Residential Fire Damage FAQ's
Did you know there are different types of fire damage? Understanding the different types of fire can help you prevent fires from happening. If a fire has occurred, did you know the area where the fire started must be secured and undisturbed until released for cleaning by an insurance representative? There is more to fire damage and fire damage restoration than meets the eye, especially here in Vero Beach where “snowbirds” are prevalent and may not know a fire has occurred in their vacation home.
To start with, a fire is usually caused by one or more of the following:
- Protein Fire – Food from the oven or stove is burned.
- Complex Fire – Multiple natural and synthetic items inside the structure have burned.
- Natural Fire – Trees, shrubs and bushes have burned.
- Furnace malfunction – Heating appliances such as oil-fire furnaces have malfunctioned and caused smoke to be distributed throughout the property.
Once you have identified a fire or noticed fire damage in your home or business. a ServiceMaster by Glenn’s technician can walk you through a checklist to help you understand the procedures involved in restoring your property.
Fire damage restoration entails:
- Identification of the type of fire and smoke and the scope of the damage
- Preparation of an assessment (which includes a thorough visual inspection with photo documentation) by a ServiceMaster By Glenn’s technician
- Formulation of the most effective plan for returning your property to pre-loss condition as quickly as possible
Some essentials everyone in your family needs to know are:
- How to escape during a fire. Have an evacuation plan and make sure each member of the family or business knows evacuation routes. Review these evacuation routes periodically.
- How to call 911. Take the time to teach young children or to orient elderly parents how to utilize smartphones to dial emergency personnel. If you are a business, make sure all employees have access to an emergency telephone.
- Get a fire extinguisher. Make sure you have the equipment necessary to avert a major disaster by simply keeping a fire extinguisher present in your kitchen. Make sure you teach your family members or employees how to use the fire extinguisher.
- Make sure important documents are accessible. Do you have your social security cards, birth certificates, medical records, marriage records, passports, car / home / business titles, family photos / heirlooms in a safe container you can quickly grab? You do not want to waste precious seconds during a fire trying to locate these items.
When your home or business has suffered damage after a fire or smoke incident, you should make sure you hire a restoration company who’s goal is to prevent permanent damage. When you have fire or smoke damage, you might think it only causes just that: fire damage or smoke damage. However fire damage and smoke damage is much more pervasive than you think.
Think about the side effects of:
- Smoke damage
- Soot damage
- Corrosive gas
- Standing water
and their ability to cause permanent damage.
Look at these time frames:
- In seconds, steel and metal surfaces can discolor.
- In minutes, small appliances, plastics and marble can discolor.
- Within hours, fiberglass, grout, chrome plumbing fixtures, coated steel, brass, upholstered furniture, brass, and hardwood can discolor.
- In days, painted walls and ceilings, vinyl floors and clothing can discolor.
- In weeks, carpets discolor and glass, china and cyrstal can pit and etch.
Here at ServiceMaster By Glenn’s, our goal when performing restoration services on smoke damage or fire damage is to return your property back to it’s pre-existing condition as soon as possible. Call us as soon as you have smoke or fire damage to prevent harmful elements from making your restoration of your property more difficult and sometimes impossible without replacement.
Many of us have experienced smoke in our lives. We know what it smells like, we know how it lingers and how difficult it is to remove. But do you really know what smoke is? Smoke is a collection of airborne solid and liquid particles and that are emitted when a material experiences combustion. The smoke you are smelling from is a byproduct of burned material. Though smoke inhalation is dangerous when it fills the air, when it settles on items throughout your home it can be extremely difficult to remove. Depending on what was burned in the fire residual smoke can be very dangerous. Many of the chemicals in smoke soot are very aggressive in nature.
The most common causes of smoke damage are:
- Kitchen Stoves
- Electric Blankets
- Faulty Wiring
- Smoking in Bed
- Flammable Liquids
- Clothes Dryers
- Home Heating
Here at Service Master by Glen’s we have the years of experience dealing fires and smoke restoration. We know how to safely and efficiently remove smoke residue from items throughout your home with our professional cleaning services. If you have experienced a fire, recently purchased a home that has been damaged from a previous resident or has smoke damage that you just cant get rid of on your own. give us a call and we will be happy to make an assessment of your smoke odor damage.
One of the hardest smells to get rid of is smoke. Whether that smoke odor is caused from leaving things too long in the oven, burning food on the stove or something as big as a house fire, smoke damage is costly and difficult to remove if not done correctly.
If you are miserable with the smell fire damage has left over, do not worry: there are ways to minimize if not fully get rid of the smoke odor all together. It is important to hire a certified technician to do the job correctly to get the smoke odor removed professionally or you may be wasting time, money and create further damage to items in your house. Here at ServiceMaster, we specialize in this smoke odor removal by carefully and professionally removing smoke from your house utilizing the right cleaning materials and know-how.
What can you do in the meantime? Some ways you can safely start the smoke odor removal process is:
- Get the air moving and flowing through the house
- Open up windows and doors to start ventilating the areas
- Turn on fans to help circulate the air.
If a fire or smoke damage is causing bad lingering odors in your home or business, it is important to contact us right away. Even though smoke damage may be centrally located now, it can easily spread to other items later if not quickly treated.
If you have recently experienced a fire or smoke damage in your residence or business lately, you may not be aware that there are actually different types of smoke damage. The type of smoke damage determines how ServiceMaster By Glenn’s restores your property.
Here are the different types of smoke damage:
- Dry Smoke Damage. This type of smoke damage is caused by a fire that has burned rapidly. Since fires that burn quickly produce very high temperatures, they incinerate the material that is burning. This leaves behind a dry, powdery residue that does not smear.
- Protein Smoke Damage. One of the first things you’ll notice about protein smoke damage is the odor. Protein fires are usually caused in the kitchen, after meat or other food items have been left unattended or caused by appliance malfunction. The residue from this type of fire is invisible, yet it permeates cabinet interiors, soffits, range hoods, closets and ducts. Some painted surfaces may even develop discoloration.
- Fuel Oil Smoke Damage. This type of smoke damage is usually caused by an oil furnace or can by emitted by certain types of grills. This type of smoke damage causes a sooty, black residue. It spreads and can coat nearby items such as couches, carpets or patio furniture.
One thing to remember is smoke damage will not go away with simple household cleaners. It takes the work of a certified restoration technician to use the right chemicals and industrial-grade cleaners to successfully remove the smoke damage without causing damage, if possible.
ServiceMaster By Glenn’s willl send affected items out for testing. Testing allows you and your insurance company to determine what can be saved or restored and what is damaged beyond repair.
No matter whether it’s water damage, mold damage, fire damage or smoke damage, getting a certified restoration professional into your home as soon as possible after damage has occurred is imperative. In the case of smoke damage, doing so minimizes the effects of chemicals that are on surfaces and items in your home as a result of the smoke damage.
ServiceMaster by Glenn’s will immediately prepare for smoke damage smell removal from fire and smoke damage. This requires a variety of professional products, systems and specialty equipment. Multiple treatments may be necessary during the restoration process. ServiceMaster by Glenn’s has systems, deodorizers and equipment to remove a wide range of odors.
- Air scrubbers – High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration to remove particles of smoke and odor from the air. Please do not move or turn off this equipment.
- Thermal fogging – This process neutralizes odor, using a strong deodorizer that penetrates everywhere smoke has traveled and will require removal of pets, plants and human occupants for a short period of time.
- Ozone – An oxidizing agent produced by a portable ozone generator. This process will also require removal of pets, plants and human occupants for a short period of time.
Did you know the most common type of fire damage in homes and businesses: kitchen fire damage (as reported by the National Fire Protection Agency). It takes only a few minutes for an unattended pot to catch fire.
Listed below are some safety tips while cooking in the kitchen:
- Stay in the kitchen while cooking. Turn off the stove if you do have to leave the room.
- Keep potholders, towels, paper, oven mitts or anything that can burn away from the stove top.
- Keep children and your pants away from the stove top. Always use the back burners when possible if you have young children.
- Stay in your home while baking or rice steamed food. Keep a fire extinguisher mounted close by in case of a fire in the kitchen.
- Make sure your smoke detectors have fresh batteries and are in good working condition.
Have you taken the time to put together a fire escape plan? Utilize this week to sit down and identify where the escape points are, where you’ll meet outside and what the expectations are from each member of the family. Most importantly, start implementing these fire safety tips today in your kitchen to prevent kitchen fires!
Follow these few steps to help keep fire damage under control, to a minimum and call in the professionals, ServiceMaster by Glenn’s at 877-567-4435. Even when the fire is out, the damage continues. In a matter of days, items in your home or business can go from cleanable to unsalvageable. Prompt action is necessary to help mitigate additional damage caused to your home after the fire is out.
Here are a few steps you can take:
- Corrosive byproducts can cause irreversible etching in as few as 72 hours.
- If the temperature is above 60 degrees, air out the house to reduce smoke odor.
- Clean Formica, chrome, porcelain and aluminum fixtures to prevent permanent tarnishing or etching.
- Change the air filter on your furnace if it uses forced hot air.
- Tape a damp cheesecloth over returns and supply registers to capture loose soot in the air.
- Discard any open food packages.
- If the electricity is off, clean out the refrigerator and leave doors propped open.
- Send clothing with heavy smoke damage to a qualified restoration dry cleaner.
What not to do:
- Do not touch anything with your bare hands. Oil from your hands can permeate upholstery, walls and woodwork, causing additional damage.
- Do not wash walls. Incorrect cleaning could compound the soot residue.
- Do not attempt to clean carpets or upholstered furniture.
- Do not use electrical appliances until having them checked.
- Do not use ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet.
It’s that time of year when we’re packing up to go see relatives up north or our relatives come to see us. Regardless, here are some valuable tips to keep in mind before you leave the house.
- Turn off the main water supply. Murphy’s law: If something can go wrong, it will go wrong while your’e away! Make sure to turn off your main water supply to avoid any toilets overflowing, pipes leaking or bursting or the myriad of other water-related problems that could happen to cause water damage to your home over your holiday vacation.
- Turn up the thermostat- but don’t turn it off! To keep your house from over-cooling (which is easy to do here in sunny Vero Beach), make sure to turn up your thermostat to a comfortable 80 degrees to keep the air moving so stagnant, humid air doesn’t cause mold damage while your are away.
- Unplug your electronics. Protect yourself from an electrical short in your appliances or a power surge that might overtake the surge protector by just unplugging your electronics. Not to mention, having electronics plugged in while you are away still use a little bit of energy- so it saves your energy bill to unplug them as well!
- Get a light timer. In order to not advertise to your neighborhood that you are gone and your house is unoccupied, it might be worth it to invest in a light timer. Have different rooms go off at different times to keep up appearances that you are home and make buglers less interested in breaking into your home while you are gone.
- Check your gutters. Eventhough winter time is not the rainy season here in Vero Beach, we do still occasionally get downpours during the winter months. So before you leave for a vacation, take a walk around the house and check your gutters. Before you leave for vacation, check to see if leaves, sticks or other debris are blocking the inlet of the downspout and preventing water from flowing down the spout. Also make sure your downspout extensions are discharging the water far enough from the foundation. Prevent water damage or water flooding while you are away from your home.
Commercial Fire Damage FAQ's
The most common causes of fires in commercial buildings are due to human error or human intent. The Maine Municipal Association Risk Management Services (MMARMS) reports that “Over 3,000 fatalities and 18,000 injuries occur every year in the US because of fire and fires consume $10 billion in property damage costs annually.” MMARMS also reports that 70-80,000 workplaces experience fire every year, causing disruption of public services and utilities and the loss of valuable property and information.
The loss of property use can not only cost you time, but also unrealized associated costs due to timely repairs and rebuilding. Make sure that you stay up to date on what is going on in the workplace and spot out any potential fire risks.
The top 6 common causes of fire in commercial buildings include:
- Human Error
- Electrical fires
- Electrical boilers
- Hot water heaters
If you have a fire in your business, you need to make sure the restoration company you have called on takes the necessary precautions to make sure your home can be properly restored during their smoke and fire emergency service. If you have recently had a fire and one of these steps were missed, call ServiceMaster By Glenn’s today.
What Smoke and Fire Emergency Services Should Entail:
- Board up or cover the area with tarp to secure the property or protect it from the elements.
- Inspect furnace or air conditioner unit; replace furnace filter, cover supply and return air vents to prevent cross contamination of smoke and odor into other areas; clean and deodorize duct work.
- Turn off electrical power to address any safety issues.
- Use generators to use lighting and restoration equipment.
- Remove debris to clear a way for complete restoration and provide for worker and occupant safety.
- Perform emergency water damage mitigation.
- Perform emergency corrosion mitigation.
- Empty refrigerators or freezers to prevent spoiling and odors; empty food cabinets; dispose of spoiled food items. Keep a list of these items.
- Begin initial odor control measures such as ventilation to air out the property, application of deodorizers and placement of air filtration units.
- Arrange for emergency laundry/dry cleaning for several changes of clothing for immediate use, while the remainder of your clothing is restored.
Should you ever have need for smoke and fire emergency services, call ServiceMaster By Glenn’s.. our certified technicians will see to it that your home and belongings are properly restored.