Recent Fire Damage Posts
Fire Safety Tips & What to do
SERVPRO of Alachua County West will help you get your home back!
October is Fire Prevention month and is a great time to check your house to make sure you are safe. Here are some tips to help get you started:
- Check your smoke alarms (replace batteries each month to ensure they are working)
- Make an escape plan & practice it
- Have a fire extinguisher & learn to use it
- Get rid of the clutter in your house
- Unplug hair dryers, straighteners, curling irons etc. when not in use
- Don't overload outlets
- Do not place cords or wires under rugs or curtains
- Do not leave a candle unattended
- Remember to turn off the stove
- If using a space heater, turn it off when you leave room
What to do during a fire
Imagine you wake up to an alarm going off.. you're still half asleep and wondering why it's still dark when you're alarm is sounding. Then, you realize it's the smoke alarms!! What do you do? Well, first, you should asses the situation. Is the fire in your room? Is there a lot of smoke?
If you are leaving the room, grab a damp cloth to hold over your nose & mouth. Remember to stay low, crawl on your hands and knees on the floor to avoid the smoke. If you need to open a door, use the back of your hand to check the door handle before you open it.
Get outside as fast as possible!! You only have minutes before the fire & smoke takes over. Get to a safe distance away from the building and call 911.
NEVER go back inside!! This is extremely dangerous and can lead to death.
The fire is out.. Now what?
Call SERVPRO of Alachua County West! We will come clean up and make it "Like it never even happened"
That's right, we will clean your house from top to bottom. Making sure you and your family come back to a clean and healthy home!
Don't let you Halloween decor start a Fire
Stay safe this Halloween!
How to set up your decor safely
Children dressed in costumes excitedly running door to door to trick-or-treat, festive decorations like glowing jack-o-lanterns, paper ghosts and dried cornstalks adorning front porches – these are some of the classic hallmarks of Halloween that make the holiday special for kids and adults alike.
Unfortunately, these Halloween symbols and activities can also present lurking fire risks that have the potential to become truly scary. But by planning ahead, you can help make this Halloween a fire-safe one. Taking simple fire safety precautions like keeping decorations far away from open flames and using battery-operated candles or glow-sticks in jack-o-lanterns can help ensure your holiday remains festive and fun!
Did you know?
- From 2009-2013, decorations were the item first ignited in an estimated average of 860 reported home structure fires per year.
- Nearly half of decoration fires in homes occurred because the decorations were too close to a heat source.
- These fires caused an estimated average of one civilian death, 41 civilian injuries and $13 million in direct property damage per year.
- Forty-one percent of these incidents were started by candles; one-fifth began in the living room, family room, or den
So remember SAFETY FIRST!
Enjoy your Halloween and know your home will be protected!
How to Restore Fire Damage
Fire causes devastation along it's path of destruction. If you’re searching for the best way to restore fire damage hopefully, everyone is okay, and your biggest problem is the cleanup.
SERVPRO is trained in the cleanup and care, so restoring your fire damage doesn't have to be a nightmare.
SERVPRO uses the latest equipment, products and processes to properly remove smoke, soot and fire damage.
Our team will not only cleanup the mess, but take care of that smokey odor as well. We use a machine called an air scrubber.
What is an air scrubber? Well, it's basically an air filtration device and it filters airborne particles out of the air, giving you fresher air to breathe.
No matter how the fire started, we will be there to make it "Like it never even happened."
A Fire Won't Hold your Business Back
Your business means everything to you. You can't believe you even have to close your doors. A fire is the last thing you want to deal with right? Well, just pick up the phone and call SERVPRO. We will have you up and running in no time!
Our staff is dedicated to providing the upmost quality of service. With our state of the art equipment, you can rest easy knowing the job will be done right the first time.
The fire itself isn't the only thing that will cause damage, but the soot released as well.We not only clean out all the effected contents, but also improve the air quality.
SERVPRO will respond quickly to your situation and can save your company from loosing more money, reduce more damage and shorten the length of your business being closed.
Sounds like a no brainer, right? So after your call to the fire department, call SERVPRO.
Your service professionals available for you 24 hours a day - 365 days a year
Do you know what to expect in the case of a fire? SERVPRO of Alachua County West does.
No one knows fire restoration like the Pros at SERVPRO of Alachua County West.
We all know that fires happen. We see them every day in the news or on our social media feeds, you may even know someone who has been affected by a house fire, but do you know what to expect when it happens to you? Most of us learn from a young age to have a fire escape plan for our home, but what happens after you have escaped and your home is a smoldering wet mess?
- Your local fire services will have a citizen’s advocate or contact the Red Cross to help you find shelter and take care of your basic needs.
- You will need to contact your insurance company about your claim. If it is after hours your claim number will not be available to you immediately. You may even have to wait a few days for an adjuster to be assigned to your claim.
- Your insurance company may send out a contents inventory specialist to go through you contents and assess what is salvageable and what your destroyed belongings are worth. If they do not do this, it will be up to your adjuster and fire restoration company to do this.
- You may have to obtain permits in some cases for demo and restoration to begin on your home, as well as having inspections to have certain services such as electricity and gas turned back on during the restoration process. You will also have to have a final inspection once your home is done.
- Every fire is different must most substantial house fires take several months to be complete. This means you and your family along with any pets will be in a hotel or with friends and family for over 3 months. In many cases it is faster to build new construction than to restore existing construction.
- Your mortgage company may hold onto your funds for restoration and allow draws to the restoration company as work progresses with inspections for each phase. This is a lot of extra leg work, and can hold restoration up for days at a time.
- Your insurance company replaces your furnishings, appliances, and contents with like value replacements. This may mean that you are limited as to what you can choose for your build-back as well as the time it takes to order them, it’s not quite like going into a Home Depot and choosing out any new tile.
These are just a few things you probably never expected during a fire disaster to your home. One of the best decisions you can make as a homeowner is to be informed before disaster happens. The next best thing that you can do is have the phone number of SERVPRO of Alachua County West on hand just in case disaster happens. Our family of technicians, and staff will keep you informed and work for you to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Make sure there's not too much heat in the bedroom this Valentines Day!
Happy Valentine's Day, from SERVPRO of Alachua County West!
Valentine's Day is once again upon us, and it is important on this lover's holiday that we remember fire safety. 36% of all house fires start in the bedroom. That's over a third of all house fires, and many of the fires that begin in the bedroom are not caused directly by romance, they are caused by candles.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are 15,260 candle fires per year, that is an average of 42 per day. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) reports that candles caused a staggering $438 million in direct property damage from 2006-2010 alone, and you thought those chocolates and a dozen roses were expensive.
Let's face it, there are a lot of flammable items in your bedroom, such as window treatments, bedding, clothing, and carpeting. Many times people aren't exactly paying attention to their surroundings or forget to extinguish candles. After all, there's other stuff to do in the bedroom... like sleeping...
Since we here, at SERVPRO of Alachua County West are in love with our Customers and Community, our Valentine's Day card to you are these helpful tips for candle safety for your bedroom.
- Never burn candles in unoccupied rooms. It doesn’t take long for a fire to start and get out of control, after all, it is the bedroom.
- Keep flammable solvents away from candles. That sounds really technical, so let’s put it this way: A woman in the U.K. was killed by a fire in the bedroom. At first foul play was suspected, until firefighters found a canister of automatic spray air fresheners near candles on the bedside of her boudoir. The air freshener spit out a spray automatically into the lit candles and her bedroom went up in flames.
- Pets and candles don’t mix. They can knock over lit candles while playing or jumping up on furniture or if they are startled. Just keep Fido and Miss Kitty out of the bedroom when using candles, after all, who needs an audience.
- Use proper candleholders. The holder should be flame-resistant and large enough to contain drips. Although the melted wax from candles may have other uses in the bedroom, it is fuel for the flame of the candle. Make sure that you keep your melted wax in check.
- Keep away from drafts. Pay attention to drafts caused by open windows, ceiling or table fans, and even from other candles. I know that amazing view of the ocean and sounds of the crashing waves is super romantic, but drafts can cause candles to flare up or burn unevenly.
- Use a candle snuffer. The only time you should blow candles out is on your birthday – and not in your birthday suit! A candle snuffer can protect your linens and you from unwanted wax splatters.
So remember, as much as SERVPRO of Alachua County West would love to be your Valentine this year, practice candle safety with your sweetheart... and if disaster does happen... call (352) 374-6589 because we are "Faster to any size disaster."
Did you know that there are different kinds of soot associated with fires? SERVPRO can handle them all!
An example of Wet soot. This particular home had Wet, Dry, and Protein soot in different parts of the home.
Fire damage to your home or business can be devastating. It is easy to see the aftermath of the flames as they have gobbled up your belongings and building materials in its wake. One thing that can be more encompassing than the flames is the soot released by the burning materials. Soot is acidic by nature and can cause lots of damage as it continues to degrade metals, finish coatings, and electronics until it is removed. The problem of soot removal is that it is sometime hard to see and there are different types that require specific cleaning measures. Soot also continues to spread until it uses up all of its energy, moving towards colder temperatures, often times affecting all areas of your home and business, even ones not affected directly by the fire. Luckily SERVPRO of Alachua County West is familiar with all types of soot and have the expertise needed to make it “Like it never even happened.”
Fuel oil soot – Though this type of soot it not very common in Florida, due to less than 3% of its populous using fuel oil for heat, which systems are most common for “puffbacks”. A puffback is usually caused by excess fuel in the burner chamber that upon ignition causes a small explosion, sending soot throughout your vent system. This type of soot is usually grey to black and greasy in nature making it streaky and hard to clean when it’s fresh and over time, it can even bond to surfaces making it unable to be fully cleaned.
Protein residues – Protein residues are most often seen in kitchen fires. Unlike what most people consider soot to look like, it is yellow or amber in color as it coats and can be hard to see as a slight discoloration on walls, cabinets, and appliances. Because it is very hard to see this soot, the telltale sign may be a lingering odor issue if all surfaces are not thoroughly cleaned.
Wet soot – Wet smoke is typically left behind in a slow burning, low-heat fire. It is usually black and leaves behind a sticky and this residue that can be easily smeared during clean up. These are usually smoldering fires and can be caused commonly by plastic or rubber materials.
Dry soot – Opposite of wet smoke, dry smoke is most common during high heat, fast burning fires. Fuels such as wood and paper cause dry soot. Dry soot can be easier to clean, but due to the fact it has dry, fine particles it can fall into cracks and crevices, not only hard to see, but harder to clean.
For every type of soot there is SERVPRO of Alachua County West has a way to clean or restore you home or business.
January and February are peak months for winter fires.
Put a freeze on winter fires.
Many Floridians think that after the Christmas tree and holiday decorations come down, so do your chances of having a fire. Heating is the 2nd leading cause of fires and injuries in the U.S. and with this years cold snaps, we have been using plenty of heat. Unfortunately, as Floridians, we are also not as good at heating safety, much due to the fact we don't get as much practice at it.
Like an intruder, having a fire in your home or office is probably the single scariest thing that can happen to you. Securing your belongings, getting out safely, checking for injuries, trying to assess the damages, and working with your insurance company when it’s over are never what you expect.
Having a professional that can help you navigate the pitfalls of rebuilding the life you knew inside your home or office, can be invaluable. SERVPRO provides a complete solution to whatever your disaster leaves in its wake, "Like it never even happened." Our experienced professionals assess the damages and begin the process of putting your life back quickly and seamlessly. If you have had a fire and you need someone to help walk you through the demo and rebuild
Remember Fire Safety during this Spooktacular Holiday.
SERVPRO of Alachua County West Technicians cleaning up a cemetery fire caused by lightning and dry, windy conditions coupled with flammable decor.
Halloween is once again upon us as the air gets cooler and drier. It is also one of the more fun holidays where children and adults can dress up and get lots of candy, but it can also be one of the more dangerous holidays for property and homeowners. The main culprit is candles, which is on the list of the top 10 causes of home fires in the United States. When you mix candles with highly flammable materials used for costumes, and decorations there is a lot of fuel for a disaster. Mix in dryer air and windier weather conditions and you now have a perfect recipe for disaster. The first step in preparing for any disaster is to have a plan developed in case one happens, such as an Emergency Response Plan offered by SERVPRO, and your second step arming yourself with the knowledge of fire prevention to keep your family safe during this holiday.
What You Need to Know Coming into House Fire Season
Before and After photos of a kitchen fire cause by grease.
The smell of Fall is in the air and the weather is cooling, but did you know that Fall is the beginning of House Fire Season? Most people don't know what to do in the case of a house fire, because they have never been through the disaster. That is where SERVPRO of Alachua County West comes in. Our experts can walk you through the process of fire restoration as well as the build back process to make it "Like it never even happened." From our office staff, to our managers and technicians we are here to help every step of the way, after all, it's what we do among many other things. Here, at SERVPRO of Alachua County West, we feel like the community is our family, and as family we feel it's better to prepare for the case of an Emergency when it happens. Do you know what are the 8 main causes of a house fire are?
2.) Ashes and butts of Cigarettes
3.) Electrical wiring and lighting
4.) The lint and objects left in dryers
6.) Children playing with matches and fire
7.) Christmas trees
It's always best to educate yourself in the prevention of disaster, but when disaster strikes, SERVPRO of Alachua County West is here to take care of all your needs. This is from helping you develop and Emergency Ready Plan, to answering your questions, and in the case of disaster being here to make it "Like it never even happened."
Every 90 seconds...
Fire in a Florida home that "SERVPRO" made "Like it never even happened"
A fire occurs in the U.S.
When a fire occurs, your main concern is safety. Once everyone has evacuated and the fire has been put out, you are left with ash and soot. Where do you go from here? Call in the professionals. Not just the brand you can trust, but the family you can trust, "SERVPRO" of Alachua County West.
The first thing "SERVPRO" does when arriving on site is assess the situation. We will go through your home taking a look at all affected areas. Then we will pretest the restorability of items within your home. By pretesting, we determine what can be restored vs replaced. We believe that every home contains valuable items that a customer does not view as "replaceable." That is why we try our very best to restore versus replace.
One component that makes fire damage that much more difficult to clean up is smoke. There are multiple types of smoke, therefore there are multiple cleaning methods used for fire damage. Examples of smoke include but are not limited to: wet smoke (plastics & rubbers-low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary), dry smoke(paper &wood- fast burning, high temperatures), protein fire residue (evaporation of material) and fuel oil soot (furnace puff backs). Each type of smoke requires a different cleaning method and is therefor a cleaning job best left to the professionals.
Just in case a fire occurs in your home or business, here's some tips to keep in mind...
- Limit the movement indoors to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets
- Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls &woodwork
- Place dry, colorfast towels on rugs, upholstery &carpet traffic areas
- If electricity is off, empty freezer &refrigerator completely and prop doors open
- Clean soot from chrome on kitchen &bathroom faucets, trim &appliances and protect with a light coating of petroleum jelly or oil
- Pour RV antifreeze into sinks, toilet bowls &tubs if heat is off during freezing season
- Wash both sides of leaves on house plants
- Change HVAC filter
- Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system
- Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without 1st contacting SERVPRO
- Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without 1st consulting with SERVPRO
- Attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to the fire, heat or water
- Consume any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water
- Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet
- Send garments to dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor
If you have a fire in your home or business, call "SERVPRO" at (352)374-6589. We will be more than happy to visit the site, assess the situation and provide you with an accurate estimate for fire damage restoration. Then, we can make it "Like it never even happened" for you.