Recent Fire Damage Posts
Fire Damage Dos and Don’ts
A fire in your Prince George’s home or business can be overwhelming, frustrating, and devastating. Many property owners make the mistake of trying to clean after a fire, often resulting in permanent damage to their belongings that could have been prevented. After the fire is controlled, you may be wondering what you should and should not do until help arrives. The most important thing to know is that the cleanup and restoration should be handled by a certified professional. Here is a list of things to do and not to do after a fire:
What You Should Do After A Fire
- To prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery limit the amount of movement in the home
- To avoid further soil on upholstery, walls, and woodwork make sure to keep your hands clean
- Place clean towels or old linens on high traffic areas like rugs, upholstery, and carpets.
- If electricity is off, empty the freezer and refrigerator of food and prop the doors open.
- With a light coating of petroleum jelly and oils, you can clean and protect chrome.
- Wash your houseplants on both sides of the leaves.
- Over air registers tape double layers of cheesecloth.
What To Not Do After A Fire
- Don’t attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without the help of a certified SERVPRO expert.
- Don’t attempt to clean electrical appliances damaged by fire, heat, or water.
- Don’t use any canned food, packaged food, and beverages that may have been closed to the fire, heat, or water.
- Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet.
- Do not send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor. Have our SERVPRO technicians take care of your garments.
At SERVPRO of College Park/Hyattsville and SERVPRO of District Heights/Landover, we focus on helping you restore your home to the pre-fire condition you know and love. If you have any questions about what we do after fire damage or need help recovering from a fire damage incident in Prince George’s County, call us at (301)779-3662 or (301)577-1166.
Thanksgiving and Holidays Fire Safety Tips
Plan this season to help ensure it is safe and fire-free for your family and friends
Everyone needs to practice safe cooking habits this holiday season. Thanksgiving Day is one of the most celebrated holidays, but it is also the leading day for home cooking fires. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and injuries. It is important to be always alert when preparing a delicious feast:
- Check your food while it is cooking, whether it is simmering, baking, or roasting.
- Use a timer to remind you that you are cooking and when it’s time to turn off the stove or oven.
- Have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen readily available when cooking.
- Keep all flammable debris away from the stovetop, including mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, and or hand towels.
- When cooking, do not wear loose-fitted clothing and roll up your sleeves.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the stove, hot food, and liquids.
- Ensure your smoke alarms are working by testing them at least once a month and replacing the batteries once a year.
- Do not use the stove if you are too sleepy or have consumed alcohol.
In the event of a cooking fire, consider the following safety protocols to help keep you and your family safe.
- When a fire breaks out, leave the premises and keep you, your family, and your pets safe.
- Call your local emergency number for help after you get out to safety.
- If you have an oven fire, keep the oven door closed to contain the fire and turn it off.
- To smother small grease fires, keep a lid nearby. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turning off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
SERVPRO of College Park/Hyattsville and SERVPRO of District Heights/Landover professionals wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving! For additional information on fire prevention, fire safety, and fire restoration services,
SERVPRO of College Park and SERVPRO of District Heights Immediate Board-up and Roof-Tarp Service
When your home or business has had a fire, the restoration process involves more than the structural restoration of the house. After a fire occurs, buildings are likely to have windows or doors that are no longer secure. Boarding up ensures that personal belongings do not get tampered with and that your property is secured.
SERVPRO of College Park / Hyattsville and SERVPRO of District Heights / Landover can help you with the board up. Our team uses sturdy, durable materials designed to protect your homes from outside elements such as rain, snow, and intrusion by outsiders. After a fire, this is the first step we often take when we arrive at the job site.
How will we assess the damage of your fire?
When a commercial and residential has happened, the first thing our certified trained technicians will do is inspect the extent of the damage. Your property may contain smoke and soot damage in one area, or it may have spread to multiple rooms, depending on the scope of the fire damage. Before help arrives, be prepared, take note of all damages that have occurred. Taking notes and photos of damages allows your insurance company to cover your claim efficiently and quickly.
A significant concern for College Park/ Hyattsville/DistrictHeights/Landover property Managers, tenants, and homeowners is getting rid of the soot and smoke smell. When fire damage is not taken care of the right way, smoke can linger and ruin moments spent in your property. If your property has suffered from soot and smoke damage, take care of it right by scheduling a restoration like SERVPRO of College Park/Hyattsville and SERVPRO of District Heights.
Call Us at 301-779-3662 or 301-577-1166
Working with a professional who specializes in fire damage repair is essential when dealing with fire damage. Call our office to set up an appointment to ask any questions you might have concerning fires.
Fire Damage Restoration: Ice Blasting Service
Fire Damage In Your College Park / Hyattsville / District Heights / Landover Home
Fire and smoke damage can be devastating to commercial structures and homes. In times of a disaster, SERVPRO® of College Park / Hyattsville and SERVPRO® of District Heights / Landover are Here to Help! We have an advanced cleaning method that could be the solution for you. It's called ice blasting.
Ice blasting is the process of using dry ice to clean and restore your property. Dry ice blasting uses compressed air at supersonic speed. Ice blasting is the perfect solution for mitigating fire damage to the ceiling and rafters to your property. SERVPRO® of College Park / Hyattsville and SERVPRO® of District Heights / Landover will efficiently use this method in cases, including fire, smoke restoration, mold mitigation and remediation and odor elimination. Ice blasting provides several benefits to you as a homeowner, including:
- Cleaning standards: ice basting is a higher standard of cleaning without toxins or residues left behind.
- A quicker restoration process: instead of having 2 to 3 people wet wiping the affected area or dry sponging, ice blasting can expedite the cleaning process.
- Thorough method: when removing soot and odor, ice blasting will get the affected areas prepped and ready for the next step of encapsulating.
SERVPRO® is the #1 industry leader and provider of fire and water cleanup and restoration services. For more information about our fire and water damage restoration services, please visit our website at SERVPRO of College Park/Hyattsville and SERVPRO of District Heights / Landover. Give us a call today for fire and water damage restoration at 301-799-3662 or 301-577-1166.
Our out of the box and innovative cleaning methods are another reason to choose SERVPRO® of College Park/ Hyattsville and SERVPRO® of District Heights / Landover when your property has experienced fire damage.
Grilling Safety Tips You Can Take To Avoid A Fire In Your Home
Knowing a few fire safety grilling tips will help everyone have a safe summer.
Grill fires peak during the summer season. Grilling outdoors is one of the most popular ways to cook food. A grill placed too close to any object is a fire hazard. According to the Fire Protection Association (NFPA), nearly 10,000 home fires involve grills. If you experience fire, call SERVPRO of College Park / Hyattsville and SERVPRO of District Heights / Landover. Follow the tips below for grilling safety.
Tips For Grilling Safety
- Use propane and charcoal BBQ grills only outdoors.
- Place the grill away from your property, deck railings and out from under leaves and overhanging branches.
- When using a charcoal grill, only use starter fluids designed for barbecue grills.
- When using a gas grill, check for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Applying soapy water to the hoses will easily and safely reveal any leaks.
- When camping, always use a flame-retardant tent and set up camp far away from the fire.
- When finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing of them in a metal container.
SERVPRO of College Park/Hyattsville and SERVPRO of District Heights technicians are the leading experts in fire restoration. We have the skills to help you pack out your belongings as well as storing them until your property has been restored to its original state, "Like it never even happened."®
Quick Response Around College Park / Hyattsville / District Heights / Landover
We are a locally owned franchise and can respond immediately to your emergency and have the expertise to handle your restoration or cleaning needs.
FASTER TO ANY SIZE DISASTER™, Call SERVPRO of College Park/Hyattsville and SERVPRO of District Heights / Landover today 301-530-7400.
SERVPRO of College Park / Hyattsville and SERVPRO of District Heights / Landover are available 24-hours a day for restoration after damage, large or small. When you are dealing with fire damage, immediate action is crucial.
Fire Damage in College Park / Hyattsville and District Heights / Landover
Fire Damage can be a lot to handle, SERVPRO of College Park / Hyattsville and District Heights / Landover is here to help CP/H (301) 779 - 3662; DH/L
Fire Damage in College Park / Hyattsville and District Heights / Landover
Post - Fire Damage Tips:
- To prevent soot particles from being embedded into textiles, limit movement in the home.
- Place clean towels or old linens on top of rugs, upholstery, and carpet to prevent further damage.
- Change/replace the HVAC filter.
- Over air registers - tape double layers of cheesecloth.
- Empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open if the electricity has gone off.
Common Hazards Found in Fire-Damaged Alerts!
- Stay alert! - although the electrical power may be off, there are existing electrical currents.
- Use extreme caution when dealing with electricity in wet environments. Water used to extinguish the fire may have saturated the wiring system.
- Do not wash walls, painted surfaces, carpet, upholstery on your own without contacting us. This may lead to smoke odor and further damage.
- Throw out canned or packaged food or beverages damaged in the fire.
- Never smoke where oxygen is present.
- Be cautious of loose or falling debris. Damaged structure components may cause puncture wounds.
SERVPRO of College Park / Hyattsville and District Heights / Landover is here to help! Give us a call if you have fire damage or additional questions.
For SERVPRO of College Park / Hyattsville (301) 779 - 3662.
For SERVPRO of District Heights / Landover (301) 557 - 1166.
At SERVPRO, we understand that when you call, you may be under distress and confused. When you need an expert to help you through a job loss, SERVPRO is here to help. We specialize in fire damage restoration and are trained for these situations.
What Every Family Should Know About Fire Damage Prevention
Reading time: 1 minute
We understand the importance of keeping our families and loved ones secure as a family-owned franchise. According to the NFPA, "over five years, house fires claimed the lives of 2,620 civilians and caused $6.9 billion in property damage." The majority of fire deaths occur in the kitchen. SERVPRO upholds our dedication to being a resource in Prince George’s County. We want to make sure that our community is taking precautions to stop home fires. To avoid infamous kitchen mishaps, follow the advice below.
Recipe For Kitchen Safety
- When cooking on the stovetop, stay in the kitchen to keep an eye on the food.
- When cooking food, stay at home and keep an eye on it.
- When you're cooking, keep children away from the kitchen.
- Keep cooking surfaces clean to avoid food and grease buildup.
- Curtains, blankets, and pot holders should be kept away from hot surfaces.
- Solvents and flammable cleaners should be kept away from heat sources.
- Never store fuel in your home.
- To avoid food spills, turn the panhandles inward.
- Check that no electric cords from your appliances are hanging from the counters.
Smoke Detector tools
- Replace the smoke detector every six months.
- Remove any dust from the device as it can interfere with the sensor.
- Check the status of your smoke detectors.
- Plan a fire escape strategy for family members.
- In the event of a fire or smoke damage, please contact SERVPRO to help restore your home or property to normalcy.
Look Listen Learn | Prince George's County Fire Hazard Information
Reading time: 1 min 16 sec
Look, listen, and learn. Keep an eye out for something unusual. Fire can begin anywhere. The National Fire Protection Association reports that four out of every five fire deaths in the United States occur in the home. Take a look, listen, and learn how to stop deadly fires.
Be aware of fire hazards around you.
- Cooking: Cooking: Cooking and kitchen-related injuries account for 47 percent of all home fires.
- Remove any covers, discarded wrappers, or other flammable materials from any cooking surface.
- Keep an eye on what you're cooking. Food that is cooking should not be left unattended for an extended period of time. Cooking when intoxicated is often not a good idea.
- Heating: The second leading cause of home fires.
- Every year, get your heating system and chimney professionally tested. Any maintenance should be done by a specialist as well.
- If you have a space heater, never leave it unattended.
- Only plugin one heat-producing appliance (coffee maker, toaster, space heater) at a time.
- Extension cords are only for TEMPORARY use.
- Don’t leave candles light unattended.
- Blow all candles before you go to sleep or leave a room
Listen for smoke alarms and make sure your home is adequately equipped.
- Make ensure that you have smoke detectors on each floor of your house, as well as in each bedroom.
- Replace any smoke detectors that are more than a year old and monitor the batteries on a monthly basis.
Learn an emergency exit plan
- Learn two ways out of every room
- Learn how each exit leads outside of the home
- Learn a meeting spot outside where your family will meet in the case of an emergency.
Home fires are more common than you may think. Firefighters across the United States respond to a house fire every 90 seconds. In 2020, 35 Maryland home fire fatalities were reported by the news media. Do not be caught unprepared.
Facts provided by esfi.gov
Home Fires Caused By Dryers
Reading time: 1 Minute
according to the National Fire Protection Association, clothes dryer fires occur more often than expected. According to the U.S. fire administration, “2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year and cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss.”
Common Causes of Dryer Fires
- Lint/dust: counting for 29% incidents
- Clothing: counting for 28% incidents
Common Causes of Washer Fires
- Wire/cable insulation: counting for 26% of incidents
- Appliance housing: counting for 21% of incidents
- Drive belt: counting for 15% of incidents
Dryers were the cause of 92% of the Washer/Dryer fires; with the risk of fire essentially being the same for both gas and electric-powered dryers.
- Clean the lint panel regularly and never run the dryer without it.
- Make sure there are no leaks in the lines for gas and propane dryers.
- Make sure the dryer is vented to the outside of the house and that nothing is blocking the vent shaft.
- Clean the vent pipe as well as the place where the panel is held.
- Keep combustible materials out of the region around the dryer.
Fire Damage Repair and Restoration
We realize that your home is more than four walls and a roof. Your home and belongings are extremely valuable to you, and SERVPRO will help minimize the damage to your home and contents with our quick response after a fire.
Learn More about our fire damage restoration process>
For more information about clothes dryer fire safety visit usfa.fema.gov
My Food Is On Fire!
Reading Time: 1 min 21 sec
If there is a grease fire in your house, it is vital that you know how to properly extinguish it. These fires are different from other forms of fires, since they burn as a result of oils being too hot, and they can never be extinguished with water. Fires that begin as a result of vegetable oils, animal fats, or other fats should be extinguished as follows:
- Switch the heat source off
Simply switching off the stove knob without removing any pots or pans from the stove.
- Cover the fire with a metal lid on it.
If you do not have a lid big enough to cover the pot or pan that is on fire, you can use a baking sheet. This cuts off the oxygen that the fire needs to continue to burn. Do not use a glass lid because there is a chance of shattering.
- Throw soda or salt into the flames to extinguish it further
Just use these two common ingredients in the kitchen. Never use flour or baking powder, as their individual chemical composition will potentially fuel the fire instead of putting it out.
As a last resort, you can use a fire extinguisher to fire grease. Use only the Class B extinguisher and aim at the lower part of the fire, following the instructions of the manufacturer.
What To Do If You Cannot Put the Fire Out
In case the fire spreads in your house, evacuate immediately. When you leave, be sure to close the door to help contain the flames. When you hit a safe distance, call 911 and wait for the firefighters to extinguish the flames. Do not return to your home under any conditions until you have been told that it is safe for you to do so by fire officials.
What To Do After The Fire
A grease fire can cause your home to need a fire cleanup. If you need these services, it is best to always employ a fire-restoring company, and just know that SERVPRO of College Park/ Hyattsville and SERVPRO of District Heights/ Landover is always here to help.
What To Do Post Fire
Smoky residue saturates any opening due to the convection pattern that flames usually form during ignition. Another reason to hire a professional to clean the soot is that it builds up in deposits that can become solidified and difficult to remove. When the cleaning crews arrive, they quickly separate salvageable objects from burned rubble, removing the items that emit the most potent odors for cleaning.
Soot can cause damage to wall surface areas after a burn. To clean soot from walls, non-water-based cleaners must be used. Because of the fumes and toxicity, these substances can only be treated by a professional. Water-based cleaning products can cause spots to bleed onto plaster walls, which is why these chemicals should only be handled by a qualified professional.
Importance of Hiring a Professional
Perhaps significantly, a repair campaign mitigates the health impact that a fire may have on those who return home. If a homeowner does not hire a specialist to repair their house, the consequences will be discovered later. They may think the problem has been resolved to the untrained eye, but they continue to feel the effects of indoor air pollution in the form of increased respiratory distress months later.
Trust The Leader In Restoration Industry
Here at SERVPRO of College Park / Hyattsville and SERVPRO of District Heights / Landover, we have the leading experts in fire restoration. They are trained to help remove your belongings as well as clean and storing them until your property is back to normal, “Like it never even happened.”
How to Minimize Fire Damage
Minimizing further fire damage is one of the first considerations after a fire in a home or a fire in a business. Commercial fire damage can greatly affect the ability of a business to continue operations. In order to recover as much value as possible from a property that has undergone fire damage, smoke damage, and soot damage, a restoration company should be contacted immediately after the premises are secure. The fire cleanup team can aid in evaluating the damage to the property and listing the items that are present. They can also perform fire damage restoration and offer an estimate onsite.
A restoration company will also be instrumental in boarding up a property if commercial fire damage has compromised any doors or windows. Roofs and walls that may have been cut into by firefighters during the fire may also need to be boarded up. This process can be much more difficult than it originally appears due to the need to evaluate the structural integrity of much of the buildings foundation. A professional contractor should be contacted before an individual attempts to board up his or her own property after a fire in a home or a fire in a business. Boarding up a property that has undergone fire damage is important both to prevent the collapse of the building as well as to protect it from any intruders who may cause additional damage.
The fire cleanup will also involve drying up all the water that firefighters may flood the premises with in order to put out the fire. This water can cause extensive water damage as well as promote the growth of mold. A certified technician can employ all manner of techniques to dry out the property and prevent mold growth using industrial equipment that may include a water extractor, a dehumidifier, and an air current mover. This process will also somewhat remove the smoke smell that may persist after a fire.
After a list of personal belongings have been identified and list along with the property owner, a restoration company can work with him or her to reverse the smoke damage and soot damage that may have settled into the property. Surfaces can often be fully cleaned, even if it is porous like carpet. Deep vacuuming and steam injection are often successful in removing the oily soot that may lead to residual smoke smell. Fire damage restoration requires techniques that require specialized equipment, and these techniques can be discussed with the property owner in order to decide whether or not to proceed with restoration.
If fire damage restoration is not possible on certain items, they may be more easily replaced. In this case, the restoration company will also help to dispose of these items in the appropriate manner. After a fire in a home or a fire in a business, much debris will need to remove anyway. Smoke damage and soot damage is reversible, but property owners sometimes choose to replace items and surfaces instead.
All surfaces are sanitized and cleaned after all soot damage and smoke damage has been reversed. The fire clean up team will also instruct property owners on how to prevent commercial fire damage in the future. Any residual smoke smell will be ventilated until gone. If the smoke smell persists, chemical solutions like an ozone treatment or thermal fogging are also options depending on the needs of the property owner. Additional treatments may be needed weeks or even months after the initial incident.
Fire cleanup is extremely daunting for an individual who is shocked by a fire in a home or a fire in a business. However, fire damage restoration is normal for a fire cleanup specialist, even after extension commercial fire damage. A specialist who has the experience and the expertise to guide a property owner will ensure that fire damage is minimized as much as possible.
Fire prevention is one of the most important things for you and your family. Ensuring that your home has smoke alarms are one of the first steps in fire prevention. According to the National Fire Protection Association, 3 out of 5 home fire deaths were caused because of no smoke alarm or no working smoking alarm. Smoke alarm cut the risk of people dying. Hardwired fire alarms operated 94% of the time versus battery powered alarms. The battery may tend to fail because of missing, disconnected or dead batteries. Ionization smoke alarm is more responsive to flaming fires and can detect a fire faster during the night hours when you are sleeping to give you extra time to safety assist or waken others to evacuate from a fire.
Fire, Smoke, and Soot Restoration
Your home or commercial facility contains many of your most valuable possessions. SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals understand the trauma that follows a loss. When fire damage takes control of your life, we help you take it back.
- Inventory – One of the first priorities in fire restoration is to complete an accurate inventory to help ensure you can properly account for all your belongings. Your SERVPRO® Franchise Professional can provide a detailed room-by-room inventory of contents, including digital photographs and bar codes for each item, suitable for filing insurance claims forms and relieving you of this often stressful and time consuming process.
- Move Outs – When the structure has suffered extensive damage, the cleanup and restoration process may need to be facilitated by relocating the contents for cleaning, deodorization and storage while structural repairs are being completed. A supervised moving crew can carefully pack and move the entire contents of your home or office.
- Contents Cleaning – All of the restorable contents in affected areas will be professionally cleaned and deodorized. This includes area rugs, furniture, draperies and upholstery. SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals begin by carefully inspecting and testing all fabrics in the structure to determine which cleaning methods are most appropriate. SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals can provide wet or dry cleaning. Additionally, all the other restorable contents will be cleaned and deodorized as close to preloss condition as possible. This includes electronics, art, wood furniture, kitchen items, clothing, bedding, bric-a-brac and much more.
- Ceilings and Walls – Your local SERVPRO® Franchise Professional will pretest to analyze the extent of the damage to your ceilings, walls and woodwork. SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals can reduce the cost of recovery by expertly cleaning lighter soot without incurring the expense associated with repainting. When higher concentrations of soot exist, SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals will clean the area to prepare the surface for smooth painting.
- Carpet & Floor Restoration – After a smoke or fire damage, carpeting and floors will often need a deep and thorough cleaning. Residue from smoke or soot settles and is ground into flooring every time someone walks on it. Whether it is wall-to-wall carpeting or the most expensive tile floor, SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals have the experience, equipment and cleaning products to clean and protect all types of flooring surfaces.
- Ductwork – The ductwork and HVAC system will be inspected to determine if they were affected by the smoke damage. Depending on the amount of damage, the proper restoration process will be determined to clean and deodorize your HVAC and duct system.
- SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals provide specialized services that rid your home or place of business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals do not merely cover up lingering odors with a fragrance, they seek out the sources of the odor and remove them. Ask your SERVPRO® Franchise Professional to explain the various deodorization methods available and which will work best for you.
Call Us Today – 301-779-3662
Clothes dryer fires happen more often than one might think, accounting for 16,800 home structure fires in 2010 and doing more than $236 million in property damage according to the National Fire Protection Association. The most frequent causes of fires in dryers are lint/dust (29%) and clothing (28%). In washers, they are wire or cable insulation (26%), the appliance housing (21%) or the drive belt (15%).
Dryers were involved in 92% of the Washer/Dryer fires; the risk of fire was basically the same for both gas and electric-powered dryers.
- Clean the lint screen frequently and don’t run the dryer without it.
- For gas and propane dryers, make sure there aren’t any leaks in the lines.
- Vent the dryer to the outside of the house and ensure nothing blocks the vent pipe.
- Clean the vent pipe and the area where the screen is housed.
- Keep the area around the dryer free of combustible materials.
The Fire is Out, Now What?
Residential and commercial fires are unpredictable and can be devastating. Hopefully you have given thought to fire prevention for your home. In addition to taking these steps, you have also developed an escape plan with your family. In the unfortunate case of a serious fire, would you know where to turn after the fire crews leave?
SERVPRO of College Park / Hyattsville 301-779-3662 is the simple, effective solution. We'll respond quickly and get to work restoring your property.
One of the first steps in our fire damage restoration process is the inspection.
Without proper and careful inspection, we cannot be sure of risk factors in the environment, the extent of damage, critical utility locations, and numerous other important factors. Inspection can sometimes be a lengthy process, as SERVPRO inspectors have to look for and catalog many different factors.
Here are some of the things that we look for in homes that have taken fire damage.
One of the most important considerations when inspecting fire damage is structural stability. Fires, as they burn through supports and other structural components, can create unstable conditions and high potential for collapse. Our technicians look for signs of structural weakening to ensure the safety of both you and SERVPRO technicians, such as warped walls, burned columns, caved-in ceilings, buckled door frames, and scraping between doors, windows, and their upper frames. Any of these may be an indicator of a weakened structure, so knowing of them before any work begins has the potential to save lives.
Spots for Tarping and Boarding
Immediately following inspection, our crews move in with tarps and boards to seal up any windows, doors, or holes in the home that leave it open to the elements. Inspectors look for these openings and compose plans to seal them most effectively.
Of course, the central part of any fire damage inspection is what has been hurt, and how much. Inspectors will catalog items, surfaces, and areas which have taken damage, describing in detail for our other teams how bad the situation is and what factors caused it. From there, our technicians can work to apply appropriate cleanup processes and measures. If you have used our ERP (Emergency Ready Profile) system, this process may be greatly accelerated as our inspectors will have access to plans and inventory lists beforehand.
SERVPRO of College Park / Hyattsville works with you to get fire damage cleaned up quickly, cheaply, and with the minimal safety concern. Call us at all hours at 301-779-3662
For those who live in colder parts of the United States, there are home appliances that play a critical role when it comes to your furnace. A quality furnace can ensure optimal comfort inside your home while minimizing the amount of energy you consume at home. Even a top-quality furnace will not provide consistent results if you do not maintain it properly.
Those who neglect regular furnace servicing may find themselves dealing with a wide variety of issues, including a common problem such as a puffback. Here are some key points to know about your furnace at home and how it could produce a puffback when it is least expected:
- What is a Puffback?
Puffbacks are explosions of soot and smoke caused by improper furnace ignition. They typically occur when excessive amounts of fuel vapors accumulate inside of your furnace’s burner chamber. When the furnace ignites, these vapors explode. Fortunately, this explosion does not have the force to put you and your family at risk. However, over time, a puffback can make a serious impact on your HVAC system.
When an oil burner does not ignite immediately, excess oil builds up within the combustion chamber. The fuel could then ignite explosively, like the backfiring of a car. Depending on how much fuel has built up in the chamber, the result can range from a small explosion to a cloud of oily smoke.
This disaster poses the greatest threat due to the excessive amounts of soot and smoke they produce. Over time, soot builds up on the inner surfaces of your furnace and heat exchanger, often leading to problems such as corrosion and clogged burner nozzles. The worst aspect of a puffback is that both soot and smoke will find their way and impact your home’s air quality.
- Oil and Gas Furnaces Can Have Puffbacks
Puffbacks can occur in both natural gas and oil-burning furnaces. All furnaces have the capability of accumulating fuel vapors in the combustion chamber if it is not properly maintained. With that said, a puffback poses a more common problem for oil furnaces.
Fun fact, oil furnaces have greater maintenance needs. A neglected oil furnace will accumulate issues that lead to a puffback at a faster rate. Furthermore, oil furnaces tend to experience more severe puffbacks. Heating oil dissipates at a lower rate than natural gas. This will ultimately allow it to accumulate in greater quantities.
- Issues Leading Up to a Puffback
A puffback may stem from a variety of furnace problems, many of which relate back to a lack of maintenance. The most direct mechanism of puffback involves leaks in or around the furnace’s combustion chamber. These leaks allow fuel to trickle into the combustion chamber even when the furnace is not running. As soon as the burner turns on, fuel will ignite.
A puffback can also be due to the exhaust flue or chimney. If exhaust gases cannot vacate the system quickly enough, they will remain inside of the furnace. This specific scenario alters the delicate pressure balance needed for proper combustion, changing the air-fuel ratio and leading to a puffback. Such pressure problems may cause additional damages to the heat exchanger.
Puffbacks frequently happen as the result of clogged burners. When fuel cannot enter a furnace efficiently, misfires allow for fuel (that was not burned) to accumulate inside the combustion chamber. Finally, puffbacks may stem from excessive dirt ignition electrodes. A dirty electrode may fail to generate the spark needed for combustion, instead of allowing fuel to puddle inside of the furnace.
As a result, the mess of soot and debris will be mixed with oil. It can quickly spread throughout your home, covering cabinets, walls, furniture, and everything else you would never want covered in black, sticky grime. In addition to the mess, puffbacks contaminate the air and surfaces with unhealthy material. The consequences can be unpleasant, but SERVPRO of College Park / Hyattsville can work with you in the cleaning and restoration process of your home and belongings.
Should a puffback occur, here are some helpful tips to follow:
- Assess the damage
- Wash all affected clothing and throw out exposed food
- Contact a technician to repair the malfunctioning furnace
- Contact SERVPRO of College Park / Hyattsville
SERVPRO of College Park / Hyattsville is a trusted leader in the restoration industry. We have the specific damage restoration training, personnel, and equipment to quickly restore your home to its original state. If you need someone to help with any type of smoke, soot, or fire damage, our high trained technicians will by there to start the restoration process. For more information about what it takes to manage a puffback and prevention steps towards avoiding an expected disaster, please reach out to us at SERVPRO of College Park / Hyattsville at 301-779-3662
Change Your Smoke Alarm Batteries - Your Annual Reminder
Smoke alarms saves lives only when they are in good working order.
Sunday March, 10th is the start of daylight savings time. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has unofficially adopted this occasion as time to not only turn your clock forward one hour, but it’s also a great time to change the batteries in your homes smoke alarms.
There are no doubt smoke alarms save lives but according to the NFPA they can only do that if they are installed properly and maintained. Here are a few maintenance reminders.
Test every smoke alarm monthly. Usually this as simple as pressing the test button on the unit. Pick a day you will remember and do it each month. Get the kids involved, they are great source reminders.
Change the batteries in your alarm annually at a minimum. Daylight savings is a nice reminder twice a year to do this.
If you smoke alarms are over ten years old the entire unit needs to replaced with a new one.
A SERVPRO we see victims of fires each week. It is a dangerous and traumatic event. Smoke alarms not only save lives but give early warning and allows for faster response by first responders.
Tips For Outdoor Burning
Tips For Outdoor Burning
Use caution when burning outside. A grass fire and quickly become a damaging structure fire.
Let's face it, outdoor burning is the last thing most of us want to do right now. Not only is it uncomfortable this time of year, if conditions are right it can be dangerous. But at SERVPRO we get calls each summer about homes and businesses being damaged because an outdoor fire has gotten out of hand. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe.
Be aware of conditions.
- Don’t burn on a windy day. One local fire department outlines regulations on their website and bans voluntarily burning with wind speeds over 13 mph. This can change very fast so be vigilant.
- Don’t burn in dry conditions. As of the time of writing this blog we are dry in the Joplin and Carthage area. Annual rainfall is down meaning the vegetation is dry and can catch fire and spread quickly.
Check with the local Fire Departments. The above factors and many more go into the process of determining the local fire warning. Check with your local fire department and they give you a fire warning level that will range from…
- Very High
Burn in a suitable location.
- Don’t burn under trees or powerlines.
- Don’t burn near any structures.
- Insure a 10’ perimeter around your burn pile is gravel or is soil with no vegetation. If there is vegetation keep the area wet by periodically using a hose to wet it.
Be vigilant and be responsible when burning. Not only is your property at risk, so is the property of your neighbors.
Char Your Dinner, Not Your Home!
SERVPRO wants to make sure these activities are conducted in a safe way. Each year we respond to property damage claims caused by grills or outdoor fires. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission over 8,700 of Americans are injured annually by mishaps with outdoor grills. Each year grills are linked as the cause to over 8,900 structure fires with property damage totaling millions of dollars. Here are a few tips from the National Fire Protection Association that can help you enjoy outdoor fire in a safe way.
BBQ purest will tell you charcoal is the only way to go and these type of grills and smokers are common because of that. Never use any product other than starter fluid designed specifically for charcoal grills. Once the charcoal has been lit, the starter fluid needs to be put away; never add fluid to coals after they are lit.
Gas or propane grills offer their own safety issues. Always check hose connections to insure there are no leaks. It is probably a good idea to use soapy water to periodically check the hose for leaks. No matter which style of grill you are using always make sure the grill is a safe distance from any structure. Weber Grills recommends a minimum of two feet between your grill and any combustible materials on their website. Always be aware of hot coals or ambers that may escape the cooking area or fire box.
When enjoying a fire pit or any other outdoor fire follow the same guidelines when lighting the fire as you would when using a charcoal grill. Remember to keep in mind wind speeds and direction before enjoying an outdoor fire.
We hope these tips help you enjoy a fun and safe summer of grilling and evenings around the fire. Mishaps do happen even when precautions are taken. If you experience damage to your home because of fire of any kind please call us immediately. SERVPRO has the training and experience to make it "Like it never even happened.”
Add Smoke Alarm Inspection To Your Spring Cleaning Routine
Have your tested your smoke alarm recently?
When we think of home fires we normally think of the cooler fall and winter months. We have talked extensively in blogs in those seasons about safety regarding fireplaces, and space heaters, and other cold weather-related fire starters. But at SERVPRO we see fires affect our neighbors all year round and we actually think this is a great time to think about your homes smoke alarms.
First off, if you do not have smoke alarms in your home or business please stop reading and go to your local home improvement store and purchase some. A 2015 report showed that three of five fire related deaths were in homes without smoke alarms.
Now if you have smoke alarms I will ask when is the last time you inspected or tested them? The same study showed in smoke alarms that malfunctioned the vast majority was due to missing, dead or disconnected batteries.
Spring time is a time of cleaning and chores around the house. We suggest you add checking your smoke alarms as part of your spring cleaning routine. This way you can insure you have at least an annual inspection to make sure the equipment is working properly. It could mean you or your families life!
Keep Outdoor Fire Pits Safe
Alright, it is officially feeling like spring outside. I think? Days are warm, nights are cool and it’s the perfect time to sit outside with a fire. Outdoor fire pits have exploded the last few years. If you are like me, you prefer the traditional hole in the ground surrounded by some stones to protect my lawn from the fire. But, there are many types to choose from. There are free standing metal fire pits and even sleek contemporary gas fire pits. Whatever your style, make sure you're using it safely.
Fire pits should never be located near any structures. If a fire escapes the bounds of the pit for any reason, you do not want your home, garage, or other out buildings to be in danger.
Burn suitable materials. Soft woods and green wood (wood recently cut down) pop and throw sparks. These sparks could be dangerous as they can burn family members and pets or land on a dry material and cause a fire. The same can be said for leaves, pine cones, or even paper. These light weight materials can catch fire then be caught in the breeze and cause fire where you do not want it.
Always make sure children and pets are kept at a safe distance to the pit. If roasting marshmallows is on the agenda make sure you have sticks long enough to reach the heat from a safe distance.
Most people enjoy outdoor fires safely with no incidents, but you can never be too careful. Have a bucket of water handy in case of an emergency. If things get out of hand, know that SERVPRO can put it back “Like it never even happened.”
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!
At SERVPRO we care about your safety of you and your family. Dryer safety is important to know. Here is some tips to keep your dryer safe from any potential fire.
- Have a professional install and repair the dryer
- Do not use the dryer without a lint filter
- Always clean the lint filter before/after loads
- Clean any loose or accumulating lint in and around the drum
- Rigid or flexible metal should be used in venting for proper use and drying for the dryer
- If clothing takes longer than usual check the vent pipe for any possible blockages
- Never leave a dryer left on during the night while sleeping or when away from your home
These are great tips to follow and a great way to prevent fire happening in the home
Fire spreads quickly. If fire breaks out in your home, there is no time to gather valuables or make a phone call. In just two minutes, a fire can become life threatening. In five minutes, your home can be up in flames. Be prepared for a fire before it starts.
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside bedrooms, at the top of open stairways, and at the bottom of stairways that are closed in between two walls.
- Test smoke alarms once a month and replace batteries twice a year. Make it a habit when you reset your clocks for Daylight Saving Time.
- Replace your smoke alarms once every 10 years.
- Plan and review your home escape routes with your family. Practice getting out of each room.
- Check that windows are not nailed or painted shut. If you have security gratings or burglar bars on windows, make sure they have a fire safety opening feature and can be easily opened from the inside.
- Think about getting escape ladders if your home has more than one level.
- Teach your family to stay low to the floor (where the air is safer) when getting away from a fire.
- Put A-B-C-type fire extinguishers in your home and teach family members how to use them.
- Put heaters at least three feet away from anything that could catch fire. Be very careful when using temporary heating sources like space heaters.
- Make sure your home is insured. If you rent, consider buying renter’s insurance.
The fire department is very important to our community. Their goal in the Phialdelphia Bureau of Fire Prevention is to decrease the number and severity of all fires within our town. We believe this can be accomplished through an active code enforcement program, public education activities, engineering and plans review, and investigations. We strive to provide these services utilizing well trained and highly motivated personnel who understand the importance of customer service and fire safety education.
According to the US Fire Administration each year, more than 4,500 Americans die and more than 30,000 are injured in fires. Many of those deaths and injuries could have been prevented if people had a better understanding of fire.
The Philadelphia Bureau of Fire Prevention has the responsibility of educating the community, inspecting local businesses and various public establishments, and enforcing codes to ensure the safety of the community. This website has been established in order to assist in dispensing information to the community as well as aiding in its education.
SERVPRO is very luck to have them.
Know your Fire
SERVPRO takes pride in our highly trained team to make sure after something as devastating as a fire in your home or business we get you back to normal as soon as possible. With that being said when you call us we make sure you are getting the best service and one of the ways we do that identifying the type of fire to best perform our duties to restore the property.
There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:
Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
- Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
- Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
We strive to go above and beyond your expectations with our top of the line equipment, knowledge, efficiency, work ethic, and customer service. Next time there a fire we are both ready for whatever happens
BEHAVIORS OF SMOKE
The damage that is done to your property following a fire loss can be complicated due to the unique behaviors of smoke.
There area few different types of smoke. Here is a guide on how to differentiate between what kind of damage you have and what the cause was.
1.There is fuel oil soot (furnace puff backs)
While these "puff backs" can create havoc for homeowners, SERVPRO of College Park/ Hyattsville can, in most cases restore the contents and structure quickly.
2. Protein fire Residue which is formed by evaporation of material rather than from a fire. Virtually invisible it discolors paints and varnishes, and carried an extreme pungent odor.
3. Dry Smoke (paper and wood) Fast-burning in high temperature setting. Heat rises causing the smoke to do the same.
4. Wet Smoke (pastic and rubber) Low heat setting, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky and more difficult to clean behind.
Fire Safety Week 2017
Did you know that 3 out of 5 home fire deaths are due to non- working smoke alarms? Have you checked yours? It is as simple as looking on the back of the smoke alarm for the date of manufacture.
It is recommended that you try and change smoke alarms every 10 years if not sooner to avoid problems.
To find out more information on fire safety week visit the website of Fema:
SERVPRO of College Park / Hyattsville is locally owned and operated—so we’re a part of this community too. We are also part of a national network of over 1,700 Franchises, which enables us to respond quicker with more resources. For major storms and disasters, we can call upon special Disaster Recovery Teams strategically located throughout the country.
Recipe For Kitchen Safety:
· Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on the food.
· Stay in the home when cooking food and check on it frequently.
· Watch children closely. It is a good rule of thumb to keep children three feet away from the cooking area.
· Clean cooking surfaces to prevent food and grease build-up.
· Keep curtains, towels and pot holders away from hot surfaces and store solvents and flammable cleaners away from heat sources. Never keep gasoline in the house.
· Turn pan handles inward to prevent food spills.
· Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
· Make sure your smoke alarms are working by testing them prior to beginning food preparation.
Tips and statistics reproduced from NFPA’s Web site, nfpa.org