Recent Fire Damage Posts

Prepare an Emergency Bag to Stay One Step Ahead of Natural Disasters

8/18/2021 (Permalink)

Orange emergency pack Here is an example of an emergency pack to keep in your residential or commercial property. Stay prepared and safe!

In the face of natural disasters, all we can do is stay safe by being prepared. It’s hard to predict when or how a natural disaster will occur, or if it even will. But, it will confront you at the most unexpected of times, which is why it’s good practice to have an emergency bag in an easily accessible place for a time you may need it to save your life!

So, what items should you have in your emergency pack? Here are some key things to invest in for your emergency bag:

  • Water
  • Nonperishable food
  • Batteries
  • First-aid kit
  • Matches
  • Toiletries 
    • Wet wipes, toothbrushes/paste, travel size soap, a roll of toilet paper, garbage bags
  • Whistle
  • Local maps
  • Phone charger/Portable Battery 
  • Dust masks
  • Flashlight
  • Small foldable emergency blanket
  • Necessary medicines and prescriptions
  • Spare keys for your home and car
  • Copy of identification cards
    • ID, driver’s license, passport, SSN, insurance cards
  • Emergency contact list
  • Change of clothes
  • Shoes

Now, what should hold all of these emergency items? Well, the items can be placed in a bucket, plastic bag, backpack, or any other method of carrying things easily. Some emergency packs even have special bags that can fold out into an emergency blanket. Specialized ones like these can be bought at your local superstore or online. Stay prepared for disasters, and if one happens to you, we are here to mitigate the damage.

Preparation for Southern California's Scorching Summers

8/2/2021 (Permalink)

Here in Southern California, our summers can get hot. With temperatures reaching over 100 degrees, this is the catalyst for many brush fires that sweep the state every summer. These fires have the unfortunate potential of reaching residential areas, which is why being prepared for a fire should be in the mind of one who lives in high risk areas. 

To prepare for these situations, consider making an emergency home kit. Our blogs go into detail about the types of materials you want to add to the kit to ensure you’re as prepared as possible if that tumultuous time ever arrives. Even if you are not in a high risk area, it is still wise to equip your home with an emergency kit because the events of the future can never be predicted. 

In addition to brush fires, the appliances in your home could be a potential catalyst of fire. Since temperatures are higher than usual, these appliances have a greater risk of overheating, potentially causing a fire. To prevent this, read our blogs on annual home inspections. This will give you information on how to inspect different appliances and tools in your home to make sure they are functioning properly, minimizing any potential for dangerous malfunction. 

Take this as a reminder to note the change of seasons and how it could affect your home or surroundings. Here at SERVPRO we are dedicated to providing you with not only the best restoration services but with great information to prevent us from having to make it “Like it never even happened,” in the first place. For any questions, or to schedule an inspection, call our 24-hour service line at (949) 429-3188.

What Our Technicians Look For When Inspecting Fire Damage

6/30/2021 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO, fire and water damage remediation is our specialty. So let’s talk about fire! Accidents happen and when they do we are here to clean it up. With over 50 years of experience in the disaster recovery business, we know how to make your property “Like it never even happened.” When confronting fire damage, there are a wide range on things to take account for in the inspection process. Here are some of the things we look for:

Soot and Ash

A fire produces heavy amounts of smoke from the burning of different materials that your home is made up of. The remnants of the smoke are soot and ash that can be left on the walls, ceiling, furniture, and floors. It visibly stains the areas, making your property look dirtied with fire damage! But, no need to worry, this can be fixed. Here at SERVPRO, we use special vacuums to suck up the ash and soot, but sometimes even after cleaning the smell remains. In these cases, the affected areas must be replaced to eliminate the odor in your property.

Burnt Areas

These are the most obvious places that need to be replaced. Once the supporting beams, walls, and ceiling of your house is touched by fire, the structural integrity of it is greatly compromised. You can see which areas of your house are affected because everything is burned visibly black. These areas are removed and reconstructed to keep your property safe and looking “Like it never even happened.” At SERVPRO, we have the certifications to remediate your damaged home AND reconstruct it. You can choose us or a separate construction company to proceed with the final rebuild of your property. Check out some of our construction before and after photos here.

Electrical Problems

A fire can directly damage the electrical outlets and wiring by melting and burning them, or indirectly through heat and smoke. They can also be damaged by water from firefighting efforts. We check for all of these things when inspecting your property after fire damage. It is usually light fixtures, outlets, and exposed electronics that must be completely replaced following a fire. But, we have seen cases where a property’s internal wiring is damaged and must be completely repaired. Our highly trained technicians have the certifications and experience to restore every range of damage that a fire has done to your property.

These are some of the key things we look for after fire damage, and we share so you know if your home is in need of damage restoration. If you are not sure, call our 24 hour emergency line to schedule an inspection, or even for any questions you may have about our services.

The True Costs of Fire Damage

6/23/2021 (Permalink)

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), home fires play a major role in property damage, injuries, and loss of life in the U.S. According to their 2017 statistics, 72% of all resident fatalities were caused by home fires.

Other than cooking appliances, home fires are caused by many things such as faulty heating equipment, defective electrical equipment, burning candles, and irresponsible smoking inside the house. Fire alarms and smoke detectors can help in detecting when the fire starts, and it can reduce the amount of damage caused by fire by helping you call the fire brigade on time.

Home fires should not be taken lightly because they result in loss of property as well as precious human lives. Fire damage results in high restoration costs that homeowners find difficult to cope up with. Taking preventative measures to prevent fires is a good idea, but they don’t always work. Here are the major damages that homeowners have to bear when fire engulfs their precious belongings.

Damaged Furniture, Carpets, and Rugs

Fire can eat up your wooden furniture and destroy your expensive rugs and carpets. Dealing with these damages is not an easy task. In case of such a situation, you must call a professional fire damage restoration company to restore your expensive furnishings. The trained professionals will visit your house and inspect all of your furniture to see what can be restored and what needs to be replaced. If your furnishings have not been completely engulfed by the fire, the professionals will restore them back to their original condition. Otherwise, you will have to spend a lot of money on replacing those items with new ones.

Electrical Equipment

Electrical devices have made our lives easy and that’s why our homes are full of them. Home fires damage these expensive electrical devices and homeowners have to pay a huge price for it. If the damage is not severe, these devices can be fixed by an electrician. Otherwise, the only option left is to replace them with new devices and equipment.

Soot Deposits on Walls

Soot deposits are part of the damage caused by fire. It is a black powdery substance that is produced as a result of partial combustion of organic substances. It gets deposited on walls, windows, doors, roof, and furniture – basically everything. A professional fire restoration company can help you get rid of the sticky black soot. The trained professionals will inspect your house and decide which method of cleaning is suitable for soot removal. Through their expertise, they will restore everything in your house to their original condition.

Loss of Important Documents

One of the major fire damages is the loss of important documents. If your documents such as passports and social security cards get completely burned during a fire, they cannot be restored. All you can do is contact the respective authorities and discuss your situation with them. They will help you find a solution.

Fire damages are a menace for homeowners because they have to deal with the hectic process of restoration. Calling a professional company like SERVPRO to help you out is the best option. You can count on the professionals to assist you in aptly restoring fire damages.

Do Not “DIY” Damage Restoration! And Here’s Why...

6/16/2021 (Permalink)

Black and white photo of a fire damaged home Fire can be a formidable feat of nature, but SERVPRO is here to cleanup the mess and mitigate the aftermath.

Restoring your house after it catches fire is one of the dreadful things in life. Read on to know why you should always hire a professional for fire damage restoration instead of fixing the damage yourself.

What’s worse than thinking about catching a fire in your house? It puts you, your family, your pets, and all of your precious belongings in danger.

Your house can catch fire because of numerous reasons such as cooking disasters, electrical wiring faults, malfunctioning heating equipment and burning candles. The damage caused by fire depend on its intensity. A huge fire can eat up the whole family while a small one might only leave black burn marks on a wall.  

It’s best to call a professional company for fire damage restoration. They will help you get rid of burn marks, soot deposits and burning odor inside your house. Moreover, you would be in a state of shock after your house catches fire. It’s better to call a fire restoration company and allow them to handle the mess.

Here are the reasons why calling a professional fire damage restoration company is better than DIY.

  1. They Offer Emergency Services

Fire damage restoration services offer 24/7 emergency services. You can call them whenever there is a fire emergency and they’ll come in no time. Without a professional, you won’t be able to handle the aftermath of your house catching a fire. For instance, if your electric kettle catches a fire, you wouldn’t know how to deal with it because after the fire is put out now your looking at water damage to your home as well. Talk about a state of total shock and panic. All you can do at that time is call a professional fire damage restoration company to help you out.

  1. They Will Properly Inspect Your House

A professional fire restoration company will thoroughly inspect your house for fire damages. Along with the black burn spots and soot deposits, they will check if the fire has damaged any of your water pipes or drainage lines. If yes, then they will call the water restoration company to fix the problem. The water restoration company will clean the water, they will call a plumber out to fix pipes and dry your house to prevent mold damage. This wouldn’t happen if you tried handling the fire damage yourself.

  1. They Will Fix All The Damages

The fire damage restoration professionals will use special chemicals and equipment to remove soot deposits as well as clean the black burn spots on your walls and ceiling. They will use special deodorizers to make sure that your house gets rid of the pungent burning smell. Moreover, they will use special ventilators and pumps to get rid of all the harmful smoke present inside your house.

You can hurt yourself if you don’t call a fire damage restoration company. If fire smoke enters your respiratory system, it can cause breathing problems and also lead to a cardiac arrest. So, it’s your best interest to call a fire damage restoration service.

Damage caused by fire should not be taken lightly. Always call a professional fire damage restoration company if your house catches a fire.  There is more to cleaning up after a fire than you think.

CALL SERVPRO of Lake Forest/Laguna Woods for your Fire and Water Damage needs at (949) 429-3188

How to Classify the Different Types of Fire

6/9/2021 (Permalink)

Fire can occur anywhere and at any time due to minor negligence. It can break out in your house due to misuse of electrical appliances or by smoking near combustible equipment. Similarly, the carelessness of managers and employees can cause fires in industrial and manufacturing units. If you want to save your home or office from such an incident, then you need to understand the different classes of fires.

Classes of Fire

There are five classes of fire based on their source of ignition.

Class A: Ordinary Combustibles

Class A fires are caused by the materials that reach their ignition temperature due to reasons such as a discarded lit cigarette. They keep burning as long as there is a supply of heat, fuel and oxygen. The items that produce these types of fires include textiles, paper, woods, some specific plastics, rubber and other 

organic carbon-containing compounds. You can install foam fire or water-based extinguishers to counter this type of fire.

Class B: Flammable Liquids

These fires are caused by liquids such as alcohol, petrol, kerosene, paints and solvents that burn easily at temperatures below 100° C. They ignite immediately if a flame is brought in their close vicinity. Class B fires produce thick black fumes and spread quickly, which makes it difficult to put them out. You can use a foam fire extinguisher to extinguish them.

Class C: Flammable Gases

Flammable gases such as petroleum gases and butane can explode and cause fires by a single spark. According to the lower explosive limit (LEL), a concentration of just 5% of these gases in the air can cause an explosion. Dry power extinguishers are the only ones that can counter them.

Class D: Combustible Metals

Ignition of metal shavings and powdered metals causes these fires. They usually take place in industrial and manufacturing units when alkali metals such as magnesium, potassium, sodium and aluminum come in contact with water and air. You can put out these fires in early stages by special class D extinguishers. Once they have spread out, they are usually left alone because they produce a lot of ash, which cuts off the fire’s oxygen supply.

Class K: Cooking Oils

These fires are caused by cooking oils and usually break out in homes, restaurants and professional kitchens. These fires are quite a challenge to extinguish; therefore, only special extinguishers can put them out.

Safety tips on smoke alarms

2/28/2020 (Permalink)

Smoke alarm already set up.

Properly Maintain Smoke Alarms

  • Test units monthly.
  • Install new batteries immediately when the low-battery warning alarm sounds or at least once a year.
  • Clean smoke alarms regularly by vacuuming them with a brush attachment.
  • Replace smoke alarms every 10 years to achieve optimum performance.

Where should you not put smoke detectors?

Don't install the detector

  1. On windows or sliding doors as the winds and air may not pick up the heat of smoke or fire.
  2. In humid or moist areas including the bathroom.
  3. In areas that easily collect dust and dirt including unfinished attics.
  4. In cooler rooms such as sunrooms or porches.
  5. Near ceiling fans or air vents.

How does a smoke alarm increase fire safety?

A smoke alarm is a device that combines smoke detection and a loud alarm together in one unit. The alarm sounds if it detects smoke in large amounts, like in a fire. A smoke alarm, when properly installed, tested, and maintained gives you an early warning of a fire, which increases your chances of getting out.

For any questions don’t hesitate on calling us SERVPRO of Lake Forest/Laguna Woods it’s here 24 hours at day to serve you at any time. Call us at (949) 429-3188 here to help.

Tips to prevent fires

2/28/2020 (Permalink)

This is a photo of a house that got on fire.

Top 10 Tips to Prevent House Fires

  1. Test Your Smoke Alarms Regularly. The easiest way to avoid a house fire is by checking your smoke alarms regularly.
  2. Inspect All Your Heating Sources.
  3. Keep Your Stove and Oven Clean.
  4. Don't Leave Your Kitchen.
  5. Always Check Your Dryer.
  6. Maintain All Cords.
  7. Properly Store Flammable Products.
  8. Practice Caution with Candles.

How can we protect fire?

How To Prevent A Fire

  1. Install fire alarms and smoke detectors.
  2. Teach children the basics of fire safety and how to prevent, prepare for, and deal with a fire.
  3. Always keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
  4. Keep flammable items at least three feet away from anything hot.

We also recommend you talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.

Precautions when cooking with gas

2/7/2020 (Permalink)

Keep stove clean and clear for safety.

Tips on cooking (with Gas) safely:

  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • Never get distracted.
  • Never allow a child to cook without adult supervision.
  • Keep the flame from extending past the pot sides.
  • Turn pot handles away from the stove edge.
  • Keep stoves and cook tops free of grease and fat build-up.

Gas Stove Safety Tips

  • Check the pilot light. Some older gas stoves are equipped with pilot lights which stay lit when the stove is not on.
  • Clean the burners regularly.
  • Keep handles to the side.
  • Inspect your smoke alarm.
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher close.

Basic Rules of Kitchen Safety

  • Store knives in a wooden block or in a drawer.
  • Never cook in loose clothes and keep long hair tied back.
  • Never cook while wearing dangling jewelry.
  • Keep potholders nearby and use them.
  • Turn pot handles away from the front of the stove.
  • Don't let temperature-sensitive foods sit out in the kitchen.

Signs of a Gas Leak

2/7/2020 (Permalink)

Let's take precautions to prevent a gas leak.

Gas leak signs in the home

  • the smell of sulfur or rotten eggs.
  • a hissing or whistling sound near a gas line.
  • a white cloud or dust cloud near a gas line.
  • bubbles in water.
  • a damaged gas pipe.
  • dead houseplants.

How do I know if I smell gas?

Signs of a Gas Leak inside Your Home or Business:

Rotten Egg-Like Smell. Natural gas gives off a garlic-like smell.

Hissing or Blowing Sound. Sometimes a gas leak can be located because of a hissing or blowing sound.

Dead or Discolored Vegetation.

Blowing Dirt.

Bubbles in Standing Water.

Very slight gas odor.

Who do I call if I smell gas?

If you smell a natural gas odor, hear the hissing sound of gas escaping or see other signs of a leak. Immediately evacuate the area, and from a safe location either call 911 or SoCalGas at 1-800-427-2200. Don’t smoke, or light a match, candle or other flames. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to call us at our 24-hour service line. SERVPRO is here to help.

Timeline of the Effects of Smoke and Fire in a Home

12/16/2017 (Permalink)

When homeowners prolong the restoration of their home after a fire, they increase the effects caused by the smoke exposure. 

Within minutes acid soot residues cause plastics to yellow in color, appliances located by the source of the combustion discolor, and highly porous materials stain permanently. 

Within hours acid soot residues stain the grout in flooring, counter tops may yellow, fiberglass bathroom fixtures may discolor, and furniture furnishes may discolor.

Within days painted walls yellow permanently, wood furniture requires refinishing, vinyl flooring requires refinishing or replacing, upholstery stains permanently, and clothing becomes soot stained. 

Within weeks the restoration costs have increased tremendously. Synthetic carpet fibers may yellow or discolor permanently and silver plate may be damaged permanently. Any china, crystal, or glass may need to be replaced due to severe etching and pitting caused by prolonged soot exposure. 

SERVPRO's Fire Damage Restoration Process

12/13/2017 (Permalink)

After a fire, homes typically suffer from some extent of fire and smoke damage. Many will also suffer from extensive water damage due to the efforts to extinguish the fire. SERVPRO has the specialized training needed in order to restore your home to its pre-fire condition.

Below is the general process that each SERVPRO franchise performs for a typical fire emergency.

  1. The process starts by calling to SERVPRO's 24/7 emergency call center. Once the proper information has been provided, a local franchise will be dispatched to the fire emergency. 
  2. Our highly trained technicians will arrive to the site and inspect the extent of fire, smoke, and soot damage. From there a plan of action will be made.
  3. In the event of exterior damage done to the home, SERVPRO professionals can board up missing walls and windows and place tarps on damaged roofs.
  4. The water removal process will begin as soon as possible. Once the majority of the water has been cleaned up, dehumidifiers and air movers will be placed in order to remove any of the remaining water and complete the drying process. 
  5. Specialized equipment and techniques will be utilized to remove soot from ceilings, walls, and other surfaces.
  6. Any restorable items and structures damaged by the fire will be cleaned to restore them to pre-fire conditions. Any lingering odors will be removed by air scrubbers and fogging equipment.
  7. Restoration involving minor repairs may also need to be done to restore the home to it's pre-fire condition. Repairs can include replacing drywall or flooring, repainting the damaged areas, or even reconstructing whole rooms.

How to Protect Your Home from Wildfires

12/7/2017 (Permalink)

With a good portion of Southern California ablaze this week, many homes and buildings have either burnt down completely or have been damaged somehow. Here are some tips on how to help keep your home from being another wildfire statistic.

  1. Clear combustible debris from your property and home. This can include bushes, dry grass, firewood, and any other plant debris. In some cases, wooden fences or decks may need to be removed. 
  2. Secure your home's eaves and vent openings. Embers can very easily enter your home through unsecured eaves and vents. Keeping them properly screened and maintained will help prevent embers from entering. 
  3. Protect your home's roof. Roofs tend to be the most vulnerable area when it comes to wildfires. Replace any wood shingles if possible. Asphalt, tile, and steel are preferred options. Additionally, pay attention to wood siding, which tends to go up into flames much more easily than cement or stucco.
  4. Upgrade your windows and drapes. Sometimes the heat can get so intense that it goes straight through the windows and catch drapes and furniture on fire. To prevent this, start by using drapery fabric that is more heat resistant. Smaller tempered window units are also better than larger ones.
  5. Plan your home to be fire resistant from the ground up. Take the time to protect your dream home from the very beginning. Make sure there is room for emergency vehicles to access the property. Avoid oddly shaped architecture or bump outs as these can reduce the likelihood of embers entering into the home. Research the whatever building materials you intend on using to see if they have flame resistant properties.
  6. Select a fire resistant site. Keep in mind when either purchasing or building your home that ideally you want it placed in an area that is safe from any potential wildfires. Obviously sometimes a move to a fire prone area is necessary, but just make sure that the home isn't in a densely wooded area, on a hilltop, or overhanging on a rocky outcrop. Having your home in a position like this can make it vulnerable to disaster. 

Dangers of Frying a Turkey

11/22/2017 (Permalink)

With Thanksgiving being the number one day of the year with the most fire incidents in the kitchen, it is important to address one of the top causes of these fires; and that is deep frying a turkey. 

Deep frying a turkey generally involves frying it in about 3 gallons of oil over a propane burner. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, right?

Here are some reasons on why frying a turkey can be dangerous:

  1. Cooking units can tip easily, spilling hot oil in a large area.
  2. Overfilling the cooking pot or inserting a partially thawed turkey will cause the oil to spill.
  3. Even a small amount of cooking oil making contact with a flame can cause a large fire.
  4. Most of the frying units come without temperature controls and can overheat the oil to the point of combustion.
  5. The cooking pot itself along with the handles and the lids can become extremely hot, resulting in severe burns.

If you decide too proceed with frying a turkey, here are some tips to keep your cooking session safe:

  1. Place the fryer outdoors away from buildings or flammable materials.
  2. Never use the fryer on a wooden deck, under a patio cover, in a garage, or in an enclosed space.
  3. Do not overfill the fryer
  4. Completely thaw the turkey before cooking.
  5. Never leave the fire unattended.
  6. Never let children or pets near the fire while cooking, or even afterwards, as the oil and pot can remain hot for hours.
  7. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
  8. If a fire does take place, do not use water to extinguish it.
  9. Call 911 if a fire gets out of control.

Fire Safety Tips for Your Christmas Tree

11/22/2017 (Permalink)

Christmas and Christmas Eve are some of the top days of the year where fire emergencies happen the most. These can be caused by the tree catching on fire due to the dryness of the tree itself, poor electrical wiring on lighting decorations, and poorly located heating sources. 

Here are some tips to keep in mind to help keep your Christmas safe:

  • Tree sap combined with the dryness of the tree is what makes the tree flammable. Try to choose a freshly cut tree as they are the least likely to catch on fire. 
  • Everyone enjoys the ambiance of the Christmas Tree next to the cozy fireplace, however take caution! Keep the tree away from heating sources such as heaters, candles, fireplaces, etc., and keep the base hydrated with water to prevent the tree from drying out.
  • Throw out any damaged lighting that is intended to be hung on the tree and inspect the cords for any flaws.
  • Remember, Christmas lights are not night lights! When everyone goes to bed, turn the lights off on the Christmas tree to ease your mind when you and your family go to bed.  

SERVPRO of Lake Forest South/Laguna Woods wishes everyone a great end of the year and hope that these tips help keep you and your family safe. 

Thanksgiving Fire Safety

11/21/2017 (Permalink)

Thanksgiving is the peak day for fire emergencies in the kitchen. Keeping fire safety in mind on this holiday is crucial, especially when dealing with a lot of activity and guests at home. As you start preparing for the holiday, please keep some of these tips in mind to keep your turkey day safe.

  • stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop to keep an eye on the food
  • stay at home when cooking your turkey
  • keep children away from the stove at all times
  • make sure your smoke alarms are functional
  • keep children away from hot liquids and foods
  • keep electrical cords from kitchen appliances safely out of the way 
  • keep matches and lighters out of reach of children
  • use extra caution when deep frying a turkey and keep the fryer far from any buildings or flammable material