Recent Fire Damage Posts
When Should Homeowners Schedule Furnace Maintenance?
When To Schedule Furnace Maintenance
Regular professional inspections, upkeep, and repairs are necessary to keep an electric or gas home heating unit running. A furnace that runs unchecked for years can end up costing a lot more than the price of regular maintenance in the event of a blowback or fire cleaning. Find out when to schedule routine furnace maintenance for a home in Brunswick, ME.
At the start of the Season
In the northern hemisphere, furnaces are used most during the fall, winter, and early spring seasons, generally from October to April. The condition of the following components should be checked in the early fall:
- Combustion air openings
- Fan switch
- Flue pipe
- Heat exchanger
- Pilot assembly
Most property owners are not familiar with the inner workings of the furnace that heats their home. For this reason, a professional should confirm that a furnace is ready for safe operation.
In the event of a Furnace Problem
If a furnace does not activate or malfunctions, a homeowner should arrange for HVAC service. The unit should be inspected to ensure that a minor problem does not turn into a major issue and shorten the life of the appliance or raise the risk of damage requiring professional fire cleaning or blowback cleanup.
Other Regular Furnace Upkeep
Change a furnace air filter every 90 days to maintain air quality. The condition of a furnace and ductwork can be affected by incidents elsewhere in a home. It can be helpful to arrange for smoke cleaning of ductwork after a fire before operating a furnace.
Changing air filters and arranging for regular furnace service is worth the time and money. A functioning furnace is necessary to heat a home in Brunswick, ME. Professional inspections reduce the risk of blowbacks, gas leaks, and fires. Investing in the safe operation of heating appliances is more cost-effective than repairs or replacement along with emergency soot or fire cleaning.
Securing and Restoring Your Property After a Fire
Roof tarping in Brunswick, ME
Secure Your Business Property
If fire damage occurs to your Brunswick, ME, business, there will be a lot to do. One of the most important tasks will be protecting your property from further damage.
Securing the Property
What do criminals, wildlife and inclement weather have in common? They can all wreak havoc upon a fire-damaged building. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to secure your business property.
- Install a security fence
- Tarp over openings
- Board up broken windows
When a fire department extinguishes a fire, they often break windows and cause other damage that leaves your building vulnerable to looting and other dangerous situations. Inspect the structure for openings and entry points, and block them off using either plywood or a tarp. A security fence can add a second layer of protection. Remember that your business could be liable for injuries sustained on the property, even by someone who did not have permission to be there. Following these steps will help protect your business from further harm while you are busy repairing the initial fire damage. Additionally, if the insurance company finds you did not take adequate steps to secure the site, they may refuse to pay for any secondary damage that they deem occurred as a result of negligence.
Restoring the Property
In addition to outside factors, soot from the fire and water from the extinguishing efforts can also cause further damage if left too long. It is important to begin the fire cleanup process as soon as possible. Remove the standing water using either a pump or specialized vacuum. Use a dehumidifier to dry out any remaining water. Clean the smoke and soot from the affected surfaces using an appropriate cleaner and technique. There are a variety of products available on the market for this. Throw out all items that cannot be completely dried and cleaned. Finally, repair or replace all damaged items.
Protecting your property and restoring fire damage can seem like a Herculean task. Fortunately, a professional restoration team can help you get your business back to normal quickly and safely.
Top 5 Grilling Safety Tips
Clean your grill after every use
Ways To Prevent a Fire Grill In Your Home
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), outdoor grilling is responsible for an average of 10,200 residential fires every year. Don't let yourself become part of that statistic. Abide by the following safety tips to help prevent your home in Woolwich, ME, from succumbing to a grill fire.
1. Never Leave Your Grill Unattended.
Grills generate open flames, which can quickly spread out of control if they aren't carefully monitored and maintained. Always stay with your grill while it's on and keep a close eye on the fire.
2. Only Use Your Grill Outside.
A good way to prevent a barbeque fire is to only use your grill outside in an open area. Never grill underneath overhanging structures or on an enclosed balcony or porch.
3. Clean Your Grill After Every Use.
Grills accumulate grease each time you use them, especially if you're cooking meat. It's vital that you take the time to scrub excess grease and fat from the grill to prevent a grill fire.
4. Wear Proper Clothing While Grilling.
Loose or dangling sleeves can accidentally come in contact with the grill and quickly catch fire. Prevent this from happening by only wearing tight-fitting clothing that won't dangle over the flame.
5. Regularly Check for Propane Leaks.
This is an especially important task to perform before your first barbeque of the season. You can check for gas leaks by applying a light soap and water solution to the hose and turning on the gas. If the solution bubbles, then there's a propane leak. Likewise, you might be able to smell a gas leak.
Following proper grill safety protocol is the best way to prevent fire and smoke damage. A grill fire can quickly spread out of control and consume your house if you aren't careful. Contact fire remediation experts for more information, or if your home has recently suffered any type of fire damage.
5 Essential Fire Prevention Tips
Teach your employees how to use a fire extinguisher
5 Essential Fire Prevention Tips
Silence doesn't stop a fire, but it can make it more difficult to fight. In fact, remaining quiet about fire safety means that people don't know what to do. In their ignorance, workers may make mistakes. Commercial owners in Arrowsic, ME, therefore, should take an active role in fire prevention, arming their employees and buildings with tools and knowledge. Here are five essential things to consider.
1. Make Others Aware of Your Business Emergency Plan
Create a business fire plan. With a team of staff members, discuss the steps required to minimize the likelihood of a fire as well as how staff should handle an emergency. This includes designating a leader who would take charge in the chaos. Evacuation maps should be created, keeping in mind obstacles and handicap accessibility. Furthermore, these should be regularly shared with the office, keeping everyone updated on any changes.
2. Teach How To Use an Extinguisher
Part of fire prevention is understanding how to reduce the flames early on. Extinguishers should be available throughout the facility. It's not enough, though, to possess them. People should be trained on how to use them. This is a first line of defense for minimizing harm and helping others escape.
3. Inspect and Update Equipment Regularly
Ensure that your safety devices are functional and capable of warding off major fire damage. Sprinkler systems should be tested annually. If anything seems off, repair it as soon as possible.
4. Have Kits Prepared Ahead of Time
When smoke builds, team members may need tools to make the escape possible. Put together kits of bottled water, masks, and a flashlight. These could be used to avoid smoke inhalation and locate the exits.
5. Remain Aware of Electrical Hazards
Too many wires or misplaced equipment could increase the odds that your establishment might suffer from flames. Discuss how cords should be used, discouraging stringing them together. In fact, a fire restoration company could come in and survey the building, offering suggestions on how to improve.
Be proactive in your fire prevention measures. Talk about efforts with your company, arming them just in case of potential danger.
Eliminating Smoke Odor From the Home
Ozone treatments are good for homes with strong lingering odors
Three Popular Techniques
Smoke odor, whether from cigarettes or a house fire, can linger for a long time. The smell can get trapped within porous surfaces and does not respond well to traditional deodorization techniques, like fans and air fresheners. Fortunately, there are a variety of effective home deodorization methods available today. The following are three popular techniques:
1. Air Purification Air purifiers are a good starting point for odor removal because they do not necessarily require professional assistance. Choose a machine with a high-quality filter to trap the smoke particles. HEPA or activated carbon filters are a good choice. Clean or replace the filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure the best results. In some cases, the air purification process alone may eliminate all the smoke odor.
2. Ozone Treatments Ozone treatments are good for homes with strong lingering odors from a house fire or cigarette smoke. Unlike the oxygen that humans breathe, ozone has only two oxygen particles. This fact allows it to bond with the lingering smoke particles, forming a new and odorless molecule. Ozone can be dangerous, so it is a good idea to seek professional assistance with this treatment.
3. Thermal Fogging For homes that were affected by a fire, thermal fogging may be a particularly effective home deodorization technique. During the fire, the temperature in the home increased dramatically, opening up porous surfaces. After the fire was extinguished, these surfaces cooled and contracted, trapping smoke odors within them. Thermal fogging safely increases the temperature within the home, expands porous surfaces, and allows the deodorizing agent to reach the trapped smoke particles.
If your home smells of smoke, there are a variety of ways to approach the situation. It can seem overwhelming trying to determine the best home deodorization method for your Phippsburg, ME, home. Fortunately, an experienced restoration team can choose the best treatment and apply it safely to get your home back to normal.
Cleaning Lint From Your Dryer Can Prevent a Fire
Clean the lint trap after every use
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the majority of dryer fires were due to lint fires. This means that homeowners in Brunswick, ME, may reduce their risk of fire damage by performing routine dryer maintenance to clear the dryer’s exhaust system of lint.
Here are three to remove lint from your dryer’s ventilation system:
1. Clean the lint trap after every use.
2. Clear the flexible vent pipe.
3. Brush the ventilation system.
After performing these three steps, run your dryer on a no-heat cycle, to push out any lint you loosened during cleaning. If you need professional help for mitigation and restoration after a lint fire, look for a company that is knowledgeable and experienced in disaster recovery. SERVPRO of Bath / Brunswick is your local fire restoration company.
How To Remove Lint From the Dryer
By regularly cleaning your dryer, you can reduce the chances of a lint fire
How To Remove Lint From the Dryer
Home fires do not only occur in the kitchen. In fact, the laundry room is another common location of blazes. Specifically, a lint fire can break out if your dryer is not cleaned properly.
Luckily, removing lint from the dryer is a fairly easy process. Following the basic steps listed below can help save your home from severe fire damage.
1. Clean the Lint Screen Each Time the Dryer Is Used
You should easily be able to find and remove the lint screen on your dryer. Take out the screen and clear off the lint before placing a new load of laundry into the appliance. Use your hand or a cleaning brush to remove the lint. Then dump it in the trash so it doesn’t start a lint fire.
Every few weeks, you should take the extra step of rinsing the lint screen in the sink. You may want to put some soap on the screen, as well. Continue applying running water until the screen is completely clear.
2. Regularly Vacuum the Screen Vent
After you pull out the lint screen, you should also check the vent that was holding it. If you see any excess lint in the vent, use a vacuum attachment to remove the debris.
3. Deep Clean Every Six Months
Both the vents and the inside of the appliance should be cleaned twice a year to prevent a dryer fire. To deep clean, the vents, start by unplugging the dryer and removing the exhaust hose. Use a vacuum attachment, rod or cleaning brush to take any lint out of the hose. You can similarly remove the access panel and remove lint from any visible areas.
By regularly cleaning your dryer, you can reduce the chances of a lint fire occurring in your Woolwich, ME, home. If a blaze does damage your property, you need to get it repaired as soon as possible. You should thus contact emergency restoration specialists immediately.
Should I Change My Fire Alarm Batteries? 3 Tips for Knowing
Change your smoke alarm batteries to prevent a fire.
Every year, fire officials insist, you need to change the batteries in your smoke alarm, even if you aren’t sure they’re dead. It’s overkill right? If you think that, you just might be putting your Brunswick, ME, home at risk. When should you change your smoke detector’s batteries? Keep reading to find out.
Fire experts credit home alarms with drastically reducing incidences of house fires. Yet every alarm installed isn’t functional. The result is:
Most of home fire deaths happen in homes with no alarms or alarms that don’t work
Of fires in homes with alarms that failed, about half were due to missing batteries
Keep reading to learn how you can reduce the odds of your home becoming a statistic.
Listen for the Beep
Beeping alarms have become so common that most people just ignore them. But you do that at your own risk. The fact is, a beeping sound is the number one sign that your smoke alarm isn’t working properly. Instead of ignoring the beep, take it as a sign to change your battery.
Battery type is a top indicator of how often you’ll need to freshen up your alarm. Older alarms tend to work on 9-volt batteries; those will need to be changed annually. If you’re lucky enough to have a newer lithium-powered battery, experts say you should be ok for a decade.
Smoke detectors are resilient, but they won’t last forever. Just like any device, they get worn out and need to be replaced. Minimize risk by reading the manual that comes with your alarm and changing the battery or replacing the device when it’s suggested.
Sadly, a large amount of home fire damage is the result of either absent or non-working smoke alarms. Don’t be a victim. Use these and other tips from local fire cleanup experts to keep your home secure.
Fire Damage: Will Your Renter’s Insurance Cover You?
Understanding how your renters insurance policy will cover you can provide some peace of mind during a challenging time
Experiencing a fire in your Bath, ME, residence can be unsettling and stressful. Understanding how your renters insurance policy will cover you can provide some peace of mind during a challenging time.
The Big Picture of Fire Coverage
Renters are covered for fire damage, but policies can vary greatly. Knowing a bit about the five major coverage areas is a good starting place.
Personal Property – This coverage allows you to be reimbursed for your personal property loss from a fire.
Liability – This benefit allows payment to others if another person sustains loss or injury as a result of your home fire.
Loss of Use – This coverage reimburses you for expenses you incur if you need to live outside your home while fire restoration proceeds.
Mandatory Evacuations – This applies if you incur living expenses or loss due to a mandatory evacuation of your home.
Natural Peril – If your fire started because of an extreme weather event or natural disaster, this provision requires your policy to cover your damages.
There are a few specific renters insurance provisions that are worthy of consideration as they may vary between policies.
Renter's Policy and Coverage Variables
As with any insurance product, it is prudent to weigh all of the factors when evaluating your current policy or a new one. Comparing coverage limits and deductibles is a good place to start. Your policy will generally cover the professional fire restoration process, but one variable that can make a big difference is the personal property reimbursement provision. Replacement value coverage is far superior as it pays for the cost of replacing your items, not just their current value. It is a good idea to confirm that fire damage will be covered even if it is secondary to an event such as an earthquake. Finally, it’s important to understand whether there are exclusions or exceptions as to the cause of the fire.
If you are preemptively investigating fire insurance for renters, this information may help you shop for the best coverage. If you’ve experienced a fire in your residence, understanding your renters insurance may help relieve your financial concerns and make an unsettling situation less stressful.
Key Differences Between Smoke Alarms
Photoelectric smoke detector
Type of Smoke Alarm You Should Have in Your Home
When it comes to fire safety, smoke alarms are lifesaving appliances to have in your home. Having them inspected regularly and making sure that they work properly is crucial. However, not all smoke detectors are created equally. This guide can help you understand the key differences between them and determine which type of smoke alarm you should have in your Topsham, ME, home.
As indicated by the name, ionization alarms activate when they ionize the air inside the smoke detector. These alarms primarily detect flaming fires, which refer to fires caused by flammable materials such as:
- Rubbing alcohol
- Nail polish/nail polish remover
Fires that occur as a result of these materials igniting can cause a lot of damage. It’s useful to have an ionization alarm installed to have maximum protection in case of a flaming fire.
Unlike ionization alarms, photoelectric alarms are designed to detect slowly growing fires, such as electrical fires. While ionization alarms sense the flames from larger fires, photoelectric detectors tend to focus more on smoke particles. A photoelectric smoke alarm also uses a light-sensing chamber to detect the presence of smoke and is less likely to go off randomly.
Aspects of both ionization and photoelectric alarms are included in dual-sensor alarms. A dual-sensor detector can be an effective option for your home as it incorporates the benefits of both alarms. However, dual-sensor detectors are also the most costly type of alarm. It’s important to consider your priorities as you choose the best alarm for your house.
Finding the right alarm to install in your home is vital to the safety of you and your family. However, a good smoke alarm system isn’t enough to protect your home from damage. Be sure to call fire restoration services as soon as possible so that your home in Topsham, ME, can recover from any fire damage.
How To Clean Smoke-Damaged Contents
SERVPRO can take care of soot and smoke damage
Methods That May Be Used to Clean Smoke-Damaged Items
There is so much to do in the aftermath of a fire in Phippsburg, ME. From water damage to fire and smoke damage, there may be significant cleaning and restoration work to do inside the affected building. Contents inside the property may be just as damaged as the building structure itself. Can contents be effectively cleaned? Is dry cleaning an option? You may also need to consider content storage following item removal and cleaning. Below are several methods that may be used to clean smoke-damaged items following a fire.
1. Wet Cleaning
Many items inside your building may withstand cleaning via water-based methods. Dishes and some keepsakes are examples of items that may be wet-cleaned.
2. Spray and Wipe
Cleaning of contents that cannot handle thorough wetting may include spray and wipe cleaning methods. As the name implies, cleaning material is sprayed directly onto items and then wiped until clean.
3. Dry Cleaning
This method may be a great way to restore fabric-based items such as clothing, bedding and window curtains. Specialized cleaning treatments may help remove lingering smoke odors and stains.
4. Foam Cleaning
Foam cleaning may be a good choice for certain upholstered items that may not be cleaned with water. Cleaning foams are specially designed to remove smoke damage and resulting odors.
5. Abrasive Cleaning
This content cleaning method involves using fine particles on an item’s surface to remove smoke damage. Abrasive cleaning methods may be used on building contents or on the property itself.
6. Immersion Cleaning
This technique involves submerging contents into a cleaning solution to remove stains and odors.
There are many ways that your building contents can be cleaned and restored following a fire. Cleaning methods may depend on many factors, including the extent of the damage and the type of materials that need cleaning. A professional fire damage assessment may help identify the required cleaning methods for your contents. Dry cleaning, wet cleaning and several other options are available to help restore the contents of your building.
Fire Safety: Using Your Portable Fire Extinguisher
It is best to practice the process and to keep the acronym PASS in your mind
How Many People Can Confidently Use an Extinguisher?
Most people are familiar with a fire extinguisher. They understand that the little red canisters that they hang on their walls or store in their garages or cupboards are life-saving tools used in the event of a fire. However, how many people can confidently use an extinguisher? Sure, it looks easy enough, but in the literal heat of the moment will your brain be able to handle what appears now to be a simple process? It is best to practice the process and to keep the acronym PASS in your mind.
The P in the acronym stands for pull, and it refers to pulling the metal pin from the handle. Removing the pin allows you to squeeze the handle and actually put out a home fire. The action of removing the pin breaks the tamper seal, which will also help you keep track of extinguisher use so that you do not go for an empty canister.
Aiming a fire extinguisher is the second part of the acronym, and while it may seem obvious, many panicked homeowners will point the hose or nozzle of the extinguisher too high on the flames. The extinguisher should always be aimed toward the base of the fire.
The next letter of this fire preparedness acronym, S, stands for squeeze. The handle must be fully compressed to release the extinguishing agent. It is also necessary to note that some extinguishers are CO2 based, which means that if your other hand is too close to the nozzle when squeezing it may be damaged.
The final S of the PASS acronym refers to the sweeping motion that is used to extinguish the fire. If you would like to practice these steps, you can contact the fire department or a fire restoration company in the Bath, ME, area to see if there are any classes available.
A fire extinguisher is a familiar object in many homes, but not everyone knows how to use one. Therefore, it is necessary to practice the PASS tactic to ensure you are ready if you have to use an extinguisher on your own.
The Insurance Adjuster and Fire Damage
You have just had a serious fire. The flames are out, the tarps are in place and the windows are boarded up. Once the building is secured from the elements, it’s time for the insurance adjuster to open the claim, assess the damage and let you know about the loss. However, when it comes to a serious fire loss, it is important to have both the adjuster and the restoration team available.
Professional Restoration is on Your Team
The adjuster sees a lot of losses and so does a restoration team. It’s important to take into consideration all the areas of the home that the fire might have damaged.
• Evaluate the steel beams and iron components, looking for damage from intense heat.
• Evaluate HVAC and ductwork for fire and smoke damage.
• Inspect the roof, exterior walls and siding for evidence of hidden damage from the heat.
• Identify areas where fire and smoke damage need to be repaired before new walls go up.
• Evaluate water damage and check for the presence of mold in water-damaged areas.
Combined Fire Damage Cleanup
There are several different types of damage you may experience with a fire. You will have the obvious damage of coming in direct contact with fire. However, there is also soot, debris, smoke damage, and water damage.
You may ask, "how can I have water damage?"
When you have a fire in your home or business, efforts to put out the blaze may involve sprinkler systems, the firefighters using water, or both. The water damage extinguishes the fire which saves the home or building from burning down to the ground. The fact is, water damage is better than having to rebuild, especially for commercial buildings.
Cleaning up a water damage is done by extracting the water and then cleaning up the fire. The rest of the fire damage and water damage can be cleaned up simultaneously. Using a restoration company that is certified in fire and water restoration is your best bet.
Two ways to Cleanup Smoke in your Brunswick Home
A hydroxyl generator is an alternative to an ozone machine that does not require evacuation. This odor neutralization method relies on ultraviolet light to produce radicals that destroy smoke particles. Although this treatment can be effective, it is likely to take three to five times as long as an ozone treatment.
Vapor modification relies on aromatic compounds and a blower or fan to neutralize the odor of smoke. This treatment can take place while occupants remain in a home, but it is also slower than more intensive treatments.
The best smoke cleaning method depends on the severity of smoke odor in a residence and whether temporary evacuation is possible. Ozone machines and thermal foggers are fast and effective treatments that call for temporary evacuation. Air scrubbers, hydroxyl generators, and vapor modification take longer, but allow occupants to remain at home in Brunswick, ME.
What happens if more damage is found during fire cleanup?
There are times when a fire can cause damage where the adjuster and restoration team cannot see. The problem only arises when the restoration of your Bath, ME, home begins. If there is extra damage identified during the cleanup, the cost is going to be higher than the adjuster’s original estimate.
Adjusting the Adjuster’s Estimate
If there is a need to adjust the original estimate, then we have a protocol for the problem. We definitely do not want the homeowner to have to face any extra charges. The restoration company will continue cleaning within the scope of the estimate until the adjuster is contacted, the new project is added to the estimate, and the new estimate is approved.
When dealing with a fire loss, quality restoration is best handled by skilled professionals and specialized equipment. You are fortunate that a team of fire restoration specialists can be found close by in Bath, ME. See how smoothly things go with experts on the job.
How To Deal With a Gas Leak
Make sure your stove is off
How To Deal With a Gas Leak
It may seem like an ordinary day, but then you catch a whiff of natural gas. The odor of gas in your home in Brunswick, ME, is a serious situation. If left untreated, the result could be a gas fire. It’s very important to stay calm and follow the advice of professionals so you and your family remain safe.
1. Make Sure Your Stove Is Off
If the home is safe, check the burners on your stove, and make sure they are off. It’s possible someone bumped into the stove and accidentally turned on the gas.
2. Don’t Flip Any Switches
It’s important not to turn on any switches. Don’t use any electrical devices or anything with an open flame, as a spark or flame could cause a gas fire.
3. Ventilate the House
Allow gas in the home to escape by opening doors and windows. Know where your gas meter is located; they are installed both inside and outside of a home. An inside meter could be in the basement or in a utility room. All gas meters are equipped with an emergency shutoff switch, so use a wrench to turn off the meter and lessen the chance of a gas explosion.
4. Leave the Home
If the odor of gas is strong, or you can hear gas hissing, evacuate the home, and move the length of a football field away. Call 911 to report the gas emergency.
A gas leak is a dangerous situation, but taking action quickly can prevent a gas fire. It’s important to know what to do when an odor of gas is present, so you and your family should review the steps of dealing with a gas leak at least once a year. The important thing is to get out of the home safely. If there is a fire, leave the firefighting to the professionals and leave the fire damage assessment to restoration experts.