Recent Fire Damage Posts

House fires prevent plan survive.

10/12/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage House fires prevent plan survive. 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)

Fire Damage So you had a fire now what? 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)

Fire Damage Hot Plates and Fire Risk 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)

Fire Damage Hot Plates and Fire Risk 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