Archived Fire Damage Blog Posts
After a Fire: What you can do until help arrives?
After any fire damage situation, your primary focus should be safety:
- Is it safe to stay in the house?
- Electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.
- Only do activities that are safe for you to perform.
- Wet materials can be VERY heavy. Be careful!
What To Do After A Fire
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
- Keep hands clean so as not to further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
- Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
- If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.
- Clean and protect chrome with light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
- Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves.
- Change HVAC filter.
- Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.
What NOT To Do After A Fire
- Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting your SERVPRO Franchise Professional.
- Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
- Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water.
- Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
- Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.
What is Our Fire Damage Restoration Process?
After the fire trucks leave, your home likely suffers from fire and smoke damage and extensive water damage from firefighting efforts. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals have the specialized fire restoration training needed to restore your home to pre-fire condition.
Every fire damage event is a little different, and requires a unique solution, but the general process stays the same. The steps listed below illustrate our process for the “typical” fire damage emergency.
Step 1: Emergency Contact
The restoration process begins when you call the SERVPRO National Call Center, which is staffed 24 hours a day. Our representative will ask a series of questions regarding the fire damage event that will help us dispatch the nearest SERVPRO Franchise Professional with the appropriate equipment and resources.
Step 2: Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment
Our Professionals will carefully inspect and test adjoining rooms of your property to determine the extent of the fire, smoke, and soot damage. This step is crucial to developing a plan of action.
Step 3: Immediate Board-Up and Roof-Tarp Service
Fire damage can often compromise windows, walls, and roofs. To maintain security and to protect against further damage, the SERVPRO Franchise Professional can board up missing windows and walls and place tarps on damaged roofs.
Step 4: Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present)
The water removal process begins almost immediately and removes the majority of the water. They will then use dehumidifiers and air movers to remove the remaining water and complete the drying process.
Step 5: Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces
The SERVPRO Franchise Professionals use specialized equipment and techniques to remove smoke and soot from ceilings, walls, and other surfaces.
Step 6: Cleaning and Sanitizing
They will clean all of the restorable items and structures that were damaged by the fire. They use a variety of cleaning techniques to restore your belongings to pre-fire condition. They’re also trained to remove odors using industrial air scrubbers and fogging equipment.
Step 7: Restoration
Restoration is the final step—getting your home or business to its pre-fire condition. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet; or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business.
Stop, Drop and Clean the lint out from inside your dryer and vent!
We all know to clean out the lint screen of our dryers, right? Did you know if you aren’t cleaning the lint out of the INSIDE and VENT of your dryer you are putting your family in danger of a house fire? Over time lint will build up and settle in the bottom of your dryer and in your dryer vent. If you don’t clean this out the heat from the dryer can ignite a fire inside your dryer. You know what the boy scouts say, “lint is the great to start a fire”.
Here is an experience from someone who recently had a fire in her dryer and was lucky enough it didn’t start her house on fire.
Counting our blessings today… Last night we smelled something "burning" right as we were going to bed. We thought it was our renters burning food or something in their oven. We had windows open and fans going but didn't really think much of it. Well this afternoon I went to get clothes out of the dryer, they smelled horrible!!! Like a cross between camp fire smoke and cigarette smoke. So I threw them back in the washer and told my husband. When he got home we pulled the bottom portion of the dryer off just to check things out. To our amazement (we haven't had this dryer THAT long - but bought it from someone else) there was burnt/singed lint everywhere. There had been a lint fire inside the bottom of our dryer last night. Our house seriously could have caught on fire. I'm so glad it didn't. Hence - we are counting our blessings today and I am spreading the word to all that you should go clean out under your lint catcher thing so your house doesn't start on fire!
Here are a few tips from www.familyhandyman.com on how to clean the lint out of your dryer.
The Importance of Smoke Alarms
Don't Wait, Check Yours Today
Smoke Alarms Save Lives
Let’s get straight to the point Smoke alarms save lives. Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out.
Here's what you need to know
- A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home.
- Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.
- Larger homes may need extra smoke alarms.
- Test your smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working. If the alarm still does not work replace the batteries, and if it still doesn’t work replace it.
- There are two kinds of alarms. Ionization smoke alarms are quicker to warn about flaming fires. Photoelectric alarms are quicker to warn about smoldering fires. It is best to use of both types of alarms in the home.
- When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside. Don’t wait, the life you and your family may be on the line.
- Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years whether they are still working or not.
Facts and figures about smoke alarms
- In 2009-2013, smoke alarms sounded in more than half (53%) of the home fires reported to U.S. fire departments.
- Three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms (38%) or no working smoke alarms (21%).
- No smoke alarms were present in almost two out of every five (38%) home fire deaths.
- The death rate per 100 reported home fires was more than twice as high in homes that did not have any working smoke alarms compared to the rate in homes with working smoke alarms
- In fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, almost half (46%) of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries.
- Dead batteries caused one-quarter (24%) of the smoke alarm failures.
The moral of the story is make sure you have the proper number of smoke alarms in your home and they are all properly working.
For more information on smoke alarms and other fire protection related information visit the website for National Fire Protection Association.
We can help you "restore not replace" after a fire
You've just had one of the worst days of your life due to a house fire and you finally get to go in and inspect the damage. Luckily the fire started in the kitchen and the fire depart got there before the whole house went up in flames... but the entire house is now filled with smoke and soot. As well as all of your belongs, they are covered and stinky. Did you know that SERVPRO can help with that? We can get rid of the smoke smell and clean your belongings!
SERVPRO of Provo specializes in restoring contents damaged by water, fire, or mold. Our expertise and “restore” versus “replace” mentality can help you save money while preserving precious keepsakes that can’t be replaced. We pretest your belongings to determine what items we can restore to pre-fire condition. We use several methods of cleaning your contents, including:
- Dry Cleaning - Used for cleaning light residues or to pre-clean prior to wet cleaning.
- Wet Cleaning - An effective cleaning method for removing moderate to heavy residues.
- Spray and Wipe -Effective for items that can’t withstand wet cleaning.
- Foam Cleaning - Used for upholstery fabrics that might shrink or bleed if wet cleaned.
- Abrasive Cleaning - Involves agitation of the surface being cleaned.
- Immersion Cleaning - Contents are dipped into a bath of the cleaning product.
Getting Rid of the Smoke Smell
Are you one of the 1.3 million people each year that has had a home fire? What do you do now? How will you ever get rid of that smell? OZONING! What is ozoning and how does it work? Normal oxygen (O2) is converted to O3, which is commonly called ozone. It reverts back to O2 in about an hour if the O3 is unused. This leaves the air fresh and clean because the source of the odor has been permanently removed. And there are no artificial odors so the space becomes free of odors, as nature intended. Outdoors, nature eliminates odors and microorganisms using UV light and O3. Indoors, most places receive very little UV light or O3 to help eliminate the odors. An ozone machine creates O3, or ozone, in a process that utilizes an electrical current. Ozone sanitizes the air by breaking down odors and microorganisms at their source. Nature creates O3 as a natural cleaning during thunderstorms, and also from the sunlight striking the earth’s atmosphere. We have all taken a walk after a thunderstorm and experienced that fresh clean, fresh smell in the air. That’s O3, or ozone, at work. SERVPRO also offers a service at our facility where we can ozone specific items like clothing, furniture, or anything that has smoke damage and get it smelling better than new.
What about my my irreplaceable items?
What started out looking like clumps of charcoal. now have been transformed back into family decorations.
A house fire can be an overwhelming experience. It can be physically, financially and extremely emotionally draining. With the right insurance coverage, time and rest the physical and financial effects will eventually subside. Walls and floors will be repaired and furniture and appliances can be replaced. The most devastating of all is the damage done to those items that simply cannot be replaced. Most items that are destroyed in house fires can be repurchased, but what about things like photo albums, hand sewn quilts, family heirlooms, journals, or souvenirs from a memorable vacation? Those close-to-your-heart keepsakes are irreplaceable. The experts at SERVPRO are here to help. Our restoration specialists at SERVPRO are trained to restore almost anything. Soot, smoke, water and even sewage is no match for the expertise at SERVPRO.
What Now? Steps to take after a house fire
You have just had one of the worst days because your house started on fire. What do you need to do now? Take a breath and follow these guidelines to help alleviate stress and confusion.
- Depending on the severity of the fire you may have called 911 and the fire department has been there. DO NOT ENTER THE HOUSE UNTIL IT HAS BEEN INSPECTED AND YOU HAVE RECEIVED APPROVAL FROM THE FIRE DEPARTMENT. There may be structural damage and the house may not be safe. Once you have received approval you may enter your home.
- Call your insurance agent ASAP and follow their directions.
- If you are in need you may contact disaster relief or Red Cross for help with housing, food, medicine, etc.
- After approval to enter the home, take an inventory of everything that has been damaged. Do not throw anything away until you have done this. If you have insurance this list will be crucial to replace damaged items.
- The insurance company will usually suggest a disaster and restoration company; don’t feel like you have to choose the first one they suggest. Ask what others they work with and check out several of them to find the one you are the most confident and comfortable with.
- If you lost essential medical needs or medicine contact your doctor ASAP.
- If you own your home notify your mortgage lender. If you are a tenant notify the landlord.
- Contact your credit card provider, utilities companies, and any other lending institutions. They may be willing to work with you on your payments for a while.
- Take inventory of documents that may have been lost in the fire: Driver’s License; Social Security card; passport; Birth, Marriage, Death certificates; Vehicle Registration and Titles; Tax Records; Wills; Military Records; and any other important documents.
- Account for any cash that was damaged and contact the US Treasury Department. The treasury will replace your damaged currency with undamaged currency.
- Save ALL those receipts for money spent related to the fire loss. They may be needed by the insurance company and verifying losses claimed on taxes.
- Most important of all, take care of yourself and your family. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask for and accept help.