Recent Fire Damage Posts

The Behavior of Smoke

11/15/2019 (Permalink)

The damage to your property following a fire can often be complicated due to the unique behavior 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.

Our professionals at SERVPRO of Southern Lancaster County are thoroughly trained in fire cleanup and restoration and know the different types of smoke and their behavior patterns. Knowing this information is vital to proper restoration. Before restoration begins, our professionals at SERVPRO of Southern Lancaster County will survey the loss to determine the extent of impact from fire, smoke, heat, and moisture on the building materials and its contents. The soot will then be tested to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. Pretesting determines the proper cleaning method and allows our professionals at SERVPRO of Southern Lancaster County to focus on saving your precious items.

Our professionals at SERVPRO of Southern Lancaster County know smoke can pentrate various cavitiies within the structure, causing hidden damage and odor. Their knowledge of building systems helps them investigate how far smoke damage may have spread. The following points are additional facts you may not know about smoke.

  • 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.

Types of Smoke:

  • Wet Smoke. (Plastic and Rubber) Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, and 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 varnished, extreme pungent odor.
  • Fuel Oil Soot. (Furnace puff backs) While "puff backs" can create havoc for homeowners, Our professionals at SERVPRO of Southern Lancaster County can, in most cases, restore the contents and structure quickly.

Our professionals at SERVPRO of Southern Lancaster County are trained to handle even the toughest of losses. If your home or business suffers fire or smoke damage, contact us to help make it "Like it never even happened."

Plan and Practice your Escape!

10/1/2019 (Permalink)

October is Fire Prevention Month and an excellent time to examine the emergency preparedness plans for your home and business, including your fire escape plan. Do you have a fire escape plan? Have you changed your smoke alarm batteries within the last year? Are you prepared if a disaster strikes?

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sets aside a designated week each October to focus on fire prevention. The 2019 theme is "Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice your Escape!"

According to the NFPA, once the fire alarm goes off, "you can have less than one to two minutes to escape safely," yet only 8 percent of people surveyed said getting out was their first thought after hearing a fire alarm. Creating, implementing, and practicing a fire escape plan for your home or business may be the difference between safety and tragedy. Make a plan today! Escape planning and practice can help you make the most of the time you have, giving everyone in your home or business enough time to get out.

How do you define hero? Is it a person who is courageous and performs good deeds? Someone who comes to the aid of others, even at their own personal risk? A hero can be all of those things! A hero can also be someone who takes small but important actions to keep themselves and those around them safe from fire. When it comes to fire safety, be a hero in your household or community.

The professionals at SERVPRO of Southern Lancaster County wants you to stay safe, informed, and prepared to help ensure you are ready for any disaster that comes your way.

Smoke Alarms: Life Savers

1/31/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke alarms save lives when properly installed and maintained, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

In homes, smoke alarms should be in every bedroom and on every level, including the basement. In office and commercial environments, check your state requirements or contact your local Fire Marshall to help ensure all codes are met.

Test smoke alarms monthly using the test button. Smoke alarms with non-replaceable batteries need the entire smoke alarm unit replaced every ten years. Other alarms need batteries replaced every year and the unit replaced every ten years. If the alarm chirps signaling low battery, take the proper steps to replace the unit or the batteries immediately. Never disable or remove the battery from an alarm. Almost half of fires where smoke alarms were present but did not activate had missing or disconnected batteries.

In larger commercial facilities, hard wired or wireless smoke alarms offer benefits such as not needing to be tested as often and activating throughout the entire building if smoke is detected in just one area (NFPA).

If you need help installing, testing, or changing batteries in your smoke alarms, contact your local fire department, and electrician, or the American Red Cross.

Be sure your home or workplace has a fire emergency plan in place and conduct regular fire frills. For more information on Emergency Preparedness, contact SERVPRO of Southern Lancaster County at 717-464-5500.

Celebrate Safety This Holiday Season

11/30/2018 (Permalink)

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are two of the top days for home candle fires.

Pretty lights, candles and decorations are just a few of the items bringing charm and cheer to the holiday season- however, if they are not used carefully your holidays may go from festive to frightening.

The American Red Cross offers the following safety tips to help greatly reduce the fire risk in your home or businesses this holiday season.

  • Place Christmas trees, candles and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles.
  • Make sure light strings and other holiday are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving the property or going to bed.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over. Keep curious pets and children away from Christmas trees.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire- pot holders, over mitts, wooden utensils, paper of plastic bags, food packaging and towels or curtains- away from your stove top.
  • Designate one person to walk around your property to ensure all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.

SERVPRO of Southern Lancaster County wishes you a safe and happy holiday season!

Safety First Before the Feast

11/1/2018 (Permalink)

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Each November, families gather to celebrate Thanksgiving by preparing a delicious feast, but if you don't practice safe cooking habits, your happy holiday could become hazardous very quickly.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking is the main cause for home fires and injuries, with Thanksgiving being the peak day for cooking-related fires.

Review the following safety tips to help ensure you can enjoy a safe holiday.

  • Never leave cooking food unattended-stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food. If someone must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, they should turn off the stove.
  • Check food regularly while cooking and remain in the home while cooking.
  • Keep the kids away from the cooking area. Enforce a "kid-free zone" and make them stay at least three feet away from the stove.
  • Keep anything flammable-pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging and towels or curtains-away from the stove, over or any other appliance in the kitchen that generates heat.
  • Do not wear loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.
  • Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease buildup.
  • Purchase a fire extinguisher to keep in the kitchen. Contact the local fire department for training on the proper use of extinguishers.
  • Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all stoves, ovens, and small appliances are turned off.
  • Install a smoke alarm near the kitchen, on each level of the home, near sleeping areas and inside and outside bedrooms. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.

Your local professionals at SERVPRO of Southern Lancaster County wish you a safe and happy holiday season.

Fires are Preventable!

10/1/2018 (Permalink)

Prepare your home with fire safety precautions

When it comes to you or your insured's properties, there are certain safety precautions that can be taken to help prevent fires. Ready.gov shares the following tips on home fire prevention.

Electrical and Appliance Safety

  • Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old, or damaged appliance cords immediately and do not run cords under rugs or furniture.
  • If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
  • Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker.

Fireplaces and Woodstoves

  • Inspect and clean woodstove pipes and chimneys annually and check monthly for damage and obstructions.
  • Use a fireplace screen heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying sparks.
  • Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.

Fire Safety

11/23/2016 (Permalink)

House Fire

Looking for a Great Holiday Gift Idea? Give Your Family a Fire Safety Plan

 

Local SERVPRO® restoration specialist highlights the difference between fire prevention planning and fire safety planning

 The holidays are approaching and many families are finalizing plans for elaborate meals, get-togethers with friends, and decorating with festive lights. Amidst all this planning, Donna Barrett of SERVPRO® of Southern Lancaster County reminds homeowners that they may be overlooking the most important plan they can make—a fire safety plan.

1 Statistics

 “Each year, statistics1 show the incidence of home cooking and candle fires peaks during the holiday season. This tends to focus homeowners on fire prevention precautions—and that’s a good thing,” said Barrett. “But to truly protect your family from the dangers of a home fire, at the holidays and throughout the year, you need to start with a fire safety plan. Developing a fire safety plan and practicing it regularly with your family is the most important step you can take to help prevent a house fire from turning into a devastating tragedy.”

SERVPRO is a national leader and provider of fire and water cleanup and restoration services, and their disaster response professionals know from experience how devastating a home fire can be. They also know that when fire causes a loss of life, there is no “remediation” possible. This is why SERVPRO has teamed up with the American Red Cross (ARC) by supporting the ARC Disaster Responder2 program, and in particular the Home Fire Preparedness Campaign3. As a Disaster Responder, SERVPRO pledges dollars and support in advance to help the ARC develop and distribute educational materials and respond immediately when they are needed.

Barrett encourages all Lititz-area homeowners to follow these fire safety guidelines, developed by the ARC through their Home Fire Preparedness Campaign, to help minimize injury or loss of life due to a residential fire.

  1. Install the right number of smoke alarms4. Test them once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year.
  2. Teach children what smoke alarms sound like5 and what to do when they hear one.
  3. Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape6 from every room of your home and know the family meeting spot outside of your home.
  4. Establish a family emergency communications plan and ensure all household members know who to contact if they cannot find one another.
  5. Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year. Press the smoke alarm test button or yell “Fire” to alert everyone they must get out.
  6. Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.
  7. Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.

“Fire prevention and fire safety planning are two very different things,” said Barrett. “Fire prevention planning helps control or eliminate the causes of a fire. Fire safety planning helps prevent injury and loss of life when a fire does break out. To protect your family and your property, you need both.”

For more fire prevention and fire safety tips and information about fire and water damage restoration services, please visit www.SERVPRO.com. For more information on SERVPRO® of Southern Lancaster County, please contact Donna Barrett at (717) 464-5500 or SERVPRO8837@comcast.net.

Smoke and Soot Cleanup

9/19/2016 (Permalink)

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 S Lancaster 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 – 717-464-5500