Recent Fire Damage Posts

Common causes for house fires

4/2/2020 (Permalink)

The top most common causes of house fires

  1. Cooking Equipment
  2. Heating
  3. Smoking in bedrooms
  4. Electrical equipment
  5. Candles
  6. Curious Children
  7. Faulty wiring
  8. Barbeques
  9. Flammable liquids
  10. Lighting

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the number one cause of home fires is unattended cooking. However, we realize that accidents happen. Having a fire extinguisher ready and available should be placed in your kitchen, garage or office. You should also know how to properly use a fire extinguisher for the in-case in the event you may need to use one.

Heating equipment such as space heaters should only be used if a small section of your home needs to be heated. The heater should be kept away from anything that could easily catch fire such as curtains, furniture, clothing, and even animals. We recommend your home or business should have alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home or business. We also recommend placing a Carbon Monoxide detector in every room that contains a fuel-burning appliance.

While smoking-related fires accounted for only 2% of all residential building fires, they were a leading cause of civilian fire deaths, accounting for 14% of fire deaths in residential buildings. Non-confirmed fires accounted for 93% of residential buildings smoking related fires.

An electrical appliance such as a microwave or flat iron can start a fire if it is faulty or the cord is frayed. Overloaded power adapter plugs can cause a fire from an overuse of electricity. If the power strip is not used properly, the results can be devastating.

Candles can smell nice and can come in handy to quickly cover up smells. However, 85% of candle fires are due to negligence. NEVER leave a burning candle unattended. NEVER burn a candle on or near furniture, curtains, walls or flammable items. If the candle is in a glass container, make sure to not let the candle burn all way to the bottom of the glass. The heat of the glass could explode, causing the wax to melt out or the wax/flame could fall out and cause a fire. ALWAYS keep candles out of the reach of children or pets.

It’s very important to teach our children fire safety! Most fires caused by children involve matches or lighters. However, studies have found that children playing with candles, stoves, fireworks and cigarettes are most common. You should lead by example, explain why they cannot use fire, treat matches and lighters like tools, keep matches and lighters out of reach of children, reward children for making right decisions with matches and lighters and encourage your child’s school to promote fire safety.

Kinks in wiring cause electrical resistance with the wire. Frayed wires and extension cords and even damaged phone chargers are some examples of faulty wiring. Do you know some of the signs of faulty wiring? Flickering or buzzing of lights, feeling a tingle when you touch an electrical appliance, discoloration around outlets or even unusual smells or odors coming from appliances or outlets are some signs of faulty wiring. It’s recommended to get an electrical check every 3-5 years. If you notice sounds coming from within your walls or attic, this could be a potential issue and we recommend you contact a professional to handle both the rodent infestation and any potential electrical issues.

When grilling outdoors, you should always keep your grill away from your home or structure. You should never leave your grill unattended and should always be properly cleaned when not in use. Grills should be kept away from tablecloths, plants, trees, children and pets. If using a gas grill, you should always check for leaks. A great way is to apply a soap and water mix to each connection in the gas lines. Turn on the gas and look for bubbles. If you see bubbles, tighten the fitting with a wrench and recheck. If unsure how to check, take your gas tank to your local propane company.

If you have flammable liquids in your home or business, they should be kept securely and away from heat sources. Always check the label for storing.

Did you know that lamp shades and light fittings can also contribute to house fires? Fabric lampshades can easily catch fire. Fabric shades are for accenting a room and lighting a path through an area. LED light bulbs are the coolest lighting available. They stay cool no matter how many hours the light is on.

For more information, please visit https://www.usfa.fema.gov/ 

SERVPRO of Thomaston, Forsyth and Fort Valley is always here when you need us. We care about you and your loved one’s safety. If you or your business experience any of these disasters, contact SERVPRO of Thomaston, Forsyth and Fort Valley 24 hours seven days a week at 478-956-1214! Let us help you make it “Like it never even happened.”

Does your home or business have a fire extinguisher?

4/1/2020 (Permalink)

PASS, Red and Yellow letters Always remember to PASS

t’s very important to not only have fire extinguishers in your home or business but also know how to use them. Some safety tips are essential to know as it may one day save your home, business or even your life. Most fire extinguishers operate the same way. Make sure to stand six to eight feet away from the fire.

Fire Safety Tips:

Check all electrical appliances, cords and outlets monthly.

Carefully read the directions for proper use of space heaters, electrical cords.

Be vigilant in the kitchen. Always keep a close eye on food while cooking. If you leave the kitchen, turn the stove off. Take an oven mitt or spoon to remind yourself of the food left on the stove.

Keep fireplaces kept clean and free of paper, wood or flammable materials that can escape while burning or left unattended.

Always keep matches and lighters out of children’s reach.

Use candles safely by keeping them away from children, pets, furniture and curtains.

Test your smoke alarms monthly and change the batteries twice a year (I.e. Spring & Fall)

Practice fire drills at home and work

Always remember to PASS

Pull the pin at the top to break the temper seal

Aim the extinguisher low, pointing the nozzle at the base of the fire

Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent

Sweep the extinguisher from side to side, continuing to aim at the base of the fire until it appears to be out

Did you know there are 4 types of fire extinguishers?

Water extinguishers

Water extinguishers are filled with regular tap water. The best way to remove heat is to dump water on the fire, however depending on the type of fire, this is not always the best option.

Foam extinguishers

The foam has a blanketing effect that knocks down the flames, smothering and cooling them. Hopefully preventing re-ignition of the flammable vapors by sealing the surface of the solution.

Dry Power extinguishers

Dry power fire extinguishers interrupt the chemical reaction of the fire by coating the fuel with a thin layer of powder, separating the fuel from the surrounding oxygen.

Carbon Dioxide (C02) extinguishers

C02 extinguishers contain carbon dioxide, a non –flammable gas. C02 is heavier than oxygen so these extinguishers work by displacing or taking away oxygen from the surrounding area. C02 is also very cold so it also works by cooling the fuel. C02 is non corrosive and on conductive.

Fire Damage Restoration: What You Should Know

8/13/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Restoration: What You Should Know

Whether it's a fire in the home or a fire in a business, fire damage can be devastating. The shock of a fire to a family or business owner can feel overwhelming, and most people don't quite know what to do. Fire damage can range in severity. From smoke damage and soot damage to serious structural deterioration, fire in a home or fire in a business is nothing to be taken lightly. Fire damage restoration is an in depth process that should be entrusted to a professional restoration company. A fire cleanup should only be carried out by skilled experts.

After a loss to fire, a professional restoration company should be contacted right away to determine the best course of action. Usually the first thing that will be done is to secure the property by boarding up the damaged structure to keep curious people and animals out. Skilled experts can then begin the assessment of smoke damage, soot damage, fire damage, and water damage associated with such a loss. The severity and types of damage that have occurred will depend on the intensity of the fire and the composition of the structure. Commercial fire damage in a steel building may be limited to smoke damage, soot damage, and water damage to the interior, and require only remodeling and mitigation of the smoke smell. Fire in the home however, can often be more severe, as many homes are built of wood and filled with more flammable building materials like carpets and furniture. A professional restoration company should be the only ones entrusted to assess the extent of fire damage and carry out the fire cleanup and fire damage restoration.

After the initial board up and assessment of damage the restoration company can begin the fire cleanup. This means removing any furniture or appliances damaged by the fire in the home or fire in the business. Many articles will be lost to smoke damage and soot damage, even though they have not been burned. If there was fire in a business damaged products will need to be sorted and evaluated to determine the extent of the commercial fire damage. The smoke odor will in some instances never quite come out furniture or appliances that go through commercial fire damage or residential fires. Each item needs to be evaluated.

When all furniture and appliances have been removed the fire damage restoration process can begin. To mitigate the smoke odor the property will usually be opened up and well ventilated. Damaged drywall, carpeting, ceiling tiles and the like will be removed. Once the house or business has been properly stripped of its damaged interior, structural inspection can take place to determine what repairs are needed. The property may be left in a board up state and ventilated for a few days to diminish the smoke smell. Chemical cleaners may also be used to aid the process. The fire cleanup process must be expected to take days if not weeks depending on severity, as the professionals entrusted will want to do a thorough job. Fire damage restoration is no small matter and needs to be entrusted to these skilled experts. After the property has been sufficiently cleaned the board up may be removed and the process of rebuilding and/or remodeling may begin.

What to Do After a Fire Related Loss:
-Board up the property to ensure it's inaccessible to people or animals;
-Contact your insurance company, if applicable;
-Call a professional restoration company immediately and set up a consultation;

Residential and commercial fire damage can be devastating emotionally, mentally, and financially. But home and business owners alike need to remember that they are not alone, and that there are highly skilled and trained experts ready to help them. The sooner these professionals are contacted, the sooner family life and business can get back on track. If you or someone you know has experienced a residential or commercial fire related loss contact a professional restoration company today.

Things to consider when choosing a fire damage restoration company

8/7/2019 (Permalink)

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Fire Damage Restoration Company

Fire damage is one of the most devastating calamities that can befall individuals and construction. Fire damage is capable of bringing to ash anything from vegetation to large buildings. After a fire strikes a premise, it is vital to proceed with caution. When it comes to commercial fire damage restoration, you should not attempt to do it on your own, seek a certified firefighter or repair company to do the work, do not endeavor to do any cleaning or renovation after commercial fire damage. If you proceed without consulting the experts, you may injure yourself and even make the utility room fire situation worse.


In the event of an electrical fire or a utility room fire, you should alert your insurance company and take as many photos of the destruction as you can to show to them. Your next move should be to get in touch with a commercial fire damage restoration company to begin the fire restoration process.

The process of electrical fire restoration includes:

  • Assessment of the destroyed property
    • Removal and disposal of unwanted clutter
    • Fixing Board ups and roof tarps
    • Drying of water from fire trucks, fire sprinkler systems and fire hoses
    • Removal of soot and smoke
    • Cleaning
    • Utility room fire restoration

The fire damage restoration process needs to be carried out by certified and trained specialists who are equipped with tools such as fire sprinkler systems, fire hoses, fire trucks, and able to handle issues such as electrical fires, smoke damage, soot damage and other aspects of fire suppression.

How to choose a good fire restoration company
There are various points to consider before choosing the best firefighter and fire suppression company to employ. Below are certain criteria to look at as you weigh your decision:

1. License


For you to decide on a restoration company, you must ensure that their firefighters and are authorized by the government to undertake reconstruction jobs. Make sure the equipment they use such as fire sprinkler systems, fire hoses and fire trucks are in the proper working order. You can do this by searching the company on the licensed business data base or by looking for the company on the web.

2. Personal Referrals


It is recommended to use a fire restoration organization that has already been tried and tested. Seek out people who have been affected by fire damage, soot damage or smoke damage, and get from them references and reviews on the firefighters, or electrical fire restoration company they used.

3. Cost effectiveness


Employ a repair company that will go easy on your pocket. Find out whether your insurance provides for fire damage, smoke damage and soot damage restoration, and plan a budget appropriately. You should avoid spending a lot of money for commercial fire damage restoration services you can receive at lower prices.

4. Type of smoke damage, soot damage or fire damage

It is fundamental to know what sort of electrical fire damage you have undergone. The repair company may be able to restore some of the damage caused, but if your electronics have been affected, you may need to contact another company or get one that can renovate all forms of destruction.

5. Availability and accessibility

The company you select should be available at all hours of the day and accessible. Disaster can strike at any time, and you need to choose a company which can get to your rescue as soon as an electrical fire erupts and is reliable to deliver an excellent service.

6. Technical Knowledge


Restoration requires the use of sophisticated industrial tools and equipment such as fire sprinkler systems, fire hoses and fire trucks to get the job done. You should find fire suppression experts who can handle these machines and who have them in plenty to avoid shortage if calamity strikes in many places at once.

7. Services offered.


You should research on the fire suppression and restoration company of your liking and make sure that they cover a broad range of utility room fire restorations. It would be disappointing if, after employing the company, you find that they can’t handle the sort of destruction the fire has caused.

Different aspects of fire damage

7/3/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage

Fire damage is caused by the actually fire. This can include damage to the structure of the property. Often materials are melted and can ignite other materials with this type of damage. 

Fire damage can also cause different toxins to react causing explosions or they can act as accelerant spreading the flames and causing additional damage. 

Water Damage

Water damage is always present with fire damage because the flames have to be extinguished. Often the damage caused by the sprinklers in a building is much more significant than the initial fire damage. 

Smoke Damage

Soot from a fire can be found in every room of a house that has been badly burned, even those rooms that were not burnt. Often homeowner's belongings, furniture, clothes in drawers, important documents, paintings, and more are completely covered in charcoal black soot. Some items are not salvageable and the items that are have to be properly cleaned or the soot can permanently destroy them. 

Mold Damage

After experiencing a house fire the water damage has to be professionally handled, because when it is not properly dried mold can grow. Mold is a toxin that can cause numerous potential health problems for those living in the property. It is important to make sure the water damage is taken care of by professionals like those at SERVPRO of Thomaston, Forsyth & Fort Valley.

Cleaning and Repairing Fire Damage Properly

5/10/2019 (Permalink)

Fire damage can stem from even small fires. If you've had something catch fire that was plastic or rubber based, it can quickly melt onto your carpeting or tile floor. While tile is much easier to clean than carpeting because it is less porous, it can still be damaged if cleaning is not done properly. Other parts of your home's interior can also be damaged in small fires that don't necessitate the calling of the fire department. 
 
Middle Georgia homeowners who have mild to severe fire damage need to understand that it is not just the destruction of things from heat and flame, but also soot and smoke that can ruin textile furnishings like carpeting and draperies, as well as the finishes of interior walls and ceilings. These often need cleaning, but sometimes they need repairs, also. Restoring your home to pre-fire damage condition is a priority for us. In addition to our certifications in IICRC methods, we also have extensive experience in damage from all sizes of fires, and in any diverse settings. 
 
We have equipment that can remove evidence of the fire damage, down to the scent of it. We use ozone-producing equipment for this as one of the final steps in fire damage restoration. It wouldn't be complete to simply look clean – we want it to smell clean and fresh, too. Even with small fires, damage can be extensive, and the smell left behind will never go away until the soot that causes it is eliminated. Ozone can do this by bonding with the soot particles, and helping to disintegrate them naturally. 
 
We take pride in our workmanship and in knowing that the customer can live in his or her home again without the smell of smoke, soot, and burned items lingering. If you've had fire damage, please call SERVPRO of Thomaston, Forsyth & Fort Valley at 478-956-1214. We answer calls 24/7, and will set up an appointment for your convenience. 

Fireplace Safety and Maintenance

5/3/2019 (Permalink)

Here are some things to keep in mind when keeping and using a fireplace in your home:

  • Fireplaces should not be used as furnaces. Use a fireplace for a short-duration fire — no longer than five hours.
  • Keep the glass open to allow air to be drawn up to cool the chimney, but keep the screen closed to prevent sparks from jumping onto the carpeting.
  • Never leave a fire unattended when children are in the house. Adults, even if near, should not allow children to play near or with fire tools and equipment.
  • Open a window when using the fireplace to prevent the room from becoming smoky. The air coming in from the window will go up the chimney.
  • Before making a fire, open the glass doors, pull aside the screen curtains, and place the kindling, newspaper and logs inside. Next, open the damper and a window. The window needs to be open only a few inches. You can check to make sure the smoke will go up the chimney properly by lighting a match, quickly blowing it out and watching the smoke to see whether it's going up and out.
  • Keep a nonflammable rug (available at fireplace-supply stores) in front of the fireplace so that sparks won't melt or otherwise damage your carpeting.
  • Use fireplace tools to handle burning logs. Never use your hands.
  • Use a chimney cap to prevent water damage, to keep animals from nesting and to keep debris from blocking the chimney and causing carbon monoxide to flow into the house. Use a spark arrester to help prevent sparks from flying out, which could start a fire on the roof or lawn.
  • Glass doors may develop tough stains from flames and heat. To clean them, make sure the glass doors are cool, then scrape off any thick gunk deposits with a razor blade. Add a squirt of liquid dishwashing detergent to a bucket of warm water, or add a cup of vinegar to a gallon of water. Spray or sponge the cleaner on, and then wipe it away with newspaper (which is lint-free). Another option is to buy glass cleaner at a fireplace store.
  • Fireplace coals can remain hot enough to start a fire for up to three days, so always wait at least that long before removing the ashes. At that point, close the damper to prevent cold air in the flue from stirring up excess dust while you're removing the ashes. Be sure to wear a dust mask and open a window in the same room as the fireplace to prevent negative air pressure. Use a shovel to scoop the ashes into a metal container. Store the container far from combustible materials and surfaces and wood floors.
  • Never use a vacuum to clean up ashes, because live coals may remain in those ashes.
  • Have a certified chimney sweep inspect and clean the chimney when necessary. Have him show you how to check it yourself, too. The chimney should be checked at least once a year or after about 80 fires.
  • Shine brass fireplace utensils with Worcestershire sauce and a toothbrush.
  • Clean the firebox (the area where the logs burn) at least once a week during the months you use it, when ash builds up. Leave about an inch of ash because it acts as insulation, allowing the coals to heat faster and retain the heat easier. Keep the firebox completely clean during the months when the fireplace is not in use.
  • To clean an exterior slate hearth, wash, dry and coat it with lemon oil every six weeks to make it shine. For cleaning exterior brick hearths, buy a brick cleaner at a fireplace shop.

For more information, visit SERVPRO of Thomaston, Forsyth & Fort Valley online at:

www.SERVPROthomastonforsythfortvalley.com

What are smoke webs?

4/16/2019 (Permalink)

Did you know?

Residues (such as burning plastics or the soot from furnace disorders) form long chains of ionized smoke particles that assemble in corners or at junctions of walls and ceilings which are called smoke webs!

The picture is from a fire damage that a large loss division assisted with out of state. The building had 35,000 square feet that was affected, it took the team a few weeks to completely clean the facility. 

Does your business have a plan? Check out these tips:

Protect your people : Your employees are your most important business asset. These tips can help prevent them from being injured in a fire.

  • Fire Plans: Make sure your employees know what to do if there's a fire, including calling 911 immediately. Conduct a fire drill at least once a year to keep employees aware of your workplace fire safety protocol. 
  • Evacuation Plan: In larger buildings, post a fire evacuation plan in several spots around the workplace. Never include elevators in an evacuation plan; always use the stairs. 
  • First Aid: In case of fire injuries, your employees should be familiar with the location of the first-aid kit, which should be kept where possible hazards can occur most-such as in the kitchen.

For more information, visit SERVPRO of Thomaston, Forsyth & Fort Valley online at:

www.SERVPROthomastonforsythfortvalley.com

https://www.statefarm.com/simple-insights/planning/3-business-fire-prevention-tips