits.
- Don’t leave temporary equipment plugged in when it’s not in use.
- Avoid using extension cords, and never consider them permanent solutions.
- Use antistatic equipment where required by NFPA or OSHA.
- Follow a regular housekeeping plan to remove combustible dust and other hazardous materials from areas that contain equipment and machinery.
- Implement a reporting system so that anyone who observes an electrical fire risk can report it without consequences.
For more information on electrical safety, consult NFPA 70: National Electrical Code and OSHA’s “Electrical Safety in the Workplace.”
10 Fire Tips for Your Home
For most people, homes are one-time assets, containing their most precious belongings. A home is the most important thing you own. It is prudent to ensure the security of your home and family from destructive elements such as fire.
Many homes are destroyed due to fires. Fires may occur due to accidents through carelessness or negligence. It is therefore essential to know of ways and means to keep your house safe from fires.
Listed below are 10 tips for ensuring fire safety for your home:
1 Install a few smoke detectors, preferably on each level. Smoke detectors help save lives and property with early-warning mechanisms. All instructions regarding smoke detectors must be observed scrupulously.
2 Maintain and test smoke detectors periodically. Replace smoke alarm batteries. Most detectors give out signals when the batteries get low to avoid the danger of forgetting about you batteries.
3 Keep an eye out for potential fire hazards. Look for things like frayed or torn cords on electrical devices such as televisions, stereo systems, lamps or computers. Watch out for heaters that are too close to flammable items such as clothing, fabric, books, magazines or old newspapers.
4 Keep match boxes and lighters out of reach of children. Children are fascinated with fire, and curiosity can get dangerous. Keep temptation at bay by hiding matches and lighters. Better still, keep them locked away.
5 Stay on guard when cooking or baking in the kitchen. Many home fires begin in the kitchen. It's always best to be cautious and exercise care in attending to areas that are prone to fire accidents.
6 Have an emergency fire-exit plan handy at all times. Family members should be aware of this plan, and safety drills are in order from time to time. Escape plans have helped families to be safe in fires.
7 Always exercise caution when using, placing or lighting candles. Candles can easily allow other things to catch fire if you are not careful. Have proper candle holders, protective covers and extinguishers for candles.
8 Avoid electrical fires by always unplugging all electronic devices and appliances after use. Plugged-in appliances and electronic devices are fire hazards.
9 Take good care of fireplaces or wood-burning stoves that you use during the winter. Ensure proper safety and upkeep of such devices and keep children out of reach of fire.
10 Teach children about the hazards of fire and ensure they are aware of fire safety rules. Remember, the wellbeing of your family is important and everyone is responsible in understanding the hazards of fire.
Holiday Safety Tips to Prevent Fires
Lights, candles, action- it’s the holiday season again. Brightly lighted decoration, elaborate meals and large gatherings are all apart of traditional holiday celebrations. Unfortunately, these seasonal traditions also cause an average of 230 home fires each year, with an average of 4 deaths, 21 injuries and $17.3 million in property damage.
Christmas tree lights and candles are just two of the holiday traditions that increase the likelihood of a fire starting in your home. There are about three times as many cooking-related fires on Thanksgiving Day and almost twice as many on Christmas Day as there are on non-holidays. It only takes a single distracted or careless action to turn a family get-together into a tragedy.
Homeowners can help keep their homes and their families safe during the holiday season by understanding the dangers and taking some simple, commonsense precautions.
Holiday Cooking Fire Facts
Thanksgiving Day has three times the average number of reported home structure fires involving cooking equipment.
The two other peak days for cooking-related fires are Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.
Holiday Cooking Safety Tips
Supervise items on the stove top. Fifty-eight percent of Kitchen Fires involve ranges: homes with electrical cook tops have a higher risk of fire than homes with gas cook tops.
Keep flammable items-potholders, packaging, wrapping, wooden utensils, loose clothing-away from the stove top.
Don’t let lack of sleep or alcohol consumption affect your ability to concentrate on preparing the meal.
Holiday Decorating Fire Facts
Half of all holiday decoration fires start because the decoration is too close to a heat source.
On average, 32 candle fires are reported each day. December is the peak month for candle fires.
Holiday Decorating Safety Tips
Keep all decorations away from heat sources like radiators, portable heaters and fireplaces.
Use flameless candles.
If you do use traditional candles, burn them in sturdy candle holders, well away from the drapes and other flammable materials. Never leave them unattended and never allow them to burn down to less than one inch in length.
Christmas Tree Fire Facts
50% of live tree fires occur between December 22 and January 5.
31% of tree fires are caused by electrical problems.
14% involve decorative lights.
Christmas Tree Safety Tips
Keep live trees well-watered to reduce the chance of fire.
Check wiring on lights for breaks and wear, replace worn strings and don’t exceed manufacturer guidelines for connecting multiple strands of lights.
Don’t leave tree lights plugged in when you are away from home or asleep.
“We hope these tips will be a reminder to area families to make fire prevention a priority in their holiday preparations, so they can spend the season enjoying family and friends, not dealing with the aftermath of a fire.”
For more fire prevention tips and information about fire and water damage restoration services, contact SERVPRO of South Albany County at 518-456-1111.
Tips for Cleaning Your Chimney
At SERVPRO of South Albany County, we know the lovely warm glow a chimney can add to any home. Sitting in front of a fireplace in your Nashville home on a crisp day is a wonderful way to relax and enjoy an evening with family. There is nothing more important than keeping your home and family safe. To help keep those fires going, it's useful to make sure the chimney is periodically cleaned. Chimney cleaning can help a fireplace stay in good shape and reduce the risk of a fire breaking out in your home. Additionally, the chimney allows smoke, fumes and dangerous toxins escape the home through its ventilation. Read on for some helpful tips on having your chimney services.
Inspect the Brick
All chimneys should be completely cleaned at least once a year. Proper cleaning is important to make sure that the chimney is in good working order. Any homeowner should also perform an inspection on their own. This can help identify any potential problems that must be addressed as soon as possible. It's a good idea to bring a flashlight and have a good look at the floor. All the ashes in the chimney accumulate here. The flooring needs to be kept in good shape to make sure the fire can be turned on. Note any problems with the brick surrounding it. The bricks used in a fireplace are more heat tolerant than ordinary bricks. They need to be maintained to prevent any fire in the fireplace from spreading to other areas of the home. If a single brick is out of place, this can make the rest of the chimney far less functional.
Have a Look Up
After having a good look at the area surrounding the fireplace, it's a good idea to have a look at the rest of the chimney. Put on some old clothes and get in the area surrounding the fireplace. Have a look at the chimney area. You should see if there's any obstruction or other issues. Small birds and rodents often find themselves stuck or you could have a thick layer of creosote and soot sticking to the flue and masonry inside the chimney. When this gets too thick, all it takes is a spark and you have a chimney fire on your hands.
According to the National Fire Prevention Association, 30 percent of home fires are caused by chimney fires. Be sure your home is not one of them and have your chimney cleaned regularly. If you do run into trouble with smoke or fire in your home, give us a call. At SERVPRO of South Albany County, we take pride in making it like it never happened.
5 Ways to Prevent Electrical Fires
In the United States, 50,900 fires each year are attributed to electrical failure or malfunction, resulting in 490 deaths and 1,440 injuries. And almost every one of those injuries or deaths could have been prevented. The fact is that many fires of this nature happen because of human error. Taking preventative steps now will help you avoid a fire in the future. Here are five ways you can prevent such a fire in your home or business.
1) Fix or replace broken plugs and cords
Frayed electrical cords and broken pugs can overheat or throw off sparks. Both of these can cause a fire. It is not difficult to replace most appliance cords or plugs. If you are not able to do the work yourself, an electrician can do the work for you.
2) Don't overburden electric outlets
Plugging too many appliances or electronics into the same outlet can cause overheating. An overheated plug can spark or blow out completely and cause a fire. If you need to plug more than one thing into an outlet, use a power strip with built-in overload protection.
3) Have faulty wiring fixed
If you have flickering lights, buzzing outlets, or breakers that constantly trip, you have faulty wiring somewhere. Faulty wiring is often hidden in the walls or ceiling cavities. So, leave faulty wiring to an electrician. He can diagnose and fix the problem quickly and effectively.
4) Keep flammable materials away from electrical appliances
Your home and business abound with flammable materials, such as paper, rugs, draperies, towels, and blankets. Keep electrical appliances well away from these flammable materials. This includes electric heaters, hair dryers, irons, and lamps. Never hide cords under rugs because they can overheat and cause fires.
5) Get an electrical inspection done
If your home or business is an older property, consider a thorough inspection performed by a professional electrician. Older homes often contain aluminum wire or even knob and tube wiring, which are both prone to cause fires more than modern copper wiring. It may be time to rewire your century-old building.
Each of these tips will help you prevent an electrical fire from starting in your home or business. Now, if the worst happens, and you do sustain damage from a fire, you need the help of professionals to get your home and business straightened out. Call on the fire damage restoration specialists here at SERVPRO of South Albany County.
For Fires, Every Second Counts
Every second counts during a fire. Fire experts agree; people have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it's too late to get out. In a matter of moments, a small flame can become a major fire, making it critical to be prepared and have an escape plan in place. A survey conducted by the American Red Cross shows only 26 percent of families have developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. Once a plan is developed, it is critical everyone in the home understands the plan; the best way to do this is by practicing the escape plan at least twice a year. Increase your chance of surviving a fire by ensuring you have working smoke detectors in place, building an escape plan, and then practicing the escape plan. The following are a few suggestions to help you develop an emergency escape plan.
Draw a map of each level of your home and show all doors and windows. Find two ways to get out of each room. Make sure all doors and windows that lead outside open easily.
Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas on the second and third floors. Only purchase collapsible escape ladders evaluated by a recognized testing laboratory. Store them near the window where they will be used.
Choose an outside meeting place a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they've escaped. Make sure to mark the location of the meeting place on your escape plan.
Teach children how to escape on their own in case you cannot help them. Plan for everyone in your home, with special considerations for elderly or disable individuals.
Practice your fire escape plan during the day and at nighttime, at least twice a year.
Keep Fall Fire-Free
The fall season brings cooler temperatures, beautiful colors, and an abundance of outdoor activities. Plan ahead this season to help ensure it is safe and fire-free.
- Fall decorations, like dried flowers and cornstalks, are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations away from open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.
- Keep emergency exits clear of decorations so nothing blocks escape routes.
- Teach children to stay away from open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire.
- Remember safety first when choosing a Halloween costume. Consider avoiding billowing fabric. If you are making your costume, choose material that won't easily ignite if it comes into contact with heat or a flame.
- It is safest to use a flashlight or battery-operated candle in a jack-o-lantern. Use extreme caution if using a real candle. Place lit pumpkins away from anything that can burn, and ouf of they way of doorsteps, walkways, and yards.
A Business Plan...For Fire Emergencies
An emergency escape plan is not required for all businesses; however, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends building an emergency action plan to protect yourself, your employees, and your business during an emergency. OSHA suggests the following steps when developing such a plan.
- Organize an Emergency Preparedness Procedures review with employees to review your company's emergency plans. You may wish to select an individual or team of individuals to lead and coordinate your emergency plan.
- Once a plan is developed, post evacuation procedures, including routes and exits, where they are easily accessible to all employees. Ensure all exits and routes are clearly marked and well lit, wide enough to accommodate the number of evacuating personnel, and unobstructed and clear of debris at all times.
- Conduct office evacuation exercises and drills. Designate a safe spot outside of the facility where employees can regroup, recover, and conduct a head count. Once completed, evaluate how well the plan worked and if additional training or exercises are needed.
Fire Safety Tips for the Winter
Use proper fire safety tips this winter
The winter season is just around the corner. This means that home fires occur more often by unattended candles, space heaters, wood stoves and fireplaces. Taking the necessary fire safety tips into consideration is crucial.
At SERVPRO of South Albany County, we want to remind everyone to follow some simple steps to protect your home and family from fires this winter. Practicing the best fire safety is how you can be most prepared for unexpected disaster in the winter.
7 Fire Safety Tips
Here are some fire safety tips to prevent most heating related fires from happening:
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
- Have your chimneys and vents checked. Fireplaces produce creosote which can ignite. If you light fires frequently, you need a chimney sweep service once a year. When you burn wood, make sure it's dry and seasoned so that it produces more flame and less smoke.
- Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
- Test smoke alarms. Make sure batteries are fresh. Place smoke alarms in the kitchen, laundry room and in bedrooms.
- Beware of lit candles. Candles can set the mood for relaxation, and that's how they get forgotten or knocked over by kids or pets. Light candles only when you're around to watch them and blow them out when you're ready to leave the room.
- Beware of space heaters. The name should give you a clue space heaters need space. Like fireplaces, people and pets should not be allowed to sit any closer than three feet.
- Don't put space heaters near curtains, tablecloths or other fluttering fabrics. Make sure the space heaters you buy have automatic shut-offs before reaching dangerous temperatures.
If you have the unfortunate experience of fire or smoke damage in your home or business call SERVPRO of South Albany County.
We are available 24 hours a day and are always Here to Help! Call Us Today –(518) 456-1111
Tips for Smoke Alarms
Have you checked your smoke alarm recently?
In the event of a deadly home fire, a working smoke alarm will significantly increase your chance of survival.
Tips for Smoke Alarms
Follow these tips to insure you're prepared.
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, all throughout the home. Upstairs, downstairs, basements. Make sure you have inside and outside of bedrooms.
- Replace the entire smoke alarm every 8-10 years.
- Test your batteries monthly.
- Once a year, replace batteries in smoke detectors that are battery-powered and hard wired smoke alarms. (the only exception are detectors that contain 10 year lithium batteries.)
- Install both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms, or dual sensor smoke alarms, which contain both ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors.
There will be times that you may be cooking something that puts off smoke. Even though its tempting, never disable your smoke alarm. That one time could be a costly mistake. Never ignore the sound. Always react promptly until you ultimately know that your safe and there is not a fire. In the event you are put in that situation, make sure you are safe and leave the building. Your life is more valuable then the contents inside.
When fire impacts your home or place of business, call on the professionals to get the job done. You don't have to wait, you can reach a team member any time of the day or night. We are on standby for you 24/7, 365 days a year! We can guarantee that anytime you call, you will get a SERVPRO professional on the line to help.