Recent Fire Damage Posts

How to Minimize Fire Damage

4/22/2020 (Permalink)

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. 

Smoke Alarms

4/9/2020 (Permalink)

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

3/30/2020 (Permalink)

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.

Contents Services

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Structural Cleaning

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Deodorization

  • 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.

Questions? 
Call Us Today – 301-779-3662

Fire Safety

3/30/2020 (Permalink)

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.

Safety tips:

  • 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?

3/24/2020 (Permalink)

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.
 
Structural Instability
 
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.
 
Damage Inspection
 
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

Puffback Prevention

3/16/2020 (Permalink)

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:

  1. 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.  

  1. 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.

  1. 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

3/12/2019 (Permalink)

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.

Fire Prevention

3/12/2019 (Permalink)

Look: Be aware of fire hazards around you.

  • Cooking: 47% of home fires are caused by cooking and kitchen related accidents.
    • Remove Clutter: Remove any towels, discarded wrappers, or any other flammable materials away from any cooking surface.
    • Watch what you are cooking. Do not walk away from cooking food for an extended time. Its also not a good idea to cook in an impaired state.
  • Heating: The second leading cause of home fires.
    • Have your heating unit and chimney professionally inspected each year. Any maintenance should also be handled by a professional.
    • If you use space heaters, never leave them running unattended.
  • Electric Distribution:
    • Only plug one heat producing appliance (coffee maker, toaster, space heater) into an outlet at a time.
    • Extension cords are intended for TEMPORARY use only.
  • Candles: People love the smell of candles, especially the cooler the weather gets.
    • We just wrote an entire blog dedicated to candle safety that can find here.

Listen: Listen for smoke alarms and make sure your home is adequately equipped.

  • Make sure you have smoke detectors on each level of your home and in each bedroom
  • Test the batteries monthly and replace any smoke detectors more than 1 years old.

Learn: 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.

Don’t think it can happen to you and your family? Firefighters across the United States respond to a house fire every 90 seconds. Do not be caught unprepared.

Tips For Outdoor Burning

3/12/2019 (Permalink)

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…

  • Low
  • Moderate
  • High
  • Very High
  • Extreme

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!

3/12/2019 (Permalink)

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

3/12/2019 (Permalink)

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

3/12/2019 (Permalink)

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

11/16/2018 (Permalink)

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

10/30/2018 (Permalink)

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

10/2/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage

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

10/2/2018 (Permalink)

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

10/2/2018 (Permalink)

Winter Heating Hazards

Fire 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

10/2/2018 (Permalink)

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!

Dryer Safety

8/27/2018 (Permalink)

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 Prep

8/27/2018 (Permalink)

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.

Fire Education

8/27/2018 (Permalink)

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

8/27/2018 (Permalink)

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

10/31/2017 (Permalink)

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.

Why Trusting A Professional After a Fire is Important

10/19/2017 (Permalink)

Because of the convection pattern that flames typically form during ignition, smoky residue saturates every opening. The soot constructs up in layers that may end up being solidified and tough to eliminate which is another reason to leave the cleaning to a specialist. When the cleaning teams do arrive, they promptly different salvageable items from charred debris, taking the things creating the strongest odors out for cleaning.

Following a fire, wall surface areas can be harmed by soot. Non-water based cleaners need to be used to remove soot from walls. These kinds of chemicals should be handled by a specialist due to the fumes and toxicity. Water-based cleaning items can cause spots to bleed into plaster walls which is why a trained specialist should be left to deal with these chemicals.  

Most importantly, a restoration effort reduces the after-effects a blaze can have on the health of those who return in. If a homeowner does not have the property restored by a professional, the results can be found later on down the line. To an untrained eye they might believe the issue has been fixed, they experience the remaining impacts of indoor air pollution for numerous months later on in the form of increased respiratory discomfort.  

Companies like SERVPRO are leading experts in fire restoration. They are trained to help remove your belongings as well as cleaning and storing them until your property has been restored to its original condition.

Fire Safety Week 2017

10/3/2017 (Permalink)

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:

https://www.usfa.fema.gov/

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.

Kitchen Safety

10/3/2017 (Permalink)

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