Recent Fire Damage Posts

Fire Prevention- Gas Furnace Tips

4/22/2021 (Permalink)

A gas furnace provides comfort when homeowners need it most, however heat can quickly turn into havoc when a furnace breaks down. While many people worry about losing heat in the event of a furnace malfunction, there are other risks to consider such as a fire or carbon monoxide leak. It’s crucial to take safety precautions to prevent these issues and to truly feel comfortable with the furnace in your home.

Despite the risks, proper maintenance ensures that a gas furnace will work properly even when outdoor temperatures plummet. If you haven’t checked on the status of your furnace in  some time, late winter is a great time to do some inspecting. You can prepare yourself for late season cold snaps and go into spring knowing your furnace is in good condition. Read on to see our top five gas furnace safety tips that will make your gas furnace safer.

1. CLEAR CLUTTER

As a general rule, the minimum clear space around a furnace should be about two feet, and more for anything flammable. This includes lint, dust, papers, clothes, paint, rags and much more. You can clear lint and dust with a vacuum cleaner — doing so once a month will help prevent dangerous buildup. Additionally, look for flammable liquids in the same room as your furnace and ensure that they are sealed in an airtight container to prevent accidental ignition. Furnace fire safety starts with a watchful eye, so always look for the hidden dangers that could be sitting right next to your furnace.

2. CHANGE FILTERS

It’s easy to ignore the need to change your furnace filters, but also dangerous. Not only does a furnace have to work harder to push air through a dirty filter (increasing energy costs) but it also reduces the quality of air in your home. To avoid breathing in dust particles on a daily basis, be certain to change your furnace’s filter every 1 to 3 months. During the winter months, you may want to increase this frequency to avoid the risk of a breakdown that could leave your home feeling frigid.

3. DETECT SMOKE & CARBON MONOXIDE

Heat is a great thing during winter — except when it’s the result of a furnace fire. To protect your family from the risks of a fire, ensure that a smoke detector is present in the same room as your furnace and replace its batteries on a yearly basis. In the same vein, a malfunctioning furnace can release dangerous carbon monoxide into the air, so it’s crucial to have a fully-charged detector nearby. Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas, so never rely on your sense of smell to detect problems near the furnace.

4. ENHANCE AIRFLOW

When winter weather moves in snow piles up, this can cause your gas furnace to shut down. That’s because the snow can obstruct two of the most important components of your home comfort system — the exterior air intake and exhaust from a natural gas furnace. The only way to keep air flowing smoothly throughout your home is to complete a visual inspection of these areas after a significant snowfall to look for any blockages. Clearing out these areas when your furnace stalls will lead to less strain on the system and a longer service life.

5. GET REGULAR MAINTENANCE

It’s more cost-effective to take a proactive approach to furnace maintenance than a reactive one. When something goes wrong and a furnace breaks down, a repair or replacement isn’t a choice — it’s a costly necessity. What’s more, annual furnace maintenance ensures that your heating runs as efficiently as possible, saving you even more money in the long run. Nobody expects to have furnace issues, but without maintenance, the risks of experiencing problems are much higher. 

PRIORITIZE FURNACE SAFETY

Even if you’ve never experienced gas furnace issues in the past, it only takes one to change the way you think about furnace safety. Don’t learn the hard way — understand that a gas furnace is a mechanical device that can break and cause real harm without the right precautions.

Fire damage in your home due to malfunctioning furnace? Contact the professionals here at SERVPRO today to speak to a Remediation Specialist. 502.241.6861

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby also proudly serves Spencer, Henry and Trimble Counties. 

What to do Following a Residential Fire

4/22/2021 (Permalink)

Fires don’t just burn things, they can also create all many hazards. So if your home was recently damaged by a fire, and you don’t know how to start repairs, the following information will show you what you need to do. 

What Should You Do After a Fire?

The first thing that you should do after a fire is to look for a place to stay while you figure out what you should do next. You should also contact your relatives about your situation, and let them know that you’re safe. 

Once that’s done, you should contact your insurance company and talk to them about the fire, and if they have any advice or recommendations that will assist you with your claim.

While processing your claim, you should also contact a local restoration company. The closer they are to your home, the better. Fire restoration often requires a lot of equipment and spare materials, and it helps if your chosen restoration company can reach your home in less than an hour. 

The fire restoration process usually lasts between a few days to more than a week, depending on the amount of damage your home has sustained.

During this time, the restoration team will not only repair the damages to your home, but they will also make sure that all of the hazards within are removed, including toxic materials, electrical wires, combustible items and more.

Once they are finished, you can move back into your fully repaired and restored home. 

Tips for Fireplace Safety

4/21/2021 (Permalink)

Tips for Fireplace Safety

Fall is approaching and the time when a crackling fire in your fireplace sounds like the perfect cozy addition to a chilly day. But before you spark some kindling and throw on another log, it is important you make sure your fireplace is in working order. 

Familiarize yourself with the following fireplace safety and maintenance tips so you can relax and enjoy your fireplace throughout the rest of the cold season:

Sweep your chimney

Ideally, you should to sweep your chimney of soot and debris every year before winter arrives. Fortunately, you can easily hire a trained professional to do it for you. 

Don’t skip the chimney cap

Chimney caps are made from wire mesh and fit over the top of the chimney. The function of the chimney cap is to keep out rain, birds, other small animals, and debris. If you don’t have one, get one. And if your chimney cap is damaged, replace or repair it.

Look for damage and deterioration

Noticing loose bricks or mortar, or cracks in the chimney structures, means that your chimney needs some attention and should be repaired immediately. Your chimney sweep can also help with finding any areas that need to be repaired.

Build your fire correctly

Place the wood you’ll be burning at the back of the fireplace and use kindling, not flammable liquid to get the fire going.

Burn the proper wood

Hardwoods that are dense and properly dried, such as oak, are the way to go. More dangerous woods to burn are green or resinous softwoods, such as pine, as they produce more creosote, which is a flammable by-product that will build up inside the chimney.

No bonfires please

Roaring, overloaded fires are far more dangerous, as the intense heat can crack the chimney. A large fire also produces more smoke, which produces more flammable creosote. So please, keep your fire on the small side.

Maintain the ash level

You don’t actually have to remove all of the ash out of your fireplace before building another, but if it is deeper than an inch, you should take some out. Leaving about an inch of ash helps to build a new fire and protects the firebox floor. Also, make sure that the ash isn’t touching the fire grate, as the heat can burn the grate out. You can remove all of the ash at the end of the winter.

Use a spark guard or grate

Prevent sparks from leaping out of the fire and into your home with a spark guard. These can be made from mesh, glass, screens, or ceramic. And as with any ‘appliance’ that generates heat or flame, if you leave the room for a time, it’s especially important to guard the fire.

If the worst happens, and you experience fire or smoke damage this winter, let SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County help you get back to normal. To be the most proactive, you can always schedule an inspection to find any potential problems before they create larger ones.

Call SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today to speak to a Mitigation specialist. 502.241.6861

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County also proudly serves Spencer, Henry and Trimble Counties.

How to Avoid Fire Hazards During the Holiday Season

12/29/2020 (Permalink)

Enjoy the Holidays and Avoid Fire Hazards

Fall and winter holidays are exciting times to gather with family and friends, enjoy traditional decorations and eat special foods. Unfortunately, these holiday festivities can also bring about unique fire hazards. Most residential fires happen during the colder months of the year, and are primarily caused by cooking, heating, and electrical malfunctions. A house fire will certainly take the joy out of celebrating the holidays, so take appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of your home and your guests. No matter what holidays you celebrate, consider these important steps for staying safe and preventing fires. 

1. Cook With Care

Although cooking with care is always important, it can be easy to neglect caution during the chaotic holiday preparations. More cooking in the kitchen can increase the risk of a fire. Be sure to stay in the kitchen when you have something cooking on the stove top or in the oven. The NFPA recommends keeping pan lids close by so that if a fire starts you can quickly cover it with the lid and remove the pan from the burner. When food preparation is finished, turn off the burners and remove the pans, as the stove top can remain hot. 

2. Pay Attention to Indoor Decorations

When decorating indoors, test all lights and cords and replace any faulty products before use. Hang indoor lights with clips rather than nails to avoid damaging cords and never use decorations intended for outdoor use only inside your home. If you burn candles indoors, keep them away from children and always extinguish them before you leave the room or go to sleep. Place Christmas trees or seasonal plants at least three feet away from any heat source and turn off any decorative lights prior to leaving your home or going to sleep. Never use real candles to light a tree and water a live tree every day to prevent it from becoming dry and brittle. When the holiday ends or the tree becomes dry, get rid of it. Do not leave a live, dried out tree in the garage or near your house, as they are highly combustible. 

3. Use Outdoor Light Displays Responsibly

Many people show their holiday spirit with outdoor light displays. If you decorate outside, use only electrical decorations and extension cords manufactured for outdoor use. Keep the cords and lights away from snow or standing water and avoid damage to the cord's insulation by ensuring it is not pinched in doors or windows or placed under furniture. Also when installing outdoor lights, use a ladder made of wood or fiberglass, as metal ladders can conduct electricity. 

4. Don't Forget Lighters and Matches

An open flame can pose serious risks if handled improperly. Always keep lighters, matches, and other fire-starting materials away from children. Make sure holiday guests who smoke do so outside and properly dispose of cigarette butts and ashes – by dampening cigarette butts before throwing them in the trash, for example. Exercise caution if using a fireplace or an outdoor fire pit. Gathering family and friends around a fire can be a cozy, enjoyable way to experience the colder weather but make sure you place the fire pit at least 10 feet away from your home or other structures and don't use it in windy weather, as the fire can quickly spread outside the intended area. Have your chimney inspected prior to using a wood-burning fireplace and only burn dry firewood that has been out of the rain for several months. Green or damp wood, when burned, can create additional dangers as it sizzles and smokes. Also avoid a common holiday decorating mistake by never hanging stockings or other dangling decorations in front of a working fireplace. 

5. Use Fireworks Appropriately

Ringing in the New Year with fireworks has become an American tradition, but fireworks present dangers when used inappropriately. Before celebrating with fireworks, check local laws regarding their use and follow all regulations. If your area allows the use of fireworks at home, never allow children to use them unsupervised. Use fireworks outside only, away from buildings and trees, and never relight a firework that fails to explode.  By understanding the potential fire risks associated with this time of year and taking simple precautions, you can keep your home and family safe, while enjoying the holiday season. 
  

Why you need a professional fire restoration company

10/27/2020 (Permalink)

Was your home recently damaged in a fire? You may be searching for DIY fire restoration tips to save a little money in the recovery process, however the simple fact is this: fire and smoke damage restoration is not a job for amateurs. Here are four reasons why trying to clean up the mess yourself could be problematic.

You Might be Exposed to Hidden Health Hazards

Unfortunately, the dangers of a fire don’t end once the flames go out. The smoke and soot left behind are more than just dirty little reminders of the disaster that took place. Exposure to fire-damaged objects and lingering residue could be hazardous.


Soot forms after a fire because plastic, foam, textiles, wood, and other household materials doesn't burn cleanly. The soot then contains toxic materials that either didn’t burn completely or were produced as a chemical reaction in the fire’s high heat.


Invisible soot particles floating through the air may contain asbestos fibers, ammonia, tar, formaldehyde, and much more.

Exposure to soot in a fire-damaged home is obviously at its highest during the cleanup process. However, unless thorough, adequate cleaning is performed, the effects of smoke could linger for years. This is why you should leave fire restoration to professionals who can employ deep-cleaning techniques to truly restore your home to its pre-fire condition.

You Need Special Equipment

A bottle of degreaser and a dust mask are not nearly enough to adequately clean up fire and smoke damage. After all, you can’t simply wipe soot away. You must deep clean all surfaces to eliminate lingering health threats and remove residual odors. Professional tools – not to mention knowledge of proper cleaning techniques – are at the heart of a thorough, safe fire restoration.


Also, be aware that laundering smoke-damaged clothing in your washer could deepen the damage and leave undesired odors in the washing machine. You must pursue special dry-cleaning techniques if you hope to salvage clothing damaged in a fire.

You Could Mistakenly Throw Away Salvageable Goods

It’s easy for the untrained eye to sift through damaged belongings and deem many of them a lost cause. However, with advanced recovery techniques, a fire restoration contractor can help minimize your loss. Then, for contaminated items that truly are unrecoverable, proper disposal prevents unnecessary hazards.

The Recovery Process Could Take Much Longer

Restoring your home back to its pre-fire condition is not a straightforward task. You have belongings to salvage, cleanup to do, and the home’s structure to repair. Then, there are the insurance claims to minimize the fire’s financial impact. The entire process is a headache to attempt yourself.


In fact, your efforts to save money with DIY fire restoration could easily backfire if you throw out salvageable belongings and don’t complete insurance claims correctly. The time it takes to perform the cleanup without help could also be detrimental. Relying on a fire restoration contractor who’s familiar with every aspect of the disaster recovery process is a much better option.

Schedule Professional Fire Restoration Services

The team at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby is here to deliver affordable, convenient fire and smoke damage restoration services. We make the recovery process as quick and painless as possible. Contact us today to learn more about our fire restoration services. 502.241.6861

Fire Damage Restoration Process

10/27/2020 (Permalink)

Step One: Emergency Contact

The best fire damage restoration companies offer emergency services meaning that they are able to come out quickly when contacted and provide immediate relief for your property. This is a very important feature and you should always look for companies that offer this when trying to find fire damage restoration.

Why do you need immediate service before you start the fire damage restoration process? Of course, it’s actually the job of the emergency services and fire department to put out the fires. However, you may still need fire damage restoration services promptly in order to prevent damage from spreading through your property.

For instance, let's say a fire burns a hole in your roof. This could then lead to a situation where you have rain coming in through your ceiling and ruining your property further – the longer you leave this the more the damage is going to increase and thus needing immediate emergency services whenever possible rather than waiting for the problem to grow more severe.

Step Two: Assessment

The next thing that a fire damage restoration company will do in the fire damage restoration process is to assess the extent of the damage in your property. This will usually involve looking at how far the fire, the smoke, and the soot have traveled as well as seeing how badly affected your walls and furniture are.

This is an important first step as it is only by understanding the extent of the damage that the company will be able to come up with a plan of action and to give you an accurate estimate for how much it should cost and a time frame of completion.

Step Three: Tarp and Sealing Services

Once the fire damage restoration begins in earnest, the main priority will always be to prevent damage from getting worse. For instance then, if you have a leak thanks to a hole burned in your roof or due to a hole in your wall, then your fire damage restoration company will start by addressing that.

Likewise, the fire damage restoration can also often go hand in hand with water damage restoration. This can be necessary for instance if the fire has led to a burst pipe or water tank. In these cases, fire damage restoration services will act quickly to stop the source of the water before it spreads through more of your building and causes further damage.

Step Four: Clean Up

Next, the restoration service will begin the clean-up portion of the fire damage restoration process whereby they will clean away smoke, dust, and soot from your surfaces. After a fire often you will find that your property looks dark, stained and charred. The first job of your fire damage restoration company will be to clean up all this part of the damage and get your property at least looking as normal as possible.

This is also when water damage restoration will begin properly. Here any standing pools of water will be removed using submersible pumps and the areas will then be dried and sanitized. Water damage can also cause health problems as a result of contamination in the water, so sanitation is particularly important here.

During this fire damage restoration process, companies will also ensure to remove any odors that can linger after the smoke has been in the room. This might involve carpet cleaning as well and will often need to address adjacent rooms as well as those directly affected by fire damage.

Finally, the clean-up part of the fire damage restoration process will also involve the removal and disposal of items that are too badly damaged to be repaired. If you have furniture for instance that has absorbed a lot of contaminated water, or if you have carpet that has been badly burned… in these cases often the best case scenario is just to throw these things out and to replace them with new items. Fire damage restoration companies handle this for you so that you don’t have to.

Step Five: Repair and Renovation

The next stage is to begin actually restoring furniture and repairing the damage caused by fire. For instance, if cabinets have been destroyed by fire, then the restoration service will involve either repairing those cabinets or replacing them with new ones. Carpets can likewise be installed a new and walls can be repainted and wallpaper can be put back up.

The idea of this stage is to get your property looking as good as new so that you can go back to normal. However, the very best fire damage restoration companies will go one step further than this. That’s because they will not only offer restoration but also renovation. These companies can then repair your property and actually leave it looking better than it did at the start. This can be something of a silver lining – if you’re stressed and upset because your furniture has been ruined, then the fire damage restoration service can turn this into an opportunity to renovate your property and to enjoy having a completely new redesign.

Fire Damage in your Home or Business? Contact the professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today. 502.241.6861

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County also proudly serves Spencer, Henry and Trimble Counties. 

Why Fire Restoration is Urgent

10/7/2020 (Permalink)

A fire can cause severe damage to your home. After the fire has been extinguished, you may be left wondering what to do next. The answer is to call a fire restoration company. A team of fire restoration professionals can help to restore your home and get your life back to normal. Here’s why it is important to call a restoration team immediately after a fire.

Hidden Problems

Fire damage comes in many forms. This can include smoke stains and wall discoloration. However, ash and soot can be hidden in places that you might not be able to see. It can be hidden in places such as air conditioning vents and spaces behind walls.

A team of fire restoration experts will be able to quickly and effectively clean problem areas. If those places are not thoroughly cleaned immediately, this can cause a lingering odor. It can also cause health risks and a decrease in the quality of indoor air.

Eliminate Smells and Odors

Removing the smell of smoke is a difficult part of the fire restoration process. This is because particles of soot can get into parts of a building that are hard to access. If these areas are not properly cleaned, it can cause an odor that is hard to get rid of that can last up to several months.

Furthermore, the debris may contain dangerous substances such as carbon monoxide, benzene, and chemicals that come from burned plastics. The earlier a restoration team is able to start the restoration process, the more chances they have of completely getting rid of the particles and substances that cause odor and pose a risk.

Reduce Cost

Another reason you should call a fire restoration company immediately is because they have the ability to decrease the fire damage and other problems that could arise. Additionally, quick restoration can reduce the chance of structural damage being caused to your home.

Also, if damaged windows, walls, and roofs are not repaired quickly, it can allow thieves to enter your home. Trespassers can easily steal your personal belongings and cause more damage to your home and property. Calling a fire restoration team immediately can reduce the amount of fire damage and save you money at the same time. The more damage you are able to prevent, the less money you will have to spend.

There are many reasons why you should call a fire restoration company as soon as possible. Not only will it save you money, it will also reduce the amount of fire damage that is done to your home.

A team of experts would be able to get rid of any lingering smells caused by the build-up of ash and soot. They will also be able to get into and clean hard-to-reach places. Additionally, there may be hidden areas of your home where smoke and soot can build up. Professionals know exactly where to look for this kind of build-up and will have your home and life back to normal as soon as possible. If your house has had a fire, call the professionals at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby today! 502.241.6861

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County also proudly serves Spencer, Henry and Trimble. 

How A House Fire Affects Your Homes Contents

5/15/2020 (Permalink)

Fires can destroy your property and definitely cause irreversible damage. The flames move from item to item burning everything to a crisp. The heat produced by the flames will radiate causing surrounding items to melt, crack and sometimes even shatter. After the fire has been put out, you are then left with smoke damage. Smoke damage left unaddressed can devastate your home as well as its contents, and the actual fire doesn't necessarily have to occur in the same room. For example, in the case of wildfires, homes and businesses have been completely ruined just from smoke while the buildings remained untouched by flames.

Even the smallest fire that has been put out relatively quickly can still cause smoke damage to your possessions. Not only that, it can even affect the very structure of your home. This precisely why cleaning up smoke and soot soon after a fire is so imperative. Smoke can act like an acid, and will eat away at different materials if left for too long. It’s best to say that if a fire happens in your home, or if you live near an area where a wildfires has occurred, it’s crucial to act immediately to reduce damages. A professional  restoration specialist can assess the damage and create a custom mitigation plan to ensure your home is completely clear of any fire related damages.

What can be saved? 

Depending on the extent of the damage and material of the items, it may not be salvageable. Cost is a factor that should also be taken into consideration as some items will cost significantly more to salvage as it is to replace it. A restoration specialist can determine what items should be cleaned, discarded or replaced.

How Does Smoke Affect Your Home?

Smoke affects various materials in different ways. Not only that, but the temperature and type of  fire will cause different variations of smoke damage throughout your home. One of the worst ways that smoke can causes damage is by seeping into small cracks and crevices, since the particles are so fine. They can often go undetected for a longer periods of time, leaving a lingering odor of smoke that can last for months. The only way to get the smell out of your home is to remove or clean affected items and the building materials with agents designed to deodorize the smell.

How to Clean Smoke Damage

After a fire, your home needs to be properly and thoroughly ventilated. This will allow some smoke particles to leave your home and prevent them from settling onto other items. Remove as much debris as you can, and clean every area where the damage occurred. Odor neutralizing products can help rid the building of the smell, and remove the very particles that causes it.  Getting this done as quickly as possible reduces the chances of cross-contamination.

Upholstery Items and Curtains

There are special tools and techniques that are designed to remove smoke particles from upholstery such as curtains and furniture materials. A professional can best decide which tools will be most effective in cleaning this portion of your. Using a regular home vacuum can actually cause more damage by pushing the smoke particles and soot even deeper into the material itself.

Bedding and Clothing

Clothing and bedding can come into contact with smoke even when inside a closed drawer or closet. Simply washing them may be enough to remove the smell but commercial cleaning detergents may be needed depending on how strong the odor is. It's actually best to have these items laundered by a professional dry cleaner.

Wood Furniture

Cleaning wood furniture can be tricky. If you use  the wrong cleaning agent you can end up stripping the stain and varnish. Certain cleaning products can also rust metal frames, so it is important to use the right cleaning agent for each material. A professional restoration specialist will have access and knowledge on the right products to use on your wood furniture.

Hardwood Floors

Unfortunately, hardwood floors are porous, meaning that smoke particles can easily get nestled into the wood itself. In some cases, it may be necessary to refinish the floor, or even replace it entirely depending on how extensive the damage is. In the best case scenario, a simple mopping and deodorizing should do the trick.

How Quickly Should You Act?

Time is always of the essence when it comes to smoke damage. The sooner you act, the more likely you are to prevent permanent damage. For example, some materials, such as synthetic fibers and porous items, need intervention within minutes to be effectively saved. The components of your house, such as painted walls and flooring, need to be addressed in no more than a day or two, and in some cases hours. In addition, painted walls and wood furniture can become permanently stained if not addressed quickly. Metal surfaces can rust and corrode when smoke and soot particles are left sitting too long. The longer you leave your smoke damaged home untreated, the more extensive the damage will become and the cost to mitigate will continue to rise. 

House Fires: Cause & Fire Prevention

4/21/2020 (Permalink)

Where House Fires Originate

House fires have a pattern—they start in some places more than others. Here are the most common places fires begin:

#1: Kitchen

Half of all house fires start in the kitchen. This comes at no surprise since it’s where you do the most cooking and house many appliances. This is an easy place to prevent fires since they are typically man-made. Just keep an eye on the oven, combustible items away from the stove, and you’ll already be safer.

#2: Bedroom

A small portion of all house fires start in the bedroom. The amount of plush objects in bedrooms has something to do with it. Mattresses for one, can be very flammable unless they’re new. If you have a mattress that was made before 2007, it probably doesn’t abide by the Federal Mattress Flammability Standard. All mattresses made after 2007 are flame retardant and held to a higher safety standard. Do yourself a favor and purchase one.

#3: Chimney

Like everything else, chimneys need to be cleaned. We suspect 6 percent of all house fires happen in chimneys because people neglect to have them serviced. Each time you have a fire, sap and ash from whatever you’re burning coats the inside of your chimney. Determine if your chimney needs to be cleaned by doing a srcape test. Open the flue, put on protective glasses, and get a flashlight. Then, shine a light up the chimney and scrape the inside with something sharp. If the residue is 1/8 inches thick, schedule a cleaning. If residue is closer to 1/4 inch, don’t build another fire until your chimney is professionally cleaned.

#4: Living Room

Living rooms or family rooms often contain candles, fireplaces, electronics, and heating equipment. They also contain couches and other flammable items. Since 4 percent of house fires start in living rooms, we can assume these factors have a little something to do with it.

#5: Laundry Room

Laundry rooms are where 3 percent of all house fires begin. Dryer lint is a main cause of laundry room fire. If you do not clean vents and filters regularly, the heat could cause lint to catch fire. Try not to run the washer or dryer when you’re not home in case something gets overheated and you need to act immediately.

#6: Outside

House fires start outside 3% of the time. This is where people keep grills, smoke, have bonfires, and light off fireworks. Just know that if you have a fire outside, it could catch spread to your home if you’re not careful.

#7: Attic

Attics aren’t always accessible, so you may not know what’s going on up there. Whether it’s a crawl space or a walk-up, make sure to hire someone or check it out yourself. Not everything in homes are done to code (if people choose the DIY route), so you may find dangerous wiring that needs fixing.

Top Causes of Fire

Now that you know where fires most commonly start,  we will move on to finding out what causes them.

#1: Cooking

House fires happen most often during dinner hours—between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m. That’s because people are cooking. If you’re preparing dinner, here’s what you should remember:

  • For grease fires, only use a fire extinguisher (class B) or baking soda. Do not use water! It will spread the oil/grease and make your fire worse.
  • Never leave your food unattended. Fires only need 30 seconds to go from a small flame to an out-of-control blaze, so even going to the bathroom could endanger your home.
  • Turn off the stove and all appliances once you’re done cooking.
  • Keep everything off hot surfaces. For instance, don’t throw a dish towel on top of the stove, because it could still be hot!
  • Don’t wear baggy clothing. It could catch fire accidentally.
  • Keep the grill at least 10 feet from vegetation and the house.

#2: Heating Equipment

Almost 13% of all residential fires are caused by heating equipment. You can prevent heating equipment from catching fire by inspecting and cleaning wood stoves and chimneys, using a fireplace screen, and having your hot water heater and furnace serviced regularly. Space heaters can also cause fires if left too close to walls, drapes, and bedding and clothing. If you have a space heater, give it some room.

# 3: Electrical Equipment

Electrical equipment causes over 6 percent of house fires. Look for frayed wires, surge marks in wire, and damaged cords. If you see any exposed wires, unplug the electronic and replace it immediately. Also, keep all cords away from furniture and rugs. Running cords under rugs is definitely dangerous.

#4: Carelessness

Mistakes happen. For house fires, negligence causes 5.8 percent of blazes. Carelessness includes not putting our cigarettes, leaving candles burning, putting heating equipment near combustible items, and more. Fire is dangerous. Never treat anything hot or on fire with anything but the utmost care.

#5: Open flame

Candles, fires in the fireplace, and outdoor bonfires are enjoyable when controlled, but disastrous when they’re not. About 4 percent of all house fires start from an open flame. You can prevent fires by always putting out flames completely, never having a bonfire on a windy day, and keeping flames away from flammable objects.

#6: Appliances

Appliances cause about 4 percent of house fires. You can decrease the chances of something malfunctioning and catching on fire by making sure it’s approved by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL). The UL has high safety standards, so you’ll know the appliance is well made.

Another way to keep appliances functioning properly is to never plug them into an extension cord or two-slot outlet. You should unplug everything when you’re away on vacation as well, just in case.

#7: Intentional

Arson is a felony and can result in up to 20 years (unless deemed a misdemeanor). Alas, people still do it. Out of all house fires, 4.2 percent are intentionally set.

#8: Smoking

About 2 percent of fires are caused by cigarettes. One way you can prevent fires from cigarettes is to stop smoking them! Another is to do so outdoors and put your spent cigarette butts into water.

#9: Natural

Wildfires and those caused by lightning are unavoidable. Don’t worry though. Natural causes only account for 1.6 percent of all house fires.

Other Potential Fire Hazards

Aside from top fire starters, here are some others to consider:

  • Christmas Trees
    Most Christmas tree fires start because of faulty lights or proximity to a heat source. Christmas tree fires are normally pretty serious too. On average, one out of 31 Christmas tree fires kills someone. Prevent this from happening by putting new lights on your Christmas tree, inspecting older lights, and keeping them away from heat sources.
  • Kids  Keep matches away from kids, teach them about fire safety, and never leave them unattended with flammable objects.
  • Hoverboards
    You probably have read about it in the news, but hover boards are no longer welcome on flights or in most homes. The batteries overheat and have caused severe burns and devastating house and car fires. 
  • Beauty Tools
    Hair straighteners and curling irons get hot. If you forget to unplug them, they could start a fire. Always unplug your beauty products and leave them on a hard surface (like a marble counter top) and away from flammable objects.
  • Grills
    Don’t ever leave a grill unattended. Fat dripping from oil or meat could cause a flare-up that can quickly grow out of control. Also, remember to keep grills away from brush, your home, and overhanging branches—10 feet or more is typically a safe distance.
  • Vents
    Don’t’ forget to clean your vents and filters! They can get gunked up with lint, hair, dust, and other flammable residue that can catch fire.

House fires claim a life every seven seconds. To protect yourself, home, and family, be aware of where fires are most common. After cooking, turn off all appliances. Blow out candles and completely extinguish bonfires before going to bed. Have your chimney cleaned often. Equipping yourself with smoke detectors and fire extinguishers  can help control blazes. Having a fire escape plan can also save lives. If you follow these rules and keep fire safety top-of-mind, you’ll have better chances of preventing fire.

Post Fire Cleanup

4/20/2020 (Permalink)

Post Fire Cleaning 

An estimated 358,500 home fires occur every year; about half of them are caused by cooking. After the danger has passed, you have a difficult project ahead. Cleaning up after a fire is a much different process than a regular weekend ‘tidy up.’ You will need professional help. Here is the typical fire damage cleanup process:

Safety First, Then Assess

As soon as our techs arrive at your home, the safety of your family and home are the top priority. The absolute first step of a remediation professional is ensuring that the property is safe to enter. The team will search for signs of structural damage and thoroughly inspect the property from the outside before opening the door.

Next, SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County will assess the extent of the damage by exploring how far the fire, the smoke, and airborne soot has traveled. In order to create a precise plan of action and an accurate quote, our techs will document the damage to your walls, furniture and possessions. At every step of the way, the technician will wear proper gear– to protect themselves and your possessions. 

Focus On Soot And Debris

Post-fire rooms are a mess. It is imperative not to contaminate non-damaged rooms. Before any water or fire damage restoration processes can begin, all debris and soot must be removed from the home. The soot can cause extensive damage the longer it remains on a surface; it is abrasive and caustic. Any debris will be in the way during the restoration process our team will haul off trash to keep worksite tidy.  Removing the soot and debris will also improve the air quality and reduces airborne odors. 

 Soot can stain metals, plastics, grout, carpeting, textiles and wood when it adheres to surfaces. Rust and corrosion is a risk whenever water touches metal. Components and conductors in electronics can corrode, and the risk of electrical shock is increased. This may however affect workflow to ensure everyone's safety.

Sometimes it is necessary for removal of  items that don’t appear to be damaged in order to prevent cross-contamination. SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County will help determine the best course of action in each situation. Often the professionals can clean these items offsite and return them once the home is restored. 

Mold and mildew are always a concern. Fire extinguishing processes using water may provide opportunities for spores to flourish. Mold can begin to grow in as little as 24-48 hours. Taking aggressive steps now can minimize future damage.

Now Deodorize And Clean

Professionals use specific cleaning products, equipment and techniques on the various materials in your home.  Carpets, curtains and other fragile fabrics require special attention, not all can be shampooed and washed with plain water.

During this fire damage restoration process, companies will also ensure to remove any and all odors that can linger after the smoke has been in the room. Commercial air scrubbers, ionizers and dehumidifiers may be used to control humidity as well as clean the air. Perhaps your home would benefit from an ozone generator to destroy the smoke molecules that are left behind and are causing the odor.  

Restore What Is Necessary

After all the dirty, burnt items are removed, odds are that your home will need some repairs. This restoration stage is both 1) repairing furnishings and 2) repairing the home.  To return your home to its best, the full-service fire damage restoration team might repair wooden cabinets, replace baseboards, and restore floors. 

For Fire Damage Restoration 

After you have suffered from fire damage, SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County for professional help. The team provides 24-hour emergency services to help both commercial and residential properties in the area. By working closely with you and your insurance company, ensuring that claims can be settled quickly. 

The Dangers of Letting Smoke Damage Go Uncleaned

4/20/2020 (Permalink)

Fire and smoke damage can wreak havoc on your personal property and structures. A quick reaction can help you minimize the impact of the destruction as some of your household goods can be salvaged if treated immediately. You should, therefore, hasten the process of hiring a professional to help you manage the damage in a correct manner. Conversely, if left untreated, smoke and fire damage can be more devastating in the following ways:

The restoration cost increases

When the treatment process is extended, the damages begin to worsen and are more difficult to deal with. If smoke goes untreated for long, the odors become more persistent and extremely difficult to neutralize. These challenges make the treatment process harder and more time consuming and ultimately more expensive.

Extensive damage

Smoke and ash can mix with water to produce a highly corrosive element. If not cleaned quickly, this corrosive substance begins to slowly corrode away walls, floors, ceilings and any other surfaces in your home. Cleaning up quickly with soap and water is simply not enough. The substance requires proper cleaning with appropriate chemicals to remove it completely in order to contain the damages.

Soot deposits

Neutralizing of soot residual and deposits is an effective first clean up step. If left for long, soot can easily travel and penetrate into other rooms that weren't recently affected by the fire, staining the wall paint, carpet, furniture, drapes, clothing and any other household items.

Permanent damage

Your property can suffer permanent damage if not treated in a timely manner. Damage begins to set in within hours and prolonged exposure could cause permanent harm to your walls which turns yellow, metal surfaces begins to corrode, clothes stain permanently and wooden furniture which may need refinishing. It also damages the floor which may need replacing.

Following a fire, it is necessary to seek smoke treatment immediately to save yourself from the effects of prolonged exposure to smoke as well as to make it easier for you to restore your home. In the case you suspect smoke damage in your residence and need smoke or water damage cleanup contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today. 502.241.6861

Fire Safety Tips for Halloween

10/17/2019 (Permalink)

Halloween Fires

For Halloween in particular, decorations usually consist of candles as well as dried cornstalks and hay bales, costumes with trailing fabric, and other paper decorations that can easily catch fire if they come into contact with the flame from a candle or jack-o’-lantern.  Many of the fires recorded by the National Fire Protection Association during these years were caused by flammable decorations that were too close to a candle or another heat source.

Halloween Fire Safety Tips

While these statistics may be frightening, they should not discourage you from celebrating Halloween with your favorite costumes and decorations.  Like most causes of house fires, many of the holiday decoration related fires are easily prevented.  The following fire safety tips will help you prevent fires from decorations so that you and your family can have a festive and enjoyable Halloween.

  • Make sure all potentially flammable decorations are far away from open flames, fireplaces or candles as well as other heat sources such as space heaters and light bulbs. Every exit in your home should be clear in case a fire does occur.
  • Using a battery operated candle or glow stick for jack-o’-lanterns is a safe alternative but if you choose to use real candles, light them carefully with long fireplace matches or a utility lighter to avoid tipping the pumpkin. If there are children present around lit candles, they should be closely supervised.  Jack-o’-lanterns with real candles should be away from other potentially flammable materials and away from walkways used by trick-or-treaters.
  • Avoid using candles or torch lights to decorate your yard or sidewalk and instead use flashlights. Decorations with an open flame can be hazardous as trick-or-treaters may brush against the flame with their costumes.
  • Try and avoid costumes that include long trailing or billowing fabric. If your child’s costume includes a mask, cut the eye holes big enough so that your child can see where he is walking to avoid falls or brushing against a candle or open flame.
  • Make sure your children understand the fire risks of candles and open flames and that they must avoid contact with these objects. It is a good idea to give them flashlights or glow sticks to use for lighting as they are trick-or-treating.

Halloween is a popular, festive holiday with many time honored traditions but the most common Halloween decorations have the potential to cause house fires.  With these simple fire safety tips, you can help prevent fires caused by Halloween decorations for a safe holiday.

If your home is damaged by fire due to a mishap with your Halloween decorations, make sure that everyone around is safe to begin with. Contact the professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today to speak with a Mitigation specialists. 502.241.6861

What To Do During And After A Commercial Fire

11/26/2018 (Permalink)

Preparing for a home fire is a wise time investment, but how many of us prepare for a fire at work?

Below, the fire damage repair experts from SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County explains what to do during and after a commercial fire.

Safety Steps for Employers & Employees

Contrary to popular belief, fire alarm and fire sprinkler system are not directly connected. This means that when the fire alarm goes off, the sprinkler system won't necessarily activate at the same time. Moreover, some buildings don’t have a fire sprinkler system.

The fire alarm is your primary warning to evacuate the building. Don’t assume that because the sprinklers aren’t activated that there isn't an actual fire. Because commercial buildings lack the compartment features of a house, a fire has the potential to grow much larger, much faster.

Once the alarm sounds, help inform others who may not hear the alarm. If you’re not working on the ground floor, do not attempt to use an elevator.

Look for the closest stairwell exit. Hold your hand to the door knob (don’t touch it), and check for heat. If the doorknob feels warm, there may be fire on the other side. If possible, find another exit.

Once outside, do not attempt to go back inside the building. If someone is missing, wait for emergency responders to arrive.

Some commercial fire alarm systems will contact emergency services automatically. Once it’s safe to do so, call 9-1-1 to ensure help is on the way. Inform first responders of anyone who might still be inside.

How to Handle Fire Cleanup

Burned or damaged buildings are vulnerable to break-ins and other offenses. Once the building has been cleared for re-entry, it’s critical that anything valuable is removed. This includes the personal belongings of employees as well as expensive business property.

Once valuables have been removed, damaged and destroyed property must be carefully documented. You’ll also need to contact your insurance company.

Business owners who want to be sure they’re getting the most out of their insurance policy trust SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County to document and negotiate with insurance companies.

Plus, SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County can repair damage, clean, and sanitize a fire-damaged workspace and restore it to like-new condition—this includes expensive property contents like furniture, electronics, paper documents and more.

Avoid the impulse to clean up the property before a thorough investigation has been completed. Insurance companies will want documentation of everything in your claim. If you clean up evidence, you could lose money in the claims process.

Stay Informed; Be Prepared

Every minute counts when it comes to your business. One of the best ways to avoid further damage after a commercial fire is to stay informed and be prepared.

In addition to coordinating a fire safety plan with employees, contact us to learn about our free Emergency Ready Plan.

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County is available 24 hours day, 7 days a week. We’ll be there when you need us, so you can get back to work faster after an unexpected disaster.

Winter Heating Safety

10/18/2018 (Permalink)

The following information was provided by the National Fire Protection Association. 

There is something about the winter months and curling up with a good book by the fireplace. But did you know that heating equipment is one of
the leading causes of home fire deaths? With a few simple safety tips and precautions you can prevent most heating fires from happening.
be warm and safe this winter!

• Keep anything that can burn at least three-feet (one metre) away from heating equipment,
like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.

• Have a three-foot (one metre) “kid-free zone”
around open fires and space heaters.

• Never use your oven to heat your home.

• Have a qualified professional install stationary
space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.

• Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.

• Remember to turn portable heaters off when
leaving the room or going to bed.

• Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.

• Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.

• Test smoke alarms at least once a month.

FACT

Half of home heating fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February.

Fire Damage In Your Home Or Business? Contact the professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today. 502.241.6861

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County also proudly serves Spencer, Henry and Trimble Counties. 

Halloween Fire Safety

10/1/2018 (Permalink)

Children dressed in costumes excitedly running door to door to trick-or-treat, festive decorations like glowing jack-o'-lanterns, paper ghosts, hay bales and dried cornstalks adorning front porches -- these are some of the classic hallmarks of Halloween that make the holiday special for kids and adults. Unfortunately, these Halloween symbols and activities can also present lurking fire risks that have the potential to become truly frightening.

In addition to the festive decorations listed above, costumes made with billowing or long-trailing fabric can catch fire easily. The same is true for dried flowers and crepe paper. When jack-o'-lanterns and other open-flame candle decorations come in contact with these materials, a fast-spreading fire can occur within moments. 

But don't let this statistic scare you away from celebrating Halloween to the fullest! The vast majority of these fires are easily preventable. By following some simple safety precautions, you can ensure the holiday remains festive and fun.

  • Keep decorations far away from open flames and other heat sources like lightbulbs and heaters. Remember to keep all of your home's exits clear of decorations so nothing blocks escape routes.
  • Try a battery-operated candle or glow stick in jack-o'-lanterns. If you want to use real candles, be extremely careful. In this case, use long, fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter when lighting them inside jack-o'-lanterns. If there are children around, make sure they are watched at all times when candles are lit. Place the lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn, and far away from driveways, doorsteps, walkways and yards -- anyplace where trick-or-treaters may walk.
  • Use flashlights as alternatives to candles or torch lights when decorating walkways and yards. They are much safer for trick-or-treaters whose costumes may brush up against the lighting as they walk to from your door.
  • Choose costumes that don't require long-trailing fabric. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so they can clearly see where he is walking to prevent trips or falls near dangerous or flammable items.
  • Talk to your children and remind them to stay away from open flames, including jack-o'-lanterns with candles inside. Provide them with flashlights or glow sticks to carry for lighting as part of their costume.

Fire in your home or business? Contact the professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today. 502.241.6861

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County also proudly serves Spencer, Henry and Trimble Counties. 

Fire Safety and Candles

9/21/2018 (Permalink)

There’s a special beauty and tranquility to candles, but a lit candle is also an open flame, and a potential fire hazard if not carefully monitored. 

HOW TO BURN A CANDLE SAFELY

BEFORE LIGHTING

  • Before burning,always trim the wick to ¼ inch. You can use a wick trimmer, nail clippers, or scissors. Long or crooked wicks can cause uneven burning, dripping or flaring.
  • When lighting a candle, use long matches or a long-reach lighter. Keep  hair and loose clothing away from the flame.
  • Always use a candleholder specifically designed for candle use. It needs to be heat resistant, sturdy, and large enough to contain any drips or melted wax.
  • Burn candles in a well-ventilated room.
  • Place the candleholder on a stable, heat-resistant surface. This will also help prevent possible heat damage to counters and table surfaces and prevent glass containers from cracking or breaking.
  • Keep the wax pool clear of wick trimmings, matches and debris at all times.
  • Avoid drafts, vents or air currents. This will help prevent rapid or uneven burning, sooting, and excessive dripping.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on burn time and proper use. In general, it is recommended that candles do not burn for longer than four hours and cool for at least two hours before relighting.

WHILE BURNING

  • Never touch or move a burning candle. Never move a votive or container candle when the wax is liquefied.
  • Don’t burn a candle all the way down. For a margin of safety, discontinue burning a candle when 2 inches of wax remains (1/2 inch if in a container).
  • Place burning candles at least three inches apart from one another. This is to make sure they don’t melt one another, or create their own drafts that will cause the candles to burn improperly.
  • Extinguish a candle if the flame becomes too high or flickers repeatedly. Let the candle cool, trim the wick, and check for unwanted drafts before re-lighting.
  • Always keep the candle within your sight. If you are going to leave the room, be sure to first blow out all candles.
  • Always burn candles in a well-ventilated room. Don’t burn too many candles in a small room or in a “tight” home where air exchange is limited.
  • Never use a candle as a night light.
  • Be very careful if using candles during a power outage. Flashlights and other battery-powered lights are safer sources of light during a power failure. Never use a candle during a power outage to look for things in a closet, or when fueling equipment – such as a lantern or kerosene heater.
  • Never burn a candle on or near anything that can catch fire. Keep burning candles away from furniture, drapes, bedding, carpets, books, paper, flammable decorations, etc.
  • Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets. Do not place lighted candles where they can be knocked over by children, pets or anyone else.

WHEN EXTINGUISHING

  • Use a candle snuffer to extinguish a candle. It’s the safest way to prevent hot wax from splattering.
  • Never use water to extinguish a candle. Water can cause the hot wax to splatter and might break a glass container.
  • Make sure the candle is completely out and the wick ember is no longer glowing before leaving the room.
  • Don’t touch or move the candle until it has completely cooled.
  • Never use a knife or sharp object to remove wax drippings from a glass holder. It might scratch, weaken, or cause the glass to break upon subsequent use.

Fire Damage in your home or business? Contact the professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today. 502.241.6861

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby also proudly serves Spencer, Henry and Trimble Counties. 

What Causes A Dryer Fire ?

8/31/2018 (Permalink)

WHAT CAUSES DRYER FIRES?

The single most common cause of a dryer fire is the lack of dryer vent cleaning. Lint is extremely flammable! Heat can build up in a dryer vent if the airflow is in any way restricted which in turn can cause the lint to ignite.

A clothes dryer works by forcing hot air through a turning drum, and wet clothes placed in the drum are then dried by moving hot air. Lint is created from the clothes as they tumble ; and while a lot of the lint is trapped by the dryer's lint trap, some lint is also carried through the vent system along with the moist, hot air. Because of this lint is a highly combustible material that builds up in both the dryer and the dryer vent, reducing the dryer's airflow, it makes the perfect kindling for a dryer fire.

Additionally, dryer exhaust vent blockage can also happen as a result from birds' nests or other animals, or from damage to the vent itself - the result of which is an overheated dryer leading to a fire.

WARNING SIGNS THAT YOU MAY BE DUE FOR A CLEANING

Although regular cleaning or at least inspection of your dryer vents is recommended, there are some indications that your vents should be cleaned but always consult a professional dryer vent cleaner if you are not sure if your vents need to be cleaned.

The following are indications that lint may be restricting your dryer vent and you could be at risk of a fire:

  • Clothes are taking longer than normal to dry
  • Clothes seem hotter than usual at the end of a drying cycle
  • The flapper on your exterior dryer vent doesn't open when the dryer is on

When airflow is restricted your dryer has to work harder and may take more than one cycle to dry clothes which uses more energy. The tumbling action of dryers is hard on clothes and if your dryer has to run longer to dry your clothes they are experiencing unnecessary wear and tear.

HOW TO PREVENT DRYER FIRES

To help keep your family safe from a dryer fire, clean the lint screen prior or after drying each load of clothes. Failure to clean the dust, fiber, and lint from dryers is the leading contributing factor to the ignition of dryer fires.

Here are a few actions you can take to prevent dryer fires in your home:

  • Clean out the dryer lint trap after every load of laundry
  • Have your dryer vent cleaned at least once a year (Your venting system should be cleaned out from the inside of the dryer to the outside vent cap by a professional dryer vent cleaning company)
  • White vinyl venting should be replaced immediately with aluminum (White vinyl no longer meets national fire code standards in the U.S. and is considered highly flammable)
  • Keep the area around your dryer clean and free of clutter
  • Make sure to not leave dried clothes in the dryer

WHY ISN’T CLEANING OUT THE LINT TRAP ENOUGH?

Most people clean their lint trap after every load of laundry. However, lint also accumulates in the ductwork and vents between your dryer and where the hose vents to the outside. The vent, hose and ductwork should be cleaned or at least inspected annually. To properly clean the ductwork and hose the dryer needs to be disconnected from the hose and moved away from the wall so lint can be removed from the hose and any ductwork which is within the walls, attic or basement of a home.

Contact a certified professional for dryer vent cleaning.The cost of a certified dryer vent cleaning depends on the length of the vent and how accessible it is. The main thing to remember is investing in routine dryer vent cleanings will outweigh the energy costs of running the dryer multiple times per load, the safety risk, and the cost of property damage in the event of a fire.

Fire or Smoke Damage in your home or business? Contact the professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today to speak to a Mitigation Specialist. 502.241.6861

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County also proudly serves Spencer, Henry and Trimble Counties. 

Fire Damage: What To Do Before We Arrive

8/29/2018 (Permalink)

A fire in your home or business is incredibly devastating. Even if the fire is controlled early on, there are  many different ways that damage can be caused. Fire damage can be a result of actual flames, heat from flames, or there can be residual damage from smoke. Likewise, water used to stop the flames can lead to warping, mold growth, and structural damage to your home or property. Water can also ruin any material possessions it touches.  Soot and ashes are incredibly dirty, and if not handled carefully, they can become deeply ingrained in furniture, drywall, clothing, etc.

Because fire damage is so extensive, here is a list of basic tips for handling it before professionals arrive.

  • If the fire department was involved, obtain a copy of their report of the incident.
  • Document the damage by writing out a list and taking pictures to send with your insurance claim.
  • Avoid cleaning up the ashes and soot on your own, especially on walls and furniture.
  • Change the filter in your air conditioning and heating unit.
  • Cover the surfaces of furniture and carpet with bed sheets to protect them from further damage.

Fire damage needs to be handled professionally. There are very specific methods and materials for properly cleaning up after a fire, and you want to make sure you don’t complicate that process. You will need to get clearance from the fire department before entering your home or property. If the fire damage is too extensive, it may be unsafe to even go inside. The safety of you, your family, and any pets is more important than anything else.

Fire Damage In Your Home Or Property? Call the professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today. 502.241.6861

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County also proudly serves Spencer, Henry and Trimble Counties. 

The Dangers Of Soot

8/27/2018 (Permalink)

After a house fire, the danger unfortunately does not stop once the flames have been put out. Soot may have spread to your entire home, posing a threat to your health and the building. Learn more about soot, how dangerous it is, and how to restore the damage below.

What is soot?

Soot is made of tiny carbon particles created by incomplete combustion of fossil fuels (wood, oil, coal, and more). Soot contains lots of acids, as well as chemicals, metals, soils, and dust. These particles leave an ugly sight and a foul smell.

During a fire, soot spreads to the whole house, attaching to surfaces. Thus, the acidic properties of soot can further damage your home and indoor air quality if the soot is'nt removed immediately.

Soot can inhabit your home even if there wasn’t a fire. Excessive use of candles can lead to soot buildup, so make sure to use them sparingly (they are also pose a fire risk). Fireplaces can release soot as well if they are not ventilated enough. Furnaces are also a source of soot contamination when they produce a puff back.

Outdoors, soot is released into the environment when fossil fuels are burned for industrial purposes. The chemical compounds of soot hurts the ecosystem considerably. Soot in your home acts similar, damaging the indoor air quality in addition to leaving behind bad odors and stains.

What are the dangers of soot exposure?

Statistics show that particle exposure leads to around 20,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.  Moreover, soot exposure causes 300,000 asthma attacks and two million lost workdays annually due to respiratory problems.

Soot can enter your body through inhalation, ingestion or via the skin and eyes. These toxic particles can cause breathing issues. Infants, the elderly, and those who already have breathing problems are the most affected.

To avoid the health risks of soot exposure after a home fire, make sure that all soot-affected areas are properly cleaned and sanitized.

How to clean up soot

Your house likely holds many chemicals, such as plastics, foams, carpets, wood products, and synthetic fabrics. Soot derived from these materials leads to health hazards that make fire restoration a dangerous and difficult task. Even if the fire was small, soot particles can invade your whole property through the HVAC system.

When cleaning soot, wearing safety equipment to protect the lungs, skin, and eyes is essential in reducing soot exposure dangers. Specialized techniques such as air scrubbing and thermal fogging are also needed to restore indoor air quality after a fire.

A dust mask and a household cleaner are not enough to clean up soot! Removing soot thoroughly requires professional tools, knowledge, and expertise. Experts can properly clean soot and odors from your entire home to ensure it is safe to inhabit.

Smoke Damage in your home or business? Contact the professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today. 502.241.6861

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby also proudly serves Spencer, Trimble and Henry Counties. 

Fire Damage And Your Property

8/20/2018 (Permalink)

Almost nothing can be as frightening as the news that there’s a fire on property you own or manage. Once you’re assured that your occupants are safe and that the flames are out, you will need to focus on the property to return it to a livable condition. Even if the structure itself is still sound, smoke and ash residue have contaminated surfaces and contents, and odors linger even in units that weren’t directly fire damaged. The property may even appear inhabitable, but particles in the air can be dangerous to your tenants’ health.

This isn’t a do-it-yourself cleaning job. It takes professionals experienced in fire restoration damage with the equipment and know-how it requires to safely restore your property to its original condition.

What Fire Leaves Behind

Apart from any structural damage and personal property it has destroyed when it’s active, what fire leaves behind can also be destructive.

Ash and smoke can cause corrosion, etching of glass, and discoloration of walls and surfaces and the items on them. Clothing, linens, mattresses, carpets, and upholstery can discolor and be suffused with lasting odors. Some of the aftermath depends on the cause of the fire:

  • Protein fires caused by food that has burned on the stove or in the oven leave a strong odor and smoke residue on surfaces and contents.
  • Complex fires that burn multiple natural and synthetic items cause noxious odors and black smoke residue on contents and surfaces that need to be mitigated for corrosion control.
  • Natural fires that burn trees and other outdoor landscaping cause smoke and ash to filter into the structure through openings around doors, windows, and attic vents leaving residue and strong odors.
  • Malfunctioning heating appliances such as oil-fired furnaces cause smoke to be distributed throughout the property.

Fire can also cause electrical hazards by burning wires and connections. And ducts and insulation may be affected within the walls and attic or crawl spaces.

Why Rapid Clean-Up is so Important

The first thing that ash does is discolor most surfaces, and because it is acidic, the longer it remains, the more damage it will do. Plastic will discolor within minutes. Within hours fiberglass and the finishes on appliances will start to yellow, and metals will begin to tarnish. After just a few days, ash will cause permanent discoloration of walls and everything made of fabric.

After a few weeks, metal will start corroding, windows and other items made of glass will become permanently etched, and wood and vinyl surfaces may deteriorate to the point where they need to be replaced. Over time, ash builds up in layers and may eventually form a lacquer-like finish that’s impossible to remove.

Why Call in Professionals

Smoke and fire damage needs to be cleaned with extreme thoroughness as well as care. Ash residue can be spread with the least disturbance and contaminate the whole property. Experts will identify what can and cannot be saved, and they have the products and equipment required for comprehensive treatment of surfaces and neutralization of odors. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is the primary oversight agency in the industry, with registrants certified to have extensive training in mitigation of fire damage.

Professional restoration companies will also coordinate directly with your insurance adjuster to make the process as easy as possible for you, and will generally be able to bill your insurer directly.

How Your Tenants Will be Affected

Assuming your tenants do not have to vacate because of damage to the structure, whether they remain in residence during smoke and ash mitigation is ultimately up to you and them. Things to consider are general safety concerns, odors, noise from equipment, and convenience. 

You also need to have a good understanding of your state’s laws about a landlord’s requirement to uphold an implied warranty of habitability to your tenants.

Items such as clothing and linens may have to be sent to offsite facilities for cleaning, and items of significant value, such as artwork and heirlooms will need to be sent for specialized care by a qualified restorer.

Depending upon the source, nature, and extent of the fire, it may be recommended to remove all contents to a secure facility for cleaning and storage so that your property can be thoroughly restored. This is an especially expedient approach if the restoration will require additional work by contractors who will be performing work such as drywall and painting, electrical, plumbing, flooring or carpeting, replacement of windows, or other extensive repairs.

If your tenants do vacate during the restoration process, they should take with them all valuables, important documents, and irreplaceable personal possessions.

A landlord insurance policy will help mitigate the repair cost from fire damage, while your tenants’ renter insurance policy will cover damaged personal property.

Renters, investors, landlords, and property managers in affected areas are advised to seek licensed legal assistance in their area for more advice on their state’s rental laws regarding fire damage to rental properties.

FIRE DAMAGE IN YOUR HOME OR BUSINESS? Contact the professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today to speak to a Mitigation Specialist. 502.241.6861

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County also proudly serves Spencer, Henry and Trimble Counties.

Are Ozone Treatments Bad For Your Belongings?

7/26/2018 (Permalink)

Ozone treatments are one of the best tools for removing odor caused by smoke damage. One question we get asked frequently is whether ozone treatments are bad for furniture and other possessions. This article will explain the process in depth.

What is an Ozone Generator?

An ozone generator is a machine that generates the molecule ozone (O3), a highly reactive molecule that reacts chemically with the particles it comes into contact with. Professional restoration companies and some drycleaners utilize industrial ozone generators to remove the smoke odor from furniture, clothes and other belongings following a fire.

How Does it Work?

Ozone works to remove odors by chemically changing the structure of the molecules in the smoke that are creating the smell. The extra oxygen atom attaches itself to the other molecules to create a new molecule that is non-offensive—and non-smelly—in a process called oxidation. As a gas, ozone can clean anywhere air is allowed to flow. That’s one of the features that makes it so effective in removing odors that other cleaning techniques just can’t remove.

The more smoke damage that has been done, the more ozone is needed to eliminate the smell. There need to be enough ozone molecules to react with all of the offending molecules in order for the treatment to be a success.

So, is it Bad For My Belongings?

Ozone is the most effective way to remove odor caused by smoke damage. Professional restoration contractors can control the temperature, humidity, and treatment time carefully for maximum positive effects. In short—no, ozone is not bad for your belongings, as long as it is being controlled by a professional. The reason this is important is because professional restorers know and understand the power of ozone. They also know that there are certain materials that don’t do well when exposed to ozone—namely certain textiles, leather, rubber, and certain plastics.

Many people think that they can clean their clothes after a fire by washing them multiple times. This however will not remove the smoke odor. Ozone is also cleaner than other methods because it does not leave any byproducts or residue that need to be cleaned later.

As a form of oxygen, ozone itself is not dangerous. However, if overexposure occurs it can be harmful. This is another reason to allow a professional to perform the ozone treatment.

They have the right equipment in place to protect themselves during the process, and once your items are returned to you, they are safe to be in your home.

Fire Damage In Your Home Or Business? Contact the professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today to speak to a Mitigation Specialist. 502.241.6861

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County also proudly serves Spencer, Henry and Trimble Counties. 

Fire Prevention

7/5/2018 (Permalink)

5 Ways to Prevent House Fires

The absolute key to preventing house fires is the basic knowledge of fire safety and prevention. It’s always better to prepare for the event of a fire because it comes with dangerous and deadly consequences that may affect you and your loved ones. If you don’t already, examine your smoke detectors regularly, get a professional to service your heating system, and check out these five things that are the leading causes of house fires in America that you could easily prevent.

1. Wires and outlets

Defective wiring and outlets are one of the top causes of house fires. Try to avoid power strips and only use them for temporary solutions. Outlets and power strips should never be overloaded with multiples devices or appliances because they can spike a circuit. Take the time to examine electrical cords throughout your home and check for old, frayed, or damaged cords for immediate replacement. Keep away any hazardous items from outlets in use.

2. Inspect your kitchen

Make it a habit to check your stove and oven before leaving the house. It’s better safe than sorry if someone should leave a gas or electric appliance running without supervision. Always attend to pots and pans whenever in use for cooking and baking. Keep cooking oil away from the stove and remember to always clean up around the stove for leftover food or grease that could potentially ignite a fire. It’s always best to keep a fire extinguisher readily available in the kitchen at all times.

3. Check your dryer

Remove all lint from your dryer filter after each load. A clogged filter reduces the airflow needed to work efficiently and heat builds up in the vents and forces lint onto the heating coils. Remember to check around your washer and dryer for lint or dust accumulation near power outlets.

4. Alternative heating sources

Space heaters, wood or pellet stoves, and dirty chimneys are common fire hazards that need extra precaution when in use. Never place personal heaters near fabric materials such as curtains, bedding, furniture or other objects that could easily catch fire. You should also inspect your fireplace annually and get it professionally cleaned of any ashes or dirt that could ignite a fire. You should never burn cardboard, paper, trash or plants in your fireplace either.

5. Keep debris away from your home

Try keeping trash, firewood, pile of leaves or other debris away from your home. If a grass or accidental fire sparks, these items could easily ignite and spread quickly around or in your home. You should never dump hot ashes inside or near your home. Instead, keep them in a metal container away from your house.

Fire In Your Home Or Business?

Contact the professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today. 502.241.6861

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County also proudly serves Spencer, Henry and Trimble Counties.

  

Kitchen Fire Do's and Don'ts

7/3/2018 (Permalink)

Knowledge of stop, drop, and roll is one thing, however, do you know what to do if a grease fire flares up in your home?

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County reminds you to NEVER use water on grease fires, below you will read about the dos and don’ts for this type of dangerous fire.

PREVENTING A GREASE FIRE

Of course, the best safety measure that SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County can recommend is preventing the fire in the first place. The smoking point for vegetable oil is about 450°F, while animal fats start to go at 375°F.

Certainly, do NOT leave your range unattended when cooking with these grease bases, and consider using a cooking thermometer to keep track of the temperature. Remove your heavy cookware from heat immediately if it starts to smoke or smell as though it’s burning.

IF FIRE BREAKS OUT

If a kitchen fire does break out, you need to handle it carefully. Here’s our best advice.

DO

  • Turn off your heat source. Trying to remove the pot or pan from heat will risk splashing burning oil onto yourself or anybody else around, so hold off.
  • If the flames are small, baking soda can extinguish them if you pour it on liberally. Covering your cookware with a metal lid might also help, as the fire will die out once the oxygen is blocked.
  • Spray the base of the flames with a class B dry chemical fire extinguisher, if things are still out of hand. Your kitchen will be contaminated by the spray, but that can be dealt with easier than the room being reduced to ashes.
  • Leave the house and call 911 if you lose control of the fire. Wait to deal with the fire damage once everyone is safe.

DON’T

  • Again, do not try to put the grease fire out with water. It’s more likely to cause the burning oil to splash, spreading your grease fire. Rapidly vaporizing water might also feed the fire.
  • Don’t move the pot or pan, as burning fat or oil can splash about your home. The impulse to move your problem from the range to the sink or out the front door might be high, but you’re risking severe burns and plenty of damage to your home.
  • Don’t try to substitute baking powder. Flour will add to the fire, as will most baking products. Baking soda is the only common kitchen substance that will give you an extinguishing reaction.

IF YOU DO EXPERIENCE A KITCHEN FIRE

When cooking takes a bad turn and flames do break out, follow the advice above to deal with the danger. Once you have the grease fire under control, contact 911 if anyone has experienced a heavy burn from the oil or fire.

Once everyone is 100% safe, you’ll want to address your kitchen.

Fire damage is an unpleasant burden in any circumstance, however SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County is here to restore normalcy. Whether damaged by fire or smoke, in a residential or commercial kitchen, we know how to make the best of a bad situation.

Call us today to speak to a Restoration Specialist. 502.241.6861

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County also proudly serves Spencer, Henry and Trimble Counties. 

Common Causes of Commercial Fires

6/22/2018 (Permalink)

Most common causes of commercial fires and how to prevent them:

1. Cooking

Cooking is the most common cause of both residential and commercial fires. In the commercial arena, we usually associate cooking fires with restaurants, but the issue extends to office kitchens as well. Treat all kitchens the same, wherever you may be. A kitchen should have a smoke detector, a well-conditioned fire extinguisher and strict safety protocols, including no unmanned appliances.

2. Electrical

When it comes to electrical fires, the problem is twofold: user error and electrical system malfunctions. In the realm of user error, the big issues are frayed power cords, misused extension cords and overloaded and daisy-chained surge protectors. When it comes to a system malfunction, the biggest issue is faulty wiring, which is why it’s essential that all commercial buildings have their electrical systems maintained on a regular basis by a professional.

3. Heating

Fires caused by heating are similar to those caused by electrical factors in that they’re caused by both user error and system malfunction. The most common form of user error is misuse of space heaters. Commercial spaces often have cold spots, and space heaters are a great way to alleviate that. Space heaters are also quite dangerous if users don’t respect a three-foot or greater safety zone around the unit. As for system malfunctions, fires often occur due to dust buildup and ventilation blockage, so be sure to have your heating system checked rountinely.

4. Arson

Arson is much more common than you may think. Although it often occurs in abandoned commercial structures, arson fires that occur at occupied buildings can be devastating. In addition to monitored fire detection and fire suppression measures, security cameras are an essential defense.

5. Smoking

Smoking was once a leading cause of commercial fires. This has been alleviated greatly through better security systems for business use and stricter protocols. Even in smoke-free buildings, however, cigarettes can and do lead to fire. Prevention starts with commercial alarm monitoring, but it also requires proper receptacles and fire-retardant furniture.

6. Combustibles

Most commercial buildings, including basic offices, have combustible materials on hand. The real danger with such materials comes when they’re stored improperly, and this is a common occurrence because the materials are often being managed by people who aren’t trained in proper use. Therefore, it’s crucial to have safe storage space for such materials, but it’s also essential that the business trains employees in the use of such materials and continues to refresh that education.

Commercial Safety

When it comes to fire and other risks to a commercial enterprise, it’s best to be proactive. Contact a security company that specializes in commercial security systems. They can help you identify risk factors in your place of business and make recommendations to help protect your enterprise against fire-related catastrophes.

Fire In Your Business? Contact the professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County. 502.241.6861

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County also proudly serves Spencer, Trimble and Henry. 

Grilling and Fire Safety

6/18/2018 (Permalink)

Grilling and Fire Safety

Fire is one of the fastest, most destructive elements on this planet – keep that in mind when you’re using your gas grill this summer to cook up some delicious masterpiece! Here are a few helpful tips for you to consider:

  • Always keep your grill away from your home.
  • Never leave your grill unattended after the fire is lit.
  • Keep a close eye on the color of the brass valve on the tank itself.
  • Keep your fire extinguisher (working!), sand, or your garden hose close for any incidents that should occur
  • Don’t use a tank that’s been dented or damaged, or rusty for that matter.
  • Never store your propane tank in an enclosed area.

Not only should you be aware of the fire damage hazards, but you should be mindful that food safety is very important, as well. Cooking over an open flame is different than in a controlled, electric environment. Please, if you have any questions about your grill and how you should properly use it, call the manufacturer!

Fire Damage In Your Home? Contact the professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today. 502.241.6861

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby also proudly serves Spencer, Trimble and Henry Counties. 

 

Where to Find Concealed Damage After A Fire

6/8/2018 (Permalink)

A fire in your home is a terrible situation to go through. Even a small fire that doesn't cause much structural damage can ruin a home with smoke, and if not properly cleaned up, remnants and reminders of the damage will continue to turn up in the strangest of places for years to come. Boxes of books or clothes in storage may not be something the homeowner would think to check, only years later find the items were in fact damaged by smoke. There are a few well-known places where smoke causes hidden damage which must be cleaned and repaired immediately.

Attic Space

Smoke rises and will cause damage in the attic. Even if you don't have steps or easy access to use the attic for storage the soot needs to be cleaned out. Otherwise, it can affect the quality of air in your home for years, just a little bit at a time, so the people who live there won't notice it until they have breathing problems after years of exposure. Guests may not recognize a distinct smell of smoke, but will likely find the house to have an unpleasant odor when they visit.

Ventilation

The heating and air conditioning duct work and ventilation systems are even more important to be properly cleaned after a fire. Again, the odor of the fire will never leave if soot is blowing through your vents every time you turn the unit on. In return the homes inhabitants are breathing this very same air.

Electric and Plumbing

It goes without saying that electric and plumbing systems need to be inspected for damage after a fire. If smoke gets in the walls, this provides a place for soot to accumulate and will have to either be replaced or cleaned. If the fire was caused by an old electric line, it's probably a good time to consider replacing them all before another failure occurs since they're either old or simply weren't installed properly.

Fire or Smoke Damage In Your Home? Contact the professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County. 

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby also proudly serves Spencer, Henry and Trimble Counties. 502.241.6861

Common Causes of Residential Fires

5/29/2018 (Permalink)

Cooking: You never think that it will happen to you. You’re cooking dinner and turn around for one second to check on the kids in the other room and you come back to find a fire in the kitchen. Cooking-related fires are very common, accounting for about 40 percent of all house fires.

To prevent this from happening to you, never leave a stovetop unattended while you are cooking and be certain to double check that you have turned off all burners after dinner is done. It’s not a bad idea to get in the habit of checking the stove over one last time before going to bed or leaving the house as well.

Keep potholders, hot pads, dishrags, food packaging and paper or plastic bags away from your oven and stove. These items can be extremely flammable. Also, don’t wear loose or dangling clothes while cooking. Hovering over a simmering sauce while wearing dangling sleeves could lead to a disaster.

Keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen and make sure that you have a smoke alarm installed near the cooking area that you test each month.

Candles: Candles are great for setting a cozy mood, celebrating birthdays and acting as a light source in case of a power outage, but they can also be dangerous.  However, you don’t have to nix candles for good, but you should be extra cautious.

If you have pets or kids, make sure candles aren’t within little-hand grabbing—or tail-wagging—proximity. Also, keep candles at least a foot away from all flammables.

If you want to take an even safer route, candles warmers are a nice alternative to burning an actual candle. You can find ones that match your décor and some even have a light bulb built in to mimic the warm glow of a candle. You can also buy flameless candles, which have a flickering light bulb that looks just like the real thing—some even have a scent.

Smoking: Even if you smoke outside, you might not be doing everything you can to protect your home from fire. Always be sure to submerge your cigarette butts in water before throwing them away in the garbage can or dumpster. Also, you should never smoke in bed or after taking medication that makes you drowsy. Mattresses can be engulfed in flames in a matter of moments and if you are sleepy, you might not be able to escape.

Also, electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) are known to explode. So be sure to keep a close eye on this if you use one, and never leave an e-cig in the heat or left charging near flammable materials.

Electrical Fires: If your home is older, be sure to get the wiring inspected by a professional to make sure it is all up to code. Older homes may not have the wiring capacity to keep up with all the new electronics we use today. Overloading the electricity in an older home could lead to an electrical fire.

It’s also important to be careful about your use of extension cords and overuse of outlets. If you overwhelm the outlet, you are risking shorting it out, or worse, starting a fire. Extension cords shouldn’t be used as a permanent solution. You should plug things directly into an outlet whenever possible.

Also, never try to cover or hide cords under rugs. Although they might not be pleasant to look at, hiding a cord under a rug could lead to the cord being damaged over time. Any time a cord starts to fray or is damaged in any way, you should replace it.

Kids: It’s important to teach kids that playing with fire is never okay. You should set a good example for them by not playing with lighters, matches or lit candles yourself.

While you’re at it, make sure you talk to your kids about what to do if a fire happens in your home. Make sure they know what they smoke alarm sounds like and what to do if they hear it go off. Once you have a plan in place, be sure to practice it with the whole family periodically.

Forest Fires: One way to protect your home from forest fires is by building with non-combustible or fire-resistant materials.

It’s also important to keep the area around your home as free of flammable materials as possible. Pine needles, leaves and stray twigs can accumulate on your roof and in gutters, so be sure to sweep these out regularly—at least once a year. You should also keep tree branches trimmed so they don’t hang over your roof or near your chimney and you shouldn’t connect a wooden fence directly to your home. These things could all lead a fire near your property directly to your home.

Dryers: It is important to clean out your lint trap each time you put in a load of laundry, but keep in mind that the lint trap doesn’t catch every bit of lint your dryer produces. Lint buildup can be found under, behind and inside your dryer, even on the dryers heating element—and it is extremely flammable. That is why it’s so important to keep your dryer as lint free as possible.

You should vacuum behind and underneath your dryer periodically and have your dryer taken apart and cleaned by a service technician every few years, depending on how much of a workout you give your machine. Not only will these tips lower your risk of a dryer fire, but your machine will work better and more efficiently, too.

Last, but not least, never operate your dryer when you aren’t home or when you are asleep. If a fire starts and you aren’t around to notice, you could be in for a major surprise.

Being aware of these common causes of house fires, along with making sure you have working smoke detectors installed throughout your home, can help you avoid a disaster. If your home is damaged by smoke or fire, SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County is here to help with all of your water and fire damage restoration needs. Give us a call today at 502.241.6861

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County also proudly serves Spencer, Henry and Trimble. 502.241.6861

Removing Smoke Odor From Your Home

5/21/2018 (Permalink)

Need help dealing with smoke odor in your home? Perhaps you had a small fire in your kitchen and you are now left with a smokey smell inside your home.  In this blog we will address the main points you need to know in effectively dealing with and eliminating smoke odor.

To begin every situation will be different depending on the severity of the fire damage incident, the bigger and hotter the fire the more difficult it will be in removing smoke odor as higher temperatures cause the pores of materials to open up more and thus absorbing more of the smoke odor. However, proper smoke odor removal will entail a combination of tactics including cleaning, deodorizing, and sealing of materials.

The 4 steps to removing smoke odor in your home are:


Step 1 – Remove any and all burnt materials from your home (or area you are trying to rid smoke smell from). As long as the source of the smell (in this case burnt materials) is present, you will have a difficult time removing the smokey odor. If burnt areas or items can't be removed  (such as structural materials) then you may need to apply a sealant to the area which  will lock in the odor.

Step 2 – Install an AFD (Air Filtration Device) unit with carbon activated filters. An AFD unit with a HEPA filter is not enough, and will not be efficient at removing smoke odors. Make sure you are equipping the AFD unit with carbon filters as these are what  will absorb and trap the gases and odor.

Step 3- Clean all affected areas. This means all areas near and around the fire incident, including the actual area the fire took place in (do not use any water or wet cleaning in this step). In this process you want to get rid of all surface soot and dusts, depending on the type you could vacuum some of it away. After you have tried vacuuming the larger particles you should then do some dry-chem sponge cleaning (you should be able to pick up these up at your local Home-Depot). The sponge will absorb remaining soot and smoke (working as an eraser) as opposed to smearing them, which is what wet cleaning would do.

Step 4 – Spray Deodorizers to all smoke affected areas.  In this step the aim is to re penetrate the surface pores of affected areas with a deodorizing agent. You should use a deodorizing agent geared towards smoke damage. Next, follow the instructions on how to mix the chemical. Using a spray bottle to deodorize all surfaces including walls and carpets (obviously do not spray it on water sensitive areas like electronics etc.) Let the solution sit and soak while it does its job. As the chemical dries you should be able to assess the situation and see if the smell is gone or if it needs another  application. If this is not working effectively then it is likely because the fire was of a larger size and or higher heat, which may require a thermal fogging treatment. Thermal fogging replicates the heat like attributes of the fire which opens up the pores of building materials even more, however this should be reserved for the professionals.

There you have it, the 4 steps in dealing with smoke odors in your home. These steps should work well in a situation where the severity of the smoke smell is low-medium. Again, for severe jobs you should be contracting a local fire restoration company to take over the job and restore your home to its preloss condition.

Fire/Smoke Damage in your home or business? Contact the professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today to speak to a Mitigation specialists. 502.241.6861

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County also proudly serves Spencer, Henry and Trimble counties.

HVAC Fire Prevention

4/4/2018 (Permalink)

The Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning system, more commonly known as an HVAC system, is a wonderful piece of technology that helps ensure your comfortable regardless of the weather outside. Like any electrical device, it can pose a fire hazard if not maintained properly. Most HVAC fire hazards are preventable with proper care and attention.

The Top HVAC Fire Hazards

HVAC systems are usually in a back room of the basement, outside behind the house, or in the attic – three places that are easy for homeowners to forget about.

Regardless of the season, HVAC fire hazards are present at any time of the year. Fortunately, many of these risks are preventable.

The Top HVAC Fire Hazards:

  • HVAC parts are old, corroded, or broken: This problem often stems from an HVAC unit that is not regularly serviced. Problems with essential parts can lead to decreased efficiency and also potential fire hazards.
  • Items are stored too close to the HVAC unit:The HVAC unit itself produces a considerable amount of heat. Storing combustible items such as boxes, paper, motor oil, and chemicals too close to the unit itself creates a high-risk environment for a fire.
  • Problems with connections or gas pressure:Problems with connections in a gas furnace can allow toxic gas to be released into the home, leading to both health and fire hazards.
  • The HVAC unit has an electrical problem: Whether the unit has a loose cord connection, a frayed cord, an old cord that overheats, or another issue, electrical problems with HVAC units can easily spark furnace fires.
  • A fuel line is leaking: This can be a harder problem to spot since many fuel lines are located inside or behind the unit. Yearly inspections can help catch old, at-risk fuel lines before they start leaking and posing a major fire hazard.
  • Improper installation: When an HVAC unit is installed improperly, it can lead to many problems such as reduced air flow and efficiency, along with increased costs. Improper installation can also cause serious problems such as carbon monoxide poisoning and fire hazards.

If you notice the smell of gas in the basement, evacuate the home and call your service technician immediately.

What You Can Do to Prevent HVAC Fires

Taking steps to prevent HVAC fires is the best way to avoid an emergency situation. In addition, these steps can save you a lot of long-term hassle and cost.

Tips for Preventing HVAC Fires:

  1. Schedule HVAC maintenance at least once a year. Not only is a yearly inspection a good way to ensure that every part is in serviceable condition, you can maintain optimal efficiency for energy savings.
  2. Don’t attempt DIY HVAC maintenance. Always hire a professional, certified technician to perform any repairs or tune-ups on your HVAC unit. DIY repairs can lead to accidental problems such as carbon monoxide poisoning or increased risk of fire hazards.
  3. Ensure that the area is properly ventilated. HVAC systems produce carbon monoxide, a toxic, invisible, odorless gas. Without proper ventilation, gas can collect in the home and become extremely hazardous to occupants.
  4. Be aware of what you store near your HVAC unit. It is advised to keep all items at least 3 feet away from the unit. Much like portable heaters and other appliances, HVAC units can get extremely hot and cause flammable items to combust. Storing items too close to heating equipment is one of the primary causes of home fires.
  5. Replace the filters on your HVAC at least twice a year, if applicable. Set a routine that is easy to remember, such as once during the spring and again during the fall. Not only will a filter improve the air quality in your home, it will help ensure proper airflow and reduce overheating.
  6. If you have an outdoor HVAC unit and keep it covered during certain seasons, make sure to remove the cover prior to the first use of the season. An obstructed airflow can cause overheating and pose a fire hazard.
  7. Install a carbon monoxide detector near the HVAC unit. Evacuate the home and call your HVAC technician if the alarm goes off.

Now that you know the top HVAC fire hazards and how to prevent them, you can take steps to keep your family safe year-round.

Fire Damage in your home or business? Contact the Restoration Professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County. 502.241.6861

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby also proudly serves Spencer, Henry and Trimble Counties.

BBQ Fire Prevention TIps

3/29/2018 (Permalink)

With summer fast approaching most everyone is looking forward to spending time with family and friends grilling their favorite foods. 

Whether you are grilling at home or at a campsite, it’s important to keep Grilling Fire Safety in mind. Check out the safety tips listed below to keep you and your family safe from fire injuries or damage to your home! In the event you do experience a fire remember SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County is a wise choice to turn to in your time of need!

• Charcoal and Propane BBQ grills should only be used outdoors and never inside the home.
• Place your grill far away from the home, deck railings and overhanging branches.
• Clean your grill regularly by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in the trays below.
• Never leave your grill unattended and keep children and pets away from grill area.

Never go to bed or leave your house until you are sure that the fire is completely out. Wind can be a dangerous factor in contributing to the spread of fire. Keep a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher handy in the event that your grill does catch on fire. Fire is one of the most devastating events that can occur to a homeowner. The effects can be costly and dangerous to the occupants of the home.

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby are experts in cleaning contents or homes that have experienced fire and smoke damage. Call us today to speak to a Restoration Specialist. 502.241.6861

How To Effectively Remove Smoke Odor Following A Fire

3/22/2018 (Permalink)

After a fire, a noticeable odor remains in textiles including upholstered furniture, carpeting, window treatments, and clothing. It may even remain in the structure of the home itself as it penetrated walls and other surfaces. Even if a small fire happens on a single floor, you must take into consideration the possibility that the smoke traveled through duct work to other levels of the home and still remains in the ducts. 
     
Professional fire restoration companies such as SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County are educated and experienced in treating odors caused by smoke damage. The odor is caused by lingering smoke molecules that need to be broken up or neutralized to be eliminated. We can accomplish this with our thermal fogging and ozone treatments.


Ozone Generator

Using ozone generators is an extremely successful method of neutralizing smoke odor. Using oxygen (O2), these systems electronically produce ozone (O3). These ozone molecules are introduced to other reactive molecules (odor/smoke molecules) and break them down in the oxidization process. They work without chemicals and on minimal electricity. It is important to use safety precautions while operating an ozone generator because inhaling ozone is no healthier than inhaling smoke. Your SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County will advise you of the precautions prior to the process. 

Thermal Fogging

Thermal fogger's are used to easily distribute solutions to effectively treat many conditions including smoke odor. These units are portable aerosol generators allowing us to treat hard-to-reach areas as well as larger scale jobs. The fog it produces is comprised of various sizes of droplets for best coverage, and to visibility monitor the coverage.  This equipment can also be used distribute antimicrobial solutions for sanitizing.

Thermal foggers produce a fog by using heat without degrading the active ingredients of the solution it is distributing. Heat is attracted to cold as hot smoke would be attracted to an exterior wall. The fog will travel the similar pathways that the smoke did, treating the odors as it moves.  

Fire Damage In Your Home? Our experienced technicians can perform Thermal Fogging, Ozoning and properly clean the Duct System in your home. SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County can also fully restore your home as well. Call us today to schedule an appointment with a Restoration Specialist. 502.241.6861

What You Should Know About Category 3 Water Damage

3/5/2018 (Permalink)

The following information is intended for use as general guidelines for Category 3 water loss cleanup. No two water losses are alike, and each situation must be treated based on the unique needs of the environment. Before tackling any water loss it is recommended that professionals attend an IICRC WRT Class, an IICRC ASD Class, and be familiar with the industry's standards of care (IICRC S500 and S520). 

Category 3 water loss involves water that is grossly contaminated and can contain pathogenic, toxigenic, or other harmful agents. Such water may carry silt, organic matter, pesticides, heavy metals, regulated materials, or toxic organic substances. 

Examples include, but are not limited to: sewage, toilet backflows that originate from beyond the toilet trap regardless of visible content or color, all forms of flooding from seawater, ground surface water and rising water from rivers or streams, and other contaminated water entering or affecting the indoor environment such as wind-driven rain from hurricanes, tropical storms, or other weather-related events.

Category 3 Water Loss In Your Home Or Business? Contact the professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today. 502.241.6861

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County also proudly serves Spencer, Henry and Trimble Counties. 

Why Professionals Should Clean Smoke Damage From A Fire

2/8/2018 (Permalink)

The following is provided by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification.

Why Professionals Should Clean Smoke Damage From A Fire

A fire can cause extreme and permanent destruction, and can still cause problems once it is put out, so trained, certified professionals should be hired to clean smoke damage and deal with the ash residue that is left behind by the inferno. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) provides oversight for the industry, and certifies technicians who have had the proper training in this area. The standards set by the IICRC will allow the technician to learn the proper techniques of this detailed task so they can do the job effectively. Because fire restoration is an involved process, only trained certified professionals should be hired for the job.

Ash residue gathers as soon as the fire starts, and within hours, it will discolor plastic, appliances, fiberglass, and even tarnish metals. Within days, it will permanently yellow walls, and permanently discolor clothing and upholstery. It will also begin corroding metal and will cause enough damage to wood and vinyl to require replacement or refinishing. If several weeks pass before professionals are allowed to clean the smoke damage, metals may corrode to uselessness, carpet will discolor permanently and glass may be too etched to be salvaged.

Once the experts are on the scene, they can halt the progression of destruction in the home. They will identify what needs to be disposed of and what can be restored, and will begin working to remove all ash from the home and clean any smoke damage. This is an involved process, and will require several people to accomplish promptly. Once this is done, the professionals will locate any source of odor, and treat it with detergents designed to counteract the smell. They will then seal off the material to keep it from emitting any further odors in the future. This is an intricate process and should only be done by a professional with plenty of experience.

Fire or Smoke Damage In Your Home Or Business? Contact the restoration specialists here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today. 502.241.6861

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County also proudly serves Spencer, Shelby and Trimble Counties. 

Ways to Tackle Ceiling Water Damage

12/29/2017 (Permalink)

When you glance up at your ceiling and begin to see stains spreading (in several shades of brown and copper) you should know that such conditions are not normal. This is a sure sign that you have water damage wreaking havoc with your ceiling.

Ignoring those stains can also lead to seeing paint chip and crack on your ceiling – and walls. You’ll eventually notice the paint or wallpaper on your walls “bubble up.” Even so, all is not lost if you take action quickly. The key word is “quickly”. If you’ve already noticed this issue and it’s not dealt with immediately, further damage from water invasion will occur, weakening your plaster or drywall in the process.

Step 1: Find the source of the damage

You see the damage to your ceiling, now you must locate the source. Once you find out how the water is getting in, you’ve got to take steps to stop that source and fix it so that it won’t cause more damage. After you’ve judged the severity of the problem, you’ll have to decide on how to approach fixing the situation. Unless you have a lot of experience dealing with water damage and possess all of the necessary equipment you might consider doing the repairs yourself. But most of us don’t have that sort of expertise, and really, attempting such repairs as a novice can cause even more damage—and it might even be dangerous! The best course to take is to contact the experts: a company that handles water damage repairs on a daily basis.

Identify the signs of water damage:
Besides the most obvious—stains—look for these signs of water damage to your ceiling:
•    Odors (e.g. musty and/or earthy smells)
•    Discolored growths (a sure sign of mold)
•    Peeling wall surfaces (e.g. paint, wallpaper)
•    Ceilings that sag or cave

Most water damage noted above often occur with basement ceilings or garage. A leaking shower drain PVC pipe’s U-bend, for instance. Despite this, your initial task is to search for and hopefully discover where the water is coming from.

Step 2: Assessment of the time and cost of correcting the problem

You’ve discovered the culprit and found the source of the water invasion. Now it’s time to figure out a plan of action—and how much it’s all going to cost. You must prioritize your repairs. You may want to replace your pipes first rather than attempt fixing/replacing your ceiling. Dealing with the pipes first will ensure that no further damage will happen to your ceiling in case a domino effect happens. Once you’ve tackled the pipe situation successfully it should be safe to fix the ceiling. Doing repairs in the wrong order can end up very costly!

In fact, before you begin repair on your ceiling you should check for mold damage. If the water has been soaking into the material long enough you might have a severe mold encroachment building up. Mold spores can adversely affect the health of everyone in your household. As for detecting mold, you shouldn’t rely on your sight and sense of smell. You should hire a mold remediation specialist to detect and eliminate your mold situation.

Step 3: Remove sections of the damaged ceiling

Drying a damaged ceiling can result in chunks and pieces of the ceiling landing on your floor and furniture. So it’s important to cover the floor and furniture with a tarp or heavy canvas for protection. Once there is longer any water dripping or soaking your ceiling, it’s also time to begin drying the ceiling material. This can be accomplished by simply applying towels, cloths, or any other absorbent material to the ceiling itself, as well as using a fan to blow the ceiling dry. If there are portions of the ceiling hanging after this process you should use a knife or other cutting object to carefully remove damaged parts.

Next, be sure to smooth any ridges between the affected and clean areas. If you end up with large holes in the ceiling you’ll definitely need to use new sheets of drywall or plaster to fix those areas. Primer and paint will be required to cover the leftover stains on your ceilings.

Leaky toilets are often the primary culprits of water damage to ceilings in apartment buildings and condominiums. In fact, some toilets can waste as much as 200 gallons of water per day. It’s the responsibility of both landlords and tenants to identify and deal with such issues. These problems will eventually trickle down to the tenants below you and that’s not a good thing!

Natural disasters can cause major ceiling damage in the form of severe rain storms,  and tornadoes. After each such disaster it’s important to check your home for cracks. Check every room in your home with a flashlight and search for cracks and other breaches. Even the tiniest crack can cause major damage over time, so be thorough. While cracks found along the edge of the ceiling can be normal, long and wide cracks in the middle of the ceiling can mean future damage.

If you take the above steps immediately after any suspected water damage, you’ll be sure to minimize the cost and the amount of time you’ll spend inconvenienced as your ceiling is repaired.

Water Damage In Your Home Or Business? Contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today. 502.241.6861

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County also proudly serves Spencer, Trimble and Henry Counties. 

Why is Fire And Water Restoration Necessary?

12/15/2017 (Permalink)

The following is provided by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification.

Why Is Fire And Water Restoration Necessary?  

 The process of fire and water restoration is very involved when it is performed properly. The only way to have the most up to date techniques and approaches applied to the problem is to hire a certified professional. Only someone with experience and training will have access to the equipment and skills that are requisite for a proper restoration. 

With quick reaction time and the appropriate skill set, a technician can help to prevent further damage and repair that which has already been done. Smoke is a pernicious force when it is ignored. The speed with which smoke can have an effect is incredibly rapid. Damage levels that are reached in the span of a few weeks may be expensive and difficult to repair. Glass, carpet, wood and metals, each has their own reaction, each with varying permanence.

The process and equipment used during fire and water restoration will vary from case to case, since different materials require their own unique care. The circumstances of each incident are accounted for when deciding the course of action. The process generally spans a few days for both an evaluation of the damage and assessment of what has been lost is performed. Then, for water, the source of the damage is detected during an inspection of the impacted areas. The type of damage is classified from 1 (least) to 4 (most), and the contamination of the liquid is categorized. Knowledge gained from a class like Applied Structural Drying will be used. Technicians will sanitize the area and deodorize, rather than merely covering up unpleasant scents. An ozone generator, air scrubber, dehumidifier, or air mover may be employed.

For fire damage, general cleaning is done to remove ash and soot from ceiling to floor. Later, when almost all other aspects of the remediation are complete, thorough carpet cleaning takes place. Thermal fogging or chemical scrubs may be utilized to combat the dirt, smoke, and soot that are caught in the recesses of the homes hard surfaces, including ceiling, walls and flooring. Reconstruction may have to be performed to parts of the building that cannot be returned to their former condition with mere cleaning.

The quick remediation of the problem is important for more than repairs, it is also a health consideration. Allowing the moisture or smoke residue to remain can decrease air quality. Having a professional come to assist with drying and dehumidifying after water damage is a large part of mold prevention.

Choose a company for fire and water restoration with the appropriate licenses and proof that they have the proper insurance. Their safety and health certifications should be up to date, as well as their specialized training. Look for technicians that have been trained formally in schools approved by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification. 

Whether the work to be done is in a commercial or residential location, the damage recovery should be performed by technicians with experience and certification. Attempting to reverse the damage is not a project that can be efficiently handled by a homeowner or person that is inexperienced. The highest satisfaction with results is gained from hiring certified, professionally equipped technicians. Certifications are earned through class time, application and documentation of skills and written exams. Courses cover basic skills and also have combinations of classes to create certification tracks in specialized areas. The courses are maintained by the IICRC, which regulate and approve course material and information. Available nationwide, there are a variety of classes that are designed to allow technicians to approach any problem and mitigate the damage, while also understanding the science behind the solutions.

Fire or Water Damage In Your Home or Business? Contact our IICRC Certified Professionals here at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County. 502.241.6141

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County also proudly serves Spencer, Henry, and Trimble Counties. 

Holiday Light Tips

11/30/2017 (Permalink)

There’s something magical about lights during the holiday season … but also something dangerous. Holiday lighting poses a real fire risk if not used safely. So before you deck the halls, be sure to check out these holiday lights safety tips:

Christmas Trees

  • Use only Christmas tree lights that are rated for indoor use and tested for safety. Check for the label of an independent testing laboratory like Underwriters’ Laboratory (UL).
  • If you have a metallic Christmas tree, never put electric lights on it to avoid the risk of electric shock.
  • Before using lights, check each set of lights for worn or broken cords, broken or cracked sockets, and loose bulb connections. Replace damaged lights.
  • Connect no more than three standard-size sets of lights into an extension cord. Don’t overload electrical outlets or extension cords, instead plug lights into different circuits around your home.
  • Don’t fasten colored spotlights onto metallic trees. Use them above or beside your tree to prevent tree branches from becoming charged with electricity from faulty lights.
  • Turn off the all Christmas lights and decorations when going to bed or leaving home.
  • Keep pets safe by protecting electric cords and tree lights so that they can’t chew them and get electrocuted.

Outdoor Lights

  • Make sure outdoor lights are rated for exterior use by an independent testing laboratory. Exterior lights and extension cords used outdoors need to be weather-resistant.
  • Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house, walls or other firm support to protect from wind damage. However, don't attach light strings with nails or staples as these can cut through the wire insulation and start a fire. Use only UL-approved hangers.
  • Take exterior lights down within 90 days to prevent hazards from weather damage or critters chewing on them.
  • Store lights safely after taking them down. Tangled lights can lead to damaged cords and broken sockets. They’re also a pain to untangle! Wrap the strings around a piece of cardboard, cover them in paper or fabric, and then store in a sturdy container until next year.

Candles

  • Never use real candles to decorate a tree. Use battery-operated, flameless LED candles instead.
  • If you do use real candles, follow these candle fire safety guidelines:
    • Use only non-flammable candle holders.
    • Place candles where they can’t be knocked down or blown over.
    • Keep candles away from any flammable objects like decorations or drapes.
    • Never burn candles near trees or greenery.
    • Always keep burning candles within your sight.
    • Extinguish all candles before going to bed, leaving the room or leaving your home.

For professional fire & water restoration services or smoke odor removal, contact SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today. 502.241.6861

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County also proudly serves Spencer, Henry and Trimble Counties. 

Winter Fires: Safety Tips For The Home

11/28/2017 (Permalink)

Follow these safety tips for fire prevention in your home. 

FURNACE HEATING It’s important that you have your furnace inspected to ensure that it is in good working condition.

• Be sure all furnace controls and emergency shutoffs are in proper working condition.

• Leave furnace repairs to qualified specialists. Do not attempt repairs yourself unless you are qualified.

• Inspect the walls and ceiling near the furnace and along the chimney line. If the wall is hot or discolored, additional pipe insulation or clearance may be required.

• Check the flue pipe and pipe seams. Are they well supported, free of holes, and cracks? Soot along or around seams may be an indicator of a leak.

• Is the chimney solid, with cracks or loose bricks? All unused flue openings should be sealed with solid masonry.

• Keep trash and other combustibles away from the heating system. OTHER FIRE SAFETY TIPS

• Never discard hot ashes inside or near the home. Place them in a metal container outside and well away from the house.

• Never use a range or an oven as a supplemental heating device. Not only is it a safety hazard, it can be a source of potentially toxic fumes.

• If you use an electric heater, be sure not to overload the circuit. Only use extension cords which have the necessary rating to carry the amp load. TIP: Choose an extension cord the same size or larger than the appliance electrical cord.

•Avoid using electrical space heaters in bathrooms, or other areas where they may come in contact with water.

•Frozen water pipes? Never try to thaw them with a blow torch or other open flame, (otherwise the pipe could conduct the heat and ignite the wall structure inside the wall space). Use hot water or a UL labeled device such as a hand held dryer for thawing.

•If windows are used as emergency exits in your home, practice using them in the event fire should strike. Be sure that all the windows open easily. Home escape ladders are recommended.

•If there is a fire hydrant near your home you can assist the fire department by keeping the hydrant clear of snow so in the event it is needed, it can be located. FINALLY . . .

•Be sure every level of your home has a working smoke alarm, and be sure to check and clean it on a monthly basis.

•Plan and practice a home escape plan with your family.

•Contact your local fire department for advice if you have a question on Home Fire Safety. 

Fire Damage In Your Home Or Business? Contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby today to speak to a Mitigation Specialist. 502.241.6861

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County also proudly serves the following counties Spencer, and Trimble.

Watch out for Winter Fires!

11/17/2017 (Permalink)

Did you know that the peak season for home and commercial fires is during the months of December through March? According to the United States Fire Administration, 905 people die from winter home fires each year and over two billion dollars worth of property is lost due to these fires. It is vitally important to be ever more vigilant in fire safety during the winter months than any other time of the year. So what is it that makes fires increase so much during the winter? Here are a few of them and what you can do to avoid these from terrorizing your home.

Heating Units and Fire

There’s nothing better than curling up next to a big space heater when the weather outside is frigid. While space heaters provide a lot of comforts they can also pose a great threat. Because of the heat, they generate if any flammable cloth or material lays by one too close for too long it will likely catch fire. If you use a space heater just take care that nothing flammable is ever near them. It really doesn’t take much for something to get hot enough to catch fire and begin to spread throughout the house.

Christmas Trees and Fire

A brightly decorated Christmas tree brings a great festive and Christmas spirit along with it. The concern, however, is that the tree is a tinder box for fires. Use great caution with the Christmas lights you use. Ensure they are reliable and won’t get too hot or spark. Also, don’t leave the lights on for extended periods of time, especially when you are sleeping or out of the house.

Cooking and Fire

Cooking is one of the biggest causes of winter home fires. With all the holiday goodies being baked, food in and out of the oven, and out of the fryer it’s no surprise so many fires are caused by this. In fact, most winter home fires begin during the hours of 5-8 PM, dinnertime. The prevention to this is simple, just keep a close eye on the food. If cooking a big meal with lots of family and friends, always have people in the kitchen looking for the food. Be vigilant and you won’t need to worry about your meal and your holidays going up in flames.

The principles for preventing home fires are always the same no matter what time of the year, it’s just that in the wintertime there are more potential threats out there. You’re following those principles by simply paying close attention and looking for anything that may be at risk for malfunctioning and causing a fire will bring you great protection in most cases. However, if tragedy does strike and you find yourself affected by a home fire, don’t hesitate to call the professionals at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County. 502.241.6861

At SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County we have teams of trained professionals experienced in fire damage restoration to help you restore your home back to normal in the event a winter fire affects you.

Handling Smoke Damage Effectively

11/15/2017 (Permalink)

Smoke is very pervasive!  It spread s quickly and long after it is gone, it’s smell lingers.  In cases of home fires, one of the main problems with cleanup and restoration is smoke damage.  Why?  Smoke spreads fast and its remnants settle into places that hard to reach and clean.  If you have experienced a fire in your home and need to have the effects of smoke damage removed, call SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County today (502-241-6861).  The fast you act the easier it will be to remove traces of smoke in your home.  After you call, here are some things that you can do to help speed up the process.

Ventilate the Area

Immediately after a fire is extinguished (and it is safe to be in your home), try to ventilate your home.  Doing so will allow much of the smoke to escape from your home and invite fresh air in.  This will help to minimize smoke damage.  Open your all doors and windows, but turn off your HVAC system because it will only transfer smoke throughout your home.  If you have central heating and air conditioning, close the vents in each room so that smoke does not enter into your vents.  Use fans near windows and doors to help ventilation.  Try using a vacuum cleaning nozzle/brush where any collections of soot have accumulated. Be careful not to press the nozzle down to firmly on the soot, instead hold it just above it to avoid staining.

Existing or extensive smoke damage requires the use of specialized equipment and techniques to remove.  Therefore, it is best to allow a trained professional to tackled a large amount of smoke damage.  SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County is certified and has trained technicians to help with this. Our team stays abreast of the latest methods and standards for restorations of all types including smoke and fire damage.  Call us today for assistance! 502.241.6861

Winter Holiday Fire Safety

10/31/2017 (Permalink)

According to the American Red Cross, winter holiday fires claim more than 500 lives each year and cause approximately $554 million in property damage. We put together some essential winter holiday fire safety tips to help reduce those numbers. Follow these suggestions to keep your family, home, pets and belongings safe this holiday season and throughout the New Year.

Winter Fire Causes

During the winter and all through the holidays, there are several seasonal factors that can increase the risk of fire in your home. These factors range from increased fireplace and candle usage to Christmas tree fire hazards. As beautiful as these light touches may be, it's important to keep certain holiday fire safety tips in mind. General holiday fire safety includes:

  • Never leave a room when a candle is burning. Candle fires are four times more likely to occur during the holidays.
  • Never burn wrapping paper, garbage or other debris in your fireplace.
  • Always supervise children around fireplaces, wood burning stoves and any open flames, even candles.
  • Check your space heater before using it. If it's not operating correctly or the cord is damaged in any way, don't use it.
  • Test every smoke detector in the house and make sure all of them have charged batteries.

Holiday Fire Safety Tips

The winter holidays can be the busiest time of year for many households. There are family activities, community events and parties to attend, and you may even be hosting a gathering or two in your own home. Kids are excited, the days are short and there seems to be a never-ending list of things to get done. However, now is not the time to ignore or forget about basic holiday fire safety, which includes Christmas tree fire safety.

Christmas Tree Fire Safety:

  • Live trees need to be fresh and stay fresh until removed from your home. Look for a tree with needles that pull back easily from the branches but don't break. Tap your tree on the ground. If it sheds a ton of needles, it's not fresh.
  • Keep a freshly cut tree watered so it doesn't dry out and become a fire hazard. Or, use a potted live tree and plant a memory from this Christmas season to grow for years to come.
  • Never place your Christmas tree near a fireplace, wood burning stove or other open flame.
  • Never place real, burning candles on your Christmas tree as decorations.
  • Christmas trees should not block doorways or exit routes, in case of a fire.
  • Only buy fire-resistant artificial trees.
  • Inspect all strands of Christmas lights before placing them on your tree. Look for fraying wires and other damage.
  • Never use more than three sets of light strands per one extension cord.
  • Check all extension cords for damage or fraying; don't overload a single electrical outlet.
  • If you're going to be away from home, turn off the Christmas tree lights and consider unplugging all non-essential electronics and appliances.
  • Keep lit candle displays at least three feet away from the tree.
  • Only decorate a tree with non-combustible or flame-resistant decorations.

Outdoor Decoration Fire Safety

Just because your decorations are outside doesn't mean you can ignore specific holiday fire safety precautions. Be sure that any extension cords you use outside are labeled for outdoor use. Look on the label and packaging to determine whether your cord is made for the outdoors. All outdoor lights need to be fastened securely to your home's porch, columns, gutters, surrounding trees or other supports that will stay secure, even in blustery conditions. Always plug outdoor lights and electric decorations into a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet or use a surge protector for safety. 

Fire Damage In Your Home Or Business? Contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby today at 502.241.6861

Five Common Causes of Electrical Fires

10/11/2017 (Permalink)

The months with the most electrical fires are December and January due to increased use of heating appliances and lights. Most electrical fires start in the bedroom, but the highest number of fatalities occur with fires located in the living room, family room and den.

Here are the 5 most common causes of electrical fires.

1. Faulty outlets, appliances
Most electrical fires are caused by faulty electrical outlets and old, outdated appliances. Other fires are started by faults in appliance cords, receptacles and switches. Never use an appliance with a worn or frayed cord which can send heat onto combustible surfaces like floors, curtains, and rugs that can start a fire.

Running cords under rugs is another cause of electrical fires. Removing the grounding plug from a cord so it can be used in a two-prong electrical outlet can also cause a fire. The reason appliances have the extra prong is so they can be only used in outlets that can handle the extra amount of electricity that these appliances draw.

2. Light fixtures
Light fixtures, lamps and light bulbs are another common reason for electrical fires. Installing a bulb with a wattage that is too high for the lamps and light fixtures is a leading cause of electrical fires. Always check the maximum recommended bulb wattage on any lighting fixture or lamp and never go over the recommended amount.

Another cause of fire is placing materials like cloth or paper over a lampshade. The material heats up and ignites, causing a fire. Faulty lamps and light fixtures also frequently result in fires.

3. Extension cords 
Misuse of extension cords is another electrical fire cause. Appliances should be plugged directly into outlet and not plugged into an extension cord for any length of time. Only use extension cords as a temporary measure. If you do not have the appropriate type of outlets for your appliances, hire an electrician to install new ones.

4. Space heaters 
Because these types of heaters are portable, many times people put them too close to combustible surfaces such as curtains, beds, clothing, chairs, couches and rugs. Coil space heaters are especially dangerous in this regard because the coils become so hot they will almost instantaneously ignite any nearby flammable surface.

If you do use space heaters, use the radiator-type that diffuse heat over the entire surface of the appliance. These are less likely to ignite flammable items, but should still be kept away from them.

5. Wiring
Outdated wiring often causes electrical fires. If a home is over 20 years old, it may not have the wiring capacity to handle the increased amounts of electrical appliances in today’s average home, such as computers, wide-screen televisions, video and gaming players, microwaves and air conditioners.

Breakers should be triggered when circuits get overloaded by too much electricity, but outdated breaker boxes often have worn connectors that do not work, causing the system to overload and start an electrical fire. If your home is over 20 years old it may be best to have your wiring inspected. 

Fire Damage In Your Home or Business?  Call the professionals at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby to speak to a Mitigation Specialist today. 502.241.6861

Fire Prevention Week- Every Second Counts

10/10/2017 (Permalink)

The following is provided by The National Fire Protection Association. 


 In a fire, seconds count. Seconds can mean the difference between residents of our community escaping safely from a fire or having their lives end in tragedy.

That’s why this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme: “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” is so important. It reinforces why everyone needs to have an escape plan. Here’s this year’s key campaign messages:

  • Draw a map of your home by using our grid in English (PDF) or Spanish (PDF) with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
  • Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
  • Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
  • Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
  • Close doors behind you as you leave – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
  • Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.

Contact SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby/Trimble/Henry today to speak to a Mitigation Specialist. 502.241.6861

Reasons To Hire A Fire Restoration Company

9/11/2017 (Permalink)

Reasons to Hire a Fire Restoration Company

 After a fire in your house, you want to get your home back to normal as quickly as possible. However, with even a small fire, you may have even more damage than you realize. You need a fire restoration company to determine all the problems following the fire and to clean up your home. Professional restoration services know how to take care of every area in your house that needs work. Here are four reasons you should hire a fire restoration company: 
  1. Multiple contractors with years of experience. Contractors who can address water damage, structural damage and cosmetic damage at the same time
  2. Fire restoration companies have special equipment to deal with odors
  3. Prevent further damage from water or ash residue in your home
  4. Replace surfaces which have been damaged by the fire
 A fire might be contained in one location, but the smells can permeate multiple rooms. Water damage from the fire department can render walls, floors and other surfaces ruined if not cleaned up quickly. You don’t need to spend hours getting multiple contractors together when you call the professionals who specialize in restoration. To get a fire restoration company that can help you get your home back in order following a fire, contact SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby/Trimble/Henry/Spencer today. 502.241.6861

6 Facts About Protein Fires

9/5/2017 (Permalink)

Protein fires create an especially unique restoration challenge. Fire damage caused by burnt food can also create odor issues which are difficult to mitigate. Here are some important facts regarding this type of fire.

  1. Protein fires generally leave little visible residue, often confusing the untrained observer
  2. They create a significantly more repugnant smell than most other fires
  3. The nature of the burn causes the odor to permeate structure and furniture even more completely than other fires
  4. Require extremely thorough cleaning to remove the odor
  5. Sometimes require a sealing agent or even repainting to completely eradicate the odor
  6. May require multiple attempts and methods to achieve customer satisfaction

It is also important to recognize that perception of odor is highly individual.  There are no tools available to “measure” smell, and as a result, a homeowner may perceive odors that technicians or even neighbors cannot.  Often times, because of the strong link between smell and memory, a homeowner may experience “phantom odors” where the memory of the event causes reproduction of the odor even after thorough cleaning.

Fire Damage In Your Home Or Business? Call the professionals at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby/Trimble/Henry/Spencer to speak to a Mitigation Specialist. 502.241.6861

HVAC Fire Hazards and Prevention

8/1/2017 (Permalink)

The Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning system, more commonly known as an HVAC system, is a wonderful piece of technology that helps you stay comfortable regardless of the weather outside. Like any electrical device, it can pose a fire hazard if not maintained properly. Most HVAC fire hazards are preventable with proper care and attention.

The Top HVAC Fire Hazards

HVAC systems are usually in a back room of the basement, outside behind the house, or in the attic – three places that are easy for homeowners to forget about.

Regardless of the season, HVAC fire hazards are present at any time of the year. Fortunately, many of these risks are preventable.

The Top HVAC Fire Hazards:

  • HVAC parts are old, corroded, or broken: This problem often stems from an HVAC unit that is not regularly serviced. Problems with essential parts can lead to decreased efficiency and also lead to potential fire hazards.
  • Items are stored too close to the HVAC unit: The HVAC unit itself produces a considerable amount of heat. Storing combustible items such as boxes, paper, motor oil, and chemicals too close to the unit creates a high-risk environment for a fire.
  • Problems with connections or gas pressure: Problems with connections in a gas furnace can lead to toxic gas being released into the home, leading to both health and fire hazards.
  • The HVAC unit has an electrical problem: Whether the unit has a loose cord connection, a frayed cord, an old cord that overheats, or another issue, electrical problems with HVAC units can easily spark furnace fires.
  • A fuel line is leaking: This can be a harder problem to spot since many fuel lines are located inside or behind the unit. Yearly inspections can help catch old, at-risk fuel lines before they start leaking and posing a major fire hazard.
  • Improper installation: When an HVAC unit is installed improperly, it can lead to many problems such as reduced air flow and efficiently, and increased costs. Improper installation can also cause serious problems such as carbon monoxide poisoning and fire hazards.

If you notice the smell of gas in the basement, evacuate the home and call your service technician immediately.

What You Can Do to Prevent HVAC Fires

Taking steps to prevent HVAC fires is the best way to avoid an emergency situation. In addition, these steps can save you a lot of long-term hassle and cost.

Tips for Preventing HVAC Fires:

  1. Schedule HVAC maintenance at least once a year. Not only is a yearly inspection a good way to ensure that every part is in serviceable condition, you can maintain optimal efficiency for energy savings.
  2. Don’t attempt DIY HVAC maintenance.Always hire a professional, certified technician to perform any repairs or tune-ups on your HVAC unit. DIY repairs can lead to accidental problems such as carbon monoxide poisoning or increased risk of fire hazards.
  3. Ensure that the area is properly ventilated. HVAC systems produce carbon monoxide, a toxic, invisible, odorless gas. Without proper ventilation, this gas can collect in the home and become extremely hazardous to occupants.
  4. Be aware of what you store near your HVAC unit. It is advised to keep all items at least 3 feet away from the unit. Much like portable heaters and other appliances, HVAC units can get extremely hot and cause flammable items to combust. Storing items too close to heating equipment is one of the primary causes of home fires.
  5. Replace the filters on your HVAC at least twice a year, if applicable. Set a routine that is easy to remember, such as once during the spring and again during the fall. Not only will a filter improve the air quality in your home, it will help ensure proper airflow and reduce overheating.
  6. If you have an outdoor HVAC unit and keep it covered during certain seasons, make sure to remove the cover prior to the first use of the season.An obstructed airflow can cause overheating and pose a fire hazard.
  7. Install a carbon monoxide detector near the HVAC unit. Evacuate the home and call your HVAC technician if the alarm goes off.

Now that you know the top HVAC fire hazards and how to prevent them, you can take steps to keep your family safe year-round.

Fire Damage In Your Home? Contact SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby today to speak to a Mitigation Specialist. 502.241.6861

Should I Install A Home Fire Sprinkler System?

7/24/2017 (Permalink)

Should I Install A Home Fire Sprinkler System?

A home fire sprinkler system is not required in most residential builds, nor are they very common even though they can save lives and minimize fire damage to a property. It is a personal decision whether or not you install one in your own home. Here, we look at the benefits of installing a home fire sprinkler system, as well as dispel some fire sprinkler myths.

Why Install a Home Fire Sprinkler System?

A home fire sprinkler system is the first line of defense against home fires. Their sole purpose is to contain and extinguish a fire before it spreads and gets out of fire. Installing a sprinkler system in your home is one of the best ways to protect your family and your property from unexpected blazes.

All fire sprinklers trigger based on heat. Once the sensor built in to the sprinkler head reaches a certain temperature, it triggers and showers the area with water.

Home Value, Insurance, and Taxes

Fire sprinklers are so common in offices and public spaces that you may not even think about it. Many new apartments even have fire sprinkler systems. This raises the question: why aren’t fire sprinklers common in homes?

Cost is a big factor in most cases. A home fire sprinkler system is a long-term investment. In addition to the initial installation, there are several other financial impacts to take into consideration.

  • Home fire sprinkler systems may affect insurance premiums, depending on your carrier. Check with your insurance company to find out their policies and rates before you set an installation date.
  • Your home taxes may change, depending on where you live. Check with your local government to learn how much your taxes could change.
  • Your home value may change. If you are considering installing a home fire sprinkler system, or if you are in the market for a home which already comes installed with one, speak with your realtor for the most up-to-date market advice.

If you’re only planning to be in a house for a few years, then it may not be the right choice for you. But if you intend to keep your home for many years, the added level of safety may be worthwhile.

Aren’t Smoke Alarms Enough?

Smoke alarms are a great first alert system – as long as batteries are installed and kept up-to-date. However, they only alert you to the presence of a fire. They do not stop fires before they have spread, or do anything to put the fire out before you or your family are in danger.

Depending on how quickly the fire spreads, you may or may not have time to evacuate the home. It is important for you to have a home evacuation plan which accounts for blocked exits and upper floor rooms.

Aren’t Home Sprinklers a Giant Accident Waiting to Happen?

Although fire sprinklers are great for preventing home fires from harming your family or your property, you may be worried that the same system could lead to water damage in your home.

Your home is full of water pipes, and the pipes used in home sprinklers are no different. In fact, they are usually installed in the same areas that the rest of your pipes are contained. This means that during the winter, you’re already going to be keeping an eye on any problem areas to prevent frozen pipes, and won’t have to do any additional work.

Fire sprinkler water pipes are held to the same build standards as the rest of your home plumbing system. That said, they will need added inspections throughout the year to monitor aging pipes, weak spots, and prevent ruptures and leaks.

You may also be worried that a sprinkler head might trigger accidentally, or worse, without a reason at all. Sprinkler head failures are incredibly rare, with instances of 1 in 1000.

Won’t Fire Sprinklers Ruin My Home When Triggered?

Unlike what you see in Hollywood, a fire in one room does not trigger all of the fire sprinklers in the house. Fire sprinklers are designed to respond only in the area the fire is located. This design minimizes damage to the home by using water only on the affected area. You don’t have to worry about a flood of water throughout the house!

In fact, fire sprinklers are very efficient. They use considerably fewer gallons of water per minute than fire hoses, averaging at 13 – 18 gallons per minute versus 250 gallons per minute.

The Bottom Line

In the end, whether or not a home fire sprinkler system is right for you is a personal choice, and you’ll need to weigh all factors during consideration. If your home experiences fire or water damage, remember that SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby is here and ready to help restore your home back to its original condition.

Here's Why You Should Clean Your Dryer Vents

7/20/2017 (Permalink)

HERE’S WHY YOU SHOULD CLEAN YOUR COMMERCIAL DRYER VENTS!

   

When it comes to commercial dryer vent cleaning, fire safety should be your most important concern. Commercial dryers are routinely over-taxed to support extensive washing, and plugged vents (with highly flammable lint) in commercial, industrial and institutional facilities are extremely vulnerable to fires.

There is a substantial number of property damages, injuries, and deaths annually that are the direct result of dryer vent fires. There are approximately 15,000 structure fires, hundreds of injuries, and more than a dozen deaths reported each year due to dryer vent fires.  Amazingly, half of all commercial dryer vent fires start from within the lint trap.  The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) states there are an average of 3,700 structure fires at hotel or motel properties annually, causing $127 million in damage. Of those fires, 9% are clothes dryer and washer related. And, the statistical percentages grow in industrial and manufacturing properties along with other commercial environments.

According to the United States Fire Administration (USFA), clothes dryer fires account for over $100 million in losses annually. Further, dryer fires involving commercial dryer vents have a 78% higher injury rate than residential dryer fires.

Highly flammable lint getting caught in the dryer duct and becoming heated to the point of ignition, cause the majority of commercial dryer vent fires.  Commercial dryers come with lint traps or filters, designed to capture the lint, yet only 70% of the lint is typically collected. The remainder sticks to the duct work and piping. Lint and other debris builds up over time so it is not ever safe to assume that emptying the filter regularly is enough to protect your property from a dryer vent fire.

Commercial Dryer Vent Cleaning:

  • allows laundered items dry more quickly and evenly.
  • can save your company money on monthly energy costs.
  • enables the dryer to perform properly.
  • creates peace of mind by eliminating a potential fire hazard.
  • limits mold, mildew and other bacteria in your dryer vent ductwork.

Some signs you need commercial dryer vent cleaning:

  • there’s an accumulation of lint or debris on the external vent
  • the dryer is hot to the touch indicating it is overheating
  • it takes more than one drying cycle to dry one load
  • the laundered items smell “musty” after being in the dryer

Be aware of these import facts:

A clogged commercial dryer causes reduced airflow, and then they are forced to work harder. This causes the air travelling through the ductwork and vents to get hotter and doesn’t dry effectively, leading to:

  • Higher energy consumption
  • Reduction in the lifespan of your appliance
  • Accelerated thermostat and internal sensor failure
  • Potential for lint to ignite as the heated air moves slower and temperature intensifies

Fire Damage In Your Commercial Or Residential Property? Contact SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby today to speak to a Mitigation Specialist. 502.241.6861

Electric Fire Safety

7/13/2017 (Permalink)

Electrical Fire Safety

Electrical fires are a common source of fire in homes and offices that can be avoided by taking a few simple measures. Follow these electrical safety tips to help can keep your home or office safe from dangerous fire hazards. 

Appliances

  • Always plug major appliances, like refrigerators, stoves, washers and dryers, directly into a wall outlet.
  • Never use an extension cord with a major appliance—it can easily overheat and start a fire.
  • Always plug small appliances directly into a wall outlet.
  • Unplug small appliances when you are not using them.
  • Keep lamps, light fixtures, and light bulbs away from anything that can burn.
  • Use light bulbs that match there commended wattage on the lamp or fixture.
  • Check electrical cords on appliances often. Replace cracked, damaged and loose electrical cords. Do not try to repair them.

Outlets

  • Do not overload wall outlets.
  • Insert plugs fully into sockets.
  • Never force a three-prong cord into a two-slot outlet.
  • Install tamper-resistant electrical outlets if you have young children.

Extension Cords, Power Strips, and Surge Protectors

  • Replace worn, old or damaged extension cords right away.
  • Use extension cords for temporary purposes only.
  • Avoid putting cords where they can be damaged or pinched, like under a carpet or rug.
  • Do not overload power strips.
  • Use power strips that have internal overload protection.

Any other electrical problems that need to be met should be done by a licensed and certified electrician. Do not attempt to perform any electrical work that is beyond your knowledge and skill set. Electrical injuries can be severe and even fatal. It is always a good idea to make sure a qualified electrician does all electrical work in your home! If you do experience a fire from an electrical malfunction, call a professional restoration company for immediate cleanup. 

Close Your Door To Prevent Fire Deaths

7/12/2017 (Permalink)

Close Your Door to Prevent Fire Deaths

One simple action, closing your bedroom door, could save your life.

Tests by UL’s Firefighter Safety Research Institute found that in the event of a fire rooms with an open door showed temperatures over 1,000°F, while a room with a closed door had temperatures at only 100°F. Research also showed that a closed door kept room conditions survivable longer than an open door.

“If you can get out of a burning structure, get out,” explains Steve Kerber, FSRI’s Research Director. “If you can’t, put a closed door between you and the fire to buy yourself valuable time.”

UL states that four decades ago, victims had an average of 17 minutes to escape a burning home after the activation of a smoke alarm. Today, that time has dropped to 3 minutes or less. Homes incorporating more open layouts and lightweight construction materials, and new materials in furnishings, allow fires to spread much quicker.

A closed door gives a layer of protection between you and a fire, which is especially important at night when the household is sleeping. A closed door also helps limit oxygen flow, which may help prevent a fire from growing. When escaping a burning structure, closing the door behind you can help limit property damage.

A reminder from Prevention 1st: In addition to closing your door, make sure you also install and test smoke alarms. Having a working smoke alarm cuts your risk of dying in a fire in half.

Blaze Buster: Fire Extinguisher Basics

6/30/2017 (Permalink)

Blaze Buster: Fire Extinguisher Basics

Fire extinguishers save lives and property by eliminating fires just before they grow too big. It is therefore important to understand how fire extinguishers work to be able to use them effectively. A working knowledge of fire extinguishers and how they are used will come in handy in the event of a fire in your home, office, or property.

Basically, fire extinguishers work in getting rid of fires by either snuffing out the oxygen that is responsible for combustion, cooling the temperature of the fuel feeding the fire, or halting the chemical reaction behind the fire itself. Fire extinguishers use water, a dry chemical, or carbon dioxide as agents in order to stop the progress of fire.

Fire Extinguisher Ratings

Your fire extinguisher will come in the following ratings:

A

A fire extinguisher with the A rating uses compressed water as its agent and is effective against basic fuels like paper, wood, and carton.

B

B rated fire extinguishers are good against fires that are fueled by gas, oil, lacquers, solvents or kerosene and use carbon dioxide as agents.

C

Fire extinguishers with the C rating use dry chemicals that do not conduct electricity. This is why such fire extinguishers are primarily used to combat fires coming from electronics like computers and appliances.

ABC

These fire extinguishers are good against the first three kinds of fires.

D

Fire extinguishers with D ratings are used for fires that are sparked by powders or metals. These are commonly found in workshops and laboratories where such fires may occur.

K

Homeowners can use K rated fire extinguishers in order to beat fires from oils and fats. Fires fuelled by these items have a tendency to grow larger if someone douses them with water.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) advises homeowners and property owners to place fire extinguishers on each level of the home. Fire extinguishers with the A rating would be good for this while a fire extinguisher with the K rating is ideal for the kitchen.

Buyers should only go for those units with the proper Underwriters Laboratory (UL) seal when purchasing fire extinguishers.

We hope that this article has taught you an important feature of fire extinguishers. In case you encounter incidents of fire damage and even water damage, bio-hazard, and mold, please do not hesitate to seek the help of SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby. You can contact us by calling 502.241.6861 or by emailing us through one of the contact forms in our pages. SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby will help you recover from any disaster.

Know the Facts About Business Fires

6/6/2017 (Permalink)

Know the Facts about Business Fires

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, as many as one in four businesses that suffer some kind of major disaster do not reopen afterward. It’s true, overcoming a major loss is extremely difficult, but with the right restoration company and team on your side, working hand-in-hand with your insurance company, the chance of your Indianapolis-area company surviving is pretty high!

Depending on the size of the fire, and the amount of damage, some businesses that have come to Total Restoration for help have reopened just days after the fire happened. Thanks to innovations in smoke odor removal, fire damage restoration, and cleaning in general, it is possible for crews to start work nearly immediately after the fire department clears the scene, and have things back up and running in no time. Although, again, that all depends on the severity of the fire. But no matter the severity, recovery is possible!

According to the National Fire Prevention Association, U.S. fire departments responded to about 3,300 office property fires per year between 2007 and 2011. Those fires resulted in about $112 million in property damage each year, and most were in business offices – and happened during business hours. However, the good news is the number of business fires was down a whopping 71 percent from 1980 to 2011.

Here are some other stats from the NFPA:

Time of Day

  • Peak time of day for office fires: Noon – 2p.m. (a.k.a. lunch time!)
  • 69% happened between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
  • The 31% that occurred between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. caused 67% of recorded property damage, because they went undetected longer. This also highlights the need for automatic detection equipment and working sprinkler systems.
  • 19% of fires happened on weekends.

Cause of the Business Fires

  • 29% were caused by cooking equipment. However, just 6% of these fires caused actual property damage.
  • Intentionally-set fires caused the most direct property damage – 21%.
  • Electrical equipment is the second leading cause of office fires.
  • Just 2% of office fires start in a concealed space like an attic, in the ceiling, or in another conceals space. However, these fires accounted for 13% of the direct property damage.

Containment & Putting it Out

  • 4 out of 5 fires were confined to the room of origin.
  • 90% of fires were large enough to activate sprinklers, which were effective 88% of the time.
  • Deaths per 1,000 stores were 62% lower in offices equipped with sprinklers compared to those without.

Industrial/Manufacturing Facility Fires

The NFPA also has statistics specific to manufacturing facilities. According to their research, there are about 37,000 fires at industrial or manufacturing facilities each year, resulting in 18 deaths, 279 injuries, and $1 billion in property damage. Heating equipment and stop tools were the leading cause – sparking 28 percent of the fires. Mechanical failure or malfunction caused 24 percent of the fires.

The Best Way to Reduce a Business Interruption Following a Disaster to Your Business is to Plan Ahead for One

As many as 50% of businesses never recover following a disaster, according to the latest industry research. SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby can help you plan ahead for a disaster to minimize business interruption by developing an Emergency Ready Profile (ERP) for your business before one strikes. An ERP provides important contact and building information needed to begin a timely mitigation to help minimize how water and fire damage can affect your business. Benefits of an ERP include:

-A no cost assessment of your facility which means there is no need to allocate funds, giving you a great value at no cost.

-A concise profile document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency. It will only take a little time to complete and will not take you away from current projects. But it will save a lot of time if ever needed.

-A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster. This can help minimize the amount of time your business is inactive by having an immediate plan of action.

-Establishes SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider. You have a provider that is recognized as an industry leader and close by, when needed.

-Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin. This saves time so we can begin the work of mitigating the damage which can save you time and money.

-Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas and priority contact information. Having a quick reference of what to do, how to do it and who to call provides solutions in advance of an emergency so that during the emergency you are “Ready for whatever happens.”

Contact SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby to schedule your FREE Emergency Ready Profile today. 502.241.6861

How to Avoid Fire Hazards in the Bedroom

6/5/2017 (Permalink)

Did you know that half of all home fire deaths occur in bedrooms? That’s also where most electrical fires start too. However, you can easily prevent bedroom fires by following these essential safety tips:

  • Don’t run electric cords under the bed or carpeting. Don’t trap cords against a wall where heat can build up. Keep cords untangled to allow heat to dissipate. Never overload an extension cord.
  • Always supervise space heaters. Turn them off when leaving the bedroom or going to sleep.
  • Install arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) to prevent fires in electrical switches. They shut off the circuit when an unintentional discharge of electricity occurs in the circuit.
  • Install tamper resistant receptacles (TRRs) in all rooms if you have children. These devices prevent them from inserting foreign objects like hairpins into the outlet.
  • Never put devices that are charging under bedding. Leaving a laptop on the bed can also cause a fire.
  • Only use laboratory-approved electric blankets and warmers. Don’t fold them as it may damage the wiring. Never sleep with an electric blanket turned on and regularly check it for overheating.
  • Keep flammable objects at least three feet away from heat sources, such as space heaters, candles, and electronics.
  • Keep lit candles away from combustible objects like bedding, curtains, and paper. Consider replacing burning candles with battery-operated flameless candles.
  • Use only mattresses that meet the 2007 Federal Mattress Standards.
  • Don’t smoke in bed — you might fall asleep with a lit cigarette in your hand and it could catch fire. Use fire-safe cigarettes as they extinguish more quickly.
  • Install smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom. Test Smoke Alarms monthly and replace them every 10 years. Replace batteries once a year.
  • Create a fire escape plans. Make sure each room has two exits. Practice your home fire drill with everyone in the home at night and during the day twice a year.

For professional fire damage repair or smoke remediation services, contact SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby today at 502.241.6861

Cleaning Smoke-Damaged Textiles

5/30/2017 (Permalink)

One of the most persistent reminders that a home was damaged in a fire is the odor. Textiles, in particular, retain the scent of smoke if not cleaned as soon as possible after the fire by a restoration contractor.

SMOKE AND SOOT DAMAGE

Even minor fires that don’t leave behind any major structural damage are accompanied by a pervasive smell of smoke and a dusting of residual soot. Water damage from the efforts of firefighters or burst pipes can cause further damage. Exposure to smoke, heat, water and soot not only lowers the value of any rare collectibles, but can leave a homeowner without a wardrobe, upholstered furniture, or undamaged carpets. Fortunately, if homeowners act quickly and retain the services of a fire and water restoration contractor, they may be able to save the majority of their textile-based belongings, including:

  • Household fabric items
  • Clothing
  • Shoes and purses
  • Quilts and tapestries
  • Carpets
  • Upholstered furniture
  • Drapes
  • Stuffed animals and toys

THE CLEANING PROCESS

Acting quickly is a necessity because acidic soot residue can begin discoloring plastics, bath fixtures, unprotected metals, countertops, and furniture almost immediately after the fire is put out. While these materials can be wiped down relatively quickly and so avoid permanent damage, fabrics are more difficult to clean. Even after a matter of days, clothing and furniture upholstery can become permanently stained.

Soap, water, and a sponge, as well as vacuuming and laundering, can go a long way towards removing discolorations and odors left by soot and smoke. However, there is only so much that a homeowner can do on his or her own. For instance, before textiles can be deodorized or cleaned, all soot must be removed with a heavy duty vacuum manufactured specifically for that purpose. Restoration contractors can then focus on removing the odor from the fabrics by using an ozone treatment, which breaks up the smoke molecules on the items.

After deodorizing household textiles, the items can be cleaned. Dry cleanable clothing and draperies should be taken to a professional dry cleaner. Some items, such as draperies and upholstered furniture will need to be cleaned in the home by a professional. Cleaning clothing is a bit easier and for the most part can be accomplished through several washing's in warm water with a non-built liquid detergent or a low phosphate powder detergent and a liquid chlorine bleach. Some heavily damaged items will need to be washed as many as five times before the soot and smoke odor are removed.

Fire Damage In Your Home?

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby services LaGrange, Shelbyville, Crestwood and the surrounding area's. 

Contact us today to speak to a Mitigation Specialist. 502.241.6861

Extensive Fire Damage - How Fire Restoration Companies Deal With It

5/26/2017 (Permalink)

Fire alone is incredibly formidable and can cause drastic destruction to any premises. If you have a blaze in your home that goes on long enough, then your belongings will be burned for fuel leaving only ash behind until the entire property is little more than a memory.

If that’s all that extensive fire damage represented then that would be bad enough. In fact though, fire damage is far more extensive and multi-faceted than that and it can impact on your home in ways that you might find almost entirely unexpected. Read on and we will look at the other types of damage caused by fires. To end on a positive note though, we’ll also look at how a good fire damage restoration company will go about undoing each one of these types of damage to get a property back to full health as quickly as possible.

Air Pressure and Shattered Windows

 You might at this point be wondering what’s so interesting and complicated about extensive fire damage. A good example to start off with then, is the way in which extensive fire damage can lead to shattered windows through the power of air pressure.

How does this work? Well essentially, when you have a fire raging in your property, this will be burning by using oxygen for fuel. Oxygen is reactive and when you see a fire, this is actually caused by that reaction.

Extensive Fire Damage then, removes the oxygen from the air in your home and this in turn creates a ‘vacuum’. That means that there are now fewer air particles in your home and around the fire than there are outside the property. This then causes the air in your other rooms to rush to the fire to feed it – this is due to something called ‘equalization’ which essentially is a fancy way of saying that gas particles in any container always spread out evenly (like a puddle). Remove the air from the living room and more air will rush in from upstairs to even things out.

Eventually though, all the air in your home will have been gobbled up by the fire which will create a massive difference in the air pressure in your home compared to outside. When this pressure difference becomes big enough, this is actually strong enough to cause the air from outside to burst in through the windows causing them to shatter inward. This then showers your property with glass and also causes a hot wind to blow in forcefully to your home!

Water Damage

It might seem like a contradiction but often times extensive fire damagewill also lead to water damage. This is why most water damage repair companies also work as fire damage restoration companies.

There are many reasons that extensive fire damage can cause water damage. One is that the fire can burn pipes and cause them to boil and burst. Another is that it can burst water tanks. Less obvious perhaps is that it can burn holes in the roof (and break the windows as we’ve seen) thus causing rain water to come in and cause more damage.

In case you’re thinking that water damage ‘pales’ in comparison to the damage caused by the fire itself, bear in mind that much of this will be contaminated water that can lead to serious illness. Furthermore, this water can come into contact with sockets and extension cables causing electricity to run across your entire property.

Water damage also leads to mold. In as little as 24 hours, a wet surface can become a moldy surface and this means that long after the fire has gone, your home can continue to become more and more unlivable. Especially if the mold that grows is ‘toxic black’ mold.

Bear in mind too that this isn’t just water – it’s boiling water.

Explosions and Rubble

Similar to the way that burst pipes can lead to water damage, extensive fire damage can also burst gas lines and thereby cause gas leaks. This can be dangerous on its own but even more-so when it is in the presence of a huge naked flame likely to cause a massive explosion. It’s no exaggeration to say that an explosion caused by a gas leak in this way can be serious enough to potentially level an entire neighborhood!

At the very least, the explosions and the fire itself can cause severe structural damage to your property making it likely that your roof will collapse, that walls will give way or that the stairs will come away. All these things cause tons of destruction themselves as your property and belongings becomes crushed under the weight of the rubble. Even if it’s something as relatively ‘minor’ as a kitchen cabinet falling off the wall, this can destroy everything that was inside that cabinet and everything that was underneath it. And did you think about your soup and chopped tomatoes boiling inside their cans?

Smoke

Smoke itself is also a big part of fire damage restoration. Smoke is such a big problem because it can get everywhere and it can create a terrible odor and stain things black permanently. Smoke is also terrible for our lungs and quite often it’s the smoke that is actually first to cause serious personal harm rather than the fire.

Fire Damage Restoration Services

As you can see then, extensive fire damage is far more extensive than you might originally have imagined. It’s not just a case of things being burned, but of things being burned, crushed, flooded and blown up.

The good news is that as long as you’re away from your property at the time, you can undo all this damage with a fire damage restoration company. These companies specialize in all kinds of restoration which should include everything from water damage restoration, to mold remediation to home renovations. These companies can go about undoing all the damage caused to your home to the point where you’re able to move in again and get on with your life.

Fire Damage in Your Home? Call the professionals at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby at 502.241.6861

Fire Safety Tips for Spring Cleaning

5/4/2017 (Permalink)

Spring Cleaning? Remember These Fire Safety Tips

While spring cleaning gives you an opportunity to get your home in order you should also focus on tasks that improve the safety of your home. Fires can occur when you least expect, but you can prevent them by following these safety guidelines:               
  • Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms Replace smoke and CO alarms batteries and test them once a month by pushing the test button. Gently clean the alarms, but make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions first.
  • Kitchen  Keep counter tops and stove tops free of grease and clutter. Excess grease on the drip pan or stove top can easily catch fire. Clean oil and food spills immediately after they occur and wait until the stove is cool to wipe off oil or grease spills. Keep items that can catch fire, such as oven mitts, towels or wooden utensils, away from your stove top.
  • Electrical Cords  Inspect the electrical cords in your home and replace worn or tattered ones. Avoid running cords under carpets or across doorways to prevent them from being damaged. Use extension cords only temporarily and plug major appliances directly into wall sockets.
  • Clothes Dryer  Excess lint in the dryer is the number one cause of clothes dryer fires. Clean the lint that has collected around the drum before or after each load of laundry. Always use a lint filter and clean it regularly. Move combustible items like boxes and clothing around your dryer to a safer area.
  • Grilling – Clean the grease or fat build-up after every use. Doing so not only decreases the risk of fire, but also helps the food cook better. Check the propane tank, hose, and all connection points for leaks. If you smell gas when the grill is on, turn off the tank and burners immediately. If you have a charcoal grill, use only charcoal starter fluid.
  • Escape Plan – You should have an escape plan in case of a fire or other disaster. The plan should include a map of each level of the home with two escape routes in each room. Discuss and practice the plan with everyone in the household, including children, and add pets to the plan.

For fire damage restoration, water damage repair and mold removal, contact SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby at 502.241.6861

How To Keep Your Backyard Safe From Fire

4/28/2017 (Permalink)

Written by Kandi Newnes of SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County on 4/28/17

As the weather gets warmer, we tend to spend more time in our backyards. Using fire pits and patio heaters, as well as grilling are popular ways to relax in our backyards, but they pose the risk of fire and related injuries.

Here are important tips to keep your backyard safe from fire:

  • Fire Pits
  • Keep flammable material and fluids such as charcoal and gasoline away from the fire pit.
  • Never use flammable fluids such as gasoline, alcohol, and kerosene to light or relight fires.
  • Place your pit at least 10 feet away from any structures, fencing or other flammable material.
  • Find a level surface for your fire pit. Don’t place it under tree branches and telephone or electrical wires.
  • Don’t allow children to use the fire pit. Keep children and pets at a safe distance away from the fire pit.
  • Don’t wear flammable or loose-fitting clothing such as nylon near the fire pit.
  • Use only seasoned hardwood to maintain the fire pit. Avoid burning trash, leaves, paper, cardboard or plywood, as well as soft wood such as pine or cedar.
  • Don’t overload the fire pit.
  • Before you light the fire, check the wind direction and make sure that the lid will still close to extinguish the fire in case of emergency.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher, a bucket of water or garden hose nearby to extinguish in an emergency.
  • Grilling
  • Only use propane and charcoal barbecue grills outdoors.
  • Place the grill well away from the home and deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
  • Remove grease or fat buildup from the grills. Grease and fat burn quickly and can cause burn injuries or fires.
  • Always supervise the grill.
  • If you have a charcoal grill, use only charcoal starter fluid to light the grill. However, charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using paper as a fuel.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • After you finish grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.
  • Patio Heaters
  • Patio heaters are fueled by liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) that can be dangerous if improperly used.
  • Only use patio heaters outdoors in well-ventilated areas. Never use them indoors under any circumstances.
  • Don’t use patio heaters when it is windy. Wind can blow out the flame and tip over the patio heater.
  • Never allow children to operate patio heaters. Keep children and pets at a safe distance away from patio heaters.
  • Ensure the tap is off before changing the gas cylinder and do it in the open air.
  • Make sure you know how to turn the patio heater OFF before you turn it ON.

What are the different types of Smoke Loss

4/27/2017 (Permalink)

There are two types of smoke damage after a fire, visible soot and invisible odor. All fires are different, making it difficult to gauge the exact type of damage that will occur. However, in most cases, we would recommend allowing a professional service to come in and properly clean the contents of your home to ensure complete odor removal and the saving of seemingly non-salvageable items.

In most fire situations, there are three restoration alternatives, cleaning, resurfacing, and replacing.

Cleaning is the removal of soot and foreign matters which are not an original part of the material itself. Cleaning is usually the quickest process and the preferred option for the insurance company and homeowner(s).

Resurfacing is the process of taking a damaged piece of property or existing fixture in the home and redoing the surface of it to make it appear new. For example, if a house is not severely damaged by fire or smoke, but the paint on the walls gets damaged, the contractor can re-paint the walls. The contractor can also provide content refinishing as well as the reupholstering of furniture. Resurfacing is a good option when the homeowner considers certain things as sentimental and/or irreplaceable. Resurfacing can be more costly than cleaning, yet less expensive than replacement. Insurance companies will also recommend this alternative to homeowners.

The last alternative is replacement. Replacement is used when items in the home are destroyed or are beyond economical repair. Replacement is usually the costliest option because the non-salvageable items are being replaced with something new.

Spring Cleaning? Don't Forget The Fireplace

4/7/2017 (Permalink)

Like other areas of the home, cleaning the fireplace is also an essential aspect of regular home maintenance. And while a well-maintained and clean fireplace is always a welcome addition to a home, one that is neglected can quickly become a serious hazard.


However, homeowners can rest assured that spring cleaning the fireplace is not only easy, but when done correctly, will also give them the satisfaction of knowing that one of the likely dirtiest places at home is now spotless.


Given below are some of the most effective DIY fireplace cleaning tips which can apply to both wood burning as well as gas fireplaces. When in doubt, acquire the services of a fireplace and chimney professional.


 


Wood Burning Fireplace Maintenance Tips


First, let’s take a look at how to clean a wood burning fireplace.


Prevent Creosote Buildup


Creosote is a flammable, tar-like substance which piles up in the chimney and flue over time. The buildup can be prevented by burning seasoned wood only. This is because “Green” wood produces a lot more smoke as compared to dry wood, which then leads to creosote accumulation.


Creosote buildup is classified in three degrees. The classification depends on the extent of the buildup within the chimney.



  • The first degree contains a high percentage of soot which can be removed fairly effectively with a chimney brush.

  • Second degree creosote buildup cleanup can become trickier as the accumulation starts to resemble dry, hard tar flakes and not just soot.

  • Third degree creosote buildup is the toughest to remove as it looks like tar coating or running down the inside of the chimney. At this stage, the buildup is concentrated fuel which keeps getting thicker and harder as it recoats the chimney surface repeatedly.


 


Ash Cleanup


Ash is the natural residue from burning logs. As a result, it can accumulate fairly quickly. Frequent cleaning is required and can be done by cleaning out the firebox after every use of the fireplace. This step requires using a shovel or some similar device to remove the ashes.


Dirty Surround


An accumulation of soot and smoke on the surround is often caused by a clogged flue or an unopened damper. Check to make sure if these issues are factoring into the accumulation. Then, put on rubber gloves and use a brush and masonry cleaner to sweep the mess from the area. Cleaning the fireplace surround will also keep your room looking neat and tidy.


Fireplace Doors


Glass doors in front of wood burning fireplaces will become occluded overtime. To minimize this obstructing effect, it is recommended to regularly clean the doors with a non-ammonia cleaner followed by wiping with kitchen towels or an old newspaper. Take care never to use an abrasive cleaner as it may leave flammable residue behind.


Gas Fireplace Maintenance Tips


For the most part, a gas fireplace does not create as big a mess as its wood burning counterpart. Plus, it does not produce any smoke or other byproducts.  However, having said that, it does not mean the fireplace doesn’t require periodic cleaning and maintenance.


To keep your gas fireplace in excellent working condition, follow these simple steps:


Perform General Maintenance


Visually inspect the unit prior to each burning session. If any issues are detected, maintenance should always be done when the unit is cool and all energy sources shut off. This can include checking for indoor circulation fans, external venting and properly adjusted gas burners.


Clean Glass Doors


Glass doors should be cleaned in the same manner as those on a wood burning fire. If doors are removable, cleaning will be a lot easier when they are detached.


Debris Cleanup


Unlike a wood burning fireplace, a gas fireplace does not come with a firebox filled with ash. Instead, cleaning the fireplace will be as simple as periodic vacuuming.


Fire Damage or Smoke Loss in Your Home? Call the Professionals at SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby County to speak to a Mitigation Specialist today. 502.241.6861

The 5 Steps of Fire Damage Restoration

4/4/2017 (Permalink)

Step One: Emergency Contact

The best fire damage restoration companies offer emergency services meaning that they are able to come out quickly when contacted and provide immediate relief for your property. This is a very important feature and you should always look for companies that offer this when trying to find fire damage restoration.

Why do you need immediate service before you start the fire damage restoration process? Of course it’s actually the job of the emergency services and fire department to put out the fires. However, you may still need fire damage restoration services very quickly in order to prevent damage from spreading through your property.

Say a fire burns a hole in your roof for instance. This could then lead to a situation where you have rain coming in through your ceiling and ruining your property more – the longer you leave this the more the extent of the damage is going to increase and thus you need to get immediate emergency services whenever possible rather than waiting for the problem to get more severe.

Step Two: Assessment

 

The next thing that a fire damage restoration company will do in the fire damage restoration process is to assess the extent of the damage in your property. This will usually involve looking at how far the fire, the smoke and the soot have traveled as well as seeing how badly affected your walls and furniture are.

This is an important first step as it is only by understanding the extent of the damage that the company will be able to come up with a plan of action and to give you an accurate quote for how much it should cost and an accurate estimate of how long it will take.

Step Three: Tarp and Sealing Services

Once the fire damage restoration begins in earnest, the main priority will always be to prevent damage from getting worse. For instance then, if you have a leak thanks to a hole burned in your roof or due to a hole in your wall, then your fire damage restoration company will start by addressing that.

Likewise, fire damage restoration can also often go hand in hand with water damage restoration. This can be necessary for instance if the fire has led to a burst pipe or water tank. In these cases fire damage restoration services will act quickly to stop the source of the water before it spreads through more of your building and causes more damage.

Step Four: Clean Up

Next the fire damage restoration service will begin the clean-up part of the fire damage restoration process whereby they will clean away smoke, dust and soot from your surfaces. After a fire often you will find that your property looks dark, stained and charred. The first job of your fire damage restoration company will be to clean up all this damage and get your property at least looking as normal as possible.

This is also when water damage restoration will begin properly. Here any standing pools of water will be removed using submersible pumps and the areas will then be dried and sanitized. Water damage can also cause health problems owing to contamination in the water, so sanitization is particularly important here.

During this fire damage restoration process, companies will also ensure to remove any odors that can linger after smoke has been in the room. This might involve carpet cleaning as well and will often need to address adjacent rooms as well as those directly affected by fire damage.

Finally, the clean-up part of the fire damage restoration process will also involve the removal and disposal of items that are too badly damaged to be repairable. If you have furniture for instance that has absorbed a lot of contaminated water, or if you have carpet that has been badly burned… in these cases often the best case scenario is just to throw these things out and to replace them with new items. Fire damage restoration companies handle this for you so that you don’t have to.

Step Five: Repair and Renovation

 

The next stage is to begin actually restoring furniture and repairing the damage caused by fire. For instance, if cabinets have been destroyed by fire, then fire damage restoration will involve either repairing those cabinets or replacing them with new ones. Carpets can likewise be installed anew and walls can be repainted and wallpaper can be put back up.

The idea of this stage is to get your property looking as good as new so that you can go back to normal. However, the very best fire damage restoration companies will go one step further than this. That’s because they will not only offer restoration but also renovation. These companies can then repair your property and actually leave it looking better than it did at the start. This can be something of a silver lining – if you’re stressed and upset because your furniture has been ruined, then fire damage restoration can turn this into an opportunity to renovate your property and to enjoy having a completely new redesign.

Step Six: Consultation

Following the completion of your fire damage restoration services, you may find that the company that provided them offers you some ‘debriefing’ and consultation on how to prevent future fires. Sometimes, it may be the case that the fire damage was avoidable and in this case they can offer some design advice for your rooms or help you to find the best smoke detectors and other means for being alerted to fires early.

Fire Damage or smoke loss in your home or business? Contact SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby/Trimble/Henry/Carroll/Spencer to speak to a Mitigation Specialist today. 502.241.6861

11 Lithium-Ion Battery Safety Tips You May Not Know

3/31/2017 (Permalink)

10 Lithium-Ion Battery Safety Tips You May Not Know

A lithium-ion battery (Li-ion battery) is a type of rechargeable battery that is common in home electronics. The problem with li-ion batteries is that they pack a large amount of energy in a small amount of space. When li-ion batteries overheat, are used the wrong way or are defective, they are prone to explosions which can result in injuries and fires. Follow these safety tips to help avoid Li-ion battery explosions:
  1.  Only purchase electronic devices that bear the label of an independent testing laboratory, such as Underwriter’s Laboratory. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
  2. Only use batteries that are designed for the device you want to power up. Check the manual or the product’s official website when you’re not sure what kind of batteries to use.
  3. Insert batteries the right way. Many people accidentally place batteries the wrong way, which can damage them.
  4. To avoid overheating batteries, never overcharge your device; unplug the device once it is fully charged.
  5. Avoid charging your device on flammable materials, such as the bed, couch or on paper.
  6. Never keep li-ion batteries near heat sources or in high temperatures, such as direct sunlight, radiators or laptops.
  7. Don’t allow batteries to get wet or be exposed to water.
  8. Avoid keeping li-ion batteries in the open where they can get damaged. Store them in a secure, dry, and cool place, and away from flammable materials. Keep them separate from metal objects as well.
  9. If you notice signs that the battery has a problem, such as overheating, odor, leaks, or change in color/shape, shut off the device and move it away from things that can catch fire.
  10. Never throw li-ion batteries in the trash. This causes pollution and can be a fire hazard.
  11. To properly dispose of li-ion batteries, take them to a battery recycling location or contact your local waste management service provider for disposal instructions. Put batteries in a sealed metal container before recycling them.

Improper usage or disposal of li-ion batteries can cause fires. For professional emergency smoke damage repair or fire damage repair, SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby at 502.241.6861.

Fire Safety Guidelines in the Workplace

3/21/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Safety Guidelines for the Workplace


Whether you are at home, a public place, school or work, it is important to know how to prevent fires and react in a fire emergency. At the workplace, everyone in the building is responsible for keeping the environment safe. Here are some essential fire prevention and fire response tips for the workplace:




Fire Prevention



  • Work space Clutter – Keep your work space organized and free of clutter as clutter provides fuel for the fire and may restrict access to escape routes and emergency exits. 

  • Equipment – Keep equipment that produces heat away from combustible objects; store flammable materials and chemicals safely, at a safe distance from heat sources.

  • Electrical Safety – Almost 40% of workplace fires are caused by electrical failures. Check electrical cords periodically; have damaged wires serviced or replaced.

  • Power Outlets – Make sure that power outlets are not overloaded with too many cords; plugs should fit the outlet (i.e., insert two-prong plugs only into three-slot outlets).

  • Emergency Exits – Learn the escape routes and exits in the building. All emergency routes and exits should be unobstructed.

  • Fire and Smoke Alarms – Management should ensure that smoke detectors and fire alarms are inspected and tested regularly.

  • Fire Extinguishers must be current on their inspections. Employees should be trained on how to extinguish fires.

  • Smoking – There should be designated areas for smoking outside the building. All employees should be aware of the hazards of smoking inside the building.

  • Fire Drills – Regular fire drills should be performed at the workplace and there should be an evacuation procedure in place.


Fire Response



  • If a fire breaks out in the building, sound the alarm to alert other employees.

  • Call 911 immediately and don’t hang up until the emergency responder tells you to.

  • If the fire is small, you may attempt to extinguish it with a fire extinguisher. However, if  the fire cannot be controlled by a fire extinguisher, evacuate immediately.

  • Follow the escape routes and go to the muster point outside the   building.

  • Close the doors behind you when exiting the building to help prevent fire from spreading.

  • Never use an elevator. Depending on the magnitude of the fire, elevators may shut mid-transit due to electrical damage.

  • Learn basic first aid skills. After the evacuation, help any employees who may have been injured either by the flames or smoke inhalation.

  • Once you are out, stay out. Never go back inside a smoke-filled or burning building.


Preparedness is key to preventing fires at the workplace. Follow the advice above and you can save yourself and your coworkers from injuries and death, and the property from damage.


For professional fire damage repair or smoke remediation services, contact SERVPRO Of Oldham/Shelby. Call today to speak with a Mitigation Specialist. 502.241.6861




Chimney Fires: Prevention and Safety Tips

2/23/2017 (Permalink)

 

Chimney Fires: Prevention and Safety Tips

Who doesn’t love the sound and smell of a warm crackling fire? While fireplaces add a decorative touch to any room, they have a function that is very important. Warmth!

Those majestic heat sources can also lead to dangers no homeowner wants to be faced with. Please remember to annually have your fireplace cleaned by a professional to help prevent a smoke or fire damage in your home.  Fact – clean chimneys don’t catch fire!

Indications of a chimney fire can be:

  • Loud Cracking and popping noise
  • A lot of dense smoke
  • An intense, hot smell

The Basics of how a chimney and flue work

The chimney and flue are intended to carry gases from your fireplace, wood stove or furnace safely out of your home. This action allows for healthy, breathable air in a home.  It is important, therefore to keep your chimney clean.  A dirty chimney can cause a chimney fire, which will damage structures, destroy your home and potentially injure or kill someone.

Chimney fires can be loud and dramatic, or quiet and slow burning. Some homeowners report hearing a low, rumbling sound that resembles a freight train.  Others never hear a sound. 

Many homeowners are not even aware that they have had a chimney fire. This is scary to me and should be everyone’s main reason for an annual inspection. 

  Here are the signs that professional chimney sweep looks for:

  • “Puffy” or “honey combed” creosote
  • Warped metal of the damper, metal smoke chamber concoctor pipe or factory-built metal chimney
  • Cracked or collapsed flue tiles, or tiles with large chunks missing
  • Discolored and or distorted rain cap
  • Heat-damaged TV antenna attached to the chimney
  • Creosote flakes and pieces found on the roof or ground
  • Roofing material damaged from hot creosote
  • Cracks in exterior masonry
  • Evidence of smoke escaping through mortar joints of masonry or tile liners

If you are buying a new home or have recently purchased a new home with a wood fired stove or fireplace, you should definitely have it inspected for any of the signs listed above.

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby/Henry/Trimble/Carroll has helped many homeowners recover from soot, smoke or fire damage. Our highly trained team members are equipped with the best equipment in the industry and are available 24 hours and day and 365 days a year.  

For more than thirty years CSIA, Chimney Safety Institute of America, has worked to prevent chimney fires, dryer fires, and other home heating disasters by educating both homeowners and industry professionals. For more information regarding home fire prevention check out their website at csia.org

Have Soot or Fire Damage in your home? Call SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby/Henry/Trimble/Carroll today to speak to a Mitigation Specialist. 502.241.6861

How to Safely Extinguish Small Fires

2/17/2017 (Permalink)

When a fire is just starting, it could be small enough to be extinguished with a fire blanket or a fire extinguisher, but if you see that is scattering fast or taking longer than five seconds to be defeated with a fire extinguisher, then you must pull a fire alarm, evacuate the building, and call 911.
Electrical Fire

Always remember to turn the appliance off or to pull out the plug. Do not use water because it can cause an electrical shock. Use a fire extinguisher or a fire blanket.

Cooking Fire

Shut off the stove, gas supply or oven. Use baking soda on food to smother the fire, use a lid or keep the over door closed. DO NOT use water or turn on the exhaust fan since that will draw the flames onto a concealed space.

Greasy Pan

Never leave unattended the cooking oil with the stove on. Hot grease can spatter and ignite any paper, cloth, or wood materials nearby.

Fire in Oven

Maintain the oven grease free! A greasy broiler or meet can catch fire even during preheating.

Gas Fires

Shut off gas supply. Smother with rug, blanket or Type B extinguisher or cool with water. Call 911.

Leaking Gas

Never enter an area with a lighted match or cigarette if you smell gas from a pipe, heater or stove. DO NOT turn light switches on or off. The smallest spark or flame could cause an explosion.

No matter the type of fire, we always recommend to call 911 or the Fire Department even if you have extinguished the fire. Is better to be safe than sorry, right?

Call SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby for more info. 502.241.6861

Apartment Fire Safety Tips

2/15/2017 (Permalink)

People living in apartments face several challenges when dealing with a fire. Everyone in the apartment building should know how to prevent fires, how to escape fires, and how to help keep fellow residents safe. Here are some important tips to prevent and escape apartment fires:

  • Be familiar with the fire protection system in your building. Each protection system depends on where and when the complex was built. Apartment complexes with a sprinkler system provide an additional way to extinguish fires at the right time. Moreover, most apartment buildings also have fire alarm pull stations for alerting other residents that there is a fire.
  • Make sure your apartment is equipped with smoke alarms. For increased safety, the alarms should be interconnected, so that all alarms will sound if one is activated. The property owners may be responsible for the smoke alarms, but you should ensure your own safety. Test the alarms once a month and check that the alarms are not older than 10 years. Remember: it is illegal to remove, damage, or disable a smoke alarm.
  • All apartment complexes should have fire extinguishers. Learn where the fire extinguishers are, how to access them, how to use them, and when to use them. Never attempt to put out a fire with a fire extinguisher if that puts your life in danger and/or if you don’t know how to use one.
  • Cooking is the number one cause of fires in homes. Never leave food unattended on the stove.
  • Never store flammable substances, such as propane tanks or gas cans, in your apartment.
  • Supervise space heaters and place them at least three feet away from flammable materials.
  • Check electrical cords for appliances and replace those that are frayed or cracked.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Don’t smoke in the bedroom or leave lit cigarettes unattended.
  • Keep hallways clear — don’t keep shoes, floor mats or other items.

Escape Planning

  • Everyone in the family should be familiar with the building’s evacuation plan. Participate when your building drills take place.
  • Learn the best escape routes — know how many levels the complex has, the nearest exits, and the location of staircases.
  • Practice escaping through these routes. Stay low when moving to avoid breathing in smoke.
  • If the escape routes are blocked by fire or smoke, practice sealing yourself in for safety. Close the door and stay by the window; use a flashlight or a light colored cloth to signal to firefighters.
  • If you have small pets, purchase a carrier to be able to take them with you. If you have a dog, keep a leash at the ready.

Fires can get out of control very quickly, usually in less than 30 seconds. Thus, it is important to get out as fast as you can. Never go back inside unless the fire department informs you that it is safe to do so. For professional fire damage restoration or smoke remediation service, contact SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby at 502.241.6861  

The Process Of Fire Restoration

2/9/2017 (Permalink)

Once the fire trucks are gone, your journey is just beginning. That’s because your home almost certainly suffered smoke and fire damage as well as possible water damage. But the professionals at Orange Restoration have the skills and equipment necessary to restore your house to the way it was before the fire.

Each fire is different and every home requires its own specific approach, but the following is the general process we follow in a typical  situation:

  1. Emergency response. When you make your call to us, the restoration process begins. Our customer service representative will ask the right questions so that we can respond quickly and bring along the right resources and equipment.
  1. Inspection and assessment. We inspect the impacted area and adjoining rooms to find out the extent of the soot, smoke and other fire damage, then we can develop our plan of action.
  1. Securing the structure. Preventing further damage is essential, so we take immediate action to board up broken windows, shore up damaged walls and put tarps over damaged sections of the roof.
  1. Water removal. When water damage is present, we immediately start water removal. Dehumidifiers and air movers are used to get all the water from your home and complete the drying process.
  1. Surface soot and smoke removal. Using special equipment and time-tested techniques, we get rid of soot and smoke from the ceiling, all walls and other hard surfaces.
  1. Cleaning and disinfecting. Restorable items require cleaning and sanitizing. A variety of cleaning products and techniques are used to accomplish this as appropriate. This process includes odor removal using foggers and industrial-strength air scrubbers.
  1. Restoration. Getting things back to normal is the final step in the process. This can involve small repairs, drywall replacement, new carpet installation, painting and more. Major construction may sometimes also be required.

For an easy and hassle-free experience, trust SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby/Trimble/Henry to help manage everything for you, including the insurance claims process. Call (502) 241-6861 for a quick response.

After Fire Damage Home Owners Need Odor Removal

2/6/2017 (Permalink)

Where there’s fire, there’s smoke. Any homeowner who has experienced a fire knows the truth of that old statement. Smoke inhalation kills most victims of house fires. Even if the occupants escape, the lingering odor of smoke can traumatize even the most stout-hearted homeowner.

One reason that odors linger long after the fire is extinguished is that smoke is comprised of particles. Those particles land on every surface, and in every crevice in the home. They are very fine and difficult to detect, and even more difficult to remove. In most cases, you need expert help with special neutralizers and methods of odor removal to eliminate the long-term effects of a fire.

Odor Removal Doesn’t Happen By Itself

Many people try at first to eliminate odors and finally realize that the job can be accomplished more quickly and thoroughly by a trained professional. At SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby, our technicians use special neutralizing products, hot thermal fog, unsmoke, ozone and odor counteracants. These methods and tools are not widely available to the general public— and moreover, the longer the time that passes before the odor is attacked, the more damage can occur.

There are some things the homeowner can do: Thoroughly wash floors, kitchen cupboards and floors that aren’t carpeted. Vacuum carpets, using a machine with a HEPA high-efficiency filter to trap smoke particles inside the vacuum. Remove and wash light fixtures. Remove all curtains, draperies and window shades for cleaning or dry-cleaning. Turn a large fan to blow fresh air into the home, working your way through the house, room by room.

If all this seems like too much for a busy homeowner to handle, call SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby/Trimble Henry. We do all this and more to help restore your home to its original condition.

Smoke discolors surfaces such as plastic, fiberglass, and eventually, metal. Wood and vinyl will also need to be replaced.

Ash and soot are easily distributed and are a major cause of odor. Allowing this residue to remain for days permits it to creep into impenetrable places such as between floor boards and behind drywall. So a difficult job becomes more difficult. The restoration and odor removal will go much more quickly and be less expensive if it is tackled immediately.

After the clean-up process is underway, the homeowner will notice an immediate reduction in odor. For months later, pulling a piece of clothing out of winter storage, for instance, can release traumatic memories triggered by the smell of smoke. There is no better way to restore a homeowner’s peace of mind than to tackle odors at their source, as soon as possible after the fire.

Cleaning up after a fire is a job left to those who specialize in this type of work. General cleaning is not enough— indeed, it may make the situation worse. A homeowner has gone through enough turmoil with a fire in the house. Call 502.241.6861 and let us get to work making things right again.

Mapping Out Your Escape Plan: Multi-Family Dwelling

11/21/2016 (Permalink)

The following content is provided by the American Red Cross. 

Did you know that if a fire starts in your home, you'll have just two minutes to escape? That's why it is very important to have working smoke alarms in your home, develop an escape plan and practice that plan. Practice your plan until everyone in the household can evacuate in less than two minutes. Test smoke alarms every month and replace the batteries as needed. Consider placing escape ladders in rooms on upper floors. It is important to identify two exits from every room. Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, including inside and outside each bedroom and in the basement. Finally, pick a place outside for everyone to meet. 

Rebuilding after A Fire

11/21/2016 (Permalink)

Make sure that the contractor rebuilding your home obtains a building permit and follows the current building, fire and electrical codes for your area.

Ask a professional about having automatic residential fire sprinklers installed during the reconstruction process. It is much less expensive to have sprinklers installed during reconstruction instead of after the construction is complete.

-Make sure that smoke alarms are installed following your local fire protection codes.

We recommend having smoke alarms installed inside each sleeping room, hallway outside sleeping areas, and at least one on every floor of your home. The smoke alarms should be inter-connected so that if one alarm sounds, all will sound. The alarms should be operated by household, power and batteries in case the household power are out. (New fire codes require this type of smoke alarm to be installed. Check with local authorities about the prevailing fire code in your area)

-It is good idea to make sure that you have updated your Family Disaster Plan and replenished essential disaster supplies just in case a disaster happens again. 

You will always feel better knowing that you are prepared and ready for anything. The American Red Cross encourages taking five key disaster preparedness steps: make a plan, build a kit, get trained, volunteer and give blood. For more information about preparedness, ask your local Red Cross chapter.

-Consider purchasing homeowner's or renter's insurance. 

-Make copies of important documents, such as birth and marriage certificates and insurance policies, and store these in a safe place.

 

Tips to Recovering Financially from a Fire

11/18/2016 (Permalink)

The following is provided by the American Red Cross.

 

-Contact your insurance agent, broker or insurance company as soon as you can to report how, when and where the damage occurred. Provide a general description of the damage.

-Prepare a list of damaged or lost items and provide receipts if possible. Consider photographing or videotaping the damage where it occurred for further documentation to support your claim.

-If possible, keep damaged items or portions of those items until the claims adjuster has visited your home. Do not throw away anything you plan to claim without discussing it with your adjuster first.

-Keep receipts for all additional expenses that you may incur such as lodging, repairs or other supplies.

-Make copies of all documents and pictures given to your claims adjuster or insurance company.

Besides insurance, there are many questions related to taxes, expenses and determining just how you will recover from a personal financial point of view. For helpful advice, please see Disaster Recover: A guide to Financial Issues (A5076), which is available from your local Red Cross chapter at www.redcross.org.

SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby/Henry/Trimble is available to answer any questions you may have about Fire Damage Recovery. Contact us at 502.241.6861 to speak with a Mitigation Specialist. 

Cleaning up and Removing Smoke Odor after a Fire

11/11/2016 (Permalink)

-There are some products available for fabrics.

These products will list these properties on the label. A product with tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) is a common cleaning agent. It can be purchased under the generic name TSP. It is a caustic substance and should be used with care. Use and store it out of reach of children and pets. Read the label for further information and safety instructions.

Any product that is not clearly described as suitable for use on personal clothing or fabrics that come in contact with skin should never be used for the removal of smoke odors from clothing.

-Test garments before using any treatment, and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Smoke odor and soot can sometimes be washed from clothing, that can be bleached with 4 to 6 tbsp. Tri-Sodium Phosphate, 1 cup household cleaner or chlorine bleach, to every gallon of warm water. Mix well, add clothes and rinse with clear water. Dry thoroughly. 

Alternatively, consider washing clothes in cold water with your usual household laundry detergent, and adding one tablespoon or pure vanilla extract. The solution also has been shown to remove smoke odors on kitchen surfaces and washable furniture. To remove soot and smoke or mix together 4 to 6 tbsp. tri-sodium phosphate and 1 cup household cleaner or chlorine bleach to every gallon of warm water. Wear rubber gloves when cleaning with this solution. Be sure to rinse your walls and furniture with clear warm water and dry thoroughly after washing them with this.

-Pots, pans, flatware, etc., should be washed with soapy water, rinsed and then polished with a fine-powdered cleaner.

You can polish copper and brass with salt sprinkled on a piece of lemon, or salt sprinkled on a cloth saturated with vinegar.

-Wipe leather goods with a damp cloth, then a dry cloth.

Stuff purses and shoes with newspaper to retain shape. Leave suitcases open. Leather goods should be dried away from heat and sun. When leather goods are dry, clean with saddle soap. Rinse leather and suede jackets in cold water and dry away from heat and sun.

-Washable wallpaper can be cleansed like painted walls, but do not wet through the paper.

Work from bottom to top to prevent streaking. Use a commercial paste to re-paste any loose edges or sections.

Wash a small area of the walls at a time, working from the floor up. Then rinse the wall with clear water immediately. Ceilings should be washed last. Do not repaint until walls and ceilings are completely dry.

Reduce the chances of growth of mold and mildew by wiping down all surfaces that had gotten wet with a solution of one cup of liquid household bleach to a gallon of water. Test painted, textured or wallpapered surfaces to ensure that the bleach solution will not discolor these surfaces. To conduct this test, wipe a small area of the surface with bleach solution, and allow it to dry at least 24 hours. 

-Consult a professional about replacing drywall and insulation that has been soaked by water from fire hoses.

Water-damaged drywall and insulation must be replaced. It can not be dried out and maintain structural integrity or resistance to mold and mildew.

Fires can be especially devastating to your home or business. After the fire trucks leave, your property will likely suffer from not only fire and smoke damage, but also widespread water damage and flooding from firefighting efforts. SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby Franchise Professionals have specialized fire and water damage restoration training and experience to quickly clean up and restore your home to pre-fire condition. They also can remove the pervasive smoke odor and deep-clean soot from upholstery and carpet.

Checking Your Household Items After a Fire.

10/27/2016 (Permalink)

The following is provided by The American Red Cross.

-Normal household items, such as cleaning products, can cause toxic fumes and other hazards if they mix.

If you smell a noxious odor, or your eyes water from fumes of mixed chemicals, open a window and get out of your home. Call for professional help. 

-If there are spilled chemicals that do not pose a health risk, be sure to put on rubber gloves in addition to other protective clothing. 

Clean up spills carefully. Discard spilled chemicals and rags used for cleaning according to the advice to local authorities. 

-Throw away food, beverages and medicine exposed to heat, smoke or soot.

Food that was in the freezer can be used if it still has ice crystals on it. If not discard it.

Checking Your Home After A Fire- Part 1

10/17/2016 (Permalink)

The following is provided by The American Red Cross

Check with the fire department to make sure your residence is safe to enter. Do not cut or walk past colored tape that was placed over doors or windows to mark damaged areas unless local authorities advise that it is safe to do so. If a building inspector has placed a color-coded sign on the home, do not enter it until you get more information, advice and instructions about what the sign means and whether it is safe to enter your home.

If you have children, leave them with a relative or friend while you conduct your first inspection of your home after the fire. The site may be unsafe for children, and seeing the damage firsthand may upset them and cause long-term effects, including nightmares.

Checking for Structural Damage

-Check the outside of your home before you enter.

Look for loose power lines, broken or damaged gas lines, foundation cracks or other damage. See if porch roofs and overhangs still have all their supports. If you see damage on the outside, it could indicate that the inside of your home is seriously unsafe. Ask a building inspector or contractor to check the structure before you enter.

-If there is no significant visible outside damage, then check inside.

Carefully open the door. If it is jammed, do not force it open. If may be providing support to structure of your home. If you force open the door, it may cause parts of your home to collapse or become more damaged. Find another way to enter your home.

Those who do enter your damaged home should wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, closed-toed rubber-soled shoes or boots and work gloves. Depending on the situation dust masks, safety glasses (or goggles) and/or a hard hat and other safety equipment may be needed. Many people are injured after disasters during clean-up the last thing that you want to do is add injuries to the list of things to care of after a disaster.

-Smell or sniff for gas.

If you detect the odor of natural or propane gas, or hear a hissing noise, leave the property immediately and get well away from it. Call the fire department using a cellular telephone or a neighbor's phone. If the fire department instructs you to do so, turn off the gas with the proper tool at the valve on the outside meter. When natural gas is turned off at the main valve, it must be turned back on by a professional to ensure that the proper sequence is followed to restore gas service and prevent possible gas leaks, fires or an explosion.

-If you have a propane tank system, turn off all valves contact a propane supplier to check the system out before you use it again.

-Throughout your first day back, and beyond, check for smoke and embers throughout the home, including the attic.

-Beware of animals, such as rodents, snakes, spiders and insects that may have entered your home.

As you inspect your home, tap loudly and often on the floor with a stick to give notice that you are there. Animals (including snakes) do not want encounters with humans, and will move away if you make your presence known.

The following has been provided by The American Red Cross.

-Objects, such as furnishings or building parts that have been damaged, may be unstable. Be very cautious when moving near them. Avoid holding, pushing or leaning against damaged building parts.

-Check the ceiling for signs of sagging.

Water from fire hoses or rain may wet plaster or wallboard. Wet plaster or wallboard is very heavy and dangerous if it falls. Since damaged plaster or wallboard will have to be replaced anyway, you can try to knock it down but do so carefully. Wear protective clothing, including eye protection and a hard hat. Use a long stick, and stand well away from the damaged area. If the ceiling is sagging from the weight of water, poke holes in the ceiling starting from the outside of the bulge to let water drain out slowly. Take your time, and knock away small chunks at a time. Striking the center or the damaged are first may cause the ceiling to collapse. 

For a handout on this information contact SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby at 502.241.6861

 

Preparedness Tips for Holiday Fire Prevention

10/10/2016 (Permalink)

The following information is provided by The American Red Cross and U.S Fire Administration.

Fire Prevention

-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.

-Purchase flame retardant metallic or artificial trees. If you purchase a real tree, make sure that it has fresh, green needles that aren't easily broken. Keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water. 

-Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations 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 home 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 on fire-pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains-away from your stove top.

Designate one person to walk around your home to make sure that all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.

-Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.

-Visit www.redcross.org/homefires for more information on how to keep your home fire safe during the holidays.

In the unfortunate event of a Fire and or Water Damage SERVPRO of Oldham Shelby is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Holiday Home Fires

9/30/2016 (Permalink)

The following facts are provided by The American Red Cross and the U.S Fire Administration.

Nearly 47,000 fires occur during the winter holidays claiming more than 500 lives, causing more than 2,200 injuries, and costing $554 million in property damage. 

On average, one of every 22 home fires started by Christmas trees result in death.

Candle fires are four times as likely to occur during the winter holidays.

During the winter holiday season, an average of 40 home fires per day are caused by children playing.

The number of home fires the American Red Cross has responded to has risen 10% since 2000.

Having a working smoke alarm reduces one's chances of dying in a fire by nearly half. 

Electrical Wiring Safety for Your Home

8/19/2016 (Permalink)

If you've never inspected your home's electrical wiring now is the time. Over 25,000 electrical fires are reported annually in the United States, resulting in death or injury to more than 1,300 people, according to the U.S Fire Administration (https.usfa.fema.gov/). Home electrical fires result in greater dollar loss per fire than nonelectrical fires. Even more startling: almost all those fires could have been prevented by taking a few simple steps, including:

Electrical Inspection-

If you have an older home hire a highly rated electrician to inspect wiring. Electrical wiring is not meant to last forever, so if your home is a century old, it's overdue to be reviewed. This is especially true if your home has aluminum wiring, which is more fire prone than copper wiring. According to the Copper Development Association, all modern homes should have 12 American Wire Gauge (AWG) solid copper wiring installed to meet the demands of today's appliances. If your home has the thinner 14-AWG, hire reputable appropriately trained and licensed electrician to inspect and make recommendations. 

Electrical plug and electrical cord damage-

Faulty wiring is one of the main causes of electrical fires. If you find anything that's frayed, tattered or worn out, replace it with new wiring. Cords in poor condition can overheat or cause sparks and start a fire. For appliances, you can usually buy replacement cords.

Overburdened electrical outlet-

Overloading is a common cause or electrical fires. This happens when you plug too many appliances into the same outlet, extension cord or power strip.

The U.S. Fire Administration recommends buying power strips equipped with internal overload protection. This feature ensues that a strip shuts off as soon as it becomes overloaded. 

Keep flammable materials away-

Portable electric space heaters are especially dangerous, but don't overlook irons, hair dryers or irons, and even lamps. Any electrical appliance can start a fire if it makes contact with flammable materials, including blankets, towels and rugs. Don't hide cables especially extension cords, under rugs or carpets. If overheated, they can easily start a fire.

Electrical short and electrical wiring problems

Unless it's something as simple as replacing a cord, fixing shorts and faulty wiring requires the expertise of an electrician. Signs of faulty wiring include flickering lamps, plugs that spark when you plug something in breakers that constantly trip, and "buzzing" outlets. All these can quickly cause a fire. 

Be sure to replace or eliminate any wire, connection, extension cord or fuse box that feels warm; warmth in these usually indicates a faulty or unsafe wiring connection It can also mean that too much current is running through the circuits, which could cause an overload and result in fire. 

In the event of an electrical Fire our franchise professionals here SERVPRO of Oldham/Shelby are dedicated to responding immediately when you need help. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces cost. Our Fire Damage Restoration Process includes Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment, immediate board up and roof tarping if necessary. If in fact there is water damage from the fire we will extract and dry. Removal of Smoke and soot from all surfaces, cleaning and repair if needed. And finally restoration of your home or business.  

Steps to Follow After a House Fire

7/7/2016 (Permalink)

1. Call your insurance agent immediately. You will be getting calls at all hours of the day from public adjusters and contractors who will try to offer you a deal on putting your house back together. These calls can create a lot of stress and confusion. I suggest you speak to no one but your agent to discuss your options at this point in the process.

2. Contact your local SERVPRO Immediately after a fire, especially if it is a minor one, you’ll need to clean up any soot or water damage. SERVPRO professionals can also arrange restoration with contractors on hand.

3. Separate damaged property from undamaged property. The insurance company will need a detailed inventory list from you after they inspect the loss. Separating your damaged property from your undamaged property will make it easier for you to make a list of your damaged items. This list needs to include the date you purchased each item, the brand name, the price you paid, and the serial number, model, or description of each item. If the item was a gift, be sure to indicate that as well.

It’s a good idea to submit your receipts with this inventory list. If the receipts were destroyed in the fire, or you didn’t keep any receipts, request copies of prior bank statements. This can make obtaining duplicate receipts easier. Keep in mind that photos of any damaged items are always helpful if receipts are not available.

4. Save undamaged property from further destruction. Any items that are not damaged should be put in a safe place, even if it means putting them in storage. Insurance adjusters are typically fair when it comes to adding additional costs for storage.

5. Cooperate fully with the insurance company’s investigation. When a fire claim is reported to an insurance company, it is given top priority. Usually the adjusters come out to see the loss within 24 to 48 hours. To help settle your claim in a timely manner and to your satisfaction, be sure you are available and on time for all meetings, that you return calls promptly, that any requested paperwork is completed as quickly as possible, and that you contact the company or your agent immediately with any questions.

6. Find somewhere to stay if you can’t live in your home. Most homeowner’s policies include “Loss of Use or Loss of Rents” coverage, which will pay for the food, clothing, and shelter that you and your family may need for a specified period of time. Keep in mind that your policy will pay for “like kind and quality” living arrangements. You may want to save the Ritz for a special occasion and instead stay in a more reasonably priced hotel.

Fire Prevention

7/7/2016 (Permalink)

Keeping your workplace clean and uncluttered is vital for fire prevention whether you work in an office cubicle or a large and sophisticated laboratory. A small investment in good housekeeping measures can save lives and protect vital university resources. Use cleaning solutions that don’t contain flammable ingredients. Consult with your EH&S group if you are unsure about the safety of your cleaning materials. Don’t store rags or other objects containing flammable materials in labs and work shop areas. Dispose of them safely as soon as you are through using them. Don’t use your workplace as a storage area. Store papers, packing materials, supplies, equipment, etc. in designated storage areas or dispose of them if they are not needed. Large amounts of storage can contribute to starting a fire, hide fire hazards, and impede evacuation during an emergency. Keep your floors and work surfaces clean and clear of clutter. Be sure to clean behind file cabinets, furniture and large equipment where dust and other fire fuel can collect. Keep the area under your desk or bench space clear. Not only does accumulated clutter present a fire danger, a crowded space cannot serve as a shelter area in the event of earthquake. 

Fire, Smoke and Soot Cleanup and Restoration

6/13/2016 (Permalink)

Pretesting helps SERVPRO Franchise Professionals determine what type of fire has taken place. Knowing the types of smoke and their behavior patterns are vital to proper restoration.

Smoke Alarm Safety

2/1/2016 (Permalink)

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, including the basement.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed away from the kitchen to prevent false alarms. Generally they should be at least 10 feet away from a cooking appliance.
  • Test Smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
  • Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm "chirps," the battery is low and should be replaced right away.
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.

Fire Safety

1/28/2016 (Permalink)

Smoke alarms work best when paired with a fire escape plan.

A plan allows your family, employees or clients to escape 

quickly and safely in an emergency situation. It is truly 

important that every family member knows the plan in place.

A good way to ensure that everyone can follow the escape 

routes is to practice on a monthly basis.

Smoke Alarms

1/27/2016 (Permalink)

Smoke alarms play a vital role in saving lives, and when

properly installed, can reduce the risk of fire injury in

half.

The National Fire Protection Association recommends smoke

alarms be installed in every bedroom, outside all sleeping

quarters and on every level of the house. Business owners

should consult the local Fire Marshall to ensure specific building

fire codes and smoke detector requirements are met.

SERVPRO's Timely Response

1/25/2016 (Permalink)

Your local SERVPRO Franchise Profesionals understand how disruptive fires can be for business owners, their tenants and even their customers. That is why SERVPRO Franchise Professionals offer 24-hour emergency response. SERVPRO's Service Response Guidellines can help prevent fire damage from creating long-term damage. Under normal circumstances, a SERVPRO Franchise Professional will be on-site of a fire damage within four hours to begin emergency mitigation services.

The rapid response and the training of your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals will help limit damage and get your facility back in operation quickly and help make it, "Like it never even happened."

Fire Safety Tips

12/30/2015 (Permalink)

  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer's instructions.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly.

Eliminate Heating Hazards

12/28/2015 (Permalink)

Heating is the second leading cause of residential fire deaths, making it important to reveiw ways to help reduce the risk of a heating-related fire.

  • Keep anything flammable at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or a portable space heater. Have a three foot "kid-free zone" around open fires and space heaters.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.

Avoid Holiday Hazards

12/14/2015 (Permalink)

Safety Tips provided by The National Fire Protection Association:

1.) Make sure you have the correct type of lights for your desired decor. Some lights are designed for only indoor or outdoor use, but not both.

2.) Carefully inspect light strands before placing them. Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of light sets.

3.) Remember to turn off outside decorative lights and Christmas tree lights before leaving or going to bed.

4.) Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.

Fire Safety Tips

11/27/2015 (Permalink)

Candles, pretty lights and decorations are just a few of the items that add to the charm and cheer of the holiday season-however, if they are not used carefully your holidays may go from festive to frightening very quickly.

National Fire Protection Association Tips:

1) Two our of five home decoration fires are started by candles. Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that burns.

2) Use sturdy candle holders that are not likely to tip over and place candles on clear, uncluttered surfaces. Consider using flameless candles instead of real candles.

3) Make sure your tree decorations are at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, candles or heat vents.