Recent Fire Damage Posts
Ensure Fire Safety this Summer in Your Home
Candles have caused thousands of home-related fires in the US.
Just the thought of going through a fire is terrifying to most families. Loss of life and property are possible outcomes of fire, and dealing with the aftermath can be very confusing and overwhelming. There are over 300,000 house fires a year in the U.S., and unfortunately, most of these home fires can be prevented by simple things. The professionals here at SERVPRO of East Dayton/Beavercreek are here to help you avoid this kind of disaster from happening to your home. Here are some ways to keep your home fire safe for the summer.
First, Be Mindful of Candles
Candles can be so lovely to smell and look at, but it’s easy to forget it’s still a dangerous open flame within your home. Candles have caused tens of thousands of home-related fires and deaths over the past few years alone. Most home fire damages are caused by leaving flammable items too close to the candle or by falling asleep with candles lit.
To prevent a possible candle fire, you should:
- Blow candles out before you go to sleep or when you leave the area
- Keep candles at least one foot away from flammable sources
- Use candle holders that cannot be tipped or knocked over easily
A few small actions can go a long way when it comes to preventing drastic smoke and fire damage within your home.
Second, Cell Phone Charging and Overheating
Have you ever gone to sleep with your phone on the charger overnight and tucked somewhere in your bed, under a blanket, or even worse, under your pillow? Leaving a phone to charge is much more dangerous than you might have thought. If you notice when charging your phone, it will typically get warm, and in some cases, when the phone is covered overnight and in combination with a faulty battery, the trapped heat can cause the phone to explode right next to you. Not only can this itself cause extensive damage, but it can also start a house fire that can quickly escalate.
If your phone ever feels like it’s overheating on the charger, you should unplug it and turn it off right away until it cools down before using it or attempting to charge it again.
Third, Fix Your Fire Alarms
Too many homes often forget about or neglect their fire and smoke detection systems. Not having a well-functioning fire alarm system could make the difference in loss of life and property in the event of a fire. In the event of a fire after alerting authorities and safely evacuating the area, your next step should be to contact a local fire and smoke damage restoration company. The professionals here at SERVPRO of East Dayton/Beavercreek are specially trained in fire damage restoration and can help in the recovery process after a fire occurs.
There are many ways to keep your home safe during the year from accidental fires. Check out some of our other blog posts about fire safety to learn more, and in the event of an emergency, give SERVPRO a call anytime at (937) 228-3433. Our IICRC trained professionals are here to help you 24/7.
Home Fire Evacuation Plan: What to do Before and After the Fire
An important part of fire safety is knowing what to do when a fire happens. For this reason, a home fire evacuation plan is a great thing to have. In the event of a sudden fire, an evacuation needs to happen quickly and efficiently while leaving as few essential things behind as possible and knowing where to go. Once you can escape your home or business that is in flames and alert authorities, your next step should be to contact a fire damage restoration company like SERVPRO of East Dayton/Beavercreek.
Here’s what you need to do before, during, and after the fire.
It is important to prepare correctly to evacuate effectively. A few things you can do to prepare for a fire evacuation is to create a disaster relief kit or a to-go bag. This will contain any essentials that you would need in case you had to up and leave in case of an emergency. Good things to also put in this bag would be extra cash, clothing, emergency health information, and some plastic bags to keep sensitive items safe. Having a to-go bag ready to go in case of emergency can make maintaining a level head in an emergent situation much more manageable while helping keep you safe.
Everyone in the household must also be on the same page in the event of fire damage. Everyone should have the same meetup location, such as a neighbors house, in case everyone has to leave in a hurry. If a fire is large enough to affect multiple homes or a large area, it is good also to have a meeting location in several directions.
During an Evacuation
It is important to know already what to do in the event of a fire so that you can make decisions to keep you and your loved ones best safe. You must maintain clear communication with everyone in your home in the event of a fire; power lines may be down, or phones may not be working in some situations or others may not be able to get to you. It’s important to listen to essential updates from the news and authorities that are keeping up with the situation.
Do not forget your pets and try to keep them in a place they’re accessible so that you can easily retrieve them should you need to evacuate your property.
After an Evacuation
It’s important to wait to inspect your property after a fire until after you are permitted to do so by authorities. Once you are allowed back within the distance of your home or business, your next step should be to contact a professional fire damage restoration company. SERVPRO of Downtown East Dayton/Beavercreek is ready and available for fire damage restoration and will immediately lend aid to the recovery process. Experiencing this kind of scenario can be extremely frightening and overwhelming. Leave it to the professionals here at SERVPRO to help you restore your home from smoke and fire damage at (937) 228-3433
Putting Out Small Interior Fires
Make sure your fire extinguisher is up to date.
The source of each individual fire changes the way the fire must be dealt with. Small fires, which are usually started by cooking or electrical outlets, can usually be put out by an individual. In case you experience a small fire within your home, office, or building, here is the way to deal with each type of fire.
Electrical fires occur due to dysfunctional or misused electrical outlets, cords, and appliances. If the fire is due to a broken cord, pour baking soda on the cord. Fires caused by outlets or appliances can be put out with a Class C fire extinguisher. It’s important that you never use water on an electrical fire due to the possibility of being shocked as a result.
Fireplace fires are not dangerous since they’re in a contained area, but if you no longer need the fire to be going you should put it out before leaving or going to sleep. In order to put out a fireplace fire, poke at the wood and cover the coals in order to take away the fuel for the fire. In addition, you may use baking soda to put it out by sprinkling some on the fire.
Cooking or gas fires can be stopped by placing a lid over the pot to stop oxygen from reaching the fire. Turn off the gas supply to stop it from spreading. Fire blankets work well for these situations.
If a small fire occurs in your home, office, or building, call your local SERVPRO of East Dayton at (937) 228-3433. SERVPRO of East Dayton has professionals who know how to remove smoke damage and make the area affected by the fire look “Like it never even happened.”
Creating a Fire Escape Plan For Your Family
Preparation can save your family and your home.
It is vital for every family to have a plan together in the event of a household fire. This plan can be memorized or printed and posted somewhere in the home that is easy to find. Having a plan ready can lessen the consequences of a fire by having everyone respond out of habit to the possible danger. If your family doesn’t already have a plan ready for a possible fire emergency, here are some tips for creating one.
Firstly, it matters where your smoke detector is located. If the smoke detector is in the hallway, make sure people sleep with the doors open in order to hear it should it go off. If it’s inside a room, it would be okay for that door to be closed since they’ll be able to hear it go off. Make sure there isn’t anything in the way of blocking the alarm sounds. Create a predetermined meeting place for the family. The best possible places for this to occur would be farther from the home. Making the meeting location too close to the home can be dangerous, depending on how the fire spreads. A good meeting place could be a neighbor’s house or an easily identifiable landmark across the street from the home. These preliminary assessments can ensure that everyone is prepared, especially considering the fire may happen during the night and waking up to a fire can be a confusing experience.
If fire damage does occur to your home, call your local SERVPRO of Beavercreek at (937) 228-3433. SERVPRO of Beavercreek can remove smoke damage and restore your home to before the fire happened. Fires are serious events, but with the right planning and the right fire damage professionals, your life can go back to normal soon after a fire occurs.
How Dangerous Are Christmas Decorations?
Candles are beautiful and warm, but can post a threat to our safety this holiday season.
Happy holidays! As the excitement and anticipation of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas increases, many families bring out decorations to celebrate. December is the time of year where you can have a great time driving around neighborhoods, seeing all the lights and inflatable characters and decorated trees at each house. But before we get quick to celebration, it’s important to check that all of our holiday decorations are safe, especially after spending an entire year sitting in our storage, waiting to be used again. Here’s what you can do to ensure safety is a priority during the holidays, to keep the season as magical as it is.
- Not all holiday lights are interchangable.
While we do use very similar looking lights on both the exterior and interior of our homes, they’re not safe to use interchangeably. Lights made for decorating the Christmas tree are not prepared for the outdoors. When lights are designed to cover the outside of the house, they’re made to stand strong and safe against weather like snow and wind. When lights meant for the indoors are used outside, they can be damaged by the weather and pose threats as serious as fires. When buying lights, make sure to read the directions on the box, ensuring that you are not posing a fire threat to your home. And when packing up after the holidays end, try and return all the lights to their original boxes so they can’t be confused next year.
- Check your extension cords are read for wear and tear of the outdoors.
Why wouldn’t you want all the trees in your yard to glow bright and amaze your neighbors? For that, you’ll need an extension cord. When you use one, make sure that it is safe, by checking for wear and tear. In addition, don’t overload your extension cord by attaching all your yard’s lights to one single cord. Like the lights, these cords usually come with instructions that can explain the best way of using them in order to avoid possible fires.
- If your tree is real, don’t forget to water it.
It can be easy to forget to water a tree since we only need to during the holidays, but it’s a vital part of avoiding fire hazard. See, fire burns far easier on dry, dying pines than it would on a well-watered one. The safest thing you can do is have your lights be hung on a healthy tree.
- Candles are beautiful, but keep them away from decorations.
The smell of holiday scented candles adds to the magic of the home during the holidays, however that open flame should be intentionally placed. Never place your candles around the tree, lights, or fabric and paper decorations. Try to have constant locations for placing your candles, where you know no hazard exists and where the open flame can be monitored.
In any case, we at SERVPRO of East Dayton / Beavercreek hope you and your family enjoy a wonderful and safe holiday season. If you do have an accident this holiday season, make sure to call us at (937) 228-3433. We’ll do everything we can to ensure that your holidays are as magical as they can be by restoring your home as quickly as possible.
The Chemistry Behind Fire
One little match carries enough potential ignition power to light a whole forest on fire.
In order to understand fire damage we should understand the process of fire itself. Fire occurring is due to the oxidation of something during the exothermic chemical process. Essentially, that means that when oxygen fuels combustion, heat and light are produced, which is what you see and feel as a result. While most of us aren’t chemists and haven’t been in a chemistry class in years, we can recall on some knowledge of elements and compounds to understand fire better. The flame itself occurs during the ignition point, which is a part of the combustion reaction. The flame, however, is only the visible part of the fire itself. The flames are a combination of not only oxygen, but also nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and water vapor. A variety of temperatures and colors of the flames are produced dependent on the circumstances. Different materials can burn hotter, and some can create flames that may be blue in color.
Fire is a hazard to life, once the reaction creates spreadable flames. Of course, we understand that it burns and spreads, however there are other dangerous aspects of fire itself. For one, it can create pollution because certain things, when burned, can put chemicals into the air. Plastic, for example, isn’t something that can be burned safely. Forest fires can threaten the nutrition in the soil, which can prevent a forest from growing back easily. Fires cause permanent damage.
Though fires are helpful, used to benefit the growth of society since the beginning of time, there are a lot of boundaries between it being helpful and destructive. For light and warmth we use it in many ways, but the moment we lose control of it, it threatens the well-being of our homes and belongings and lives.
Fire damage is important to take seriously, since the lingering effects of fire can harm our bodies, homes, and material possessions. In case of fire damage, immediately contact a restoration company such as SERVPRO of South Dayton to limit damaging after effects of the chemical process that we just learned about.
How Does Smoke Affect Our Body?
Smoke affects our bodies in different ways depending on our age, previous ailments, and duration in the smoke.
Inside smoke from fire are several chemical irritants, such as chlorine, ammonia, hydrogen chloride, and sulfur dioxide. Smoke inhalation irritates the respiratory tract lining which can result in the collapsing of the airway. Some people are more prone to bodily damage from smoke. Older adults may have weaker internal organs which can be harmed quicker from smoke inhalation. Because children and teenagers’ bodies are still developing, smoke can affect them more intensely than a fully developed adult. Anyone with heart or lung disease or diabetes can have their conditions be triggered by smoke damage, resulting in stroke or heart attack. Pregnant women are at danger themselves due to the changes in their body, but the fetus can also be heavily affected, preventing normal development stages from occurring.
Smoke first affects anyone inhaling it by burning the eyes, making the nose runny, inducing coughing and wheezing. If chest pain or fatigue occurs there might be more severe damage being experienced, and people with such symptoms need to be removed from the room or building as quickly as possible to prevent fainting or cardiac arrest.
Even a strong, fully developed adult can be at risk for severe damage due to the chemicals in the air as mentioned before. This is why firefighters wear masks when entering a burning building, and why it is not recommended to attempt to save anyone without the proper gear. Carbon monoxide poisoning first causes the person to faint and then continues to enter the body until it has shut down the function of the major organs, killing them after they’ve gone unconscious.
This is important information to know in case of a fire in your home. While your natural instinct may be to save other people within the home, staying any longer within a burning building can cause unseen damage. Immediately call the fire department and exit the building. They have the gear to enter and exit in a safe manner, while keeping everyone affected by a fire safe.
While the most important consideration following a fire is the safety of the family, when it is time to repair the damage, hire your local SERVPRO. Firefighters respond to a fire currently in progress, and SERVPRO responds to everything that follows.
How Fire Spreads: What Gets Damaged First?
Firefighters stop the fire. SERVPRO repairs the fire damage.
The more carbon monoxide in the air, the harder it is to escape from a fire. When a fire starts, it uses the naturally occurring oxygen in the air to create carbon monoxide. This is because fires add Carbon (C) to the Oxygen (O) which creates Carbon Monoxide (CO). The longer a fire burns, the more carbon monoxide is created until all of the pre-existing oxygen has been used up. It is at this point that the air in a burning building becomes unbreathable, causing any humans in the vicinity to faint and eventually lose function of their lungs.
Fire damage spreads in different ways depending on the source of the fire. Some fires expand due to the large quantity of oxygen molecules that can be consumed. Some spread with the help of grease and oils. It is never recommended to put out a fire yourself, instead call the local fire department for professional assistance. However, in case of an emergency, make sure to deprive the fire of oxygen if possible. For example, if a fire began in the kitchen due to cooking in a pot or pan, you may be able to cease the spread of the fire by placing a lid on top which cuts off the oxygen.
In most situations, the fire spreads quickly enough that it cannot be stopped. Within just minutes of the fire’s ignition, poisonous gases like carbon monoxide are already being emitted into the air. Evacuation is the most important step for safety at this point.
Once you and your family or neighbors have evacuated the building to a safe location, the hot air created by the fire spreads throughout the building and into other rooms. It only takes five minutes for the air to reach temperatures as hot as 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Within such a small time frame, the fire eats away at the structure of the building, which in most cases comprised of wood frames, insulation, and other flammable materials.
Once the fire has been put out by firefighters, what does fire damage look like? Although it depends on the length of time the fire burned, damage can be done regardless of where the fire spread. Even in rooms untouched by fire, hot air could still have traveled through the entire house, melting anything plastic or glass. Even wood beams that are still standing can be a danger because they have still been weakened. Soot sticks to floors, ceilings, and walls, and still contain dangerous byproducts of anything burned despite the fire being over.
Remember to talk to your fire department after the fact about the safety hazards of reentering the building. No matter how bad the damage may be, whether is extends just above the oven or within the entire structure of the building, contact a professional fire damage specialist to remove the fire damage.
Fire damage specialists have the necessary materials, including safety gear, to rid the home of toxins and restore the integrity of the internal structure. SERVPRO of East Dayton arrives promptly and charges affordably, so that life can return to normal just as quickly as the fire spread.
Does Your Insurance Cover Fire Damage?
We can't undo fires, but we can undo fire damage.
Although only 7% of house fires start in the bedroom, 73% of house fire fatalities are due to these kinds of fires. Fires that start in the bedroom are nearly always accidents caused by a lack of mindfulness when dealing with heat producing objects. For example, one of the most common causes of bedroom fires are objects like curling irons or straighteners being left 0n the bed or carpet. Even if they have been turned off, these can be hot enough to start a fire for up to ten minutes after being unplugged. Another common cause is smoking in the bedroom, which can be dangerous even when the cigarette has been put out in an ashtray because the ashes can continue to produce heat.
Even when taking steps to prevent fires from happening, it’s vital to keep inventory of anything that could be damaged in the event of a fire. This is so that if fire does unfortunately occur, accurate assessment of the fire damage coverage can help restore all lost belongings. Personal property is just one of the things that most fire damage insurance covers. It also covers detached structures, like sheds, and dwellings, like porches. So long as there is an accurate fire damage appraisal done of all loses, you then have two options on how to receive the financial compensation for such loses. The first would be actual cash value, which calculates how much the lost items would be worth today and awarding that exact amount in cash value. The other option is a replacement cost, which would replace the item for similar to the value it was purchased for. There are pros and cons to both forms of insurance. While the value of the replacement cost of damaged items would be higher than the cash value, the ability to decide what to do with the cash value is up to the homeowner.
If your goal is to return your home to the way it was before the fire damage occurred, your best bet would be a replacement cost insurance policy. If you’d rather use the value of the loss items to spend the money elsewhere, whether to assist in the repairing of the home or for other personal needs, then an actual cash value wouldn’t be a bad idea.
In any case, SERVPRO of East Dayton knows fire damage restoration. There’s a lot to think about when picking an insurance policy, but little to think about when picking a company to fix the fire damage. In little to no time SERVPRO can be on the scene. Returning your home to the way it was before is an easy job for a company as widespread and equipped as they are.
Does Fire Damage Require Demolition?
When the scariest part is over, SERVPRO is there to clean up the mess.
In the United States, a fire department responds to a fire every 24 seconds. Fire damage varies with each fire, from a burnt kitchen to an entire home. To the fire fighters, the goal is to stop the fire. After that has been achieved the following responsibilities are left to the homeowner. Luckily, no homeowner is left alone in making decisions about what to do with their damaged home. The next steps are to contact insurance and then decide how to move forward with rebuilding.
It is more expensive to demolish fire damaged buildings than it is to repair them. Every fire is individual though. Demolition prices consider the following aspects: structure size, geographic location of structure, materials of structure, and the quantity of still standing structure. In some cases, demolition is required because there is a lack of salvageable material. With demolition comes rebuilding, which are equally expensive processes. If it is possible to simply restore the fire damage, that would be the most cost efficient solution after a fire.
When considering demolition versus restoration, ask yourself the following questions:
- How much is insurance contributing to rebuilding?
- How much can you currently afford to pay personally?
- Do you have a place you can stay during construction?
- Do you have access to affordable restoration companies?
If you live in the East Dayton or Beavercreek area, the answer to the last part is yes, you do. In cases where restoration is an option, consider SERVPRO of East Dayton. Why? Restoration is usually more affordable, and in certain situations you can continue to live in your home while the restoration process occurs, saving you money. It’s a myth that the home structure is stronger when completely rebuilt. If using the right fire damage restoration company, restoration can be just as successful at repairing the strength of the home. In addition, demolition requires permits, paperwork, and extra hassle to even begin the process. SERVPRO can be at your door the next day with the equipment and people to begin immediately. Afterall, their main goal is to make your home, “Like it never even happened.”
Fire Damage on Different Materials
This home, made mostly of wood, was made of materials that made the spread of fire easier.
Within the years of 2007 and 2011, lightning strikes resulted in $451 million in property damage. There are several causes of fire damage, but the sources that are outside of our control are the scariest. While you can monitor your appliances, fireplace, cooking, and other causes of fires, some causes will always be outside of your control. That’s why it’s important to know whatever you can about the effects of fire damage so that no matter what happens, you’re prepared.
One valuable thing to understand is the potential of damage in your own home. Damage occurs differently on certain materials. It’s common knowledge that fire uses wood as fuel and therefore can spread from wood beam to wood beam, which usually makes up the internal structure of the average home. But what about less flammable materials? A concrete foundation, for example.
Concrete may not catch on fire, like wood, however it still experiences damage from exposure to high temperatures. The reason for this is the expansion of the material that makes up concrete, which can lead to breakage. Likewise, steel beams do not catch on fire but can bend and sag due to exposure to high temperatures. This means that while these materials may not contribute to the spreading of a fire, they can be affected by a fire and in certain circumstances need replacement.
The only absolute answer to how a fire has damaged a home is to get a fire damage assessment. Fire damaged wood and fire damaged concrete may require different restoration processes, but nonetheless you can go to one company for all fire damage restoration needs. SERVPRO of East Dayton is one of those companies, and they can use their fire restoration knowledge to assess any material that has been affected by a fire.
How to Remove Smoke Smells from Your Home
Room with fire damage before SERVPRO has started on fire restoration.
Smells spread through the air and usually contain themselves to certain areas based on distance from source of smell, quality of air in the surrounding area, and general temperature. Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as coaxing a cloud of any certain smell out of its general location to remove odors. The internet is home to plenty of life hacks and lessons on how to save money, and like everything else this includes smoke smell removal techniques. However the truth about damage like this is that it is not possible to remove a smell, let alone the dangerous chemicals that may be combined with said smell, with only some internet tips. Decontaminating the source of air movement and providing fire restoration repairs to internal parts of the home is vital. However these projects can be underway as soon as the phone call with your local SERVPRO ends, saving time and effort from people affected by fire damage. Soot clean up and smoke smell removal make the homeowners’ work far easier when done by fire restoration professionals. The team at SERVPRO is well versed in fire restoration and believe in making affected areas look “Like it never even happened.” You deserve the best when it comes to the quality of your home, so don’t settle for anything less than professional damage restoration by the company that does it best. If you do like tips and tricks, though, here’s a good one: Ash and soot and create lingering smells when embedded in the dirt and vegetation surround your home, so don’t forget to make sure your air filtration system is working well to keep you safe from any pollutants.
Beavercreek Smoke and Soot Cleanup
Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and soot facts:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Different Types of Smoke
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 of East Dayton/Beavercreek 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.
Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
- Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 937-228-3433