Recent Fire Damage Posts

Fire Safety For Kids

5/20/2021 (Permalink)

A home fire is a devastating event, and one that you never count on happening. Your children are most at risk when this disaster occurs. In fact, children under five are twice as likely as other people to die in a home fire. Tragically, many home fires are started by children playing with dangerous household items – especially lighters and matches. Taking sensible precautions in the home and teaching your child how to escape from a fire can help your family avoid this type of heartbreak. 

Prevent Your Child from Starting Fires

The U.S. Fire Administration estimates that 300 people are killed and $280 million in property is destroyed each year as the result of children playing with fire.

  • Keep matches, lighters and other ignitable substances in a secured location out of your child’s reach. Only use lighters with child-resistant features.
  • Invest in flameless candles. These candles contain a light bulb rather than an open flame, and take the danger out of your child knocking over a candle.
Help Your Child Survive a Fire
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. 
  • Once a month check whether each alarm in the home is working properly by pushing the test button. 
  • Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. Immediately install a new battery if an alarm chirps, warning the battery is low.
  • Teach your children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.
  • Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home, and where to meet up outside..
  • Practice your fire escape plan at least twice a year and at different times of the day. Practice waking up to smoke alarms, low crawling and meeting outside. Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.
  • Emphasize “get out, stay out.” Only professional firefighters should enter a building that is on fire—even if other family members, pets or prized possessions are inside.
  • Use quick-release devices on barred windows and doors. Security bars without release devices can trap you in a deadly fire. If you have security bars on your windows, be sure one window in each sleeping room has a release device.
  • Consider getting escape ladders for sleeping areas on the second or third floor. Learn how to use them, and store them near the windows. 
  • Teach household members to STOP, DROP and ROLL if their clothes should catch on fire.

Smoke Detector Tips & Safety

5/18/2021 (Permalink)

Smoke Detector Tips

Smoke alarms save precious minutes -- alerting families to danger before smoke and gases can overcome them. In a home fire, smoke detectors are your best protection.

Placement of smoke detectors:

  • Location. Consider which parts of the house need protecting, where a fire would be most dangerous and how many units are needed. Plan one for each floor or level.
  • Sleeping areas. Put a detector within 10 feet of each bedroom door, preferably in the hallway. In a hallway longer than 30 feet, install one at each end. A unit in each room provides maximum protection.
  • Living room. Keep the detector away from a fireplace or wood stove to avoid false alarms.
  • Hall and stairwell. Place a detector at the top of each stairwell and at each end of a long hall.
  • Kitchen (eating/dining area) - Keep detector away from cooking fumes.
  • Basement. Mount a detector on the ceiling/beam at the bottom of the stairs, away from the exhaust of a heating unit.

Installation:

  • Read the installation instructions that come with the detector.
  • Keep units 6 inches away from the dead air space near walls and corners.
  • If mounted on a wall, place unit 6-12 inches below the ceiling and away from a corner.
  • Do not place a detector closer than 3 feet from an air register that might re-circulate smoke.
  • Do not place a unit on an un-insulated exterior wall or ceiling.
  • Place smoke detectors at least 3 feet from ceiling fans.

Maintenance:

  • Check the alarm every 30 days. Push test button.
  • Replace batteries twice a year.
  • Clean the detector's face and grill to remove dust or grease.
  • Keep spare batteries on hand.
  • Follow manufacturer's instructions.
  • Replace expired smoke detectors with "10-year sealed" units.

Remember, from the time a fire starts, family members have less than 4 minutes to escape. Do not attempt to extinguish a fire unless it can be put out in a few seconds.

Top 10 Fire Safety Tips

5/18/2021 (Permalink)

A fire can start in an instant and continue to rage until its fuel source is depleted, destroying homes and property, causing injuries. Here are your top 10 Fire Safety tips. 

  1. Install fire protection
    Smoke alarms are your best early warning system in the event of fire. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement, and outside each sleeping area. If you sleep with the door closed, install one inside your sleeping area as well.

    Test alarms every month and replace batteries once a year, or whenever an alarm "chirps" to signal low battery power. Never "borrow" a smoke alarm's battery for another use - a disabled alarm can't save your life. Replace all alarms that are more than 10 years old. For complete home protection, consider installing an automatic fire sprinkler system.
  2. Plan your escape from fire
    If a fire occurs in your home, you have to get out fast. Sit down with your family and work out an escape plan in advance. Be sure that everyone knows at least two unobstructed exits - including windows - from every room. (If you live in an apartment building, use the stairs, not the elevator to escape from fire.) Decide on a meeting place outside. Have your entire household practice you escape plan at least twice a year.
  3. Keep an eye on smokers
    Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in North America. Smoking in bed or when you are drowsy could be fatal. Provide smokers with large, deep, non-tip ashtrays, and soak butts with water before discarding them. Before going to sleep or leaving home after someone has been smoking, check under cushions and around upholstered furniture for smoldering cigarettes.
  4. Remember:matches and lighters are tools, for adults only! Use only child-resistant lighters and store all matches and lighters up high, where kids can't see or reach them, preferably in locked cabinet. Teach children that matches and lighters are tools, for grown-ups only. Teach young children to tell a grown-up if they find matches or lighters; older children should bring matches and lighters to an adult immediately.
  5. Kitchen safety
    Always stay near cooking to monitor it closely. Keep cooking areas clear of combustibles, and wear clothes with short, rolled-up, or tight-fitting sleeves when you cook. Turn pot handles inward on the stove where you can't bump them and children can't grab them. Enforce a "kid-free" zone three feet (one meter) around your kitchen range. If grease catches fire in a pan, slide a lid over the pan to smother the flames and turn off the heat source. Leave the lid on until the pan is completely cool.
  6. Give space heaters space
    Keep portable heaters and space heaters at least three feet (one meter) away from anything that can burn. Keep children and pets away from heaters, and turn them off when you leave home or go to sleep.
  7. Use electricity safely
    If an electric appliance smokes or has an unusual smell, unplug it immediately, then have it serviced before using it again. Replace any electrical cord that is cracked or frayed. Plug only one electrical cord into each receptacle. Avoid running any cords under rugs. Don't tamper with your fuse box or use improper-size fuses.
  8. Cool a burn
    Run cool water over a burn for 10 to 15 minutes. Never apply ice. Never put butter or any other grease on a burn. If the burned skin blisters or is charred, see a doctor immediately.
  9. Crawl low under smoke
    If you encounter smoke while you are escaping from a fire, use an alternative escape route. If you must escape through smoke, crawl on your hands and knees, keeping your head 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 centimeters) above the floor, where the air will be cleaner.
  10. Stop, drop, and roll
    If your clothes catch fire, don't run. Stop where you are, drop to the ground, cover your face with your hands, and roll over and over to smother the flames. Cool the burn with water and call for help.

11 Common Causes of House Fires

2/11/2021 (Permalink)

Fire is one of the most fearsome and deadly calamities that can strike a home. According to the National Fire Protection Association, about 365,500 home fires occurred in America in 2015, causing 2,650 civilian deaths and more than $7 billion in property damages.

Here are 11 common causes of house fires.

Cooking 

Most kitchens contain several potential fire hazards, including appliances with faulty or frayed wiring, unattended pots and pans, and too-hot cooking oil to name just a few. According to the National fire protection Association, cooking equipment was the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries between 2010 and 2014, so it's worth paying special attention to this high-risk space. Always stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen—even for a brief period of time—turn off the stove. Wear short, close-fitting, or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking, and don't prepare food if you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy. Finally, always keep children away from active cooking areas.

Smoking 

According to the National Fire Protection Association, smoking is the leading cause of home fire deaths in America. Most smoking-related fires start inside the home, often originating from upholstered furniture, bedding, or mattresses. Always smoke outside, thoroughly extinguishing cigarettes in an ashtray when finished. Soak cigarette butts in water before tossing them never just toss a butt into a trash can! Also, smoking should never be allowed in any home where medical oxygen is in use, because of its explosive properties.

Fireplace and Wood Stoves

Fireplaces and wood stoves are another leading cause of home fires. To prevent an accident, install a spark screen or glass door in front of the firebox to protect the surrounding area from stray sparks and rolled logs. Check chimneys annually to ensure that creosote hasn't built up, and never leave a fire unattended. Periodically move cooled ashes to a covered metal container.

Appliance Cord 

Because frayed or faulty wires can trigger a fire, it’s important to follow safe practices with your appliance cords. Replace all worn or damaged cords right away, never overload extension cords or wall sockets, and don’t position cords under furniture or rugs. Also, don’t try forcing a three-slot plug to fit into a two-slot outlet. If a light switch or electrical outlet is hot to the touch or discolored, shut off the power to the switch or socket and replace it.

Heating

Not surprisingly, December, January, and February are the peak months for fires caused by home heating equipment. The main culprit? Portable space heaters, which cause more fires annually than central heating. Use space heaters only in well-ventilated spaces, and keep them at least three feet away from furniture, fabrics, draperies, and other combustible objects. Be sure that heaters have a properly working thermostat control, and look for models with an automatic shut-off feature. Although central heating isn't as big a contributor to home fires, it's still smart to have your system checked and maintained on an annual basis to ensure proper operation.Not surprisingly, December, January, and February are the peak months for fires caused by home heating equipment. The main culprit? Portable space heaters, which cause more fires annually than central heating. Use space heaters only in well-ventilated spaces, and keep them at least three feet away from furniture, fabrics, draperies, and other combustible objects. Be sure that heaters have a properly working thermostat control, and look for models with an automatic shut-off feature. Although central heating isn't as big a contributor to home fires, it's still smart to have your system checked and maintained on an annual basis to ensure proper operation.

Candles

Candles bring ambiance and fragrance to your home, but they’re also a major source of house fires. Prevent catastrophe by monitoring lit candles and blowing out the flame whenever you leave the immediate area. Never position a lit candle near flammable items like bed sheets and books, which may become engulfed in flame if they come in contact with the tiny fire. As a safer alternative, homeowners can purchase flame-less, battery-powered candles with LED's.

Flammable Liquids

Flammable liquids, such as gasoline, kerosene, and propane, should be safely stored outside in their original containers. When packing away lawn equipment for the season, empty the gasoline tank and properly dispose of the fuel. Kerosene and propane heaters, which have a constant open flame, should be kept in an isolated, well-ventilated area and used only with the proper type of fuel. Never overfill a heater, and clean up any spills right away.

Faulty Wiring

Older homes often have inadequate electrical wiring, making them prone to electrical fires. Your home's wiring may be faulty if you're constantly blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers, your lights dim when using an appliance, or you have to disconnect one appliance to get another to function. If these symptoms sound familiar, hire a licensed electrician to inspect your home and make any necessary repairs.

Grills and Fire Pits

Nothing beats a backyard barbecue, but if you don't follow the proper safety protocols, you may find yourself facing a backyard fire instead. When cooking outside, position your grill or fire pit several feet from your house, making sure that it's safely away from trees, deck railings, and other structures. Also, routinely clean the grill with soapy water, investigate signs of rust and corrosion, and check the gas connections. Always have a fire extinguisher nearby whenever you're dealing with open flames outdoors.

Lamps and Lighting 

Many electrical fires stem from poorly installed light fixtures and lamps. Make sure that hanging lights are insulated from wood paneling or ceiling joists and that portable lamps are positioned on a sturdy base that can't easily be knocked over. Use bulbs with the correct wattage (never over the maximum limit), and opt for well-fitting lampshades. For added safety, consider switching to LED bulbs, which produce less heat than incandescent or halogen varieties.

Inquisitive Children

Give a curious child a match and disaster is bound to happen. To stop children from playing with flame and unintentionally starting a fire, lock away matches and lighters. Teach kids that fire isn’t a toy, and never leave any young person unattended with stoves, candles, fireplaces, or other flame-producing objects.

Saving Your Contents From Fire Damage

2/11/2021 (Permalink)

Home fires are extremely dangerous both before and after the flames are put out. If items are not properly cleaned, smoke odors, soot, and ash never leave.

Attempting to scrub and remove soot only spreads stains deeper into the fabric. A simple “dust and wash off” method is not enough to deodorize small, hidden particles in your furniture, antiques, or clothes. That is why professional fire damage cleaning is necessary.

To prevent further damage to your belongings, call the professionals before trusting a DIY tutorial. They use high-tech equipment, techniques, and special chemicals—only used by certified technicians— to deodorize and sanitize your contents. All processes safely clean, protect, and maintain any item.

Preventing House Fires

2/6/2020 (Permalink)

We all know fires can be very dangerous and can start very easily. Don’t forget to take precautions and learn about where and how a fire can simply start in your home. If you do need fire restoration, call the professionals at SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton. 

Cooking

Cooking is always the number one cause of house fires in the United States. These cooking fires always increase during the major holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Take these precautions to prevent cooking fires of any sort!

  • Always stay near your grill, oven, or stovetop when in use, never leave these unattended.
  • Make sure you have functional smoke detectors in or near your kitchen.
  • Thoroughly clean cooking surfaces before and after food preparation.

Turn off your grill, oven, or stove as soon as you are done using it.

Dryers

A very typical fire is started by something we all have in our homes. A clothes dryer. You wouldn’t think that this would be something to cause a hazardous fire in your home, but the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates more than 15,000 fires are caused by dryers. Lint is created by cycling loads upon loads of wet clothes and fabrics into the dryer. After so many loads, the lint will start filling up the dryer’s lint trap. The dryer doesn’t stop when the lint trap is full and keeps working like it should. Then, the temperature of the heat keeps rising and since the dryer’s lint trap hasn’t been changed, the lint automatically becomes the perfect fuel to start a dryer fire. Some of these fires have led to serious injury and even death. Don’t forget to remove all lint from the dryer’s lint trap before and after each load you put into the dryer to prevent any type of dryer fire. Never leave the dryer unattended. It’s best if you remove debris from the dryer’s hose that connects the dryer to the vent at least a couple times each year.

Electric Fires

As frayed wires and overloaded circuits are hazardous, this is what makes electric fires very common. These types of fires can be very easily prevented if you follow these helpful tips:

  • Inspect all cords and wires to make sure they are not frayed or worn out.
  • Do not daisy chain power strips.
  • Do not overload a single outlet with too many plugs.
  • Do not use extension cords as a permanent solution.
  • Hire an electrician to inspect your outlets and electrical system.
  • Use surge protectors to help prevent power surges.

In the unfortunate event of a fire contact your local restoration professionals, SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton. We have the expertise and tools necessary to help prevent additional smoke and fire damage, safely cleanup the aftermath, and restore your property.

Fire Damage Clean up and Your Safety

7/3/2019 (Permalink)

Fire damage cleanup is not only dirty, tough work. It’s also dangerous in a number of ways. From collapsing roofs to sharp debris, everything in a fire damaged structure can be a hazard. You need to know that, going in, and protect yourself and others who work to restore your fire damaged home or business. Over the years, we’ve picked up some important lessons helping our southern Colorado neighbors recover from fire. Here are a few more things you need to know.

Fire Damage Cleanup Danger: Toxic Contamination

Think about all the stuff in your home or business. What’s it all made of? Paint. Plastic. Glue. Insecticide. Lead. A long list of chemicals with names few of us can pronounce. Not to mention pet or pest residues and other biological contaminants. It’s all fine where it is, encapsulated and properly contained for safe use in everyday home and business furnishings, objects and building materials. The problem is that fire breaks the chemical and physical bonds and barriers that keep all these substances safe, mixes them and even creates new, highly toxic compounds.

So any fire damage cleanup project involves potential exposure to toxins and biological contaminants that can wreak havoc on your family or business. Make sure you protect yourself with protective outerwear, respirators and other items available at hardware stores. And thoroughly clean all tools used for fire damage cleanup.

Fire Damage Cleanup Danger: Collapsing Structures

Ever burn a match or two? Of course you have. Imagine trying to build a little model house with matches that you burned to a crisp. Your little burnt match house would be pretty crumbly. Unfortunately, such is also the case with many structures that get fire damaged. Support structures can get weakened and pose serious danger of collapse when they get even modest fire damage. Be particularly wary of burnt ceilings, staircases, balconies and walls. If your property has sustained major fire damage, ensure that southern Colorado construction and restoration professionals assess the damage and structural integrity.

Fire Damage Cleanup Danger: Jagged Debris, Threatening Pests

No kidding. Fire can breach your roof and open holes in walls or ceilings. Rodents, potentially venomous insects and other pests can be present in places you would not normally encounter them if your home or business has sustained moderate fire damage. Southern Colorado residents have had run-ins with everything from rattlesnakes to injured squirrels in the wake of destructive fires. Keep your eyes peeled for nasty critters as you dig out the fire damaged debris from your home or business. And while you’re at it, watch out for jagged, broken materials like glass and metal that can shatter in extreme heat.

We hope you never face the aftermath of a destructive fire in your home or business. But if you do, we’re on call day and night, ready to help when you need it most. Call SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton for fast fire damage cleanup help you can count on and trust.

Steps to Take After a Fire Damages Your Home

7/3/2019 (Permalink)

Experiencing a house fire is a scary situation. After the feeling of unbelief, people are wondering what they can do to start the cleanup process from the damage. It’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure you and your family are safe.

Get Permission Before Entering Your Property

Depending on how extensive the fire damage is, make sure the Fire Marshall tells you that the structure is safe to enter. There are possible dangers in your home such as hot spots and unsupported beams that could cause harm.  You also want to be careful no one in the household uses the electricity without permission from the authorities. Although you are anxious to find out if your favorite things survived the fire, waiting until it is safe prevents you from dealing with an injury that could delay cleaning up the fire damage.

Document the Damage

It is also a good idea to take pictures that can be used for insurance purposes and to give potential companies an idea of the damage when you are seeking quotes. It’s important to note that some damage may not be visible, such as getting that smoke smell out of clothes and furniture. Remember, it’s important to keep in mind that fire creates two types of smoke damage; visible soot and an invisible odor.

Call A Professional Fire Damage Restoration Company

Although there are some things you can do on your own, such as removing items like clothing and linens that can be washed or taken to the dry cleaners. But, you should not attempt to handle items that have severe damage from the fire, smoke or water. Contacting a restoration company is the best way to handle fire damages. These companies specialize in restoring and repairing what has been damaged.

Steps to Take After Fire Damages Your Home

7/1/2019 (Permalink)

Experiencing a house fire is a scary situation. After the feeling of unbelief, people are wondering what they can do to start the cleanup process from the damage. It’s important to take the necessary steps to ensure you and your family are safe.

Get Permission Before Entering Your Property

Depending on how extensive the fire damage is, make sure the Fire Marshall tells you that the structure is safe to enter. There are possible dangers in your home such as hot spots and unsupported beams that could cause harm.  You also want to be careful no one in the household uses the electricity without permission from the authorities. Although you are anxious to find out if your favorite things survived the fire, waiting until it is safe prevents you from dealing with an injury that could delay cleaning up the fire damage.

Document the Damage

It is also a good idea to take pictures that can be used for insurance purposes and to give potential companies an idea of the damage when you are seeking quotes. It’s important to note that some damage may not be visible, such as getting that smoke smell out of clothes and furniture. Remember, it’s important to keep in mind that fire creates two types of smoke damage; visible soot and an invisible odor.

Call A Professional Fire Damage Restoration Company

Although there are some things you can do on your own, such as removing items like clothing and linens that can be washed or taken to the dry cleaners. But, you should not attempt to handle items that have severe damage from the fire, smoke or water. Contacting a restoration company is the best way to handle fire damages. These SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville & Vinton specialize in restoring and repairing what has been damaged.

Fire Damage Caused by Lightning

1/23/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Caused by Lighting Home that caught on fire after a lightning strike.

The National Weather Service reports that lightning starts about 4,400 house fires each year, causing around $300 million in damages. About 16 deaths are attributed to lightning-caused fires each year, most of the victims being occupants of houses ignited by a bolt.

Although every lightning strike could start a fire, some are more likely than others to do so. Some flashes contain a continuous flow of electricity, known as a continuing current or "hot lightning." In such cases, the charge flows continuously over a sustained period of time rather than in intermittent surges. This longer period of charge flow causes the stricken object to heat up and possibly ignite.

The chances of a specific building being hit by lightning are based upon the location and the topography. Because of this, Louisiana ranks second behind Florida in the list of most lightning-prone states in the U.S., according to The Weather Channel. Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas round out the top five. The ranking is based on the average number of cloud-to-ground lightning flashes per square mile each year.

In terms of individual structures, the Empire State Building in New York City is struck on average about 75 times per year.

Experts say that while lightning strikes randomly choose their victims, there are preventative steps that residents may take. They include:

Staying away from windows

Getting off land-line telephones

Use a home lightning protection system

Unplug electronics and appliances

Install transient voltage surge suppressors

Check your homeowners and renters insurance coverage

Fire Safety for Small Businesses

1/11/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Safty Fire Extinguisher How-To

According to OSHA, the most common emergency small businesses must plan for is a fire. Fire extinguishers can be invaluable tools to help fight smaller fires in the workplace or to protect evacuation routes in the event of a larger one.

OSHA requires employers to thoroughly train workers not only how to use an extinguisher properly, but also how to accurately assess a situation and determine when evacuation is the safest course of action. OSHA requires employees to be trained in fire extinguisher use on an annual basis.

A simple fire extinguisher training technique to use with employees is the PASS method:

  • Pull the pin on the extinguisher.
  • Aim the hose nozzle low toward the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
  • Sweep the nozzle from side to side at the base of the flames until extinguished.

Knowing how to operate the extinguisher is not the end of training. Employees responding to a fire should also be trained to adhere to the following protocol:

  • If appropriate, sound the fire alarm or call the fire department immediately.
  • Before approaching the fire, determine an evacuation route safe from flames, excessive heat and smoke. Do not allow this evacuation route to become blocked.
  • Use the PASS technique for discharging an extinguisher and back away from the area if the fire flares up again.
  • If the extinguisher is empty and the fire is not out, evacuate immediately.
  • If the fire grows beyond what can be safely handled, evacuate immediately.

Fire extinguishers are meant to handle only small fires. If a fire becomes too large or the environment becomes too dangerous, employees should know when and how to evacuate the area. If any of the following conditions are present, workers should follow evacuation procedures immediately and should not attempt to fight the fire with an extinguisher.

The fire is too large. The fire involves flammable solvents, is partially hidden behind a wall or ceiling, cannot be reached from a standing position, or covers more than 55 square feet in area.

The air is unsafe to breathe. Levels of smoke make the fire impossible to fight without some form of respiratory protection.

The environment is too hot or smoky. Radiated heat is easily felt, making it hard to approach a fire within adequate range of using the extinguisher (about 10-15 feet). It is necessary to crawl on the floor to avoid heat or smoke. Visibility is poor.

Evacuation paths are impaired. The fire is not contained and heat, smoke or flames block potential evacuation routes.

National Safety Month Spotlight: Preventing Electrical Fires

6/14/2018 (Permalink)

Electrical fires are one of the top leading causes of house fires in the U.S.  Most of these fires could have been avoided by following certain safety tips for protecting your home. Some easy things you can do in your home are:

1. Discarding cords that are worn or frayed. When live wires are exposed, they are susceptible to starting house fires.

2. Never breaking the third prong to fit a plug into an outlet. The third prong creates an alternate pathway for electricity in the event of an error.

3. When unplugging a device, hold the plug securely and don't yank the cord. This motion may cause a short circuit.

4. Avoid water and heat sources with cords.

5. Do not overload outlets. HowStuffWorks recommends using this formula: p/e=i (wattage divided by volts equals amps to know if you're overloading your outlet.

6. Do an electrical inspection. The standard rule is that homes with copper wire need an inspection every 20 years and 5 years for aluminum wire. You should also do an inspection if you're buying a century home, a resale home or if you're doing a home renovation.

10 Ways to Prevent Home Fires

2/6/2018 (Permalink)

A fire in your home does not only damage your property, it also hurts you and your family. U.S. fire departments responded to 365,500 house fires in 2015.The most common causes of house fires are heating systems, cooking, tobacco smoking, dryers, and electrical issues.

Here are 10 ways you can help prevent a fire from starting in your home:

  • Dryers - The lint should be cleaned out from dryers after each use. Dryer vents should also be inspected and cleaned at least once a year, more depending on how often you use the dryer.
  • Heaters - Heating systems are in high-use during the winter months. These should be inspected annually to make sure that they’re in good, operating condition.
  • Alternative Heat Sources - Alternative heat sources such as space heaters should not have items near it that may easily catch fire.
  • Watch What You Cook - Do not leave your stove or oven unattended when you are cooking. Make sure to keep the stove area clean of grease so that this doesn’t ignite a fire.
  • Electrical - Check electrical cords for signs of fraying. Never overload an electrical outlet or plug.
  • Lighters and Matches - Keep lighters and matches out of the reach of children.
  • Candles - If you use scented candles at night, make sure to blow them out before going to bed.
  • Chimneys - These should be inspected annually by a chimney professional.  
  • Smoke Alarm - Check your smoke alarms to make sure they’re working and replace batteries as needed.
  • Escape Plan - Establish a fire escape plan for you and your family members (try to have one that is easy for children to understand). Make sure that nothing blocks the escape routes.

Christmas Trees and Lights

12/13/2017 (Permalink)

Christmas trees and lights are part of what makes the season bright but we all must take safety precautions in our homes and places of business.

                                                                        Does it matter where I put the tree?            Yes; if a tree is put too close to a space heater it could catch on fire. Don’t forget to water the tree daily (if it is artificial you can skip this step:).

Extension cords are handy                            We all use extension cords especially during the holiday season but they can cause a fire if you overload their ability to carry current (electrical) Don't put too many strands of lights on one extension cord . Also, check them to be sure they are not old and frayed. The grounding prong (the round one) is there to prevent electrical shocks so make sure yours has one.

One last thing                                                If your tree or cords start sparking immediately pull the cord out of the outlet but if it is already on fire immediately get everyone out of the house and call 911.

The Dangerous Effects of Fire and Smoke

10/30/2017 (Permalink)

If you experience fire damage or have questions about our remediation process, contact us (337) 462-6500.

When a fire breaks out, inhaling smoke is one of the most dangerous factors that can incapacitate people. This smoke creates a very harmful residue in the material of our clothing, furniture, and various other household items. As house fires spread, they create very toxic fumes and eliminate the amount of breathable air in the home.

A house fire can be substantially damaging to its structure, but it can very easily harm the people inside. The smoke contains toxins, in the form of vapors, that are easily inhaled or seep in through the pores in our skin. These tiny particles invade our digestive and respiratory systems, poisoning the body. They can even include minute burning property that can become trapped in our eyes, causing very hurtful irritation.

The gases spreading through the house in the midst of the smoke are some of the most dangerous and damaging toxins. When some materials are burned, such as vinyl, they can produce carbon monoxide, hydrogen, cyanide, and phosgene, which are very dangerous off-gasses.

In order to prevent inhaling smoke, placing smoke detectors in every room in your home or office is a very efficient measure to protect you and your loved ones. Carbon monoxide detectors are also a great safety measure to limit the amount of harmful exposure in case of a gas leak in your home.

Fire damage is always a very devastating and stressful experience for your home and your family. It is easy to place yourself in the hands of uncaring professionals, just looking to make money cleaning up your loss. Here at SERVPRO, we strive for a very respectful, empathetic attitude to make sure you, your family, and your precious belongings are in caring hands.

SERVPRO of Deridder, Leesville, and Vinton is a team of highly trained experts in water, mold, and fire remediation. We are locally owned and operated, so when you call us, we can guarantee fast, friendly, and effective service for all of your remediation needs.

Understanding the Different Types of Smoke and their Effects

10/30/2017 (Permalink)

The unique behavior of smoke can leave damage on your belongings that is complicated to repair. There are two different types of smoke, wet and dry. SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville, and Vinton professionals are excellently trained in fire/smoke clean up and restoration. They are experts in the different types of smoke and their behavior patterns. This information is vital to properly remediate the damage left behind. The SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville, and Vinton team will begin by surveying the severity of the damages from moisture, fire, smoke, and heat on the building materials and its contents. The soot is then tested to determine the type of smoke damage left behind. The results of this test helps our professionals determine the proper cleaning method, in order to focus on saving your precious belongings.

The professionals at SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville, and Vinton know smoke can seep into the various holes and cracks within the structure, causing unseen damage and a lingering odor. Their knowledge of building ventilation and structural systems helps them investigate just how far smoke damage may have spread within the structure. The following are some lesser known facts about smoke you may not be aware of:

  • Hot smoke generally moves to cooler areas and the higher levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, penetrating each floor using the holes made for the pipes.
  • The type of smoke can greatly affect the remediation process.

Different types of Smoke

  • Fuel Oil Soot (Furnace Puff Backs)—While “puff backs” can potentially create havoc for homeowners, our franchise professionals can, in most cases, restore the contents and structure quickly.
  • Wet Smoke (Rubber and Plastic)—Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs can be more difficult to clean.
  • Dry smoke (Paper and Wood)—Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises before smoke.
  • Protein fire residue (Evaporation of material rather than from a fire)—Essentially invisible, damages colors and varnishes, extreme lingering odors.
  • Other types (Tear gas, fingerprint powder, and fire extinguisher residue)—Special damage situations require special treatment.

Here at SERVPRO of DeRidder, Leesville, and Vinton, our professionals are excellently trained to tackle even the most challenging damages.