Recent Fire Damage Posts
Fire Damage Tips: What To Do Until Help Arrives
Experiencing a fire damage situation, whether at your home or place of business, can be scary and stressful. You may not know what to do after the fire is out.
After any fire damage situation, your first priority should be your safety. Is it safe to stay inside your house? If you do stay in the home, be sure to only do activities that are safe for you to perform.
What To Do After A Fire
- Limit the movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into the carpet and upholstery
- Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery, and high traffic areas
- Change your HVAC filter to filter our as much of the soot in the air as you can
What Not To Do After A Fire
- Do not attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces yourself
- Do not attempt to use any electrical appliances that may have been close to the fire, hear, or water without consulting an authorized repair service
- Do not turn on any ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet
- DO no send any affected garments to an ordinary dry cleaner - improper cleaning may cause the smoke odor to set into the clothing
Call SERVPRO of Tustin at 714-480-1340 to schedule an estimate!
How To Avoid House Fires From Holiday Decorations
December is an exciting time of year when everyone is feeling festive and decorating their homes and businesses with Christmas and Hanukkah decorations. It is important to remember that holiday decorations can increase your risk for a home fire. As you deck the halls and trim the tree this year, make sure you are being fire smart.
Did you know that over fifty percent of home decoration related fires in December are caused by candles? If candles are part of your decoration plans this year, consider switching to battery operated candles; They're safer and you can even set them to turn on with a timer! If you like lighting candles for the smell and ambiance, be sure to always be attentive to the flame and never leave a candle on when you sleep or leave the house. If you need candles for your menorah or candelabra, make sure you keep the candles at leas 12 inches away from anything that can burn.
Christmas tree fires are not particularly common, but they are incredibly dangerous when they do occur. On average, 1 out of every 45 home fires caused by Christmas trees resulted in death. To avoid Christmas tree fires you should start by picking a fresh looking tree. Older, dried out trees are at a higher risk for fire. Once you bring the tree home, make sure you keep it watered (TIP: If you shake the tree and a lot of needles fall out, that may be a sign the tree isn't getting enough water). Also keep the tree at least 3 feet away from any heat source, including fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, or heat vents. You should also check for faulty lights that could potentially ignite the tree, and turn off the lights when you aren't around to keep an eye on the tree.
In addition to checking the lights on your Christmas tree, you should also be checking all of the lights you put around your home, inside and outside. LED lights are typically safe and won't get too hot, however incandescent Christmas lights can get hot enough to burn or ignite other decorations. Be mindful of where you place your Christmas lights - never place Christmas lights on a metal tree or other metal decorations as they can become charged with electricity and could shock someone. If you are putting Christmas lights outdoors, double check the package and make sure that they are outdoor lights (it should be clearly marked on the packaging). The same goes for extension cords - never use indoor extension cords outside, and be sure not to overload extension cords because they can also get hot enough to burn.
Holiday decorations are typically safe, but it is important to take these aforementioned safety measures to have a safe and happy holiday season.
Thanksgiving Fire Safety
Did you know that Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for fire departments when it comes to home fires involving cooking equipment? With more home cooks cooking larger meals than they are probably used to, the number of home fires involving cooking equipment spikes to nearly 4 times the daily average on Thanksgiving! Whether you plan to be in charge of the kitchen or are just helping out, be sure to follow these important safety tips when preparing this year's Thanksgiving feast!
- Start your Thanksgiving with a clean stove and oven! The weekend before Thanksgiving, remove any food or grease buildup from burners, stovetops, and the oven.
- Always stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop. While items in the oven may not require as attentive an eye, food on the stovetop should have constant monitoring in case of spillage or splatter.
- Stay in the home while cooking the turkey. You don't need to set up camp and keep a constant eye on the turkey once it's in the oven, but you should stay inside and check on it frequently. The last thing you want is a burnt turkey that sets your kitchen on fire!
- Keep a flame-resistant oven mitt, potholder, or lid near your cooking space so that you can smother any flames before they get out of control.
- Should an oven fire occur, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. This should allow the fire to burn out on its own. Once the fire has gone out, open your windows before carefully opening the oven door to release the smoke. IF THE FIRE DOES NOT GO OUT ON ITS OWN: LEAVE THE HOUSE AND CALL 911.
- Make sure your home has working smoke alarms and that your family knows the fire escape route in the event of a fire. Remember to always plan TWO WAYS OUT of every room.
- Avoid using turkey fryers, but if you must, make sure to follow the fryer's instructions. Also be sure to completely thaw the turkey before frying and always fry outside at a safe distance from the home.
Stay safe this holiday season! Should your home experience any fire damage, be sure to call SERVPRO of Tustin to make that fire "like it never even happened".
Prevent Further Damage to Your California Home After A Fire
The first 48 hours after a fire damage can make the difference between restoring versus replacing your property and personal belongings. SERVPRO of Tustin provides timely response with mitigation services ranging from fire, smoke and soot removal to contents claims inventory and document restoration. These services help ensure your property, belongings and memories are restored to preloss condition when possible.
What You Can Do Until Help Arrives
Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from spreading and additional damage from occurring.
Place clean towels or old linens on rugs and high traffic areas and upholstery.
Coat chrome faucets, trim and appliances with petroleum jelly or oil.
Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpet.
Do not wash any walls or painted surfaces.
Do not shampoo carpet or upholstery.
Do not clean any electrical equipment.
Do not send clothing to a dry cleaner since improper cleaning may set smoke odor.
SERVPRO of Tustin is available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year to help you regain control quickly. Give us a call at (714)480-1340
Precautions To Take When Decorating Your Home For The Holiday Season
This holiday season, make sure that the glow in your home's decorations is from twinkling lights and not from a costly and potentially deadly fire. SERVPRO of Tustin cautions Orange County home owners to follow some of these American Red Cross (ARC) guidelines for holiday decorating and entertaining.
- Place Christmas trees and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents, and candles.
- Purchase flame-retardant metallic or artificial trees. If you purchase a real tree, make sure that it has fresh, green needles that aren't easily broken. Keep live trees as moist a possible by giving them plenty of water.
- Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer's instructions.
- If you are celebrating Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, keep flammable items, including curtains and holiday decorations, at least three feet away from your candles. Place your menorah or kinara on a non-flammable surface, such as a tray lined with aluminum foil, to catch the melting candles wax. Never leave lit candles unattended.
- Ensure all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave and always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.
We at SERVPRO of Tustin know that even the most diligent fire prevention planning can't prevent all home fires. That's why fire safety planning, like installing and maintaining smoke detectors and having a family escape plan, is also important. If a fire does break out in your home this holiday season, make sure all your family members follow this lifesaving advice from the ARC: Get Out, Stay Out, and Call for Help.
SERVPRO of Tustin is available 24/7 to assist you in a fire emergency. Call 714-480-1340.
Stay Safe This Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for family and friends to come together and enjoy a delicious meal, but it can also be a potentially dangerous situation. Thanksgiving is the number one day for home fires involving cooking equipment, so be sure to practice these safety tips courtesy of the National Fire Protection Association:
• Remain in the kitchen while you’re cooking, and keep a close eye on what you fry! Always stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food. If you have to leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove. Regularly check on food that’s simmering, baking or roasting, and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
• Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
• Keep any items that can catch fire such as oven mitts, recipes, towels, and food packaging away from the stove
• Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
• Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
• Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
• Keep knives out of the reach of children.
• Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
• Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
• Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
• Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
• If you’re cooking a turkey using a disposable aluminum pan, consider doubling up and using two pans to avoid a puncture, as dripping turkey juices can cause an oven fire.
• If you have a small (grease) cooking fire on the stovetop and decide to fight the fire: Smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled. For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
In the event of a serious fire at home, call 911 or your local fire department right away.
Call SERVPRO of Tustin at (714) 480-1340.
24/7 Emergency Services and our expert specialists are standing by to answer any questions you may have or to respond to your emergency.
Fire Prevention Week: Plan Two Ways Out
It's Fire Prevention Week! This year the National Fire Protection Association is reiterating the importance of planning at least two ways out when creating your fire escape plan.
About only half of Americans have developed a home fire escape plan - a quarter of those have never even practiced it. Planning (and practicing!) an escape route from your home can be the difference between life and death if there is ever a fire in your home. A regularly practiced fire escape plan can ensure that everyone in the home knows what to do and where to go when there's a fire.
Home fires can spread very quickly, and that is why it is so important to plan at least two ways out of every room. If the fire spreads and blocks your first path out, you need to be able to react quickly and move on to plan B.
Your home fire escape plan should include working smoke alarms on every level of the home, as well as in every bedroom. There should be two ways out of every room, usually a door and a window. The escape plan should also include a clear path to an outdoor meeting place (like a tree or mailbox) that is a safe distance from the home. Once you've created your home escape plan, be sure to practice it at least twice a year with all members of the household, including pets!
College Campus: Dorm Safety Tips
For many college students, living in a dorm during their freshman year of college is the first time they’ve lived away from home and, subsequently, without the supervision of their parents/guardians. Before heading off for their first year of dorm living, new college students should read over this list of safety tips and take a few minutes to make sure that they are living in a fire-safe environment. It’s probably beneficial for returning college students to give this list a read through too; whether living in the dorms or off campus, safety tips should not be overlooked.
Learn the building’s evacuation plan.
If you’re living on campus, chances are your dorm will have an emergency evacuation plan. Once you’re all settled into your new home, take some time to familiarize yourself with the building and learn the evacuation routes. Practice multiple escape routes in the event that your first option is obstructed during an emergency. Most college campus buildings should have an evacuation plan posted on each floor. If you live off campus, have an escape plan of your own with at least two ways out of each room. Knowing what to do before an emergency happens can help you to protect yourself as well as others.
Don’t overload your room’s electrical outlets.
Most electrical outlets in dorms are designed to handle a specific amperage. It’s best not to try to push them to their capacity by using too many multi-plug devices. Your school may also have policies restricting the use/plug-in of certain appliances. These limitations are meant to limit the number of potential electrical and fire hazards in your dorm. If you ever notice any scorched marks or burning odors around an electrical outlet, stop using that outlet and inform someone of the problem right away.
Cook with care.
Be careful when cooking in your dorm or in the dorm’s community kitchen. Cooking equipment is involved in 86 percent of dormitory fires. If you do not have a kitchen in your dorm, then you should follow the school’s guidelines on what sort of plug-in cooking equipment is permitted for use in the dorms. Always be careful with electric frying pans, toasters, toaster ovens, microwaves, etc. Never leave your dorm when cooking appliances are in use.
Respect open flame policies.
Most schools don’t allow you to smoke or burn candles or incense in the dorms. If you do smoke, be sure to do so in the designated areas on campus (most likely away from buildings). If your school does not allow smoking on campus, then you should follow that policy. Avoid burning candles or incense in your dorm room. If you burn them for the smell, try using essential oil diffusers to create a pleasant aroma in the dorm. You can also buy battery operated flame-less candles for the same flickering light/ambiance that a candle provides, but without the fire hazard. If you do still choose to burn candles or incense in your dorm, never leave them unattended and keep them away from flammable materials.
Don’t tamper with fire safety features in your dorm.
Most dorms should have smoke detectors. It is important that you do not cover them with any decorations in your dorm. Additionally, do not remove the batteries in your dorm’s smoke detector. It will send a signal to Public Safety to investigate the source of the problem. It is also important to have fresh batteries in your smoke detector so that it can properly do its job to keep you safe. If your dorm has a sprinkler system in place, don’t hang any decorations on it. Sprinklers are there to help put out a fire before firefighters can get there. They are especially important if your dorm is on an upper level as it can be more difficult for firefighters to get to the flames.
Be mindful of clutter and how you decorate your dorm.
While decorating your dorm is how you can display your personality or bring some of home to school with you, it can also become potential fuel for a fire. Every poster or tapestry you hang on the wall, or piece of decor you hang from the ceiling, can be considered a fire hazard. Some schools may limit the amount of wall space that can be covered in your dorm, or may prohibit hanging things from the ceiling. Even if there are no restrictions, it would be wise to limit the amount of decor you hang in your room as well as to keep clutter to a minimum. Additionally, avoid draping materials over hot items like lamps that could potentially cause ignition. Furniture should also be kept away from the room’s heat source to reduce the risk of fire.
Campfire Safety 101
Choose between these four kinds of kindling when building your fire
Enjoying the great outdoors during the summertime can be fun. Nothing says summer quite like sitting around the campfire sharing stories and making s’mores. But that campfire is also a huge responsibility. Everyone in California knows the damage a wildfire can bring, so before you go out and make a campfire, it’s important you learn how to be safe when building your campfire or bonfire, whether in the woods or in your backyard.
PICK THE RIGHT CAMPFIRE LOCATION
- If the campground or area where you are prohibits campfires, then DO NOT build one. Digging pits can be prohibited due to any number of various concerns. Whatever the reason, there is a reason – so be sure to follow the rules.
- DO NOT build a campfire under hazardous or dry conditions. Dry air increases the risk of wildfires.
- If there is an existing fire ring or pit, then use that. If not, choose a site that is at least 15 feet from tent walls, trees, shrubs, or other flammable objects. Be mindful of low hanging branches.
- When building a campfire or bonfire, choose a location that is open and away from heavy fuels such as logs, brush, or decaying leaves.
- Always be aware of wind strength and direction. If the wind picks up and direction changes, there could suddenly be embers and ashes flying into easily flammable areas. Choose a spot that is protected from gusts of wind.
HOW TO PREPARE A CAMPFIRE PIT
There may not always be a campfire pit already prepared when you arrive on a campsite. If that’s the case, don’t panic! Follow these simple steps to preparing your own fire pit.
- Start off by clearing an area that is 10 feet in diameter around the campsite. Remove any grass, twigs, leaves, or firewood while you do so.
- Dig a pit about one foot deep in the dirt or sand.
- Circle the pit with rocks and you’re ready to go!
BUILDING YOUR CAMPFIRE
Your pit is ready, now it’s time to build your fire!
- Before you do anything, make sure you have a source of water, a bucket, and a shovel nearby at all times.
- You’ll have to gather three types of wood from the ground. Tinder can be small twigs and dry leaves, grass, and needles. For kindling you should look for sticks smaller than 1″ around. Your fuel will be larger pieces of wood. Keep these stacked upwind and away from the fire.
NEVER cut whole trees or branches, dead or alive. Live materials won’t burn, and you’ll also be damaging the forest. Dead standing trees can often be homes for birds or other wildlife.
- Loosely pile a few handfuls of your tinder in the center of the fire pit.
- Add the kindling in one of four methods: Teepee, Lean-to, Cross, or Log Cabin.
- Ignite the tinder with a match or lighter. (If you use a match, wait until it is cold to discard it onto the fire)
- As the fire grows, continue to add more tinder.
- Blow lightly at the base of the fire.
- Add kindling and fuel (the larger firewood) to the keep the fire going.
- Now that you have built your fire, keep it small and under control.
EXTINGUISHING YOUR CAMPFIRE
- If possible, allow the wood to burn completely to ash.
- Pour A LOT of water onto the fire. Drown ALL embers, not just the red ones. Keep pouring until the hissing sound stops.
- If you do not have water, stir dirt and sand into the embers with a shovel to bury the fire.
- Using your shovel, scrape any remaining sticks and logs to remove any embers. Make sure there aren’t any embers are exposed or still smoldering.
- Continue to add water, dirt or, sand, and stir with a shovel until all material is cool.
- If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.
There you have it! Have fun but most importantly, be safe when building a campfire!!
How to Keep Your Pets Safe in the Event of a Fire
Approximately 500,000 pets are affected by house fires each year. Many house fires are caused by pets, especially when left home alone. Read over these tips to help prevent any accidental fire started by your pets and for keeping your pets safe in the event there is a fire in your home. Make sure you include your dog, cat, or other pets in your family's emergency plan.
Prevent Your Pets From Starting A Fire
- Beware of candles and other open flames. Dogs are curious creatures and may take interest in a flickering flame. If you do have any open flames in your home at any time, be sure to never leave them unattended and to keep an eye on your pets. If you're using a fireplace, consider getting a fireplace screen to protect pets when sleeping in front of the fire. Also make sure the fire is completely out before heading out or going to bed. Small sparks and coals can get through a screen.
- Secure wires and cords. Pets are often tempted to chew on loose wires and cords. Exposed wires can be a fire hazard, so consider securing any electrical objects so that their cords are out of reach.
- Don't use glass bowls for your pets' water. When filtered and heated through glass, the sun's rays can ignite the wood beneath the bowl and set a deck in flames. Try using a stainless steel or ceramic bowl instead.
Keep Your Pets Safe After/During A Fire
- Place a pet fire sticker on the door or window. In the event of a fire when you're away, having a pet sticker will help rescuers know how many pets to look for, saving valuable time and hopefully your pets.
- Use monitored smoke detectors. Pets left home alone can't escape on their own when there's a fire. Monitored smoke detectors contact emergency responders when you're not home and add an extra layer of protection beyond that of battery-operated smoke alarms.
- Keep pets near entrances when you're away from home. Keep collars (with ID tags) on your pets at all times and leave leashes by the entrance or somewhere easy to find in an emergency. This will help firefighters to find and rescue your pets when they arrive.
- Know where your pets' hiding spots are. It's important that you can find your pets quickly if there's a fire. Know where your pets like to sleep and especially where they like to go when they are scared or anxious (under the bed or hidden in a quiet corner of the house somewhere)
- Have an emergency plan in place and make sure everyone in the house knows what to do in the event of a fire. Know who will be in charge of getting your pets outside safely. Have someone in charge of leashes and pet carriers so that they can be safely secured once you're outside. In the event that you can't find your pet when exiting, leave doors and windows open on your way out and call to them so that they come out on their own.
- Practice fire drills with your pets. It is important to include your pets in the family fire drills. Practice finding them and getting out of the house. Also practice the "open access" scenario where you leave an exit open (preferably the one they're most comfortable with) and call to them to come out of the home. The more you practice, the more likely they are to come out in the event of an actual fire.
If you have any questions or require restoration services due to fire damage in your home, call SERVPRO of Tustin at (714)480-1340. Our crews are available 24/7 for services.