Recent Fire Damage Posts
Fire Prevention and Preparedness for Pets
Create a pet fire safety kit with medical supplies
Your pets are an important part of your family, and you surely would do whatever you can to keep them from harm’s way. To help keep your pet and the rest of your family safe from the dangers of a home fire, here are several important steps you should take to prevent and prepare your pet for the possibility of a fire emergency in your home in Falmouth, ME.
Pet Fire Prevention
Like young children, your pets are not always aware of their surroundings and that their actions can result in a fire. Here are a few pet safety tips for preventing a fire:
- Don’t leave pets unattended near space heaters or an open flame
- Secure electrical cords that your dog might chew on
- Remove stove knobs or use safety covers
- Consider flameless candles or other candle alternatives
Pet Fire Preparedness
Once you have set up your home to help your pets from starting a fire emergency, you then need to start on your pet preparation and fire escape plan. When developing an evacuation plan with your family, identify which member of the family will be responsible for helping your pets get to safety, and make sure your dog comes when called.
Create a pet fire safety kit with medical supplies you might need to help your pet, some treats, and a leash or carrier. Also, add a pet alert window cling to a front window with information on all of your pets so firefighters can quickly find them.
While the tips in this guide can help you prevent a fire emergency and provide you with a plan for helping your pet if one does ever does occur, make sure to you don’t delay your escape if saving your pet isn’t possible. Once out of the house, never reenter until after firefighters extinguish the fire and the fire damage assessment team says your home is safe to enter.
3 Do’s and Do Nots to Reduce Space Heater Fires
Space heaters can result in burn injuries
Winter months mean homeowners looking to turn up the heat – be it central or other. That “other” often includes space heaters, a modern convenience that can also be dangerous. Just one burned space heater could be all that stands between your Portland, ME, home and disaster. Avoid catastrophe – read this list of things to do and not do for space heater use.
What Causes Space Heater Fires
Half of home heating fires happen between December and February when people seek alternative ways to keep utility costs low. Space heaters can result in:
- small fires
- burn injuries
- smoke cleanup/damage
The things to do and not do below should keep your building warm and your family and belongings safe.
Do Look for A Safety Certification
Before you buy your space heater, make sure it has a safety certification from a well-known source like Underwriters Laboratories. Such models typically feature auto shut off features that can prevent overheating and minimize chances of a burned space heater.
Do NOT Put a Space Heater Too Close to Things
Keep about three feet of space around a space heater, with flammable materials removed from nearby. Experts say that fires caused by putting flammable materials too close to space heaters is the second leading cause of house fires annually.
Do NOT Use an Extension Cord
Low amp extension cords are not prepared to handle the amount of power drawn from a space heater, making them a major fire hazard. The one exception is if you know the specific amps for which the extension cord and the space heater are rated. If you don’t, you’re risking a burned space heater.
Space heaters offer a convenient alternative when central heating is unavailable or simply inappropriate. But you must use them wisely. Follow these tips and if the unthinkable does happen, reach out to your local fire restoration expert to make things like new.
Renters Insurance: The Unsung Apartment Dweller’s Hero
Fire damage in a Falmouth, ME apartment
Have you ever accidentally left the oven on and worried about whether you might inadvertently start a fire in your apartment? Have you ever wondered if your renters insurance would cover the ensuing damage? As a great relief to many apartment dwellers, insurance does cover you in most cases, offering significant protection in four ways.
1. Personal Property
Fire damage is typically covered under the peril portion of your policy, and the great thing is that negligence likely does not affect personal property coverage. Most plans include your property’s replacement cost rather than actual value, meaning you can afford a new sofa. However, check to make sure that your policy isn’t only covering actual cash value because this price takes into account depreciation, which can significantly lower replacement coverage.
Renters insurance also offers protection against liability. This means that you cannot personally be sued for damages caused by a fire, even if your negligence caused it. Your representative can respond to injury and loss claims and act on your behalf.
3. Medical Expenses
Your policy will most likely have a section for medical payments to others, which is no-fault insurance meant to handle minor injuries. This portion of your coverage is meant to expedite payments to others without declaring fault or blame.
4. Loss of Use
Unlike liability and medical payments, loss of use is for you personally. This coverage ensures that you continue to have a roof over your head while a fire restoration company in the Falmouth, ME, area fixes your apartment. Your policy will likely cover hotel stays for a certain period, depending on the extent of the damage.
Renters insurance is a valuable tool, and it can ease your worries when it comes to forgetfulness and personal liability. Be sure to either purchase a policy or check your coverage, so you know how you are protected in an emergency.
How To Keep Dryer Lint Under Control
Having a dryer in your home in Westbrook,ME, is a handy convenience, but it can turn into a nuisance if excess lint causes a fire. In order to avoid a lint fire, you need to properly maintain your dryer. Regular maintenance not only includes frequent cleaning but also involves professional help when necessary.
You need to do frequent lint checks on your dryer. A dryer fire can happen easily if the lint hiding inside it ignites. You need to clean every part of the machine where lint can linger, which involves:
- Removing lint from filter after every load
- Cleaning vent pipe once a quarter
- Scrubbing lint filter at least twice a year to remove buildup
- Calling for professional cleaning if your dry times become longer
A lint fire can happen even if you remove lint from the filter because that's not the only place lint ends up. Fire remediation experts advise cleaning the whole machine to reduce the chance of fire.
Keeping the dryer itself clean is only half the process of fire safety. Regular maintenance involves ensuring that the ventilation system is unhindered and working properly. If any restrictions exist, the dryer will not be able to vent well, and lint will inevitably build up. The indoor vent should be inspected before the dryer is installed to make sure that it is not damaged. The outdoor vent should be protected from the elements and small creatures looking to make a home inside of it with a reliable covering. This covering, however, should stay open when the dryer is on so that lint can escape. By taking the entire ventilation system into account, you are less likely to experience a fire due to excess lint.
A lint fire can break out if your dryer is not cleaned or well ventilated. By being diligent about regular maintenance, you can avoid damage to your dryer and your home in general.
The Truth About Smoke, Soot and Insurance
This is the aftermath of a house fire in Portland
Perhaps you believe that insurance only covers smoke damage resulting from a fire in your business. Nothing could be further from the truth. Your insurance should cover the smoke cleaning even if it was damaged by smoke from a nearby business. Regardless of the source, smoke cleanup challenges and procedures will be the same.
The cost and the magnitude of post-fire cleanup varies, depending heavily on the type of fire and residue.
• Hot, fast-burning fires result in a more complete combustion of the burned material. This results in a dry smoke with a powder-like residue that makes clean-up comparatively easy.
• Smoldering, slow-burning fires produce what is called wet smoke. It contains large amounts of unburned material including soot and sticky, odor-causing particles that adhere to surfaces. Most of the smoke damage from wet-smoke is invisible and difficult to address.
• Fires of any type that involve petroleum products are likely to generate significant amounts of soot. Soot damage is easily seen on hard light-colored surfaces but easily hides in carpets and fabrics. It still presents a significant cleaning challenge.
Smoke Cleaning Is Not for Amateurs
Finally, the end is in sight. The inspection is complete, the paperwork processed and the insurance company has approved the plan. The fire restoration specialists in Portland, ME, are ready to proceed with the cleanup. They bring with them a crew of experienced cleaning professionals and their specialized equipment. Visible surfaces are cleaned. Odors that can’t be cleaned are neutralized with the help of ozone machines. Odors that can’t be neutralized are completely masked by special deodorizers broadcast throughout the building by thermal foggers.
Open for Business Again
The process is complete and the air in the building no longer smells like smoke. The restoration specialists have done their job and moved on. Business is back to normal and the smoke damage is on its way to becoming a distant memory. Life is good.
For more on Portland click here.
Top 5 Causes of House Fires
Fires can destroy your home
Every 86 seconds, fire departments across the United States respond to residential fires. As a homeowner in Portland, ME, the prospect of a home fire is terrifying. Help prevent fires in your home by knowing the top five fire causes:
Leaving cooking unattended is the leading fire cause in homes. The risk is increased with frying and attempting to extinguish the blaze without assistance from firefighters. Never leave your home with food cooking in the kitchen. If a fire starts, call 911 before attempting to put out the flames.
The majority of house fires instigated by smoking involve bedding and upholstery. If you smoke, go outside if possible. Never smoke in bed or near flammable fabrics, especially when tired.
When heating is the reason for a home fire, it is commonly due to space heaters or wood stoves. Reduce your risk by turning off these devices when you are asleep or not at home. Furnace maintenance can help prevent fires due to central heating.
Failures with electrical equipment or lighting cause 9-13% of residential fires. Check your cords, plugs, outlets and light fixtures for damage and repair or replace as needed.
There is little you can do to prevent a fire that is set intentionally. About half of this type of fire is set by children and adolescents.
The best way to protect your own safety and reduce fire damage at your home in Portland, ME, is to know the common causes of home fire and how to prevent them. In addition to the above information, keep at least one functioning smoke detector at each level of your home. If possible, install a home sprinkler system. Have and practice an escape plan with your family in case of a fire. After a fire, contact your insurance agent and a fire restoration specialist to begin the process of smoke and fire cleaning.
For more on Portland click here.
Smoke & Soot Cleanup
Soot buildup on these light fixtures after a fire occurred in a local business in Portland.
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 Portland 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 – 207-772-5032
3 Helpful Tips for Avoiding a Dryer Fire
Cleaning your Portland dryer vent will prevent future fires from lint and dust
Though you and your family probably take the time to exchange chore duties in your Portland, ME, home, some cleaning tasks inevitably fall by the wayside. One of these tasks includes keeping your dryer maintained and well-kempt, preventing a potential dryer fire in the process. Here are three helpful tips for avoiding a fire through your home’s dryer, whether it be due to a lint fire, an electrical issue or something more hazardous.
1. Be sure to clean the lint filter before and after every load of laundry. While cleaning out lint from the trap can easily be overlooked, creating a schedule to regularly follow can quickly make the task become a common habit in your family. This prevents considerable lint and dust build-up from forming near the heating element, eliminating a possible dryer fire hazard with every use thereafter.
2. Make it a priority to snake out your air exhaust vent pipe. A lint fire can erupt just as easily through the exhaust pipe as the filter since air flow can become restricted in the ventilation path due to build-up over time. Not only should professional inspections be conducted on a consistent basis but the outside vent ducting should be unblocked from time to time, as well.
3. Frequently inspect for and remove any dust collection behind the dryer, and ensure that flammable items aren’t resting too close to the heating element. Excess dust, lint and dirt can collect on the electrical wiring and tubing behind your dryer, so using a duster or vacuum to remove build-up is crucial to keeping the machine working properly and safely. Furthermore, be wary of storing any flammable objects or chemicals near the heating element.
While perfectly maintaining your Portland, ME, home at all times can be impossible due to everyone’s busy schedules, making dryer maintenance a priority is vital to preventing a potential lint fire in your residence.
For more on Portland click here.
What Is a Puffback?
The basement hallway carpet was affected by the puffback.
Soot is Left All Over House in Portland, ME
A puffback occurs when a furnace has malfunctioned where a small and confined explosion has occurred in the burner chamber sending soot and smoke throughout the home. The soot will attached itself to walls, ceilings, upholstery carpet and many other items within the home making it difficult to clean. Our office was recently called to a home in Falmouth where a puffback had taken place.
The soot traveled throughout the house which you can see in this picture. SERVPRO of Portland was called in to help with the cleanup. We have a great relationship with the insurance company these homeowners in Portland use. We were glad to be of service and the homeowners were very grateful to be back in a clean home.
Managing Electronics After Fire Damage.
As a general rule, you should steer clear of any electronics you suspect may have been affected by smoke damage during the fire until a professional can perform a quick inspection. This is to ensure that no moisture or other particles have entered parts of the device that could make it dangerous.
Smoke carries acids and a number of different chemicals that can corrode the metal pieces inside of your electronics’ casings. These substances typically need more than just a damp cloth to clean properly, which is why all cleaning should be left to trusted electronics professionals. Usually, your fire cleanup crew will work alongside an electronics shop of your choice to get the best possible results.
Of course, after the initial cleaning, you’ll want to have either the electronics store owner or a cleanup pro check the electronic in question to ensure its working properly. This can help them catch any unexpected remaining issues, so that when you do get your belongings back, they’ll be good as new.
Getting the proper care for your home during fire cleanup in Portland, Maine, is important if you want to get things back to normal again, and that includes your electronics. Fortunately, with the right crew, the process is easier, faster and more effective.
Visit http://www.SERVPROportland.com for more information on fire.
Caring for Your Electronics After a House Fire
Caring for Your Electronics After a House Fire
After a house fire, there is a lot you and your family can get done with old-fashioned soap and water. However, there are some things that are best left to professional fire cleanup crews, such as your electronics. Instead of just scrubbing these belongings clean, pros will need to
• Inspect for any present safety issues
• Clean away corrosives from inside the casings
• Perform a thorough inspection of the item after professional cleaning to ensure performance safety
Each of these steps is important, and none of them can be missed if you want a truly good electronic restoration experience in Portland, Maine.
Visit http://www.SERVPROportland.com for more information on fire.
Getting a Firm Quote
Getting a Firm Quote
The reality is that not all firms providing fire damage restoration services provide the same pricing scheme for its residential and commercial fire damage remediation services. Because of this reality, you need to make certain that you obtain a thorough estimate or fee quote from a commercial fire damage remediation service.
Although time is of the essence in the aftermath of a residential or commercial fire, if you can, you should attempt to do at least some price comparisons. You cannot sacrifice the need for immediate intervention at the premises, including prompt board up and fire cleanup, in order to spend an inordinate amount of time shopping for the lowest price. Keep in mind that the lowest price for fire damage remediation services typically is not the best deal. You want to seek out the more reputable, effective fire damage restoration professional at the most reasonable price.
Inquire About Equipment
Not only will you want to glean information about the team of specialists at a fire damage remediation firm, you will also want to inquire about the equipment a company uses. For example, you will want to find out what equipment a company uses to deal with issues like fire cleanup more generally, but also to address smoke damage, soot damage, and smoke smell.
Visit http://www.SERVPROportland.com for more information about our services.
What to Expect from a Fire Damage Restoration Company
What to Expect from a Fire Damage Restoration Company
It is difficult to imagine anything that is more traumatizing than a fire in home or a fire in business. Home fire damage threatens the sense of security of a family or a group of professionals. Commercial fire damage can swiftly bring the operations of an enterprise to a sudden halt. It can therefore affect the business as well as the customers.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, the latest survey shows that there is structure fire damage that takes place every 65 seconds. Emergency responders, along with the firefighters, answer the signal from the alarm sounds to provide help for those who are in need of a fast and decisive action. After the smoke clears, a team that will carry out the fire damage restoration and board up process should be contacted.
Why Fire Cleanup and Rebuilding with the Help of a Restoration Company is Crucial
The first 24 to 48 hours after the fire in home or fire in business are known as the golden hours – to be specific, they are the most important times for recovery after fire damage. A restoration company will provide professionals that will quickly help in stabilizing the facility. This helps ensure the recovery of possessions and the property as much as possible.
The soot damage and the smoke damage are considered to be acidic. This means that they can accelerate the corrosion and the deterioration of the components of the house or building. Not only that, the soot damage and the smoke damage that are a result of extinguishing the fire can lead to the destruction of vital assets. It becomes even worse because these days, water or dry chemicals are used to put out the fire. Aside from this problem, the smoke smell is toxic and therefore must be neutralized, cleaned, and deodorized.
How a Restoration Company Can Help
The home and commercial fire damage rebuilding procedure depends on the approach used by the restoration companies. Often though, it involves mitigating damage, fire cleanup and providing smoke smell solutions. It may also include water restoration and other ways to fix structural issues. Aside from that, a restoration company should understand that the contents within the structure should be saved or recovered as much as possible. Usually, evaluations will be made based on a number of factors including:
Comparison of costs between replacing the contents and restoring them
The extent of the aftereffects of smoke smell and damage
The loss of use of contents of the house or business due to heat, soot damage, and others
Loss of value of belongings due to fire damage
If an item has sentimental value
If an item has suffered from decreased life expectancy
After evaluation, home and commercial fire damage companies can provide services depending on the needs of the homeowner or business. In general, fire damage restoration can include services like emergency board up, fire cleanup, soot damage inspection and removal, thermal deodorization for mitigating smoke damage, and sometimes, even complete reconstruction after fire in home or fire in business.
A restoration company can work closely with the fire departments in the local area. A team of skilled specialists are often called in to help in dealing with fire cleanup, soot damage, and even smoke smell shortly after fire has been extinguished. These specialists can provide support services for the victims of fire and smoke damage such as:
Emergency board up services as well as site containment to secure the area or the premises and preserve the scene from additional smoke damage and soot damage
Assisting fire cleanup and fire damage restoration by working under arson investigators where they will secure evidence and perform other tasks for private and commercial fire damage
Providing cranes and heavy equipment to help in clearing paths, expediting hauling, and other needs for fire damage restoration
Moving materials to secure safe entry of authorized personnel before and during the fire cleanup and fire damage restoration process
The restoration company may also be responsible for the application of board up decals in case they are required to help in decreasing visual eyesore of the structures that have been affected by the fire in home or fire in business.
Visit http://www.SERVPROportland.com for more information on fire damage.
How Can Professional Fire Damage Restoration Help?
How Can Professional Fire Damage Restoration Help?
A fire in a home or a fire in a business can be one of the greatest challenges for an individual to overcome. It is tempting to attempt to fix the situation immediately and without assistance, but this is ill-advised for a number of reasons. A restoration company is much better equipped to handle the challenges of property recovery after fire damage. Smoke and soot settle into furniture, carpet, and household textiles within minutes causing smoke and soot damage as well as leaving a smoke smell. Calling a fire cleanup crew immediately will prevent further damage and allow for more stability more quickly.
A restoration company can begin fire damage restoration immediately by drying up the property after firefighting. Firefighting can cause flooding, which is not possible for an individual without training or the proper equipment to clean up. Water damage can reduce property values by just as much as fire damage and should be handled immediately. Industrial water extractors, dehumidifiers, and air current movers are all employed by technicians in order to better dry out a property.
Once fire damage has caused doors and windows to be compromised, it is important to board up these areas so as to secure the property. A fire cleanup crew will be more adept and better equipped than any individual at properly boarding up any weakened entry points. Boarding up a house is a temporary way to provide the kind of stability necessary for further fire damage restoration.
Smoke damage settles into the property quickly and leaves a smoke smell that is irritating. An odor control technician can employ a number of techniques to remove the smoke smell including ozone treatment, deodorizing sprays, and ventilation. The extent of smoke damage and smoke smell is invisible but can is just as damaging as fire damage.
Soot is oily and staining to any fabric or carpeting. Commercial fire damage can cause entire areas of carpet to require deep cleaning. A heavy duty industrial vacuum cleaner as operated by a professional is much more effective at removing soot damage than any individual. A fire in a home or a fire in a business can quickly cause soot damage and smoke damage that is impossible for a property owner to manage. Counteractants may be employed by a specialist to better manage soot damage and smoke damage. Commercial fire damage can be reversed in this way with these specialized chemicals.
Smoke smell is a common complaint after a fire in a home or a fire in a business. Restoration companies often use thermal fogging, which is a technique that employs a chemical smoke that removes smoke smell. This is must more effective than regular ventilation. Fire cleanup teams specialize in removing odor in all fire damage restoration cases. Air purifying equipment is also often employed to better ventilate smoke out of the premises.
Commercial fire damage can cause debris to accumulate and require fire cleanup teams to remove debris. Managing large debris with heavy machinery is a job best left to professionals as it can be dangerous and require special licensing. A restoration company has extensive experience in their area and will know exactly how to manage the disposal of debris from a fire in a home or a fire in a business.
A restoration company is able to better manage commercial fire damage then any business owner. From boarding up doors and windows to removing odor, a property owner is much more likely to save money from employing a professional restoration company than by trying to manage the fire damage him- or herself. Most of these companies operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week to meet the unexpected need for their services. It is important to call them immediately after a fire in a home or a fire in a business due to how quickly damage can accumulate if left unmanaged. Visit http://www.SERVPROportland.com for more information on fire damage.
Ultrasonic Cleaning After A Fire
Molly cleaning a blind from a residential home that suffered a smoke damage.
Ultrasonic Cleaning is commonly used in many different industries such as jewelers and medical facilities. Ultrasonic cleaning is the process of using high pressured waves with a cleaning solution to effectively clean an object This type of cleaning removes particles that are adhered to an item especially in hard to reach places. Metals, plastics, glass, rubber and ceramics can be used in the ultrasonic machine.
Ultrasonic cleaning in the restoration industry is applied and used to remove residue from fire, smoke and water losses.
Our technician Molly is using the ultrasonic machine to clean a window blind from a residential home that suffered a soot damage to their house.
Should your commercial or residential property suffer a fire or water damage and contents are damaged, contact our office at 207-772-5032. We have the tools and resources making it "Like it never even happened".
Cooking Safety Tips and Prevention
Remnants of a pan that caused a fire in a Scarborough home while the homeowner was cooking chicken. The fire caused odor and minor soot damage.
Cooking fires are the #1 cause of home fires and injuries according to the the NFPA. The cause is unattended cooking so it is important to be alert and make sure you never leave the kitchen while cooking. A kitchen fire, regardless of the size, can be overwhelming. Most kitchen fires begin on the stove and the damage can affect the entire kitchen along with other areas in the home including walls, ceilings and appliances. A cooking fire is usually started by grease, oil or food which can make cleanup more difficult.
Should you experience a kitchen fire that has left you with smoke, soot or fire damage, our office is available 24/7 to help with the cleanup whether it be the building structure or your personal property.
A few tips to remember in the kitchen:
- If a small grease fire starts in a pan, smother the flames by carefully sliding a lid over the pan. Turn off the burner but do not remove the pan.
- Stay in the kichen while you cook
- Remove items such as towels, plastic utenils and pot holders that can catch fire away from stove
- Keep cooking surfaces clean to prevent food & grease build up
- Make sure you have a working smoke alarm
- Make sure you kitchen has a fire extinguisher
- If you need to lave the room, be sure to turn the stove off
For more information on cooking fire safety visit the NFPA website at http://www.nfpa.org/public-education/by-topic/top-causes-of-fire/cooking