Recent Fire Damage Posts
A Business Plan for Fire Emergencies
Experts Say Every Second Counts During a Fire!
When a fire erupts people and pets have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home or business before it’s too late to get out. In a matter of seconds a small flame can become a major fire, making the escape plan critical. An emergency escape plan is not required for business owners, however OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) recommends building an emergency action plan to protect everyone.
A survey conducted by the American Red Cross shows that only 26% of families have developed and practiced a fire escape plan. Luckily this number is slightly higher for businesses, however if your employer has not briefed the team on a plan it is time to start a discussion. Experts recommend practicing twice a year. Increase your chance of survival by ensuring you have working smoke detectors, an escape plan and practice under your belt. Here are some helpful recommendations to consider;
- Draw a map of your building and identify number of floors, stairs, doors, windows and enclosed spaces or high risk areas. Make sure everything opens easily and that there are keys for access.
- Consider escape ladders especially if there are sleeping areas. Sore ladders near windows or make sure collapsible exterior ladders are in proper working order.
- Teach children how to escape on their own; especially at schools. Plan for everyone in the structure; such as elderly or disabled individuals.
Take the following steps when developing a plan;
- Organize emergency preparedness procedures and pick a leader or organizer.
- Post evacuation procedures so they are well marked and easily visible.
- Conduct exercises and drills- including designating safe spots and communication plans.
How To Prevent Electrical Fires Efficiently
Electronics are a daily part of our life and we often forget the dangers that can be associated with lighting fixtures, chargers, appliances and more. At SERVPRO of Lynnwood we have responded to hundreds of electrical fires over the years helping our customers get their lives and homes back to normal. Keep in mind the following tips to reduce the risk of an electrical malfunction or tragedy in your home.
- On a regular basis, have the home inspected for loose wires, shorts, and faulty wiring that increase the risk of potential electrical fires, as electrical wiring eventually needs to be replaced. This is especially pertinent if one lives in an older home. Signs that faulty wiring is a pressing issue can include flickering lamps, buzzing outlets, or outlets that spark when an electronic device is plugged in. If one of these indications occurs, do not delay in in hiring a certified electrician to give the home an inspection to determine if the wiring is safe or if it is in need of rewiring.
- Install a smoke detector on every level of the home and inside each bedroom. It is vital to make sure the smoke detectors are working properly by testing them every month. Test the detectors to ensure that all members of the home know the sound of the smoke detector. Also, create a plan so that the entire family knows what to do in case of an actual fire. Once a plan is in place, practice each aspect of fire-escape strategy to guarantee its success.
- Utilize safety measures with electric cords. This includes replacing cords that are loose, frayed, or contains cracks. Never place cords in areas that receive a large volume of foot traffic, such as under mats or carpeting. Avoid tacking cords to surfaces with nails or staples. If an extension cord is being used on a long-term basis, consider having outlets installed by a certified electrician nearer to your electronic devices.
- Only use the correct wattage light bulbs in all fixtures. If the wattage is higher than the requirement noted on the lamp or appliance, replace the bulbs immediately. Firmly secure light bulbs in the socket to safeguard them from overheating.
- Use a surge protector to guard appliances and other electronics in your home.
- Store flammables away from electrical appliances. It is helpful to establish a safe, designated area for flammable chemicals in your home.
- Place a fire extinguisher in all major rooms of the home, such as kitchen, bedrooms, and laundry room. Have all family members read the instructions on how to use the fire extinguisher.
Smoke Alarms in Washington State
July 1st, 1992, Washington State created a law regarding Smoke Detectors. Some people look at this law as another restriction and unnecessary requirement while building houses. But, when a smoke alarm is properly installed, positioned and maintained then they truly save lives. Smoke Alarms should be placed in every bedroom, on every level, including the basement. Detectors must be hard wired to a power source in your house and have a battery backup. Testing Smoke Alarms every month, replacing them when the battery is low (roughly 1 year) and replacing the units every 10 years will ensure the safest possible environment. Most deaths during a fire are not caused by burning, they are caused by smoke inhalation. 64% of household fires occur while the homeowner is asleep and properly working smoke alarms will help the homeowner realize the problem faster and call the fire department.
If you hear your smoke alarm beep continuously then you need to check your batteries. Your batteries could be loose or improperly installed, the battery chamber might be dirty, or your environmental factors (Humidity, Steam, ETC) could be affecting it. If the batteries are charged and everything else is normal and it continues to beep, then your alarm might be at the end of its life and needs replacing.
It's so easy to say “It will never happen to me” but a fire can happen to anyone and start anytime. Please make sure you and your family stay safe and check your fire alarms and take the necessary precautions. For assistance regarding emergency preparedness planning for your home or business please contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Lynnwood, 425-774-1148 or visit https://www.ready.gov/
Soot and Smoke Damage Cleaning in Lynnwood, WA
While a considerable amount of fire damage can be caused by the burning fire, not a lot of residents know that soot and smoke can create just as much or more damage as the burning. Smoke and soot blackens walls, ceiling, carpet, upholstery, porcelain and much more. Smoke causes damage because smoke is finely divided particulate matter and contains liquid droplets called “Aerosols”. Depending on what is being burnt during the fire determines the size, quantity and the character of the smoke particulates and Aerosols. The 5 different types of smoke (Causing Soot and Aerosol) are:
- Wet Smoke: Usually has high levels of aerosols and other liquid components. Wet smoke often happens when it is in a closed environment and does not have a lot of oxygen. Restoration techniques to combat this type of fire could range from aggressive techniques to repainting.
- Dry Smoke: This is caused by fast burning in oxygen rich environments. More oxygen produces a less pungent odor and deposit smaller particles. The residue from this fire is drier and much easier to clean that other smoke types.
- Plastic/Rubber: These fires typically burn at low temperatures and produce a lot of lightweight particulate, smearing easily. Residue can be corrosive have a bad odor and can be removed with activated oxygen machines or deodorizing fires.
- Protein-Based: From Meat and Poultry, leaving a light or invisible residue that requires wet cleaning and deodorization. This process can take a long amount of time to complete.
- Fuel-Oil: Usually caused by malfunctioning oil burners that blow soot into the environment. This type of damage is referred to as “Puffback” and the residue could be either black or grey and any shape or size. Fuel and Oil smoke requires aggressive cleaning methods due to the oily soot, and deodorization takes a long time because oil and fuel has long lasting penetration effects.
Cleaning soot and smoke damage is a pain and should be left to the professionals to make sure it is cleaned carefully for health and safety purposes. SERVPRO technicians are trained to handle smoke and soot loss professionally with the highest grade of cleaning products. Call SERVPRO of Lynnwood at 425-774-1148 for assistance is you experience soot or smoke damage.
What To Do and NOT To Do After A Fire Has Occurred In Your Home
Coping with the results of a fire can be overwhelming and emotionally draining. SERVPRO of Lynnwood understands the stress and worry that comes with property damage. In the unfortunate event of a fire happening in your home or business there are many safety measures to consider. Check out our following tips and tricks to staying safe and protecting yourself and your household items. Always remember to call in the professionals at SERVPRO of Lynnwood for assistance; 425-774-1148.
What to Do:
- Limit movement in the structure, this will prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets, saving them making them not need to be replaced.
- Keep your hands clean so you do not to further soil upholstery, walls and wood.
- Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
- If electricity has been turned off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.
- Clean and protect chrome with light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
- Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves removing all soot, tar, or other particles.
- Turn off HVAC system, then upon cleaning change HVAC filters making sure you have clean air circulating throughout your home.
- Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.
What Not to Do:
- Do not attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting your SERVPRO Franchise Professional.
- Do not attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
- Do not use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water. They could have become rotten from the heat exposure.
- Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet or damaged from the fire. The wiring may be damaged.
- Do not send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor. Use professionals trained to clean these materials.
How To Keep Your Pets Safe When It Comes To Fire Damage
As a pet-friendly office our furry friends are near and dear to our hearts as a special part of the family. Sadly, approximately 500,000 pets are affected by house fires each year and many house fires are even caused by pets, especially when left home alone. Read over these tips to help prevent any accidental fire started by your pets and for keeping your pets safe in the event of a fire in your home. When creating your family’s emergency plan make sure you include your dog, cat, or other pets in your plan of action.
To Prevent Your Pets From Starting An Accidental Fire;
- Beware of candles and other open flames. Pets are curious creatures and may take interest in a flickering flame. If you do have any open flames in your home at any time, be sure to never leave them unattended and to keep an eye on your pets. If you're using a fireplace, consider getting a fireplace screen to protect pets when sleeping in front of the fire. Also make sure the fire is completely out before heading out or going to bed. Small sparks and coals can pass through a screen and ignite soft contents such as furniture or carpet.
- Secure wires and cords. Pets are often tempted to chew on loose wires and cords. Exposed wires can be a fire hazard, so consider securing any electrical objects so that their cords are out of reach.
- Avoid using glass bowls for your pets' water. When filtered and heated through glass, the sun's rays can ignite the wood beneath the bowl and set a deck in flames. Try using a stainless steel or ceramic bowl instead.
Keep Your Pets Safe After/During A Fire;
- Place a pet fire sticker on the door or window of your home. In the event of a fire when you're away, having a pet sticker will help rescuers know how many pets to look for, saving valuable time and hopefully your furry friends.
- Use monitored smoke detectors. Pets left home alone can't escape on their own. Monitored smoke detectors contact emergency responders when you're not home and add an extra layer of protection beyond that of battery-operated smoke alarms.
- Keep pets near entrances when you're away from home. Keep collars (with ID tags) on your pets at all times and leave leashes by the entrance or somewhere easy to find in an emergency. This will help firefighters to find and rescue your pets when they arrive.
- Know where your pets' hiding’ spots are. It's important that you can find your pets quickly if there's a fire. Know where your pets like to sleep and especially where they like to go when they are scared or anxious (under the bed or hidden in a quiet corner of the house somewhere).
- Have an ERP (Emergency Ready Plan) in place and make sure everyone in the house knows what to do in the event of a fire. Know who will be in charge of getting your pets outside safely. Have someone in charge of leashes and pet carriers so that they can be safely secured once you're outside. In the event that you can't find your pet when exiting, leave doors and windows open on your way out and call to them so that they come out on their own.
- Practice fire drills with your pets. It is important to include your pets in the family fire drills. Practice finding them and getting out of the house. Also practice the "open access" scenario where you leave an exit open (preferably the one they're most comfortable with) and call to them to come out of the home. The more you practice, the more likely they are to come out in the event of an actual fire.
- Don’t forget pet food & water, even medication. Depending on how long you may be displaced after a fire it’s a great idea to have food, water and any necessary medications on hand so that your pet feels more comfortable and doesn’t suffer from hunger or dehydration.
Call SERVPRO of Lynnwood at 425-774-1148 to find out more about what you can do to prepare for the unexpected.
Using a Fire Extinguisher
Fire extinguishers can be very important tools used to fight fires in Lynwood, Washington, homes. Many homes do not have a fire extinguisher and are without this valuable piece of technology. Fire damage can be prevented with the help of an extinguisher applied at the right time. Thankfully extinguishers are generally quite easy to use. They are designed to be straightforward and even have the instructions printed on the side.
1. Pull the pin.
2. Aim the nozzle.
3. Squeeze the handle.
4. Sweep the area.
3 Steps to Safety
Most standard home fire extinguishers in Lynnwood, Washington, can be activated with four simple steps. Start by pulling the round pin at the base of the handle. Doing so breaks the plastic tamper seal. Next, hold the nozzle and aim it toward the base of the fire. Next, squeeze the fire extinguisher handle using a firm pressure. Finally, sweep the nozzle side to side until the fire is entirely extinguished.
Spraying higher up in the air toward flames that are already burning may make it impossible to put the fire out. Instead, you should aim to where the flames are starting: the base of the fire. This is typically the most effective strategy in putting out fires with an extinguisher.
The Care of Fire Extinguishers at Home
Even a simple kitchen fire can pose a serious risk to the home and to human safety. Fire extinguishers can be kept in the kitchen, in hallways, and in garages. Anywhere with a high fire risk or where heating elements exist should be equipped with a home fire extinguisher. Used extinguishers should never be reused; promptly replace all used and expired extinguishers. Make a habit of checking the expiration date to ensure that each one is ready for use. They have a date printed on the side, so just use this as a reference. You can check your extinguishers as often as you check your smoke detector batteries; once a year is good practice.
Keep a fire extinguisher where you need it most. With this advice, you can help protect your home and your loved ones.
For more on fire damage visit us at http://www.SERVPROlynnwood.com.
What Steps Should You Take After a Residential Fire?
- Ask whether it is safe to enter the home. Do not enter if the authorities deem it unsafe. They may establish a safety zone, but never assume a room is safe until it has been cleared to enter. Respect yellow tape and wear a dust mask to prevent inhalation of particulates in the air.
- Call and Inform Appropriate Contacts.
- Contact family members and let them know you are safe, and unharmed.
- Contact your insurance agent. They will be able to talk you through the necessary steps, including proper documentation and emergency lodging expenses (keep all of your receipts!) At this point the insurance company may assist in securing a company to help with clean up options.
- You may request SERVPRO at this time for restoration services.
- Another call may be to your landlord or property manager if applicable, and to your local American Red Cross who may provide additional resources.
- Secure the property to prevent possible looting. SERVPRO is available to assist with securing property/ Board Ups.
- If water hoses were used to exterminate the fire, drying your home is critical. It is best to call the professionals at SERVPRO to assist with professional water and fire cleaning. Water can lead to mold damage if not dried properly. Our team is an approved restoration contractor for many major insurance carriers and adheres to the highest standards in the restoration industry.
- Seek counseling if needed. Children and adults can feel a traumatic sense of loss, and sometimes need help to avoid a lasting sense of sadness and disorientation after a house fire. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. A house fire is a traumatic event and individuals need to be treated with respect and compassion by those close to the process.
- For more information on contents and structural drying, smoke and soot removal call SERVPRO of Lynnwood at 425-774-1148.
Space Heater Safety
Fire does not care what season it is or whether or not it’s cold outside. Winter related fires are extremely common, especially when you are trying hard to keep warm.
SERVPRO of Lynnwood has experience in fire damage from space heaters and can provide you with some tips to help avoid having to deal with fire, soot or smoke damage.
SERVPRO of Lynnwood technicians understand that accidents happen. Placing space heaters too close to other objects or using the wrong type of heater in a particular area can cause severe problems. Please take a moment to consider some factors leading to these fires.
Oil Heaters - Should be used in areas where there is the possibility of moisture. This eliminates any electrical hazards that may be present due to water conductivity. Always keep a safe distance to avoid contact burns.
Electric Heaters - These heaters come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be useful for many areas in your home. However, they should never be left unattended. Thinking of electric heaters as giant toasters can help you understand how important it is to keep a constant eye on them. Make sure you have sufficient wattage to run the device and never use extension cords.
Our SERVPRO staff gets an incredible amount of space heater-related calls every winter. People are trying to stay warm and use space heaters quite often for this purpose. However, using a space heater does not need to cause so many problems during a cold spell. Just use common sense, and always follow the directions of the manufacturer. The professional technicians at SERVPRO of Lynnwood state that you follow a few simple guidelines when operating your space heaters.
1) Always place space heaters on a flat, solid surface for proper stabilization.
2) Purchase heaters with an automatic shut-off feature to prevent dangers from tipping.
3) Maintain proper spacing between heaters and other objects in your home.
4) Never leave children or pets unsupervised around operating heaters.
5) Shut your heaters off properly before leaving your home or going to sleep.
Following these guidelines does not ensure that you will never have to deal with fire damage from space heaters. However, you are less likely to have an unwanted consequence. If this sort of incident still strikes your home this winter season, make the call to our offices immediately. We will respond quickly and provide you with the services you need to get back to normal fast.
Call SERVPRO of Lynnwood at 425-774-1148.
Residential Fire vs Commercial Fire
Residential Fire vs Commercial Fire
Each year in the United States, fire damage costs property owners and the economy as a whole nearly half a trillion dollars. This easily places fire damage as the number-one cause of property damage and associated economic costs in the country.
On a personal level, fire damage is often an extremely complex tragedy. Soot damage, smoke damage and flood damage from fire sprinkler systems are all completely unique forms of damage, only being able to be correctly remediated through highly specialized techniques. But the biggest issue associated with fire damage is the compromising of the structure.
What's more, fires that occur in commercial settings often involve the loss of inventory and capital equipment. This makes commercial fire damage one of the most serious potential disasters that face business owners.
Fortunately, there are professional companies that specialize in the restoration of both residential and commercial fire damage. Although residential and commercial fire damage often poses a huge challenge to property owners, with the right team of experts, it can typically be resolved at a surprising minimum of cost.
Calling in a professional restoration company
Although many Americans pride themselves on their ability to do nearly any task themselves, once fire strikes, it is absolutely imperative to call in a team of professionals. If not handled properly and in a timely fashion, soot damage and smoke damage can easily cause the failure of mechanical devices in the home or business, such as furnaces, fans and air conditioners. Smoke damage can linger, not just for months but for years, causing a pungent odor that can make a property uninhabitable.
Water damage caused by fire hoses and firefighters carrying out their normal fire suppression activities can easily result in extensive flood damage to the property. In fact, with modern fire suppression techniques, the most serious source of damage in fires is often caused by the water used during the fire suppression itself. On top of this, fire hoses are designed to spray at incredibly high pressures, often high enough to directly cause structural damage to the building. Fire trucks themselves are also responsible for directly causing structural damage. Any time ladders are deployed or high-pressure fire hoses are used on a burning structure, the chances of mechanical damage to the building is anywhere from high to certain.
Of course, it is never the goal of firefighters to destroy property. But when lives are at stake or the risk of a fire in an urban setting going out of control is high, firefighters may readily use techniques that significantly damage property. All of this can complicate fire restoration efforts.
Professional fire restoration companies can minimize the costs associated with residential or commercial fire damage and quickly begin the fire restoration process. Most large fires in the United States are electrical fires or utility room fires. Other fires, such as kitchen fires, are usually quickly detected and thus extinguished early. On the other hand, electrical fires and utility room fires often begin in remote locations within the property, leading to the fire quickly growing and creating massive soot damage and smoke damage, even where structural damage has not occurred.
These fires also often require aggressive action from firefighters. Fire trucks, capable of producing burst pressures of greater than 1,200 psi in fire hoses, can easily produce enough water pressure to break drywall, knock down doors and even rip siding off of the structure. In a fire emergency, fire trucks may also cause extensive damage to the exterior of a property, including landscaping and the lawn. These are all areas that a professional fire restoration team will be able to quickly remediate, in addition to soot damage.
Another problem with electrical fires and utility room fires is that they often trigger fire suppression systems like fire sprinkler systems. In addition to fire hoses from high-pressure-producing fire trucks, fire sprinkler systems can cause massive flooding. A fire sprinkler system, in fact, may do far more damage than the fire it was meant to extinguish.
Ultimately, with a timely response, an electrical fire or utility room fire doesn't have to spell doom for your home or business.
Visit http://www.SERVPROlynnwood.com for more information on fire damage.
Don't Let Fire Damage Stop You in its Tracks
Don't Let Fire Damage Stop You in its Tracks
When there is fire in a home or fire in a business, it can make you feel like your world is falling apart. Soot damage, water damage, and smoke damage can make you wonder if fire damage restoration is even possible. After the fire trucks drive way and you're left with the smoke smell that has seeped into everything, you will have no clue where your fire cleanup will begin. Water damage has taken its toll as well after the efforts of the fire department to save as much as possible. You're grateful for their part in stopping fire damage from going to far, but you don't know what to do other than board up the windows and walk away. Don't give up on your home or business. Residential and commercial fire damage can throw you for a spin, but a first rate restoration company can help you to pick yourself up again.
Don't Try to Do it Yourself
As you are surrounded by the smoke smell and you stare at the soot damage that is everywhere you look, you might be tempted to get out a soap and bucket in order to get to work. Smoke damage and fire damage require the skills and expertise of professionals if you want the job to be done properly. You have your own obligations to take care of after a fire in the house or a fire in the business. When residential or commercial fire damage takes place, you still have to carry on with work, family, and other responsibilities. You don't have the time or the resources to erase the signs of fire damage. Your home or business will be in good hands with a restoration company.
Begin with an Initial Assessment
In order to address fire damage that includes smoke damage and soot damage, your restoration will perform a comprehensive evaluation. They'll look at the results of fire in the home or fire in the business in order to decide what must be taken care of first. Beneath the smoke smell, your carpeting, flooring, and walls have all been affected by fire damage. You'll need more than to have someone board up the property. It will be necessary to have a fire cleanup that will bring your property back to the way it was. Fire damage restoration is a step by step process. Residential and commercial fire damage require an extensive fire cleanup plan. As your restoration company representatives take a walk through after a fire in the house or fire in the business, they'll board up any broke windows. The decision to board up your property is not to make it look abandoned, but rather for your protection. After a fire in the home or a fire in the business, it can leave your property wide open to damage from the elements or intruders. When fire in the home or fire in the business strikes, you can't stand the possibility of more damage. Trust your restoration company to board up any windows that have been destroyed and cover the roof with tarps if necessary.
Let the Fire Cleanup Begin
Your restoration company will perform a fire cleanup process that erases soot damage, eliminates smoke damage, and puts your fire damage behind you as the fire damage restoration begins. The smoke smell is difficult to deal with, but it can be dealt with when the proper chemicals are used. With excellent cleaning skills, top notch equipment, and the experience to be thorough, you'll soon forget there was residential or commercial fire damage. Your fire damage restoration team will sanitize all surfaces before bringing in new carpeting or flooring if necessary. Fresh paint can make a world of difference. New drywall and rebuilding may be needed as well. If repairs are required on the roof, your restoration team can handle that as well in order to get your property in tiptop shape.
Visit http://www.SERVPROlynnwood.com for more information on fire damage.
Summer Safety Tips & Fire Prevention
Happy Fourth of July!
Bright blue skies, cool pools, the scent of a freshly mowed lawn…It’s definitely the start of summer! Kids are getting out of school in the Edmonds, Lynnwood, and Bellevue areas, adults are getting ready to use some well-deserved vacation time. It’s a season synonymous with fun, freedom, and sunshine. It’s also a common time of year for emergency room visits and accidental fires.
With July quickly approaching, we’re all getting ready to fire up that backyard grill and light up our fireworks. It’s important to note however, that July is the busiest time of year nationally for grill fires. It is also common for accidental house fires and injury due to the mishandling of fireworks.
There are plenty of things you can do to help protect both your Edmonds, Lynnwood, or Bellevue area home and your family during the festivities. We want you to enjoy every minute of your summer. Follow some of these helpful tips to make sure your summer is both fun AND safe!
Only use your propane and charcoal grills outdoors. Never bring them indoors.
Keep your grill away from the exterior of your home. You don’t want it against railings, door frames, under eaves, or too near low hanging branches.
Be vigilant in keeping children and pets away from the grill and its general vicinity.
Never leave the grill unattended.
Be clean- remove fat build up and grease from grills, trays, and accessories.
Obey all local laws concerning firework usage.
Fireworks and alcohol do not mix.
Do NOT try to re-light a malfunctioning or “dud” firework.
Keep a bucket of water nearby in case of fire or to fully extinguish the ones that have malfunctioned.
Read all cautionary labels and instructions before lighting fireworks.
NEVER use fireworks indoors.
The safest place to enjoy fireworks this 4th of July is at a show put on by trained professionals. There are plenty to choose from around Edmonds, Lynnwood and the Bellevue area!
Enjoy your summer! We are here to serve 24/7. Need Cleanup? -- Call SERVPRO Lynnwood at (425)-774-1148.