Recent Fire Damage Posts
Here’s Why 9 out of 10 Small Businesses Fail After a Disaster
Commercial fire in Royal Poinciana, FL
Following a major disaster, around half of small businesses never even reopen. Most simply don’t have the resources to recover, even with insurance to cover damages and costs. While there are a few reasons for this, possibly the single most effective action you can take to save your business from bankruptcy is to purchase business interruption insurance.
It’s Called a Disaster for a Reason
Things can go very wrong very quickly in Royal Poinciana, FL. There are quite a few ways for nature – or mankind, for that matter – to throw you a curveball:
- Major pandemics
Sometimes you may have advanced notice, but in many cases, it’s a big surprise. Either way, studies show that around half of all businesses never reopen after a disaster and a whopping 90% fail within a year. Business interruption insurance is useful to cover lost revenue while your property is closed to normal operations.
Preparation Makes a Huge Difference
The first thing you can do to save your business is to have a continuity plan. FEMA has an excellent template to help you develop it along with advice for the best implementation.
It’s also common for businesses to create a plan but allocate inadequate time to training employees and management. At a minimum, managers and key employees must have some training and access to resources to mitigate the damage.
Loss of Revenue Is a Disaster in Itself
After a large event, such as a business fire or major flood, your company may be shut down for a considerable period, during which you’ll still have certain operating expenses. If you can’t resume operations within about 5 days, you risk being one of the 90%.
Depending on your policy, business interruption insurance helps cover lost profits, continuing operating expenses, and even the cost of shifting to a temporary location.
Once your company has survived the disaster, call a local fire cleaning company to help you deal with the mess and get things going. With luck, they can get you back in business before you notice that you were closed.
3 Reasons Why Your Fire Alarm Is Beeping
Change the batteries of your fire alarm every six months to prevent unnecessary beeping
Three Steps To Take If You Have A Beeping Smoke Alarm
A fire alarm that won’t stop beeping can be a pain in the neck. It is an essential part of keeping your home safe, but sometimes it can go off for reasons that have nothing to do with fire. Here are three steps to take if you have a beeping smoke alarm in Aventura, FL, that just won't quit.
1. Change the Batteries
Most of the time, the culprit behind a chirping smoke alarm is low battery life. Its batteries should be changed every six months to prevent unnecessary beeping. To change your fire alarm’s batteries, first grab a stool. Twist the alarm until you can remove it from the ceiling or its ceiling mount. Carefully open the casing and replace the old batteries with the new. Finally, twist the detector back into its mounting bracket and ensure that it's secure.
2. Reset Your Fire Alarm
Sometimes, all your smoke detector needs is a simple reset. To do this, locate your unit's test button. It may be on the front of the unit, or it may be inside the unit near the batteries. Hold the test button for up to 20 seconds or as long as your alarm's manual specifies to reset the unit.
3. Replace Your Smoke Detector
Your smoke alarm may still go off even after you perform maintenance on it. If your alarm falls in this category, it’s probably time to replace it. The average alarm has a lifespan of 10 years.
If you do decide to replace the unit, do so promptly to avoid fire damage, smoke damage, and a visit from your local fire restoration company. Fire alarms are inexpensive and easy to installs, so there's no reason to delay.
Smoke detectors have one job: to warn you about imminent danger. If your fire alarm is malfunctioning, react promptly to find the source of the problem and return this vital piece of home equipment to working order.
How to Safely Burn Candles at Home
Generally, you need to be very careful when using candles
There’s something about the homey scent of candles that keep people buying more, centuries after the invention of light bulbs. However, these decorative pieces feature an open flame that makes them a fire hazard. In fact, the NFPA reports that an average of 1 candle fire incident occurs in Hollywood Lakes, FL, every day.
Here Are Some Candle Fire Facts:
- Most candle-related fires start in the bedroom
- Falling asleep while a wax light is burning leads to house fires and even death
- December is the peak time for candle fires
Never Leave a Candle Unattended
Leaving a candle flame unattended is perhaps the biggest mistake any homeowner could make, especially when there are children and pets in the house. The idea is to place the wax lights away from any flammable objects such as furniture, beddings and decorations. Also, be careful not to touch or move it while it’s still flaming.
Place It Strategically
Placement is another crucial thing to consider when dealing with candles. Never leave them on a window seal where a breeze could push the curtains towards the flame, causing a fire. It is also a bad idea to place any pieces of paper near it. Instead, put all burning candles on a stable surface, preferably in the middle of the table.
Trim the Wick
The National Candle Association recommends that candle wicks should be trimmed to a 1/4 of the remaining size before burning, every time. You can use a candle trimmer or nail clipper to cut as it prevents uneven burning, dripping and flaring. It is also advisable to keep the wax pool clear of trimmings and debris to eliminate the need for a smoke cleanup.
Generally, you need to be very careful when using candles, especially in December. A candle fire will not only threaten your home’s structural integrity but will also result in soot and water damage.
Why Should I Board Up My Home After a Fire?
It’s important to board up your home right away to avoid additional damage to both the structure and your finances.
If you’ve experienced a residential fire, you know that the immediate aftermath can be devastating. Your home suddenly becomes vulnerable to all types of extraneous elements. Meanwhile, your family might be displaced for weeks or even months until the fire damage is repaired. The sooner you take action, the less risk you have of:
1. Additional Damage
Doors and windows can be destroyed by fire, leaving the home open to all types of intruders, including vandals, animals and weather. A damaged house that appears to be abandoned is considered by some people to be an open invitation to trespass; it’s a pretty safe bet that they’ll be up to no good. Animals might see the house as an opportunity to look for food and shelter. Additionally, any open areas can be susceptible to the ever-changing outdoor conditions such as freezing temperatures, rain and wind.
2. Additional Loss of Property
When you board up your home it makes it much more difficult for potential burglars to gain access. Instead of going in through a window or door, they would have to pry up boards, requiring more time and energy than they might want to invest.
3. Loss of Insurance Coverage
After a disaster, it’s your responsibility to take every measure possible to protect your property from further damage. Most insurance policies have certain requirements such as an emergency board up of a damaged structure. If this action isn’t taken, the insurance company might refuse to pay some or all of the claim.
Even if someone who isn’t authorized to be on your property (especially a child) trespasses and gets injured, you could be liable for their injuries.
Choosing to board up after a house fire means that your home will be safe from the elements so that the restoration process will go as smoothly as possible. Be sure to call fire cleanup professionals to get your home back up to code as soon as possible.
Fire Disasters Not Covered by Standard Home Insurance
Vacant home burned in Aventura, FL
Fire Disasters Not Covered by Standard Home Insurance
Many people assume that a home fire is covered by their insurance policy. In reality, most insurance plans only cover specific types of fire disasters. Learn which circumstances can qualify you for reimbursement and which ones can leave you with a large bill.
Arson: A Dead End
When a homeowner deliberately sets fire to property, then authorities consider it a criminal offense. A common motivator for this crime is to collect insurance money, and companies are aware of this fact. They often send investigators to assess the fire damage to a property. If arson is suspected then there is no financial reimbursement.
Fire in a Vacant Home: No Luck
Insurance companies typically define a vacant home fire according to these points:
- No occupation for at least 30 days
- A property that is purchased, but the homeowners haven’t moved in yet
- Homes that are rented out but currently free of tenants
Vacant homes are a large risk to insurance companies because a fire cleanup tends to be more severe. If you want to secure your property against a possible home fire, then you can purchase an endorsement to an existing policy. This is a good idea for a summer home, for example, that is not occupied for part of the year.
Commonly Covered Circumstances
Disasters and fires that occur from an appliance malfunction, vandalism, wildfire or lightning strike can often qualify for coverage. In these cases, you and your family may not have to pay for a fire damage cleanup company in Aventura, FL, out of pocket. If someone was hurt during the incident, then insurance can also cover medical costs. Insurance companies have to make a profit, but they are also concerned about the well-being of their clients.
Understanding the details of your homeowner's insurance can be useful in the event of a home fire. Fires resulting from arson and vacant home fires often do not receive financial assistance.
How to Prevent a Fire
Fire alarm guarding this home incase of a flame occurrence.
As a fire prevention Month, SERVPRO of Hollywood/Hallandale/Aventura would like to share some tips and facts about preventing from any fire disasters.
- The first 48 hours after a fire damage can make the difference between restoring versus replacing your property and personal belongings. SERVPRO . SERVPRO'S 1-4-8 Service Response Guidelines can help prevent FIRE DAMAGE from creating long-term problems. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals provide timely response with MITIGATION services ranging from FIRE, SMOKE AND SOOT REMOVAL to contents claims inventory and document restoration. these services help ensure your property, belongings and memories are restored to preloss condition when possible. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals are available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year to help you regain control quickly.
WHAT YOU CAN DO UNTIL HELP ARRIVES
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from spreading and additional damage from occurring
- Keep hands clean so as not to further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
- Place clean towels or old linens on rugs and high traffic areas and upholstery.
- If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.
- Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves.
- Change HVAC filter.
- Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.
- Coat chrome faucets, trim and appliances petroleum jelly or oil
- Place aluminum foil wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpet.
- Do not shampoo carpet or upholstery
- Do not clean any electrical equipment.
- Do not send clothing to a dry cleaner since improper cleaning may set some odor.
WHAT NOT TO DO AFTER A FIRE
- Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting us.
- Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
- Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water.
- Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
- Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.
Have Smoke or Fire Damage? Call (954) 921-8992
How to Use Fire Extinguishers in Aventura
When using a fire extinguisher in Aventura, remember PASS; Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep.
Here at SERVPRO of Hollywood/Hallandale/Aventura, we hope you never experience the devastation that comes with fire damage. However, in the event that disaster strikes, be aware that our IICRC certified technicians are qualified in all aspects of cleaning up the damage left by smoke and fire in your business or residence in Aventura, Florida.
Fire extinguishers may help prevent fire damage or smoke damage, but only if you know how to use them.
SERVPRO of Hollywood/Hallandale/Aventura wants to share these tips from FEMA. You can try to fight a small fire only if:
- You have alerted others in the building that there is a fire
- Someone has called the fire department
- You are physically able to use a fire extinguisher
- The fire is small and contained (like a wastebasket)
- You are safe from the fire’s smoke
- You have a clear escape route
How to Use a Fire Extinguisher: SERVPRO of Hollywood/Hallandale/Aventura suggests you remember PASS:
Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism
Aim at the base of the fire
Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly
Sweep the nozzle side to side
Tips To Prevent Kitchen Fires In Hallandale
Avoid Kitchen Fires In Your Hallandale Home
SERVPRO of Hollywood/Hallandale/Aventura knows that cooking equipment is the leading cause of fire damage and fire injuries in the home.
SERVPRO wants you to be safe, so to help prevent fire damage, we have these suggestions for preventing kitchen fires. They make more sense than not cooking at home.
SERVPRO of Hollywood/Hallandale/Aventura offers these tips for Fire Prevention in the kitchen:
- Keep anything that can catch fire at least 3 feet away from the stove top
- Many kitchen items can catch fire, including: dish towels, oven mitts, recipes, wooden tools, and loose clothing
- Never operate the stove or oven when you are tired or have been drinking alcohol
- Keep children at least 3 feet away from the stove or oven
- If you are frying, broiling, grilling, or boiling food, stay in the kitchen. If you leave, even for a short time, turn off the heat
- If you are baking, roasting, or simmering food, stay in the house. If you leave, even for a short time, turn off the heat
Remember that fire is fast. If you cannot contain a fire immediately, leave and bring everyone with you. Call 9-1-1 from outside the home.
SERVPRO of Hollywood/Hallandale/Aventura reminds you that fire prevention is the best strategy against fire damage.
Prevention is the best way to avoid fire damage, mold damage, and water damage from a kitchen fire.
Your Business In Hollywood Should Know FEMA Stats on Commercial Fires
Don't Allow A Fire To Keep Your Business Shut Down
The Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) reports that over 40% of businesses do not reopen after a disaster such as fire damage, storm damage, or other disruption. SERVPRO of Hollywood/Hallandale/Aventura wants to serve our community by keeping your business up and running. We think it is important to support our local fire departments by helping to educate owners of both businesses and homes about the importance of prevention.
Only 29% of those that do reopen remain open after 2 years.
SERVPRO of Hollywood/Hallandale/Aventura wants you to be aware of the causes of fire damage and fire injuries so that you can help prevent them.
Top Causes of Commercial Fires in Hollywood/Hallandale/Aventura:
- Cooking: SERVPRO of Hollywood/Hallandale/Aventura has more information here
- Equipment: Almost 38% of business fires start from faulty equipment or from mis-used equipment. Some materials can catch fire or explode when exposed to heat
- Carelessness: Remember to cover light bulbs, turn off equipment at the end of the day, and to replace frayed cords
SERVPRO of Hollywood/Hallandale/Aventura wants you to remember that the best way to fight fire damage or smoke damage is to prevent it.
Extinguisher Types For Hollywood Beach, Golden Beach, and Aventura
Types Of Fire Extinquisher
All of us at SERVPRO of Hollywood/Hallandale/Aventura hope your business stays safe from fire. If the worst happens, we are experts in cleaning fire damage and smoke damage.
Just to be safe, SERVPRO of Hollywood/Hallandale/Aventura recommends you keep, maintain, and know how to use fire extinguishers.
A fire-extinguisher may prevent fire damage and smoke damage from spreading throughout the office.
If you see a small fire that you can take care of yourself, use the following tips. If you have any worries, you and everyone else should leave the house and call 9-1-1 when you are outside.
SERVPRO of Hollywood/Hallandale/Aventura wants you to know that you can try to fight a small fire only if:
- You can get to the fire extinguisher quickly. Fire is fast. Fire damage and smoke damage are less painful than personal injuries
- You have the right class of fire extinguisher
- You know how to use the fire extinguisher
SERVPRO of Hollywood/Hallandale/Aventura explains Types of Commercial Fire Extinguishers:
(art from U.S. Fire Administration)
Classes A, B, and C fire extinguishers are found in both homes and businesses
- Class A is for cloth, wood, and paper
- Class B is for liquids that can burst into flame or explode, such as grease, gasoline, oil, or oil-based paints
- Class C is for electrical equipment like computers, tools, or anything else that is plugged in
- Most home-improvement stores sell multi-purpose fire extinguishers: Classes A:B:C
- Class D is for metals that can burst into flame. Class D fire extinguishers are usually needed only in some factories
- Class K is for vegetable and animal oils and fats that are in cooking appliances. Commercial kitchens (restaurants, cafeterias, catering businesses) often use them
Holiday Fire Safety Tips
It is important to keep these holiday fire safety tips in mind.
The holiday season is a time for family, friends, and good cheer. Homes around the world decorate their houses, both inside and outside, with Christmas trees, Hanukkah menorahs, and beautiful lights. While this is all wonderful, it is important to keep in mind that all of these items present potential fire hazards for your home and should be taken very seriously.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), about 40 percent of Christmas tree fires begin in the family room, den, or living room. In addition, Christmas, New Year’s Day, and New Year’s Eve are the tops three days in the year for home candle fires. As such, it is important to keep these holiday fire safety tips in mind:
- Do not leave your holiday cooking unattended while the oven or stove is on
- Purchase a Christmas tree with intact needles, water it daily, and make sure the trunk has a fresh cut
- Keep candles at least a foot away from anything that could catch fire
- Keep matches and lighters away from children
- Carefully inspect light strings for things like cracked wires, frays, or broken sockets
- Do not leave your home while menorah candles are still lit
- Get your chimney inspected before you begin lighting fires
The above tips are crucial to keep your home and your family safe this holiday season. If the home of you or a loved one has suffered fire damage, call on the fire restoration specialists at SERVPRO for immediate help!
Fire Hazards in the Kitchen
Cooking fires are the leading source of fires throughout the country, so being aware of the potential risks associated with kitchen items is important
Fire accidents are something that people think will never happen to them. As we’ve seen in recent months in states like California, forest fires can be extremely dangerous and destruction to anything and everything near and in its path. In South Florida, forest fires are far less common. However, it is important for Florida residents to understand that there are still a lot of risks when it comes to fires and your home or commercial property. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recently released a report stating that 2 in every 5 home fires in the United States begin in the kitchen.
Cooking is a fun activity that is enjoyed by friends and family of all walks of life. Some of a family’s best moments are those spent in the kitchen cooking, eating, and enjoying each other’s company. Unfortunately, the kitchen is also a potentially hazardous place when it comes to fires. The following are some of the biggest fire hazards in the kitchen:
- Grease build-up on stovetop
- Electrical wiring
- Loose clothing near open flames or on the stovetop
Being aware of the above hazardous items is important to maintain a safe and secure kitchen area. It is important to keep a fire extinguisher near or inside of the kitchen in the event that a fire starts. Cooking fires are the leading source of fires throughout the country, so being hyper-aware of the potential risks associated with kitchen items is important. If you have experienced a kitchen fire, contact our team at SERVPRO to take care of the cleanup and restoration.
Electrical Safety for Your Children
Electrical safety and fire safety are important subject matters that must be addressed by parents on a regular basis.
Homeowners often think of fire and electrical safety in regards to protecting their family and their property, but considering these practices from a child’s perspective is imperative to truly keeping your loved ones and home safe from harm. When discussing these issues with kids, it is best to break things into two categories in order for them to be easily understood and readily followed. Far too many parents sit their children down and offer guidelines given to them, which are difficult for kids to understand and put into practice. As such, today we offer some easy tips for explaining electrical safety to your children.
Below, we will break down how to help your children with identifying safe practices versus unsafe practices. Be sure to talk through these items with your kids slowly and carefully.
The following practices and ideas are positioned in the “safe” category:
- Help your parents by reminding them to test your smoke alarm monthly and change the smoke alarm batteries yearly
- Be sure to turn off the lights when leaving a room and before going to sleep
- If you see smoke or a fire, leave your home right away and call 911 from a safe location
- Make sure space heaters have a space, do not place anything that can burn anywhere near them
The following practice and ideas are positioned in the “unsafe” category:
- Never use or touch electrical cords that are broken or frayed
- Always keep electronics far away from any liquids
- Do not overcrowd electrical outlets with cords, if there are too many in one location ask an adult to remove some
- Do not put anything that can burn near lightbulbs or lampshades
Electrical safety and fire safety are important subject matters that must be addressed by parents on a regular basis. Make it a habit to ask your children questions to ensure that they are well-versed on the above safety tips at all times.
Smoke Alarm Safety for Your Home
Having a smoke alarm in the house in one of the most effective ways to save you and your family’s lives. Keep in mind these smoke alarm safety tips.
Properly functioning smoke alarms are a key aspect to general home safety when it comes to potential home fires. Unfortunately, statistics point to the fact that approximately 60 percent of home fire deaths are a direct result of fires in properties without working smoke alarms. While it may seem like an afterthought or a bonus for a home, the reality is that smoke alarms save lives and missing or broken smoke alarms can be the cause of fire deaths or fire injuries. When a fire starts in a home, it spreads incredibly fast. As such, it is absolutely essential for all South Florida homeowners to have working smoke alarms installed throughout their homes to ensure they can get out as quickly as possible.
Some experts say that a family has one minute or less to get out of a home in the event of a fire. Having a smoke alarm in the house in one of the most effective ways to save you and your family’s lives. Keep in mind the following smoke alarm safety tips:
- Make sure your alarm system is interconnected so that when one alarm goes off they all do
- Check your smoke alarms every month to make sure they are functioning correctly
- Get new smoke alarms installed every 10 years
- Smoke alarms should be installed both inside and outside of all bedrooms or other sleeping areas
- Smoke alarms should be installed on each level of the home
- Replace smoke alarm battery at least one time a year (9-volt battery)
- Practice a fire drill in the event that the alarm goes off
- Once the smoke alarm sounds, everyone must get out of the house fast
An estimated 3,000 people are killed each year in the United States due to fires. Ensure that you and your family are taking every measure to be protected from fire danger. The first step in safeguarding your home is to deploy the above smoke alarm tips right away. If your home has suffered any fire damage, contact the professionals at SERVPRO today to learn more!
The majority of fires are believed to be caused by candles and cooking incidents, yet it is best to have knowledge of the unexpected household items that may cause fires, to prevent them in advance:
- Cooking Equipment- Pots and pans can overheat and cause a fire very easily if the person cooking gets distracted and leaves cooking unattended. Always stay in the room, or ask someone to watch your food, when cooking on hotplates.
- Heating- Keep portable heaters at least one meter away from anything that could easily catch fire such as furniture, curtains, laundry, clothes and even yourself.
- Smoking in bedrooms- Bedrooms are best to be kept off limits for smoking. A cigarette that is not put out properly can cause a flame, as the butt may stay lit for a few hours. It could burst into flames if it came into contact with flammable materials, such as furniture.
- Electrical Equipment- An electrical appliance, such as a toaster can start a fire if it is faulty or has a frayed cord. A power point that is overloaded with double adapter plugs can cause a fire from an overuse of electricity. A power point extension cord can also be a fire hazard if not used appropriately. Double check the appliances and power points in your home.
- Candles- Candles look and smell pretty, but if left unattended they can cause a room to easily burst into flames. Keep candles away from any obviously flammable items such as books and tissue boxes. Always blow a candle out before leaving a room.
- Curious Children- Kids can cause a fire out of curiosity, to see what would happen if they set fire to an object. Keep any matches or lighters out of reach of children, to avoid any curiosity turned disaster. Install a smoke alarm in your child’s room and practice a home escape plan with your children and family in case there was a fire. Teach kids understand the “stop, drop, cover and roll” drill as well as knowing their address.
- Faulty Wiring- Homes with inadequate wiring can cause fires from electrical hazards. Some signs to see if you’ve bad wiring are: 1) Lights dim if you use another appliance; 2) For an appliance to work, you have to disconnect another; 3) Fuses blow or trip the circuit frequently.
- Barbeques- Barbeques are great for an outdoor meal, but should always be used away from the home, tablecloths or any plants and tree branches. Keep BBQs regularly maintained and cleaned with soapy water and clean any removable parts. Check the gas bottle for any leaks before you use it each time.
- Flammable Liquids- If you have any flammable liquids in the home or garage such as petrol, kerosene or methylated spirits, keep them away from heat sources and check the label before storing. Be careful when pouring these liquids.
- Lighting- Lamp shades and light fittings can build up heat if they are very close to light globes. Check around the house to make sure. Lamp bases can become a hazard if they are able to be knocked over easily, and so should be removed if they are. Check that down lights are insulated from wood paneling or ceiling timbers.
In the case that any home or business fire occurs, contact SERVPRO of Hollywood/Hallandale/Aventura to assist you in leaving your home "Like it never even happened."
Once a house fire occurs...
A fire in a home can cause serious damage. The building and many of the things in your home may have been badly damaged by flames, heat, smoke and water. It is important to know what to do after the fire has been turned off:
- Personal Safety- Do not enter a damaged home or apartment unless the fire department says it is safe. Fires can start again, even if they appear to be out. Watch for damage caused by the fire. Roofs and floors may be damaged and could fall down.
- Secure the premises- Board up any open windows or doors that may have been damaged during the fire to prevent looting.
- Contact your insurance agent- Ask what to do about the immediate needs of your home. This includes pumping out water and covering doors, windows and other openings. If you do not have insurance, there organizations that may be able to assist you in the time of need; such as American Red Cross, Religious organizations, Public Health Department, or State emergency offices.
- Finances- Finances Get in touch with your landlord or mortgage lender ASAP. Contact your credit card company to report credit cards that were lost in the fire and request replacements.
- Restoration- Contact SERVPRO of Hollywood/ Hallandale/Aventura to begin restoring your home to habitable living conditions. The restoration process for a fire may be lengthy depending on the severity of the damages but SERVPRO will facilitate the process and will leave it "Like it never even happened."
Facts about Home Fires
SERVPRO specializes in fire damage restoration and we’ll treat you with respect and empathy and we’ll always treat your home and belongings with care.
Home fires in the United States are continuously a safety issue. In fact, more than 80 percent of all fire deaths occur in home fires. As such, being as educated as possible about home fires is important to protecting your loved ones and your house from potential fire hazards. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, each year throughout the country over 2,500 people die and 12,600 people are injured as a result of a home fire. While they certainly range in severity, fires are something that must be treated seriously no matter the size. Most natural disasters are scary due to their unpredictability, fires, on the other hand, are entirely preventable. The ability to prevent a fire from occurring lies largely in one’s fire education.
Keeping in the mind the following facts about fire can make a huge impact on staying safe in the event of a fire emergency or in preventing a fire from starting in the first place:
- 60 percent of home fire deaths happen when there are no smoke alarms or the smoke alarms are not working
- Every home should have a fire escape plan in place, but only 30 percent of Americans have one
- Each day, an average of 7 people in the U.S. die in a home fire
- The leading cause of home fire deaths is smoking materials
- The leading cause of home fire injuries is cooking equipment
- About 50 percent of home fires deaths are reported between the hours of 11pm and 7am
- The risk of dying in a fire is cut in half when there is a working smoke alarm present
- In the event of a home fire, everyone must get low to crawl under the smoke towards the nearest exit of the home
- Once a smoke alarm goes off, you only have a few seconds to escape the home
It is important to remember that after a fire no one should go back into the building unless instructed to do so by a firefighter. Fire damage can be especially upsetting and destructive for your family to process. You may feel stressed, confused, and vulnerable, so you’ll need a caring expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO specializes in fire damage restoration and we’ll treat you with respect and empathy, and we’ll always treat your home and belongings with care. We have the specific damage restoration training, personnel, and equipment and can quickly restore your home to pre-fire condition.
Importance of Smoke Alarms
Smoke alarms can save lives. In order to protect your family, pets, and yourself from injury or death during a fire, smoke alarms are essential. Below, you’ll find the best tips for ensuring that safety at all times:
- A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home.
- Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.
- Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
- Test your smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
- There are two kinds of alarms. Ionization smoke alarms are quicker to warn about flaming fires. Photoelectric alarms are quicker to warn about smoldering fires. It is best to use of both types of alarms in the home.
- When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside.
- Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years.
From Fire to Water Damage
In some fires, the damages caused by the flames turn out to be the least of our customer's concerns. Fires can also trigger damage to residential and commercial properties in ways many would not expect, water damage. This could be a result of the efforts to put out the fire or from the heat itself. Fire can melt and break metal faucets and plumbing due to its extreme temperature, causing profuse leaks and ruptures wherever it crosses a water fixture. Although these do not often release enormous amounts of water, they can cause considerable damage to floors and walls in the surrounding areas. Even though both forms of damage are just as important; the water mitigation needs to be addressed immediately to prevent secondary damage to the structure.
There is a sense of tranquility to candles, but we need to keep in mind that they are an open flame and a potential fire hazard. There are several things to keep in mind to properly monitor a burning candle, as stated by the National Candle Association:
- Never touch or move a burning candle. Never move a votive or container candle when the wax is liquefied.
- Don’t burn a candle all the way down. For a margin of safety, discontinue burning a candle when 2 inches of wax remains (1/2 inch if in a container).
- Place burning candles at least three inches apart from one another. This is to make sure they don’t melt one another, or create their own drafts that will cause the candles to burn improperly.
- Extinguish a candle if the flame becomes too high or flickers repeatedly. Let the candle cool, trim the wick, and check for unwanted drafts before re-lighting.
- Always keep the candle within your sight. If you are going to leave the room, be sure to first blow out all candles.
- Always burn candles in a well-ventilated room. Don’t burn too many candles in a small room or in a “tight” home where air exchange is limited.
- Never use a candle as a night light.
- Be very careful if using candles during a power outage. Flashlights and other battery-powered lights are safer sources of light during a power failure. Never use a candle during a power outage to look for things in a closet, or when fueling equipment – such as a lantern or kerosene heater.
- Never burn a candle on or near anything that can catch fire. Keep burning candles away from furniture, drapes, bedding, carpets, books, paper, flammable decorations, etc.
- Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets. Do not place lighted candles where they can be knocked over by children, pets or anyone else.
Some of these points may seem obvious at first but it is better " to be safe than sorry." All preventative measures should be considered when dealing with an open flame, no matter how small it is.
BUSINESS CHECKLIST FOR FIRE AND LIFE SAFETY
Whether you are the Head Honcho or one of the all-important cogs that makes the wheels of efficiency and profitability turn smoothly you have some measure of responsibility for keeping your workplace safe. Many fire departments provide special training for businesses. As the slogan goes, learn not to burn!
Employees in small and large businesses have responsibilities related to fire and life safety. Employers and supervisors must be certain their co-workers are well informed, trained and prepared. Fire can happen anytime anywhere. Every business has potential fire hazards. All employees should keep fire protection and fire and life safety near the top of their list of concerns.
Perhaps your fellow workers should conduct a survey to gather ideas about potential hazards unique to your workplace. Meanwhile, here’s a list of things every business should consider:
Does your workplace have a fire safety plan?
When was the last time your fire safety plan was reviewed and updated?
Is the staff trained based on the plan?
Do you have a well-rehearsed evacuation plan?
Do employees know where to gather after an evacuation?
Does your workplace or business take advantage of fire and safety services training provided by the fire department?
Are differently abled employees prepared and capable of evacuating safely?
Are their fellow employees ready to assist them if necessary?
Are your local fire protection professionals aware of any potential hazards in your workplace?
Do you have a functioning and regularly tested fire alarm system?
Do employees know how to activate the fire alarm?
Are employees familiar with the sound emitted by the fire alarm system?
Are smoke detectors and sprinkler systems in good working order?
Are electrical outlets overloaded?
Are heat generating office machines and other devices placed safely and operated according to manufacturer’s instructions?
Are flammable materials labeled correctly and stored safely?
Are your stairways uncluttered and safe?
Are your hallways and passageways kept free of flammable materials and clutter?
Are all exits clearly marked and free from obstructions?
Do employees know what to do when they smell smoke?
Do employees know not to use elevators if a fire breaks out?
Do smokers on your staff practice fire safety?
Are employees trained to use fire extinguishers?
Do employees know a fire extinguisher is only effective on small fires?
When was the last time your fire extinguishers were inspected?
What to do after the fire
Recovering from a fire can be a physically and mentally draining process.
When fire strikes, lives are suddenly turned around. Often, the hardest part is knowing where to begin and who to contact.
Contact your insurance company or agent right away.
Ask your agent:
What to do about the immediate needs of your home. This includes pumping out water and covering doors, windows, and other openings.
What you should do first. Some companies may ask you to make a list of everything that was damaged by the fire. They will ask you to describe these in detail and say how much you paid for the items.
Entering the home after the fire:
Do not enter a damaged home or apartment unless the fire department says it is safe to go in!
Fires can start again even if they appear to be out.
Soot and dirty water left behind may contain things that could make you sick. Do not eat, drink, or breathe in anything that has been near the fire’s flames, smoke, soot, or water used to put the fire out.
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9 Fire Safety Tips
Keep your family safe: Practice fire safety
It must be fire safety month at Safe Sound Family, because clearly, I have fire on the brain. I don’t want to be alarmist (haha), as that is truly not my intent. It’s just that my parents once taught me that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and I can’t think of many situations in which that idiom rings truer than it does with fire prevention and safety.
So think of today as your Cliff’s Notes to fire safety – a quick & dirty guide to protect your family from the dangers of faulty electronics, flammable goods, lightening storms, and wayward appliances.
- Educate Your Kids
Kids have an awesome capacity for learning and understanding, so school them in fire safety. Children do really well with mnemonics and mantras and other tools to jog their memories in case of emergency. (For some specific tips, check out our article on fire prevention for kids or our comprehensive guide to Fire Safety for Kids.)
- Smoke Alarms & Fire Extinguishers
You should have at least one smoke alarm per level of your home, plus extras in every sleeping area and near the kitchen. You should also have at least one fire extinguisher in your home, and preferably one per floor. Check smoke alarm batteries & extinguisher pressure regularly, and change batteries at least twice a year. (Read more about smoke detector placement & maintenance.)
- Fire Sprinklers
Did you know you can get fire sprinklers installed in your home? I know, sounds fancy schmancy, but they’re actually quite affordable. In fact, once you factor in insurance discounts and increased property values, home fire sprinklers are actually a great investment in your family’s safety.
Kids are great – and eager – allies in your family’s fire safety plan
- Plan Your Escape
You may not want to think about it, but you do need to create an emergency escape plan in case of fire.
- Appliances & Electrical Safety
Nearly half of all house fires are attributed to faulty appliances, electronics, and electrical wiring. Practice proper electrical safety at home, including regular safety checks.
- In the Kitchen
Okay, the number one fire safety tip in the kitchen is never leave your cooking unattended! Even if it’s just a turkey roasting for hours in the oven, don’t leave the house. If you’re using the stovetop, take extra precautions and move flammable materials (napkins, oven mitts, etc.) to a safe distance.
- Smokers, Be Safe
If you smoke, you need to follow extra safety precautions. Keep lighters and matches out of reach of little hands. Always be sure to stub out your cigarettes thoroughly (or douse them in water). Never smoke near oxygen tanks, aerosol cans, or other flammable materials. Don’t smoke in bed.
I don’t know about you but for me, lightening is both awesome and terrifying. A lightening storm, especially at night, is absolutely gorgeous. But it’s also potentially dangerous, so remember to stay inside. Stay away from water (don’t even wash your hands). Don’t use electronics. And if you feel your hair stand on end, lightening is about to strike. Duck! (Not kidding.)
- Fire Protection Systems
Think of it like this: fire protection is to smoke alarms what a home security system is to DIY door sensors. In other words, a fire protection system links your smoke alarms to a security company, so they can monitor your home while you’re at work or on vacation, or can call the fire department in an emergency. Fire protection means someone else is looking out for your family, too.
PREVENT FIRE IN YOUR HOME
PREVENT FIRE IN YOUR HOME
The causes of these fires range from food left unattended on the stove to candles left burning. From the moment a fire starts to the point where the structure is fully engulfed is usually less than two minutes, which is why it is so important for occupants to get out of the home as quickly as possible and not try to put out a large fire themselves.
· U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 162,400 cooking-related fires between 2009-2013 resulting in 430 civilian deaths, 5,400 civilian injuries and 1.1 billion in direct damage.
· Two of every five home fires started in the kitchen.
· Unattended cooking was a factor in one-third of reported home cooking fires.
· Two-thirds of home cooking fires started with ignition of food or other cooking materials.
· Ranges accounted for three of every five (61%) home cooking fire incidents. Ovens accounted for 13%.
· Children under five face a higher risk of non-fire burns associated with cooking and hot food and drinks than of being hurt in a cooking fire.
· Children under five accounted for 30% of the 4,300 microwave oven scald burns seen in hospital emergency rooms during 2014.
· Clothing was the item first ignited in less than 1% of home cooking fires, but these incidents accounted for 18% of the cooking fire deaths.
· More than half of people injured in home fires involving cooking equipment were hurt while attempting to fight the fire themselves.
· Frying is the leading activity associated with cooking fires.
To protect yourself, it is important to understand the basic characteristics of fire. Fire spreads quickly; 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, a residence can be engulfed in flames.
Heat and smoke from fire can be more dangerous than the flames. Inhaling the super-hot air can sear your lungs. Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Instead of being awakened by a fire, you may fall into a deeper sleep. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three-to-one ratio.
Fire Safety TipsDo not use electrical equipment that is in poor condition or that has a damaged cord.Do not overload circuits or extension cords, read producers specifications.Use approved power bars instead of circuit splitters.Keep all heat-producing appliances away from the wall and away from anything that might burn.Leave plenty of space for air to circulate around equipment that normally gives off heat.Ensure small appliances such as heaters, fans etc. are shut off before exiting the building.Make sure all appliances, such as coffee makers and hot plates, are turned off when not in use.Toasters and microwave ovens should be located in kitchen areas only.Avoid deep fat frying, or use a thermostat controlled appliance and never leave it unattended.Keep all combustible materials, such as paper towels and cloths, at a safe distance from heat sources.Keep storage areas, stairway landings and other out-of-way locations free of waste paper, empty cartons, dirty rags and other material that could fuel a fire.Ensure office doors and ancillary office doors, for example, file room and hallway doors, are closed when exiting the building.Ensure heat registers are clear of combustible items such as paper at all times.
The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile Advantage
As many as 50% of businesses close down following a disaster, according to the latest research. Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place. Pre-planning can serve as an insurance policy aimed at peace of mind. And knowing you are "Ready for whatever happens" speaks trust to your clients and employees that in the event your business is affected by a disaster, they don’t necessarily have to be.
By developing a SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile for your business, you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely mitigation and can help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business.
· A no cost assessment of your facility.
This means there is no need to allocate funds, giving you a great value at no cost.
· A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
It will only take a little time to complete and will not take you away from current projects. But it will save a lot of time if ever needed.
· A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
This can help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive by having an immediate plan of action.
· Establishes your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
You have a provider that is recognized as an industry leader and close by.
· Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.
This saves time so we can begin the work of mitigating the damage which can save you time and money.
· Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information.
Having a quick reference of what to do, how to do it and who to call provides solutions in advance of an emergency so that during the emergency you are "Ready for whatever happens."