Archived Fire Damage Blog Posts
When to Clean Dryer Vents
Cleaning the lint tray helps to avoid a dryer fire.
Several Areas That Need Special Attention In A Dryer
Dryers that are not properly maintained can cause a lint fire that results in fire damage. Different areas of a dryer can get clogged and keep it from properly venting hot air. Regular cleaning reduces the likelihood of a fire occurring. Many people are unaware that dryers need to be cleaned, which leads to around 3,000 fires each year. If this happens, a fire restoration company is needed to return the residence to its previous condition. Fortunately, by maintaining your dryer, you can decrease its drying time, increase its longevity, and reduce the risk of a fire. Here are several areas that need special attention.
1. Lint Tray
Cleaning the lint tray helps to avoid a dryer fire. These trays should be cleaned after each and every load of clothes. Letting the lint build up makes your dryer less efficient and increases the risk of fire. In addition, a lint brush should be used on the lint tray once every 6 months.
2. Dryer Hose
The hose that connects from the back of the dryer to the attachment that vents the air outside of the home can become clogged with lint or other materials. A lint fire can begin within the dryer hose. To keep this from happening, the inside of the hose should be cleaned every 3 months.
3. Exterior Vent
Make sure you have a flap installed on the outside of your house that sits flat against the exterior of the wall when the dryer is not in use. When the dryer is in use, this flap should open, allowing the hot air to properly escape. Check this area often to make sure it is free from debris and bird's nests.
Keeping your dryer in Tukwila, WA properly maintained will greatly reduce your risk of a lint fire. If you end up with a dryer that starts a house fire, you will need the help of a professional restoration service that can restore your home to its pre-fire condition.
3 Things You Should Know About Smoke Alarms
Having a smoke alarm in your house will help alert when a fire starts
Take the Following Precautions to Prevent a Fire in Your Home
It is important to take precautions to prevent a fire in your Seahurst,WA, home. It is also important to be prepared in case of an emergency. Having a working smoke alarm in your house will help alert you when a fire starts so that you can prevent it from spreading or, if necessary, leave the building. The following are a few questions about these devices that you should know the answers to.
1. How Many Alarms Should You Have?
Having one smoke detector in your house will likely not be enough. The number of alarms that you need will vary depending on how large your home is. You should have at least one on each floor of the building, including basements and attics. The kitchen is a common area for alarm placement as many fires start in this room. You also need to place one outside each sleeping area as well as inside each bedroom.
2. How Often Should You Change the Batteries?
How often you need to change the batteries will depend on the type of detector you own. Traditionally, a smoke alarm has often used a nine-volt battery. These will need to be changed at least once a year. Lithium batteries in newer alarms will last the life of the device and will not need to be replaced. If your alarm is hooked up to your electrical system, you should treat it as a traditional unit and change the battery annually.
3. When Should Alarms Be Replaced?
A smoke alarm will usually last for ten years before you need a replacement. However, this can vary depending on the model, so always check the manual for more information. Be sure to test it at least once a month to ensure that it is still working properly.
While a detector can help you stay safe during a fire, it cannot always prevent an emergency. If you have experienced fire damage to your home, call a fire restoration company to perform cleanup and repairs.
Treating Burns in the Workplace
It's important to have a first aid kid in the workplace to treat minor and major burns.
As an employer, the safety of your employees is a high priority, but no matter what type of business you run, accidents happen. While you may already have business insurance for fire damage, you also need to think about your workers. Every year, hundreds of people are taken to emergency rooms in Seattle, WA, and around the United States for treatment of burns. According to the American Burn Association, between 2005 and 2014, 8% of those were occupational. In order to minimize burn injuries on the job and maximize the health and safety of your employees, you may want to implement safety procedures and train your workers in the basics of first aid for burns. The following are treatments to use in the case of minor and major burns.
Treatments for Minor and Major Burns in the Workplace
Minor burns can result in redness, pain and blisters and are usually considered first-degree or second-degree injuries. First aid for minor burns includes the following:
• Place the area of the burn under cool, running water.
• If there is blistering, DO NOT break the blister. If the blister breaks on its own, wash the area gently and apply an antibiotic ointment.
• Apply aloe vera or a moisturizing lotion on the wound for relief.
• If needed, bandage the area loosely with sterile gauze.
While fire damage to your business can take some time to assess, major burns to flesh are serious and require quick emergency care. This type of injury is usually categorized as third-degree or fourth-degree trauma. The burned area will be deep and could be blackened and charred. Dial 911 immediately and give the following burn first aid:
• Make sure any evidence of fire on the person is put out.
• Remove clothing around the area of the burn. DO NOT pull clothing off if it is stuck to the injury.
• Cover the burn lightly with gauze or a clean cloth.
• Watch the individual for signs of shock.
Your personnel and their work environment are of great importance to you. Contact a biohazard cleanup and restoration specialist to help not only with fire damage but also chemical and electrical accidents.
Common Causes of Home Fires
Keep space heaters away from flammable items.
Frequent Causes of Residential Fires
A home fire can devastate a family, and a multitude of residential fires in Mercer Island,WA, share common causes. It’s often helpful for homeowners to learn about frequent causes of residential fires
1. Misuse of Cooking Equipment
Grease fires and other fires that begin in a home’s kitchen can result in damage throughout a home. It’s often helpful to know how to properly handle any type of cooking equipment before you begin to cook. Additionally, it’s useful to know what methods should be used to extinguish different types of fires in the kitchen. When homeowners put water on a grease fire or use other improper extinguishing methods, the fire can actually spread more rapidly and cause more damage.
2. Faulty or Mishandled Heaters
During the winter, space heaters are commonly used to keep homes warm. However, space heater fires are incredibly common. As a result, extensive fire cleaning by fire damage restoration experts is often necessary. In order to prevent a space heater from causing a home fire, it’s often wise to keep space heaters away from flammable items, and if you suspect your heater is no longer working well, it’s generally best to replace it rather than risk the chance of a fire.
3. Misused Electrical Equipment
Electrical items often cause fires in homes. A fire is more likely to spark if electrical items have frayed wires. Additionally, plugging in several power strips simultaneously and plugging in an item in each slot makes a fire more likely to occur. Though these types of fires cannot always be prevented, it can be useful to unplug items that aren’t needed prior to going to sleep. Replacing items with frayed wires can also help to reduce the chance of a fire starting in your home.
Knowing common causes of residential fires can help you take steps to prevent a home fire. Misusing cooking equipment, old or mishandled heaters and misused electrical equipment are all common fire causes.
Reasons To Secure Your Damaged Property
To prevent further issues, it is smart to make sure your property is secure by blocking holes in the structure.
Fires typically cause extensive damage to the structures where they occur. Not only does a fire in your commercial property in Seattle, WA, often render the building unsafe, it can also leave it vulnerable to further problems. Once firefighters and other emergency personnel have cleared the scene, your building once again becomes your responsibility. To prevent further issues, it is smart to make sure your property is secure by installing a security fence and blocking holes in the structure.
Protection From Other People
There are several things that may occur in your unsecured building after a fire:
• Unauthorized occupation
While you might like to believe that no one would take advantage of a property owner who has clearly already had his or her share of bad luck, the fact is that others may see your damaged property as an opportunity for their own gain.
Securing your Building after a Fire
Additional security measures are often necessary to prevent further issues.
A security fence is barrier against further damage. It can help ensure that no one can get into your building when it is vulnerable and help protect what is left until repairs can be finished.
Additional security measures are often necessary to prevent further issues. After a fire, your building probably has extensive soot and water damage that may need to be mitigated by professional remediation specialists. To prevent extra damage from rain or debris, it can be necessary to place boards or shutters on any broken windows or significant holes in the outside surface of your structure. Guard against additional problems by protecting your building from the outside elements.
Coverage From Insurance Company
If you neglect to protect your building from other people or further damage, it is unlikely that your insurance company will cover the cost of those additional repairs. Depending on the extent of the secondary damage, you could face significant out-of-pocket expenses. Following suggested security protocols can save you money.
A commercial building fire loss can be significant enough by itself, but the problem can get even bigger without protections such as shutters or a temporary security fence. Save yourself extra time and costs by guarding your property against intruders and inclement weather.
When Fire Strikes
A few years back, a couple of college students were attempting to make pasta for a quick and easy dinner before a long night of studying. They put the boiling water on the stove but quickly realized they would need to go to the store for pasta sauce, garlic bread, and Parmesan cheese - the essentials for any pasta dinner. Without even thinking, the pair left their apartment and headed across the small college town to get to the store. What did they forget to do? Turn off the stove before leaving. By the time they got back merely twenty minutes later, their kitchen was in flames and the fire department was already on scene. After the two were cleared to enter, they found their kitchen was in black, smoky shambles, and the rest of their apartment had a gray residue staining the walls and ceiling.
Unfortunately, fire damage is much more common than most would hope. Simple tasks like remembering to turn off the stove or blow out a candle can be quickly forgotten in the haste to get somewhere. In the case of those two college students, they were relatively lucky. A few years ago in Pullman, WA, a similar instance happened; however, that couple wasn’t so lucky. The fire caught two other apartment buildings, and ended up destroying three in total.
What to do when Fire strikes.
Now, how does one come back from something like this? Smoke residue can be a pain to get off walls and ceilings. Smoke will seep into the smallest cracks in dressers, closets, and shelves so that even when everything is clean and back to normal, clothes, shoes, and furniture will still smell of smoke.
The easiest way to take care of this is to call SERVPRO of South & West Seattle to handle all of the cleaning - from walls to teddy bears. Not only do we have a large team of trained technicians who can come out and clean the walls and ceilings, but we will also pack up any belongings and bring them back to our facility to be cleaned and deodorized; leaving you with nothing but peace of mind that your items will be taken care of by our skilled employees.
There are also very simple things homeowners can to do help prevent smoke and fire damage. These may seem like no-brainers, but even the smallest slip of the mind can have devastating consequences:
- Never burn candles on shelving or near a window.
- The heat from the candle can catch the shelving on fire, and the air from outside could possibly fuel the small flame.
- Make sure you have everything you need BEFORE you start cooking.
- One of the most common ways to start a kitchen fire is from forgetting to turn off the oven or stove top.
- Have windows open and a fan running when cooking
- This will decrease the chances of a grease fire happening.
Now, what happens if a fire does start? If it’s small enough, there are a few ways to keep it from spreading:
- Coil stove-top: if a small fire (a flame no bigger than your pinky nail) happens, turn off the stove and pour salt over the fire. NEVER use water. This could cause a bigger electrical fire.
- Grease fire: Smother the pan with a lid and immediately put the pan in the oven. DO NOT turn on the hood fan, as that will draw the flames to a condensed area and could cause a larger fire.
- Fire in the oven: the best way to put this out is with a fire extinguisher.
- Note: Avoid any grease build-up in your oven by regularly cleaning
If a fire starts in your home and cannot be controlled by smothering, leave the house immediately and call 9-1-1. Smoke inhalation is just as dangerous as a fire itself, so do not linger if the fire is out of control.
Once the fire is out and the damage has been assessed, call SERVPRO of South & West Seattle at 425-225-2227 to schedule a cost-free estimate and start getting your life back to normal.
Three Types of Smoke Alarms and How to Maintain Them
Alarm with replaceable battery
How Alarms are Powered and How to Maintain Each Type
Fire alarms are important safety tools for your Seahurst,WA home. They can warn you when a fire starts and, in some cases, allow you to prevent significant fire damage. Not all alarms are made the same way, so it is important that you know how your alarms are powered and how to maintain each type.
1. Alarms That Use Replaceable Batteries
When you think of a smoke alarm, you will likely think of this kind first. These alarms use a nine-volt battery that needs to be replaced at least once a year. The alarm will start beeping as a reminder when the battery starts to run low. When this happens, you should replace the battery right away to ensure that the alarm continues to work properly.
2. Alarms That Use Non-Replaceable Batteries
If you have a newer smoke detector in your home, then it might use a non-replaceable lithium battery instead. These batteries will last for up to ten years and you should not try to replace them. Instead, you will need to replace the entire alarm when it is time. The manual that comes with your alarm should have instructions on how to determine when you need to purchase a replacement.
3. Alarms That Use Electricity
Some alarms are connected to your home’s electrical system and do not require a battery to function. However, even if your smoke alarm is hooked up to the electricity, it should always have a backup battery in case of a power outage. You should replace this battery once a year, the same way you would with a battery-powered alarm. All types of alarms need to be tested monthly and should be completely replaced at least once every ten years.
No matter what type of smoke alarm you have in your home, you should be sure to maintain it properly by replacing the batteries or the alarms themselves when necessary. Fire damage restoration services are available in case of damage to your home, but keeping your alarms working can save your life.
How Do House Fires Typically Start?
Plugging in too many cords in one outlet can cause fire damage
It’s a nightmare scenario that no homeowner wants to think about: a house fire causing major damage or harm. The effects of a home fire can be devastating and even deadly. Fortunately, there are ways you can help prevent these awful situations in your Mercer Island,WA, house. When you understand some of the leading residential fire causes, you can take appropriate measures to keep you and your family safe.
You rely on electricity in your house every day of your life. It powers your appliances, your computers and forms of entertainment. It’s hard to imagine living without this convenience. However, electrical issues can also start fires. Here are some typical ways this occurs:
- Plugging in too many cords in one outlet
- Faulty wiring or faulty fuse boxes
- Old, outdated appliances
- Overheated space heaters
If you smoke, take great care to dispose of cigarettes or cigars properly. Better yet, smoke outdoors away from your home and away from brush. Cigarette butts and ash can easily fall onto carpet, furniture, paper and other items. Once a home fire starts, it can spread quickly. If you choose to smoke indoors, use an ashtray and never leave a lit cigarette unattended.
Many fires begin in the kitchen over a hot stove or in an oven. Not only can these issues lead to expensive fire cleaning, but they can cause extensive damage. Often, people will let pans get too hot or may even leave a stove or oven on. Keep a close eye on cookware when you’re baking or cooking, especially if grease is involved.
People love scented and other types of candles for the ambiance they can create. Regrettably, they’re also culprits for fires at home. If you light candles, keep them away from flammable materials.
Any of these problems could arise in your house and cause a home fire. While a restoration team can help clean up the damage, it’s better to know the causes of fires and avoid them altogether.
Creating an Office Fire Escape Strategy: 3 Factors To Consider
Create a fire escape plan for your Seahurst,WA business
Creating a Fire Escape Plan
Imagining the possibility of a fire breaking out at your Seahurst,WA, business is not very pleasant. However, preparing for such an emergency can reduce the risk of injury to your employees and customers, and one way to do so is to create a fire escape plan. Before you draw up your map, there are a few factors to consider that can make it more efficient and reduce the time it takes for everyone to evacuate the building.
1. What Are the Fire Risk Factors?
Understanding your office building’s fire risks can help you create a viable escape plan. For example, if your company occupies one floor and there are others either above or below you, consider where a fire might be most likely to start. Restaurants and manufacturing businesses both carry a considerable fire risk, so it is a good idea to keep the environment in mind when creating your evacuation plan.
2. How Many Exits Are There?
During a fire, the route to the main exit may be blocked by smoke or flames. To ensure everyone can leave the building by an alternate route, note all the available exits when you draw up an emergency escape plan and detail how they can be reached during a fire. Have smoke and fire damage cleanup service technicians tour the building with you and ask whether there are enough exits to accommodate the building’s maximum occupancy.
3. What Kind of Protocol Can Be Used?
When you create a fire escape plan, consider how to put it into action if a blaze should break out. For instance, if you have employees on different floors, then invest in fire protocol training across the board to ensure all employees knows how to react if the fire alarm goes off and that they know how to reach the nearest exit.
Remember to give yourself plenty of time to creating a viable fire escape plan for your Seahurst,WA, business. Careful planning can reduce chaos and panic during such an emergency.
The 3 Best Candle Alternatives
Candles can cause a large number of fire to your Harbor Island,WA home
Candles cause a large number of house fires. Children or pets can accidentally overturn a candle and ignite nearby combustible materials. These fires also frequently start when open flames are left unattended in a bedroom after the person who lit the candle falls asleep. Here are three flameless candle alternatives that you should consider to produce similar mood lighting effects or scents.
1. Electric Candles
Battery-operated candles are perfect for safer use for decorative purposes or as nightlights in the bedroom. These candles may be designed to flicker or disperse a scent. You can find an electric alternative for most colors, styles, and fragrances of candles, whether you desire a pillar, taper, or tea light look. You can place electric candles almost anywhere without worrying about starting a fire.
2. Christmas or Fairy Lights
Strings of lights are a safe way to add a magical touch indoors or outdoors with a lower fire risk. Use these candle alternatives to create a low-light look when decorating a room or for a holiday. You can select single- or multi-colored strings of lights and choose from standard bulbs or models with ultra-efficient LED bulbs. It is affordable to replace individual bulbs or an entire strand.
3. Candle Warmers
If you have standard scented candles that you would like to enjoy more safely, try pairing them with a candle warmer. These devices are available as low-profile bases or lamp-style designs. You can also spread a scent using oil or wax warmers or reed diffusers for a different look.
These candle alternatives allow you to create lighting looks you love or enjoy the scent of standard wax candles. All of these options also significantly reduce the risk of starting a candle fire. If a fire does break out at your home in Harbor Island,WA, schedule a consultation with a residential fire and smoke restoration service.