Recent Fire Damage Posts

How Homeowners Can Proactively Implement Fire Safety Practices for Clothes Dryers

10/19/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: Failure to clean the clothes dryer is the leading cause of fires resulting from this home appliance. By proactively cleaning and maintaining the clothes dryer, the homeowner can minimize the potential for fire damage in the home.

In the aftermath of a fire damage disaster, homeowners often feel confused and devastated. They find themselves in need of a trusted restoration company to help them deal with the situation and guide them through the recovery process, which can be challenging and stressful. Many fire damage disasters are unexpected events that catch people completely by surprise; however, the proactive homeowner can take preventative measures in and around the house to reduce the likelihood of fires. One key area to implement fire safety practices is in the care and maintenance of clothes dryers.

Clothes Dryer Fire Statistics

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, “2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year and cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss….More home clothes dryer fires occur in the fall and winter months, peaking in January.” One of the most revealing statistics reported by the U.S. Fire Administration is that 34% of residential clothes dryer fires are caused by a failure to clean the appliance. In fact, a failure to clean is the top cause of home dryer-related fires.

Make Sure That the Dryer Is Properly Installed

After purchasing a clothes dryer, hire a professional to install the appliance. New clothes dryer units come with instructions and user manuals, and homeowners should familiarize themselves with these documents in order to properly use and care for the machine.

How to Safely Use a Clothes Dryer

Always make sure that the dryer has a lint filter that works properly and is not damaged, blocked, or loosely attached. The dryer’s wall damper should not be covered with a wire screen or cloth, which could accumulate lint and clog the vent. Never leave home or go to bed while the dryer is still running; instead, wait for the load of clothes to finish drying.

When drying a load of clothes, take care not to overload the appliance. Certain materials should never be put through the clothes dryer. These materials include:

  • Plastic
  • Rubber
  • Foam
  • Glass fiber (unless specifically permitted in the manufacturer’s instructions)

If the manufacturer’s instructions direct that the item should be dried away from heat, do not place the item in the clothes dryer. Items that have gasoline, alcohol, cooking oil, or other flammable substances on them should not be dried in a dryer. To avoid fire damage, the homeowner should dry these items outside or in a room that has good ventilation and is away from sources of heat.

How to Clean a Clothes Dryer

Regular cleaning of the clothes dryer is essential to prevent the appliance from becoming a fire hazard. The lint filter should be emptied both before and after the laundry is dried. Remember to clean out lint build-up at the back of the dryer. Every six months, use a nylon brush to clean the filter; however, this procedure may need to be done more often if the filter is clogged. Every three months, lint should be removed from the vent pipe.

Professional dryer cleaning is a good service to invest in periodically. If loads of laundry are taking more time than usual to dry, the homeowner will want to call in a professional to clean the appliance.

How to Maintain a Clothes Dryer

The U.S. Fire Administration provides the following tips for clothes dryer maintenance: “Inspect the venting system behind the dryer to ensure it is not damaged or restricted. Put a covering on outside wall dampers to keep out rain, snow, and dirt. Make sure the outdoor vent covering opens when the dryer is on. Replace coiled-wire foil or plastic venting with rigid, non-ribbed metal duct. Have gas-powered dryers inspected every year by a professional to ensure that the gas line and connection are together and free of leaks. Check regularly to make sure nests of small animals and insects are not blocking the outside vent. Keep the area around the clothes dryer free of items that can burn. If you will be away from home for an extended time, unplug or disconnect the dryer.”

What to Do If a Dryer Fire Occurs

When a clothes dryer causes fire damage in the home, the best course of action is to quickly secure the services of a fire damage restoration company to prevent secondary damage such as water damage and mold growth. If the homeowner took steps to prequalify a restoration company before the fire damage incident, he or she only has to make one call to have technicians quickly arrive on the scene. Pennsylvania homeowners in the areas of Media, Newtown Square, and Broomall can turn to SERVPRO of Media for restoration services for fire damage, smoke damage, water damage, storm damage, and mold growth.

To learn more about SERVPRO of Media’s fire damage restoration services, contact the Broomall, PA, damage restoration company by calling (610) 566-5720. The office can also be contacted by email at office@SERVPROmedia.com

Safe Practices for Enjoying Outdoor Fireplaces and Avoiding Fire Damage

9/14/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: Many homeowners love to sit outside around the outdoor fireplace on a summer evening. SERVPRO of Media highlights fire safety tips related to outdoor fireplaces to help homeowners safely enjoy this activity.

SERVPRO of Media, PA, is dedicated to helping local residents recover from property damage disasters, including the aftermath of fire damage. The restoration process for fire damage involves smoke damage, water damage from the efforts to extinguish the blaze, and mold issues from that water. To help Newtown Square, PA and Central Delaware County residents safely enjoy time around the outdoor fireplace, the Media SERVPRO professionals offer these fire prevention safety tips.

Many homeowners enjoy lounging outside around the outdoor fireplace on a summer or fall evening. Outdoor fireplaces account for nearly four thousand grass and wildfires each year. Though enjoyable, outdoor fire features do pose a hazard, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Homeowners should be aware that outdoor fireplaces need the same maintenance and attention to safety as indoor fireplaces.  These outdoor fireplace safety tips will keep family, friends, and pets safe.

Purchase a Safe and Reliable Outdoor Fireplace

Select the safest model. Look for the following features:

  • Size: The firebox needs to comfortably handle three or four 16-inch standard-cut fire logs.
  • Weight: If the unit needs to be portable, make sure it is light enough to easily maneuver around the patio or porch without tipping over.
  • Thickness: A thin-walled firebox will not stand up under heavy usage. A firebox with a thicker wall is better.
  • Cover: Purchase a unit with a lid. The lid prevents debris and ashes from littering the area around the fireplace.
  • Fuel shutoff: Gas or propane units should have accessible controls, especially the gas shutoff valve.
  • Vents and screens: Choose a unit with screens, smoke vents, and mesh protection that prevents embers from escaping and possibly causing fire damage.

The purchase of a safe fireplace unit is the best first step to a safe outdoor fireplace experience. Proper installation, use, and maintenance are essential to avoid damage to the unit and to prevent fires and personal injury. Keep these safety tips in mind when enjoying the outdoor fireplace or fire pit.

  1. Always keep an eye on the fireplace. An unattended fireplace, even if the screen is in use, is a potential fire hazard.
  2. Install a fire pad under and around the outdoor fire feature if the unit will not be installed on a brick, stone, or concrete foundation. Avoid using a fireplace on an unprotected wooden deck.
  3. Position the vents to channel smoke and embers upwards.
  4. Have a garden hose, extra buckets of water, or a working fire extinguisher accessible at all times.
  5. Trash, plastic, or pressure-treated lumber should never be burned in a fireplace. These items produce toxic gases that can cause serious respiratory issues.
  6. Do not operate a fireplace under limbs, vines, or electrical wires.
  7. Locate the fireplace at least ten feet or more away from the home, garage, shop, or storage buildings.
  8. Adequate ventilation and airflow are crucial for fireplaces and fire pits fueled by propane or gas.
  9. A clean and debris-free outdoor fireplace is safest. Regular inspections and cleanouts are recommended.
  10. Rusting and wear indicate that a fireplace needs to be taken out of service and replaced.

By purchasing a better-quality fireplace and following these recommendations for operation, homeowners can safely enjoy an outdoor fire.

Traditional Fire-Starting Tips for the Homeowner

The use of accelerants such as lighter fluid, motor oil, diesel, and gasoline is dangerous. For a safe, controlled, and steady burn, use dry wood. The process of starting a fire begins with gathering dry material and firewood.

  1. Tinder: Tinder consists of pine needles, pine cones, birch or cedar bark shavings, cotton balls, and dryer lint.
  2. Kindling: This next layer of material in the fire preparation process includes twigs, small sticks, and wood splinters about an inch in diameter. Stack the kindling over the layer of tinder in a pyramid. Ignite the heap with a match or long-stemmed lighter.
  3. Fatwood: Fatwood, a form of kindling from split pine tree stumps, is high in flammable resin content. As the wood dries out and hardens, the sap concentrates, making fatwood an efficient natural fire starter. Fatwood kindling can be laid crisscross or in a pyramid shape over the tinder.
  4. Slab wood: Slab wood is the bark edge of a log. Similar in appearance to pallet wood, slab wood is almost all sapwood and burns hot and quick. Fatwood and slab wood create an excellent base for starting larger fire logs or split wood.
  5. Standard-cut fire logs: Standard-cut firewood is usually about sixteen inches in length. Put these logs on the fire when the base is well-established.

These tips are intended to make time spent around the fireplace pleasurable and safe. However, should a fire damage disaster occur, SERVPRO of Media is available 24/7, 365 days a year, to assist homeowners with fire damage restoration and recovery efforts. From start to finish, SERVPRO of Media can handle everything, including insurance claims.

For more information about fire damage restoration in Newtown Square, PA, contact SERVPRO of Media by phone at (610) 566-5720. The team of fire damage restoration experts can also be contacted by email at office@SERVPROmedia.com

How Practicing Proper Electrical Safety Can Help Homeowners Avoid a Fire Damage Disaster

7/13/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media is highlighting electrical safety tips to equip homeowners to prevent fire damage in their homes.

The fire damage restoration experts at SERVPRO of Media understand the close connection between electricity and fire safety in the home. Electrical outlets, plugs, power strips, and extension cords are a part of everyday life. With many more people working from home or engaging in virtual education, extension cords and power strips have multiplied around the home, increasing the strain on the home’s electrical system. Outlets, switches, appliances, and other electrical devices are undergoing a heavy workload.

How important is electrical safety?

According to a source in the insurance industry, this matter is crucial since fire departments respond to over ninety fires a day caused by electrical issues. “Electrical safety involving outlets, plugs, and extension cords is one of the most important home safety issues. U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 34,000 structure fires a year involving an electrical fire or malfunction…”

The homeowner now has access to many safe electrical choices ranging from tamper-resistant outlets to GFCI (Ground Fault Current Interrupter) receptacles. By incorporating these options into the home electrical system, the homeowner can reduce or eliminate electrical hazards that could potentially cause fire damage. Consider these safety tips when using electrical outlets, electrical cords, and extension cords.

Safety tips for electrical outlets

  • Avoid a “hot unplug” by turning off appliances before unplugging them. A “hot unplug” can cause an arc inside the outlet. This arc has the potential to cause a fire.
  • Upgrade outdated two-pronged outlets to three-pronged outlets. Enlist the services of a certified electrician for this upgrade.
  • Make outlets safe for children. Replace standard receptacles with child-safe tamper-resistant receptacles in outlets located where children are present.
  • Before using a new appliance, read the manufacturer’s instructions. Follow all instructions before inserting the plug into the outlet.
  • Toasters, coffee makers, and hair dryers are examples of heat-producing appliances that use a large amount of wattage when in operation. Only one of these items should be plugged into a receptacle outlet at a time. Following this tip will ensure that the circuit is not overloaded.
  • As a rule of thumb, plug only one high-wattage appliance or device into an outlet at a time. Examples would include a microwave, AC window unit, dehumidifier, blender, food processor, or power tool.
  • Install ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) to prevent electrical shock hazards. The rooms that need GFCI outlets the most are the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, basement, garage, and outdoor areas such as an outdoor kitchen or workbench. Any location where electrical equipment is exposed to moisture or can get wet is a prime location for a GFCI outlet. GFCI capabilities can be installed in the electrical system. Some power cords have GFCI capabilities to prevent shocks. This shock-prevention technology has saved many lives.
  • Have a certified electrician install arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs). This technology protects against arcing and sparking fire hazards caused by problems in home wiring.

Safety tips for extension cords

Extension cords make life in the home much easier; however, damaged extension cords pose a serious fire risk. Remember, extension cords are intended to be a temporary solution. Additional circuits or outlets can eliminate the need for extension cords. Here are some additional power cord safety tips.

  • Damaged electrical cords are a shock and fire hazard. Damaged electrical cords should be immediately replaced or repaired. Do not use the cord until it is replaced or repaired.
  • Avoid running extension cords under carpeting or throw rugs.
  • Major appliances such as a window AC, microwave, or portable dishwasher should not be used with an extension cord.
  • Never place towels, wet rags, clothing, wet gloves, or anything that can catch fire over a heat-producing appliance.
  • Convert to LED light bulbs. These bulbs last up to 15,000 hours, use 80% less energy than standard light bulbs, and operate at a much lower temperature.

Consult a qualified electrician if any of the following situations are discovered:

  • Circuits trip or fuses blow on a regular basis
  • Outlets or switches feel warm
  • Appliances give off a burning smell
  • Lights flicker, grow dim or get bright without cause
  • Lightbulbs seem to burn out too frequently
  • Appliances arc and spark

In case of a fire damage disaster, trust the professionals at SERVPRO of Media to handle the fire damage restoration process from the initial call to the completion of the project, including the management of the insurance claims process. For more information about fire damage restoration in Newtown Square, PA, call SERVPRO of Media at (610) 566-5720 or email office@SERVPROmedia.com.

Grilling Safety Tips for a Summer Cookout

6/15/2021 (Permalink)

It is summertime again! With higher temperatures and sunny days, homeowners are firing up the grill and cooking at home. In pursuit of taste and convenience, backyard grill masters will purchase a charcoal grill for flavor and/or a gas grill for convenience and functionality. According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, 64% of households own a gas grill, 44% own a charcoal grill, and 9% own an electric grill.

With more grills and more grilling, the frequency of grill-caused fires increases. From 2013-2017, grills caused an annual average of 10,200 home fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Gas grills cause more home fires than charcoal grills.

Outdoor chefs can prevent fire damage this summer and fall by following these grilling safety tips.

  1. Grill outside in a well-ventilated area away from the house or any other structures. 

Gas and charcoal grills are for outdoor use only. According to the NFPA, 27% of residential fires caused by outdoor grills began in a terrace, courtyard, or patio, and 29% of residential fires caused by outdoor grills were ignited on an exterior balcony or open porch.

Pay close attention to surroundings, overhanging tree branches, and other shrubbery when setting up a grill. Catching a neighbor’s home on fire or starting a wildfire could be very costly.

  1. Ensure the cleanliness and stability of the grill. A clean grill is a safe grill. Remove grease from both the grill and tray below the grill. When using a charcoal grill, allow coals to completely cool before disposing of them in a metal container.

Set up the grill on a flat, stable surface where it cannot be overturned. Use a grill pad or splatter mat underneath the grill to protect the deck or patio.

  1.  If using a gas grill, before the first use of the season, inspect the propane tank and tank hose for leaks. Apply soapy water to the hose and then turn on the gas. Bubbles indicate a leak.  A flame that will not light or gas smells may be indications of a leak.
  1. If the flame goes out, do not re-light immediately. Turn the grill and the gas off. Wait for a minimum of five minutes. Re-ignite the grill.
  1. Be careful, especially close to the grill. Never leave a lit grill unattended. Prevent children and  pets from playing near the grill. After using a grill, allow it to cool for at least one hour prior to moving it. 
  2. Exercise caution when applying charcoal starter fluid. Only use charcoal starter fluid since it resists flare-ups. If the flame begins to die down, do not apply more starter fluid. Never use flammable liquids such as gasoline to start charcoal on a grill. Do not use an aerosol spray as a torch to start or restart the pile of briquettes. A charcoal chimney starter is very safe and uses newspaper to start the fire instead of starter fluid.
  1. Wear fire-safe clothing when around a grill or other source of an open fire. 

Clothing can easily ignite. Make sure sleeves, shirttails, and apron strings are not exposed to the open flame of the grill.

Conclusion

Backyard grilling creates memories with friends and family that are not soon forgotten. Keep safety in mind and always have the means to extinguish the grill or a fire caused by the grill nearby. A bucket of sand, a water hose, and a fire extinguisher are recommended to have nearby in case of fire. Remember, a grease fire is neutralized by baking soda, not water. Never use water on a grease fire.

These easy-to-follow tips will keep everyone safe when grilling out. SERVPRO of Media and SERVPRO of Central Delaware County encourages everyone to enjoy the summer barbecuing season. Stay safe and stay healthy!

For more information about property damage restoration near Media, PA visit the SERVPRO of Media and SERVPRO of Central Delaware County website at https://www.SERVPROmedia.com/. Contact the office by phone at (610) 566-5720.

Fire Prevention Tips for a Business

6/10/2021 (Permalink)

Fire Hazard Cords Plugged into a Power Strip can Pose a Potential Fire Hazard

Fire is unpredictable. It can happen anytime, to any business, anywhere. 31% of office fires happen between 7pm and 7am, after hours while workers are not present. Fires occurring while employees are not present are responsible for about 67% of recorded property damage. This is because the fire went undetected for a longer period of time. Fortunately, there are a few preventative measures that anyone can take to minimize the chances of a fire happening in your business or commercial building.

According to OSHA, employers are required to perform a full maintenance check on their workplace’s fire extinguishers annually. “Maintenance” means a thorough examination, repair, or replacement as needed for all of your facility’s portable fire extinguishers, as covered in NFPA (98), Sec. 4-4.

Along with ensuring that your fire extinguishers are regularly inspected and maintained according to local fire code; a visual inspection should be conducted monthly on your fire extinguisher(s). When performing a visual inspection use the following guidelines:

  1. Look for obvious signs of damage including dents, corrosion, and leakage.
  2. Check the pressure gauge to make sure that the indicator is in the operating range.
  3. Make sure that the pull-pin is not missing and that the pull-pin seal is intact.
  4. Verify the date of the last professional maintenance inspection.
  5. Date and initial the tag to log the visual inspection.

Create a fire prevention plan that is in writing, posted in a highly visible area in the workplace, and available to all employees for review. If there are 10 or fewer employees, the plan may be communicated verbally. It is still highly recommended that you have a hard copy in writing. This plan should include:

  1. Relevant information about the building’s layout
  2. The building’s fire protection systems and equipment
  3. Emergency evacuation procedures

Ban risky appliances such as space heaters, and keep others like coffee makers and toasters away from paper and other flammables. Reduce the amount of clutter in your building or office space. Items such as boxes, piles of paper, and other flammable materials can provide fuel for a fire, especially if left near a heat source. Before plugging something in, check the cord for any damage or frayed wires. If you notice any damage to the cord or wires, replace the cord immediately or discontinue use of the item until the cord is replaced. Wires should not run under rugs or between furniture and walls; they tend to heat up, so you want them clear of any flammable items.

We understand how devastating and confusing a fire to your home or business can be. Do not hesitate to contact the experts here at SERVPRO of Media and SERVPRO of Central Delaware County to help guide you through the fire restoration process.

Choosing a Fire Extinguisher for a Home or Business

6/10/2021 (Permalink)

Fire Extinguishers Choosing a Fire Extinguisher is a Great First Step to Developing a Fire Safety Routine

Choosing a Fire Extinguisher for a Home or Business

When developing a fire safety plan for a business or home, choosing a fire extinguisher is a great place to start. It is important to learn about the different types of fire extinguishers, what they do, and how to use them.

The Classes of Fire Extinguishers

There are four classes of fire extinguishers. Each class or type is specialized to put out a specific type of fire.

  1. Class A: Used to extinguish fires caused by ordinary combustibles such as trash, wood, paper, and textiles.
  2. Class B: Used to extinguish fires caused by flammable liquids such as grease, gasoline, oil, and even paint.
  3. Class C: Used to extinguish fires caused by live electrical equipment. When a fire sparks from a short circuit or a kitchen appliance, the constant source of electricity continues to fuel the fire. Class C fire extinguishers contain elements that lack conductive properties, effectively preventing the fire from spreading.
  4. Class D: Used to extinguish fires involving combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium, and sodium. Class D extinguishers contain an extinguishing medium that does not react with the burning metal.

Today’s most widely used and popular fire extinguisher is the multi-purpose dry chemical extinguisher, also known as ABC dry chemical. It is effective at putting out class A, B, and C fires. It is recommended to select a multi-purpose extinguisher in a size that is capable of putting out small fires, but that is not too heavy to properly handle for your residence. It is also strongly advised to have at least one fire extinguisher available on each floor of the home.

Operating a Fire Extinguisher

In addition to knowing which type of fire extinguisher would best suit your needs, it is crucial to know how to operate your fire extinguisher properly, safely, and effectively. Most fire extinguishers operate using the P.A.S.S. technique.

  1. Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher nozzle away from you as you do this.
  2. Aim low. Always point the extinguisher nozzle (horn, or hose) at the base of the fire.
  3. Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly to release the extinguishing agent.
  4. Sweep the nozzle from side to side until the fire appears to be out, then watch the area to ensure that the fire does not reignite. If it does, repeat steps 2, 3, and 4.

Call SERVPRO of Media and SERVPRO of Central Delaware County if you are ever faced with fire damage to your home or business. We will guide you through the process and work to restore your property to make it “Like it never even happened.”

A Guide to Spring Fire Hazards and Fire Safety Tips for the Spring Cleaning Checklist

5/11/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Media warns homeowners about spring fire safety hazards and shares fire safety tips for springtime.

Nearly three decades ago, SERVPRO of Media, PA, embraced the challenge of helping homeowners and business owners reconstruct their lives and businesses after fire damage in Media, PA. Homeowners experience a heightened awareness of the importance of fire safety during the cold months of winter. A roaring fire in the fireplace, space heaters in practically every room, seasonal and decorative candles throughout the home, and the annual tangle of Christmas lights and extension cords are constant reminders of the need to exercise fire safety measures.

The warmer months and longer days of spring require no less vigilance. The transition from cozy indoor holiday festivities to backyard barbecues does not mean that less attention needs to be paid to fire safety. Rather, the focus shifts to other important areas.

Festive and Decorative Candles

Decorative and aromatic candles are a festive favorite. Whether the event is a candlelit Easter celebration, Sunday lunch, or a cheery spring gathering with friends, the fireplace mantle, end tables, side tables, and wall sconces are often filled with gently flickering candles.

When decorating with candles, remember to abide by proper fire safety. Lit candles should never be left unattended under any circumstance. Broken candleholders and damaged candles are dangerous and should be discarded. Any greenery remaining from Christmas decorations is dry and will be quick to ignite if exposed to a spark or flame. Remove dead, dried decorations before they become kindling for a house fire.

Memorial Day Celebrations

Memorial Day signals a shift from spring to summer and brings with it campfires, backyard bonfires, marshmallows, and, in some municipalities, fireworks. However, a single spark can ignite an entire forest resulting in massive fire damage and property loss. Penalties for violation of local fire ordinances can result in fines and jail time. Persons who cause a fire resulting in property damage are liable for damages and may also be responsible for the expense of extinguishing the blaze. In any case, be careful and know the local ordinances.

Grill Safety

Outdoor grilling has skyrocketed in popularity due to the pandemic, and this popularity will likely continue even with the lockdown restrictions being lifted. In fact, now that more states and counties are allowing larger gatherings, the grill may become an even greater hub of activity and community.

However, grills and fire are inseparable. The risk is unavoidable. According to the National Fire Protection Association, an average of nearly 9,000 home fires are caused by grilling activities each year. Gas grills cause more fires than charcoal grills. To keep the home and family safe, homeowners should follow the grill safety tips listed below.

  1. Inspect the grill thoroughly before each cooking session. Only a few minutes are required to check the propane tank, the hose, and all connections.
  2. Only use charcoal lighter fluid to start a charcoal fire. Other accelerants can cause a flash explosion that can quickly spread to anything flammable nearby.
  3. Clean grills are safe grills. Twenty percent of all grill structure fires are linked to greasy, grimy grills.
  4. Position the grill at least ten feet away from anything flammable, including plants, mulch, paper products, vehicles, wood, or lawn and deck furniture.

Outdoor Fire Pits

Safety precautions for an outdoor fire pit are similar to the regulations for a grill. Flames in a fire pit should be kept low. Once the fire has become established, keep the spark screen in place. Depending on local ordinances, the pit should be kept ten to fifteen feet away from any structure. Watch out for overhanging branches. Inspect the fire pit for spots that have rusted out and can drop embers under the unit, damaging the deck or causing a fire. Other basic fire safety tips include:

  • Young children should be supervised by adults at all times when the fire pit is a part of family activities.
  • Place a bucket of water near the fire pit before igniting the fire.
  • Many borough fire ordinances prohibit burning leaves, sticks, pinecones, pine needles, and paper in the fire pit because of sparks and large flames. Generally, flames are limited to two feet in height.
  • Toast marshmallows over the embers rather than the flames. A fiery marshmallow can ignite clothing, hair, and dry brush and leaves. The fiery projectile can cause serious burns to the skin, eyes, and mouth.

Some counties and boroughs are requiring a permit for a backyard bonfire or fire pit. Know the local fire ordinances. Contact the fire department for specific information about relevant ordinances, or visit the county’s website for more information.

Spring Cleaning Fire Safety Tips

While spring is in the air and spring cleaning is on the mind, homeowners can improve fire safety in the home by adding fire safety precautions to their spring cleaning checklist.

Tip #1: Clean the chimney during the spring so that the fireplace will be ready for the cold fall weather and any early snows.

Tip #2: Test smoke alarms and replace the batteries.

Tip #3: Clean out the dryer vent pipe. The United States Fire Association reports that clothes dryers are responsible for nearly 3,000 house fires annually and cause 35 million dollars in damages. Remember to clean the lint trap after every load and keep the lint trap clean to reduce buildup in the dryer.

Tip #4: Identify a fire damage restoration specialist to call in the event of fire damage. A house fire is a traumatic situation, and smoke inhalation, adrenalin, and the chaos of the situation often override the senses. Knowing exactly which company to call means that a fire damage restoration company in Broomall, PA, such as SERVPRO of Media, can be on the scene in about an hour or less to inspect the situation and begin the restoration process.

For more information, contact the office by phone at (610) 566-5720 or by email at office@SERVPROmedia.com.

The Seven Steps of a Typical Fire Damage Restoration for Homeowners

4/29/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: Fire damage restoration services are often necessary to bring the house back to its original condition after a fire. SERVPRO of Media, PA, explains what the process entails for professional fire damage restoration.



The aftermath of a house fire can be overwhelming, but homeowners can relax under the care of professional fire damage restoration companies, like SERVPRO of Media, PA. What is fire damage restoration, and how can the process alleviate the stress and inconvenience after a fire at home? The SERVPRO professionals discuss more details below.

What Is Fire Damage Restoration?

In Pennsylvania, the leading cause of housefires is distracted cooking. Within 24 to 48 hours after firefighters extinguish the flames, it will become obvious why fire damage restoration is vital. The homeowner will notice aspects like the water damage from the firefighting efforts, extensive smoke damage, acidic soot, and many other unhealthy elements that appear after a fire.

Contacting a professional fire damage restoration service early is the best decision. Companies like SERVPRO will take care of the property and bring it back to its pre-fire condition as quickly as possible. 

Seven Steps For a Professional Fire Damage Restoration Process

Every home receiving fire damage restoration services will have unique solutions, but most situations will include these seven steps:

1. Emergency Call-Out

Within a day or two of the fire, the homeowner should contact a reputable fire damage restoration company like SERVPRO of Media, PA. They will respond to the scene immediately, inquiring about the event to gain better insight and planning the details for the team, equipment, and resources to restore the property. SERVPRO of Media, Pennsylvania, offers unmatched fire damage restoration services from highly-trained technicians.

2. Fire Assessment

When the technicians arrive, they will evaluate the property and make sure it’s safe to enter the premises. The trained personnel look for signs of structural damage outside before proceeding indoors, and it would be risky for anybody else to enter the site without their approval, including the homeowner. The restoration professionals will also note the extent of the damage from soot, fire, smoke, and water, using the information to create a cleanup plan.

3. Board-Up and Roof-Tarp Services

If the fire damage compromises the roof, walls, or windows, the technician will use boards and tarps in response. Roof tarps protect damaged roofs from additional water damage if it rains. The boards will improve the home’s security if windows are broken or missing.

4. Water Removal Services

When firefighters use water to extinguish flames, water damage restoration is a necessity. Standing water is unhealthy and might lead to excessive mold growth. The technicians will remove the moisture and use professional-grade air movers and dehumidifiers to dry flooring, drywalls, and furniture. 

5. Smoke and Soot Removal

After the water dries, fire damage restoration professionals will use high-quality equipment and time-tested techniques to eliminate smoke and soot traces from all the home’s surfaces. Soot discolors grout, carpets, wood, textiles, and metals, so removal is crucial.

6. House Cleaning and Sanitizing

The restoration team will then move to clean and disinfect salvageable items and structures within the home. These professionals also use industrial fogging equipment and air scrubbers to eliminate smoky odors as they go.

7. Fire Damage Restoration Results

The last step is the complete restoration of the home to its original condition. The extensive process may include minor repairs, painting, flooring installation, and more. SERVPRO of Media, PA, is one source of reliable water and fire damage restoration in Broomall and the surrounding area, and their highly trained team uses specialized equipment to respond to disasters of any scope. 

The SERVPRO team offers 24-hour emergency service and guides clients through each step of the process. Request service at (610) 566-5720 or follow them on Facebook to receive up-to-date company news. They operate from their office at 119 Springfield Avenue, Folsom, PA 19033.

Preventing Cooking Fires

10/23/2020 (Permalink)

a pan catching fire on a stove Kitchen fires can get out of control quickly.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in a July 2020 report, fire departments in the United States responded to an average of 172,900 home structure fires per year caused by cooking from 2014 to 2018.  According to this report, these fires resulted in an average of 550 deaths, 4820 injuries and over $1 billion in property damage per year!  

As we approach the holiday season, it is important to take proper safety precautions to prevent these fires from happening in the first place.  

Never leave cooking unattended.  

Supervise young children and pets in the kitchen, especially around the stove.

Be extra cautious when placing anything on the stove, especially combustible items such as towels, as stove tops can remain hot enough, or they can be ignited by a gas pilot and cause a fire well after the burners are turned off.

Check the oven prior to turning it on.

Be careful of loose fitting clothing and long sleeves that can catch fire.

Have a fire extinguisher readily available in case of an emergency.

Keep stovetops and ovens clean.

To learn more about kitchen fires and fire prevention, check out nfpa.org for more information.

Fire Extinguishers

2/14/2020 (Permalink)

The tops of fire extinguishers are shown. Having fire extinguishers readily available enable you to be prepared in case of an emergency.

If you are planning a fire safety plan for your business or household, a great place to start is with choosing a fire extinguisher. It is important to make sure that you learn about the different types of fire extinguishers, what they do, and how to use them.

The Types of Fire Extinguishers

There are four types, or ‘classes’ of fire extinguishers. Each class is specialized to put out a specific type of fire.

  1. Class A: Used to extinguish fires caused by ordinary combustibles such as trash, wood, paper, and textiles.
  2. Class B: Used to extinguish fires caused by flammable liquids such as grease, gasoline, oil, and even paint.
  3. Class C: Used to extinguish fires caused by live electrical equipment. When a fire sparks from a short circuit or a kitchen appliance, the constant source of electricity continues to fuel the fire. Class C fire extinguishers contain elements that lack conductive properties, effectively preventing the fire from spreading.
  4. Class D: Used to extinguish fires involving combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium, and sodium. Class D extinguishers contain an extinguishing medium that does not react with the burning metal.

Today’s most widely used and popular fire extinguisher is the multi-purpose dry chemical extinguisher, also known as ABC dry chemical. It is effective at putting out class A, B, and C fires. For your home it is recommended to select a multi-purpose extinguisher in a size that is capable of putting out small fires, but that is not too heavy to properly handle. It is also strongly recommended to have at least one available on each floor of your home.

Operating Your Fire Extinguisher

Aside from knowing which type of fire extinguisher would best suit your needs, it is absolutely crucial to know how to operate your fire extinguisher properly, safely, and effectively. Most fire extinguishers operate using the P.A.S.S. technique.

  1. Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher nozzle away from you as you do this.
  2. Aim low. Always point the extinguisher nozzle (horn, or hose) at the base of the fire.
  3. Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly to release the extinguishing agent.
  4. Sweep the nozzle from side to side until the fire appears to be out, then watch the area to ensure that the fire does not reignite. If it does, repeat steps 2, 3, and 4.

Call SERVPRO of Media and SERVPRO of Central Delaware County if you are ever faced with a fire to your home or business. We will guide you through the process and work to restore your property to make it “Like it never even happened.”

What is a Puffback?

1/16/2020 (Permalink)

Sever soot damage is shown covering walls. A puffback can result in everything in your home being covered in sticky, black soot.

As the weather gets colder, more and more homeowners are turning on their heating systems for the first time in months. Unfortunately for many, this means the possibility of puffbacks.

What are puffbacks, and what causes them?

Puffbacks usually take place due to lack of maintenance or age-related issues. A puffback occurs when a boiler or furnace misfires, causing an explosion of unburned fuel in the combustion chamber. This causes a release of smoke and soot that can be both incredibly messy and dangerous. Luckily, there are a few simple ways to prevent a puffback from occurring in your home.

First and foremost, ensure that your heater is inspected annually by a qualified technician. This is crucial, as this annual inspection will ensure that all parts of the heater are functioning properly. Regular inspections are also very important as manufacturers have the ability to ask for records of these should you ever have a warranty claim.

Warning Signs

Listen for strange sounds and pay attention to any strange odors. Most heating systems will usually give plenty of warning prior to a puffback occurring through soot and gas odors throughout the building. If you hear any unusual noises when your heater starts up, unburned oil is probably being ignited. Keep an eye out for any oil leaks and soot on and around your heater and keep the area around the heater clean and free of any dust, debris, or content (storage items, paper, boxes etc.). If you notice any of these warning signs, call a qualified service technician immediately to diagnose the issues and make repairs.

After a puffback, the soot can cover everything in your home. This means walls, furniture, curtains, and even inside drawers! Soot is not just powdery; it is black, sticky, and includes a mixture of oil. This makes it especially difficult to clean. If you experience a puffback in your home, call a trained HVAC technician to repair your heating system. Then, call us here at SERVPRO of Media to help clean the chemicals and soot left behind to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Fire Damage in Your Home

10/31/2019 (Permalink)

Fire can cause large amounts of damage on your property. However, there are other damages that can seriously affect the building as well. Smoke odor invades building materials and personal belongings of every kind. Smoke soot damages walls that have not been burned by flames. Experiencing a fire can be devastating, and SERVPRO understands that your cherished possessions and memories are at stake. As fire restoration experts, we specialize in soot and smoke damage as well.

If your home is damaged by fire, it is critical to contact a company that specializes in the fire and smoke restoration process as soon as possible to prevent additional damage. Your local SERVPRO is available 24/7 to help minimize the cost of fire and smoke damage to your home.

Our fire restoration process includes:

  • 24/7 emergency services – onsite and assisting you within hours
  • Prompt damage assessment, pretesting and estimates
  • Emergency board-up and structural stabilization
  • Environmentally friendly methods for cleaning soot and other residue from fire damage
  • Smoke odor removal, sanitation and air purification
  • Careful removal and securing of damaged household goods, personal possessions and other contents for cleaning and restoration
  • Industrial grade water extractors, dehumidifiers, air movers and other equipment used to efficiently remove water resulting from fire extinguishing efforts
  • Reconstruction of the affected areas
  • Disinfectants and antimicrobials used to prevent mold and mildew

Fire Planning and Prevention in the Home

9/24/2019 (Permalink)

A person is shown checking the batteries in a smoke alarm. Always ensure that the batteries are functioning properly in your smoke alarms.

Did you know that if a fire starts in your home, you could be left with as little as two, or even just one minute to escape? While deaths caused as a result of home fires have decreased in recent years, just one death caused by a preventable fire is one too many. This is why taking the necessary steps to prevent home fires is crucial.

Causes and Prevention

First things first, smoke alarms! Oftentimes, people overlook proper smoke alarm maintenance, though it is one of the simplest and easiest ways to start protecting your home and family. Set a reminder in your smartphone or mark it on the calendar each month to test the batteries. If they are no longer working, replace them immediately. 

  • If using a form of alternate heating such as a wood or pellet stove, follow the manufacturer’s instructions while installing, or hire a professional. If using a space heater, avoid using an older one, and refrain from placing it near furniture or any other object that could easily catch fire.
  • Home cooking is the leading cause of home fires and fire related injuries. Never use the oven or stovetop while tired or under the influence of alcohol. Make sure all appliances are clean, and do not leave food that is cooking unattended, especially if you are using grease.
  • According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, it is estimated that there are an annual 15,500 fires caused by dryers. Ensure that the dryer duct is in good condition, and always clean the lint trap after each use. Use a lint brush or vacuum to remove lint that has accumulated under the lint trap, and never leave the house while the dryer is running.
  • A clean chimney is a lot less likely to catch fire. The easiest way to prevent a chimney fire in your home is to use the services of a certified chimney sweep on an annual basis. A yearly chimney sweep will result in better passage of smoke and exhaust gasses, and will also remove any creosote, a highly flammable substance that accumulates in the chimney flue due to lack of open ventilation.
  • According to the U.S. Fire Administration, over 25,000 electrical fires are reported in the United States each year. Have your electrical wires inspected regularly by a highly rated electrician, and ensure that any wiring that is tattered, frayed, or worn out is replaced. Refrain from plugging too many appliances into the same outlet, extension cord, or power strip.

Although prevention is crucial, sometimes things happen that are out of your control. We understand the devastation felt when you or your business is dealing with the aftermath of a fire. During this difficult time, you can trust in the experts at SERVPRO of Media. Contact us to help you deal with the aftermath of smoke and fire damages, and to walk you through the process.

Fire Damages

1/31/2017 (Permalink)

In 2015, there were 1,345,500 fires reported in the United States. These fires caused 3,280 civilian deaths, 15,700 civilian injuries, and $14.3 billion in property damage.

  • 501,500 were structure fires, causing 2,685 civilian deaths, 13,000 civilian injuries, and $10.3 billion in property damage.
  • 204,500 were vehicle fires, causing 500 civilian fire deaths, 1,875 civilian fire injuries, and $1.8 billion in property damage.
  • 639,500 were outside and other fires, causing 95 civilian fire deaths, 825 civilian fire injuries, and $252 million in property damage.

The 2015 U.S. fire loss clock a fire department responded to a fire every 23 seconds. One structure fire was reported every 63 seconds.

  • One home structure fire was reported every 86 seconds.
  • One civilian fire injury was reported every 34 minutes.
  • One civilian fire death occurred every 2 hours and 40 minutes.
  • One outside and other fire was reported every 52 seconds.
  • One highway vehicle fire was reported every 3 minutes 1 seconds.