Emergency Tips: Fire/Smoke Damage Do's and Don'ts
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet.
- Keep hands clean; Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls, and woodwork.
- Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
- If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help.
- Wipe soot from chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim, and appliances, and then protect these surfaces with a light coating of lubricant.
- If heat is off during winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures.
- Wash both sides of leaves on house plants.
- Change HVAC filter, but leave system off until a trained professional can check the system.
- Attempt to wash any walls to painted surfaces without first contacting your SERVPRO Franchise Professional.
- Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting your SERVPRO Franchise Professional.
- Attempt to clean any electrical appliances (TV sets, radios,etc.) that may have been close to fire, heat, or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.
- Consume any food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat, or water (may be contaminated)
- Turn on ceiling fixtures of ceiling is wet. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock, and air movement may create secondary damage.
- Send garments to dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set in smoke odor.
Call SERVPRO of Vermilion County today with any of your Fire and Water damage needs at (217) 443-0077.
Holiday Fire Safety Tips
Residential fires during the holiday season are more frequent, more costly, and more deadly than at any other time of the year. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) reports more than double the number of open-flame fires on Christmas Day than on an average day, and about twice as many on New Year’s Day. And when those fires occur, they do more damage: Property loss during a holiday fire is 34% greater than in an average fire, and the number of fatalities per thousand fires is nearly 70% higher. When the source of the fire is a highly flammable Christmas tree, the toll in property and lives is even greater.
To keep your household from becoming a holiday fire statistic, here are some safety tips to follow.
Cooking is the top cause of holiday fires, according to the USFA. The most common culprit is food that’s left unattended. It’s easy to get distracted; take a pot holder with you when you leave the kitchen as a reminder that you have something on the stove. Make sure to keep a kitchen fire extinguisher that’s rated for all types of fires, and check that smoke detectors are working.
If you’re planning to deep-fry your holiday turkey, do it outside, on a flat, level surface at least 10 feet from the house.
The incidence of candle fires is four times higher during December than during other months. According to the National Fire Protection Association, four of the five most dangerous days of the year for residential candle fires are Christmas/Christmas Eve and New Year’s/New Year’s Eve. (The fifth is Halloween.)
To reduce the danger, maintain about a foot of space between the candle and anything that can burn. Set candles on sturdy bases or cover with hurricane globes. Never leave flames unattended. Before bed, walk through each room to make sure candles are blown out. For atmosphere without worry, consider flameless LED candles.
It takes less than 30 seconds for a dry tree to engulf a room in flames, according to the Building and Fire Research Laboratory of the National Institute for Standards and Technology. “They make turpentine out of pine trees,” notes Tom Olshanski, spokesman for the USFA. “A Christmas tree is almost explosive when it goes.”
To minimize risk, buy a fresh tree with intact needles, get a fresh cut on the trunk, and water it every day. A well-watered tree is almost impossible to ignite. Keep the tree away from heat sources, such as a fireplace or radiator, and out of traffic patterns. If you’re using live garlands and other greenery, keep them at least three feet away from heating sources.
No matter how well the tree is watered, it will start to dry out after about four weeks, Olshanski says, so take it down after the holidays. Artificial trees don’t pose much of a fire hazard; just make sure yours is flame-retardant.
Inspect light strings, and throw out any with frayed or cracked wires or broken sockets. When decorating, don’t run more than three strings of lights end to end. “Stacking the plugs is much safer when you’re using a large quantity of lights,” explains Brian L. Vogt, director of education for holiday lighting firm Christmas Décor. Extension cords should be in good condition and UL-rated for indoor or outdoor use. Check outdoor receptacles to make sure the ground fault interrupters don’t trip. If they trip repeatedly, Vogt says, that’s a sign that they need to be replaced.
When hanging lights outside, avoid using nails or staples, which can damage the wiring and increase the risk of a fire. Instead, use UL-rated clips or hangers. And take lights down within 90 days, says John Drengenberg, director of consumer safety for Underwriters Laboratories. “If you leave them up all year round, squirrels chew on them and they get damaged by weather.”
Soot can harden on chimney walls as flammable creosote, so before the fireplace season begins, have your chimney inspected to see if it needs cleaning. Screen the fireplace to prevent embers from popping out onto the floor or carpet, and never use flammable liquids to start a fire in the fireplace. Only burn seasoned wood — no wrapping paper.
When cleaning out the fireplace, put embers in a metal container and set them outside to cool for 24 hours before disposal.
Should you have a fire emergency, no matter how big or how small, we here at SERVPRO are ready to help 24 hours a day! Call us today at (217)935-2992.
70,000 fire disasters per year
In just 2 minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In 5 minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames.
Have a plan:
- Find 2 ways to get out of each room.
- Make sure windows are not stuck and can be used as an exit if needed.
- Practice feeling your way around the house with your eyes closed or in the dark.
- Teach children not to be afraid of firefighters.
During a fire:
- Crawl low under the smoke to closest exit.
- Check doorknobs and door for heat. If it is hot, find alternate exit.
- If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop, & roll.
After a fire:
- Contact insurance company if insured.
- Check with fire department before entering the residence again.
- Do not reconnect utilities yourself.
- Conduct inventory of damaged items.
- Try to locate valuable documents and records.
Keep Calm and Call SERVPRO
of Vermilion County
Your companies important documents are safe with us
Vacuum Freeze Drying Chamber
If your company is like most, paper copies of important documents are stored in filing cabinets. Those cabinets may be kept in a basement or back room of the building, or even in the main room of the office. Either way, those documents could be in harms way if there were a fire. After the fire is out, your documents will more than likely be wet from the fire being put out. Luckily SERVPRO of Vermilion County is able to come to the rescue.
Document Restoration Services
SERVPRO is able to offer restoration of documents so that your business is able to preserve that important information. We offer the following services:
- Certified Destruction
- Vacuum Freeze Drying
- Gamma Irradiation
SERVPRO will handle all of the hassle of inventory, packing, and shipping. SERVPRO uses a Drying Chamber. The Drying Chamber inventories and barcodes all inventory that arrives.
You really can never be too prepared. Fires can happen anywhere, at any time...under the right conditions. The preventative measures you take prior to a potential fire loss could save your home, or more importantly your life! Replacing the batteries in your smoke detectors twice a year is a must. A good rule of thumb is when you change the clocks change the batteries in the smoke alarms, this will provide consistent battery life in your detectors. This gives you a chance to check your smoke detectors to make sure they working properly. Put an evacuation plan together. Make sure your loved ones and those living with you know what to do in the event of a fire. Having a central location to meet once everyone is outside is a great plan. After you and your loved ones are safe, call SERVPRO to make it "Like it never even happened."
Smoke & Soot Cleanup
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 Vermilion County will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:
Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
- Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
- Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
- Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – (217) 443-0077