Recent Fire Damage Posts

Fire Prevention Month

12/5/2019 (Permalink)


October is Fire Prevention Month, a perfect time to examine emergency preparedness plans for your home and business, including your fire escape plan. Do you have a fire escape plan? Have you changed your smoke alarm batteries within the last year?

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) designates a week each October to focus on fire prevention awareness. The 2016 theme is “Don’t Wait-Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years” designed to educate the public on the basic but essential elements of smoke alarm safety. The NFPA recommends installing smoke alarms in every bedroom outside a separate sleeping area and on every level of your home, including the basement. Did you know that roughly half of the home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 pm and 7 am when most people are asleep? Smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half!

Smoke Alarms Save Lives

3/31/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke Alarms Oak Ridge

Smoke alarms save lives when properly installed and maintained, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

In homes, smoke alarms should be in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level, including the basement. Extra smoke alarms may be needed in large homes.

Test smoke alarms monthly using the test button. Smoke alarms with non-replaceable batteries need the entire smoke alarm unit replaced every ten years. Other alarms need batteries replaced every year, and the group replaced every ten years. If the alarm chirps are signaling low battery, take the proper steps to replace the unit or the batteries immediately.

Never disable or remove the battery from an alarm. Almost half of the fires where smoke alarms were present but did not activate had missing or disconnected batteries (NFPA).

If you need help installing, testing or changing batteries in your smoke alarms, contact your local fire department, an electrician or the American Red Cross.

Be sure your home has a fire emergency plan in place and conduct regular fire drills with your family.

For more information on Emergency Preparedness, contact your local SERVPRO® of Oak Ridge Professional.

Heating Safety Tips

2/17/2019 (Permalink)

Heaters Can Cause Fire Damage

Keep anything flammable at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove or a portable space heater. Have a three foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
-Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
- Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
-Test smoke alarms monthly.
-Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel-burning space heaters.
- Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
If your property does suffer fire damage, contact SERVPRO® of Oak Ridge.

Using a Portable Fire Extinguisher

12/3/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Extinguisher

A portable fire extinguisher can be a life and property saving tool when used correctly. In order to operate an extinguisher, the National

Fire Prevention Association suggests remembering the word PASS:

-Pull the pin. Hold the nozzle pointing away from you and release
the locking mechanism.

-Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.

- Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.

- Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

Read the instructions on the fire extinguisher and become familiar
with them before a fire breaks out. Remember, extinguishers do have
limitations. It is also important to ensure you have the correct type of extinguisher for your facility. For more information
on the different types of fire extinguishers and to ensure you have the proper one, visit nfpa.org.

Safety First Before You Eat

11/26/2018 (Permalink)


Each November, families gather to celebrate Thanksgiving by preparing a delicious feast, but if you don’t practice safe cooking habits, your happy holiday could become hazardous very quickly.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking is the main cause for home fires and injuries, with Thanksgiving being the peak day for cooking-related fires.

Review the following safety tips to help ensure you can enjoy a safe holiday.

-Never leave cooking food unattended–stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If someone must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, they should turn off the stove.

-Check food regularly while cooking and remain in the home while cooking. Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.

-Keep the kids away from the cooking area. Enforce a “kid-free zone” and make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.

- Keep anything flammable–pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from the stove, oven or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.

-Do not wear loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.

-Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.

- Purchase a fire extinguisher to keep in the kitchen. Contact the local fire department for training on the proper use of extinguishers.

-Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.

-Install a smoke alarm near the kitchen, on each level of the home, near sleeping areas and inside and outside bedrooms. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.

SERVPRO® of Oak Ridge wishes you a safe
and happy holiday season.

What To Do Before Help Arrives

10/7/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage

A fire can leave behind soot, smoke damage and a host of other problems.
Ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting, and floors will often need a thorough
professional cleaning. If your home or business suffers a fire, it is important to take the appropriate steps to prevent further damage until your local SERVPRO® of Oak Ridge arrive. The following tips may help reduce damage and increase chances of a successful restoration.

DO:

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet.
  • Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls, and woodwork.
  • Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery, and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer/refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor.
  • Wipe soot from chrome kitchen/bathroom faucets, trim and appliances, then protect these surfaces with a light coating of lubricant.
  • If heat is off during winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.

DON'T:

  • Don’t attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first
    contacting your SERVPRO® of Cedar Bluff
  • Don’t attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting your SERVPRO® of Oak Ridge.
  • Do not attempt to clean any electrical appliances (TV sets, radios, etc.) that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.
  • Do not consume any food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water, as they may be contaminated.
  • If the ceiling is wet, do not turn on ceiling fans.
  • Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock, and air movement may create secondary damage.
  • Don’t send garments to the dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set
    in smoke odor.

Be Prepared This Summer

6/25/2018 (Permalink)

Grill Fire

Each year, families and friends across the country enjoy the summer months with barbecues, camping trips, or by cooling off in a pool or lake. To enjoy these occasions, it is important to keep safety top of the mind to ensure you have fun in the sun.

According to a recent study by U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly 11,900 Americans were injured by fireworks in 2015., with the majority happening in the month surrounding the Fourth of July. Another 8,700 are injured by charcoal/wood-burning and propane grill fires. A grill should always be supervised when in use. Keep children and pets a safe distance from the grilling area to prevent accidental burns or tipping of the grill.

Grills also cause an average of 8,9000 home structure or outdoor fires. "These fires caused an annual average of 50 civilian injuries and $2 million in direct property damage," according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

If you enjoy lounging by the pool or going for a boat ride to cool off from the summer sun, make sure you exercise caution, especially when children are present. Only swim in approved areas and supervise children at all times when near water.

The summer season should be time to make memories and enjoy the great outdoors. Don't become a statistic. Take precautions to prevent these events from putting a damper on your summer months!

Celebrate Summer Safety

6/25/2018 (Permalink)

Campfire

Summer is a time to enjoy the great outdoors, but it is also important to keep safety in mind. Consider the following tips, provided by the National Fire Protection Association, to keep you and your family safe all summer long.

-When using a charcoal grill, only use starter fluids designed for barbecue grills: do not add fluid after coals have been lit. When using a gas grill, ensure the hose connection is tight; check hoses for leaks. Applying soapy water to the hose will easily and safely reveal any leaks. When camping always use a flame-retardant tent and set up camp far away from the campfire.

-Always build campfire downwind from the tent area. Clear vegetation and dig a pit before building your fire. Extinguish the fire before going to sleep or leaving the campsite.

-Store liquid fire starter (not gasoline) away from your tent and campfire and only use dry kindling freshen a campfire.

Winter Season is Here

6/19/2018 (Permalink)

The winter season is here and with it comes shorter days and lower
temperatures. No matter where you live, winter brings a change in the weather. Many people use alternative heat sources like
fireplaces, portable space heaters, and wood burning stoves to help keep homes cozy. Did you know, heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths?
According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment fires cause an estimated $1 billion in direct property damage annually. Keep the following safety tips in mind to help reduce your risk of a
heating-related fire.

Keep anything flammable at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or a portable space heater. Have a three foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
Test smoke alarms monthly.

Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.

Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.

If your property does suffer fire damage, contact your local SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

The Importance of Smoke Alarms

6/19/2018 (Permalink)

Smoke alarms save lives when properly installed and maintained, according to the National Fire Protection Association
(NFPA). In homes, smoke alarms should be in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level, including the basement. Extra smoke alarms may be needed in large homes.
Test smoke alarms monthly using the test button. Smoke alarms with
non-replaceable batteries need the entire smoke alarm unit replaced every ten years. Other alarms need batteries replaced every year, and the unit replaced every ten years. If the alarm chirps signaling low battery, take the proper steps to replace the unit or the batteries immediately. Never disable or remove the battery from an alarm. Almost half of the fires where smoke alarms were present but did not activate had missing or disconnected batteries (NFPA).

If you need help installing, testing or changing batteries in your smoke
alarms, contact your local fire department, an electrician or the American Red Cross. Be sure your home has a fire emergency plan in place and conduct regular fire drills with your family. For more information on Emergency Preparedness, contact your local SERVPRO® Franchise Professional.

How to Minimize Fire Damage

9/13/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Oak Ridge

How to Minimize Fire Damage

Minimizing further fire damage is one of the first considerations after a fire in a home or a fire in a business. Commercial fire damage can greatly affect the ability of a business to continue operations. In order to recover as much value as possible from a property that has undergone fire damage, smoke damage, and soot damage, a restoration company should be contacted immediately after the premises are secure. The fire cleanup team can aid in evaluating the damage to the property and listing the items that are present. They can also perform fire damage restoration and offer an estimate on site.

A restoration company will also be instrumental in boarding up a property if commercial fire damage has compromised any doors or windows. Roofs and walls that may have been cut into by firefighters during the fire may also need to be boarded up. This process can be much more difficult than it originally appears due to the need to evaluate the structural integrity of much of the building's foundation. A professional contractor should be contacted before an individual attempts to board up his or her own property after a fire in a home or a fire in a business. Boarding up a property that has undergone fire damage is important both to prevent the collapse of the building as well as to protect it from any intruders who may cause additional damage.

The fire cleanup will also involve drying up all the water that firefighters may flood the premises with in order to put out the fire. This water can cause extensive water damage as well as promote the growth of mold. A certified technician can employ all manner of techniques to dry out the property and prevent mold growth using industrial equipment that may include a water extractor, a dehumidifier, and an air current mover. This process will also somewhat remove the smoke smell that may persist after a fire.

After a list of personal belongings have been identified and list along with the property owner, a restoration company can work with him or her to reverse the smoke damage and soot damage that may have settled into the property. Surfaces can often be fully cleaned, even if it is porous like carpet. Deep vacuuming and steam injection are often successful in removing the oily soot that may lead to residual smoke smell. Fire damage restoration requires techniques that require specialized equipment, and these techniques can be discussed with the property owner in order to decide whether or not to proceed with restoration.

If fire damage restoration is not possible on certain items, they may be more easily replaced. In this case, the restoration company will also help to dispose of these items in the appropriate manner. After a fire in a home or a fire in a business, much debris will need to removed anyway. Smoke damage and soot damage is reversible, but property owners sometimes choose to replace items and surfaces instead.

All surfaces are sanitized and cleaned after all soot damage and smoke damage has been reversed. The fire clean up team will also instruct property owners on how to prevent commercial fire damage in the future. Any residual smoke smell will be ventilated until gone. If the smoke smell persists, chemical solutions like an ozone treatment or thermal fogging are also options depending on the needs of the property owner. Additional treatments may be needed weeks or even months after the initial incident.

Fire cleanup is extremely daunting for an individual who is shocked by a fire in a home or a fire in a business. However, fire damage restoration is normal for a fire cleanup specialist, even after extension commercial fire damage. A specialist who has the experience and the expertise to guide a property owner will ensure that fire damage is minimized as much as possible. 

Choose the right professional for fire damage

9/13/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Knoxville

In the wake of a residential fire, the primary focus is on repairing the damage done to the inside of the house. However, moderate to severe incidents can lead to visible marks and blemishes on the outside of the building too. It is why SERVPRO conducts a full inspection of fire-damaged properties before we start any restoration work. 

The good news is that stains on masonry, concrete and other structural materials are almost always superficial. While brick and concrete are not impervious to fire damage in Oak Ridge homes, they are extremely sturdy and don’t succumb easily to heat. It means that, in most cases, we can use straightforward cleaning techniques to restore the outside of the property. 

Light Stains 

If there is no structural damage to the masonry, the SERVPRO technicians use mild cleaning agents to wash soot and smoke deposits from the surface. Where the staining is very light, dry sponging is enough to wipe away grime on block, brick, and concrete. Stubborn marks get lifted with alkaline detergents and direct scrubbing. Sodium hypochlorite is highly effective when it comes to soot removal, and it leaves no residues. 

Moderate Stains 

The difficult thing about soot is that it can be highly acidic. If it is not removed quickly, particularly from structural materials, there is a chance of corrosive residues becoming embedded deeper and deeper into the masonry. It is why SERVPRO pays close attention to cracked joints. 

They are delicately cleaned and repointed to dislodge any soot deposits which may be trying to move into the capillaries. Once this is complete, larger areas are dry sponged and vacuumed. Then, they are jet washed with a high powered pressure cleaning device. 

Heavy Stains 

The most severe staining occurs when heavily combustible materials have caught fire and burned for some time. In some cases, jet washing is still a suitable method of cleaning. We can add soot dissolving formulas like high PH degreasers, dry ice, or soda ash to increase optimal results. 

SERVPRO rarely recommends sand blasting for brick, block, and concrete because it is a very abrasive process and can cause additional damage. If there are smaller patches of masonry which are heavily soiled, the technicians may apply a poultice (sodium hypochlorite and diatomaceous earth). It takes 24-48 hours for the formula to take effect. 

The great thing about a fire damage restoration company like SERVPRO is that we offer a complete package. We are part of a huge network of contractors, so there is no repair job too big for our team to handle. 

Heating Hazards

6/15/2017 (Permalink)

House Fire

Eliminate Heating Hazards This Winter

The winter season is in full swing! The days are shorter and the temperatures are lower. No matter where you live, winter brings a change in the weather. In an effort to keep our homes and workplaces cozy, many people use alternative heat sources like fireplaces, portable space heaters, and wood burning stoves. According to the Nation Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is responsible for an estimated $893 million in property damage annually. Heating is the second leading cause of residential fire deaths, making it important to review ways to help reduce the risk of a heating-related fire.

Keep anything flammable at least three feet from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or a portable space heater. Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.

Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.

Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel-burning space heaters.

Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.

Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.

Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.

Test smoke alarms monthly.

Fire Alarms

6/15/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Alarms

SMOKE ALARMS

Smoke alarms play a vital role in saving lives, and when properly installed, can reduce the risk of fire injury by half.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends smoke alarms be installed in every bedroom, outside all sleeping quarters and on every level of the house. Business owners should consult the local Fire Marshall to ensure specific building fire codes and smoke detector requirements are met.

Smoke alarms work best when paired with a fire escape plan. A plan allows your family, employees or clients to escape quickly and safely in an emergency situation.

Review the following tips regarding smoke detector installation and maintenance. For more on emergency preparedness, contact SERVPRO of Oak Ridge.

Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, including the basement.

Smoke alarms should be installed away from the kitchen to prevent false alarms. Generally, they should be at least 10 feet from cooking appliance.

Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.

Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm “chirps” the battery is low and should be replaced right away.

Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.

Holiday Fire Season

6/14/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage

It's the holiday season again. Brightly lit decorations, elaborate meals, and large gatherings are all a part of holiday celebrations. Unfortunately, these annual traditions also cause an average of 230 homes fires each year, with an average of 4 deaths, 21 injuries, and $17.3 million in property damage.

There are about 3 times as many cooking related fires on Thanksgiving Day and almost twice as many on Christmas Day as there on no holidays.  Luckily, homeowners can help keep their homes and their families safe during the holiday season by understanding the dangers.

Holiday Cooking Fire Facts from SERVPRO

  • Thanksgiving Day has three times the average number of reported home structure fires involving cooking equipment. 
  • The two other peak days for cooking-related fires are Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.

Holiday Cooking Safety Tips from SERVPRO

  • Supervise items on the stovetop. Fifty-eight percent of kitchen fires involve ranges; homes with electric cooktops have a higher risk of fire than homes with gas cooktops.
  • Keep flammable items – potholders, packaging, wrapping, wooden utensils, loose clothing – away from the stovetop.
  • Don’t let lack of sleep or alcohol consumption affect your ability to concentrate on preparing the meal.

Holiday Decorating Fire Facts from SERVPRO

  • Half of all holiday decoration fires start because the decoration is too close to a heat source.
  • On average, 32 candle fires are reported each day. December is the peak month for candle fires.

Holiday Decorating Safety Tips from SERVPRO

  • Keep all decorations away from heat sources like radiators, portable heaters, and fireplaces.
  • Use flameless candles.
  • If you do use traditional candles, burn them in sturdy candleholders, well away from drapes and other flammable materials. Never leave them unattended and never allow them to burn down to less than one inch in length. 

Christmas Tree Fire Facts from SERVPRO

  • 50% of live tree fires occur between December 22 and January 5.
  • 31% of tree fires are caused by electrical problems.
  • 14% involve decorative lights.

Christmas Tree Safety Tips from SERVPRO

  • Keep live trees well watered to reduce the chance of a fire.
  • Check wiring on lights for breaks and wear, replace worn strings and don’t exceed manufacturer guidelines for connecting multiple strands of lights.
  • Don't leave tree lights plugged in when you are away from home or asleep.