Recent Fire Damage Posts

How to use a space heater safely

3/7/2018 (Permalink)

How to use a space heater safely

Millions of people use space heaters to keep warm in winter. But according to a warning from the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters are a leading cause of house fires.

According to Jamie Novak, a fire investigator with the St. Paul Fire Department in Minnesota, space heaters "are small, but they draw a lot of electricity." He stressed the importance of plugging your space heater directly into the wall, telling TODAY national investigative correspondent Jeff Rossen in February that some people use cheap extension cords. The trouble is, many extension cords just can't handle that amount of electricity.

Novak said it was also important to keep your space heater 3 feet away from "anything that will burn — best to do it in the middle of the room."

Sometimes people accidentally let blankets fall right on top of space heaters. To show how quickly that can start a major fire, Novak set up a real-life demonstration inside a real house, with a team of firefighters standing by.

In mere minutes, the blanket caught fire. The flames quickly spread to a sofa, which sent out choking black smoke. Within just a few more minutes, the fire traveled from room to room to engulf the house in flames.

There are space heaters with an automatic shut-off switch in case the device gets too hot or is accidentally knocked over. But experts say even those heaters can be dangerous if used improperly, so you should still follow the 3-foot rule, and not plug them into extension cords.

It's also important to check the batteries in your smoke detectors, and to come up with a fire escape plan with your family.

Article source: https://www.today.com/home/space-heaters-can-cause-deadly-fires-what-you-need-know-t107848

5 Of The Most Common Causes Of Fire In The Workplace

2/28/2018 (Permalink)

  1. Faulty Electrics

Faulty electrics are the biggest cause of workplace1 fires, loose wires, plugs that are over loaded and old equipment can all make for a potential death trap. Every workplace is legally obliged to take good care of any electric al equipment, and Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is an absolute must. These tests, undertaken every year, will ensure that your electrical goods stay in good working order and are fit for purpose.

  1. Flammable and Combustible Materials

Flammable and combustible materials represent a dangerous hazard to your employees as well as your business; whilst every workplace should place fire safety at the forefront of their risk assessments, this is particularly true of premises that hold any number of materials that are flammable or combustible. Appropriate storage, correct disposal and in-depth processes for handling these materials and or substances should be put in place.

  1. Human Error

Another common reason for fires in the workplace is down to human error, accidents such as knocking liquid onto electrical equipment, burning food in the kitchen or spilling flammable or combustible liquids.4

  1. General Negligence

Negligence can be differentiated from human error by the fact that such incidents are caused by proper procedures not being followed, or a member of staff undertaking an activity known as a potential fire hazard. Such instances are, again, easily avoided, and staff training on the dangers of certain areas within the workplace cannot be underestimated.

  1. Arson

While many may get alarmed when they hear that arson is a common cause of workplace fires, it is indeed a relatively frequent occurrence. Factories and industrial estates are particularly prone to vandals and fires can spread quickly from unit to unit if proper fire control features aren’t installed.

If suitable, work places should fit fireproof shutters and a water sprinkler system to protect their property as far as possible; and deterrents such as CCTV and gating can all indicate to the would be intruder that your property is far from ideal for trespassing.

Article source: https://rabidofficemonkey.com/5-common-causes-fire-workplace/ 

The Dangers of Fireworks

11/29/2017 (Permalink)

The Dangers of Fireworks

Fires   Fires are a huge risk when it comes to big festivities like Christmas, Bonfire Night and New Year. They take seconds to occur, yet they can leave a permanent mark on properties and individuals affected.   When it comes to fireworks, the biggest cause of fires is inadequate space. If you don’t have enough space to set off fireworks safely, you risk it hitting a tree or surrounding property. This will increase the risk of fire, especially if the firework hasn’t cooled down or is still lit.   These risks are not the only problems caused by fireworks, but they are the most common. To avoid them, it is best to prioritize safety and find a wide, open space for your fireworks display. If the worst happens though, you should enlist the help of a professional fire restoration service. At SERVPRO Parma/Seven Hills we specialize in Water Mitigation, Mold Remediation, and Fire Restoration.

Animals can also cause harm during fireworks

When frightened by fireworks, horses and dogs have been known to injure themselves and others by running away, potentially causing accidents and damage to property.

Fun but dangerous

Even if you have the right home insurance coverage, setting off fireworks on your property entails explosive risks. Fireworks are designed to shoot hot sparks in every direction and can reach temperatures of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Fire Protection Association NFPA).

More fires are reported on the Fourth of July than on any other day, according to NFPA, and more than half of these fires are caused by Americans shooting off rockets in their backyards. In 2008, fireworks caused about 22,500 fires and $42 million in property damage.

In addition to putting your home and your neighbors' homes) in danger, fireworks can cause serious injuries. In 2008, hospital emergency rooms treated about 7,000 fireworks-related injuries, according to NFPA. About 40 percent of these injuries happened to children younger than age 15. Hands, fingers and eyes were the most injured body parts -- and sparklers and small firecrackers were the most common culprits.

Things that can go wrong:

Fireworks tipping over

Shots going off at ground level

Part filled fireworks

Fall out over the audience

Cross ignition

A fuse lights but nothing happens

Article source: http://www.relkogroup.com/fireworks-what-are-the-risks/ and https://www.qld.gov.au/emergency/safety/explosives-fireworks/fireworks/effects-of-fireworks and https://www.netquote.com/home-insurance/fourth-of-july-firework-safety

Toaster can be fire hazards

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

Toasters can be fire hazards

Under the right circumstances, just about any electric appliance can be a fire hazard. Lately, electric toasters are falling into that category.

Joni, of Cleveland, Ohio, suffered a house fire about a year ago. Once repairs had been made she received a Black & Decker toaster as a house-warming gift.

“Put a pita bread in it yesterday and set the timer for 10 minutes,” Joni wrote in a Consumer Affairs post. “Went to the bathroom and when I came out the thing was on fire. From all these posts, I don't think this is an isolated incident.”

An anonymous consumer from Edgewater, Md., posting under the name “Visitor,” reports having the problem more than once.

“My husband and I had one several years ago,” she writes. “It caught on fire, so we complained and took the free replacement. That one caught on fire and we took another free replacement. That one I left in the basement for a long time before being brave enough to try again. Guess what? That one caught on fire also. These were different models and each had the same problem. I give up. These are dangerous and need to be recalled.”

Black & Decker toasters aren't the only ones triggering complaints about fire hazards. Stacie, of Vancouver, British Columbia, reports purchasing a Kenmore toaster about a year ago.

Blew up

“Today I went to make some toast, and without any notice, it literally blew up, sparks flying and caught fire in my kitchen,” Stacie posted at Cosmographers. “I literally had to unplug it at the chance of getting injured, and while it was on fire run it out to my balcony and run back inside to get pitchers of water to put the flames out. I am very upset.”

December 2011 Hamilton Beach recalled about 14,000 chrome two-slice toasters because of a potential fire hazard. Safety experts found that when the appliances are plugged into an electrical outlet, the heating element can be energized although the toaster lifter is in the up or off position, which can pose a fire hazard if the toaster is near flammable items. The company said it had received five reports of the toasters causing fires.

Toasters have been around nearly as long as electricity. The first electric toaster was developed in Scotland in 1893. Before that people used metal frames to hold bread in place over a heat source, usually an open fire. Electric toasters replaced fire with heat generated by electric current. Westinghouse developed the first two-sided toaster in 1913.

By their nature, toasters can cause fires because of the heat they produce. They are, after all, designed to generate enough heat from electricity to brown pieces of bread placed in the slots. If the electric elements that generate the heat do not turn off on schedule, they can burn the bread.

Problem with crumbs

At the same time, toasted bread is fragile and tends to generate crumbs that often fall to the bottom of the toaster. If these crumbs are allowed to accumulate, they can easily catch fire during normal toaster operation. Most toasters have removable trays for easy cleaning. Consumers should make sure they clean their toasters on a regular basis.

While crumbs might explain some toaster fires, consumers insist others are related to mechanical faults. Several consumers posting at Consumer Affairs have mentioned that their toaster's timer did not shut off when it was supposed to.

“I was making a piece of toast and I smelled burning,” writes Joya, of Brooklyn, N.Y. “It wasn't toast burn I smelled though, it was the toaster burning. The toast setting had gone to the end of the cycle and didn't turn off. I had to unplug it to get it to shut off. I'm confident that if I hadn't gotten to it in time it would have caught fire.”

What to do

Just to be safe, consumers should probably unplug their toasters when not in use. When using them, it's also a good idea to monitor them and not walk out of the room.

Regular cleaning will also reduce the risk of a fire during normal use. In case of a fire, do not use water to try and put it out. Use a kitchen fire extinguisher or smother the blaze with a heavy towel or blanket.

You don't have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen? You should.

The kitchen is the most dangerous room in the house when it comes to fires, and it's not only objects that can burn. People often set their clothes on fire while cooking -- a life-threatening emergency that requires instant action.

Having a fire extinguisher mounted on the wall or someplace else in plain view is the best hope of meeting such an emergency effectively. Don't put the fire extinguisher in a cabinet or cupboard. It needs to be someplace you can see it and grab it immediately. 

Article s ource: https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/toasters-can-be-fire-hazards-042313.html

How to prevent dryer fires

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

How to Prevent Dryer Fires

Every year, firefighters across the country respond to around 14,630 home fires caused by clothes dryers, according to the National Fire Protection Association. An accumulation of lint causes one out of four fires, which means that not cleaning your dryer is more of a threat than a mechanical or electrical malfunction.

Some dryers have indicators designed to alert you when lint has built up and blocked the vent. Our clothes dryer tests have found that LG’s Flow Sense and Samsung’s Vent Sensor detect completely blocked vents, but aren’t as good as detecting partially blocked vents. The same is true for the check-vent feature on Whirlpool and Maytag dryers.

“Dryer fires are responsible for nine deaths, 420 civilian injuries, and $222 million in property damage annually,” says Marty Ahrens, a spokesperson for the NFPA

Given these numbers—and the fact that more dryer fires occur in the fall and winter—we asked CR’s experts for advice on reducing your risk of a dryer fire. Below, four simple steps for laundry-room safety.

Clean Your Lint Filter

Not once a month, or even once a week: “Remove lint from the dryer’s lint screen every time you use your dryer,” says Emilio Gonzalez, the test engineer who oversees CR’s laundry appliance lab. It doesn’t matter if you take this step before or after running a load, but remove any lint from the screen at some point during each use. “This helps prevent a fire, but it also helps your laundry dry faster,” Gonzalez says.

Replace Accordion-Style Ducts

Generally, dryers are equipped with a 4-inch vent in the back, which homeowners or installers connect to the exterior vent with a duct. But not all ducts are created equal.

If you see a plastic or foil accordion-style duct connecting your appliance to the vent, it's a good idea to replace it.

“These are risky because they can sag, allowing lint to build up at low points,” says Gonzalez. “And the ridges on this style of duct can trap lint.” He recommends using a metal duct, whether it’s flexible or rigid, since it won’t sag, and lint is less likely to accumulate. Use the shortest length possible, and refer to the manual’s instructions.

Inspect Vent and Exhaust Duct Periodically

If you notice that your dryer takes longer to dry laundry than it used to, it’s a clue that there may be a blockage. Another clue: When you’re drying a load, head outside, and take a look at the dryer vent, if you have access to it. Do you see or feel exhaust air? If not, the vent or exhaust duct may be blocked with lint.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends disconnecting the duct from the dryer, cleaning it out, and reconnecting the duct to the dryer and outside vent. While you’re at it, clean behind the dryer and underneath it—lint builds up there, too. In winter, be sure that snow isn’t covering the outdoor vent.

Take Care When Washing Stained Items

Clothes stained with flammable chemicals or substances, such as gas, cooking oil, cleaning agents, or paint thinners, need special care. The CPSC recommends washing the clothing more than once to minimize the volatile chemicals, then hanging to dry. If you must use a dryer, use the lowest heat setting and a drying cycle that concludes with a cool-down period.

In the event that a fire does start, keep the dryer door closed, warns Ahrens—a fire needs oxygen to keep it going.

Article source: https://www.consumerreports.org/clothes-dryer/how-to-prevent-dryer-fires/

How to prevent a Turkey fryer fire. Safety tips

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

How to prevent a Turkey Fryer Fire. Safety Tips

It's hard to beat the speed of deep-frying a turkey-or the irresistible flavor and juiciness that result. But turkey fryers have the potential to cause fire and serious injury, which is why organizations like Underwriters Laboratories and the National Fire Protection Association advise against using them.

If you plan to deep-fry your holiday bird, be sure you know how to safely use the fryer, and take these precautions to protect yourself, your guests and your home:

  1. Keep outdoor fryers off decks, out of garages and a safe distance away from trees and other structures.
  2. Make sure the turkey is thawed and dry before cooking. Ice or water that mixes into the hot oil can cause flare-ups.
  3. Watch the weather. Never operate a fryer outdoors in the rain or snow.
  4. Place the fryer on a level surface, and avoid moving it once it's in use.
  5. Leave 2 feet between the tank and the burner when using a propane-powered fryer.
  6. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to avoid overfilling. Oil can ignite when it makes contact with the burner.
  7. Choose a smaller turkey for frying. A bird that's 8 to 10 pounds is best; pass on turkeys over 12 pounds.
  8. Never leave fryers unattended.
  9. Purchase a fryer with temperature controls, and watch the oil temperature carefully. Cooking oil that is heated beyond its smoke point can catch fire. If you notice the oil is smoking, turn the fryer off.
  10. Turn off the burner before lowering the turkey into the oil. Once the turkey is submerged, turn the burner on.
  11. Wear goggles to shield your eyes, use oven mitts to protect your hands and arms and keep a grease-rated fire extinguisher close by.
  12. Skip the stuffing when frying turkey, and avoid water-based marinades.
  13. Keep children and pets away from the fryer at all times.
  14. Once finished, carefully remove the pot from the burner, place it on a level surface and cover to let the oil cool overnight before disposing.
  15. Opt for an oil-less fryer. This uses infrared heat, rather than oil, to cook the turkey.

Article source: https://www.statefarm.com/simple-insights/residence/15-turkey-fryer-safety-tips

Call the CLEANUP TEAM that's faster to any size disaster.

9/23/2016 (Permalink)

October is Fire Prevention Month and serves as an excellent time to examine your emergency preparedness.

Do you have a fire escape plan?

Have you changed smoke alarm batteries within the last year?

Do you know the main causes of fire?

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sets aside a designated week each October to focus on fire prevention as a way to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.  The tragic event killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres.  The 2014 theme is “Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month.” According to NFPA, smoke alarms can cut the chance of dying in a home fire in half.  Meanwhile, NFPA data shows that home fires killed more than 2,300 people in 2012; many of these deaths could have been prevented with the proper smoke alarm protection.

  • Install smoke alarms inside and outside each bedroom and sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Install alarms in the basement.
  • Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
  • It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds they all sound.
  • Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
  • There are two kinds of alarms. Ionization smoke alarms are quicker to warn about flaming fires. Photoelectric alarms are quicker to warn about smoldering fires. It is best to use of both types of alarms in the home.
  • A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove.
  • People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.

Your SERVPRO of Parma/Seven Hills Professionals wants you to stay safe and prepare now to ensure that you are ready for any disaster.  Please tune in for Fire Safety Tips this month and remember that if a fire does occur we are here to help twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year at (440) 887-9000.

Blog Credit:http://www.nfpa.org/public-education/by-topic/people-at-risk/people-with-disabilities/educational-materials/people-who-are-deaf-or-hard-of-hearing

Why Professionals Should Clean Smoke Damage From A Fire

8/2/2016 (Permalink)

Why Professionals Should Clean Smoke Damage From A Fire

When the firefighters leave, it may seem like the danger has passed and the home is safe from further destruction, but without professionals to help clean the smoke damage, the building will never return to normal. While the principles behind fire restoration are fairly simple, it requires a lot of experience and manpower to perform adequately, and this means that it shouldn’t be attempted by a homeowner on his or her own.

While fire is always the immediate danger, once it is gone, what it leaves behind will continue to affect the house
. Ash and smoke, if left unhindered, will cause extensive corrosion, etching and discoloration, not to mention lingering powerful odors. Professionals that clean fire and smoke damage can stop this before it becomes a major problem, assuming they are contacted soon enough. There are many companies out there that advertise their ability to restore areas affected by fire, but only those with proper training and certification should be considered. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is the main oversight agency in this industry. The IICRC requires its registrants to take extensive coursework before earning their certification. This is a symbol of excellence, and those that uphold the standards that have been set can be contacted through the IICRC.

These professionals can clean smoke damage and restore items affected by a fire, but they must be brought to the site as soon as possible to halt the ongoing issues that ash residue can cause. The first thing that ash does to the home is discolor most surfaces. Anything that is made of plastic or was close to the fire will start discoloring within minutes, and within several hours, fiberglass and finishes on appliances will begin to yellow. Metals may also tarnish. After a few days pass, the ash will cause walls to discolor permanently, along with clothing and upholstery. Wood and vinyl will need to be refinished or replaced, and metal will start corroding.

If a professional isn’t hired to clean smoke and fire damage, the costs for restoration will skyrocket after a few weeks
. Metals may need to be replaced, carpet will permanently discolor and glass may be severely etched, which will necessitate replacement. It will also become apparent that the odors caused by the disaster may still be present and intense enough to be distracting. Because ash is acidic, the longer it takes to hire experts, the more destruction it will cause.

The first thing a trained, certified, professional company will do when on site is to identify all affected materials and the source of any odors. The only way to properly clean smoke and fire damage is to be extremely thorough. Ash residue is easily disturbed and can spread through the building with ease, causing nearly everything to need restoration. The experts will identify what can and cannot be salvaged, and will remove any built-up ash residue that is coating surfaces. Over time, ash builds up in layers, and may eventually form into a lacquer-like consistency. Once this is done, the restorers will locate the source of the odor, and treat it with specialized detergents that are formulated for neutralizing this kind of odor. Once materials are treated, they may be sealed off to prevent any further odor from permeating the air in the future.

This entire process is very detailed, and hiring a professional that can be trusted to do the job right is imperative
.

blog credit: http://www.iicrc.org/why-professionals-should-clean-smoke-damage-from-fire-a-38.html

photo credit: http://chathamvoice.com/2013/10/11/water-and-grease-dont-mix/