Recent Fire Damage Posts
Complete this Winter Checklist
By filling out this checklist, you are ensuring that your home is winter-ready.
Temperatures are just going to get colder and colder as we enter into the winter months. By following this checklist, you ensure that your family and you will be safe while spending more time in your home.
Turning off the space heater
Alliant Energy has mentioned that customers should expect an increase in utility bills this winter as the gas price has increased since last year. Many consumers are looking at alternatives to counteract the rise by looking into other heating alternatives such as space heaters. If you want to read more about our tips on using a space heater properly, please read "Heating Alternatives."
Cutting the bottom of the Christmas Tree's trunk
If you're like me, you might have a family tradition of going out to the local Christmas tree farm to pick out the best-looking tree. During our first year of having a real tree, my family learned the importance of cutting off a part of the trunk. This is critical because the sap will harden the bottom of the trunk, especially as it sits on the lot. When the sap hardens, the tree can't absorb any moisture from the stand. This causes the needles to dry out, making them very flammable.
Blowing out candles
Don't you love going down the isles and smelling all of the new season scents; Bourbon Pecan, Pumpkin Pie, or Evergreen are some of the best. When you mix in these longer, cooler nights, all you really want to do is snuggle up the couch with all of your favorite scents. When you forget to blow out the candles, which is an accident waiting to happen. This is because pets, especially cats, are rebellious and knock things off the counter. When using candles, you should use a candle warmer to help lessen the chance of a fire-related accident. Another practice that you should keep in mind is the 3-foot radius rule, which means you should move anything flammable away from the candle when in use.
Getting your chimney cleaned
Getting your chimney checked and cleaned is something that everyone likes to cut corners around. When a chimney settles during the summer, it becomes a perfect home for creatures such as birds, squirrels, and sometimes raccoons. Another risk you run into is that by not cleaning the chimney, there is a chance that toxic gases can enter your home.
By making it an effort to check off the list, you ensure that your home is prepared for the colder months ahead.
The space heater is waiting to be turned on, safely.
It is has been stated by Mid-American Energy Co. that heating bills for natural gas could rise by 46% to 96% over last year because of rising gas costs. Consumers who use propane for their heating source should expect their heating costs to go up to 69% over the previous years. This leaves many households to use alternative ways to heat their homes, such as electric heaters.
Dangers of Space Heaters
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, space heaters are the leading cause of over a thousand house fires every year. Space heaters are a great alternative to heating when used correctly. Here are some easy ways to ensure that you are safely using your space heaters.
- Keep space heater on the floor:
In the middle of a snowstorm, it might feel aesthetic to place it on a countertop or on a nightstand to have it blow directly onto you. Please refrain from using the space heater in this manner by placing it on the ground, free from any flammable fabrics/Items.
As we know, water and electricity do not go together. When placing the space heater in a good location, keep in mind the area of the room. It’s best to keep it out of the kitchen and the bathroom to ensure that there is a chance of water access.
The biggest takeaway from this article would be to remember to not plug it into a surge protector, extension cord, or anything that isn’t the wall outlet. When plugging it into an extension cord, you’re adding extra electrical connections that increase your chance of creating resistance, allowing heat to build up. When inserting the space heater into the wall, you will want to take into account the 3-foot rule or place it 3 feet away from the wall. This gives the proper distance from the heater to the wall, ensuring that the wall isn’t getting heated.
We understand that the projected increase of propane and natural gas heating options might bring you closer to space heater alternatives. We hope that you place these heaters in a thoughtful and strategic location to ensure that you minimize the chance of creating a perfect scenario for a house fire
When putting clothes through the washer and dryer it is important to remember to not overfill them.
Laundry Room Fires
Whether you love doing laundry or you hate doing laundry, there are some essential things you need to keep in mind to ensure you aren’t putting your home at risk of a fire. Believe it or not, washers and dryers, on average, cause about 16,000 house fires each year, with dryers causing 92% of them, with 31% of the leading causes of these fires being failure to clean and perform routine maintenance.
Causes of Dryer Fires
- Mechanical and electrical failure:
Although these types of fires aren’t as common as the others, it is important to check to ensure the parts are working correctly. This allows any repairs that are needed to be made before it can lead to any significant problems.
Overfilling your dryer can potentially cause a fire because you are making the dryer work extra hard due to all the extra weight. By checking the clothing label you can have a better understanding of the material is intended for high-temperature heat. Some materials that aren’t suited for high temperatures are: plastic, rubber, or foam can heat and melt, leading to a fire.
- Dirty lint filters and vents
Clogged vents, ducts, and filters are the leading cause of dryer fires. Lint filters accumulate an excessive amount of dirt, grass, or other material left from the washer. Another cause of a dryer fire is when you don’t check the outside vent which causes improper airflow. Improper airflow leads to lint collecting on the screen which creates the perfect situation to start a fire. By cleaning this you aren’t allowing birds, insects, or rodents to nest in these perfect locations.
Although doing laundry is a tedious task, you must be following these steps to ensure that you aren’t creating perfect conditions for dryer fires.
What is a Fire Restoration Pack-out?
Fire restoration pack-out is a service that SERVPRO provides that brings a certain amount of joy to our team. A fire pack-out is when our team takes contents, that we know that we can restore to the preloss condition, we will clean and deodorize them. After they are restored to the preloss condition our team will package up the contents, store them, and deliver them back to the owner when that time comes. This process will help our customers gain a certain amount of comfort knowing that they will gain a piece of their home back.
When the contents are removed from the owner’s location we will do a complete documented list of all of the contents. We do this so that we have a clear record of all preexisting conditions and any other information that will help protect the customer’s property and reduce contractor and insurance company liability. During this survey, a content technician will create a written list with digital photos to go with. If any boxed or canned foods that encountered heat from the fire must be properly documented by the restorer before disposal.
Attention to detail
Here at SERVPRO, we hope that you wouldn’t ever need our service but, we know that things like fires are uncontrollable. With that being said, if you’re ever in need of our assistance just know that we will provide the top-notch service to help restore your contents to preloss conditions. We try and take the stress out of these situations so that our customers can focus on the recovery.
SERVPRO Fire Damage Restoration Services
As fire and water restoration specialists, we have the training, experience, and specialized equipment necessary to restore your home or business.
Our team of trained professionals works to maintain a restore versus replace mindset. When various materials burn, the soot and residue they create differ greatly and require a specific cleaning procedure. We are "Faster to any size disaster" and can be onsite in a timely manner to make sure you get the help you need. We come with all the necessary vehicles and equipment for your specific job. SERVPRO is ready to put your mind at ease and to help from the mitigation all the way to the reconstruction. Here are the steps we follow to get your home or business back in order:
- Emergency Contact
- Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment
- Immediate Board-Up and Roof-Tarp Service (if needed)
- Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present)
- Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces
- Cleaning and Repair
Experienced a Fire? Call Our Team
In 2015 there were 1,345,500 fires reported in the United States. A structure fire was reported every 63 seconds and caused an estimated $14.3 billion in property damage. In order to ensure you and your family’s safety make sure to have an escape route in place so if a fire is discovered, you can move quickly to evacuate to your designated meeting place. The aftermath of a fire can be just as devastating as the initial event. Your local SERVPRO is here to help minimize damage and save your content. Do not attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to the fire without consulting a repair service and make sure your restoration company is IICRC certified. All of our production technicians are certified and trained in any situation that could come our way. There is a science behind effective cleaning. Proper methods and products must be used depending on the materials being cleaned to avoid further damage. When you choose SERVPRO, you can take comfort knowing your home and contents are in the hands of trained and caring professionals. If you are in need of help, make sure to call our office and we can answer any questions you might have.
In the case of a fire and with filed documents that are damaged by heat, soot, and/or smoke, the contents cleaner and customer can address how to prioritize these items. Working files are records that are accessed daily and therefore should be restored first. This is accomplished by removing any soot and trimming edges. This document is then placed in a copier to be reproduced and refiled. That way, clean and smoke-free files can be utilized. Any stored files, records that are accessed less frequently, are lower priority. Documents can be cleaned with a dry sponge, an art gum eraser, and crumbly dough cleaner. We assist with the pack out of wet books and papers as those can also be restored with our freeze-drying chamber. We offer 24-hour emergency services, so if you ever experience a fire, our team of trained professionals will be there to help.
Throwback to a Fire Event
This is a broken CSST flexible gas line that ignited the gas and released a jet of fire.
Back in 2019, the Ankeny Fire Department along with EFI Global and our SERVPRO staff presented a live burn event to educate insurance adjusters and risk managers to have them gain knowledge to make informed decisions when processing claims. Several large boxes were built by our SERVPRO team with drywall to simulate an actual room complete with donated furniture. Before the live burns, adjustors were able to learn about the science behind how certain fires are started, analyzing the speed of separate fires. They also learn how different contents and structural materials are affected. One of the burns was simulated by a broken CSST flexible gas line that runs gas to appliances. A non-grounded line made a pinhole from an electric arc. The gas then leaks out and catches fire from the arc of electricity, igniting the gas and creating a jet of fire. It’s important for adjustors to know the effects of soot and smoke throughout the environment.
We offer deodorization services for properties affected by fire damage. As seen in the image, the source of the fire has been removed .
There are four principles of deodorization that we follow when restoring an affected area after a fire.
- The first step is to remove the source. The charred material all needs to be removed first to start the process of deodorization.
- We then clean any contaminated surface to remove soot residue. This needs to happen as soon as possible to help minimize damage.
- After removing the residue we then use different methods to remove odor. This principle is called recreate the conditions of penetration. We use many different methods to remove odor form objects. We use ozone machines, hydroxyl machines as well as thermal foggers to remove odor.
- When necessary, we seal and encapsulate the odor using special sealing materials so that the odor does not penetrate the sealer and continue to produce an odor.
10 Things That Cause A House Fire
It is important to be aware of what in your home can lead to a house fire. Call us if you need fire, smoke, and soot cleanup.
Every home faces the potential for a numerous assortment of risks with the most dangerous of these being a house fire. An accidental fire can occur from many common household items and can easily decimate a house in mere minutes if it is not properly and quickly handled. While proper insurance can help mitigate financial loss, it is better to understand and work to prevent the situations that lead to house fires on any kind. Most homes are stocked full with combustible items. This list is meant to help homeowners not only identify potential issues but also lower the risk of a house fire. Whether it’s a candle accidentally burning throughout the night, faulty cooking equipment or any other scenario, homeowners should be aware of the most common causes of house fires and work to minimize and prevent accidents before they occur.
- Cooking Equipment
- Heating Equipment
- Flammable liquids
- Careless Smoking
- Electrical Equipment
- Children Playing with Fire
- Inadequate Wiring
- Christmas Tree
We are able to help mitigate fire, smoke, and soot damage. We offer 24 hour emergency services if needed.
What is the leading cause of house fires?
We have the necessary equipment to help bring your property back to preloss conditions, and we have 24 hour emergency services.
The leading cause of a residential structure fire is from cooking. Now what do you do if you have a fire inside the house? It may not look bad or maybe half the house is gone, no matter. Your next steps may be critical in saving irreplaceable personal items and restoring the remaining structure. Unfortunately many people never make a plan for unexpected disasters such as this.
At SERVPRO of Des Moines SW & East, we are always Here to Help and will be there for you in your time of need. We do this with training, certifications, and continuing education for our team. We use the newest technology that is exclusive to SERVPRO. We take our technical training, technology, experience, and specially formulated products by our own in house chemist for fire damage cleanup and restoration.
Preparation is key and you can build and manage your own Emergency Ready Profile completely free of charge for your business. A SERVPRO representative can build a profile for your business property today and we do that at no charge to keep you prepared. Check out https://ready.SERVPRO.com/ then call our office and we can schedule a walk-through (30 min to an hour)
The Do's and Do Not's for Fire Damage
We offer several options for cleaning smoke and soot to help you get back to preloss conditions. We want you to know that we are "Here to help."
If you have fire and smoke damage to your property, home or business, it is hard to not start cleaning yourself. If this situation arises, please let our SERVPRO franchise professionals assist you. Here are some tips for those who experience fire and smoke damage in their home or business. The Do's are meant to help you minimize damage. Please keep movement in the building at a minimum. Minimal movement helps keep particles from becoming embedded in carpet and fabrics. Make sure to wash your hands a lot and be cautious not to transfer or wipe soot onto something. It can make it damage the item more. If electricity is off, then empty fridges and freezers and prop doors open to prevent odors. It is beneficial to change your furnace/air conditioner filter, but don't let the system continue to run. Be certain to turn it off. The Don'ts that are stated should be left to professionals to help you get back to preloss conditions. Do not try washing anything yourself. You could further rub the soot into the item. Don't shampoo your carpet. We recommend that you take the time to talk to a professional first. Don't clean any electronics without contacting a professional. Do not consume any food or beverages that may have been affected by the fire, soot, or smoke. Additionally, do not use toiletries as they can also be affected by fire, soot, or smoke. Do not turn ceiling fans on, because this will stir up the soot residue. Our SERVPRO team is available for 24-hour emergency services.
We can make fire damage "Like it never even happened"
Fires are often unexpected, and we want to create peace of mind as we are able yo help get the property back to preloss conditions.
The first 24 hours after fire damage make the difference between restoring versus replacing the property. SERVPRO of Des Moines East & SW provides a timely response with mitigation services ranging from smoke and soot removal to contents claim inventory and document restoration. We offer a large amount of options in the case of fire damage. We can either utilize a dry or wet technique to completely remove soot off of surfaces like the walls and ceiling. Additionally, media blasting is used soot, mold, or paint removal. It is done by forcibly propelling a stream of abrasive material to smooth the surface. Lastly, thermal fogging recreates the act of penetrations and follows the same path of the smoke from a fire to deodorize. It is estimated that up to 50% of businesses that close due to a disaster, such as a fire, never reopen. Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them have a preparedness plan in place. Whether it’s a home or business, SERVPRO is a lead in fire damage response and can help you quickly get the property back.
What ultrasonic cleaning can do for you!
This ultrasonic tank can be utilized on a wide variety of products that range in size.
Our Ultrasonic Machine system is utilized to clean many different items including items damaged by mold or soot, mainly being used with fire damage. An ultrasonic tank and dryer are paired together to help create a complete drying process. Contents are cleaned in our ultrasonic tank and then they are placed in the dryer to complete the system. This dual system allows for contents to be cleaned efficiently and thoroughly, expanding our range of restorable contents. We can clean some electronics, jewelry, guns, family heirlooms, light fixtures, porcelain dolls, etc. All this is done quickly and efficiently. We can clean a whole assortment of contents as it offers a deep and even clean for even the most delicate items. This system utilizes minimal chemicals and high speed and energy efficient cleaning. Ultrasonic works with high-frequency ultrasonic vibrations, along with the special cleaning solutions to create the effect of millions of tiny bubbles which break down contaminants off the target surface without the need for scrubbing. Even if you don't have fire and water damage in your home and you just need an item deep cleaned, feel free to bring it in and we will be happy to clean the item quickly and thoroughly for you. With our ultrasonic dryer, contents are cleaned in our ultrasonic tank and then placed in this dryer to complete the process.
The Importance of a Live Burn
This is a broken CSST flexible gas line that ignited gas and released a jet of fire.
Last week, the Ankeny Fire Department along with EFI Global and our SERVPRO of Des Moines East & SW franchise helped set up a live burn for insurance adjusters and risk managers to help them gain knowledge to make informed decisions when processing claims. Several large boxes were built by our SERVPRO team with drywall to simulate an actual room. Furniture was donated to help show how different fire scenarios can alter a home. Before the live burns, adjustors were able to learn about the science behind how certain fires are started, analyzing the speed and power behind the separate fires. One of the burns was created by a broken CSST flexible gas line which is utilized to run gas to appliances. The situation brought about a non-grounded line that developed a pin hole from an electricity arc. The gas then leaks out and catches fire from the arc of electricity, igniting the gas and creating a jet of fire. Another scenario was meant to show how quickly fires in a corner with several pieces of furniture next to each other erupt. Live burn events are beneficial to understand the effects of the fire, analyzing the speed of fire as well as the way it spreads and how different contents and structural materials are affected. It’s also important for them to know the effects of soot and smoke throughout the environment and how different fires start from separate structural materials.
Fire Clean Up By a Trained Crew
After a fire strikes your life you need to have a trusted company cleanup the damage properly. SERVPRO of Des Moines East & SW is the trusted leader in fire cleanup. We are a preferred vendor for many insurance companies making the process that much easier for you. We can handle everything from pack out to overseeing reconstruction services. We specialize in Fire and Smoke restoration and spend hundreds of hours training our techs the extensive cleaning processes. No fire is the same. We are faster to any size disaster and can make your fire loss "Like it never even happened." At SERVPRO we use a restore vs. replace mentality meaning you can get your original items back in most cases and your structure restored quicker. Call SERVPRO of Des Moines East & SW if you have fire or smoke damage today! Our crews will respond 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Halloween Fire Safety Tips by the Fire Clean Up Team - SERVPRO
Use these pumpkin glow sticks in your pumpkins and decorations for a fire safe haloween.
Halloween fire safety is very important and SERVPRO of Des Moines East & SW is here with these safety tips.
- Use a battery-operated candle or glow-stick in jack-o-lanterns. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside jack-o-lanterns, use long, fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of the way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways, and yards.
- Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper catch fire easily. Keep all decorations away from open flames and other heat sources like light bulbs and heaters.
- Tell children to stay away from open flames including jack-o-lanterns with candles in them. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire.
Halloween fire facts
- From 2009-2013, decorations were the item first ignited in an estimated average of 860 reported home structure fires per year.
- Nearly half of decoration fires in homes occurred because the decorations were too close to a heat source.
- These fires caused an estimated average of one civilian death, 41 civilian injuries, and $13 million in direct property damage per year.
- Forty-one percent of these incidents were started by candles; one-fifth began in the living room, family room, or den.
Source: NFPA Applied Research
If you have an accidental fire in your home or business you can depend on SERVPRO of Des Moines East & SW to help with your clean up needs.
Lead Testing May Be Necessary After A Fire Damage
Before 1978 lead was very common in construction. Lead paint is very uncommon in new construction these days but may still occur. When necessary testing may need to be done before any removal of affected materials occurs.
At SERVPRO, we invest in our technicians with the training and certifications to provide you with the safest mitigation project we can. We always work “lead-safe” and follow all laws and regulations. For more information on lead please visit https://www.epa.gov/lead
At SERVPRO of Des Moines East & SW we typically find lead based paint after a fire and/or water loss has occurred. Used in more than 38 million homes lead is something we must be very careful about to keep you and your family safe. Protecting the health and safety of our clients is very important to us. Lead dust is the most common way lead exposure occurs. At SERVPRO we invest in our technicians with the training and certifications to provide you with the safest mitigation project we can. We always work “lead-safe” and follow all laws and regulations. For more information on lead please visit https://www.epa.gov/lead
Kitchen Fire Cleanup - I smell smoke, dinner must be done!
Did you know from 2012-2016 more than $6.5 billion dollars in direct property damage was caused by fire? The leading cause of a residential structure fire is cooking. Hopefully for most people they will never have to experience a house fire and the related cleanup and restoration that follows. I want you to think for a second to a time where you were sitting at a campfire. Now, regardless of how long you sat there you will likely have an odor on you now and you can even smell it while you read this maybe. Some more than others know exactly what I mean. That absolutely unmistakable smell of wood smoke, burning leaves, or a grass fire. It’s not exactly pleasant the next day if you wear the same coat, hat, and your shoes. This is a simple fix, wash it.
Now what do you do if you have a fire inside the house? It may not look bad or maybe half the house is gone, no matter. Your next steps may be critical in saving irreplaceable personal items and salvaging the remaining structure. Unfortunately many people never make a plan for unexpected disasters such as this.
At SERVPRO of Des Moines SW and East we are always Ready for Whatever Happens and will be there for you in your time of the unexpected to help make it "Like it never even happened." We do this with training, certifications, and continuing education for our team. We use the newest technology that is exclusive to SERVPRO. We take our technical training, technology, experience, and specially formulated products by our own in house chemist and willingness to help people and make an otherwise devastating disaster better.
We have a way to help prepare before the disaster happens. Want to be Ready for Whatever Happens? You can build and manage your own Emergency Ready Profile completely free of charge. Do you own or manage commercial properties? A SERVPRO representative can build it for you today and we do that free of charge to keep you prepared. Check out https://ready.SERVPRO.com/ then call our office and we can schedule a quick walk through to help build your profile. On average this process takes about 30 minutes to an hour.
  https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Data-research-and-tools/Building-and-Life-Safety/Home-Structure-Fires
Fire Damage Clean Up
When fire damage affects your home or business SERVPRO of Des Moines SW & East is here to help. We have IICRC trained technicians that specialize in structure and content cleaning. One of the first processes in structure cleaning is to remove soot residue. We use dry sponges to remove the soot from the affected materials. In order to reach the high areas in the home we will attach the dry sponge to an extendable pole to reach. Then the sponge can be used to wipe down ceilings and walls of any soot that might be on the structure. Soot residue has to be removed in order for the structure seal coat to stick. You can depend on SERVPRO to have the right training and tools to get the job done.
Wet Washing After A Fire
When fire damage occurs there are different techniques of cleaning depending on the type of fire that occurred. You can depend on SERVPRO of Des Moines SW & East to help your business or home after the fire has occurred. We will scope the situation and determine the best plan of action. There are different techniques. One of those techniques and processes is wet washing. This process is not to be used for every fire as it can smear the soot verses remove it. The picture shows our team wet washing a section of soot damaged area and the improvement it has made on this particular fire. We are here to help when you need us most. If you have had a fire in your home or business give our team of professionals a call.
Odor Removal after Fire Damage
SERVPRO of Des Moines SW does content cleaning. After a fire contents can be affected by odor and soot. Our trained professionals will come in and assess those contents and decide which ones are save able and which ones have to be disposed of.
Different contents absorb soot and odor differently based off of the materials they are made of. The first step of removing odor is to remove the source of the odor which is the soot. We will clean the item using different methods based off of the material and amount of damage to the item. Then after the soot is removed we will tackle the odor.
To remove the odor we will put most items inside of our ozone room. The picture below shows half of our ozone room. Our ozone room contains wire racking as well as plenty of room for free standing larger items. The items will remain in the sealed room for several hours while the ozone machine runs.
We work hard to return your items to you and make it "Like it never even happened."
Content Pack Out Services After A Fire In Des Moines
When a fire happens in your home or business you can depend on SERVPRO of Des Moines SW to help. We provide a service while the clean up process occurs to pack out the contents in your home or business that might be either affected or be in the way why mitigation and clean up services occur. We will pack up those contents, clean them, and/or store them if needed. We label the boxes and photo graph all items inside the boxes for easy identification and location if needed during the process. The picture below shows how we keep the contents labeled and in a crate for easy identification and organization in our warehouse. You can depend on SERVPRO to help during your clean up process.
We are Trained Fire Cleaning Specialists
SERVPRO of Des Moines SW is here to help when fire affects your home or business. We know that you don’t experience this everyday. We specialize in fire restoration cleaning and mitigation. We are here to help when a fire affects the structure and/or contents. We are a full service restoration company. You can depend on us to help you make advised decisions as you work through the process. We clean structure and contents. We provide demolition services. We will media blast and seal structure. We work with dependable subcontractors to help in the rebuilding process. We work with and communicate all documentation with insurance programs and the insured to make sure all know the status and progress of the job. We are here to help when a fire occurs.
Cleaning After A Fire
When cleaning after a fire don’t use water initially. Soot should not be cleaned up with water first. Soot should initially be removed with dry sponges. Dry soot cleaning sponges are used to remove soot and dirt where you don’t want the surface to get wet. It is made of a natural rubber and is used like an eraser. Once the surface of the sponge is dirty it has to be thrown out. They can not be reused. The sponges hold a remarkable amount of soot in the pours of the sponge. After wiping the fine particles of soot off the surface the surface can be wet washed. This process needs to be done by a professional. If not done properly surface damage can occur. There is a science to fire cleaning and you should trust and hire a professional if you have fire clean up that needs to occur. We work hard and have trained professionals ready to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Estimating your fire loss in the Des Moines area
Our estimator looking at a loss before writing an estimate for the client
Our skilled and knowledgeable estimators walk through the property looking at multiple variables such as WATER DAMAGE from extinguishing the fire, WALLS AND STRUCTURE DAMAGE checking the structural strength of your home or business, SOOT DAMAGE by removing the soot and deodorizing the smoke smell, CONTENT CLEANING so you get your possessions back without soot damage or smoke smell. All of these things are looked at and factored in when doing a complete and thorough estimate to perform restoration mitigation services after a fire or soot damage.
To help make things easier for you it is always good to have a log of your insured contents so if a fire does occur you can easily tell what is accounted for and what you might need to throw away. Many insurance companies have a content inventory checklist so check and see if your insurance company has one. This helps you know what you have for contents and assign a value to your contents.
Our estimators also talk with your insurance and have an open line of communication to help make sure when we are done we make it “Like it never even happened.”
Home Contents Inventory-Why it’s Needed in Case of a Fire
Imagine having a total loss of your home due to a fire and having to recall every item that was damaged… could you do it? Would you trust yourself to remember each individual item that was in your home, especially the rarely used ones? Without a photographic memory most of us would find some difficulty with this task in an already stressful time. In the event of a fire, your insurance company will expect you to provide a list of all your personal property that was damaged. By having a pre-assembled Home Contents Inventory you can have piece-of-mind knowing that all of your contents are documented and can then be properly replaced according to your insurance policy. There are several methods to complete your Home Contents Inventory whether on paper or digitally (you can contact your local SERVPRO for a blank copy of either). You will want to make sure to list each item, its value, and include any receipts and photographs along with it. It’s a good idea to update your Home Contents Inventory list annually to include any new items you have added to the home and remove items you no longer have. Make sure to keep a copy safe in a fireproof container or safe deposit box and you can always file a copy with your insurance agent as well.
Emergency Fire Tips
In 2015 there were 1,345,500 fires reported in the United States. A structure fire was reported every 63 seconds and caused an estimated $14.3 billion in property damage. In order to ensure you and your family’s safety make sure to have an escape route in place so if a fire is discovered, you can move quickly to evacuate to your designated meeting place. The aftermath of a fire can be just as devastating as the initial event. Your local SERVPRO is here to help minimize damage and save your contents. Do not attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to a fire without consulting a repair service and make sure your restoration company is IICRC certified (all SERVPRO techs are!) There is a science behind effective cleaning. Proper methods and products must be used depending on the materials being cleaned to avoid further damage. When you choose SERVPRO, you can take comfort knowing your home and contents are in the hands of trained and caring professionals.
Smoke Alarms and Fire Emergency Plans
Smoke alarms save lives. They are the tool most valuable in saving peoples lives. Smoke alarms should be near every bedroom. It is very important to check them often and make sure the batteries are in good working condition. Test the alarm beep every month. Change the batteries every year and the unit may need replaced every 10 years. If you need help with your smoke detectors, installing, servicing, or testing contact your local fire department.
Be sure also that your home has a Fire Emergency Plan in place. Make sure everyone knows where to go and how to conduct themselves in the event of a fire. Show children how to open windows and how to test doors to see if they are hot. Make sure everyone knows where the safe place to meet outside the home is. A practice fire drill with your family is always a good practice once a year.
Principles of Deodorization following a Fire
There are four principles of deodorization that we follow when restoring an affected area after a fire. The first step is to remove the source. The charred material all needs to be removed first to start the process.
We then clean contaminated surfaces to remove soot residue. This needs to happen as soon as we are able to. This will help minimize damage.
After removing the residue we then use different methods to remove odor. This principle is called recreate the conditions of penetration. We use many different methods to remove odor form objects. We use ozone machines, hydroxyl machines as well as thermal foggers to remove odor.
When necessary we seal and encapsulate the odor using special sealing materials so that the odor does not penetrate the sealer and continue to produce an odor.
List of items to be maintained by the customer following a fire
In the event of a fire and it is decided by the customer, insurance adjuster, and SERVPRO that SERVPRO is going to do a content pack out of the affected belongings while the home/business is restored there are a few items that the customer should maintain. These items SERVPRO prefers are sorted out of the belongings before we come to pack up the others for cleaning and storage.
-licenses, birth certificates, passports, tax documents
-school and medical records
-checkbooks, credit cards, ID cards
-irreplaceable videos, media, or pictures
-few special toys; baby items
-pet foods and inside pets
Our pack out process if very organized and recorded for easy access of any items that are needed while in our hands but these are a few items that are usually needed very quickly.
Fire Do's and Don'ts
If you have fire and smoke damage to your property it is hard to not start cleaning yourself. Please let the professionals help you.
-Keep movement in the building at a minimum. This helps keep particles from being embedded in carpet and fabrics.
-Wash your hands a lot and be careful not to transfer or wipe soot onto something. It can make it damage the item more.
-If electricity is off empty fridges and freezers and prop doors open to prevent odors.
-Change your furnace/air conditioner filter but don't let the system continue to run. Turn it off.
-Do not try washing any thing yourself. You could further rub the soot into the item.
-Don't shampoo your carpet. Talk to a professional first.
-Don't clean any electronics without contacting a professional.
-Do not consume any food or beverages that may have been effected by the fire, soot, or smoke.
-Do not turn ceiling fans on. This will stir up the soot residue.