Recent Fire Damage Posts

Leading Causes of Fires - How to Avoid

5/19/2020 (Permalink)

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires & injuries in the U.S. Cooking fires often result from unattended cooking and human error, rather than mechanical failure of stoves or ovens. Although it is important to make sure your appliances are functioning properly and kept up to date, it is equally important to cook with caution and never get too comfortable in the kitchen.  

Heating is the second leading cause of residential fires. However, heating fires are a larger problem in single family homes than in apartments. Unlike apartments, the heating systems in single family homes are often not professionally maintained. Make sure your heating systems are being professionally regulated during the colder seasons. 

Although accidents happen, it is important to be prepared and alert in order to minimize these chances before they occur. Here are a few simple safety precautions to take to decrease the possibility of a fire. 

  • Keep flammables away from ignition sources.
  • Utilize flammable storage cabinets.
  • Know your chemical properties.
  • Do not block fire extinguishers with equipment.
  • Utilize those with electrical expertise/installations/assistance.
  • Do not overload outlets - use a track plug.
  • Practice good housekeeping techniques in the lab/office/work area.
  • Inspect wires for possible damage and replace as needed.

Cleaning Electronics After a Fire

2/24/2020 (Permalink)

ic or chip in circuit board fire burn Electronic on fire

If you experience the unfortunate event of a fire in your home, you'll worry about the safety and well-being of your loved ones most. Your thoughts may then turn to the home itself and whether you can still live in it after the fire cleanup. Of course, you can't forget about your possessions either. Items such as furniture, documents, and keepsakes could be at risk. Your electronics are also vulnerable to damage from the fire and smoke. Thankfully, cleanup is possible.

What to Avoid After a Fire

In the aftermath of a fire in your home, you have some immediate responsibilities. Once crews put out the blaze, you'll want to inform your insurance company of the incident and file a claim. You should also call a professional fire mitigation company in Orlando, FL, to restore your home. When it comes to damaged electronics, keep these things in mind:

  • If it's safe to do so, unplug all of your electronics.
  • Never try to turn on any electronic devices.
  • Don't start cleaning the electronics unless you know what you're doing.

Getting Help

It's best to leave electronic cleaning to the professionals. Experienced technicians can take devices with smoke damage and salvage them for further use. The pros have the right equipment and know how to safely handle these items.

The Process

As part of the fire cleaning process, technicians will take damaged electronics and first wipe away all soot and ash. A technician will then take apart the device to remove any debris or water from inside. The professional may also use compressed air to blow out media ports or other smaller areas of the electronic item.

Your Responsibility

Always make sure to back up files and data on your computers. For these and other devices, check with the manufacturer about any warranties.
Fire cleanup can be extensive, so make sure you rely on the professionals. Skilled crews may even be able to salvage your electronics.

Don't Forget Secondary Damage After a Fire

11/24/2019 (Permalink)

Ozone machine, removes smoke odor An ozone machine removes smoke damage odor

Secondary Damage After a Fire

A fire can be devastating and often leaves many types of damage behind in Orlando, FL. Try not to forget about any of the secondary aspects, such as smoke cleaning, to make sure that your home is fully rehabilitated and livable.

Smoke Odor

Before you can remove the smell, you need to eliminate any and all sources of smoke damage odor, such as burned materials. Then you can start to circulate the air and filter it. You may need some specialized equipment to accomplish this:

  • Air filtration devices
  • Ozone machines
  • Thermal foggers
  • Hydroxyl generators

Soot Residue

Even if an area of the home or a particular object wasn't burned, the particles carried by smoke can still blacken what fire did not touch. Soot, otherwise known as carbon residue, is the result of organic matter that hasn't burned completely. It can smear and permanently stain your walls or surfaces if you use a normal sponge or rag. Instead, use a dry cleaning sponge that can absorb this type of deposit. Be sure to ventilate the room by opening windows and turning on fans before tackling this kind of smoke cleaning.

Water Damage

It may seem counter-intuitive, but water damage resulting from the fire-fighting process is as common as smoke odor after a fire. If water issues are left alone, they can quickly turn into the much bigger problem of mold. Some materials cannot be thoroughly dried, so you may have to get rid of carpeting, insulation or certain types of drywall. Be sure to remove and dry all other items and ventilate the room as much as possible. Bring in a water damage remediation specialist to be sure that everything is taken care of properly.
Unfortunately, your work isn't done after you've cleared out the burned materials from a fire. Smoke cleaning, soot removal and water damage will give you just as much trouble as the initial damage. Hire a company that can do it all to make your life less stressful.

Methods for Removing Smoke Odor After a Fire

10/28/2019 (Permalink)

Firefighters at a house fire House fire

When you have a house fire in Orlando, FL, it may seem like the smell of the smoke will never go away. Smoke particles can infiltrate every nook and cranny in your home. They can even imbed themselves into furniture, flooring and walls. Professional restoration experts, however, have methods for extracting smoke odor from your home as part of the restoration process. Here are some smoke cleaning processes that may prove effective in removing the stench from your home.

Air Filtration Devices

One of the first methods the experts are likely to try is an air filtration device. This air scrubber sucks in the air in your home and returns it clean and refreshed. The filters in this system are specially constructed to reduce smoke odor. Some common features of filtration devices that remove smoke odor include

• HEPA filters
• Activated carbon filters
• Treated filters that specifically target smoke

Ozone Machines

Another method of smoke cleaning involves the use of ozone machines. Rather than taking air in, these machines create and expel ozone, the same compound chemical created by a rainstorm that gives the outdoor air its fresh scent. The ozone flows throughout your home, oxidizing smoke residue and neutralizing its odor.

Thermal Foggers

Thermal foggers create deodorizing droplets that permeate the air as well as porous materials in your home to get rid of smoke odor. Using heat and pressurization, the fogger creates tiny particles that can go wherever the smoke damage has gone. Your home is deodorized and cleansed of the stench of the fire.

One of the many advantages of hiring smoke cleaning professionals to remove odors from your home after a fire is that they are equipped with industrial machines that can be used to eliminate the smells. A process that would take weeks or even months with any device you could buy retail can be completed in a matter of hours or days with the advanced methods used by professionals.

The 5 Most Common Causes of House Fires

10/22/2019 (Permalink)

Hand holding a clothes dryer lint filter that is covered with lint. If you experience a fire in your home, don't hesitate to call SERVPRO of SW Orlando at 407-704-0327.

Here are top 5 most common causes of house fires as identified by the National Fire Protection Association.

  1. Candles

From 2007-2011, the NFPA says there were an average of 10,630 fires in the U.S. that were started by candles, causing 115 deaths, 903 injuries and approximately $418 million in property damage. That is an average of 29 candle fires per day.

Safety tips:

  • Never leave a candle burning near flammable items.
  • Never leave a candle burning in a child’s room or an unoccupied room.
  • Make sure candles fit securing into candle holders so they won’t tip over.
  • Blow out any candles before leaving a room or going to sleep
  1. Smoking

While the number of fires caused by smoking is trending downward, the NFPA found that there were still an average of 17,600 related fires per year resulting in 490 deaths and more than $516 million in property damage.

Safety tips:

  • If you smoke, consider smoking outside.
  • Use wide, sturdy ashtrays to catch butts and ashes.
  • Look for cigarette butts under furniture and between seat cushions to make sure no lit butts have fallen someplace where they can’t be seen.
  • Don’t smoke in bed, when you’re tired or around medical oxygen.
  1. Electrical & Lighting

According to the NFPA, in 2011 approximately 47,700 home structure fires were caused by some sort of electrical failure or malfunction. These resulted in 418 deaths, 1,570 injuries and $1.4 billion in property damage.

Safety tips:

  • Don’t overload outlets or electrical cords.
  • Make sure you have the right cord for the job – inside cords for inside, heavy duty/outside cords for outdoor use.
  • Don’t leave Christmas lights, Christmas trees, or halogen lights on overnight or when not at home.
  • Consider having an electrician perform an annual checkup of your home’s wiring.
  1. Dryers & Washing Machines

Clothes dryer fires happen more often than one might think, accounting for 16,800 home structure fires in 2010 and doing more than $236 million in property damage. 

Safety tips:

  • Clean the lint screen frequently and don’t run the dryer without it.
  • For gas and propane dryers, make sure there aren’t any leaks in the lines.
  • Vent the dryer to the outside of the house and ensure nothing blocks the vent pipe.
  • Clean the vent pipe and the area where the screen is housed.
  • Keep the area around the dryer free of combustible materials.
  1. Lightning

From 2007-2011, NFPA says there were an average of 22,600 fires per year caused by lightning strikes.

Safety tips:

  • Stay away from doors and windows during an electrical storm.
  • Do not use corded phones, computers, TVs or other electrical equipment during storms.
  • Unplug major electronics – TVs, stereo equipment, computers and microwaves to minimize damage if there is a lightning strike close by.
  • Avoid plumbing such as sinks, baths and faucets during a thunderstorm.

Keeping Kids Safe: 4 Techniques to Teach Your Children About Fire Safety

10/14/2019 (Permalink)

Young woman in white dress crawls on ground by trees destroyed by wildfire while covered in ashes One technique to ensure kids safety is to crawl, don't walk.

Sit Down And Teach Your Kids Safety Procedures

When smoke floods the house, and the smoke detectors are blaring, do your loved ones know what to do? Are they prepared to navigate through a home full of flames? If not, sit down and teach your kids safety procedures. Taking the time to practice these tips now could give them the pivotal knowledge to survive an unexpected disaster.

1. Know the Exits

The first priority must be to leave the house, so establish a plan. Make the children think quickly about which way they should turn. Teach them which windows and doors are good access points for the outside. Do you have a second level? This could be trickier. Kids should know where fire escape ladders are located, how to open the window for escape and what to do to install and use the ladders. Finally, designate a specific location to reunite.

2. Crawl, Don't Walk

Because breathing in the smoke is dangerous, explain that everyone should keep heads low to the ground. One technique to ensure kids safety is to walk like a dog on all fours, keeping that nose to the ground. If the heat is intense, they could slither like a snake with noses down low.

3. Check Doors

Doors act as barriers, keeping flames out. When opened, they can be a powerful igniter as oxygen reaches the home fire. Have kids learn to touch the door with their palm. If it's hot, tell them they should not open it. Instead, they will need to find an alternate path. If it's cool, they should slowly crack it open, inching their way out and always closing the door behind them.

4. Scream for Help

If they cannot reach an exit point, have them open a window and scream for help as long as possible. Tell them to grab a sheet and hang it outside, signaling for help.
Giving your kids safety techniques empowers them. They are, after all, irreplaceable. While the physical loss of your home is hard, it can be rebuilt with the help of fire restoration crews in Orlando, FL. Protect those that matter.

Things to Know in Advance of a Grease Fire

7/16/2019 (Permalink)

Reach for the fire extinguisher

Things to Know in Advance of a Grease Fire

Few home events cause the sort of panic that a kitchen fire will. You’ll only have seconds to react. How you respond could mean the difference between getting away with minimal damage or losing the entire house. Since the kitchen is typically used multiple times a day, the chance of a fire on the stove at some point is pretty good. All fires are not alike, which means that a method of putting out one fire may not work for another fire, and may even make it worse. Here are some things to know in advance of a grease fire.

1. Do Not Use Water

Oil and water don’t mix; water is denser than oil. When water is poured onto burning grease, it immediately goes under the grease and evaporates, taking some of the grease particles with it, and spreading the fire even further.

2. Snuff Out Fire with Pot Lid

A pot lid or baking sheet, if used soon enough, can stop a grease fire before it really has a chance to get started. Don’t remove the lid until everything has completely cooled off.

3. Turn Off Ignition Source

As soon as the fire is under control enough that you can reach the knob, turn off the ignition source.

4. Choose Baking Soda or Salt

Baking soda and salt remove the oxygen a fire has to have to burn. These retardants are particularly effective in smaller fires.

5. Reach for the Fire Extinguisher

For a less manageable residential grease or oil fire, a Class B extinguisher is necessary. This is a dry chemical extinguisher made for smothering a fire originating from combustible gases or liquids. The use of a fire extinguisher will result in a lot of cleanup, so you might want to make this a last resort.
When a grease fire occurs at your home in Orlando, FL, do everything you can to extinguish the fire and minimize damage. At this point, you might want to consult fire damage restoration professionals to handle your fire cleanup needs.

The Ins and Outs of Commercial Fire Sprinkler Systems

6/27/2019 (Permalink)

A fire sprinkler system can prevent much of the damage caused by fire

A fire in your Orlando, FL, business is a scary prospect. A fire sprinkler can provide you with peace of mind, but it’s important to understand how it works before selecting one for your business.

Types of Sprinkler Systems

There are several types of sprinklers available:

  • Wet pipe
  • Dry pipe
  • Pre-action
  • Deluge

Wet pipe sprinklers are the most common. In these systems, water stays in the pipes at all times, and when a fire is detected, the water is released. Dry pipe sprinklers work similarly, but the water is not stored in the pipes. This is good for colder areas where the water in pipes often freezes. In both of these types of systems, heat triggers one or more sprinkler heads, and the fire sprinkler is activated in that area.

Pre-action sprinklers, however, require two areas to be triggered — the sprinkler head and a pre-action valve that releases water into the pipes. This dual-trigger process decreases the chances of an accidental sprinkler activation, benefiting areas that store extremely valuable goods, such as electronics and antiques. Deluge sprinkler systems release more water than other sprinkler types, so they are ideal for fire suppression in open spaces where a fire can spread quickly or in areas that store highly flammable materials.

Fire Sprinkler Cleanup

Although a sprinkler system can prevent much of the damage caused by a fire, the sprinkler itself can cause water damage. However, immediately enlisting the help of professionals will minimize the damage. Depending on the amount of water present, some or all furniture and other goods may be removed from the premises to be treated and restored separately. Then, specialized equipment will be used to locate and remove the water from the building. If necessary, commercial-grade dehumidifiers and dryers or fans will be employed to dry out any remaining water. Finally, the surfaces will be cleaned and all necessary reconstruction and replacement will be completed.

A fire sprinkler system can prevent much of the damage caused by fire. If that happens, and the water used causes damage to your property, a team of restoration experts can get your business back to pre-fire condition in no time.

How to Maintain Your Furnace

5/15/2019 (Permalink)

Keep your furnace maintained for better results

Keep You Furnace Properly Maintained

During the autumn and winter months, you will often need to heat your Orlando, FL home. If you use a furnace, you should be sure to keep it properly maintained to reduce the risk of a house fire that could lead to lost belongings and damage that requires fire cleaning. To ensure that your unit is working as it should, remember to do the following.

1. Clean or Replace Filters Regularly

When you are using a furnace to heat your home, it is important that you keep the filters clean and replace them when necessary. When they are not regularly cleaned, filters are unable to work as intended and can allow dust, dirt and allergens to enter the air during heating. It also makes it more difficult for the furnace to operate and can cause overheating which may start a fire. While cleaning your filters may seem like a nuisance, it is a much better option than having to go through fire cleaning.

2. Inspect the Unit Before Use

If it has been a while since your furnace has been used, you should inspect the unit before operating it for long periods of time. Make sure that all of the components are clean and working correctly. You should also check that the furnace is receiving power or, if powered by fuel, has enough oil to operate correctly.

3. Hire a Professional

The best way to ensure that your device is operating as intended is to call in professionals to inspect and maintain the unit for you. They will have the experience needed to locate any problems before it becomes a bigger issue. To reduce your chances of a fire and consequent need for fire and smoke cleaning, you should have your furnace serviced once or twice a year, specifically before the cooler weather in autumn begins.

While properly maintaining your furnace is a good way to reduce your chances of a fire, sometimes unexpected problems arise. If a fire occurs, a fire restoration service will be able to do fire cleaning and repairs to get your home to its previous condition.

How to Perform a Monthly Fire Extinguisher Inspection

10/29/2018 (Permalink)

If you need professional fire, smoke and water damage cleanup and remediation after a fire, call the experts at SERVPRO of SW Orlando.

Home Safety: How to Inspect a Fire Extinguisher

When was the last time you took time to check the fire extinguisher that sits under your kitchen sink? Or the one hanging from a dusty hook in your garage? If you’re struggling to remember, it’s time to check it. Like any other piece of safety equipment, a home fire extinguisher should be inspected regularly to ensure it’s in proper working condition. A fire extinguisher in good working condition is your first line of defense when a home fire erupts.

Ideally, you should inspect your portable home fire extinguishers every month.

Tips for Performing a Monthly Fire Extinguisher Check

Check the label or tag.

Every fire extinguisher, whether disposable or rechargeable, has a manufacturer’s label or tag. Read the tag and follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance suggestions.

Check the tamper seal.

If the tamper seal has been broken or is cracked, a disposable fire extinguisher needs to be replaced. If it’s rechargeable, it needs to be serviced professionally. Check the locking or pull pin as well to make sure it’s in the correct position. If the pin missing, the fire extinguisher needs to be inspected or serviced by a professional.

Inspect for physical damage.

Physically inspect the fire extinguisher for obvious damage. This may include but is not limited to dents, corrosion, cracks and obvious leakage. If a fire extinguisher has leakage, it’s no longer under full pressure and may not work properly when you need it most. Check the fire extinguisher nozzle as well, to ensure it’s not clogged by grime, dust, bugs or leakage from the unit itself.

Check the pressure gauge.

Check that the pressure gauge needle indicates the fire extinguisher pressure is in the optimum operating range. Often the correct pressure range will be designated by green on the gauge.

Is the fire extinguisher full?

During your monthly check, lift the fire extinguisher and determine if it still feels full. If there has been a leak, it will feel light, and it won’t have the right amount of pressure to work correctly.

Shake it.

If you have a dry chemical fire extinguisher, it should be shaken once a month during your inspection. This helps prevent the chemical dousing agent from solidifying at the bottom of the unit.

Write inspection date on tag.

Keep track of every inspection date by writing it on the fire extinguisher tag.

Ensure easy access to your fire extinguisher.

Fire extinguishers should always be easy to access if there is an emergency. You don’t want to have to search for it once a fire breaks out. Don’t block fire extinguishers with furniture, boxes or any other items. Everyone who lives in the household should know where the closest fire extinguisher is located and how to use it in case of an emergency.

In the event of a fire emergency, first make sure to get people safely away, then call 911. A home fire extinguisher can be used to put out or control small fires, but it’s still safest to call professional fire fighters before you attempt to control a fire on your own. 

Grilling Safety Tips - Home Safety

9/26/2018 (Permalink)

Call SERVPRO of Southwest Orlando for your fire restoration needs (407) 704-0327.

Fire in the grill, under hot dogs and burgers, is a welcome sight at the family cookout. But fire anywhere else can make your summer kick-off barbecue memorable for all the wrong reasons. To keep you and your family safe while grilling, follow these general guidelines.

General grilling tips:

  •  Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.

Propane grills:

Before you use your grill:

  •  Check the major connection points between the gas (propane) tank hose and the regulator and cylinder, and where the hose connects to the burners. Tighten if loose.
  • Check the gas (propane) tank hose for the potential (gas) leaks. To do that:
    • Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose using a brush or spray bottle.
    • Turn the propane tank on. If there is a gas leak, the propane will release bubbles around the hose (big enough to see).
    • If there are no bubbles, your grill is safe to use.
  • If there are bubbles, turn off the tank and check connections, then have your grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
  • If the leak doesn’t stop, call the fire department immediately.

When the grill is on:

  • As you are cooking, if you smell gas, turn off the gas tank and burners.
  • If the leak stops immediately, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
  • If the smell continues, move away from the grill and call the fire department immediately. Do not move the grill.

Charcoal grills:

  •  There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
  • If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
  • When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.

Basics of Fire Damage

9/14/2018 (Permalink)

Southwest Orlando fire damage is something that needs to be dealt with quickly and professionally.

The Basics of Southwest Orlando Fire Damage

While flooding and mold can be scary, there’s nothing quite like a fire to remind homeowners how fragile a building can be. For all homes and businesses in Southwest Orlando, fire damage is something that needs to be dealt with quickly and professionally. Once the immediate emergency has been taken care of, it is time to call in the restoration experts from SERVPRO.

This guide to dealing with fire damage in Southwest Orlando will help you get to grips with some of the steps involved in repair and restoration.

How Long Does Fire Damage Restoration Take?
Clearly, this will depend on how extensive the damage is. If you’ve had a small kitchen fire, for example, but it was put out quickly, the work will probably be quite efficient. If the damage is mostly superficial – burn marks on the outer surface of walls – painting and redecorating should be easy and uncomplicated.

If the damage is more extensive, the restoration could take months. Our reliable SERVPRO fire damage repair company never rushes or compromises on the quality of a job, in order to get occupants back inside faster, because this can put lives at risk. The best way to stay in the loop is to work with our fire damage restoration company that keeps you constantly updated during each stage of the repair process.

Can a Restoration Team Eliminate Smoke Damage?
Yes, our skilled restoration team will use a combination of fogging and ozone deodorization techniques to remove the smell and sight of smoke from the building. Both methods involve heavy duty equipment, so you shouldn’t try to tackle them independently. Let our experts do the job efficiently and professionally, so that you can get back to enjoying your home.

Can You Hire a Fire Damage Team Without Insurance?
Strictly speaking, you don’t need to be covered by fire damage insurance to hire a restoration team. However, it is strongly advised. If you don’t have any type of cover in place, you will be responsible for paying the cost of repair and restoration, in full. As this kind of work requires specialist skills and equipment, it can be expensive. Make certain that you have an insurance policy, so that the expense doesn’t become another disaster.

To get more information and advice on the best ways to deal with fire damage in Southwest Orlando, talk to the experts at SERVPRO of Southwest Orlando. Call (407) 704-0327 to speak to a friendly advisor today.

Getting Rid of Dryer Lint Effectively

8/30/2018 (Permalink)

To keep your home safe from a lint fire, you need to clean your dryer vent regularly.

Excess dryer lint: It’s a problem just about everyone deals with, but it can be much more serious than you may think. Over time, your dryer will collect lint from your apparel as well as towels, blankets and anything else you wash and dry. If you neglect to dispose of these materials and clean out the dryer exhaust, a lint fire could result in your Southwest Orlando, FL, home. The consequences of this could be disastrous. Fortunately, there are some basic ways you can handle this situation and avoid catastrophe.

Clean the Screen

The simplest ways to clean lint from your dryer and stave off the risk of a dryer fire is to clean the lint screen. Depending on the type of dryer you have, you can find this at the top of your dryer or even inside the door or on the side.

* Gently pull out the screen; do not bend.
* Run your hands across the screen and collect the lint; discard it.
* Vacuum the surface of the screen.
* Rinse the screen with water.

Clean Inside the Trap

Often, cleaning off the screen isn’t enough to avoid the risk of fire damage. It’s a good idea to regularly clean out the trap as well. It’s easy for lint to get trapped in this area, so take a vacuum and suction out any remaining debris. Make sure you get your vacuum hose and attachment as far down the trap as possible.

Clean the Exhaust Hose

Another important way to reduce the risk of a lint fire is to unplug your dryer and remove the exhaust hose. You can then vacuum inside the hose or use a long brush to remove lint that may be stuck far inside. Make sure when you put the hose back on that it’s secure.

If you follow these steps, you can help ensure you won’t have a lint fire in your Southwest Orlando, FL, home. Cleaning your dryer regularly is an essential way to stay safe.