Recent Fire Damage Posts

Electrical Fires

9/12/2018 (Permalink)

Most electrical fires are caused by faulty electrical outlets and or old, outdated appliances. The following are the most common reasons why electrical fires happen:

  1. Old electrical sockets and unsafe appliances

Appliances that are old and overused and those that fall short of modern safety standards are the worst culprits. Frayed electrical cords, self-jointed wires, and worn out sockets that are not properly grounded are major causes of fires. They become ready outlets for directing heat and fire to carpets, rugs, curtains and combustible plastic. Older appliances draw more power than the wall sockets can handle.

  1. Using light fixtures that exceed the permissible wattage

A very common cause of fires is plugging lights, lighting appliances and bulbs into electrical sockets that cannot handle higher wattage levels. Antique lighting appliances may have defective wiring that makes the appliance unstable by overheating. Decorating lights with colored paper and cloth shades can increase the risk of fire when the material or fabric heats up.

  1. Using multiple appliances plugged into an extension cord

Unrestricted use of extension cords is a major fire hazard. The risk of fire increases when your TV, home theatre, computer and other appliances are all plugged into a single extension cord. This creates excessive power load on a single socket which may not be designed to handle that load. In the recent past classes at Middle School and East Pennsboro Elementary School had to be cancelled owing to a power outage caused by damaged wiring. So, there is a social and economic cost to damaged wiring!

  1. Locating portable heaters near combustible materials

Portable space heaters that use coils are potentially dangerous when they are positioned carelessly near curtains and rugs and adjacent to beds and cloth covered furniture. The chances of inflammable material coming into contact with the red-hot coils increase the risk of fire.

  1. Wiring that becomes defective with the passage of time

Over a period of time you add more electrical appliances such as wide screen televisions, home theatre, microwave oven, refrigerator and air conditioners. The outdated home wiring cannot handle the increased power load. Older wiring tends to heat up quickly and catches fire. If the breaker boxes are themselves defective, they cannot prevent overheated electrical panels from catching fire.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – SERVPRO of Gainesville 770-536-1010

What Should Be Discarded After A Fire?

9/12/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage What Should Be Discarded After A Fire? Food that has been damaged by heat, smoke, water toxic fumes or chemicals is not safe to use.

Items You Should Throw Away After a Home Fire

A home fire in Gainesville, Georgia is a frightening event that can change your life. Standing in your home among your damaged belongings, you probably ask yourself which items you need to throw away. The fact is that high heat and fire damage render some of your personal belongings useless and can even cause them to be dangerous if used. 

Food

Food that has been damaged by heat, smoke, water, toxic fumes or chemicals is not safe to use. Exercise caution and discard if in doubt. It’s recommended to throw away these items:

Fresh food, such as produce, meat, poultry, cheese, eggs and milk
Food in cardboard boxes or foil wrap
Food in canisters, such as spices, flour, and seasonings
Canned food
Any open packages of food

Check your refrigerator to see if it was able to keep your food cold and if soot was able to penetrate it. If your fridge was turned off for more than four hours or if you can detect soot, discard all food. Frozen food can be safe to use if it still has crystals on it; however, the safe bet is to toss it.

Medicine and Cosmetics

Inspect medicines and cosmetics that were near high heat for soot, dust, chemicals and signs of damage. If anything is warped due to the exposure to heat, don’t even think about keeping it. You’re on the safe side if you simply get rid of all medicine and cosmetic items. 

Clothes and Textiles

Some of your clothes and textiles might be able to be cleaned and disinfected by an experienced fire restoration company that has the proper tools and knowledge. Anything that is burnt needs to be thrown away, though. Baby and children clothing need some extra care and attention as you don’t want to risk your little one’s health. 

Exercise caution with the items mentioned above. It might be smart to just throw away food, medicine and cosmetics for the sake of your health. Always bear in mind that high heat and fire damage are dangerous, and even if any of these items seem to be in good condition, your eyes might be tricking you.

Call SERVPRO of Gainesville for more information on restoring your home after fire damage, 770-536-1010.

Is it time to replace the battery in your smoke detector?

9/7/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Is it time to replace the battery in your smoke detector? When should you replace the batteries in your smoke detector?

It's a great habit to replace the battery in your smoke detector annually.

But did you know that smoke detectors lose their effectiveness over time? The US Fire Administration says that most smoke detectors today have a life span of about 8-10 years. At that point, the entire unit should be replaced. When you replace the unit, write the date purchased on the inside with a sharpie to have on record.

A smoke detector is an essential component of your home's safety equipment and having at least one smoke detector means that your surroundings are safer. That’s great, but you just need to take the necessary steps to keep your smoke detector in proper working order and that doesn't necessarily mean doings a whole home smoke detector replacement, but rather checking and replacing their batteries. Generally your smoke detector will let you know if the battery is low. If your smoke detector keeps chirping or there is a blinking red light you might need to change the battery. The smoke detector red light could also indicate that your system is over 10 years old and needs to be replaced. A hard wired smoke detector with a red blinking light could indicate that there’s a problem with the wire connection. If you’re not sure it might be a good idea to do a quick search on the internet to find out. 

Fire Extinguiser 101

9/4/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Fire Extinguiser 101 There are multiple fire extinguishers, you need to know which one is the best for your circumstance.

Not only is it smart to keep fire extinguishers in your home or business, it’s also the law in many states.

It's important to make sure you have the right types of fire extinguishers on hand to put out common fires.

Getting started with fire extinguishers

The first thing to do when choosing a fire extinguisher is to decide which rooms in your house need one. You should keep at least one on each level of your house. Make sure you keep fire extinguishers handy where fires are more likely to start, like in the kitchen and garage.

Understanding fire extinguisher classes

There are four classes of fire extinguishers – A, B, C and D – and each class can put out a different type of fire.

  • Class A extinguishers will put out fires in ordinary combustibles such as wood and paper
  • Class B extinguishers are for use on flammable liquids like grease, gasoline and oil
  • Class C extinguishers are suitable for use only on electrically energized fires
  • Class D extinguishers are designed for use on flammable metals

Multipurpose extinguishers can be used on different types of fires and will be labeled with more than one class, like A-B, B-C or A-B-C.

Purchasing your fire extinguisher

Now that you know how many extinguishers you need and what types to get, you can head to the hardware store. Look for fire extinguishers that you can easily lift. Larger extinguishers may pack more power, but you must be able to use it properly.

Learning how to use your fire extinguisher

Once you've made your purchases, familiarize yourself with the fire extinguisher directions so you’ll be prepared in case you need to put out a fire. Typically, fire extinguishers are easy to use in the case of a fire. Most of the types operate using the P.A.S.S. technique:

  • Pull the pin on the fire extinguisher to break the tamper seal.
  • Aim the fire extinguisher low, with the nozzle pointed at the base of the fire. 
  • Squeeze the handle of the fire extinguisher to release the extinguishing agent. 
  • Sweep the nozzle from side to side while pointed at the base of the fire until it is extinguished. 
  • If the fire re-ignites, repeat the last 3 steps.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – SERVPRO of Gainesville 770-536-1010

Summer Grilling and Firework Safety

8/17/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Summer Grilling and Firework Safety Grilling safely keeps your summer fun

Summer is synonymous with barbecues, parades, and firework displays.  Along with all the festivities are plenty of visits to emergency rooms, especially during July. Each year, an average of 230 people are injured badly enough to require medical treatment after firework-related incidents, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. In addition to causing injury, fireworks are also responsible for thousands of house fires each year with millions of dollars in property damage.

There is nothing like firing up the grill during the summer months? A backyard barbecue can become dangerous if safety precautions aren't considered. Your local SERVPRO of Gainesville professionals want you to have an enjoyable and safe summer. Consider the following tips to ensure your summer celebrations are disaster-free!

  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
  • The grill should be placed away from the home, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets away from grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.
  • When using a charcoal grill, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.
  • Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear.
  • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Keep a bucket of water nearby or a water hose to fully extinguish fireworks that don't go off or in case of fire.
  • Children should never pick up leftover fireworks as they may still be active.
  • The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public display conducted by trained professionals.

Tips and information provided by the National Fire Protection Association

Hall County Smoke and Soot Cleanup

8/13/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Hall County Smoke and Soot Cleanup Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Hall County Home.

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 Gainesville 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 – SERVPRO of Gainesville 770-536-1010

Hall County Smoke and Soot Cleanup

7/19/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Hall County Smoke and Soot Cleanup Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Hall County Home.

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 Gainesville 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 – (770) 536-1010

FIRE DO's AND DON'Ts

12/21/2015 (Permalink)

What To Do After a Fire

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.

  • Keep hands clean so as not to further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.

  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.

  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.

  • Clean and protect chrome with light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.

  • Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves.

  • Change HVAC filter.

  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.

What NOT To Do After a Fire

  • Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting us.

  • Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water without consulting an authorized repair service.

  • Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water.

  • Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.

  • Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.

Fire Prevention and Safety Tips for Your Business

12/18/2015 (Permalink)

Protect yourself and your business from any unforeseen hazards like fires. Here are some tips to protect your business from fire damage.

Fire Extinguishers and Business Safety
One way to protect yourself, your employees, and your business from fire is to have proper fire extinguishers handy on the premises. Fire extinguishers can help you eliminate a small fire from spreading into a fire you cannot control.  Once you buy all the necessary extinguishers, perform a training session with all employees on the proper use of the extinguisher and how to check if it is charged. Place them in a highly visible area for quick and easy access. The most common place for extinguishers are break rooms and kitchens.

Smoke Detectors and Fire Alarms
The best protection from a fire is early detection.  Smoke detectors provide the early warning you need to stop a fire in its tracks. Be sure to change the batteries every three months and test them every month. Place one smoke detector in every room and fire alarms on every floor. Like everything else in the world, smoke detectors have a life expectancy. Replace your smoke detectors every ten years.

Overhead Sprinklers Prevent Fire Damage
One important tool for putting out a fire is water.  Overhead sprinklers can douse a fire as soon as they detect it.  If you have equipment and paper that is sensitive to water, simply have them installed in the areas that are prone to fire outbreaks.

Your business is your livelihood. You do not want to lose it to a fire. Taking the proper precautions can save you a lot of time, effort and money in the long run. Use these tips to help you take preventive measures to protect your business.

Smoke Detectors Have a Shelf Life

12/11/2015 (Permalink)

It's a great habit to replace the battery in your smoke detector annually.

But did you know that smoke detectors lose their effectiveness over time? The US Fire Administration says that most smoke detectors today have a life span of about 8-10 years. At that point, the entire unit should be replaced. When you replace the unit, write the date purchased on the inside with a sharpie to have on record.

A smoke detector is an essential component of your home's safety equipment and having at least one smoke detector means that your surroundings are safer. That’s great, but you just need to take the necessary steps to keep your smoke detector in proper working order and that doesn't necessarily mean doings a whole home smoke detector replacement, but rather checking and replacing their batteries. Generally your smoke detector will let you know if the battery is low. If your smoke detector keeps chirping or there is a blinking red light you might need to change the battery. The smoke detector red light could also indicate that your system is over 10 years old and needs to be replaced. A hard wired smoke detector with a red blinking light could indicate that there’s a problem with the wire connection. If you’re not sure it might be a good idea to do a quick search on the internet to find out. 

Do you enjoy that fresh baked apple pie or evergreen candle scent during the holidays?

12/10/2015 (Permalink)

Before Lighting – here are some tips on candle burning safety. 

  • Trim the wick to ¼ inch each time before burning. Long or crooked wicks can cause uneven burning, dripping or flaring.

  • Always use a candleholder specifically designed for candle use. It should be heat resistant, sturdy, and large enough to contain any drips or melted wax.

  • Burn candles in a well-ventilated room.

  • Place the candleholder on a stable, heat-resistant surface. This will also help prevent possible heat damage to counters and table surfaces and prevent glass containers from cracking or breaking.

  • Keep the wax pool clear of wick trimmings, matches and debris at all times.

  • Avoid drafts, vents or air currents. This will help prevent rapid or uneven burning, sooting, and excessive dripping.

  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on burn time and proper use.

Chimney Tips to Keep Your Family Warm…and Safe

12/7/2015 (Permalink)

What causes chimney fires?

The build-up of creosote along the chimney lining walls can facilitate the start of a chimney fire. All fires create soot and residue build-up, especially wood burning fireplaces and stoves. This build-up is caused by the unburned materials in the smoke accumulating along the chimney walls and creating a sticky substance that can easily catch fire. The smoke from the fire contains a substance similar to tar and when the temperatures within the chimney are below 250 degrees Fahrenheit, the substance will condense along the chimney surface. When the temperature drops below 150 degrees Fahrenheit, the substance turns into a dark, sticky substance that is also highly flammable.

A chimney that is dirty, blocked or is in disrepair can inhibit proper venting of smoke up the flue and can also cause a chimney fire. Nearly all residential fires originating in the chimney are preventable.

Maintenance - Good maintenance is a very important step in preventing chimney fires!

  • Have your chimney checked annually by a qualified chimney professional.
  • Burn only well seasoned hardwoods.
  • Start fires with clean newspaper or dry kindling – Gasoline or kerosene should never be used to start a fire.

  • Never burn cardboard boxes, wrapping paper or your Christmas tree.

  • Keep the area in front of the fireplace clear of paper and debris. It can be tempting during the holidays to place decorations close to the fireplace, but keep them at a safe distance.

  • If your fireplace doesn't have a glass door, use a wire mesh screen.

  • Install a chimney cap.

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector.

  • Have your chimney sweep ensure that your chimney has an appropriate liner.

  • Following a violent storm, earthquake, flood or lightning strike, have your chimney inspected for damage - inside and out.

Prevention - Remember prevention is your best defense against fire. If you have a wood or coal stove, be sure it is installed at least 36 inches away from the wall. Keep combustible materials well away from the stove and chimney connector. Place an approved stove board under the unit to protect the floor from heat and hot coals which might drop out.

Prevent Christmas tree fire

11/24/2015 (Permalink)

Safety Checklist

  • Get a fresh tree whose needles are green and don't easily fall off
  • Cut 1-2 inches from base of trunk before placing the tree in the stand
  • Place the tree at least 3 feet away from heat sources
  • Add water daily to prevent drying
  • Do not connect more than three strands of mini-string sets
  • Check holiday lights for frayed wires or excessive water
  • Always turn lights off on a tree before going to bed or leaving your home
  • Ged rid of a tree when its needles start dropping
  • Check that your smoke alarm is working properly