Recent Fire Damage Posts

Why are Space Heaters so Dangerous?

1/26/2021 (Permalink)

fire from electrical space heater Fire From Space Heater

When the cold winter weather hits, many people turn on space heaters. Generally speaking, space heaters are safe to use.  Fires occur mostly when space heaters are used improperly.  According to the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters account for 43% of home heating fires.  Here are some tips to ensure you use your space heater properly: 

Use an electric space heater.  Iowa State University Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering warns that space heaters that use kerosene, propane, and natural gas pose an additional risk of releasing carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and nitrogen dioxide into the air if they aren't properly vented, which can lead to serious health problems and even death.  Electric space heaters (when used properly) are always a safer device for indoor heating. 

Plug your space heater directly into the wall outlet.  Never plug your electric space heater into an extension cord or power strip.  Space heaters are often the cause of electrical fires because they overload a circuit.  

Move your space heater away from clutter.  Always keep your space heater at least 3 feet away from any furniture or combustible items (including bedding and curtains). Remember to instruct children to remain 3 feet away from the heater too. 

Turn your space heater off.  Whenever you leave the room or go to sleep, it is important to turn your space heater off.  Unplug the heater when it’s not in use by pulling the plug straight from the outlet. Check the cord for damage periodically, and don’t use it if it’s frayed or worn. 

Space heaters are not dangerous if they are properly used.  Keep these safety tips in mind to prevent fire in your property. 

The Importance of an Office Fire Escape Plan

1/12/2021 (Permalink)

Fire Escape Fire Escape

Fires can be destructive and deadly. The speed at which a fire spreads through a Pasadena facility varies based on the materials and causes of the blaze. Every emergency and fire restoration service likely understands and encourages every commercial property owner to create a fire escape plan. Unfortunately, too many businesses do not know what that entails. Escape plans need not be complicated and should require at least three of the following components: 

Two Exit Minimum 

The basic emergency escape plan requires a two exit minimum out of every room in your facility. While plans can have more options, two is the minimum because it improves the odds of survival. If a room only has one exit, then people may become trapped if the fire overtakes that exit. Most offices will have a window and a door, these can stand as your exit points, but make sure that there is a feasible way to get to safety from those points. 

Clear Pathways 

The key to an effective fire escape plan is clear pathways. Make sure that hallways are free of clutter and that exit points are not blocked by shelving. While warehouses and packaging facilities can become overwhelmed with boxes and random items, it is crucial to have processes in effect to maintain order and cleanliness. 

Implementation and Practice 

It is not enough to create exit strategies. The only way to test the effectiveness of a plan is to implement it and put it into action. Routine practices should take place throughout the year to ensure that every employee makes it safely outside without incident. These scheduled run-throughs will help you tweak the escape strategy if you find there are hiccups. 

A fire escape plan is not necessarily complicated to create, but the practice is vital to avoid complacency. If you need help creating a plan for your building, then contact the fire department or a restoration expert for help. 

Choose the Right Fire Extinguisher

12/23/2020 (Permalink)

fire extinguishers Fire Extinguishers

SERVPRO of Glen Burnie sees a lot of fires. Many fires start in the kitchen and might be easily extinguished if the property owner had a fire extinguisher. We’ve come up with the following list so you can select the best fire extinguisher for your property: 

  • Class A: This is the most common extinguisher and can be used to put out fires in ordinary combustibles such as cloth, wood, rubber, paper, and many plastics. 
  • Class B: Used on fires involving flammable liquids, such as grease, gasoline, and oil. 
  • Class C: Designed for fires involving appliances, tools, or other equipment electronically energized or plugged in. 
  • Class D: For use on flammable metals; often specific for the type of metal in question. These are typically found in factories. 
  • Class K: Intended for use on fires that involve vegetable oils, animal oils, or fats in cooking appliances. Generally found in commercial kitchens. 

Did you know cooking equipment is the leading cause of residential fires? As the holiday season begins and you find yourself in the kitchen more often while hosting friends and family, fire precautions should be top of mind. Plan this season to help ensure it is safe and fire-free. 

How Does Candle Smoke Cause Damage?

12/23/2020 (Permalink)

candles with smoke Candle Smoke and Soot

Did you know that smoke from candles is toxic? The cheapest and most widely used candle is made of paraffin—which is derived from petroleum. When burned, it releases a toxin called toluene, which has been found to cause DNA strand breakdown, affecting the nervous system. 

Smoke from candles is actually soot. Smoke is just soot and other particulates carried on the hot air rising off the flame. When you put the top on a jarred candle and trap the smoke, it cools. And, the particulates in the candle settle onto the candle and the inside walls of the jar. 

Fireplaces, cigarettes and the burning of candles can all result in soot stains on walls. Though soot collects on other surfaces in the home, soot stains are easy to spot on light-colored walls. Aside from being unattractive, soot can create a health hazard. 

In general, candles won’t set off your smoke alarm. However, they can cause a fire. SERVPRO of Glen Burniehas provided fire damage remediation and reconstruction to several properties where candles were the cause of the fires. 

Choose the Right Fire Extinguisher

12/3/2020 (Permalink)

flame background with red fire extinguisher Fire Extinguisher

SERVPRO of Glen Burnie sees a lot of fires. Many fires start in the kitchen and might be easily extinguished if the property owner had a fire extinguisher. We’ve come up with the following list so you can select the best fire extinguisher for your property: 

  • Class A: This is the most common extinguisher and can be used to put out fires in ordinary combustibles such as cloth, wood, rubber, paper, and many plastics. 
  • Class B: Used on fires involving flammable liquids, such as grease, gasoline, and oil. 
  • Class C: Designed for fires involving appliances, tools, or other equipment electronically energized or plugged in. 
  • Class D: For use on flammable metals; often specific for the type of metal in question. These are typically found in factories. 
  • Class K: Intended for use on fires that involve vegetable oils, animal oils, or fats in cooking appliances. Generally found in commercial kitchens. 

Did you know cooking equipment is the leading cause of residential fires? As the holiday season begins and you find yourself in the kitchen more often while hosting friends and family, fire precautions should be top of mind. Plan this season to help ensure it is safe and fire-free. 

Attic Fire

11/3/2020 (Permalink)

child's bedroom with ceiling damage from attic fire Fire Damage

Recently, SERVPRO of Glen Burnie worked with a homeowner whose property suffered an attic fire. What surprised the homeowner was the water damage that came with extinguishing the fire. For homeowners, putting out a fire can be worse than the fire itself.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) offers the following eye-opening statistics on structure fires: more than one-quarter (27%) of reported fires occurred in homes within the last year. Even worse, 79% of fire-related deaths were caused by home fires.

After any fire, limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from spreading and additional damage from occurring. If you can, place clean towels or old linens on rugs and high traffic areas and upholstery.

With this particular fire, our IICRC certified fire restoration team was at the property two hours after the fire occurred. As a trusted leader in the fire restoration industry, our Crew Chief went to work on assessing the fire, soot, smoke, and water damage.

When fire and water damage strikes, a fast response is critical. SERVPRO OF Glen Burnie is dedicated to responding immediately, day or night, to your home or business. A faster response helps to prevent secondary damage and to reduce cost.

Are you Prepared for a Fire?

10/13/2020 (Permalink)

Diane Whittles standing next to the microwave Kitchen Safety

This year the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) set aside October 4-10, 2020 as fire prevention week. The 2020 theme was, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!” This topic works to educate everyone about the simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves, and those around them, safe in the kitchen. Does your family have a fire evacuation plan? 

To ensure the fastest emergency evacuation plan, consider the following:

  1. Start your fire evacuation plan with a map. This map should include locations of exits, assembly points, and equipment (such as fire extinguishers) that may be needed in an emergency. Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors. Also, mark the location of each smoke alarm.
  2. A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.
  3. When you walk through your plan, check to make sure the escape routes are clear and doors and windows can be opened easily.
  4. Choose an outside meeting place (i.e. neighbor's house, a light post, mailbox, or stop sign) a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they've escaped. Make sure to mark the location of the meeting place on your escape plan.
  5. Go outside to see if your street number is clearly visible from the road. If not, paint it on the curb or install house numbers to ensure that responding emergency personnel can find your home.
  6. Have everyone memorize the emergency phone number of the fire department. That way any member of the household can call from a neighbor's home or a cellular phone once safely outside.

Now that you have your plan in place, make sure you practice it every year.