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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Fire Damage Blog Posts

Wildfire Safety

9/27/2022 (Permalink)

In recent years it seems like there are more wildfires than ever. Many times we have no control if we are going to lose our home to a wildfire but there are things we can do to prepare and hopefully at times save our home.

So be prepared. Create a defensible space around your home. Keep at least 30 feet between your home and your potential sources. Clean and remove all dead and dry leaves and pine needles from your yard, roof and rain gutters. Create a separation between trees, shrubs and items that would catch fire. These could be things like patio furniture, wood piles, swing sets, etc.

Stay aware of the latest news and updates from your local media and fire department. Get your family, home and pets ready to evacuate. Place an emergency supply kit and other valuables in your vehicle. Be sure to also close and protect your home’s openings, these could be the attic and basement doors and vents, windows, garage doors and pet doors to prevent embers from penetrating your home. Connect garden hoses and fill any pools, hot tubs, garbage cans, tubs, or other large containers with water. Leave as early as possible, before you’re told to evacuate.  

SERVPRO of Washington County is here to help. Please be safe! (301) 797-0677

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen!

9/27/2022 (Permalink)

Everyone loves to gather in the kitchen and the  cook is often the popular one in the house but did you know that cooking is the leading cause of home fires and injuries in the U.S. ?

Cooking fires often result from unattended cooking and human error. 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.  

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. 

Some tips to remember:

Stay in the kitchen. Never leave cooking unattended. 

Keep a fire extinguisher in or near  the kitchen.

Make sure you the batteries are always changed in the smoke detector. 

Never throw hot grease in the garbage can. This can easily start a fire. 

Beware of things around the stove. Do not keep towels , oven mitts, or anything flammable near the fire.

Also, take notice of what you are wearing. Do not wear clothing that is flowing and could catch on fire. 

Be safe while cooking and keep it the heart of the home. 

If anything happens though, know that SERVPRO of Washington County is here to help .

(301) 797-0677

Cleaning your Items After a Fire

9/15/2022 (Permalink)

You had a fire and were so glad that it was able to be put out but then your realize, " Wow, what a mess now."

You now may have water damage, fire extinguisher damage , odor damage, soot damage,  just to name a few.

SERVPRO is here to help figure out exactly how to clean what and with what method.

There is: Dry Cleaning, Wet Cleaning, Spray and Wipe, Foam Cleaning, Abrasive Cleaning, Immersion Cleaning to name some. 

If you have valuable documents SERVPRO might use: Air Drying, Dehumidification, Freeze Drying, Vacuum Freeze Drying or Vacuum Thermal Drying.

SERVPRO can coordinate with your Electronic Clean up. Believe it or not, some or all of your electronics can be restored.

So to answer the question...Yes, there is more than one way to clean your items after a fire.

What you don't know about Lightning

8/30/2022 (Permalink)

Lightning fires most commonly occur during the summer months when afternoon and early evening storms are at their peak. Homes in heavily wooded areas are extra vulnerable to lightning strikes that set the surrounding landscape on fire. Most people might already know this but do they know what to do to help their home could be as easy as installing a lightening rod or the professional term would be a lightning protection system.

These systems are  not intended to prevent a strike. Its purpose is to provide a safe path on which the current can be safely directed to the ground. Talk with an expert and find out if you should have a system on your house.

You will also want to help protect the inside of your house during a storm. Lightning can damage the electronics, telephone and other systems in your house connected to an electrical outlet. The easiest way to protect your appliances is to unplug them when you first hear the clap of thunder.

Surge protectors can help but are not fail-proof if the strike is a powerful one. To protect yourself, stay away from all plumbing including toilets, sinks and faucets as the pipes of your house make excellent conductors. Stay off the phone , corded phone scan conduct the lightening and therefore strike you when your on the phone.

Lightening is amazing and beautiful but also deadly. Don't ever let yourself forget that.

Heaters and Fire

2/9/2022 (Permalink)

Heating is the second leading cause of a home fire next to cooking. We always think of candles and cooking causing fires but we need to think of being safe when we heat our home too. 

Here are some safety tips:

Use your fire place safely. Always use metal or heat tempered glass screens when using a fireplace.

Never use an oven or stove top to heat your home.

Keep wood stove door closed unless adding wood or pellets or stoking the fire.

Make sure your space heater has an automatic shut off. If it tips over then it goes off. 

It's always best to test your smoke alarms at least once a month.  

Always remember to turn off a space heater when leaving the room or going to bed.

SERVPRO of Washington County is here to help if a fire happens in your home. Give us a call any time and we'll be there for you! (301) 797-0677

Planning for a Fire

1/17/2022 (Permalink)

We all know that we should plan and practice our escape route when we have a house fire but we tend to get lazy when we don't plan to practice. Practice time needs to be scheduled. Even if it's scheduled when you change your smoke detector batteries twice year. Use the time when we change clocks back to do both. Battery change and escape route practice.

Now did you plan for things to happen to your plan. Maybe something has blocked your escape route? Think ahead to things that might happen. Keep a phone next to your bed to dial 911. Keep shoes next to your bed to escape with. Keep a fire blanket under the bed. Try to think ahead for anything that will help with obstacles. 

You should have a checklist when you leave the house or go to bed. 

Things on this list might be:

Check to make sure stove is off and clear of anything flammable.

Make sure your space heater is off and unplugged. Electrical appliances draw current and if there is a faulty plug, there could be a fire. There should also always be 3 feet clearance around the heater. 

If you are a smoker, smoke outside. This will cut the risk of having a stray ash start a fire. 

Check your dryer vents to make sure they are clean. Do not leave the dryer running when your leaving the house or going to bed. 

Be safe and smart. Make your own list of safety checks. There are many more you can add.

Lastly, make sure your house number can be seen from the road for emergency responders.

When you are safe and ready, call SERVPRO of Washington County!

Let's Learn About Lightning

9/27/2021 (Permalink)

Lightning fires most commonly occur during the summer months when afternoon and early evening storms are at their peak. Homes in heavily wooded areas are extra vulnerable to lightning strikes that set the surrounding landscape on fire. Most people might already know this but do they know what to do to help their home could be as easy as installing a lightening rod or the professional term would be a lightning protection system.

These systems are not intended to prevent a strike. Its purpose is to provide a safe path on which the current can be safely directed to the ground. Talk with an expert and find out if you should have a system on your house.

You will also want to help protect the inside of your house during a storm. Lightning can damage the electronics, telephone and other systems in your house connected to an electrical outlet. The easiest way to protect your appliances is to unplug them when you first hear the clap of thunder.

Surge protectors can help but are not fail-proof if the strike is a powerful one. To protect yourself, stay away from all plumbing including toilets, sinks and faucets as the pipes of your house make excellent conductors. Stay off the phone , corded phone scan conduct the lightening and therefore strike you when your on the phone.

Lightening is amazing and beautiful but also deadly. Make sure not to ever forget that!

Fun Summer Nights

9/22/2021 (Permalink)

Who doesn't love sitting outside in the summer and enjoying an outdoor fire?

Those lazy night of summer can be fun but don't get lazy when it comes to the fire.

When you are building a fire pit. Make sure it's downwind of your camp site or any backyard items.

ideally you should clear out a 10 foot radius of space around your pit. Make sure there isn't any tree limbs hanging down as well.

Before you build the fire make sure the weather conditions are in the safe zone. Dry, windy weather for example can be a bad time to have an outdoor fire.

When you have finished enjoying the fire make sure it's out. Even if the embers are gray it doesn't mean it's safe.

Pour water on the fire and then stir it with a shovel to test for any hot spots

Summertime is a great time to be lazy but not when it comes to the fire.

Cleaning your Items After a Fire

9/16/2021 (Permalink)

You had a fire and were so glad that it was able to be put out in time. Nobody got hurt, your water is still running, your electricity is still working, but then you realize, " Wow, what a mess!!!"

You now may have water damage, fire extinguisher damage , odor damage, soot all over your home, just to name a few.

SERVPRO is here to help figure out exactly how to clean what and with what method.

Here at SERVPRO of Washington County, we do Dry Cleaning, Wet Cleaning, Spray and Wipe, Foam Cleaning, Abrasive Cleaning, Immersion Cleaning to name some. 

If you have valuable documents SERVPRO might use: Air Drying, Dehumidification, Freeze Drying, Vacuum Freeze Drying or Vacuum Thermal Drying.

SERVPRO can coordinate with your Electronic Clean up. Believe it or not, some or all of your electronics and other appliances can be restored.

So to answer the question...Yes, there is more than one way to clean your items after a fire.

The Lingering Smell of Fire

8/30/2021 (Permalink)

Have you ever noticed how when you burn a bag of popcorn in the microwave the smell seems to linger for way longer than it should?

That's what happens with even the smallest fire in your home or business. After a fire if the area isn't properly cleaned, restored, and deodorized the burnt scent  can hold onto to your space for years to come. The smoke from a fire is what carries the awful scent throughout a structure. This smoke sets into any surface it can touch.

If a cleanup isn't executed as fast as possible, the residue can cause permanent damage and could even cause the smell to come back! 

The SERVPRO of Washington County team is highly trained to locate and remove the source of the odor. Other professionals will just mask the scent with a fragrance of some kind and once it wears off, you're left with the bill and no actual solution to your odor problem. 

Our professionals also work to make sure you understand all of your possible options when it comes to deodorization.

Dryer Fire!

2/9/2021 (Permalink)

According to FEMA, failing to clean your home dryer causes 34% of home dryer fires.

These dryer fires cause $35 million in property loss every year and are also capable of causing injury or even death!

Reducing your risk for dryer fire is incredibly simple. Let SERVPRO clean your vents and ducts that may being holding lint buildup in your home.

The National Fire Protection Agency recommends that you clean your dryer's lint filter every time you do a load of laundry. This ensures the outdoor vent flap will open with ease. This flap could be restricted by snow or even something as obscure as a bird's nest.

Let our specifically trained technicians make sure all of your vents, filters, and ducts aren't restricted and can let air flow freely. A clean home is a safe home!

For more info about the vent and duct cleaning services that SERVPRO of Washington County offers, give us a call at (301) 797-0677.

Do You have a Fire Escape Plan?

1/18/2021 (Permalink)

Fire experts agree that people have as little as two minutes to escape a burning building before it is too late to exit safely. When it comes to a fire escape plan, every second counts. In a matter of seconds, even the smallest flame can become a massive blaze. The American Cross conducted a survey that found only 26% of families have made and practiced their fire escape plans. If you don't have a plan in place for your home or business, use these tips to develop one!

Draw a map of each level of your home indicating exits (windows and doors)

Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas on higher floors. Store them near the window. If you buy these ladders, make sure they are tested by a reliable testing laboratory

Pick a meeting place outside that keeps a safe distance from your home. Mark it well so everyone remembers where it is

Teach the youngest members of your family how to escape on their own if no one is able to help them. Make accommodations for the elderly, disabled, and your pets

Practice your plan at least twice a year (once during the day and once at nighttime)

Fires can be unpredictable, so your escape plan shouldn't be! Restoring your property after a fire shouldn't be difficult either. That's why SERVPRO of Washington County works so efficiently to cleanup your property ASAP after damage or a loss.

The Lingering Problem

9/29/2020 (Permalink)

Have you ever noticed how when you burn a bag of popcorn in the microwave the smell seems to linger for way longer than it should?

That's what happens with even the smallest fire in your home or business. After a fire in the area isn't properly cleaned, restored, and deodorized the burnt scent  can hold onto to your space for years to come. The smoke from a fire is what carries the awful scent throughout a structure and can set into almost any surface it can touch.

If a cleanup isn't executed as fast as possible, the residue can cause permanent damage and could even cause the smell to come back! 

SERVPRO of Washington County's cleaning team is highly trained to locate and remove the source of the odor. Other professionals will just mask the scent with a fragrance of some kind and once it wears off, you're left with a bill and no actual solution to your odor problem!

Our professionals also work to make sure you understand all of your possible options when it comes to deodorization. 

Saving Yourself from a Wildfire

9/23/2020 (Permalink)

In recent years it seems like there are more wildfires than ever. Many times we have no control if we are going to lose our home to a wildfire but there are things we can do to prepare and hopefully at times save our home.

So be prepared. Create a defensible space around your home. Keep at least 30 feet between your home and your potential sources. Clean and remove all dead and dry leaves and pine needles from your yard, roof and rain gutters. Create a separation between trees, shrubs and items that would catch fire. These could be things like patio furniture, wood piles, swing sets, etc.

Stay aware of the latest news and updates from your local media and fire department. Get your family, home and pets ready to evacuate. Place an emergency supply kit and other valuables in your vehicle. Be sure to also close and protect your home’s openings, these could be the attic and basement doors and vents, windows, garage doors and pet doors to prevent embers from penetrating your home. Connect garden hoses and fill any pools, hot tubs, garbage cans, tubs, or other large containers with water. Leave as early as possible, before you’re told to evacuate.  

SERVPRO of Washington County is here to help. Please be safe! (301) 797-0677

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen

9/15/2020 (Permalink)

Although house fires are generally down in numbers during the summer months, you still need to be on your toes when cooking. Cooking is one of the top leading causes of house fires by far. Grease and oils can ignite an unattended stove or fires can even occur by igniting dish towels, cardboard boxes, or other flammable objects left near it.

Summertime is a time to be careful as always whether you are cooking indoors or outdoors. Enjoy the easy breezy days of summer but be sure to stay on your toes when cooking! Taking the cooking outdoors in the summer doesn't necessarily keep you safe from a cooking fire. Surprisingly enough, mishandled propane tanks are responsible for many fires and injuries!

If you ever have too many cooks in the kitchen and a fire ignites, you know that you can always call SERVPRO of Washington County for any of your restorative needs! We are always ready and always here to help.

Soot is Small

9/14/2020 (Permalink)

Soot is small. And we mean VERY small. In fact, one particle of soot is typically 2.5 micrometers or smaller, try imagining that! After a fire burns in an area, those teeny tiny soot particles float all over the place and spread burnt carbon, wood, oil, dirt, etc. in every nook and cranny that you didn’t even know existed.

Soot is so tiny that it doesn’t just cover the surface of everything in your space, it also gets INSIDE of almost everything. Your cabinets, drawers, air ducts, it can even make its way into the airtight sealed doors of refrigerators! How crazy is that?

When you have a fire in your home, you need a local team of highly trained professionals to come and clean all of those microscopic soot particles out of your space. You don’t want an unsanitary space that smells like burnt carbon, and neither do we! Give us a call and we will be there right away, we’re open 24/7!

(301) 797-0677