Recent Fire Damage Posts
While flashlights and battery-powered lamps are safe sources of light during lengthy power outages, candles are also reliable alternatives if used safely. It’s important to remember that a candle is an open flame, which always runs the potential risk of a fire-related accident. According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than 20% of candle fires involving fatalities occur during a loss of power.
Here are some safety precautions to follow when the lights go out:
DO pay attention to proximity. It’s important to make sure that you’re not burning a candle on or near anything that could catch fire. Keep candles at least 12 inches away from furniture, drapes, bedding, carpets, books, or any other flammable objects. Place burning candles at least 3 inches apart from one another so they don’t melt one another or burn improperly.
DON’T leave burning candles unattended. Try to restrict people and candles to one room in the house so the location of family members can always be accounted for and you can keep an eye on open flames. Extinguish all candles before going to bed or leaving a room.
DO place candles on a fire-resistant surface. Place a handle in its holder on a stable, nonflammable surface, such as a metal cookie sheet, frying pan or ceramic plate.
DON’T light a candle if you smell gas. If you smell gas inside or outside your home, immediately put out all open flames, shut off your gas supply, leave the area, get to a safe place, and call 911.
DO use pillar or container candles. Broader-based candles are a suitable option for power outages, as these are less likely to be accidentally knocked over. When possible, candles should be enclosed within glass hurricane holders or globes.
DON’T use candles as a search guide or night light. Avoid walking around with a candle. Dark rooms can increase the chance of tripping or brushing against a flammable item. Use a flashlight instead.
DO keep candles out of reach of children and pets. Place candles up high to avoid the risk of pets, children, or adults accidentally bumping candles over in the dark.
If you have any questions on candle safety or need any fire mitigation services, contact SERVPRO of South Madison County at 256-533-5335. We are available 24/7 to assist.
Every Second Counts During A Fire
Fire experts agree, people have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it’s too late to get out. In a matter of moments, a small flame can become a major fire, making it critical to be prepared and have an escape plan in place.
A survey conducted by the American Red Cross shows only 26 percent of families have developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. Once a plan is developed, it is critical everyone in the home understands the plan; the best way to do this is by practicing the escape plan at least twice a year. Increase your chance of surviving a fire by ensuring you have working smoke detectors in place, building an escape plan, and then practicing the escape plan. The following are a few suggestions to help you develop an emergency escape plan.
Draw a map of each level of your home and show all doors and windows. Find two ways to get out of each room. Make sure all doors and windows that lead outside open easily.
Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas on the second and third floors. Only purchase collapsible escape ladders evaluated by a recognized testing laboratory. Store them near the window where they will be used.
Choose an outside meeting place a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they’ve escaped. Make sure to mark the location of the meeting place on your escape plan.
Teach children how to escape on their own in case you cannot help them. Plan for everyone in your home with special considerations for elderly or disabled individuals.
Practice your fire escape plan during the day and at nighttime.
Fire Prevention Week 2018
This week is Fire Prevention Week! Here's some information from the National Fire Protection Association on this year's campaign:
This year’s FPW campaign, “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere,” works to educate people about three basic but essential steps to take to reduce the likelihood of having a fire––and how to escape safely in the event of one:
Look for places fire could start. Take a good look around your home. Identify potential fire hazards and take care of them.
Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm. You could have only minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds. Go to your outside meeting place, which should be a safe distance from the home and where everyone should know to meet.
Learn two ways out of every room and make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily and are free of clutter.
Also, Sparky the Fire Dog® has a new friend, Simon, who is helping teach this year’s FPW messages – He’s a smart, resourceful character who will join Sparky in spreading fire-safety messages to adults and children alike.
What To Toss & What To Keep After A Fire
It’s impossible to accurately depict how devastating a fire can be when it affects a person’s home. If you’ve been the unfortunate victim of this tragedy, you know what a helpless feeling it can be. In the aftermath, you need to go through the cleanup process and decide what to keep and what to throw away. There are some things you can salvage, while others pose health hazards to hang onto.
You don’t automatically have to throw out all of your food following a fire. However, fire damage at your Huntsville, AL home can render some things unhealthy. Inspect your food supply carefully following a fire to determine what can say or go. You should toss the following:
• Opened containers or perishable foods.
• Food you stored in thin plastic bags or cardboard.
• Non-perishable food that was close to the heat.
High heat will wreak havoc with your medicine or cosmetics. You don’t want to risk ingesting anything that you know was either in or close to the fire. You definitely should throw away the items if they are charred or have other obvious defects or damage.
Though you hate the thought of having to replace your wardrobe, much of it may be unsalvageable. You may be able to save some items by thoroughly cleaning it. But if there are obvious burn marks, you may be out of luck. Use caution when deciding whether to keep baby clothes. SERVPRO can help you with any clothing items that were affected by smoke and could be saved by careful cleaning. This applies to dry cleaning items as well.
If a fire affected mattresses, your best bet is to discard it. You don’t want to sleep on something that was exposed to smoke damage and harmful materials.
It’s hard to throw away items, especially if they have intrinsic meaning and value. However, you’ll feel better knowing you’re providing a safer environment for your loved ones.
Yellowing And Discoloration After A Fire Damage
We specialize in fire and water damage restoration; it’s the cornerstone of our business.
Did You Know?
A house fire can be damaging even after the firefighters have distinguished the flames. Don't make matters worse!
According to the experts at IICRC, "To return your residential or commercial property to its preloss condition requires professional restoration. This is not the job for a do-it-yourself property owner."
Stated below are some timeframe constraints following a fire damage by the professionals at IICRC.
"Within Minutes: Acid soot residues cause plastics to yellow; small appliances located close to the source of combustion discolor; highly porous materials (marble, alabaster) discolor permanently.
Within Hours: Acid residues stain grout in bathrooms; fiberglass bath fixtures may yellow; uncoated metals tarnish, counter tops may yellow; finishes on appliances, particularly refrigerators, may yellow; furniture finishes may discolor.
Within Days: In time, acid residues cause painted walls to yellow permanently; metal corrodes, pits and rusts; wood furniture requires refinishing; vinyl flooring requires refinishing or replacement; clothing becomes soot stained; upholstery stains permanently.
Within Weeks: Restoration costs escalate tremendously. Synthetic carpet fibers may yellow or discolor permanently; silver plate is corroded permanently; glass, crystal, china may require replacement due to severe etching and pitting caused by prolonged exposure to acid soot residues."
We hope this information was helpful to you and remember to call the professionals at SERVPRO of South Madison County at 256-533-5335 to ensure proper restoration of your home or office following a fire damage here in Huntsville and surrounding areas.
Common Causes of House Fires
A grease fire caused this damage to a Huntsville home.
If a fire starts in your home you may have as little as two minutes to escape. House fires can be devastating and the road to recovery is long and hard. Educating yourself on the leading causes for house fires and prevention is a step in the right direction to ensure that your family and home are safe.
Many electrical fires in homes or businesses are caused by faulty electrical outlets, old wiring, outdated appliances or electrical cords that are frayed.
- If you live in an older home have an electrician complete an inspection. Standards and codes are constantly being revised and updated to ensure safety.
- Do not overload your circuits.
- Understand the difference between surge protectors and power strips. Both devices allow you to plug in multiple electronics, but only the surge protector will help protect your electronics from a power surge.
Accidents in the kitchen can lead to devastating house fires. The leading cause of kitchen fires is due to unattended cooking. It’s important to be alert to prevent cooking fires.
- Never leave pots or pans unattended on your stove.
- Keeping your stove an oven clean will prevent buildup of food splatter and grease that could later ignite when the stove or oven is turned on for cooking.
- Keep any items that could ignite away from your stove top
- Ensure that you have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen in case of emergency.
Dryer vents are becoming a much bigger and more common safety problem. Over time, your dryer vent fills with lint that sneaks by your dryers filter. Fires can occur when the excess lint builds up in the dryer or exhaust duct.
- Clean out the dryer vent regularly.
- Clean the lint filter after EACH load of laundry that is dried.
- Clean underneath and behind your dryer to eliminate any lint that collects.
Safety Tips for National Burn Awareness Week
The smell of cookies baking in the oven or tasty sauces simmering on the stovetop is hard to resist for adults and children alike. However, before you dip your finger into the pot to taste that delicious soup, know that the majority of children who are hospitalized for burn-related injuries suffer from scald burns (65 percent) or contact burns (20 percent). Hot tap water scald burns cause more deaths and hospitalizations than any other hot liquid burns.
Scalds are the most common burn injury among young children and one of the leading causes of accidental death in the home for children under age four. U.S. hospitals treat an estimated 110,000 people under 19 for scalds every year.
While thousands of scald burns occur annually, increased awareness of the dangers can prevent injuries. To help people be mindful of scald burns, the American Burn Association has declared the first week of February National Burn Awareness Week.
Following a few simple precautions will help keep you and your little chef safe from potential burns:
- Cool a burn under cold running water for 10-15 minutes and call 9-1-1 for serious burns.
- Always supervise children in the kitchen and dining areas.
- Create a “No Child Zone” while preparing and serving hot foods and beverages.
- Don’t carry or hold a child while cooking on the stove. Instead, place the child into a high chair or other safe area while cooking.
- Children love to reach, so to prevent hot food or liquid spills, simply use the back burner of your stove and turn pot handles away from its edge; also, keep hot foods away from the edge of your counters.
- Keep clothing from coming in contact with flames or heating elements.
- A small adjustment to your water heater can give you one less thing to worry about. To prevent accidental scalding, set your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or the manufacturer’s recommended setting.
- Make a habit of placing matches, gasoline, and lighters in a safe place out of children’s reach and avoid novelty lighters as they may look like toys in a child’s eyes.
- When filling the bathtub, turn on cold water first then mix in warmer water carefully.
National Burn Awareness Week is the perfect time to share this information, develop a home fire drill, check your smoke alarms, and to make your kitchen safe for your little chef in training.
Facts About Home Fire Sprinklers
Make no mistake: smoke alarms are crucial and significantly cut the risk of dying in a home fire. But these devices do nothing to suppress a fire. Home fire sprinklers in coordination with smoke alarms have been proven to protect lives and property against fire.
Home fire sprinklers
- If you have a reported fire in your home, the risk of dying decreases by about 80 percent when sprinklers are present.
- Sprinklers reduce direct property damage by about 70 percent per fire.
- Research shows that when sprinklers were present during a fire, the fire is kept to the room of origin 97 percent of the time.
- Roughly 85 percent of the time, just one sprinkler operates during a fire.
- Each individual sprinkler is designed and calibrated to go off only when it senses a significant heat change.
- Only the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate, spraying water directly on the fire.
Model safety codes now require the use of home fire sprinklers in new one- and two-family homes. These requirements offer the highest level of safety to protect the people of your community. To learn how to advocate for fire sprinklers in your community’s new homes, visit NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Initiative site.
Fast Facts About Home Fires
- Half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. Only one in five home fires were reported during these hours.
- One-quarter of home fire deaths were caused by fires that started in the bedroom. Another quarter resulted from fires in the living room, family room or den.
- Three out of five home fire deaths happen from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
- In 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 365,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 2,560 deaths, 11,075 civilian injuries, and $7 billion in direct damage.
- On average, seven people die in U.S. home fires per day.
- Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fire injuries, followed by heating equipment.
- Smoking materials are the leading cause of home fire deaths.
- Most fatal fires kill one or two people.
- During 2010-2014, roughly, one of every 338 households reported a home fire per year.
Furnace Puffbacks Leave a Sooty Mess
One of our technicians carefully cleans soot from a customer's ceiling.
A puffback is a messy furnace malfunction that occurs when an oil burner backfires, sending soot throughout the interior of a home. It can happen all at once, covering the interior in grimy soot, or it can leak soot more gradually.
Initially, many people mistake soot for dust and simply wipe it away. However, once cleaned, this “dust” often reappears and can sometimes be accompanied by a strong, oily odor. There are several steps you can take to prevent damage to their home. Remind them to:
- Have the oil-burning furnace professionally checked and cleaned annually.
- Keep an eye out for traces of soot around their home.
- Install a carbon monoxide monitor. Puffbacks (and the soot they create) will increase the carbon monoxide levels in their home. A carbon monoxide monitor can help to detect the puffback in its early stages.
If soot begins accumulating on objects or walls within their home, they should turn off the heating system immediately. Contact a heating professional to service the heater and restore it to proper working order.
Fortunately, if your home or business does experience a puffback, SERVPRO of South Madison County has the knowledge and experience to complete a thorough cleaning and removal of any soot and odors. We have cleaned soot from puffbacks in many homes in Huntsville and Madison County in the 20 years we have been in business.
Safety and Cleanup Steps after Fire Damage
A grease fire caused fire and smoke damage to several rooms of this home in Huntsville.
How do you clean up after fire damage?
First, consider your safety. Only stay in your fire damaged home if you know it’s safe. Remember that electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most common ways people get injured after a fire.
If putting the fire out has left lots of water on your property, avoid lifting wet materials. They could be much heavier than you think. When fire has damaged your property, some of the first steps you should take are:
What To Do After Fire Damage
• Limit movement in your home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
• Keep everyone’s hands clean so you don’t further soil upholstery, walls, and woodwork.
• Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery, and carpet traffic areas.
• If your electricity is off, empty your freezer and refrigerator and prop the doors open.
• Clean and protect chrome with a light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
• Wash your houseplants on both sides of leaves.
• Change your HVAC filter.
• Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.
What NOT To Do After Fire Damage
• Don't try to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo your carpet or upholstery without contacting a professional. You may do more damage.
• 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 the ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
• Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.
Remember, we’re here to help. We are fire restoration contractors. Many people in the Huntsville/Madison County region have used our professional fire restoration services. So call SERVPRO of South Madison County anytime, 24/7 at 256-533-5335.
Repairing Your Home After a Fire
Most people who suffer fire damage want their lives and their homes to return to normal as soon as possible. Here's how.
Has your home recently been damaged by fire? If so, you’re probably eager to get started cleaning up and restoring your home and belongings. Most people who suffer fire damage want their lives and their homes to return to normal as soon as possible. But many don’t know the costs. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost to repair smoke and fire damage is $8,571.
Fire damage can make areas of your home unusable until the fire damage has been repaired. More extensive fire damage may make your entire home unsafe. You may have to live elsewhere until cleanup and repair work gets done. No matter how minor or significant the fire damage restoration work is, you want to know how long it will take. The timeline depends on the restorative process and whether you take the opportunity to do remodeling at the same time.
Starting Fire Damage Repair Work
It can be difficult to determine how and where to get started with fire damage repair work. The first step in the repair process is to remove water from the home if firefighters used water during the extinguishing process. Water extraction can be completed by the professionals from SERVPRO of South Madison County quickly and affordably. We arrive in our green vehicles stocked with equipment and supplies to surmount any cleaning and restoration need you have.
Call SERVPRO of South Madison County at (256) 533-5335 Anytime
SERVPRO of South Madison County can also suggest to you and your adjuster what items and materials are salvageable. Keep in mind that smoke damage can also be a problem. Some items, such as carpeting and your HVAC system may need to be professionally cleaned to remove the smoke odor from your home.
Get Professional Help
Repairing your home after you have suffered fire damage is not something that you want to attempt on your own. A fire damage restoration project requires a considerable amount of time and energy to complete. But SERVPRO South Madison County can help you restore your property in minimal time with minimal costs. Our IICRC cleanup and restoration certified technicians have the skills and assets to do a quality job. We are a locally owned and operated fire damage repair franchise.
Huntsville Smoke and Soot Cleanup
Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Huntsville Home.
Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and soot facts:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Different Types of Smoke
There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of South Madison County will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:
Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
- Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
- Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
- Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 256-533-5335
What you can do until help arrives after a fire
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from spreading and additional damage from occurring.
- Place clean towels or old linens on rugs and high traffic areas and upholstery.
- Coat chrome faucets, trim and appliances with petroleum jelly or oil.
- Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpet.
- Wash any walls or painted surfaces.
- Shampoo carpet or upholstery.
- Clean any electrical equipment.
- Send clothing to dry cleaner since improper cleaning may set smoke odor.
10 Fire Safety Tips
1. Watch your cooking - Stay in the kitchen if you are frying, grilling or broiling food. Never allow young children around the stove or oven, especially if they are not closely attended.
2. Give space heaters space - Keep space heaters at least three feet from anything that can burn.
3. Smoke outside - If you must smoke inside, have a sturdy, deep ashtray. Never smoke in bed.
4. Keep matches and lighters out of reach - Keep matches and lighters in high cabinets, preferably under a child lock.
5. Inspect electrical cords - Replace cords that are cracked, damaged, have bro- ken plugs or have loose connections.
6. Be careful when using candles - Keep candles at least one foot from anything that can burn. Blow them out before you leave the room or go to sleep.
7. Have a fire escape plan - Make a fire escape plan and practice it at least twice a year.
8. Install smoke alarms - Install alarms on every level of your office or home and inside bedrooms. Interconnect them so they all sound at once.
9. Test smoke alarms - Test alarms once per month. Replace batteries once per year or as needed.
10. Install sprinklers - Sprinklers can help maintain and sometimes even extinguish fires, giving your local fire department a better chance of saving your property.
SERVPRO of Central Huntsville can now handle ALL your needs!
This kitchen was charred beyond recognition after a full house fire
Exciting Announcement: SERVPRO of South Madison County now offers building/reconstruction services for both residential and commercial properties.
An example of our work: A fire started in the kitchen and ravaged this home in Huntsville, ruining the hardwood floors, walls, ceiling, marble countertops, backsplash, custom cabinets, and many other stylish amenities that made this home special. With quick work on the demo and restoration and patient, professional effort on the reconstruction, this home looks gorgeous again and its..."Like it never even happened."
SERVPRO of South Madison County can truly live up to that slogan now that we are capable of construction as well as the demo and mitigation! See the after photos in our before/after photos section to see how lovely this home looks after its "reconstructive surgery".