Recent Fire Damage Posts
Is Hoarding a Fire Hazard?
Hoarding can be a major fire hazard.
According to the Mayo Clinic, hoarding disorder can be described as “a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with hoarding disorder experiences distres at the thought of getting rid of items.” In other words, people with hoarding disorder and their inability to get rid of items means that these items continue to accumulate until the clutter eventually spreads to the garage, vehicles, yards, and other storage facilities.
With Christmas approaching, the stuff and things are only going to be more, and the available space will only be less. There is no opportunity more perfect than now to declutter a few areas of the home. Allowing items to build up and take up a mass amount of space can actually be a danger to the home and everyone who lives in it; one of the biggest threats being fire hazards.
With a variety of items packed into a specific area, hoarding not only increases the likelihood of a fire igniting but can also boost the size and magnitude at which the fire burns. Because of this, first responders will also have a difficult time accessing the fire if one were to break out as well as making it more difficult for them to get the flames under control. In some situations, the fire may be igniting more items faster than the fire department can put them out.
If you or a loved one needs assistance removing cluttered items from the home to prepare for Christmas, SERVPRO of Parker and Northeast Hood Counties is here to help! You can reach us 24/7 at 817-596-8714.
Different Types Of Smoke Residue
Fires are difficult to contain no matter the magnitude and even if you are able to successfully stop the spreading, smoke residue is inevitable. Depending on the size, cause, and location of the fire, the residue may look a little different. Here are five different forms of soot from fires.
- Dry smoke residue: Dry smoke residue occurs during fast-burning fires that burn at a high temperature. These are typically fueled by paper or wood. Fortunately, the residue is typically powdery and doesn’t smear when you wipe it which makes for an easy clean-up process.
- Wet smoke residue: Wet smoke is created by low-heat, smoldering fires. Both plastic and rubber produce this residue and the waste is often thick and moist and most often has a stench.
- Protein residue: Protein residue forms when organic material evaporates during a low heat fire. Often a product of cooking, this residue is essentially invisible to the eye, but can permanently damage or discolor painted, varnished, or other finished surfaces.
- Fuel/oil residue: Fuel/ oil residue, also known as petroleum residue is not often found in home or business fires unless petroleum was being stored on site. However, it is not uncommon for a building’s furnace to have a “puff back” when igniting, causing a small explosion. This means that the building owner may be dealing with fuel residue even without the instance of a fire. The residue is sticky and strong and often has an obnoxious odor. It will inevitably ruin fabric or upholstery if not cleaned immediately.
- Fire extinguisher residue: Fire extinguisher residue does not always require cleanup after use unless it is a chemical extinguisher. The reside and clean-up process varies depending on the type of extinguisher used.
Obviously, the ultimate goal is to avoid having any form of fire and therefore, avoid the resulting waste; however, this is not always possible. If your home or business is in need of rehabilitation after a fire, SERVPRO of Parker and Northeast Hood Counties is here to help! We are available 24/7 at 817-598-8714.
Cleaning Hack: Glass Stove Top
Glass stove tops can add a sleek, modern look to any kitchen. They also come with the major perk of not having to worry about cleaning grates or drip pans. Everything has its downfall though. Anyone who has ever owned or used a glass stovetop knows that the smallest splatter immediately becomes an eyesore as it is much more noticeable. If the stove is not cleaned after use, these noticeable blemishes can become difficult to remove as well as potentially becoming a fire hazard.
Stoves in general tend to collect water spots, grease, and burnt crumbs better than any other common home appliance. While cleaning your stove is obviously important, it can bring up questions such as, "How do I remove the grease without leaving scratches?" "What cleaner do I use to make sure there isn't a weird film left behind?" "The water spots are too resilient for basic cleaner. What can I use to remove these?".
Here are 7 cleaning hacks that you can use to clean even the toughest messes off of your glass stove top.
- Sprinkle baking soda over the problem areas and cover with a hot towel.
Use a razor blade to scrape off water stains
- This is a common method used to remove stuck on grease and grime. All it entails is sprinkling baking soda over the problem area, running a towel under hot water, placing said towel over the baking soda, and allowing it to sit for 15mins. After the 15mins is up, you should be able to use that same towel and rub it over the area in circular motions to remove the baking soda and grease. If a residue is left behind, you can use a microfiber cloth to buff it off. No expensive products, no elbow grease, and no frustration.
Distilled white vinegar.
- I'm sure we've all experienced that moment when water boils over the top of the pot and leaves that annoying ring of water burned onto the stove. While these are a bit more difficult to remove, it isn't impossible. With this hack, you'll want to proceed with caution. Using a flat razor blade and running it straight across the water stain will remove this spot. Be sure to keep the blade straight and not at an angle in order to prevent scratching. If the blade alone is struggling to remove the residue, try laying a hot towel over the area to loosen things up.
Combine dawn dish soap, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide.
- This alone may not remove tough stains but if you're looking for a good product to use for every day cleaning, this is it. It is affordable, easy to find, and easy to use. Not only that, but it doesn't leave a residue to be burned off like a lot of other products do.
Car wax to prevent future difficulties.
- This one requires gloves, a scrubbing brush, and some elbow grease. Some stains are truly a pain to get off. If none of these other methods have worked for you, then this surely will. First, squirt dawn dish soap over the stove top. Then, cover with baking soda. Finally, add about a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide over top of the solution. Once all of the products have been applied, proceed to scrub with a dish brush but make sure to be wearing gloves to prevent having direct contact with this solution. Once you have scrubbed for a few minutes and the mixture is fully combined, allow it to sit for about 3 more minutes and then wipe away with a microfiber cloth.
Use a glass cleaner once the stove has been successfully cleaned.
- Take some car wax, buff it on top of your clean stove, wipe away the excess with a paper towel, and then any future grease or grime should wipe right off.
Typical stove cleaner
- This will remove any streaks that may have been left behind to make your glass stove look brand new.
- Obviously you can skip the hassle and try using a general store-bought stove cleaner to help remove any problem areas. Be sure to follow the instructions on the cleaner of your choice to ensure optimum results.
To keep that sleek, minimalist look that a glass stovetop provides, as well as prevent fire hazards due to stuck on grease and grime, try out these cleaning hacks.
As always, if you have experienced a fire in your home or business, call SERVPRO of Parker and Northeast Hood Counties! 817-596-8714
House Fires: Fact V. Fiction
According to sf-fire.org, nearly 4,000 Americans die each year in house fires and over 2,000 are severely injured. Not only that, but about 80% of civilian deaths each year are due to fire occurring within homes. While most of these fires cannot be anticipated, there are a few things that homeowners and their families do, or don't do, that can increase the impact of this disaster. Here are a few debunked myths about house fires that may help you protect yourself and your family in the future.
Fact VS. Fiction
- Myth: Smoke alarms are enough to protect your house from a fire.
Myth: Newer houses are safer than older houses in terms of fires.
- Fact: Smoke alarms simply alert you when a fire has formed. They are not any good for putting the fire itself out.
Myth: You have a few minutes to escape a fire.
- Fact: Although older houses may have outdated electrical wiring, newer houses are built with more synthetic materials and lighter woods that are actually more flammable. In an older house, you may have longer to put the fire out, but a newer house only gives you seconds to react due to its flammable bones.
Myth: The sprinkler system will activate in the entire house if only one room is affected.
- Fact: As stated above, you may only be given a few seconds to escape your home once the fire has started. It's tempting to grab family heirlooms before they are destroyed, but are they worth your life and health?
Myth: In a fire, the flames are your biggest danger.
- Fact: If only the kitchen has caught fire, the sprinklers in the kitchen will be the only ones that activate. It all goes one room at a time.
Myth: Children know what to do if they get caught in a fire.
- Fact: If you find yourself caught in a fire, it will be the smoke that gets to you first, not the flames. Smoke is made up of all kinds of dangerous chemicals such as carbon monoxide that are incredibly toxic to humans. If inhaled, it can cause unconsciousness followed by death.
- Fact: Unless a specific plan has been established, children may not understand what to do in a fiery situation. A lot of the time, children will hide in their closet or under their bed to escape the flames, not knowing that this is actually more dangerous. It's important to make sure young children understand what to do if they notice that a fire has started.
These few myths debunked may help you react safely if you find yourself in the midst of a home fire. As always if your home has experienced any amount of smoke or fire damage, SERVPRO of Parker and Northeast Hood Counties is able and willing to help. We are available 24/7 to help you recover your home or business from any disaster. You can reach us at 817-596-8714.
Burn Baby Burn, or Don't!
Do you have a fire extinguisher in your home? Do you know what kind of fire that extinguisher is made for? Did you know that homeowners are recommended to have at least FOUR fire extinguishers in their home? Chances are, probably not. A common misconception is that one fire extinguisher is made to put out any fire, when in reality, there are actually four different classes of fire extinguishers and they are all made for different purposes.
The four classes of fire extinguishers are labeled "A, B, C, and D". Class "A" is most commonly the extinguisher found in households because it puts out ordinary combustibles such as paper and wood; this is also the most well known extinguisher. The other three classes will be described below:
- Class B: Class B extinguishers are for use on flammable liquids like grease, gasoline, and oil.
- Class C: Class C extinguishers are for use on electrical fires only
- Class D: Class D extinguishers are designed to put out flammable metals.
Some extinguishers are multipurpose, and can be suitable for two or more classes of fire. If this is the case, the extinguisher will be labeled as such (A-B, B-C, or A-B-C). Professionals recommend that every home and business owner have at least one fire extinguisher for each class. This will ensure preparedness in any burning situation.
When engaging a fire extinguisher, it is important to remember to P.A.S.S.
- Pull the pin on the fire extinguisher to break the seal.
- Aim the fire extinguisher low, at the base of the fire.
- Squeeze the handle of the extinguisher to release the extinguishing agent.
- Sweep the nozzle from side to side at the base of the fire until the fire is fully put out.
In case your home does experience the devastation of a fire, SERVPRO of Parker and Northeast Hood Counties can take over the cleaning and restoration process to relieve some of the stress on your shoulders! You can contact us anytime, 24/7, at 817-596-8714.
Maintaining Your Smoke Alarm
Smoke alarms are one of the most basic fire safety devices that are available to us. They have been installed in almost every home and business across the board. What a lot of people don't know though, is that even smoke alarms require a minimum amount of maintenance. There are just a few things that the U.S. Fire Administration recommends to ensure that your smoke alarm is up to par.
- Check your alarms monthly.
Replace non-hardwired detectors batteries annually.
- Although some smoke alarms are self-testing, it is still recommended to manually test them once a month. This can generally be done by holding down the button in the center of the alarm until it begins to beep.
Clean your detectors annually.
- The last thing you want is to find out that your smoke alarm's batteries are dead. Chances are that by then, it would be a little too late.
- Your average dust bunnies can, in fact, impede on your alarms performance. Make sure to take the device off of the wall and see that it is sparkling and not sparking.
It may seem tedious to perform these tasks but it's important to make sure that your smoke alarms aren't being sabotaged. After all, you probably don't want to be without warning if your home happens to catch fire while you're asleep. A few minutes of your time to ensure that things are working properly is well worth it when your assets are on the line.
If you do find yourself in need of a fire mitigation crew, call SERVPRO of Parker and Northeast Hood Counties! 817-596-8714
The Top Five Causes of House Fires and How to Avoid Them
"Mmm," you moan as the smell of barbeque brushes your nostrils. Your mouth begins to water, your stomach begins to growl, a warm shiver tickles your spine. Your body begs for a slice of whatever is cooking in the kitchen, until, all of a sudden, you realize that that's not food at all. It's your house. Your house is on fire.
Don't you just hate when that happens! You think you're about to get a hot meal, but instead, you get an insurance claim. Alright, alright, I'm kidding. I'm hoping you can tell the difference between Risky's Bar-B-Q, and a risky BBQ (that’s a little pun for y'all around Parker County).
On a serious note, house fires can be seriously detrimental. They endanger you, your family, your pets, and your assets. Although there is no sure way to completely prevent sparks from flying, there are some things that should be kept in mind and paid attention to. Here are the five most common causes of house fires and how you can do your best to avoid them.
- Cooking is the cause of a whopping forty-nine percent of residential fires. Now that's not giving you permission to eat out every day, but it is encouragement to watch what you put on your stove. More often than not, these fires are caused by grease that gets overheated. Grease is an incredibly flammable substance once it reaches about six-hundred degrees Fahrenheit. When it reaches this point, it can combust spontaneously, even without direct flame contact.
- Toasters and ovens can also start fires if not cleaned properly. Oils and crumbs that sit at the bottom of these machines can catch fire when exposed to extreme heat, like they are.
- How do you prevent these things from causing a fire? Leaving anything unattended on your stove is not a good place to start, especially if you're cooking something in oil or grease. Also, make sure to clean your cooking equipment often to ensure that there are no crumbs or oils trapped at the bottom of them.
- The second most common cause of house fires are heating appliances such as space heaters. These kinds of fires are less common than ones caused by cooking, causing only twelve percent of residential fires, but can be equally as detrimental. Heaters that are fueled by kerosine are especially dangerous, as the fuel is extremely flammable. Electric heaters can also be dangerous if the electrical wires short out, causing sparks.
- How to avoid fires caused by heating appliances: simply unplug or turn off your heater when nobody is around to supervise it. Not allowing the heater to overheat will also contribute to the act of avoiding flames.
- As stated above, electrical shortages can create sparks, causing fires. Generally, shortages don't happen "just because", they are usually caused by faulty wiring or by having too many things plugged in at once. Although only ten percent of residential fires are caused by electrical shortages, it is still important to take what preventative measures you can.
- Avoiding electrical shortages is slightly more difficult than avoiding the fire starters previously discussed. Having an electrician inspect your home or business is one of the safest ways to ensure that you aren't at risk especially if you live in an older home.
- If you're a smoker, chances are you've heard the "why smoking is bad for you" speech a million times over. I'm not here to shame or commend your life choices, but, when you put your cigarette in the ashtray, check to see if there are any red ashes left. Cigarette ashes only cause about five percent of house fires, but are the cause of about twenty-three percent of fire deaths. This is because this fire most often starts while the resident is asleep.
- How to prevent fire caused by cigarettes: ensure that your cigarette is fully put out when placed in the ashtray.
- The fifth most common fire starter in the home is the beloved candle. Didn't think Bath and Body Works could cause so much trouble huh? Truthfully, this is another one of those situations where the open flame is fine, as long as somebody is supervising it. Most fires caused by candles happen when the resident has left the home or when a flammable object, such as paper, is left within reach of the flame.
- The best way to prevent fire caused by candles is to remove flammable objects from the surrounding area, as well as blowing the candle out when planning to leave it unsupervised.
Overall, house fires aren't completely preventable, but they are avoidable. By watching what you do, keeping things tidy, and not leaving open flames unattended, you can save yourself a lot of money and frustration.
If for some reason you do experience the rage caused by fire damage, SERVPRO of Parker and Northeast Hood Counties is more than willing to help! We are open 24/7/365 and are always ready to answer your calls. You can contact us at 817-596-8714
Is your dryer a fire hazard?
According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly 17,000 clothes dryer fires are reported yearly. These dryers, on average, cause about 51 deaths, 380 injuries, and $236 million in property loss. The leading cause of these types of fires, 34%, is failure to clean the dryer vents.
Why are dryer vents the leading cause of clothes dryer-related fires?
While cleaning the lint filter in your dryer does lower the risk of starting a fire, it doesn't abolish it completely. Despite common belief, lint filters don't catch everything. Lint tends to get trapped in the vent connected to your dryer. This vent heats up every time your dryer is being used and with nowhere for the trapped lint to escape the heat, it becomes a fire hazard. That is why professionals recommend getting your dryer vents cleaned at least once a year.
How do I know when my vents need to be cleaned?
There are a few obvious signs that appear when your vents need to be cleaned. This includes:
- Clothes taking longer than normal to dry
- Clothes are unusually hot to the touch when cycle is over
- The laundry room heats up when the dryer is in use
- Burning smells
- Dryer stops working
- Vent flap isn't opening
If any of these signs occur when partaking in your normal laundry routine, it may be time to call in a professional to make sure everything is clean and clear. Fortunately, our team at SERVPRO of Parker and Northeast Hood Counties is trained and experienced in this field. If you notice any of these things happening or if it has been over a year since your last vent cleaning, give us a call! 817-596-8714
Too Hot to Handle
The idea of gathering around a bonfire with a group of friends is frequently thought about as the spring season approaches. With this in mind, it's important to know how to safely go about this smoky activity. Here's a few tips you may consider following to ensure your BBQ only cooks the food on the table.
- Keep the fire contained by constructing a fire pit.
- Avoid lighting an outdoor fire in high winds.
- Ensure that there is a bucket of water and a water hose nearby incase of emergency.
- Don't use lighter fluid once the fire has been started.
- Make sure to put the fire out completely by stirring the ashes around and dousing with water.
Following these five tips will aid in preventing your fire from becoming "too hot to handle".
Personal Protective Equipment| Fire
SERVPRO Fire and Water Restoration
Housefires are, unfortunately, more common than most of us would like to believe. The damages are often minor, such as damage to an oven and the cabinets surrounding it; however, every once in a while, we will see a case of a total or near-total loss. In this situation, the structure that is left can be incredibly fragile and the sediment can be toxic. This is when personal protective equipment truly becomes a necessity. Here at SERVPRO, we prioritize keeping our people safe. So, in the case of a fire cleanup, here are a few examples of PPE that we utilize.
Head Protection: As previously mentioned, in the case of a bad fire, the structure that is leftover can be fragile. To prevent injuries from falling objects, we wear hardhats or something similar.
Eye Protection: Flying particles can cause burns, punctures, or abrasions to the eyes so protective glasses or goggles are a must.
Gloves: Gloves are essential during any mitigation, remediation, or simple cleanup project in order to protect ourselves from any hidden bacteria.
Masks: After a fire, there are all kinds of particles flying around that can be dangerous to inhale. Lead paint and mold are concerns, especially in older homes. To protect our team from inhaling anything harmful, we wear masks of some sort.
Clothing and Body Protection: In extreme cases, we may wear a suit to cover our clothes and any exposed skin. This is to protect from any harmful products, particles, or bacteria that may be floating around.
Foot Protection: Our team ensures that we are wearing sturdy shoes and often some sort of cover for our shoes in case of loose nails, wiring, or any poisonous substances that may be on the ground.
Fire Safety Precautions
How often do you think about the common accidents that could happen in your home? It is easy to get into the flow of everyday life, and forget the small things that could make a huge difference. For example, leaving your lights and appliances on or plugged in. While our technology is improving every day, man made things are still faulty. This is why it is important to take certain precautions for you and your home. Over 50,000 homes are affected by electrical fires alone per year. We want to give you the best advice we can, to prevent this happening to you, our loyal customers. Purchasing a fire extinguisher, a smoke alarm, or extra circuit protectors are some of the few things that SERVPRO highly recommends you should buy for your home. Before you leave your house for the day make sure you unplug unnecessary things like lamps, hair straighteners, games consoles, etcetera. SERVPRO of Parker and Northeast Hood Counties wants you to be in the safest position possible when you are in the comfort of your home. Give us a call today for any questions you may have. (817)596-8714
Smoke Particles in the Air
Why lingering smoke smells in your home are dangerous. When the remaining smell of a house fire lingers in a home, it can be dangerous to you and your pets. Particles in the air from the smoke may linger. Even though our eyes cannot see the dangerous particles in the air, we are breathing it and it is there. Many times, diy smoke removal methods include using harsh chemicals. Things like ammonia, bleach, or vinegar are used to “remove” smells. These cleaning methods will leave toxic smells and particles in the air that you breathe. Thus, leaving you with more chemicals in your home than before. While these methods sometimes work for small jobs, more often than not a professional should be involved. If you have smoke damage in your home, please call your local SERVPRO professionals. SERVPRO of Parker and Northeast Hood Counties would be more than happy to clean your home of harsh smells and chemicals. Give us a call today! (817)596-8714
Handling a Small House Fire
Since SERVPRO of Parker and Northeast Hood Counties has dealt with many fire jobs in our several years of experience, we would like to share a few tips as to how to handle a small house fire. We want to start by saying that, obviously, fire is dangerous and spreads quickly. We want you to be safe and retain some skills just incase an accidental fire starts in or around your home. First and foremost, you should always have your own personal fire extinguisher. The first step you would take if a fire were to start would be using your extinguisher on the flames. Secondly, call 911. Emergency services is always there to help. The next step would be to open your doors AFTER THE FIRE IS OUT. From there, you wait for emergencies services, then call your local SERVPRO for a smoke smell removal, air filtration, and possible removal of burnt walls or counters. Call us (817)596-8714
Fire Cleanup Safety
When dealing with a fire catastrophe, SERVPRO of Parker and Northeast Hood Counties wants you to know that we take on the situation carefully and seriously. Our goal is to keep you safe while restoring and cleaning up the leftovers of the fire in your home. For your safety and convenience, SERVPRO offers the option of pack-outs &/or professional clothing washes (to remove smoke residue and smells). We want you to be taken care of in the midst of all the cleaning and possible tear-out. If you need fire clean-up and odor removal, do not hesitate to call us! We want to help and provide the best services to you for your satisfaction. SERVPRO of Parker and Northeast Hood Counties will be here for you! Call us (817)596-8714
Parker and NE Hood Counties Smoke and Soot Cleanup
Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate multiple 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.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF SMOKE:
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.
Every fire is different, and that is why every fire needs to be handled carefully and assessed correctly in able to ensure the best for you and your family/business. If you have any questions about what SERVPRO of Parker and Northeast Hood Counties can do for you, call us at (817)596-8714