Recent Fire Damage Posts
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