Recent Fire Damage Posts
Preventing Cooking Fires
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.
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.
- Class A: Used to extinguish fires caused by ordinary combustibles such as trash, wood, paper, and textiles.
- Class B: Used to extinguish fires caused by flammable liquids such as grease, gasoline, oil, and even paint.
- 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.
- 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.
- Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher nozzle away from you as you do this.
- Aim low. Always point the extinguisher nozzle (horn, or hose) at the base of the fire.
- Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly to release the extinguishing agent.
- 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?
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.
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
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
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.
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.