Recent Fire Damage Posts

Prevent and survive a fire in your home

1/20/2020 (Permalink)

Fires affect more than just you These brave men and women will come and help you in times of fires stay safe so they can too.

Getting out of the house is the most important thing to do when a fire breaks out. Time is not on your side. Having a plan, mapping escape routes, and doing practice scenarios can save your life. Make sure you call 911 as soon as possible, preferrably once you are outside. Have a central meeting point for your entire family a safe distance away from your home. Our partnership with the American Red Cross is to ensure you are prepared for anything, including fires.

Our friends at the National Fire Protection Association have some very interresting facts about fires we think you should know. You can always visit their website for this and other important information about fires at the following.

http://www.nfpa.org/public-education/campaigns/fire-prevention-week/fast-facts-about-fire

Home fires

  • Half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep. Only one in five home fires were reported during these hours.
  • One quarter of home fire deaths were caused by fires that started in the bedroom. Another quarter resulted from fires in the living room, family room or den.
  • Three out of five home fire deaths happen from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • In 2014, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 367,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 2,745 deaths, 11,825 civilian injuries, and $6.8 billion in direct damage.
  • On average, seven people die in U.S. home fires per day.
  • Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fire injuries, followed by heating equipment.
  • Smoking materials are the leading cause of home fire deaths.
  • Most fatal fires kill one or two people. In 2014, 15 home fires killed five or more people resulting in a total of 88 deaths.
  • During 2009-2013, roughly one of every 335 households had a reported home fire per year.
  • Smoke alarms
  • Three out of five home fire deaths in 2009-2013 were caused by fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.
  • In fires considered large enough to activate the smoke alarm, hardwired alarms operated 94% of the time, while battery powered alarms operated 80% of the time.
  • When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.
  • An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, or where extra time is needed to awaken or assist others, both types of alarms, or combination ionization and photoelectric alarms are recommended. 
  • Escape planning
  • According to an NFPA survey, only one-third of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.
  • Almost three-quarters of Americans do have an escape plan; however, more than half never practiced it.
  • One-third of survey respondents who made an estimate thought they would have at least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life threatening. The time available is often less. Only 8% said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out!
  • Cooking
  • U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 162,400 cooking-related fires between 2009-2013 resulting in 430 civilian deaths, 5,400 civilian injuries and 1.1 billion in direct damage.
  • Two of every five home fires started in the kitchen.
  • Unattended cooking was a factor in one-third of reported home cooking fires.
  • Two-thirds of home cooking fires started with ignition of food or other cooking materials.
  • Ranges accounted for three of every five (61%) home cooking fire incidents. Ovens accounted for 13%.
  • Children under five face a higher risk of non-fire burns associated with cooking and hot food and drinks than of being hurt in a cooking fire.
  • Children under five accounted for 30% of the 4,300 microwave oven scald burns seen in hospital emergency rooms during 2014.
  • Clothing was the item first ignited in less than 1% of home cooking fires, but these incidents accounted for 18% of the cooking fire deaths.
  • More than half of people injured in home fires involving cooking equipment were hurt while attempting to fight the fire themselves.
  • Frying is the leading activity associated with cooking fires.
  • Heating
  • The leading factor contributing to heating equipment fires was failure to clean. This usually involved creosote build-up in chimneys.
  • Portable or fixed space heaters, including wood stoves, were involved in one-third (33%) of home heating fires and four out of five (81%) home heating deaths.
  • Just over half of home heating fire deaths resulted from fires caused by heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses or bedding.
  • In most years, heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires, fire deaths, and fire injuries.
  • Once you are safe, the fire is out, and the emergency services are gone, what happens next? You have to focus on the clean up and getting back to normal. There is a lot more into cleaning up after a fire than you can imagine. Knowing who can work with fire restoration to get your home back to normal is so important. They must know how to get the smoke odor removed, what to remove that is not salvageable along with what can be saved.
  • Here is to keeping you happy, healthy and safe as we approach the holiday season.. 

Fires should be taken seriously

1/20/2020 (Permalink)

Fire can be capitvating Fires in with the right environment and conditions can be devastating. Know all the facts and prevent them as much as you can

Our friends at NFPA have some great tips and ideas on how to prevent fires. Due to the fires in Australia that are leveling homes and killing both firefighters and those who live in that area along with billions of animals. They will forever in our lifetime change the landscape of the country.

These fires are fast moving and the amount of smoke they cause can be just as deadly as the flames. Please use caution when presented with a fire situation. Even better is to use caution to prevent them.

Today, people who die in fires typically die in ones and twos, in their own homes and vehicles.

Fire in the home

Home is the place people feel safest from fire, but it’s actually the place they’re at greatest risk. Approximately 80% of all U.S. fire deaths occur in the home; an average of seven people die in home fires every day.

According to NFPA’s latest reports, home fires and home fire deaths declined by about 50% since 1980. However, the 7.8 deaths per 1,000 reported home fires reflects a 10% increase over the 7.1 rate in 1980.  In other words, while the number of U.S. home fires and home fire deaths has significantly declined over the past few decades, the death rate per 1,000 reported fires is actually a little higher. These numbers show that while we’ve made strong progress in preventing fires, mitigating their effects when they do happen remains a challenge.

Today’s homes burn faster than ever. Experts say you may have a little as two minutes (or even less) to safely escape a typical home fire from the time the smoke alarm sounds. Modern home furnishings, along with the fact that newer homes tend to be built with more open spaces and unprotected lightweight wood construction, all contribute to the increased rate at which home fires burn.

The death toll of home fires can be reduced through:

  • Cooking. Cooking is by far the leading cause of home fires and injuries in the U.S. each year, and is the second-leading cause of home fire deaths. Unattended cooking represents the leading cause of these fire. People get distracted by children, pets or visitors, sometimes forgetting that they left food cooking. There is no safe period of time to leave cooking unattended. Almost two-thirds of home cooking fires involve the range, especially the cooktop. A 1999 CPSC study found that about two-thirds of home range fires started within the first 15 minutes of cooking; this increased to 83% for frying fires.
  • Heating equipment. Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires, and third leading cause of home fire deaths. Most heating-related fire deaths can be traced to space heaters—a category that includes fixed and portable space heaters, including wood stoves. Space heaters (excluding fireplaces and chimney) most often caused fires when something that could catch fire was left too close. Most fireplace and chimney fires were caused by creosote buildup. These can be prevented by regular cleaning.
  • Electrical. Flipping a light switch. Plugging in a coffeemaker. Charging a laptop computer. Electricity is such a ubiquitous part of our daily lives that it’s easy to overlook its power and potential for fire-related hazards. In fact, electrical distribution and lighting equipment represents the third-leading cause of fires. Wiring and related equipment was involved in 70 percent of these incidents; cords or plugs were involved in only 10 percent of the electrical distribution or lighting fires, but these fires caused more than one-quarter (28 percent) of the associated deaths.
  • Smoking materials. Lighted tobacco products — almost always cigarettes — are the leading cause of fatal fires in the home, causing an average of 560 deaths per year. Typically, abandoned or discarded smoking materials ignite trash, mattresses and bedding, or upholstered furniture, with the majority of fatal smoking-related fires starting in the bedroom, living room, family room or den.
  • Wildfires. While wildfires have traditionally been considered a concern only in the western half of the U.S., hotter temperatures, severe drought and a growing number of people living in the wildland-urban interface have played a role in increasing the risk in states all across the country. And with some of the hottest summers and winters on record in recent years, wildfires are burning larger than ever before and destroying twice as much land area each year as they did 40 years ago, and the threat continues to increase.Most fire deaths are not caused by burns, but by smoke inhalation. Often smoke incapacitates so quickly that people are overcome and can’t make it to an otherwise accessible exit. The synthetic materials commonplace in today’s homes produce especially dangerous substances. As a fire grows inside a building, it will often consume most of the available oxygen, slowing the burning process. This “incomplete combustion” results in toxic gases.particles: Unburned, partially burned, and completely burned substances can be so small they penetrate the respiratory system’s protective filters, and lodge in the lungs. Some are actively toxic; others are irritating to the eyes and digestive system.toxic gases: The most common, carbon monoxide (CO), can be deadly, even in small quantities, as it replaced oxygen in the bloodstream. Hydrogen cyanide results from the burning of plastics, such as PVC pipe, and interferes with cellular respiration. Phosgene is formed when household products, such as vinyl materials, are burned. At low levels, phosgene can cause itchy eyes and a sore throat; at higher levels it can cause pulmonary edema and death.
  • In addition to producing smoke, fire can incapacitate or kill by reducing oxygen levels, either by consuming the oxygen, or by displacing it with other gases. Heat is also a respiratory hazard, as superheated gases burn the respiratory tract. When the air is hot enough, one breath can kill.
  • vapors: Foglike droplets of liquid can poison if inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
  • Smoke is made of components that can each be lethal in its own way:
  • The killing fumes

When oxygen levels are at...

...a person experiences:

21 percent

Normal outside air

17 percent

Impaired judgment and coordination

12 percent

Headache, dizziness, nausea, fatigue

9 percent

Unconsciousness

6 percent

Respiratory arrest, cardiac arrest, death

https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/News-and-media/Press-Room/Reporters-Guide-to-Fire-and-NFPA/Consequences-of-fire

So you think you can cook?

1/16/2020 (Permalink)

Safety while cooking Putting a lid on a grease fire is the best way to put it out..

Fire Damage…..

Think water damage is the only thing that needs a quick response …Think again..

The number one cause of fires in the home are from cooking and 34% of them result from someone walking away from the stove.

Life is busy.. It is very easy to get distracted these days.  Multi-tasking has become a habit and despite what we are taught it is not actually better.

Staying focused on the task at hand provides you with a more concise timely resolution with accurate results.  No matter what sort of tasks you are doing and trying to accomplish. This is especially important when working in a kitchen.

No matter what you are using to cook… A microwave, toaster, hot plate, gas / electric stove, or even a crock pot which many of us set and forget can be dangerous. Walking away from something that is hot can have dire consequences.  

Did you know that the numbers on your toaster are actually for minuets? So when you walk away from your toaster for the 2n time and your toast has burnt to a crisp and you had it on high you could have in theory had your bread in the toaster for upwards of 10 minutes. Dried out bread can catch fire very easily and cause an electrical fire in your home.  Not being prepared can be very dangerous.

Fire can get out of control in as little as 30 seconds and more than 12K people are injured every year in a fire.  A small home fire is nothing to mess around with. Having the right kind of fire extinguisher to put of various types of fires is very important.  Just having a fire extinguisher is not enough , having the right one is pivotal..

For example electrical and grease fires cannot be put out in the same manner as a fire that starts from say a wood stove or fire place. Did you know that actually throwing water on a grease fire will make matters worse and cause the fire to expand more rapidly?

We use the term disaster to be all encompassing and maybe even a little too broad within our industry. Fire damage specifically kitchen fires can be broken down into some simple terms. Stove fires.. Toaster fires….Grease fires.. Vent and exhaust fires and even fires from  your microwave.

Below you will find some statistics on home cooking fires.

42% of surveyed consumers say they have left the kitchen to talk or text on the phone, and 35 % have left to use the computer to check email while food is cooking. If you tend to do a lot of cooking, invest in a second or third timer. They're an inexpensive way to stay safe while ensuring that your  food  does not overcook.

  • Nearly half (45 %)  of consumers say they have left the room to watch television or listen to music. Multi-tasking during the busy day is  tempting. If you succumb, it's important not to leave the stove or oven unattended

  • Nearly one third (29 percent) of consumers reported that they have intentionally disabled smoke alarms while cooking. (YIKES!!!!)

  • More than half (56 percent) of surveyed consumers said they plan to cook for family or friends this year - with 42 percent of those cooking for groups of 11 or more.

    Fire damage can be extensive and wide spread even to areas of the home that the flames did not reach. The small particles that burned travel in the air throughout the home and due to their small size and nature can stick to just about anything.  

    Taking care of smoke, fire and soot damage is necessary and here is why.  There are various types of soot damage and some are acidic which can stain a variety of surfaces if not treated quickly . Within hours all surfaces that have come in contact with fire and smoke damage begin to feel its affects. Wood furniture, floors  and molding will need to be refinished, Metal will begin to rust and corrode. Clothing can become permanently stained and need to be thrown away.  Walls will begin to absorb the particles and  start to turn yellow.

    Within weeks if left untreated soot exposure embeds into fibers and deep into porous materials continuing to deteriorate the items or property if not properly restored in a timely manner.

    Any  clothing bedding , curtains and washable materials should too be professionally cleaned because an alkaline cleaner neutralizes the acid from the soot. Make sure it is someone that has experience specifically with smoke damage.

    Professional Restoration companies have the proper tools and training to get you back to normal without these lingering effects. From special sponges for removing soot and ash from the walls, air purifiers to scrub out the particles that have not settled on the anything yet, right down to high efficiency vacuums that have a great filtration system that prevents the soot from being redistributed into the air, they are even able to clean the vents above your stove that collect the grease which can be helpful to prevent fires in the first place. We strongly recommend a professional whenever there is fire soot and smoke damage because improper cleaning will continue to damage the property and increase the costs down the road.

House fires prevent plan survive.

10/12/2018 (Permalink)

Get out.. Surviving a house fire is understanding you don't have the time you think you do. Get out then get help.

Getting out of the house is the most important thing to do when a fire breaks out. Time is not on your side. Having a plan, mapping escape routes, and doing practice scenarios can save your life. Make sure you call 911 as soon as possible, preferrably once you are outside. Have a central meeting point for your entire family a safe distance away from your home. Our partnership with the American Red Cross is to ensure you are prepared for anything, including fires.

Our friends at the National Fire Protection Association have some very interresting facts about fires we think you should know. You can always visit their website for this and other imporant information about fires at.

http://www.nfpa.org/public-education/campaigns/fire-prevention-week/fast-facts-about-fire

Home fires

  • Half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep. Only one in five home fires were reported during these hours.
  • One quarter of home fire deaths were caused by fires that started in the bedroom. Another quarter resulted from fires in the living room, family room or den.
  • Three out of five home fire deaths happen from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • In 2014, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 367,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 2,745 deaths, 11,825 civilian injuries, and $6.8 billion in direct damage.
  • On average, seven people die in U.S. home fires per day.
  • Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fire injuries, followed by heating equipment.
  • Smoking materials are the leading cause of home fire deaths.
  • Most fatal fires kill one or two people. In 2014, 15 home fires killed five or more people resulting in a total of 88 deaths.
  • During 2009-2013, roughly one of every 335 households had a reported home fire per year.
  • Smoke alarms
  • Three out of five home fire deaths in 2009-2013 were caused by fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.
  • In fires considered large enough to activate the smoke alarm, hardwired alarms operated 94% of the time, while battery powered alarms operated 80% of the time.
  • When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.
  • An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, or where extra time is needed to awaken or assist others, both types of alarms, or combination ionization and photoelectric alarms are recommended.  Escape planning
  • According to an NFPA survey, only one-third of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.
  • Almost three-quarters of Americans do have an escape plan; however, more than half never practiced it.
  • One-third of survey respondents who made an estimate thought they would have at least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life threatening. The time available is often less. Only 8% said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out!
  • Cooking
  • U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 162,400 cooking-related fires between 2009-2013 resulting in 430 civilian deaths, 5,400 civilian injuries and 1.1 billion in direct damage.
  • Two of every five home fires started in the kitchen.
  • Unattended cooking was a factor in one-third of reported home cooking fires.
  • Two-thirds of home cooking fires started with ignition of food or other cooking materials.
  • Ranges accounted for three of every five (61%) home cooking fire incidents. Ovens accounted for 13%.
  • Children under five face a higher risk of non-fire burns associated with cooking and hot food and drinks than of being hurt in a cooking fire.
  • Children under five accounted for 30% of the 4,300 microwave oven scald burns seen in hospital emergency rooms during 2014.
  • Clothing was the item first ignited in less than 1% of home cooking fires, but these incidents accounted for 18% of the cooking fire deaths.
  • More than half of people injured in home fires involving cooking equipment were hurt while attempting to fight the fire themselves.
  • Frying is the leading activity associated with cooking fires.
  • Heating
  • The leading factor contributing to heating equipment fires was failure to clean. This usually involved creosote build-up in chimneys.
  • Portable or fixed space heaters, including wood stoves, were involved in one-third (33%) of home heating fires and four out of five (81%) home heating deaths.
  • Just over half of home heating fire deaths resulted from fires caused by heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses or bedding.
  • In most years, heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires, fire deaths, and fire injuries.Once you are safe, the fire is out, and the emergency services are gone, what happens next? You have to focus on the clean up and getting back to normal. There is a lot more into cleaning up after a fire than you can imagine. Knowing who can work with fire restoration to get your home back to normal is so important. They must know how to get the smoke odor removed, what to remove that is not salvageable along with what can be saved. Here is to keeping you happy, healthy and safe as we approach the holiday season..

So you had a fire now what?

10/9/2018 (Permalink)

There a lot of steps that need to be taken after a fire. Do not go it alone find local resources to get you through it all.

SO you had fire. Help came and put it out. Now you have a layer of mud and soot on your floor and all over everything in your home. Even areas of the house that were not actually affected by the fire. What are your next steps. Breathe, and make sure you take care of your self. There will be a lot of things that will come up it will get stressful, overwhelming and excessive. It will all need to be done but keep in mind it does not have to be done in one day.

The first responders came and saved the day. Saved your home, lives and maybe even pets. The next call you make can be the difference between restoring vs. replacing things in your home. A timely beginning to mitigation of the soot, fire damaged areas as well as the smoke damage reduces your losses. The first 48 hours is crucial to minimizing your damages. Fire damage is especially devastating due to the fact that there is also water damage along with soot and smoke damage. Many times throughout the entire home in some fashion.

Our human brain says this needs to be cleaned up right away. Our attempts to restore order can be far more harmful than we realize. Why I am cleaning up the mess. Wiping all the counters, walls and cleaning the floor. Yet doing this improperly can cause permanent damage along with a lot of problems.

Who do you call? Who is the most important person to call after the fire is out? Where do you begin to get back to normal? What can you do to start cleaning up the mess?

Did you know that improperly cleaning any porous materials can actually push the soot deep into the material. This causes the odor to set below the surface and become permanent.

There area few things that you can do before the professionals arrive. Below is a key list of things that SHOULD be done.

                Limit the movement in the home. Restricting access to the most damaged parts of the home is an essential part of not spreading the contamination.

Reduce the number of items you move around to wash and clean ( Particles will become airborne and settle in areas of the home that were not previously affected)

                Use towels or old linens to line high traffic areas. Such as rugs, and walk ways and furniture

                Coat all chrome faucets any trim countertops or appliances with Petroleum jelly or oil.

Place a barrier between all furniture legs. Wrap aluminum foil around blocks of wood to prevent absorption. Then prop up all of your furniture on the covered blocks. This will reduce the water absorption deep into the wood allowing it to dry more effectively.

Take photos of everything. If you have items that are beyond salvageability before you through them away make sure you photograph them and write a log of each item.

Documentation and Receipts

                Find any receipts you have for the items lost.

If you have loss of use to your home, kitchen or bathroom areas requiring you to get a hotel room or eat out a restaurant. Make sure you keep all receipts as well a full calculation of what your normal weekly food expenses are. You will need to submit them to the company for reimbursement.

Log every call you have with all your contractors, insurance agents, adjusters and public officials. This may be needed when and if a difference in coverage allowances are presented.

Below you will find a list of things that you should not do.

DO NOT … DO NOT...

Wash any walls or painted surfaces. This will push the soot deep into he pores of the paint rendering it impossible to remove.

Shampoo anything upholstered or carpeted.

Clean any electrical equipment

Send clothing to a dry cleaner, Most do not know how to deal with soot and smoke damage. It will set the smoke deep into the fibers and will have to be tossed out.

A fire is a devastating disaster. Many times it is easy to become overwhelmed and just want to get back to normal as soon as possible. While this is the end game and the goal. Going to quickly or taking matters into your own hands can result in more of a problem.

Having a plan ahead of time and preparing for what could happen helps us all get through if something happens. Developing things like emergency evacuation routes out of the house. Collective meeting area a safe distance away from the home. Keeping an emergency bag in your car with some basics like a flashlight, blanket, toiletries and such.

Remember you do not have to go it alone. Reach out to local organizations for advice, guidance, direction and solutions. Many cities and towns have local resources. If you have pets local humane societies are a great resource for helping with your pets. Your insurance company agent and the adjuster will be able to provide you will valuable information.

Knowing who to call first, what services you will need coupled with the preparedness plan will bring you out back on top in no time.

Hot Plates and Fire Risk

10/2/2018 (Permalink)

Hot plates are a great way to add extra cooking areas to your home. They can be dangerous. Know how to stay safe and what to do incase of an emergency

Fire safety week is coming up. We will have safety tips through out the next few weeks. This first one revolves around hot plates. With the recent events in and around the area this is essential information.

Thousands of homes in and around Lawrence MA were given hot plates. Within hours of receiving them fires had already been broken out.

They are not stoves and do not have the same levels of safety built into their design. It is essential for you to understand how to use them while staying safe.

People need to be safe when using any cooking device. With one that is portable there are extra precautions that need to be taken.

  1. Read all directions and familiarize yourself with how to use the device.
  2. DO NOT leave unattended at any time.
  3. Never use near any flammable materials. This includes but is not limited to curtains, carpets, clothing etc..
  4. Always use on a stable steady surface
  5. Do not set hot plate to a setting higher than needed.
  6. Reduce the flammable materials that you cook with (Example: Cooking oil)
  7. Keep any paper materials away from them (Plates, Cups, ect)
  8. Check the cords and sensors for damage prior to each use.

As always, we highly recommend that you have a fire extinguisher. Keep it within arms reach of the hotplate. Should you not have one and fire breaks out*****DO NOT******DO NOT***** use water. This is powered by electricity and will make the fire worse. Use flour, baking soda, baking powder or even just bath powder. Getting a lid to contain a fire within a pan is helpful too.

Remain calm, breathe and know what you have to do. Practice ahead of time and be prepared.

Many people were given one to use. This reduced the ability to choose the best one for their needs. We found a good housekeeping article that was able to asses those that are out there. Check out the results below. If you are thinking of getting one or received one. Know what you have or what to look for to stay safe.

The Good Housekeeping Institute (GHI) decided to investigate hot plates and warming trays that are sold online to see what dangers they might pose.

Electrical safety is so key that the first thing we do when we evaluate any product that has an electrical component is make sure it has a UL mark (see below) on it. The UL emblem signifies that the product has been third-party tested by Underwriter's Laboratories and meets national safety standards for electrical appliances. (Other marks that qualify as UL alternatives are: CSA-US, an emblem from the Canadian Standards Association and ETL-US, a European mark signifying that Intertek, an independent organization, has vetted the product for safety standards in the U.S.)

Online, we found four products sold as warming trays or hot plates, with no mention that they're UL listed. We ordered them and confirmed firsthand that they have no UL or other safety logo. (Some were marketed specifically for Sabbath purposes, which was the reason the hot plate was being used by this Brooklyn family). Two of the warming trays carry a CE mark, an emblem that is merely a self-certification symbolizing that the company says it has conformed with legal requirements to be sold in Europe.

To add to consumer confusion: Some products manufactured in China are labeled with a very similar CE mark and all it stands for is "China Export." (The differences, which are hard to distinguish, are that the C and E are closer together, see below, and the line in the middle of the E extends further

While the absence of any approved safety logo does not mean a product is dangerous, it does deprive you of the reassurance of knowing a product has been safety tested by an independent lab.

The Good Housekeeping Institute advises against using any electrical device that doesn't have a UL, CSA-US, and ETL-US mark on them.

We also recommend adhering to the following safety guidelines:

  1. Regularly check the cords and plugs of your electrical appliances to see if they're frayed, damaged or worn out. If they are, discard them. And make sure any electrical cord is kept away from heat.
  2. Leave enough space around any electrical appliance to allow for heat dissipation. Also, keep any heating device away from flammable materials and combustible fuels.
  3. Never leave turned-on appliances unattended.
  4. Always unplug unused appliances.
  5. Make sure bathroom, kitchen, and garage outlets are Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI).
  6. Install smoke detectors outside each bedroom and make sure there are working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home, including your basement. Test your alarms monthly, replace batteries at least once a year, and replace the entire smoke alarm every 10 years.

Miriam Arond is the Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute.

We want you all to stay safe while you are trying to get back to normal. If you are not sure how to properly use a hot plate ask for help. These are not toys and with fires already erupting from use within hours of being received. It is important that people understand proper use.

Hot Plates and Fire Risk

10/2/2018 (Permalink)

Hot plates are a great way to add extra cooking areas to your home. They can be dangerous. Know how to stay safe and what to do incase of an emergency

Fire safety week is coming up. We will have safety tips through out the next few weeks. This first one revolves around hot plates. With the recent events in and around the area this is essential information.

Thousands of homes in and around Lawrence MA were given hot plates. Within hours of receiving them fires had already been broken out.

They are not stoves and do not have the same levels of safety built into their design. It is essential for you to understand how to use them while staying safe.

Hot plates should not be used to add heat to a room they are not heaters. This can pose an increased risk of fire.

People need to be safe when using any cooking device. With one that is portable there are extra precautions that need to be taken.

  1. Read all directions and familiarize yourself with how to use the device.
  2. DO NOT leave unattended at any time.
  3. Never use near any flammable materials. This includes but is not limited to curtains, carpets, clothing etc..
  4. Always use on a stable steady surface
  5. Do not set hot plate to a setting higher than needed.
  6. Reduce the flammable materials that you cook with (Example: Cooking oil)
  7. Keep any paper materials away from them (Plates, Cups, ect)
  8. Check the cords and sensors for damage prior to each use.

As always, we highly recommend that you have a fire extinguisher. Keep it within arms reach of the hotplate. Should you not have one and fire breaks out*****DO NOT******DO NOT***** use water. This is powered by electricity and will make the fire worse. Use flour, baking soda, baking powder or even just bath powder. Getting a lid to contain a fire within a pan is helpful too.

Remain calm, breathe and know what you have to do. Practice ahead of time and be prepared.

Many people were given one to use. This reduced the ability to choose the best one for their needs. We found a good housekeeping article that was able to asses those that are out there. Check out the results below. If you are thinking of getting one or received one. Know what you have or what to look for to stay safe.

The Good Housekeeping Institute (GHI) decided to investigate hot plates and warming trays that are sold online to see what dangers they might pose.

Electrical safety is so key that the first thing we do when we evaluate any product that has an electrical component is make sure it has a UL mark (see below) on it. The UL emblem signifies that the product has been third-party tested by Underwriter's Laboratories and meets national safety standards for electrical appliances. (Other marks that qualify as UL alternatives are: CSA-US, an emblem from the Canadian Standards Association and ETL-US, a European mark signifying that Intertek, an independent organization, has vetted the product for safety standards in the U.S.)

Online, we found four products sold as warming trays or hot plates, with no mention that they're UL listed. We ordered them and confirmed firsthand that they have no UL or other safety logo. (Some were marketed specifically for Sabbath purposes, which was the reason the hot plate was being used by this Brooklyn family). Two of the warming trays carry a CE mark, an emblem that is merely a self-certification symbolizing that the company says it has conformed with legal requirements to be sold in Europe.

To add to consumer confusion: Some products manufactured in China are labeled with a very similar CE mark and all it stands for is "China Export." (The differences, which are hard to distinguish, are that the C and E are closer together, see below, and the line in the middle of the E extends further

While the absence of any approved safety logo does not mean a product is dangerous, it does deprive you of the reassurance of knowing a product has been safety tested by an independent lab.

The Good Housekeeping Institute advises against using any electrical device that doesn't have a UL, CSA-US, and ETL-US mark on them.

We also recommend adhering to the following safety guidelines:

  1. Regularly check the cords and plugs of your electrical appliances to see if they're frayed, damaged or worn out. If they are, discard them. And make sure any electrical cord is kept away from heat.
  2. Leave enough space around any electrical appliance to allow for heat dissipation. Also, keep any heating device away from flammable materials and combustible fuels.
  3. Never leave turned-on appliances unattended.
  4. Always unplug unused appliances.
  5. Make sure bathroom, kitchen, and garage outlets are Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI).
  6. Install smoke detectors outside each bedroom and make sure there are working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home, including your basement. Test your alarms monthly, replace batteries at least once a year, and replace the entire smoke alarm every 10 years.

Miriam Arond is the Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute.

We want you all to stay safe while you are trying to get back to normal. If you are not sure how to properly use a hot plate ask for help. These are not toys and with fires already erupting from use within hours of being received. It is important that people understand proper use.

Arlington/Somerville Smoke and Soot Cleanup

10/6/2016 (Permalink)

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 [[Franchise Name]] 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 – (617) 629-5333