Recent Fire Damage Posts

How To Use a Fire Extinguisher

4/8/2022 (Permalink)

Image of a person holding a fire extinguisher Use a fire extinguisher properly and Avoid Fire Damage in your property.

Every home needs at least one fire extinguisher. In fact, fire restoration experts recommend that you have several throughout your home that are easy to access. It doesn't do much good to have them if you don't know how to use them, though. Following these four basic steps, or the PASS technique, helps you remember the procedure more easily.

4 Steps to Use a Fire Extinguisher

  1. Pull

The first thing you have to do to avoid extensive fire damage from a small fire is pull the pin at the neck of the device. This unlocks the extinguisher and makes it ready to use. Inspect every extinguisher in your house on a regular basis to ensure that the pin is still intact. If not, replace it.

  1. Aim

Before you dispense the extinguishing agent, you must aim the nozzle correctly. Point it toward the base of the fire. This will allow you to cut off the fire at its source.

  1. Squeeze

Standing a safe distance from the fire, squeeze the lever at the top of the fire extinguisher. This releases the extinguishing agent from the canister and, if the nozzle is aimed properly, directs it to the base of the fire.

  1. Sweep

If you have a kitchen fire, you want to make sure you put out all the flames. To do this, you must sweep the spray back and forth along the base of the fire. Doing this evenly distributes the agent. If you use all of it and the fire is still not out, do not get another extinguisher. Call emergency personnel in South Boston, VA, to come put out the fire.

Having a fire extinguisher in every area of your house where a fire can more easily start should be part of your overall safety plan. Knowing how to use it is just as vital. Following these simple steps can keep a small fire from becoming a large problem.

How to Create a Fire Escape Plan in 5 Steps

3/14/2022 (Permalink)

Green Arrow in a Room indicating a Safe Place Create a Good Family Fire Escape Plan in 5 Steps By Following These Tips.

Thinking about a fire in your Emporia, VA, home isn’t pleasant, but doing so can help you be prepared in the event that it actually happens. Making a fire escape plan is one way to keep your family safe. There are several steps that you should take when creating your plan.

Make a Good Family Fire Escape Plan in simple Steps

1. Locate All Exits

During a normal day, you may usually stick to your front and back doors, but these may not be the easiest way out of the building during a fire. Locate any doors in your home, even those that you don’t often use. Windows on lower floors can also be used to exit the house if necessary, so keep these in mind when you are creating your emergency escape plan. Determine multiple escape routes from each area of the home, in case you are unable to use certain paths.

2. Designate a Meeting Area

Your family members may be spread throughout the house when a fire occurs. Instead of trying to find everyone while you are inside the building, decide on a meeting spot where you will all gather once you’ve made it outside. This will make it easier to get out of the house quickly and will also allow you to determine if anyone is still inside. This area should be a safe distance from the house while remaining easy to find.

3. Account for Anyone Who May Need Help

It’s possible that not everyone in your household will be able to get themselves out of the house on their own. This can include pets, babies, small children, elderly adults and others with limited mobility. If there is anyone who may need assistance, it can be a good idea to assign another member of the family to make sure they get out safely.

4. Hang Up Visuals

Particularly if there are children in the household, putting up visual guides can help make your emergency escape plan more successful. Younger members of the family may have more trouble figuring out the best way to get out of the house. Consider putting up maps of the house with clearly drawn escape routes so it’s easier to find the nearest exit.

5. Practice Your Fire Escape Plan Often

During an emergency, it can be easy to panic. This is why it is important to practice your escape plan regularly. The more often you practice, the easier it will be for you to remember what to do if a real fire occurs. You should practice at least twice a year, though you may want to do so more often if there are children in the home. Everyone in the household should participate, and you should practice multiple escape routes. Make the drills as realistic as possible and have them at different times of the day.

A fire restoration service can repair your home if it has been damaged, but your family is irreplaceable. Creating a fire escape plan is an easy way to keep your loved ones prepared for a dangerous situation. Make sure that everyone is familiar with the plan and that you have practice drills regularly so everyone is ready.

How To Use a Fire Extinguisher

2/24/2022 (Permalink)

Fire Extinguisher Being Used Learn More about How To Use a Fire Extinguisher and prevent Fire Damage in your Home.

Every home should have at least one very accessible fire extinguisher. This piece of equipment is an integral part of your South Boston, VA, family's fire safety plan. However, knowing how to correctly use it for the optimal effect is just as important as having one on hand. After all, once a blaze starts, it's too late to begin reading the instructions for the first time.

Preparation is key. Whether you have a kitchen fire or discover flames in another part of the house, there are several essential facts you should know well before a potential disaster occurs.

Safety Tips for Mitigating Fire Damage With an Extinguisher

1. Determine Your Evacuation Route

First, it's essential to know the path to exit the building safely if the fire won't go out. This should also be a consideration when you're deciding where to keep your fire extinguisher. Ideally, you can find an area where you'll have clear routes to multiple exit alternatives.

2. Keep a Safe Distance

When trying to extinguish a fire, it's vital to keep your distance from the flames and have a clear route to an exit directly behind you. You should face the fire as you're operating the extinguisher, but make sure you keep a safe distance from the flames. Typically six to eight feet will be adequate for putting out the fire while remaining safe.

3. Remember the PASS Discharge Technique

Fire safety experts have created an acronym for remembering how to operate an extinguisher. Although all extinguishers are not exactly alike, they all work similarly. It can be beneficial when you're in the midst of an emergency situation to know the basics of using one of these devices. Remember to PASS when you grab the fire extinguisher to put out a blaze, big or small:

  • Pull the pin on the extinguisher
  • Aim the hose nozzle low. Aiming it toward the base of the flames will be most efficient at putting it out.
  • Squeeze the lever to discharge the extinguishing chemicals.
  • Sweep the hose from side to side at the base of the fire. Do this until the flames are out.

4. Observe the Area

Keep an eye on the area you just extinguished until you're confident that it won't reignite. If you see a flare-up, perform the PASS technique again.

5. Call the Professionals

If you haven't had an opportunity to call the professionals, now is the time. Call 911 or your local fire department to put out the remaining flames and ensure there isn't a risk of it reigniting. Also, contact fire damage remediation specialists to restore your home to its previous condition.

6. Remove Yourself From the Area

Fire, smoke and soot, along with extinguishing chemicals, are hazardous, so it's best to leave the affected area as soon as possible after you have everything under control. The professionals can handle the job from this point on.

One way to keep your family and home safe from harm is to prepare for a potential fire. By having a safety plan and teaching everyone in the household how to use the fire extinguisher, you are much more likely to significantly mitigate the damage.

Designing a Fire Escape Plan

1/7/2022 (Permalink)

House on Fire. Make a Family Fire Escape Plan in your Emporia, VA house, and be ready if any Fire emerges.

What comes to mind when you consider the biggest threats to family safety? For many parents, they think beyond the immediate or likely threats to assess the potential of rarer occurrences, like floods and fires, making a disaster or fire escape plan critical to family safety.

Despite the recognition for an escape plan, many parents and homeowners are uncertain of the particulars of such a plan or how to implement it. While you can contact the local fire department or a restoration service in Emporia, VA for help, there are several characteristics a plan should incorporate, including.

  • Multiple exits
  • Clear pathways
  • Meeting points outside of the home

The Importance of a Fire Escape Plan

Fires are among the most dangerous home disasters, and they typically occur without warning. A frayed wire, unmanaged stove, clogged dryer vent, etc., can lead to rapid-moving fires, and most people would argue the fires happen when everything seems fine.

A practices emergency escape plan is the key to survival in these unprecedented moments. A fire might not allow time for a parent to get to each child, which means every family member is responsible for their safety unless incapable.

While a lot of thought goes into designing an effective escape plan, there are two critical components: practical exits and practice.

Planning Practical Exits

As you walk through your home in an attempt to design the perfect exit strategy for your family, take note of the pre-established exits in every room. Bedrooms have at least two exits: the door and a window.

You want to acknowledge and record a minimum of two exits per space and how those exits fit into other exits throughout the house. You never know where you will be when a disaster occurs, so knowing the available exits and routes through your home is crucial in a disaster.

Each exit should connect to a path that leads safely outside and to a meeting place. The meeting place is crucial because it is how you will keep tabs on your family.

Practicing To Perfect It

Creating a plan is not enough. If you want a plan to be actionable and effective, your family must practice it.

It is best to aim for a minimum of one practice day per six months, but you can opt for more. If you have young children, it is probably better to practice several times throughout the year. A monthly practice might even be suitable depending on the ages of your family members.

The frequent practice ensures that all family members know what to do in an emergency. Building familiarity around escape routes is crucial, so no one freezes during a disaster. Indecision is one of the worst things that can happen in a fire.

A fire escape plan is vital to family safety. While no one dreams of their home catching fire, it is better to be prepared than surprised. Your local fire department or fire mitigation service can help you design a plan for your house. While there are general principles every homeowner should follow, escape routes are highly individual.

Furnace Maintenance Tips To Avoid Fire Cleaning

10/24/2021 (Permalink)

Furnace Maintenance. Make a maintenance schedule for the furnace in your home in Emporia, VA, to avoid fire and smoke damage.

The furnace in your home in Emporia, VA, helps to regulate the indoor temperature. When it breaks down, it can affect not only your family's comfort level but also the overall safety of your home. To avoid the need for fire cleaning due to a smoking furnace, it's in your best interest to establish and stick to a regular maintenance schedule.

Prevent Need for Smoke Cleaning With Basic Checks

The first sign that there is a problem with the furnace is often the temperature inside the house. You set the thermostat to your preferred comfort level, and the system does not respond. Unless your furnace is actually smoking, it is best, to begin with, a few basic checks:

  • Check to see if the breaker powering the furnace or system has been tripped.
  • Raise the thermostat a few more degrees to see if that triggers the automatic start.
  • Push the reset button on the furnace.
  • Check the pilot light on a gas furnace or the oil level on an oil-fueled model.

Despite the simplicity of these small checks, sometimes one of them is just the jumpstart the system needs. There are other situations in which turning it off and on again is not the answer, though.

Replace Filter To Keep Intake Clean

Dirt and furnaces aren't a good mix. According to fire cleaning experts, dust that gets inside the furnace can make it less efficient and waste energy. It also can become a fire hazard if the problem gets too out of hand. If you have ever experienced the unpleasant smell of dust burning off the coils of a unit during its first use of the season, you can probably imagine how easily a fire could erupt.

There are two things you can do to keep dirt out of your unit. First, replace or clean the filter on a regular basis. In a home where the system gets a lot of use, it's smart to check the filter to see if it needs changing every other month. Second, have your furnace cleaned at least once a year to remove the dust that does get past the filter.

Schedule a Professional Tune-Up Appointment

Other than dirt in the system, there are several reasons why a furnace may not work as well as it should. Fuel may not be getting to the unit or may not be igniting properly when it does. The blower that distributes air to the house may malfunction. A faulty thermostat can also cause problems.

Regular professional maintenance can identify these problems early and fix them before they turn catastrophic. A tune-up right before the first cold snap can keep you from needing smoke cleaning as the furnace begins to work harder to warm your home. Another inspection after the worst of winter is over catches any issues that need repair before summer begins.

A trusted fire cleaning team can mitigate the mess caused by a smoking furnace, but it's better to prevent the problem in the first place. With a few basic tricks and regular maintenance, your furnace can work more reliably.

Tips for Keeping Pets Safe During a Fire

8/26/2021 (Permalink)

A dog. Train your pets so they would know how to act if a fire emergency happens in your South Boston, VA, home.

If you have children, you have probably taught them what to do if a fire breaks out in your home in South Boston, VA. What about your family pets? Here are some fire emergency tips as well as extra precautions you can take to keep your beloved animals safe.

Evacuation Plans

You want your pets to be able to get out of your burning house and make it to safety. There are several considerations to add to the family evacuation plan if you have pets in your home:

Practice - Pets should be part of your family fire drills. It teaches them to come to you when they hear the sound of the smoke alarm and follow your lead out of the house rather than finding a place inside to hide.

Survival kits - Just as each family member should have an emergency kit packed and ready to go in case of a fire, so should your pet. Include food, treats, and copies of important documents such as shot records.

Carriers - If your pets are small enough to fit in a carrier, it's a good idea to have one handy enough to grab quickly during fire evacuation. It's much easier to carry a scared animal out in a carrier than in your arms.

Home Alone Strategies

Pet safety can be trickier when you are not at home with them, but it's still possible. Animals are just as curious about their environments as young children, so put yourself in that mindset before you leave them to freely roam the house in your absence. Go through each room in your house and imagine what you would want to change if you knew a toddler was going to be alone in the room for a few minutes.

To avoid a fire emergency in the kitchen in your absence, fire damage remediation experts recommend that you remove the knobs on the stove or cover them so that they cannot turn easily even with persistent nudging. Keep cords hidden or out of reach of animals that tend to learn by chewing. Consider keeping young animals or pets in training crated or confined to a small area, preferably near the front door where firefighters can easily find them, while you are gone.

Fire Safety Measures

Part of pet preparation for the house is getting rid of things that enhance the opportunity for fire to break out. Even when you are at home, excited or curious pets can make extra fire precautions necessary. You may love the look of candles but unfortunately, so does your cat. Consider switching to flameless candles or other types of subtle lighting that don't have an open flame. The main thing to remember is that you should never leave anything that could cause a fire if bumped or tipped over unattended, especially if you have pets.

It's important to follow fire safety tips that take every member of the family into account. Including pets, in your fire, emergency plan, and taking extra precautions to guard against safety hazards helps protect every family member, even the furry ones.

How to Clean and Restore Fire Damaged Fabrics?

5/1/2020 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Restoration in Emporia/South Boston Often Requires Restorers to Clean Fabrics 

When a fire burns a home, business or any other type of property, the smoke produced can spread throughout the entire space. Due to the fact that smoke rises with heat and attaches to cooler surfaces, extensive damage can be caused to your property. Soot and soil residue are left behind by the gases from the burn onto every surface they touch within your home. 

Remember, smoke can travel through every room, not just the room where the fire initially starts. This means that you can have fire damages throughout the entire space. Many fire damage projects in and around the Emporia/South Boston area require extensive cleaning and soot removal during the restoration process. 

SERVPRO technicians use a variety of different techniques to clean the different rooms and surfaces in fire damaged properties. This is important because different blazes emit different types of smoke based on what burns. 

When SERVPRO first arrives to the property, our first step is to test clean the materials and contents that were affected by the fire. By doing this before beginning the restoration process, the Emporia/South Boston team will be able to determine what can be salvaged with cleaning and what soot removal methods will work best for each item. 

For example, because heat rises, carpets can often times be restored through the cleaning process. But, in some cases, carpets can collect the fallout of burnt smoke particles. When cleaning carpets, our technicians start by vacuuming the entire affected area. SERVPRO vacuums are high-efficiency filters that are designed to remove even light soot residue from fabrics. 

If soot residues are soaked deeper into the carpet, detergents and deodorizers are often used to complete the cleaning process. 

On upholstered items, like furniture and curtains, fire damage residue is often removed using dry cleaning methods. Vacuuming and dry sponges are able to remove soils and soot on the surface of upholstered furniture. However, if the soot has caused a stain, SERVPRO technicians will clean them with a one percent chlorine bleach solution to remove any stains. 

Have you noticed soot or soil residue after a fire? Call SERVPRO Emporia/South Boston today at 434-262-6792.