Recent Fire Damage Posts

What Kind of Smoke Detector Do I need?

3/23/2021 (Permalink)

There are 3 types of smoke detector alarms on the market today. They are Ionization, Photoelectric and Combination.

An ionization smoke alarm contains a small amount of radioactive material. The radiation passes through an ionization chamber which is an air-filled space between two electrodes and permits a small, constant current between the electrodes. 

When smoke that enters the chamber absorbs the alpha particles, it reduces the ionization and interrupts the current, setting off the alarm. 

This type of alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires.

The Photoelectric smoke alarms operate using a light source.

A light beam collimating system and a photoelectric sensor. When smoke enters the optical chamber and crosses the path of the light beam, some light is scattered by the smoke particles, directing it at the sensor and thus activating the alarm. 

This type of alarm is generally more responsive to fires that begin with a long period of smoldering.

Combination smoke alarms feature both ionization and photoelectric technologies. Ionization smoke alarms respond faster to high energy fires, whereas photoelectric detectors respond better to low energy smoldering fires. The best overall protection is provided by using combination smoke alarms.

Quickly and Safely Fire suppression 101

3/12/2021 (Permalink)

Did you know there were 4 Different types of fires?

  • Class A
    • Solid Materials
      • wood
      • paper
      • plastic
      • clothing

These are the easiest to put out, and the best way to put them out is using water, ex. a water hose or a bucket full of water. A foam fire extinguisher would also be a great option on Class A fires. 

  • Class B
    • Flammable Liquids
      • oil
      • alcohol
      • gasoline
      • grease (cooking grease)

NEVER EVER use WATER on a Class B fire. This will cause the flaming material to scatter rather than extinguish it. The best course of action is using a powder like baking soda, or a carbon dioxide extinguisher. A foam fire extinguisher would also work.

  • Class C
    • Electrical
      • old wiring
      • fault equipment
      • bad/damaged wiring

First, shut off power to the electrical fire. That could be as easy as shutting off a breaker, or unplugging the appliance. Then use a carbon dioxide or dry powder to extinguish the flames if they remain or if any appeared. 

  • Class D (uncommon)
    • metal ignition
      • mainly in laboratories or industrial type buildings

The best course of action is to use a fire extinguisher if the fire is small enough, otherwise call 911 and evacuate the area. 

What Do I Need to Do to Reduce Damages After a Fire?

3/8/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Fire Restoration Technicians Provide Emergency Response Services in Springfield/Mt. Vernon

After a fire, one thing is sure. There is much work to do before you regain your sense of normality. Even the smallest of fires can have extremely damaging impacts on your home. SERVPRO emergency response technicians move quickly to mitigate further damages.

Can I Stay in My Home After a Fire?

SERVPRO Technicians May Prep Your Home So You Can Remain

Depending on the extent of fire in your Springfield home, SERVPRO technicians may decide to use additional precautions to ensure your home is livable. If you are remaining in your home, they deodorize first to eliminate some of the strong odors. They also clean the most used portions of your home, such as your kitchen, bathroom, and bedrooms. 

What Do SERVPRO Emergency Technicians Do to Secure My House?

  • Board up windows and doors.
  • Address electrical hazards.
  • Inspect the home for structural issues for safety purposes.
  • If power is out, set up emergency lighting and access to flashlights.

What Else Should I Do Right Away if I want to Stay in My Home?

  • Put towels or old sheets over furniture to limit further damage from smoke residue.
  • Seal off the parts of the home that were not impacted by the fire.
  • Do not eat any contaminated food or use contaminated products.
  • Pull clothing out that you need right away for cleaning. 

We understand the importance of wanting to stay in your home after a fire since displacement can add additional complications to getting your life back in order. Our technicians check for structural integrity and safety hazards and begin working to keep you in your home while they restore it to pre loss condition.

For 24/7 assistance after a fire, Contact SERVPRO of Springfield/Mt. Vernon at 703-644-0620. We’re Faster To Any Size Disaster. 

What Renters Can Expect From Their Coverage

2/15/2021 (Permalink)

Fire Protection: What Renters Can Expect From Their Coverage

What Renters Can Expect From Their Coverage

Many tenants buy renter’s insurance to cover the cost of replacing their personal belongings if they are damaged or destroyed by an accident in the building where they live. Your coverage, however, may pay for much more than just item replacement. It’s important to talk to your agent, so you know just how much you can expect your insurance company to pay if the place you are renting in Springfield/Mt. Vernon, catches fire.

Belongings

Part of the fire restoration process is determining which items can be cleaned and saved and which must be thrown away. Your insurance coverage should pay for:

  •  Assessment
  •  Cleaning costs
  •  Replacement costs

Make sure your policy states that it pays replacement cost rather than the actual cash value of your items. The purpose of insurance is to make you whole again, and replacing lost belongings is a good start.

Liability

If the fire was caused by your negligence, you might be liable for any damages you cause to other people or to the structure itself. Your renter’s insurance probably has a clause that protects you from legal costs. Your policy may cover damage to your neighbor’s belongings or the property itself, as well as cover medical bills of anyone injured in the fire if you bear some responsibility for its starting.

Shelter

Fire restoration experts may work quickly, but there are probably going to be some nights that you are unable to stay in your rented space. Finding a temporary place to live can be expensive. Your insurance policy is likely to cover this as well. You can include your shelter needs as part of the fallout of the fire damage to your home when you file your claim.

Your renter’s insurance does cover the loss of your belongings, but it can also cover other losses. Your insurance agent can help you build a solid policy that takes all potential expenses of the fire into consideration.

The Most Common Types of House Fires

2/8/2021 (Permalink)

In this blog, we are going to talk about the most common fires and how you can help reduce the risk of a fire starting in your home. The 4 most common types of fires include kitchen, electrical, heater, and smoking fires. With that being said fires can start with cooking, heating equipment, anything electrical, smoking, and candles. It is extremely important to keep an eye on these things that can start potential fires as you can help prevent having a house fire. Below listed are the 4 most common types of house fires.

Kitchen Fires

Cooking fires are the #1 cause of house fires and usually start in the kitchen. This accounts for 42% of all reported incidents. Grease fires are one of the most common causes of kitchen fires and can get out of hand quickly if unattended. Be sure to never leave your cooking unsupervised because it doesn’t take long for a fire to start.

Electrical Fires

Every year there are about 50,000 electrical fires due to faulty wiring. A majority of the fires start because of short circuits, which causes sparking that light building materials on fire. These are one of the deadliest fires as well. Most residential fires that start this way are in hidden areas, so it takes a while for the homeowner to realize there is a fire. Electrical systems that are installed correctly are very safe, however old faulty wiring systems can be susceptible to short circuits.

Heating equipment

Heating equipment is responsible for 15% of all residential fires. Usually, heater fires start by having fabrics and other combustibles close to them allowing them to catch fire. Never leave your home with a heater running and be sure not to leave anything close to them.

Smoking Fires

While smoking only accounts for 5% of house fires it is extremely dangerous. Most homeowners usually fall asleep before the fire starts. Since these are deadly fires it is important to be extremely cautious when you smoke inside.

Fires can always be prevented by using caution. SERVPRO of Springfield/Mt. Vernon offers fire restorations and reconstruction. Feel free to contact us for any fire related questions you might have, we will be happy to assist you. 703-644-0620

How to be prepared for a fire incident in your office

9/11/2020 (Permalink)

Nobody ever thinks or likes to prepare for a dangerous terrifying fire situation but in order to work with a peace of mind in the office, you should know these simple strategies to safely confront a fire situation in your office.  Have your peers know these strategies by hand because it can make a huge difference when a fire hazard arises.

  • Have an evacuation plan and make sure to share it with the staff. Make sure this evacuation plan meets legal requirements. This plan should be customized to the unique size of your office work place.
  • Make sure all employees know how to properly use a fire extinguisher. If not, be sure to have proper training sessions on how to do so.
  • Fire drills are very important. Have at least 2 a year with all the staff participating in it. This will help in plan out where all of you will meet in case of an actual fire situation. It’s important that everyone has an easy route to an escape exit, this drill will help establish this route
  • Keep smoke detectors up to date and make sure they are functional. Have a few around the office so the staff can hear them clearly in case of a fire. Make sure everyone knows what the fire alarm sounds like.
  • In order to reduce potential hazards frequently check the conditions of electrical cables and replace them if they seem old or wear out. Take a look to see if they are overloaded.

Know that you know a few strategies practice them in your work place to keep every one safe. It is also highly important that the evacuation plan is somewhere visible where all the employees can see it because not everyone will be able to remember the evacuation plan. Have the plan somewhere visible such as the office break room or the office kitchen. Keep the plan and employees update in order to work in a safely planed office and in the case of a fire incident SERVPRO of Springfield/Mt. Vernon is a phone call away.

How to prevent house fires

3/3/2020 (Permalink)

Kitchen damaged by a fire.

House fires are one of the most common types of disasters in the country. The good news is they are pretty easy to prevent. Keep reading to find some easy steps to prevent fires in your home or business.

  1. Be sure to constantly check that your smoke detectors are in working order. Set a monthly alarm on your smartphone so you are reminded to check the batteries in your smoke detectors. Monthly smoke alarm checks are one very easy way to prevent fires.
  2. Check furnace filters, space heaters, and water heaters. Dust can build up in furnace filters and cause fires. Water heaters, especially those that run on gas, can also pose a threat if anything is placed near the heating element. Also, be mindful of the placement of space heaters so that they are not placed near any flammable items. 
  3. The kitchen is the most commonplace for house fires to start. Make sure to keep any flammable items away from the stove. Also never leave the kitchen unattended when something is cooking, even if it is a tea kettle or an electric griddle. 
  4. Make sure you properly manage your wires. Whether it’s your home office, living room, or entertainment room everyone usually has a room in their home with a bunch of tangled wires that you can never seem to unwind. Not only does this look bad, but it causes a fire hazard. Be sure to take some time and separate tangled wires. Also, don’t forget to replace damaged wires you may come across. 
  5. Do not leave an open flame unattended. This includes candles, a gas stove, and the fireplace. It is important that when you are done using an open flame that it is properly put out to prevent fires.
  6. Make sure you have a working fire extinguisher handy. Double-check expiration dates on fire extinguishers and replace them when they go bad. 
  7. Always have a plan. Make a fire escape plan with multiple exits in case of an emergency. Make sure everyone in the house is prepared and knows the best way to get out of your home if there is a fire.

Sources:

https://www.esurance.com/info/homeowners/how-to-prevent-house-fires

https://www.safewise.com/home-security-faq/prevent-house-fire/

Dangers of Hoarding

7/23/2019 (Permalink)

Many fire departments are experiencing serious fires, injuries, and deaths as the result of compulsive hoarding behavior

NFPA - Hoarding and fire safety

The excessive accumulation of materials in homes poses a significant threat to firefighters fighting fires and responding to other emergencies in these homes and to residents and neighbors. Often, the local fire department will be contacted to help deal with this serious issue. Since studies suggest that between three and five percent of the population are compulsive hoarders, fire departments must become familiar with this issue and how to effectively handle it.

NFPA - Hoarding and fire safety

  • Hoarding can be a fire hazard. Many occupants die in fires in these homes. Often, blocked exits prevent escape from the home. In addition, many people who are hoarding are injured when they trip over things or when materials fall on them.
  • Responding firefighters can be put at risk due to obstructed exits, falling objects, and excessive fire loading that can lead to collapse. Hoarding makes fighting fires and searching for occupants far more difficult.
  • Those living adjacent to an occupied structure can be quickly affected when a fire occurs, due to excessive smoke and fire conditions.

Fire Damage Prevention DOs and DON'Ts

7/16/2019 (Permalink)

Are you a homeowner or property manager in Springfield / Mt. Vernon Virginia? In the case of a fire, do you know what to do before help arrives? Regardless of your fire cleanup and restoration knowledge, allow us to help you minimize the damage to your home as you await the arrival of emergency service professionals.

The first 48 hours after a fire disaster can make all the difference between fire cleanup and restoration versus complete replacement of your property and belongings.

Check out these tips for fire damage prevention to your Virginia home:

DO:

  • Limit movement of persons and furniture to prevent soot particles from settling into your home.
  • Prevent soiled furniture by covering upholstered belongings with clean towels or old linens.
  • Remove soot from chrome faucets, trim, and appliances.

DO NOT:

  • Attempt to clean walls or painted surfaces without contacting SERVPRO.
  • Shampoo carpet or upholstery without consulting fire cleanup professionals.
  • Clean or repair electrical equipment.
  • Clean clothes- improper cleaning may permanently stain clothes with soot and smoke odor.

In the case of a house fire, remove yourself from the property as quickly as possible, call 911, then call SERVPRO of Springfield/ Mt. Vernon-- your trusted Fire and Water Cleanup and Restoration experts. Our professional staff can help prevent fire damage from creating long-term problems in your home. We provide fast response to any size disaster, with services ranging from fire cleanup to contents claim inventory and document restoration.

Call us with your fire restoration needs - (703) 644-0620. We offer our 24-hour emergency cleanup services 365 days a year.

Fire Pit Safety Reminders

5/1/2018 (Permalink)

One of the newest “items to have” for both summer and winter months is a Fire Pit.  Fire pits come in various shapes and materials, brick, metal, concrete and more.  Many individuals are even constructing their own fire pits based on pictures that they see, or out of sheer desire and creativity.  Fire pits can be propane or wood burning or natural gas.  Please note Propane and Natural Gas are NOT  the same.

 While a fire pit may be the new “must-have” item in home and garden, users must remember to implement detailed safety practices for users to maintain. This may include using a poker, log grabber, or shovel when adjusting burning logs or assuring that enough space exists between seats and the pit so that pedestrians may easily walk by.

Please remember: do not leave a lit or burning fire pit unattended. Wind may blow fumes and embers into surrounding areas which may create a significant fire hazard.  Please also note that embers can remain a fire hazard for days if not adequately dealt with, so double check before leaving the fire pit that there is no residual heat present.

PREVENT FIRES - Inspect your Smoke detectors regularily

1/4/2018 (Permalink)

Smoke detector

Checking the batteries and the status of your smoke detectors regularly is so much more important than the average home owner thinks it is.

We know they are checked before you rent or buy a house.  We know they are checked when you sell a home.  These legal steps have been added for your protection, so get in the habit of taking the extra steps necessary of checking them periodically and log it somewhere.

One of the first items mentioned when a residential fire happens if there is an injury or fatality; is that the smoke detectors were or were not operable. Something so simple can save hundreds of dollars in damage and maybe even a life.  

Some states have now required detectors that have sealed batteries guaranteed active for 10 years, Maryland recently enacted the law.  Take the time to check the status of your detector and test it on a regular basis. 

Electrical Safety Counterfeit Products Portable Heaters

1/4/2018 (Permalink)

Recent data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that, on average, there are more than 400 electrocutions

  • More than 3,000 electrical fires are caused by extension cords each year, resulting in 50 deaths and 270 injuries.
  • Large appliances cause nearly 20 percent of consumer-product electrocutions annually.
  • U.S. Customs confiscates more than $3 million in consumer electrical products each year, and explains that products with counterfeit certification marks, including CSA, UL and ETL, have not been tested for shock and fire hazards.

Sales of electrical products increase during the winter months.  Sales of Counterfeit Electrical products is on the rise, these items have not met the testing and safety standards and can result in injury, death and property damage.  Purchase your products from reputable dealers and check for certification marks.

PORTABLE HEATER SAFETY:

  • Keep all furniture, draperies, and other household objects at least three feet from the in-wall fan heaters and 12 inches from baseboard heaters.
  • Keep portable space heaters at least three feet away from all flammable materials, such as furniture and draperies. ? Plug portable space heaters directly into the outlet; do not use an extension cord.
  • If an in-wall or baseboard heater is shut off at the circuit breaker, be sure to lock or tag the circuit breaker to prevent someone from inadvertently turning it back on.
  • Some portable space heaters, electric in-wall fan heaters and baseboard heaters have been subject to product recalls. Check your brand and model number and visit www.cpsc.gov for possible information about your heater.

Holiday Fires are twice as likely

12/22/2017 (Permalink)

Holidays are the peak times for fires

The  U.S. Fire Administration reports more than double the  number of open flame fires on Christmas Day than the average day.  Property loss in a Holiday Fire is about 34% greater than in a regular fire, and loss of life is and fatalities is about 70% higher if the cause is a Christmas Tree. 

*One if every four Christmas Tree fires is due to Electrical problems. 

*A heat source too close to the tree causes 1 in every four Christmas Tree fires.

*The top 3 days for Candle Fires are Christmas, New Year's Day and Christmas Eve.

*Candles start 2 out of 5 Home Decoration fires.

Mak and effort nto get Holiday, candle and "Christmas tree fire" Safety outreach materials.

Source: National Fire Protection Association

Springfield/ Mt. Vernon Fire, Smoke and Soot Clean up

3/17/2017 (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 Springfield/ Mt. Vernon 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 – 703-644-0620