Recent Fire Damage Posts
4 Tips to Prevent Fire Damage During the Cold Weather Season
Did you know there are more fires during the Winter months than any other time of the year? During the cold weather season, it makes sense that people are looking for extra ways to keep warm. Unfortunately, many alternative heating methods can also be fire hazards, especially when they’re not approached with care.
If you want to protect your home and/or business from fire damage during this cold weather season, here are 4 tips to keep in mind:
Know the Dangers of Fireplaces and Wood Burning Stoves
Sitting in front of a fire on a cold winter’s night may sound cozy – unfortunately, a large percentage of fires start with issues to a chimney or fireplace.
- Shield the fireplace with a grate to prevent flying sparks from igniting in the room.
- Keep any flammable materials at least 4 feet away from the fire place.
- Perform regular maintenance and cleaning on your fireplace and/or wood burning stove.
- Make sure there are no cracks in your chimney and that the top is properly capped to keep out debris throughout the year.
Know the Dangers of Space Heaters
Space heaters are wonderful for keeping us extra warm on cold days. But this extra heating equipment is also a major cause of winter house fires.
- Use only space heaters with a “tip switch,” ones that shut off automatically if tipped over.
- Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions.
- Keep the space heater at least 3 feet away from anything flammable.
- Make sure there is adequate ventilation and base/floor support in the areas where you will use a space heater.
Know the Dangers of Electric Blankets
On a cold night, it’s comforting to curl up in a warm bed. However, if you want to use an electric blanket, make sure to be cautious – these can quickly catch fire if the blanket material is ignited by an overheated electrical element within the blanket.
- Check for charred or frayed cords or any dark spots, these may indicate a potential problem with the electrical element.
- Don’t allow anyone or anything on top of the blanket when it is in use, this could lead to overheating.
- Similarly, don’t fold or tuck in the blanket when it is in use, as this could also lead to overheating.
- An electric blanket should never be left unattended or used while one is sleeping.
Make Sure Your Smoke Alarms are Working
If a fire accident should happen, you want to make sure your smoke alarms are in working order, so that you can address the issue immediately.
It’s generally a good idea to regularly check the alarms each year (many people remember to check the alarms on the days when daylight savings time changes). However, it’s also wise to double-check the alarms before you start a fire or use a heating element, just in case.
These tips can help make sure you, your property, and your family all stay safe during the cold weather season when we’re all trying to stay warm. If, however, you do experience a fire accident, know that SERVPRO of Eatontown / Long Branch is here to help. We pride ourselves on being “faster to any disaster,” no matter the size. And we can help you get back to normal ASAP!
Halloween Fires Can be Scary so Be Prepared
Halloween is almost here. It is a time of fun and festivities for children and adults alike, including decorating the house, dressing up in costumes, going out trick-or-treating, and attending spook-filled parties. But don’t forget about Halloween fire prevention!
Unfortunately, many of the favorite activities associated with Halloween can also be serious fire hazards, especially if precautions aren’t taken. According to the National Fire Protection Association, Halloween fires are responsible for $13 million in property damage every year, in addition to risks of injury and death.
In order to make sure you and your family stay safe, make sure to follow these Halloween fire prevention tips:
Consider Costume Length and Materials.
Dressing up can be one of the most fun activities associated with Halloween. Unfortunately, some costume can be fire hazards.
Look for costumes that are made of flame-retardant materials.
Avoid long-trailing costumes or outfits that are oversized and bulky.
Pay Attention to Decoration Locations.
Jack-o-lanterns and other candlelit decorations are always popular on Halloween. However, if you use real candles for these decorations, it is important to keep them in a safe location. Make sure they remain at least three feet away from people and things that could accidentally ignite.
Similarly, corn stalks, hay bales, and paper decorations need to remain at least three feet away from any heat source or flame. Flammable decorations that are too close to a light bulb or heater may start a fire.
Make sure no Halloween decorations are blocking your exits. If you need to escape quickly, you will want all paths out the house to be clear and easily accessible.
Choose an Alternative Light Source.
One of the best ways to keep safe on Halloween is to use battery operated lights or glow sticks instead of open flames.
If you and your family are going out trick-or-treating, be sure to carry a flashlight. Make sure it is bright enough so that you can see any potential fire hazards and so that others can see you and the full extent of your costumes.
Practice “Stop, Drop, and Roll”.
Advise young children to keep far enough away from any decorations that may have candles. And make sure they know to “stop, drop, and roll” if their costumes should catch on fire.
Check Your Fire Alarms.
October is Fire Prevention Month, so make sure to double check that your fire alarms are working properly, just in case.
Fire Damage? Why You Should Call Restoration Experts ASAP
If you’ve just suffered fire damage to your home, the aftermath can feel overwhelming. You may feel tempted to hole yourself up some place far away and safe, putting off the stress of dealing with the whole restoration process.
While this reaction is understandable, you should know that if fire restoration gets postponed, the extent of the destruction and damage to your home can grow even worse than it already is. The longer you wait, the more repairs you will probably need – and the more money it will undoubtedly cost you in the long run.
However, if you make restoration a priority, you can probably avoid many long-term issues and expensive repairs.
Here are some steps you can take to get your home -- and your life -- back to normal as quickly as possible:
Contact Fire Damage Restoration Experts ASAP
In order to reduce the risk of increasing damage to your home, it is essential to bring in help from licensed fire damage restoration professionals. Everyone’s situation is different, but here are some of the steps they are likely to help you with, making your safety and the protection of your valuables their number one priority:
- Salvaging as many of your personal belongings as possible, making sure they will be safe for future use (this includes furniture, appliances, other electronics, etc.)
- Documenting everything temporarily removed from the premises, either through written records or photographs.
- Performing any needed restoration services from the fire (here in NJ near to the shore, fire damage is also often accompanied by water damage – which the professional can also help you address).
- Returning and re-installing the belongings that were saved.
- Working as quickly and carefully as possible to get you and your family back living in your home, keeping in contact to make sure you aren’t experiencing any continuing issues.
Be on the Lookout for Prolonged Smoke Damage
Fire damage can be tricky to assess, because while some signs of damage are obvious (wall discolorations and smoke stains on surfaces), there are some instances of prolonged smoke damage that stay hidden and can go unnoticed, until they start causing problems.
For example, it is common for ash and soot to become trapped in vents or in the spaces between your walls. You fire damage restoration experts should make sure to check your HVAC system, attic, basement, and exterior walls to ensure that all contaminants are removed and cleaned. They should also keep in touch after the cleaning is done, to ensure there are no lingering issues.
Preventing Grill Fires
Summer is the time for lazy days, warm nights, fireflies and barbecues. Many families use their grill daily during the summer so they don’t heat the house and because clean-up is easy.
However, it’s always important to remember to use the grill safely to avoid injury or fire. Before lighting up, remember the following safety points.
According to the National Fire Protection Association:
- Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
- The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
- Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
- Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
- Never leave your grill unattended..
Make safety checks with your propane tank & lines before you use your grill. Learn how to check your propane tank with this video from NFPA.org.
There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use.
- Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
- If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
- Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
- There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
- When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.
Remember that a fun summer also means a safe summer, and if you need SERVPRO of Eatontown/Long Branch for any fire or smoke damage, we are a phone call away 24/7.
Fire leave smoke and soot damage throughout the home.
Smoke damage from a fire, no matter how large or small, can be devastating. Oftentimes smoke damage can be long lasting, which is why it is so important to take care of it immediately.
Behavior of Smoke
A fire loss can be very complex because of the unique behavior of smoke. SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals undergo extensive fire restoration training and certification, and understand the behavior of smoke.
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas.
- Smoke migrates to upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, using holes around pipes to go from floor to floor.
This enables us to take care of smoke throughout the entire home or office.
- Knowing how smoke penetrates and lingers is only one part of being able to mitigate smoke damage. Knowing what types of smoke will greatly affect the restoration process as well. Upon arriving at a fire scene, SERVPRO of Eatontown/Long Branch will test the smoke to see what type of fire has taken place.
Types of Smoke
- Wet smoke- Plastics and Synthetics
- Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
- Dry smoke- Paper and Wood
- Fast burning, high temperatures, dry. Powdery, non-smeary residues. Heat rises therefore the smoke rises.
- Protein Fire Residue- Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire.
- Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
- Fuel Oil Soot- Furnace Puff Backs
- While “puff backs” can create havoc for property owners, SERVPRO® Franchise Professionals can, in most cases, restore the contents and structure quickly.
Other smoke related services we offer are:
- Smoke and soot residues and deposits can cause permanent damage to contents and may result in periodically resurfacing odors if not properly deodorized.
- All restorable contents in affected areas will be professionally cleaned and deodorized to preloss condition when possible. This includes area rugs, furniture, draperies, upholstery, electronics, clothing, photos, kitchen items, bedding and much more.
- SERVPRO® Franchises provide specialized services
that rid structures of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. We do not merely cover up lingering odors with a fragrance, we seek out the sources of the odor and remove them.
- Proper deodorization is vital as odors may appear to be gone, only to reappear months later under different conditions, including when humidity levels rise.
It is important to understand why calling us in the event of a fire, no matter how large or small. The professionals at SERVPRO Eatontown/Long Branch will help get you back to your lives and jobs as soon as possible, making it “Like it never even happened.”
Fire Dangers After a Flood
Electrical appliances such as this treadmill are in danger of catching fire after being submerged in flood water.
Fire is probably not the first thing you think of as the result of flooding, however it is a real concern and something every homeowner should be aware of.
It is well known that water and electricity DO NOT mix. It is important to remember that any electrical device that has been submerged in water could potentially be dangerous, as the wires may become compromised or corroded.
According to the Colorado Inspection Services, the rule of thumb for electrical devices that have been submerged is REPLACE them. The fire hazard from soaked electrical devices is not worth trying to save them.
As stated in their web site, outlets, switches and breaker boxes are the obvious electric devices that need replacement. Appliances, heaters, furnaces, AC units and anything else that contains electric motors, switches or wiring are included.
Flood waters may also contain mud and many toxic substances such as fuels, solvents, cleaning chemicals, industrial chemicals, sewage, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and other toxic compounds, that can deposit in these devices causing overheating and/or mechanical failure.
Winter is the Biggest Season for Home Fires
Home fires occur in winter more than any other season.
Did you know that, the threat of a home catching on fire is the greatest during the winter months? Half of ALL heating home fires occur during the months of December, January and February. One in Seven home fires is a result of malfunctioning or misused heating equipment.
There are several tips to keep your home safe while keeping warm during the winter.
- Have your fireplace, heating vents and dryer vents inspected and cleaned by a professional every year.
- If you use your fireplace, make sure you clean after every use. Dispose of ashes correctly by placing them in a metal can at least ten feet from the house.
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet from any heat source like fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators, or space heaters
- Plug only one heat-producing appliance (such as a space heater) into an electrical outlet at a time.
- If portable generators are needed, keep them outside, away from windows and as far away as possible from your home. Make sure someone is home to supervise.
- Install and test carbon monoxide alarms at least once a month.
These are simple but effective steps to take to safeguard your home against fire. But should you ever need us, SERVPRO of Eatontown/Long Branch can clean fire, smoke and soot damage and make it “Like it never even happened.”
Christmas Tree Safety
Christmas trees are a wonderful holiday decoration, but it is important to remember to keep them at least 3 ft away from any heat source.
Christmas trees are an integral part of decorating for the holidays. They are beautiful to look at, have that wonderful aroma that permeates the house, and lend a festive atmosphere in the home. But if not properly taken care of and set up correctly, they could pose a dangerous fire hazard.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, the statistics are alarming:
- From 2011-2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 200 home1structure fires per year that began with Christmas trees.
- Christmas tree fires caused an annual average of $14.8 million in direct property damage.
- Four of every five Christmas tree fires occurred in December or January.
- In one-quarter (26%) of the Christmas tree fires, some type of heat source, such as a candle or equipment, was too close to the tree.
With proper planning and common sense, Christmas tree fires can easily be avoided. Here are some tips to remember when bringing home fresh cut trees:
- When choosing a tree, look for one that is fresh and with needles that don’t fall off easily.
- Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2" from the base of the trunk.
- Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
- Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
- Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.
It is important to remember that your holiday lights need to be used safely as well. The lights you use to decorate your tree or your house need to be in good shape:
- Make sure there are no frayed ends or wires showing.
- Make sure the lights are specifically meant for either indoor or outdoor use.
- Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer's instructions for number of light strands to connect.
- Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
- Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
We at SERVPRO of Eatontown/Long Branch hope all our friends, family and customers have a very happy, healthy and SAFE holiday season!
Holiday Safety Tips
Lit candles are beautiful, but be careful about where you place them. Keep them away from flammable materials and out of reach of children and pets.
It’s that time of year - the holiday season- when most people are busy getting their homes ready for large family dinners, guests and celebrations.
With all that goes behind getting your house in perfect holiday order, it’s easy to get distracted and forget about safety.
Here are some tips to remember while you decorate and cook that perfect holiday meal!
Cooking is the No. 1 home fire hazard, according to the NFPA.
- Always stay in the kitchen when cooking, and always keep an eye on the stove, oven or grill.
- Be careful of smoking oil – that is a sign that the oil is too hot and may ignite. Lower the flame or remove the pan from the heat.
- Never try to put out a pan fire with water. Baking soda works to extinguish a pan fire.
- It is now New Jersey law that every home must have a fire extinguisher within 10 feet of the kitchen area,
- Keep oven mitts, dish towels and other flammable items away from heating elements and open flames.
Candles are a popular decoration, however it is important to follow these simple rules:
- Keep an eye on candles, and never place them near fabrics such as curtains, wall hangings or flammable decorations.
- If you have small children or a pet, make sure the candles are placed out of reach.
- Be sure to extinguish candles before going to bed or leaving the house.
Fireplaces are also a safety concern:
- Have your chimney cleaned annually.
- After a fire, dispose of ashes in a metal container, away from flammable material.
- Keep children at least three feet away from fireplaces.
Holiday lighting poses the risk of overdrawing power and creating a fire hazard, and older strands are more likely to overheat because they require more electricity.
- Inspect your lights before hanging them. If they look worn (frayed wires, loose or cracked bulbs), don’t hesitate to replace them. Switch to LEDs, which are more energy-efficient and burn coolerthan conventional incandescents.
- If you’re stringing lights outside, make sure they are for outdoor use.
- Do not attach more than three strings of lights together.
- Always unplug your lights and decorations before going to bed or leaving the house.
We wish the best, brightest and safest holiday season for all our SERVPRO friends and families.
Is Your House Safe?
Basement wall where dryer caught fire.
How safe is your home? Have you done the proper maintenance needed to minimize your family’s risk of fires? Now is the time for you to prepare your home against risks that are easily avoidable.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, 2015 saw nearly 370,000 home fires nationwide, at a cost of 7 billion dollars in damages. Ninety-two percent of the appliance fires were caused by the clothes dryer. Thirty-two percent of those fires were due to lack of cleaning.
Here are some dryer safety tips:
- Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
- Do not use the dryer without a lint filter.
- Make sure you clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry. Remove lint that has collected around the drum.
- Rigid or flexible metal venting material should be used to sustain proper air flow and drying time.
- Make sure the air exhaust vent pipe is not restricted and the outdoor vent flap will open when the dryer is operating. Once a year, or more often if you notice that it is taking longer than normal for your clothes to dry, clean lint out of the vent pipe or have a dryer lint removal service do it for you.
- Keep dryers in good working order. Gas dryers should be inspected by a professional to make sure that the gas line and connection are intact and free of leaks.
- Make sure the right plug and outlet are used and that the machine is connected properly.
- Follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions and don’t overload your dryer.
- Turn the dryer off if you leave home or when you go to bed.
As scary as the statistics for dryer fires sound, they aren't close to being the number one cause of home fires. Two out of every five home fires started in the kitchen, Cooking and cooking equipment account for over 60% of all home fires. They also account for 42% of all fire related injuries in the home.
The peak month of the year for these kitchen related fires is January, the peak time being between 5-8 p.m. Unattended cooking was by far the leading cause of these fires.
What you need to know:
- Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.
- Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling or broiling food.
- If you are simmering, baking or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
- Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.
It all amounts to common sense and being mindful.
This short video has more safety information:
3 Alarm Fire In Destroys Businesses And Homes in Ocean Grove
Green on the scene Saturday morning in Ocean Grove.
A three-alarm blaze demolished a section of Main Street in Ocean Grove on Friday. The fire began in an apartment above Yvonne's Luncheonette at approximately 4pm. Firefighters battled the flames and cold temperatures throughout the night.
On Saturday morning, SERVPRO of Eatontown/Long Branch was called in to clean up the soot, smoke and water damage in three adjacent buildings. Crews began work shortly before noon. SERVPRO of Eatontown/Long Branch offers 24 hour response for fire, and water clean up and remediation.
At this point, no cause has been determined for the fire.