Thanksgiving is here, so there is no better time to discuss holiday safety!
For most people during holiday time, the kitchen is the heart of the home. So keeping fire safety top of mind in the kitchen during this joyous but hectic time is important, especially when there’s a lot of activity and people at home. As you start preparing your holiday schedule and organizing that large family feast, remember, by following a few simple safety tips you can enjoy time with your loved ones and keep yourself and your family safer from fire.
Thanksgiving is one of the top days that fires often occur as well as the day before Thanksgiving and on Christmas. As long as you practice good habits of fire prevention then you are on the way to keeping your home fire free.
Fire Extinguisher Tips
Fire extinguisher tips
Only use a fire extinguisher if.....
*The fire is contained to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and is not growing.
*Everyone has exited the building
*The fire department has been called or is being called; and the room is not filled with smoke.
Steps to Take After a House Fire
A house fire is traumatic event that can certainly leave you with a mix of emotions. You’ll be nervous, worried, scared, upset, wondering what to do next, and just how to do it. First things first…take a deep breath, try to relax, and know that everything will be more than fine. Ultimately you need to make sure that your family is safe and sound. Once you can confirm that, then you can tackle the recovery process of your home and belongings.
We’ve compiled a list of five things that you should do and be aware of after a fire. This way, you can approach the rebuilding of your home in a cool, calm, and collected manner!
(1) Review with the authorities and the professionals as to when it is safe to enter the home after the fire. The fire department will make sure that the fire is completely extinguished and then will go through their precautionary measures in order to deem the area ‘safe’.
(2) Know who to contact. First, contact any family members to let them know of the occurrence and the fact that you are safe. Review, and then contact your insurance company. A clean-up team, such as G.W.Savage, should also be one of the first calls made. We can efficiently and professionally get you back into your home – it will be as if nothing happened!
(3) Get the fire report. Typically coming to you from the fire department, this correspondence will review the facts of the fire – the home structure, the area of the fire, as well as the time and date. In some cities and towns, you may need to call the fire department directly in order to get a copy of this report.
(4) Make sure to secure your property. If you are not securing the property, you could potentially be making a bad situation into a terrible one – your home could be robbed of it’s remaining property, or, in some cases, another individual could be injured on the property (becoming your responsibility). You can ask the authorities and emergency services on the best methods in securing what is yours.
Know the Facts about Business Fires
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, as many as one in four businesses that suffer some kind of major disaster do not reopen afterward. It’s true, overcoming a major loss is extremely difficult, but with the right restoration company and team on your side, working hand-in-hand with your insurance company, the chance of your Indianapolis-area company surviving is pretty high!
Depending on the size of the fire, and the amount of damage, some businesses that have come to SERVPRO for help have reopened just days after the fire happened. Thanks to innovations in smoke odor removal, fire damage restoration, and cleaning in general, it is possible for crews to start work nearly immediately after the fire department clears the scene, and have things back up and running in no time. Although, again, that all depends on the severity of the fire. But no matter the severity, recovery is possible!
According to the National Fire Prevention Association, U.S. fire departments responded to about 3,300 office property fires per year between 2007 and 2011. Those fires resulted in about $112 million in property damage each year, and most were in business offices – and happened during business hours. However, the good news is the number of business fires was down a whopping 71 percent from 1980 to 2011.
Here are some other stats from the NFPA:
Time of Day
- Peak time of day for office fires: Noon – 2p.m. (a.k.a. lunch time!)
- 69% happened between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
- The 31% that occurred between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. caused 67% of recorded property damage, because they went undetected longer. This also highlights the need for automatic detection equipment and working sprinkler systems.
- 19% of fires happened on weekends.
Cause of the Business Fires
- 29% were caused by cooking equipment. However, just 6% of these fires caused actual property damage.
- Intentionally-set fires caused the most direct property damage – 21%.
- Electrical equipment is the second leading cause of office fires.
- Just 2% of office fires start in a concealed space like an attic, in the ceiling, or in another conceals space. However, these fires accounted for 13% of the direct property damage.
Containment & Putting it Out
- 4 out of 5 fires were confined to the room of origin.
- 90% of fires were large enough to activate sprinklers, which were effective 88% of the time.
- Deaths per 1,000 stores were 62% lower in offices equipped with sprinklers compared to those without.
Industrial/Manufacturing Facility Fires
The NFPA also has statistics specific to manufacturing facilities. According to their research, there are about 37,000 fires at industrial or manufacturing facilities each year, resulting in 18 deaths, 279 injuries, and $1 billion in property damage. Heating equipment and stop tools were the leading cause – sparking 28 percent of the fires. Mechanical failure or malfunction caused 24 percent of the fires.
Winter Heating Hazards
Winter Heating HazardsFire Place
Winter is the same anywhere you go...lower temperatures & shorter days. Often times we use alternative heat sources like fireplaces, portable space heaters, and wood burning stoves to make our homes cozy. Did you know that heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths?
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.
- 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.
- 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.
Plan two escapes
One home structure fire was reported every 85 seconds in 2010.
Most fatal fires kill one or two people. In 2010, 19 home fires killed five or more people. These 19 fires resulted in 101 deaths.
In 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to 369,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 13,350 civilian injuries, 2,640 civilian deaths, and $6.9 billion in direct damage.
As scary as those scenarios look in black and white, imagine just how frightening they are in technicolor.
Though some fires are unavoidable acts of nature or unpredictable accidents, many fires in the home and workplace are avoidable. The following tips, courtesy of the National Fire Protection Association, can help reduce the likelihood of a fire in your business or home.
Watch your cooking. Stay in the kitchen if you are frying, grilling, or broiling food.
Give space heaters space. Keep space heaters at least three feet from anything that can burn.
Smoke outside. If you must smoke inside, have a sturdy, deep ashtray. Never smoke in bed.
Keep matches and lighters out of reach in high cabinets, preferably under a child lock.
Inspect electrical cords. Replace cords that are cracked, damaged, have broken plugs or have loose connections.
Be careful when using candles. Keep candles at least one foot from anything that can burn. Blow them out before you leave the room or go to sleep.
Have a fire escape plan. Make a fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year. Also, as is this year's theme for fire prevention week -- MAKE SURE YOU HAVE TWO ESCAPE ROUTES.
Install smoke alarms on every level of your office or home and inside bedrooms. Interconnect them so they all sound at once.
Test smoke alarms. Test alarms once per month. Replace batteries once per year or as needed.
Install sprinklers. Sprinklers can help maintain and sometimes even extinguish fires, giving your local Fire Department a better chance of saving your property.
*Fire Prevention Week*
It is important to have a home and office fire escape plan that prepares your family or staff to think fast and get out quickly when the smoke alarm sounds. What if your first escape route is blocked by smoke or flames? That's why having two ways out is such a key part of your plan. This year's theme,"Have 2 Ways Out!", focuses on the importance of fire escape planning and practice.
Have 2 Ways Out!
Storm Facts, Tips and Safety
Storm Facts, Tips and SafetyStorm Facts
Severe Thunderstorm Facts
Thunderstorms are defined as storms that produce thunder and lightning. Severe thunderstorms may also produce:
- High winds
- Sleet or snow
It’s important to note that thunderstorms do not always produce moisture. A storm in which you see lightning and hear thunder but never feel a drop of water is known as a “dry” thunderstorm. Thunderstorms that produce hail and tornadoes are known as “supercell” storms. Storms occur either in clusters or lines; therefore, they may present as a single thunderstorm or as multiple thunderstorms hitting one after the other.
Thunderstorms are caused when moisture from the lower or mid-level part of the atmosphere mixes with warm, unstable air from the ground. Moisture and air then push upwards into the higher atmosphere to form clouds that produce thunder and lightning, as well as potential precipitation. Spring, summer and fall are most conducive to thunderstorms because the sun heats the ground and moisture is more perceptible in the air, especially in humid climates.
Thunderstorms must also be lifted to begin their formation. Some sources of lift include:
- More heat on the ground than in the air
- Changes in atmospheric conditions near mountains
- Weather front changes caused by clashing cold and hot air
- Drylines, or when moist and dry air clash
- Land or sea breezes
Any of these situations can immediately create a thunderstorm without warning, even in the middle of a clear blue day. In many cases, these storms will also be accompanied by lightning. Most will not come with hail or tornadoes, unless they occur in tornado-prone states such as Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Missouri.
Severe Weather Facts & Myths
Myth: Highway and interstate overpasses are safe shelters against a tornado.
Fact: Overpasses can concentrate the tornado winds, causing them to be significantly stronger. This places the people under them in an even more dangerous situation. In recent years, several people seeking shelter beneath overpasses have been killed or severely injured. Being above ground level during a tornado is dangerous.
Myth: The low pressure with a tornado causes buildings to explode. Opening the windows will equalize the pressure, saving the building.
Fact: Opening the windows in an attempt to equalize pressure will have no effect. It is the violent winds and debris that cause most structural damage. It is more important for you to move to a safe area away from windows and exterior walls. With a tornado, every second counts, so use your time wisely and take cover.
Myth: Thunderstorms and tornadoes always move from west to east.
Fact: More often than not, thunderstorms move from west to east. Conditions in the atmosphere dictate how and where storms will move, and it can be in any direction. Tornadoes have been known to act erratic, and can change directions and speed very quickly. Never try to outrun a tornado in a vehicle.
Myth: It’s not raining here, and skies above me are clear, therefore I am safe from lightning.
Fact: Lightning can strike many miles away from the thunderstorm. If storms are in your area, but skies happen to be clear above you, that certainly does not imply you are safe from lightning. Though these “Bolts from the Blue” are infrequent, lightning strikes 10 to 15 miles away from the storm are not out of the question.
Myth: Since I am inside my house and out of the storm, I am completely safe from lightning.
Fact: Just because you have taken shelter inside, you are not automatically safe. While inside waiting out a storm, avoid using the telephone or electrical appliances and do not take showers or baths. Also stay away from doors and windows. Telephone lines, cords, plumbing, even metal window and door frames are all lightning conductors and pose a threat
Myth: Large and heavy vehicles, such as SUVs and pickups, are safe to drive through flood waters.
Fact: It is a common belief that the larger the vehicle, the deeper the water it can drive through. Many people do not realize that two feet of water can float most vehicles, including SUVs and pickups. If the water is moving rapidly, vehicles can be swept away.
Myth: Flash floods only occur along flowing streams.
Fun Storm Facts
Are you afraid of storms, or do you embrace them? Whichever side you fall on, we all have some sort of respect for storms. They can cause great damage, paint beautiful pictures across the sky, alter any outdoor plans, and completely turn a day around. Although you’ve probably experienced many thunderstorms in your life, you might not know a whole lot about them. In today’s post, we’re going to share some fun storm facts that you may not have known!
- The typical thunderstorm is 15 miles in diameter!
- The typical thunderstorm lasts about 30 minutes.
- About 1,800 thunderstorms are happening around the world at any given moment.
- Lightning kills more people than tornadoes every year.
- A severe storm “watch” means that a serious storm has the potential to develop, but has not developed yet. However, a sever storm “warning” means that a storm has developed and been sighted.
- About 10% of storms are classified as “severe”.
- If you’re ever heard the term the “four horsemen” of thunderstorms, it’s referring to wind/tornadoes, hail, floods, and lightning.
- Thunderstorm clouds grow to heights of above 20,000 feet!
- A “derecho” is a type of severe storm that lasts a long time, covers a great distance, and involves serious wind.
- Wind speeds can be up to 120 mph in thunderstorms, even without a tornado.
- A massive hailstorm in Munich, Germany, in 1984 caused over $1 billion worth of damage.
- In 1933, huge hailstones were reported to have fallen around a city in Massachusetts, containing fresh, frozen ducks inside.
Clean it up: Do not sweep common sense under the rug
Since you're already moving from room to room cleaning, it's the perfect time to update your home inventory-or start one. An up-to-date home inventory can help make the recovery process easier if you need to file an insurance claim. Just create a list and snap pictures of your belongings. And, while you are at it, give your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors a test, replace batteries if needed and take a peek at the expiration dates on your fire extinguishers.
*Give appliances some love*
Give your appliances some love. Dust and clean your refrigerator's coils using a vacuum attachment, or buy a refrigerator coil brush. Don't forget to change the filters in your furnace/air conditioner and stove hood. Clean, well-maintained appliances tend to run more efficiently,and safely which can mean a lower electric bill, cleaner air ducts and less chances for fire.
Look for worn grout or caulk between tiles in the bathroom or kitchen. Even the smallest crack can lead to expensive repairs down the line. Reseal any areas you find with a penetrating grout sealer.
All of these great spring cleaning tips came from the folks at Allstate. We are just happy to pass them along.
And remember, should fire or water interrupt your home or business, SERVPRO is here 24 hours a day, seven days a week ready to make it Like it Never Even Happened!
It's always best to call us directly!