Recent Fire Damage Posts
Staying Fire Safe in Your Backyard | SERVPRO® of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County
If you have experienced fire or smoke damage, contact SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall.
Picture it now: Your family is sitting around a crackling fire roasting hot dogs, making s’mores and sharing scary stories. What beautiful memories you are making!
Backyard fires serve a number of purposes for us, including pest control, cooking and debris cleanup, but even what seems like the safest of fires can quickly become dangerous.
Recent research conducted by the National Park Service found that almost 85% of wildfires are started by humans.
In Alabama, a permit is required for outdoor burning in woodland, grassland or new ground cover areas. Permits are free, but they will not be given out when the wind is too strong or there has been a dry spell. With our weather, that can make burning in the summertime tricky and you will need to plan before you start gathering up your leaves and limbs.
You can still safely grill dogs, light up your candles and toast your marshmallows. Take a few simple steps each time you handle any outdoor flames and enjoy your time in your backyard while you minimize the risk of things getting out of hand.Recreational Fire Hazards
An open flame of any kind will always carry a risk, but grills, fire pits, fireworks and campfires are the most common ways that outdoor fires begin. Grills start an average of 8,800 home fires, typically due to improper use. Check gas lines or propane tanks before you start your grill and always keep your eyes on a hot grill during and after use.
When you build a campfire, look for a spot away from structures or vehicles, and only use a lighter or match to start the fire. And be sure to stick to wood only to continue the burning once the fire is going. Watch even the embers once the flames have died down and the chocolate is all gone.
Fire pits can seem like a great alternative to an actual campfire, but they still require a lot of caution when you use them. Following the same regulations as a campfire and never moving a portable fire pit under an overhang or onto a wooden deck will keep your flames where they should be.
Using your fire pit as a way to get rid of household waste or unused construction items may be tempting, but you should only burn approved firewood.
Fireworks are allowed within city limits, and even though the 4th of July has passed, closing out your night with a bang is always a lot of fun. Make sure your fireworks are ignited in an open space and have a clear spot to land. Fireworks are not permitted on public property, so take note of your land and ensure you have plenty of room.Other Outdoor Fire Hazards
There may be risks, but fires and burn materials still have a purpose in our lives. Every fall as our leaves pile up, burning may be one of your only options if street pickup does not reach your home.
Before you start your fire, ensure there are no fire warnings for that day. In the summer, a permit is required for land clearing burns, and non-agriculture burning is not allowed from May to October.
It is essential to keep your yard clear of debris as an extra layer of wildfire protection along with the intentional landscaping of your yard. Make sure you know what is safe to burn and what isn’t in order to keep things in control.
Other combustible materials such as gas probably live in your shed or garage with your yard tools, but they carry a high risk when they are stored improperly. Only use approved containers that are kept out of reach of any little ones.
Only use gas for its intended purpose—that means even if the campfire is low, don’t reach for the gas can.
Check the weather before any use of fire outdoors. If local regulations do not allow it or the wind is high, skip the fire and save your marshmallows for a better day.
If you do experience fire damage, call SERVPRO. We have the training and equipment to handle every part of fire damage. It is our desire to restore as much of your property as possible as fast as possible.
Burn safely outdoors. And save some chocolate for us! If you have experienced fire or smoke damage, contact us today to get restoration started faster.
Smoke and Soot Damage After A Fire | SERVPRO® of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County
This smoke and soot damage was caused by a fire.
After a fire is put out in a home or business, smoke and soot have an effect and should be treated properly. Smoke and soot can actually cause more concern than the actual fire; as they settle into ceilings, walls, furniture and many other surfaces that cause severe tarnishing. You will need immediate professional fire restoration clean up or these effects can become more permanent.
When treating damaging effects due to that of smoke and soot, we highly recommend you work with a restoration company, rather than taking on the job yourself so that items in your home and business are cleaned properly.
If you have experienced fire damage or want to learn more about our fire damage restoration services, contact us today. We’re here to act fast, 24⁄7.
A Few Easy Steps to Prevent Fires | SERVPRO® Of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County
If your home is damaged in a house fire, SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall is here to help. Contact us for any fire restoration needs.
Since the start of 2022, the American Red Cross has responded to over 20,000 house fires, and that only represents a small portion of the total fires that have occurred this year across the United States.
While you hopefully have several smoke detectors installed in your house already, there are a few other easy ways to protect your home and your loved ones. Even simple acts of cleaning take a step toward a fire-safe house.
<h3the-clutter">Clear the Clutter
If you have been looking around your home and thinking it was time to clean out, this might help motivate you: Clutter can actually fuel a fire. Loose clothing, pillows and blankets in utility spaces or hallways not only have the potential to block an exit in the event of an emergency, but they can also make a fire burn hotter and faster.
Leaving flammable items near a water heater can actually start a fire when the water heater warms up. The more open your spaces are, the faster you can get out if a fire should start and the slower the fire will progress.
Another area in the home you can clean up for safety is wall outlets and extension cords. Overloaded extension cords are a common starting point for fires. Remove any unused appliances, and unplug those that you don’t use often.
Take a quick walk around your home and ensure there is space between furniture and wall outlets. This allows for air to flow properly and avoid overheating.
<h3a-defensible-space-in-your-yard">Create a Defensible Space in Your Yard
The area around your home can serve as the first line of defense from fires that originate outside. Landscaping that is laid out intentionally not only works to slow a fire before it gets to your front door but also allows room for firefighters to work.
Intentionally landscaped and maintained spaces create defensible zones. Some states like California have actually imposed zone regulations for homeowners to fight against wildfires, and with our dense areas of forest close to residential spaces, this type of yard work makes a lot of sense for us, too.
In the summer when our temperatures can top well over 90, we need to be especially careful of how we handle any outdoor burning and even where we park our cars. Parking a hot car on dry grass can quickly spark a flame, so stick to pavement as much as you are able.
Last year when the drought set in, this was particularly important. Clearing out the leaves and any dead limbs is also essential in slowing any flames that do start.
<h3it-clean-keep-it-safe">Keep It Clean & Keep It Safe
You can be preventive in two other high-risk areas of your home by giving your oven a deep-clean every few months and having your chimney cleaned and inspected at least once a year.
Even the simple act of dusting is an act of fire prevention, especially around electronics and power sources.
Our houses give so much to us these days—serving as space for work, play, learning and relaxation. Give back to your home and protect your loved ones by keeping it clean to prevent a devastating fire.
If you have experienced fire damage or want to learn more about our fire damage restoration services, contact us today. We’re here to act fast, 24⁄7.
The 4 Components of Fire & Why They’re Important | SERVPRO® of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County
If your home or business has any damage, SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall is ready around the clock to help you recover.
Did you know that a square can also be referred to as a tetrahedron? For those of us who don’t remember what that fancy word means, in short, it’s something that has four faces.
Don’t run off! We aren’t discussing geometry here. But we do want to discuss the fire tetrahedron.
Simply put, there are four components that create a fire—and removing any of them can help put the fire out.The 4 Things a Fire Needs to Live
Fuel. This is something that will make a fire burn! Many things can fuel a fire, including wood, plastic, and other organic or inorganic materials.
Heat. You will need enough heat to make the fuel burn. Depending on what is burning, the amount of heat will vary. But every object has a threshold at which point it will either ignite or melt.
Oxygen. Like all things in the world, air (oxygen) is what will help fires live. Oxygen will fuel a fire as easily as the other two items listed above.
Chemical Chain Reaction. This provides the heat necessary to maintain a fire. It causes a chain reaction, which will keep the fire burning and growing.The 4 Ways to Stop a Fire
Cool it. The most common step to take is to put something cool onto a fire. If it’s water, which is the most common approach, you have to be aware that it might take a lot because heat can make it evaporate quickly.
Smother it. Another approach would be to exclude the oxygen from a fire. If something can’t breathe, it can’t live…and a fire is no different. That’s why we are taught from a young age to “stop, drop and roll” if our clothing catches on fire—doing so smothers the fire by keeping it from oxygen.
Starve it. Eliminate the fuel sources that can help feed a fire. As long as a fire doesn’t have the adequate fuel, it will eventually go out. In some cases, a containment can be created by burning areas on purpose, which creates a boundary of starvation.
Interrupt the chain reaction. Now we’re getting a little fancier! Break the chemical reaction by using certain chemicals. A chemical called halon was previously used as a fire retardant, but since it has an elevated potential for ozone depletion, it has been banned.
If the fire tetrahedron makes a wreck of your home or business, we’re ready around the clock to help you recover. Contact SERVPRO anytime for fast, thorough cleanup and recovery after a fire.
Understand the Leading Causes of House Fires | SERVPRO® of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County
Regardless of the cause, SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall are here for you if your home is affected by fire.
The many responsibilities of owning a home are significant. But one of the most important items in the home is fire safety.
The scenario of having a fire is a daunting prospect to most homeowners! Fires are unpredictable, spread quickly and often cause enormous devastation. It’s something homeowners go to great lengths to avoid.
But despite years of ad campaigns and awareness advertising, more than a quarter of all reported fires still occur at home.
Let’s take a look at the top causes and see if we can drive these numbers down through prevention techniques:
Cooking. Cooking is the No.1 cause of house fires. Half of all home fires start in the kitchen, and the leading reason is unattended cooking! It only makes sense that the top priority for avoiding a house fire is never to leave the kitchen while cooking.
Heating equipment. Around 14% of all home fires across the country are started because of heating equipment. A mixture of equipment malfunctions, mishaps and flammable substances placed too close to heaters leads to this particular scenario being among the most common, and portable space heaters are the top culprit.
Electrical fires. Wiring in older homes can often lead to fires being started by electrical causes. Faulty wiring, the overloading of circuits and a generally higher usage of electricity than older houses can handle are all factors that contribute to electrical fires at home. New technology and updated electrical codes have played a part in reducing this cause. A house is generally considered old when it passes 50 years of existence. Older homes should have frequent electrical inspections to ensure the wiring won’t pose a danger to the house or homeowner.
Intentional fires. It’s hard to believe that arson accounts for more than 28,000 intentional home fires started every year. Intentional means exactly that—the fire was started on purpose with the intent of damaging or destroying the structure.
Smoking materials. We’re all glad smoking has steadily declined over the last 50 years since the Surgeon General published his initial report that smoking is detrimental to your health. But while only being responsible for 5% of home fire occurrences, fires started by smoking materials are the leading cause of civilian fire deaths. Victims are more susceptible because they often fall asleep while cigarettes are still burning.
Regardless of the cause, SERVPRO is here for you if your home is affected by fire. Contact your local team today to see how we can help.
Ways To Keep Fire Away | SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden & Marshall County
SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County is always #HereToHelp.
Businesses typically keep most of their important assets onsite at their business locations. This could be product inventory, computer equipment, warehouse equipment, company vehicles, etc. While we like to think that our company assets are secure, in our business, we know disasters are almost always unexpected. We try to keep our customers informed on how to prevent disasters and also educate them on what to do when disaster does hit your business. We offer a service that is free of charge where our sales rep comes to your place of business to assess your facilities and creates an ERP (Emergency Read Profile). An ERP is specific to your business and will help you identify hazards, as well as instructions and contact points in the event there is an emergency. Here are some fire safety tips that may be identified in your ERP and will help your business avoid a devastating fire this holiday season:
- Regular Maintenance on your Business Building.
- Always store combustible materials in containers.
- Always use Space heaters according to manufacturer’s guidelines.
- Keeping Items such as lighters, matches etc. out of reach of children.
- Always use proper extension cords for your holiday lighting.
These simple tips will help you and your business stay safe. We are always here to help!
September Ushers in Football & New Fire Risks | SERVPRO® of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County
Be mindful about fall fire safety. Always remember that SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall is the trusted leader in the restoration industry.
Cooler temperatures might be the last thing on your mind. After all, the temps here will still be toasty for a few more weeks, probably. But we’re beginning to see fall creep in with a slight chill in the early mornings and late evenings.
Each season brings its own potential fire hazards as activities commence. So grab your favorite pumpkin spice latte, and let’s review a few fire safety tips.
Campfire Safety in the Fall
With the fall weather comes an increase in camping, and one of the staples of camping is a campfire. Knowing how to construct a campfire is almost as important as knowing how to put it out.
It’s best to use a match or lighter to set fire to dry leaves or twigs, then add dry wood and bigger sticks. Never use an accelerant like kerosene or lighter fluid.
Build your fire away from structures and out from under tree branches. When it’s time to put the fire out, douse it completely before leaving your campsite.
Slowly pour a bucket of water on the embers and make sure none remain. Anything you leave behind can start up again with enough of a breeze.
The Tailgate Party
The tailgate party is a standard in Alabama, and grills are usually part of the festivities. Pack some safety along with your tailgate goodies!
Most grill fires are caused by an abundance of excess grease. Be sure to clean excess grease and empty the grease trap before starting the grill. A few precautionary steps can help avoid a disaster.
Space Heater Precautions
Many people supplement their heat with portable space heaters. But while handy, these are one of the most frequent causes of home fires in fall and winter.
Keep your heater away from anything flammable on any side. Ensure it has automatic shutoff capability for tip-overs and overheating.
And finally, space heaters are best directly plugged into a wall outlet, so avoid extension cords if possible.
Halloween is only a few weeks away! As you begin to decorate, keep fire safety in mind. Candles and Halloween decorations can be fire hazards, so be attentive and responsible as you celebrate.
If a fire hazard should turn from potential to reality in your home, remember the trusted leader in the recovery industry and contact SERVPRO to get your property fully restored right down to the smell of smoke.
Defensible Space & Why It's Important | SERVPRO® of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County
If your home is damaged by fire or any other reason, SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall is ready and able to repair any damage.
When you think of house fires, wildfires probably don’t come to mind as a potential cause. But the reality is: They’re more common than you think, even here in our area.
According to the National Park Service, wildfires are started by humans 85% of the time. Some accidentally from carelessness and other time deliberately by arsonists.
We can help control the number of fires caused carelessly by humans simply by being more careful when we’re around fire. But there’s more that you can do when it comes to protecting your property.
Understanding Defensible Space
While defensible space can be thought of as a military term, it is also used to define space around your home where combustible materials have been removed to create a fire break.
By adding flame-resistant hardscape around your home and utilizing responsible planting and pruning practices, you can reduce the risk of house fire posed by the wildfire.
By removing combustibles from around your home, you are creating a barrier between the wildfire and your house. This space also give firefighters a chance to slow or stop the wildfire before it damages your home.
Required by law in some states, it’s simply good practice in Alabama.
The Rising Risk of Wildfires
We often think of wildfires as a Rocky Mountain or Pacific Coast problem, but wildfires happen everywhere. In 2020, there were over 59,000 wildfires across the United States in 2020.
California has the distinction of having the most wildfires. They account for over 17% of the wildfires in the United States. But even if we take California fires out of the equation, the average number of wildfires per state in 2020 was still right under 1,000!
Here in Alabama in 2020, we experienced 836 wildfires, burning more than 20,500 acres of land. That’s a lot of destruction.
You can help prevent damage by taking prudent precautions to slow or stop wildfires. Creating defensible space is a great place to start.
If your home is damaged by fire of any sort, wild or not, SERVPRO is ready and able to repair the damage caused. Get in touch today to get the pros on your team.
Grilling Safety Tips For This Summer | SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County
SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County is always #HereToHelp.
Every summer hundreds of thousands of grills get fired up in the United States. Each person has a preference for which style they like such as open top, smoker, gas, wood pellet, hibachi, egg and more. And for some it depends on what is being cooked as to what type of grill is used.
As these grills are used there are a few key safety tips to keep in mind.
- Never use a grill indoors.
- Keep a safe distance from structures and overhangs to prevent the fire from spreading in the event of a flare up of flames.
- Keep kids and pets a safe distance from grills to prevent burns.
- Inspect propane tanks before use to ensure there are no holes or defects that can cause a hazard.
- Keep loose clothing away from the grill. No one wants their dress or shirt to accidentally catch fire when the wind shifts.
- Clean your grill before and after use to prevent grease build up that can cause flames to flare up.
The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) estimates over 10,000 fires are reported from various types of grills each year. Over 4,000 of these fires cause damage to a structure, many of which are homes. Following the above safety tips can reduce the risk of structure fires from grill related incidents.
Fire Safety for the Warmer Months | SERVPRO® of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County
Restoring fire and smoke damage is one of our specialties. Contact SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall to learn more.
Seasons change and winter leads to spring. It’s a time of renewal as trees start to bud and grass begins to grow after the “cold season.”
Everything feels fresh and new and the warner weather certainly leads to more outdoor activities. Cookouts, family get-togethers, graduation parties and trips to the lake can all lead to an increased risk of fires.
In fact, more daily fires occur in the spring, on average, than any other time of year. But with a little awareness, you can do your part to avoid fires at home this season. Let’s start with these:
These 3 Areas Deserve Special Attention
The grill. Grills get the most blame because they represent the greatest risk. Having a combination of heat, flame, grease and fuel in close proximity creates the right conditions for an unexpected fire. Grills should be properly maintained and cleaned after every use. Keep the grill away three feet away from your house and other flammable items. Pay special attention to cleaning—almost 20% of grill fires are due to inadequate cleaning.
The fire pit. Fire pits on a cool spring evening can attract friends and family. Keep these safety tips in mind regarding fire pit safety. Kids should never be left unattended around a fire pit with a fire. Have a water source handy in case the fire get to big or out of control, preferable a hose but at least a bucket. Don’t add anything else to the fire, except for wood. Tossing on cardboard or paper could cause embers to be picked up and relocated with the wind. Advice: If you roast marshmallows, avoid roasting over the flame, use the embers instead to get that “just right” roast.
The dryer vent and the chimney. While chimneys are not a huge issue in Alabama, dryer vents could be. Seasonally inspect your chimney for obstructions and creosote build-up and if necessary, have them professionally “swept.” There is more than just cleaning the lint filter after every use of the dryer. Over time, lint can build up in the dryer vent pipe. The longer the distance, the more opportunity for clogging. Dryer vents should be checked and cleaned periodically, but always at least once a year.
Our trained experts are on hand 24⁄7 for emergencies. If you have smoke, fire or water damage in your home or business, we can be there quick and get it cleaned up fast. Call or click today and experience the SERVPRO difference.
Want to Know More About Preventing Winter Fires? | SERVPRO® of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County
House fires tend to peak during the winter. SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County are available 24/7 in the event of an emergency.
House fires do more than damage valuable property and cause the loss of priceless family heirlooms. They can also cause thousands of injuries every year. And experts estimate that as many as 890 people die each year in winter house fires.
No season is free of its distinct fire risks, but winter does include more of them. Think about the nights spent indoors with a heater or a fire roaring, the time spent over the stove making special holiday meals and seasonal décor, like candles.
But even though there are plenty of winter fire hazards to consider, you can take steps to mitigate your risks and keep your home safer.
Steps You Can Take to Lower Your Fire Risk
It doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming to make your home a safer place for your family. Instead, you can do a lot to keep your property safer without investing much time or money.
Take steps to make your kitchen a safer place. Grease fires can flare up fast.. Can you put one of these fires out? Water makes grease fires worse, not better. Choose a fire extinguisher for these fires. A metal lid or baking soda will work, too.
Consider how safe your candles are. If you’re not home, don’t leave candles burning. Use them only when you’re at home. Don’t leave them in spots where kids and pets can knock them over. If you have problems with these basics, consider switching to battery-operated candles.
Don’t use extension cords for space heaters. The safest way to use these items is to plug them directly into the wall. Also, make sure your space heater is clear on all sides.
If your home is damaged due to a fire or any other cause, you can always count on us for restoration assistance. We have teams who are available 24⁄7 in the event of an emergency. Contact us at any time to learn more about our restoration services and how we can help your family.
Fire Safety & Slowing The Spread of Fire
To sleep with your doors open or to sleep with them closed, that is the question. And that answer changes depending on who you talk to. Some HVAC specialists recommend keeping the interior doors open as much as possible to help with airflow throughout your home (which is good for air flow when you are awake). However, firefighters will tell you that it is never a good idea to sleep with your interior doors open. You may ask why. It’s a simple answer for the firefighters, it slows the spread of fire.
It may sound crazy, but fire has been considered to “get faster” over the last 20-40 years. The materials used in the construction of homes as well as the materials our furnishings are made from are made from more synthetic materials than they were when our parents were our age. These synthetic materials burn much faster. It used to be said that on average a person had 17 minutes to exit their home after a fire started. That number is now down to roughly 3 minutes. That is a huge difference when the life of your loved ones is at stake.
Closing your bedroom door when you sleep can help slow the spread of fire drastically, which in turn increases your escape time. This is where a well planned and practiced fire safety plan comes into play, as well as those smoke detectors that need to be tested regularly and the batteries changed yearly. But just as important as slowing the spread of the flames, closing the interior doors also reduces the toxic carbon monoxide particles in the air by over 8,000 PPM (parts per million). It can also decrease the temperature by nearly 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit compared to a room whose door was left open.
Simply put, it’s okay to keep the interior door open during the day or when you are awake, but at bedtime it is best to close those doors. It could make all the difference.
iCAT Contents Management
SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County is proud to announce we are now using the iCAT contents management system on all jobs requiring a pack-out. A pack-out usually happens on fire damage jobs, but can happen on other types.We carefully pack the contents of a home into boxes and move them to our facility. At our facility these items are cleaned by our highly trained and caring staff with our special machines and cleaning products.
The iCAT contents management system has streamlined this process and caught the whole operation up to the technology we use daily (DryBook and Xactimate). With iCAT gone are the days or handwritten lists of salvageable and non salvageable contents. Customers, insurance agents, adjusters and our staff are loving this professional and easy to use system for more detailed contents tracking.
This software program works with an app downloaded onto our production team's iPads and iPhones as well as a small printer. Labels are printed with bar codes on them that are registered to the customers name. As contents are packed up a photograph is taken of all sides to log any damages as well as help identify what content items are in what boxes. The labels are placed on the outside of the boxes.
With a scanner, the bar code can be read and the list of the contents (with pictures) can be viewed. A paper copy can be printed of both salvageable and non salvageable contents, but we usually copy it to a flash drive for space saving purposes. The lists can also be sent to agents and/or adjusters to be able to view contents damaged in the loss.
For more information on the iCAT contents management system we are using, call our office today at 256-236-8889.
Fire Damage Care Boxes
Have you ever heard of fire care packages? This is a free service we provide. Our marketing support coordinator packs small boxes with hygiene products that someone may need after experiencing a fire in their home. Items include:
-Shampoo and conditioner
-Toothbrushes and toothpaste
-Brush and comb
-Body wash and scrubbies
-Shaving cream and razors
Our first responders have these boxes in their vehicles and hand them out to fire damage victims that are displaced from their homes. Our goal is to help these people get through the first few days afterwards.
One customer told us that his wife had been distraught over not even being able to care for her nails. She broke down in tears when she saw the nail file and clippers in the box. It’s small comforts like these we hope that others can garner from these boxes we provide at zero cost. It’s just a small thing we can do to help fire damage victims when they are still in shock over what has happened before the restoration and repair process has begun.
For more information on these fire care packages, please call our office at 256-236-8889 and remember that SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County is #HereToHelp.
Grilling Up Goodness Safely
SERVPRO is always #HereToHelp.
It’s warming up outside and we all know what that means….it’s time for all the barbecues to get fired up. May is actually National Barbecue Month, but before we all run out to start up light that charcoal or propane, remember to be safe and take the proper precautions.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration states about 5,700 fires start on residential property each year from grills. The majority of these fires are caused by malfunctioning gas grills. Grill related fires cause an annual average of $37 million in damage, 100 injuries and 10 fatalities.
Remember that grills (both charcoal and propane) should only be used outside away from structures, foliage and other flammable materials. Be aware of what hangs over your grill as well. A grill should never be left unattended once it has been lit, especially if there are children or pets around. A 3-5 foot perimeter should be kept around the grill by all who are not cooking. These precautions can prevent personal injuries and fires. Wildfires and home fires can be caused by coals not being disposed of correctly after they have cooled.
When using propane grills, check that the propane tank and the hoses are in good working condition with no holes or leaks. Check out this video from the NFPA on how to check your gas grill for leaks.
Follow these safety tips from the NFPA and enjoy the tasty treats your cook on your barbecue grill. SERVPRO is always #HereToHelp should you experience a grilling related fire (or any other fire).
May is National Wildfire Awareness Month, are you prepared?
May is National Wildfire Awareness Month, which focuses on prevention and preparedness. Now let me guess, when we say wildfires your brain automatically thinks of places out West. California, Colorado, Arizona and Montana tend to come to mind. Everyone remembers the wildfires in California last year that seemed like they would never end.
Most people around here don’t think wildfires are that prevalent in the Southeast, but according to Facts + Statistics: Wildfires, but North Carolina and Georgia rank in the top 10 for wildfires ranked by the number of fires and the number of acres burned for 2019. Alabama had 1,107 wildfires last year with over 22,000 acres were burned. What steps should you take to prevent wildfires? Well, it’s like Smokey the Bear says “Only you can prevent forest fires”.
According to the National Park Service, 85 percent of wildfires are caused by humans. Unattended campfires, cigarettes, burning debris, and arson are some of the top human-caused situations that lead to wildfires. Natural events such as lightning and volcanic eruptions can also result in wildfires.
Each person can play a part in reducing the number of wildfires by adhering to the following:
- If you see an unattended fire, report it to the proper authorities.
- Ensure campfires and/or fire pits are fully extinguished when you are done using them or leaving the vicinity and can no longer watch the fire.
- Lit cigarettes should never be thrown out on the ground, especially from a moving car.
- Before lighting a fire, call the proper authorities to check if your area is under a burn ban.
- Exercise caution when handling flammable liquids such as gasoline or propane.
- Fireworks should only be used in open areas free from debris and trees and only if there is no ordinance prohibiting their use.
If a wildfire occurs near you, stay alert to safety and evacuation ordinances. Ensure your route to safety is clear and that family and friends know where you are going. If you become trapped, call 9-1-1.
Talk to your insurance agent today to make sure you are covered in the event a wildfire damages your home or business.
The Fire Damage Process
Our trained technicians work hard to get your fire damage cleaned up so you can get back to normal.
Have you ever wondered what the process for handling a fire damage is? We have a detailed process, but here we will share a broad overview.
-First thing (if needed), we provide board up services. This ensures that critters and people can not walk up and remove your belongings.
-We work closely with the fire departments and fire inspector as we wait for the origin of the fire to be determined.
-Once we are given the all clear to enter the structure, we begin to pack out the contents so they can be moved to our warehouse for cleaning.
-If any demolition is needed, we work to get it removed before cleaning.
-A crew will then begin to clean each surface in the home. We start a the top (ceilings) and work down. We have special sponges that remove the soot.
-Once the clean/wipe down is completed, encapsulation begins.
This process leaves the home ready for the reconstruction team to come in and make it #LikeItNeverEvenHappened.
Fire Damage and Precious Contents
This cow cookie jar meant so much to the customer.
Two months ago we were called out to a fire damage in one of our territories. Unfortunately there wasn’t much we could do for the customers. Firefighters had worked hard to extinguish the flames, but the words “total loss” were being used. They were devastated.
We discussed what options they had and signed them up for services. With great care we packed up what items could be salvaged. All non-salvageable items were cataloged so it could be turned into their insurance company. The items we could work with were brought to our shop and cleaned. Our ladies in the warehouse worked diligently to remove the black soot from the sentimental items this family had left.
One of the precious items we cleaned for them was a cow cookie jar that had been a gift from a loved one. Another was a beautiful glass angel. The homeowners were so happy to have even these few items left after their tragic fire.
We are here to help.
House fires are caused by a number of things, such as lightning, brush fires, electrical shorts, candles, fireplaces, heaters and more. Fire damage is often doubled with water damage due to the firefighters' efforts to extinguish the flames.
Home fires are dangerous. The best precautions to take are having a plan in case of emergencies and having working smoke detectors in the home. A plan needs to be in place of how each person will get out of the house and where to meet in the event of a fire.
Fire is fast and deadly. The smoke is just as dangerous as the flames. Once you are outside of your home during a fire, NEVER re-enter the home. The smoke will make it hard to see and breathe. Wait for the fire department to do what they are there to do.
Should you experience a fire damage, give us a call. We are #HereToHelp.
Commercial Fire Damage
Commercial fire damage.
Recently we received a call from a local commercial property. They had suffered a fire damage in their office area. We routed crew to their location.
The damage from the fire itself was not very severe. But the soot. Oh, the soot. It was everywhere. The walls and floor were black with it. The filing cabinets were black and the contents of those cabinets were covered in soot as well.
Rooms that had not been affected by the fire because the door had been closed were in fact affected. The air conditioner had been left running and that allowed the soot from the main room to be dispersed throughout the offices.
We set up equipment to clean the air and set to work cleaning. We cleaned each surface in each office (walls, floors, ceiling, desks, shelves, etc.). the files in the filing cabinets were packed up and moved to an offsite facility where we cleaned each file to remove the soot.
Smoke Alarms & Public Awareness
Smoke alarms save lives. Test your smoke alarms monthly.
We have all been there. You are cooking in the kitchen and whatever you are cooking (usually bacon in my house) makes a little smoke and suddenly you are cooking to the annoying and incessant beeping of the smoke alarm. You or another member of your house is trying to fan the alarm and open windows to allow the smoke to escape. Some people even take the batteries out of the smoke alarms, but this is not advised.
Smoke alarms save lives and that is a fact. Here are a few other facts about smoke alarms that the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) use for educating the public on fire safety and smoke alarms.
-Keep the doors to bedrooms closed when you are sleeping. It could slow the progress of the flames during a fire as well as the smoke. But this means that each bedroom inside of each bedroom in your home as well as outside these rooms.
-Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When on sounds the others should sound as well.
-Smoke alarms need to be tested monthly to ensure the batteries and smoke alarm are still working properly.
-Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.
For more information visit NFPA.org.
In the event of a fire, call SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County once the fire trucks are gone.
Escape Plan & Fire Safety
Do you have a plan in the event of a fire?
As a kid I remember Smokey the Bear coming to my school and talking about “Only you can prevent forest fires” and fire safety. The fire drills at school where everyone lined up and went outside away from the building. The fire department would come and talk to us. They taught us to stop, drop and roll. And now my kids are learning fire safety at school with Sparky the Fire Dog.
Fire safety is an important subject to remember as adults and to pass on to the younger ones. One of the most important things you can do for fire safety at home (after installing and checking for working smoke detectors) is to create a fire escape plan. How will each person in your home get out in the event of a fire? What if you planned path is blocked by fire, does each person know an alternate route? Do you have a place to meet outside the home? Each person should know these things and the fire drill should be practiced (just like at school).
At work, you should have a picture of the building with emergency exits and evacuation routes indicated. Why not do this for your home? A visual reminder could be helpful to everyone.
Never use water to try to extinguish a grease fire.
Grease fires happen quickly. You may be frying some bacon or chicken and all of a sudden your kitchen is on fire. Do you know how to put out a grease fire?
There are several things that can and should be done, as long as it is safe to do them:
1. Turn off the heat source.
2. Cover the flames with a metal lid. This works for small grease fires. Fire has to have oxygen to survive and placing a lid over the flames will cut off the oxygen supply causing the flames to extinguish themselves.
3. Pour baking soda on the flames. This only works for small fires. But a word of caution, it will take a large amount to extinguish small flames.
4. As a last resort, or if the flames are too large for the previously mentioned methods, use a Class B Dry Chemical fire extinguisher. Use of a fire extinguisher will result in much more clean up needed, but it's better than letting a grease fire destroy your entire home.
5. Call 9-1-1.
NEVER, use water to try and put out a grease fire. This will cause the grease to splatter and the fire to spread. Also, do not move the pot/skillet around, as this could cause the fire to spread as well.
SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County is #HereToHelp at 256-236-8889.
Space Heater Safety
Always use caution when operating space heaters.
As the weather getting cooler space heaters get cranked up. SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County is HERE TO HELP with some safety tips to help prevent fires due to space heaters.
1. Keep all sides of the heater away from curatins, blankets, furniture, or any other items that could possibly catch fire. Three feet is the general recommended distance.
2. Space heaters should never be plugged into power strips or extension cords. They are not designed to handle the electrical load of a space heater.
3. Space heater cords should not be under rugs, carpeting, blankets, or other flammable items. The cord may get hot if covered. If the cord or plug ever feels hot, discontinue use of the heater until it can be inspected by a repair person.
4. Ensure the space heater is on a solid and sturdy surface that can not tip over.
5. Turn the heater off when you go the bed or leave the home. Space heaters should not be left running unattended.
6. Make sure there are no liquids around the space heater. Water and electricity never mix.
7. Heaters should be placed where small children can not knock them over, cover them, or burn themselves on them.
Let's Talk Dryer Vents...
Lint clogging a dryer hose.
Did you know that the pesky lint that collects in the lint filter, vent, and dryer hose are a fire hazard? Well they can be. If the lint isn't cleaned out regularly it can heat up and easily catch fire.
Nearly 5,000 home fires are caused annually by the build up and accumilation of dryer lint. The lint filter or screen should be cleaned with every load of laudry dried in the machine. The vent should be cleaned once a year (At minimum).
The hose for your dryer to vent outside should be cleaned out annually as well. If you notice that your vent hose is an accordian style, it may be a good idea to change it out to a smooth hose. The ridges in an accordian style hose can actually trap and hold lint.
American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign
SERVPRO is here and ready to help with any fire damage restoration.
Each year, the Red Cross responds to nearly 64,000 disasters, the vast majority of which are home fires. So we set a goal to reduce fire-related deaths and injuries in the US by 25%.
- 7 people die every day from a home fire, most impacting children and the elderly
- 36 peoplesuffer injuries as a result of home fires every day
- Over $7 billionin property damage occurs every year
Every day, seven people die in home fires, most in homes that lack working smoke alarms. Sadly, children and the elderly disproportionately lose their lives. The American Red Cross wants to improve the odds and save lives- that’s why we launched our Home Fire Campaign in 2014.
A critical part of the campaign is Sound the Alarm, a series of home fire safety and smoke alarm installation events across the country. Together with fire departments and other community partners, Red Cross volunteers:
- Canvass at-risk neighborhoods
- Install free smoke alarms
- Replace batteries in existing alarms
- Provide fire prevention and safety education
In just three years, our home visits have accomplished so much, including the installation of more than 1 million smoke alarms and preparing more than 1 million people against home fires.
Join us on a Sound the Alarm home visit in your community, where teams of volunteers will be installing 100,000 free smoke alarms in more than 100 cities across the U.S. Together, we can save lives!
Check out www.redcross.org/sound-the-alarm for more information and how to help in YOUR community!!
Fire Prevention This Holiday Season
Have a safe and happy holiday season.
SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County has tips to help you prevent fires in your home or business this holiday season.
- Make sure to water your Christmas tree daily to prevent it from drying out.
-Turn off Christmas lights when you leave your home or go the bed for the night.
-Inspect Christmas lights and the wires before putting them up and replace any that have frayed or damaged areas.
-NEVER leave a lit candle unattended.
-When using candles, make sure they are on a firm flat surface away from curtains and other flammable materials. This prevents them from tipping over.
-Keep candle flames away from children and pets, they can burn themselves or accidentally knock the candle over.
-Make sure deep fried turkeys are properly thawed before frying.
-Have the fireplace flue cleaned yearly.
SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County wishes you a happy and safe holiday season. For more holiday safety tips keep and eye out for our 12 Safety Days of Christmas on our Facebook page.
Place your smoke detectors in the corect places for the best results.
SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County wants to make sure you know the keys to detection when it comes to fire. Take a look at these Fire detection tips and make your home a safer place for you and your family to live.
- SMOKE ALARMS : Replace every 10 years.
- BATTERIES : Test monthly, replace yearly
- Two-thirds of all fire deaths occur in home with no or nonfunctioning smoke alarms.
- Have at least one smoke alarm on every floor, outside each sleeping area, and in every bedroom.
- Be sure that you create a fire evacuation plan in your home and ensure that all members of your family are familiar with it. This means practicing it too!
SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County cares about you and your family. Fire detection is key in saving lives!
Tips for Fireplace Safety
Chimney fires burn hot! A chimney fire can reach up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
This time of year fireplaces are roaring, even in Alabama. We’ve had a snowstorm in December and plenty of frigid weather causing us to run our heaters and our fireplaces on a regular basis. Nothing is better than sitting in front of a hot fire with a hot cup of coffee and a good book or a football game (we are in Alabama after all!!). While you are enjoying the warmth and ambiance that the fire delivers, it’s important to follow some safety tips before, during and after you enjoy that fire.
- Burn only dry, split firewood. Avoid chemically treated wood.
- Install a chimney cap.
- Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Close damper when fireplace is not in use.
- Schedule a yearly fireplace and chimney inspection.
It’s important to be safe while enjoying all the pleasures of this season! Take precautions to keep your home safe and sound!
Faster To Any Size Disaster
Mitigation requires quick action. The faster SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County arrives on-site to perform fire, smoke, and soot cleanup and restoration, the better the results—including lower claim costs. Within four hours of loss notification, SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County will be on-site to help ensure a fire damage is handled by utilizing the following services.
After a smoke or fire damage, ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting, and floors will often need a thorough cleaning. SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County will pretest to determine the extent of damage, then use the specific equipment and cleaning products required to clean and protect the different types of surfaces found in your insured’s structure.
All of the restorable contents in affected areas will be professionally cleaned and deodorized. This includes area rugs, furniture, draperies, and upholstery. SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County can provide wet or dry cleaning services. Additionally, all the other restorable contents will be cleaned and deodorized to preloss condition. This includes electronics, art, wood furniture, kitchen items, clothing, bedding, and much more. Finally, SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County can provide an inventory list of all “to be claimed” items for your insured.
SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County provides specialized services that rid your insured’s home or place of business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County does not merely cover up lingering odors with a fragrance; they seek out the sources of the odor and remove them.
Smoke Alarms: LIFE SAVERS
Smoke alarms save lives.
Smoke alarms save lives when properly installed and maintained, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). In homes, smoke alarms should be in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level, including the basement. Extra smoke alarms may be needed in large homes.
Test smoke alarms monthly using the test button. Smoke alarms with non-replaceable batteries need the entire smoke alarm unit replaced every ten years. Other alarms need batteries replaced every year, and the unit replaced every ten years. If the alarm chirps signaling low battery, take the proper steps to replace the unit or the batteries immediately. Never disable or remove the battery from an alarm. Almost half of fires where smoke alarms were present but did not activate had missing or disconnected batteries (NFPA). If you need help installing, testing or changing batteries in your smoke alarms, contact your local fire department, an electrician or the American Red Cross. Be sure your home has a fire emergency plan in place and conduct regular fire drills with your family. For more information on Emergency Preparedness, contact us today!
The Behaviors of Smoke
The Behavior of Smoke
The damage to your property following a fire can often be complicated due to the unique behavior of smoke. There are two different types of smoke-wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire.
SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County are thoroughly trained in fire cleanup and restoration and know the different types of smoke and their behavior patterns. Knowing this information is vital to proper restoration. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County will survey the loss to determine the extent of impact from fire, smoke, heat, and moisture on the building materials and contents. The soot will then be tested to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. Pretesting determines the proper cleaning method and allows us to focus on saving your precious items.
We know smoke can penetrate various cavities within the structure, causing hidden damage and odor. Our knowledge of building systems helps our crews investigate how far smoke damage may have spread. The following are additional facts you may not know about smoke.
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County is trained to handle even the toughest losses. If your home or business suffers fire or smoke damage, contact us to help make it “Like it never even happened.”
Five Dangers of Deep Frying a Turkey
Thanksgiving Turkey Frying Fail
A deep-fried turkey: delicious, but worth it? If you’ve seen any of the numerous videos of turkey fryer explosions and fires online, you may have asked yourself this question before. Running the risk of bodily injury or property damage is something to consider when menu planning this holiday season.
- Turkey fryers can easily tip over, spilling hot cooking oil over a large area.
- An overfilled cooking pot will cause cooking oil to spill when the turkey is put in, and a partially frozen turkey will cause cooking oil to splatter when put in the pot.
- Even a small amount of cooking oil spilling on a hot burner can cause a large fire.
- Without thermostat controls, deep fryers can overheat oil to the point of starting a fire.
- The sides of the cooking pot, lid, and pot handles can get dangerously hot.
Kitchen Fire in Oxford, AL
Each November, families gather to celebrate Thanksgiving by preparing a delicious feast, but if you don’t practice safe cooking habits, your holiday could become hazardous very quickly. According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. It’s important to be alert to prevent cooking fires.
- 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 the stovetop.
If you have a cooking fire, consider the following safety protocols to help keep you and your family safe.
- Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
- Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
- For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
- If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
- Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stove top. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County wishes you a safe and happy holidays!
Anniston Smoke and Soot Clean Up
This damage was caused by a fire, along with smoke and soot.
Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and soot facts:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Different Types of Smoke
There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Anniston, Gadsden and Marshall County will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:
Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
- Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
- Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
- Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage? Call Us Today – 256-236-8889