Recent Fire Damage Posts

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