Recent Fire Damage Posts

Does My Insurance Policy Cover Fire Damage?

10/6/2022 (Permalink)

fire insurance papers Most policies include coverages that may help pay to repair or replace your home and its contents if they are damaged by fire.
Types of Coverage

Your homeowners insurance will pay for fire damage to your home including damage to your property, the contents of the building and additional living expenses if you need to stay elsewhere while repairs are made to your home. Additional living expenses (ALE) is a great coverage option to have. It covers hotel bills, food, meals and other living expenses you may have while unable to live in your home. Without the coverage, many families would have a hard time paying for living expenses if they were forced to find temporary living arrangements after a home fire.

Any detached structures located on your property such as any sheds, fences or detached garages are also covered by most homeowners insurance policies. Some policies will also help pay for landscaping costs such as damage to trees and shrubs.

One important note—if your car or other vehicle is destroyed or damaged due to a fire at your home, this is not covered by homeowners insurance. The cost of fire damage to your car is paid for by the comprehensive portion of your auto policy. If you only have liability auto coverage, damage to your car during a home fire is not covered.

HOW many HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE COVERAGE DO I NEED FOR FIRES?

There is no one-size-fits-all formula when it comes to choosing your coverage limits. Your limit is the maximum your policy will reimburse you after a covered loss. You can set your coverage limits based on factors such as the value of your home and belongings. Here are some things to consider when choosing coverage limits:

Choosing Your Personal Property Coverage Limit
If you think you may need more coverage to replace your belongings in the event that they are damaged by fire, you may want to increase your limits for personal property. Keep in mind that your policy may offer lower coverage limits for certain items, such as jewelry. You may want to consider purchasing additional coverage to help protect those items.

You should also review your policy to find out if it offers actual cash value or replacement cost coverage. Actual cash value coverage generally helps reimburse you for the depreciated value of damaged items, while replacement cost value coverage typically helps pay to purchase a new item at today’s price.

Choosing Your Limit for Dwelling Coverage
The cost of rebuilding after a fire may not be equal to the price you paid for your home, as construction costs and home values fluctuate. 

FIRE DAMAGE THAT HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE MAY NOT COVER

Homeowners insurance may not cover all types of fire damage. For instance, if you intentionally start a fire in your home, you’ll generally find homeowners insurance will not pay to repair the damage. Homeowners insurance also typically does not cover damage caused by an act of war. Read your policy or contact your local agent to learn what risks are excluded from your coverage.

Having smoke detectors and fire extinguishers in your home is certainly a smart way to help protect yourself from fire. But, if a fire damages your home or property, homeowners insurance may help you and your family recover financially.

Fire Damage Restoration Tips

10/4/2022 (Permalink)

house that is on fire A house fire can lead to immense damage.

A house fire can lead to immense damage, both financial and emotional. It can take a while to recover from all the damage that you may experience due to a house fire. Not only is there irreversible damage to your property structure and material possessions, but you might also lose keepsakes and relics that you hold dear to your heart. 

However, it is important to stay vigilant in case you encounter a house fire. We understand how devastating the experience may be, but taking the right steps immediately after the disaster can prevent further loss. 

If you are encountering a house fire, the following are some tips you should follow. 

– The most important thing you need to do in case of a house fire is to get yourself and any house members to safety. Being stuck in a house fire can be life-threatening. So no matter what, the first thing is to make sure everyone is safe. 

– As soon as you are in a safe place, call 911. They will send over the essential help required to control the fire. 

– Once the fire has settled down, retrieve any belongings that may have survived. However, make sure to be wary of the toxic chemicals that may be among the soot. You may want to have someone from the fire department assist you while you go inside the house. 

– If you have house insurance, inform your insurance company about the house fire. If you don’t have insurance yet, you may want to consider getting one as soon as possible. 

– Let your electricity, gas, and other utility companies know about the fire and have the utilities temporarily turned off. 

House fires can be devastating, and you may have the instinct to run inside and save all your valuables. However, do not enter the house until it is deemed safe by the firemen. 

How Smoke Damage Affects Electronics

9/13/2022 (Permalink)

smoke coming from a laptop computer Electronics are delicate items, as there are various factors that cause them to quit working properly.

How Smoke Causes Damage

  • When electronics are covered in smoke, they become prone to extreme overheating, which leads to premature failure. When smoke reaches the inside components of electronics, a black film develops causing insulation on the heat-producing parts. The magnetic charge of smoke causes the circuits to short, leading to overheating.
  • Soot is pushed by smoke, causing contact everywhere in its path. Smoke travels to cooler temperatures and continues until the energy runs out. The main cause of damage is the acidity in soot. Acidity destroys metals, which causes discoloration and disintegration.

Restoration for Electronics

  • After a fire, damaged electronics are a safety hazard. To prevent exposure, do not turn on any of the items before consulting with a professional. The smoke’s corroding acids will immediately cause failure to the device.
  • If you choose to clean the items without turning them on, wipe off the residue with a cloth. Taking immediate action will improve the likelihood of your devices surviving.

Helpful Tips

  • When recovering a computer, the most important part is the hard drive. Every bit of information is located on this, so removing these files as quickly as possible is crucial.
  • If you want to attempt saving the hard drive yourself, you will need a SATA to USB adaptor.
  • Replacing the computer’s battery is the next step in the recovery process. If it’s not replaced, the combustion of batteries can be dangerous.
  • To prevent your computer’s data being damaged from a fire or smoke, consider investing in a backup program that stores the information somewhere else. This is useful for just about any disaster.

Plan Your Fire Escape

9/13/2022 (Permalink)

a home fire escape plan If a fire breaks out, every second counts when making your escape.

If a fire breaks out, every second counts when making your escape. In just two minutes, a fire can become life threatening. With this in mind, the following are helpful tips on what you can do to be prepared in case fire disaster happens and what to do.

Before Emergency Strikes

  • Be sure you have a working smoke alarms so all household members are clearly alerted in the event of a fire. Set a reminder in your cell phone or on your computer to check each smoke alarm at the start of each month to make sure they are working properly. Then, replace the batteries at least once a year.
  • Perform a walk-through of your home and develop a map of each room with a plan for at least two ways to escape from every room as well as a meeting spot that each family member knows. Then, practice your plan so that everyone in the household knows what to do to safely escape the burning structure. Be sure to accommodate for the needs of everyone in the family, including small children, elderly, or physically challenged.
  • Place a fire extinguisher on every level of your home. Make sure it has the ABC rating so that it’s usable for all types of fires. Read the instructions on how to use it so you can act quickly if needed. Test the fire extinguishers to make sure they are working properly.
  • Put a sticker on windows to alert firefighters that pets are in a home. Firefighters have the obligation of protecting people and property first, but will save pets if possible.
  • Consider installing escape ladders if you have multiple floors on your home. Make sure everyone knows how to use them if installed.
  • Limit the use of open-flame candles in your home. If you light candles in your home, never leave them unattended.
  • Place a telephone or cell phone beside your bed at night. Call for help if a fire emergency occurs.
  • Educate everyone in the family on what to do if their clothes catch on fire. Knowing how to stop, drop and roll can save their life. Practice the steps with children in the home. Attend a fire safety seminar to learn about ways to protect your family against fire.
  • Ask for expert advice from your local fire department, insurance company, or the experts at Rainbow International.  Many fire departments will inspect a home and offer fire safety and preventions tips.

In the Midst of a Fire Emergency

  • As soon as the smoke alarm sounds, make your way out of the home. Don’t hesitate to grab items to take with you. Also, never re-enter the home. A fire can spread very quickly and your safety is most important.
  • Beware of hot doors. Hot doors mean that the fire is nearby and the door should not be opened. The best way to check for heat is to feel the top of the door with the back of your hand. If the door is hot, don’t open it. If you can’t get out through the door, find a way to signal your presence in a window, with nearby items such as a flashlight or white sheet.
  • As you move through the burning structure, stay low to the ground. Crawl out of the burning home to prevent breathing harmful smoke and poisonous gases.
  • If your clothes catch on fire, stop immediately and drop and roll to smother the flames. Continue to make your escape and seek medical attention immediately.
  • Go to the pre-arranged meeting spot immediately and call for help.

Home Fire Sprinkler System

9/12/2022 (Permalink)

residential sprinkler head Do you need a sprinkler system in your home?

Do I Need a Home Fire Sprinkler System?

Yes, we believe everyone should have a home fire sprinkler system in their home. Why? The answer is simple: safety.

While the best option for installing a home fire suppression system is during new home construction, it is possible to retrofit the system to your home.

Benefits of a Home Fire Suppression System

Having a fire suppression system in your home is just as important, if not more important, than having a home security system. Ultimately, a home sprinkler system is a safety feature worth investing in.

Below are some benefits you can expect when you add a home fire sprinkler system in your home:

  • Adding a home fire sprinkler system increases the safety of each room.
  • Fire sprinklers can extinguish or contain fires in less than two minutes.
  • Homes with a fire sprinkler system incur nine-times less damage in the event of a fire.
  • Having a sprinkler increases your chances of surviving a fire from around 50 percent to 97 percent

Cons of Home Fire Suppression Systems

Overall, there are many more positives than negatives to adding a home fire sprinkler system to your home. But there are also two issues you should be aware of:

  • Adding a home fire suppression system is expensive.
  • These systems require ongoing maintenance, testing and annual inspections to ensure the sprinklers in your home will function properly in the event of a fire.

Why Are Most Homes Today Still Built Without Fire Suppression Systems?

When building a new home there are a few reasons it may not include a fire suppression system. First, new homes with a new home fire suppression system can cost up to $5,000 more than homes without systems. Second, with many states not requiring fire suppression systems, they can often be overlooked.

When you have the choice to choose to install a fire suppression system, we recommend adding one, as it is a lifesaving and long-term investment. Depending on the type of system, they can last up to 25 years without needing to be replaced and add significant value to a home.

Prevent Spontaneous Combustion Fires in Your Building

9/2/2022 (Permalink)

fire in a house Sometimes spontaneous combustion is to blame for destructive fires.

What is Spontaneous Combustion?

Most people experience combustion on a daily basis, especially in the winter. Combustion, which is a process that combines fuel with oxygen to produce heat and light, is the way natural gas- and oil-fired furnaces heat your home. It’s the way most water heaters work, as well.

However, spontaneous combustion is when combustion occurs without an apparent ignition source. Seeming to have sprung up spontaneously, fires resulting from spontaneous combustion are often the result of long-term chemical reactions. For instance, phosphorus self-ignites at room temperature without any heat applied.

What is a Chemical Reaction?

Spontaneous combustion is a chemical reaction, which occurs when bonds between molecules are formed or broken. These bonds come in various forms; generally, the more closely each molecule’s electron shell overlaps, the stronger the bond is.

Chemical reactions most often result from the introduction of heat, radiation or other chemicals. These disturb the equilibrium and cause breakage and formation of the existing chemical bonds.

Spontaneous Combustion, Chemical Reactions and Fire

The results of chemical reactions that occur during spontaneous combustion are light and heat. Assuming a fuel is present, the heat is often enough to start a fire. Consider these examples:

  • Spontaneous coal combustion: Coal can spontaneously combust if there’s enough oxygen available and the heat produced by the coal is not dissipated fast enough. The vicious cycle causes thermal runaway and a fire starts.
  • Spontaneous hay combustion: It seems counter intuitive, but hay is more likely to spontaneously combust if it becomes too wet. Wet hay stimulates microbe growth. As the microbes grow, they produce heat that dries out the surrounding hay. When the hay reaches about 150 degrees, heat-resistant bacteria start a chemical reaction that rapidly increases the temperature until the hay lights on fire.
  • Spontaneous linseed oil combustion: A common wood protector and tool cleaner, linseed oil is often used to soak rags to make the application easier. However, linseed oil evaporates very quickly, causing an increase in exothermic reach. When the accumulating heat exceeds the rate of heat dissipation, the temperature increases more rapidly and may become hot enough to make a linseed oil-soaked rag spontaneously combust.
  • Spontaneous combustion of decomposing material: Instances of bread spontaneously combusting have been reported in warm climates when large piles of festering bread sodden with water are stored in places with atmospheric humidity higher than 40 percent. Other decomposing materials can spontaneously combust as well. Fireplace ashes, discarded matches, cigarette butts, used rags and yard waste can all spontaneously combust if placed in an area with limited air movement. Heat produced from the decomposition process can’t escape, and that in turn can trigger a fire.

Smoke Damage Protocol

9/1/2022 (Permalink)

Smoke coming out of a house Fire or smoke damage is one of the worst types of structural damage

Understand material damage. Why smoke damage? Soot exposure will sink itself into the fibers and surfaces of your structure. How to recover contents after a wildfire.

Fire or smoke damage is one of the worst types of structural damage. Smoke damage is both of smoke and soot. It can destroy prized belongings and ruin the home’s living environment. Fire can blaze instantly without warning and rage on, destroying everything in its path. It can damage any structure within the area. The flames and heat in the fire, along with smoke, can badly damage your property. This is because most combustible items like carpets, wood products and fabrics do not burn completely. They have considerable chemical levels that become dangerous due to off-gassing.

Smoke Related Health Risks

Smoke particles put your health at risk because of its toxicity levels. Microscopic particles are suspended in air and later settle as soot. The soot and particles that settle on clothes and furnishings severely irritate the skin. Breathing in these toxins over time will lead to health complications. It will affect the respiratory system making breathing difficult. It causes coughing, nausea, and sleepiness. It can lead to death resulting from increased carbon monoxide in the lungs that hinder oxygen circulation in the body. It can also cause irreversible brain damage.

Smoke damage may not seem obvious, it is still a threat to your health. Focus on your safety by having SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West chicago, And Warrenville cleanup and decontaminate your property professionally. 

Toxic Building Materials Post Fire

In addition to unsightly damage and unpleasant odors, fire and smoke leave behind residues that can pose serious health risks. Building materials can release toxic chemicals when burned, and those chemicals can contaminate surrounding materials. It’s important to make sure any of the below damaged and affected materials are cleaned or removed:

  • Plastics
  • Carpets
  • Upholstery
  • Wood products
  • Insulation
  • Wool
  • Foams
  • All materials containing asbestos or lead

Toxic Chemicals Post Fire

After a fire, odors and discoloration can indicate that the environment has likely been contaminated with hazardous chemicals that were released during the fire. These chemicals pose significant health risks. Products that can release toxins when burned are common building materials and household items.

PVC (Polyvinyl chloride)

PVC is the world’s third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer— over 40 million tons are produced each year. It’s used in flooring, plumbing, roofing, siding, protective clothing, and more. When burned, PVC releases a number of chemicals, all of which can be harmful to humans, including:

  • Hydrogen chloride
  • dioxin chloromethane
  • Halocarbons
  • Phosgene
  • Bromomethane
  • Carbon Materials

Since carbon building materials are readily available and used in abundance, they can pose a serious health risk after a fire if not properly restored or removed. When burned, these materials can release:

  • Ammonia
  • Nitrogen oxide
  • Tar
  • Hydrogen
  • Carbon monoxide

How to Prevent Chimney Fires this Winter

2/2/2022 (Permalink)

Fire coming out the top of a chimney Chimney fires are dangerous, but they are preventable.

Chimney fires are dangerous, but they are preventable.

What causes chimney fires?

Creosote buildup in the flue that lines the chimney. Creosote is a highly flammable black or dark brown residue that is a by-product of combustion. This substance can be crusty, tar-like, sticky, or hardened. If there’s enough of it—and the internal flue temperature is high enough or sparks or flames reach it—a chimney fire can start.

How to prevent chimney fires:

  • Have your chimney cleaned and inspected at least once a year. If you’re using it daily, like a wood stove for heating, multiple cleanings will be needed each year. 
  • Burn “clean” fires. That means fires with more flame, less smoke. To get a clean fire, burn seasoned wood that has been drying for a year or more. Keep it undercover until use so it is dry when added to the firebox. Avoid burning evergreens—they tend to pop and spark more than hardwoods, creating a fire hazard.
  • Keep the damper fully open. Restricted air supply from a partially closed damper adds to creosote buildup.
  • Be smart about what you're burning. Some people start their fires with rolled-up newspaper logs. Avoid burning glossy pages, wrapping paper, or cardboard, which may release nasty chemicals. Never put the paper on top of a fire; feed it under the grate so burning fragments don’t rise up the flue and cause a chimney fire.

Fireplace and Home Fire Safety

2/2/2022 (Permalink)

Fire burning in a fireplace People use fireplaces, wood stoves, and other fuel-fired appliances as primary heat sources in their homes. Learn how to use them safely.

Practice the following fire safety steps to keep those home fires safely burning. Remember, fire safety is your personal responsibility.  

Keep Fireplaces and Wood Stoves Clean

  • Have your chimney or wood stove inspected and cleaned annually by a certified chimney specialist.
  • Clear the area around the hearth of debris, decorations, and flammable materials.
  • Always use a metal mesh screen with fireplaces. Leave glass doors open while burning a fire.
  • Install stovepipe thermometers to help monitor flue temperatures.
  • Keep air inlets on wood stoves open, and never restrict air supply to fireplaces. Otherwise, you may cause creosote buildup that could lead to a chimney fire.
  • Use fire-resistant materials on walls around wood stoves.

Safely Burn Fuels

  • Never use flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Use only seasoned hardwood. Soft, moist wood accelerates creosote buildup.
  • Build small fires that burn completely and produce less smoke.
  • Never burn cardboard boxes, trash, or debris in your fireplace or woodstove.
  • When building a fire, place logs at the rear of the fireplace on an adequate supporting grate.
  • Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Soak hot ashes in water and place them in a metal container outside your home.

Protect the Outside of Your Home

  • Stack firewood outdoors at least 30 feet away from your home.
  • Keep the roof clear of leaves, pine needles, and other debris.
  • Cover the chimney with a mesh screen spark arrester.
  • Remove branches hanging above the chimney, flues, or vents.

Protect the Inside of Your Home

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home. Test them monthly and change the batteries at least once a year. Consider installing the new long-life smoke alarms.
  • Provide proper venting systems for all heating equipment.
  • Extend all vent pipes at least three feet above the roof.

Fire Pit Safety

2/2/2022 (Permalink)

backyard fire pit Playing with fire is no joke, and that is precisely what you are doing when you use a fire pit.

Are outdoor fire pits safe? They absolutely can be with these safety tips.

For owners and soon-to-be owners of these crowd-pleasing centers of warmth, here are some important tips that will keep you, your children and pets, and friends safe.

1. Fire Pit Clearance

How far does a fire pit have to be away from the house?

Before striking the match, never place a pit closer than 10 feet from anything flammable, including your house and overhead tree branches.

Unless the owner’s manual says it’s okay, don’t put the pit on a grassy surface, wood deck, or enclosed porch.

2. Fire Pit Fuel

Always burn dry, seasoned wood that was cut at least six months earlier. To keep sparks from flying, make sure logs are no longer than three-quarters of the pit’s diameter.

With gas pits, make sure all vents are clear to avoid smoky flare-ups. And only use the fuel that the pit is built to burn. For traditional wood-burning pits, that means using dry, well-seasoned sticks. Also, don’t load in so many that there’s a danger of some falling out. Once the pit is lit, keep the following close at hand, just in case your merry bonfire suddenly starts burning a little too bright.

3. Starting the Flames

Never use lighter fluid, gas, or kerosene to light a fire.

4. Putting Out a Fire Safely

Water or Sand

Extinguishing a flare-up might be as simple as keeping your garden hose nearby, with the water turned on and the nozzle set to "spray." (A focused stream of water could spread burning embers.)

Check ahead of time to see if your pit can withstand a dousing; water can crack ceramic pits and even some metal ones. If it can't get wet, or if you're not sure, keep a bucket of dry sand nearby to dump on the flames. For a gas or propane pit, turn off the supply before attempting to extinguish any fire.

Fire Extinguisher

It should be a dry-chemical extinguisher with a Class B and C or multipurpose rating, such as the one you have in your kitchen. Be ready to follow the PASS procedure: 1) Pull the pin; 2) Aim at the base of the fire; 3) Squeeze the trigger slowly; 4) Sweep the nozzle from side to side. Remember that most portable fire extinguishers have a range of just 6 to 10 feet and last for 8 to 10 seconds.

Cooking Fires And The Potential Damages

10/6/2021 (Permalink)

Cooking Fires Your stove and oven are two big potential fire sources.

Your kitchen is the heart of the home. Homework gets done, bills get paid, and pets get fed. So many great memories  get made cooking in the kitchen- the smell of baking chocolate chip cookies, late night hot cocoa, leftover pizza for breakfast…. 

One of the household’s most basic and repeated tasks can also be one of the most dangerous. Kitchen fires are the most common types of household blazes; half of all residential fires start in the kitchen. Of these, most are triggered by cooking. According to NFPA.ORG, cooking equipment is responsible for 1 in 5 blazes  and the leading cause of home fires. Two-thirds (66%) of home cooking fires start with the ignition of food or other cooking materials.

Cooking Appliances

Your stove and oven are two big potential fire sources; they generate heat with gas or electricity. Ranges or cook-tops are responsible for 58 percent of home cooking fires, ovens account for 16 percent. Grease is highly flammable, but so are paper, cloth, and wood–all often close to the cooking surfaces. 

Many kitchen fires come from burned and scorched food in the pan. A dirty oven or stove top with accumulated grease and residue is another fire safety hazard. 

Although they are convenient, microwaves can be dangerous if you heat flammable aluminum foil, Styrofoam or certain plastic containers.  Almost all foods can ‘catch fire’ when improperly heated in the microwave (for example 10 minutes instead of 1 minute.) Toasters and toaster ovens can gather crumbs and grease, sometimes causing a fire. 

Technical Malfunctions 

Ovens can malfunction and start a fire, especially if they are old, not maintained properly or damaged in some way. Electric ovens have heating elements that can spark a blaze; gas models may develop leaks that can lead to explosions. When the switches and thermostats age, the oven may not turn off completely.  Ensure that the appliance is serviced regularly, and immediately if the cooking temperature is erratic.

Lack of Cleaning

Of all the potential causes of an oven fire, this is perhaps the most avoidable; every year thousands of fires are triggered by greasy residue. A buildup of oils and other cooking byproducts, or even thick dust, can trigger an oven blaze. Clean your oven regularly, especially if you spill something or food boils over inside of it. Use only appropriate cleaning products. Check the internet for ideas using vinegar and baking soda for an eco-friendly option. 

Safety reminders

  • Unattended equipment is a factor in one-third (31%) of reported home cooking fires and over half (53%) of the associated deaths.
  • Never pour water on a grease fire. Instead of running with the pan, turn off the stove, put the lid on the pan and let the fire die out from lack of oxygen. If you don’t happen to have a lid for the frying pan, slide another lid or a metal cookie sheet over the pan, being careful not to get your hands near the flames.
  • If you see a fire in the oven, don’t whip open the oven door. Instead, turn off the oven and keep the door closed. If you can keep the fire from getting more oxygen, you’ve got the problem solved.
  • Don’t use your oven for storage.

Preventing Winter Fires In 5 Steps

10/5/2021 (Permalink)

Preventing Winter Fires There are many ways that you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe from fire.

According to the NFPA, U.S. fire departments respond to an estimated 358,500 house fires every year. 3/4 of all structure fires are home fires. Most of these are preventable if the homeowners took the necessary precautions to avoid the fire breaking out in their homes. Because of the alarming number of house fires that happen throughout the United States, the NFPA offers many resources, tools, and tips on how to prevent a fire from starting in your home and potentially destroying it. Taking the proper precautions doesn’t mean that you will never experience a house fire, but you most definitely can decrease the risk of experiencing one. If a house fire does break out in your area, SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago and Warrenville are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help.

There are many ways that you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe from fire, follow the tips below:

  1. Keep Up On Smoke Alarms – don’t put up smoke alarms and then forget about them all year. Your smoke detectors need to be tested regularly and the batteries replaced. Schedule a routine check-up of these so that you don’t forget about them. 
  2. Routine Maintenance Of Furnaces – Invest in your future and hire a professional to check your furnace at least once a year. If anything is wrong with the furnace, it will be caught early and decrease the risk of a fire starting there.
  3. Do Not Leave Candles Burning – Candles create a nice ambiance and can set a calm mood – but you don’t want to leave them going without supervision. Also, be extremely cautious about the location of the candle. It doesn’t have to be in direct contact with something to heat it up or send out sparks that could start a fire. Blow your candles out when you aren’t using them.
  4. Space Heaters Need Space – Do not clutter the area around a space heater. These are extremely hazardous if placed near blankets, curtains, and other fabrics. Do not allow anyone, including pets, to sit any closer than 3 feet to the heater. Also, do not leave a space heater on overnight. Put it on a schedule or make sure it has automatic shut-off controls so that it isn’t forgotten.
  5. Invest In A Fire Extinguisher – Everyone should have a fire extinguisher in the home and know how to use it. Don’t store the extinguisher away in a place that is difficult to get to. If a fire should break out – DO NOT be afraid to use the extinguisher.

Cleaning up after a house fire can be devastating for all involved. SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, and Warrenville know how to properly repair and restore home properties to their clients.  Take some time and invest in protecting your home and family from house fires. 

Be Wary Of Fire Danger When Grilling, Cooking Outdoors

9/21/2021 (Permalink)

Fire Danger When Grilling While grilling and outdoor cooking are among the great pleasures of summer, they also pose fire dangers.

Taking a few precautions when cooking or grilling outdoors can prevent unwanted fires. Here is a list of fire safety tips for grilling/cooking outdoors. 

General

  • During periods of high fire danger, consider alternatives to outdoor cooking.
  • Check for burn bans prior to grilling/cooking outdoors.
  • Propane and charcoal barbecue grills should only be used outdoors.
  • Place the grill away from your home, deck, eves, and overhead branches.
  • Never leave any fire unattended, including fires in barbecue pits.
  • Remove any buildup of fats or grease from grills.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
  • Have a water source nearby when cooking/grilling.
  • Have a water hose connected to a faucet, uncoiled, and ready to turn on at a moment’s notice. Have a bucket of water near the grill. If no water is available, have a shovel ready to smother any escaped embers with sand/dirt.

Gas grills

  • Check for leaks on gas grills prior to use.
  • Make sure the gas grill lid is open before lighting it.
  • Turn the grill and gas off if the flame goes out and wait at least five minutes before re-lighting.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.

Charcoal grills

  • Consider using a charcoal chimney starter that allows firing up charcoal without the use of starter fluid. There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire.
  • If using starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to an ongoing fire.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • Let coals cool completely and dispose of them in a metal container.

Deep-frying a turkey on Thanksgiving? Avoid fires and keep safe with these tips

9/21/2021 (Permalink)

Deep-frying a turkey on Thanksgiving? Burning turkey in the deep fryer can cause more damage than a ruined Thanksgiving Day dinner.

Burning turkey in the deep fryer can cause more damage than a ruined Thanksgiving Day dinner.

Across the country, deep fryers cause an average of five deaths, 60 injuries, and more than $15 million in property damage each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Keep safe (and don’t ruin Thanksgiving) by following these tips from Austin fire officials on how to deep-fry your turkeys:

1. Go easy on the oil: The turkey will displace the oil in a fryer pot, so if there’s too much, it will spill out and possibly catch fire on the burner. Follow the fryer’s manual and do a “dry run” with water in the pot to figure out how much oil you’ll need to use.

3. Easy does it: Slowly lower your thawed turkey into the pot to prevent oil from splashing out and possibly catching fire.

5. Keep an eye on it: Many frying pots do not have thermostat controls, and, if unattended, the oil will continue to heat until the point of combustion. Never leave an active fryer alone.

6. And just in case: Don’t use water to put out an oil fire; water will only spread it. Instead, use a fire extinguisher — so keep it nearby.

8 TIPS FOR AVOIDING HOLIDAY FIRES THIS WINTER

9/15/2021 (Permalink)

TIPS FOR AVOIDING HOLIDAY FIRES Protect your family and property by following these eight holiday fire.

The winter holiday season is a time for family and togetherness. Unfortunately, many family holiday traditions increase the risk of house fires. Protect your family and property by following these eight holiday fire safety tips.

  1. Check your holiday lights for frayed cords or broken plugs. Don’t use any that appear damaged. Also, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for how many strands you can join together. Only use outdoor-rated lights when decorating the exterior, and turn off all holiday lights when you go to bed.
  2. Practice candle safety. Never leave candles burning unattended, monitor children and pets closely while a candle is lit, and blow out all candles before going to bed. For your peace of mind, consider using battery-operated candles for a realistic flicker and ambiance without the fire risk.
  3. Maintain your live Christmas tree by keeping it well-watered and checking it daily for signs of dehydration. Brown or fallen needles indicate a dangerously dried-out tree. Also, position the tree at least three feet from radiators, fireplaces, space heaters, or other heat sources. More than one-quarter of all Christmas tree fires occur in January, so once the holiday is over, dispose of your tree promptly.
  4. Use extension cords wisely. This includes never running electrical wires under carpets or rugs, which could cause overheating. Make sure your extension cords are in good condition before plugging them in, and only use heavy-duty, outdoor-rated versions for exterior lighting.
  5. Have your fireplace inspected and cleaned once a year to prevent a flammable creosote buildup, which can cause a flash fire in the chimney. A fireplace inspection also reveals masonry cracks, damaged spark arresters, and other problems you should address before using your fireplace this season.
  6. Run space heaters wisely. Keep them away from bedding, curtains, furniture, and other flammable objects. Avoid running space heaters while you sleep, and don’t operate them anywhere a child or pet could knock them over. Follow all other operating instructions from the manufacturer.
  7. Keep matches and lighters out of reach. The best place for these tools is in a high, locked kitchen cabinet. Don’t allow children under 12 to handle matches or lighters. Closely monitor older children if you ask them to light a candle.
  8. Prepare holiday meals safely to avoid a kitchen fire. Keep flammable objects away from the oven and stovetop. Never leave toasting, grilling, or broiling food unattended. Set a timer to remind yourself when the food is done. Keep little kids out of the kitchen.

FIREPLACE MAINTENANCE TIPS TO AVOID FIRE HAZARDS

9/15/2021 (Permalink)

FIREPLACE MAINTENANCE TIPS Clean Up the Fireplace at the Start of the Season

Nothing compares to curling up by a crackling fire with a cup of hot cocoa and a good book in hand. While this inviting scene evokes feelings of peace and tranquility, operating a poorly maintained fireplace could have devastating results.

According to the Nation Fire Protection Agency(NFPA), nearly 17,000 home structure fires per year begin in the fireplace, chimney, or chimney connector. Many of these fires could be avoided if homeowners performed proper maintenance. Here’s how to care for and safely use your wood-burning fireplace.

Clean Up the Fireplace at the Start of the Season

Before using your fireplace for the first time this winter, it’s important to clear away any residual debris from the previous year. Creosote, a tar-like substance that clings to chimney walls, is particularly hazardous. Allowing this extremely flammable material to accumulate unchecked could increase your fire risk.

Exposure to creosote dust can be harmful to your health, so it’s recommended that you arrange professional cleaning once a year at the start of the heating season. In addition to removing creosote buildup, a fireplace technician will also thoroughly inspect the system to ensure safe, proper operation. Working with a chimney and fireplace professional reduces hazards and allows you to enjoy peace of mind as you keep warm all season long.

Clean Up Debris

Wood-burning fireplaces require routine cleaning throughout the season as well. Plan to remove ashes once they begin to smell or inhibit your ability to build a fire. Allow the ashes to cool completely before removing them, which takes about 72 hours.

If your fireplace has an ash dump, push the ashes through the metal plate in the floor of the firebox. Then, scoop or sweep up the remaining ashes. You can also vacuum them up with a special ash canister vacuum cleaner. Feel free to sprinkle the ashes over your flowerbeds to provide a natural source of nutrients come spring.

Inspect the Chimney Cap

If you’re comfortable getting on the roof, you can check the condition of your chimney cap yourself. Otherwise, leave this to a professional during your annual fireplace and chimney inspection. Make sure a cap is installed, has the proper spark arrester in place, and is not obstructed by animal nests.

Burn Clean Wood

One of the most important fireplace safety tips is to burn the right wood. Purchase cleaned and seasoned wood or manufactured logs to reduce creosote buildup. Avoid burning treated wood, plastic, rubber, garbage, and colored paper in your fireplace as these produce excessive smoke and toxic fumes.

How the Smoke and Fire Damage Restoration Process Works

9/1/2021 (Permalink)

Smoke and Fire Damage Restoration The smoke and fire damage restoration process is a lengthy and thorough one that is best achieved by a systematic approach.

The smoke and fire damage restoration process is a lengthy and thorough one that is best achieved by a systematic approach. The experienced professionals at SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville begin by completing a detailed assessment of your property to identify the nature, scope, and intensity of the damage. Fires often create a constellation of problems, including damage from water, moisture, heat, smoke, chemicals, and many other factors associated directly or indirectly with the fire itself. This analysis will help us to develop an effective strategy that will enable us to stop any additional damage, repair the damage to your property, dispose of all non-restorable materials and help you get your life back to normal.

SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville uses the latest HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) scrubbers to restore air quality and extract contaminants from the damaged area. Our technicians are certified by the IICRC and will provide extensive documentation as well as photograph and manage the clean-up and restoration process from start to finish.

If water has damaged your furniture, clothing, or other property, United Restoration Services, Inc. will use advanced water extraction, drying, and cleaning methods to restore your valuable belongings to like preloss conditions. Homeowners must be prepared for the total loss of some items. Furniture and other property that was seared, charred, or burned may not be salvageable; but we can remove, clean, protect, pack and preserve valuables that survived the fire, such as equipment, electronics, and sensitive documents, and store them in a safe, secure location until you need them. We can also deodorize areas to eliminate ongoing odors during the restoration process. In addition, we can board up your business or house to protect the property against vandals and trespassers, and to secure it against bad weather and the elements.

ELECTRICAL FIRE SAFETY TIPS

2/16/2021 (Permalink)

ELECTRICAL FIRE SAFETY TIPS Help Prevent Electrical Fire with These Safety Tips

One of the most common causes of fire in a home is electricity. Electrical malfunctions account for nearly 15% of all house fires in the United States and lead to personal and financial loss to thousands of home and business owners each year. Unlike other forms of natural disasters (such as severe weather, tornadoes, or floods), electrical fires can, for a large part, be prevented. Today we are going to discuss some electrical fire prevention tips that could save your home – and life.

HOW TO PREVENT ELECTRICAL FIRES

With more than 25,000 electrical fires being reported in the United States each year, the importance of fire safety cannot be understated. Fires started by electricity tend to be more costly from a financial perspective as well, dealing more property damage than their non-electrical counterpart. And unlike traditional home fires, those of the electrical nature can – in most instances – be prevented, with a little thought and action by the homeowner.

OVERLOADING ELECTRICAL OUTLETS

Perhaps the easiest cause of electrical fires to avoid is overloading. Overloading a socket or outlet occurs when a homeowner or employee (in the event of a business fire) plugs too many cords or utilities into an outlet, power strip, or extension cord. You have probably seen this happen a dozen times – a power strip full of tangled cords with another extension cord piggybacking off of it.

This is a big no-no in the fire prevention world. If you do have to rely upon extension cords or power strips for additional electrical outlets, make sure you purchase the kind that has built-in overload protection (it should say so on the product packaging). This ensures the power strip will shut off in the event that it does, indeed, become overloaded, possibly preventing a fire.

CHECK FOR DAMAGED PLUGS AND CORDS

Another cheap and simple way to protect your home from electrical fires is to inspect your appliances and electronics for any damage. Specifically, schedule a day to go through all of your electrical cords and plugs to look for frayed wires or damaged connectors. Doing this at the change of every season is a good way to keep on schedule and can prevent the outbreak of a serious fire in your home.

HIRE A HOME INSPECTOR

Old homes have old wiring, and the older the wiring, the more likely there is to be an issue with it. Even if you have a newer home, hiring an inspector to conduct a home inspection is not a bad idea, as some electrical contractors cut corners (or worse – do not know what they are doing), and you may have bad or outdated wiring in your home (think aluminum wiring or an insufficient electrical panel for instance).

The cost of a home inspection is much cheaper than the cost of fire and smoke damage that can result from a fire. As with any contractor, be sure to conduct your due diligence and research any home inspector before allowing them onto your property.

FIRE DAMAGE RESTORATION MADE EASY

2/16/2021 (Permalink)

Explanation of Fire Restoration Let SERVPRO make your fire restoration needs run as smooth as possible

Fires are one of the most devastating catastrophes a homeowner or business owner can face. In the aftermath of a fire, it is important to consult with a fire damage restoration service. But what, exactly, is fire damage restoration and what can you expect during the disaster recovery process?

Fire restoration and fire damage clean-up can be a complicated process for both residential and business fire victims. The loss of valuables and extensive property damage fires can cause is traumatizing, and the last thing a catastrophe survivor needs is more stress. Because of this – and because the fire recovery process can be so difficult – it is essential that you employ a fire damage restoration service to help you pick up the pieces after a devastating fire.

FIRE DAMAGE CLEAN-UP AND REMEDIATION

Once the emergency professionals have finished their rescue efforts and deemed your home or business safe to enter, the first thing you will want to do is begin to pick up the pieces. Part of the recovery process will inevitably involve contacting a disaster restoration service. These professionals are trained to clean-up any fire damage on your property and help prevent fire-associated damages from spreading through your home.

In addition to fire damage, you can also expect to have soot and smoke damage, water damage from the rescue effort, strong smells that will require odor removal, and, in some instances, mold and mildew damage.

When a fire recovery team arrives at your home, their first step will be to inspect your property and assess any fire damage that has occurred. They will check for structural integrity, broken windows, remaining fire hazards to ensure another fire does not break out, and look for other forms of property damage. Once this property damage assessment is completed, a plan of action will be put into place.

If there are any damaged windows, walls, doors, or roofs, the disaster recovery team will take steps to secure the area, which may include boarding up windows, strengthening walls, and, if need be, covering any holes in your roof with a tarp.

After your home’s structural integrity is ensured, the clean-up process can begin. Your home may need water removal or water extraction, as well as drying. Equipment such as air-movers and dehumidifiers will be placed in the home, in an effort to reduce upholstery and carpet damage, and to prevent the spread of mold and mildew damage.

In addition to water extraction and drying, the catastrophe recovery team will need to remove smoke and soot from your home and will need to clean your carpet and upholstery as well. They may also need to perform content restoration for any furniture or vital documents (paintings, photographs, and so forth) that were damaged during the fire or in the aftermath of rescue efforts.

Once the disaster clean-up is completed, your next step will be fire damage restoration. This is the process of returning your home (and life) back to normal. Any damaged walls will be fully repaired and painted, damaged drywall will be replaced, new carpet may be installed if need be, and any structural damage will be taken care of.

During the entire process, you will need to be in contact with your insurance company. One of the advantages of a disaster recovery service like SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville is the fact that we will work with you and help you through your insurance claims process to make sure it is as painless as possible.

Make Fire extinguishers part of your home safety plan

2/16/2021 (Permalink)

fire extinguisher safety plans Just don't have a fire extinguisher, know how to use it properly

SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago & Warrenville encourages every household to have a home safety plan that focuses on both preventing fires and responding to a fire should one occur. Fire extinguishers are an important part of this plan. Fire extinguishers are your second line of defense behind a smoke detector and can be the difference between a small inconvenience and a life-changing event.

It is important to not just hang your extinguisher on the wall or in the cupboard. Plan ahead, read the instruction manual, and know your extinguisher’s capabilities before use. Portable extinguishers are useful for putting out small fires but recognize your limits and the limits of the extinguisher.

Doing a “quick check” is a brief inspection to determine that a fire extinguisher is available and will operate, when, and if it is needed. The purpose is to give you reasonable assurance that the fire extinguisher is fully charged and operable. This is done by verifying that the fire extinguisher is in its designated place, that it has not been discharged or tampered with, and that there is no obvious physical damage or condition to prevent its operation.

How to React to Fire and Smoke

10/6/2020 (Permalink)

fire safety for your home Residential fire safety and preplanning are very important

Ensure Your Alarms Work

As they say in many sports, the best offense is a good defense. Setting your home up to be ready for a fire will make you better off than if you just blindly ignore the fact that a fire can happen in any home. Setting up a system of carbon monoxide and smoke detectors will allow you to know if there are fires in areas of the house that you can’t directly see.

Sure, it may be annoying to have fire alarms go off when you burn the dinner or they need new batteries, but that is all a minor inconvenience when a real fire occurs. Replacing their batteries regularly and putting them in multiple locations will allow you to be notified if there is a potential fire in the house.

Have an Escape Plan

Just like schools and businesses have dedicated fire plans and places to meet if a fire alarm goes off, the home should be no different. Even if you live alone, having your own fire plan to either deal with or evacuate from the fire is essential to responding effectively. If everyone is just running around and panicking, the situation will be much worse in the end.

Know the nearest exists for every room, establish a meeting location, and know what you absolutely need to get out of the house in your plan. Being able to react calmly in the event of a fire because everybody knows what to do reduces the risk of further accidents and allows you to deal with the problem more effectively.

Analyze the Scope of the Issue

Depending on the size and location of the fire, you may be able to analyze the situation and make a quick decision to deal with the fire safely. Obviously, if you are woken up by smoke and a room on fire that is not an appropriate time to become a detective and find what caused the fire.

If something in the kitchen caught on fire or a candle was just knocked over, you can take the time to quickly analyze the fire and make a decision as to how to act. If the fire is small and localized, grab your fire extinguisher and attempt to put it out yourself when everyone is safe. In cases where the fire is growing rapidly and can't be contained, fall back to your action plan mentioned in the last step and go from there.

This tip may vary greatly depending on your living situation, but the safety of yourself and others is worth more than whatever may be taken by the fire. Making sure you are able to find everyone and get them out of the house before even dealing with the smallest of fires is a great way to ensure maximum safety from the get-go.

If you are living in an apartment or multi-family unit, alerting other members is a great way to get people alert and informed about the situation. If you are living alone, making sure any pets are ok as well as yourself; that is really all you need to worry about in the immediate moment.

Call for Help

Even though this is a later step, this entire list of steps can occur in less than a minute if there is a real fire. Calling for help is one of the only ways you can be certain that the fire is dealt with to the greatest extent possible.

Calling the fire department is obviously your first step if the fire is large, as their services are needed to put out the fire. Even if you take care of the fire by the time they arrive, they would rather show up to an extinguished fire than not get a call at all. 

Smoke Damage Affects Contents in your house

10/5/2020 (Permalink)

smoke damage to contents Smoke can affect your hosehold contents in many ways

An uncontrollable fire within any residential property can cause serious damages in a matter of minutes.

Even small fires can damage your personal belongings and cause unforeseen structural damages. While cleaning up the ash and soot is the immediate concern, it is best to consider some preventive measures to ensure that you have covered such mishaps from all the possible angles.

This post features some consequences of smoke damage to the contents in your house:

Furniture:

Furniture, especially upholstered ones can behave differently based on the chemical composition involved. The fire spread on to furniture can progress through the following four stages:

  • Spread: Includes ignition to the complete burnout of the property’s seat, back, and arms
  • Burn through: The burn through the state is marked by elevated and steady heat release
  • Pool fire: the melting of the upholstery of seat marks the pool fire, where the melted fuel usually spills onto the floor and marks maximum heat release
  • Burn out: this is where the heat release reduces and the rate of burning drops marking the ending phase of the burning

Smoke from a fire if not serious damage, can cause discoloration to your furniture. The smoke particles combine with the atmospheric gases to trigger a reaction which results in discoloration. On most occasions, the stain marks the deposition of harmful chemicals on the furniture surface.

A careful and detailed analysis of the property as a whole is necessary to determine the type of cleaning agent to use. Using normal cleaning methods including vacuum can have driven the smoke particles and soot deeper into the furniture material causing adverse effects.  Using the wrong chemical for cleaning can result in the stripping or staining the varnish on wooden furniture.

Bedding and clothing:

Bedding and clothing commonly develop a musty burnt odor after exposure to smoke. The discoloration is visible in some cases depending on the type of fire and the atmospheric condition. Clothes and bedding can house chemicals from unburned substances. These are usually invisible and should be treated with proper chemicals to alleviate any odor concerns.

Industrial level detergents are needed to ensure that the soot and smoke particles are completely removed from bedding and clothing materials.

Floors walls and other surfaces:

A mixture of smoke, water, and ash can contribute towards a corrosive element. This conglomerate can eat away walls, floors, and ceilings.

If not attended to immediately, untreated smoke can start decolorizing your walls and other surfaces. A common scenario is the walls turning yellow and corrosion of metal surfaces.

One main factor to consider is fire smoke always creates Carbon Monoxide which can lead to Carbon Monoxide poisoning. This is why it is recommended to get the professionals to assess the situation in your house after the mishap prior to jumping headfirst into the act of cleaning.

Post Fire Cleaning

9/10/2020 (Permalink)

post fire cleaning The ins and outs for post fire cleaning in your home

Safety First, Then Assess

As soon as the SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville techs arrive at your home, the safety of your family and home are the top priority. The absolute first step of a remediation professional is checking that the property is safe to enter. The team will search for signs of structural damage and carefully inspect the property from the outside before opening the door.

Next, SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville will assess the extent of the damage by exploring how far the fire, the smoke, and airborne soot have traveled. In order to create a precise plan of action and an accurate quote, we will document the damage to your walls, furniture, and possessions. At every step of the way, the technician will wear proper gear– to protect themselves and your possessions. 

Focus On Soot And Debris

Post-fire rooms are a mess. It is very important not to contaminate non-damaged rooms. Before any water or fire restoration processes can begin, all debris and soot must be removed from the home. The soot can cause more damage the longer it remains on a surface; it is abrasive and caustic. Any debris will be in the way during the restoration process so they will haul off trash to keep the worksite tidy.  Removing the soot and debris will also improve the air quality and reduces airborne odors. 

As soon as the team can begin work, protecting your home from additional damage will influence the workflow.  Soot can stain metals, plastics, grout, carpeting, textiles, and wood when it adheres to surfaces. Rust and corrosion is a risk whenever water touches metal. Components and conductors in electronics can corrode, and the risk of electrical shock is increased.

Sometimes it is necessary to remove items that don’t appear to be damaged in order to prevent cross-contamination. SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville will help determine the best course of action in each situation. Often the professionals can clean these items offsite and return them once the home is restored. 

Now Deodorize And Clean

Professionals use specific cleaning products, equipment, and techniques on the various materials in your home.  Carpets, curtains, and other fragile fabrics need special attention, not all can be shampooed and washed with plain water.

During this fire damage restoration process, SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville will also ensure to remove any odors that can linger after the smoke has been in the room. Commercial air scrubbers, ionizers, and dehumidifiers might be used to control humidity and clean the air. Perhaps your home would benefit from an ozone generator to destroy the smoke molecules that are left behind and are causing the odor.  

Restore What Is Necessary

After all the dirty, smelly burnt items are removed, odds are that your home will need some repairs. This restoration stage is both 1) repairing furnishings and 2) repairing the home.  To return your home to its best, SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville team might repair wooden cabinets, replace baseboards, and restore floors. 

House Fire: How Fast It Can Happen

9/10/2020 (Permalink)

House fire timeline What can really happen in a house fire?

Few people understand the process that a house fire actually goes through from ignition to being extinguished. However, it is an important thing to know if you ever find yourself in a house fire or just to be better prepared to prevent future fires from occurring. Thus, we have included the progression of house fires below. If your home is ever ravaged by a fire, our team of professionals at SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville is here for you to help you throughout the restoration process.

Ignition

Since the greatest proportion of house fires begin in the kitchen, we will use a kitchen example for this hypothetical fire. Imagine there is a pot boiling on a stovetop that boils over, spilling flammable, oil-laden contents onto the red-hot burner. In under a second, the substances in the oil will burst into flames. The flashpoint for fires like this is typically 600 degrees Fahrenheit but can be as high as 1000 F when the stove is on high.

First 30 Seconds

Within just seconds, the fire will easily spread to other parts of the home. The fire will begin to grow as it reaches other combustible materials like paper towels, cardboard, and dish towels. This is the crucial moment to extinguish the fire. Water won’t work on a grease fire so use what you can to deprive the fire of oxygen or use a fire extinguisher if you have one.

30 Seconds To 1 Minute

At this point, the fire will continue to grow larger and larger by engulfing larger objects like wooden cabinets and countertops. It will also be large enough to begin releasing large amounts of poisonous gases like carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide. Just two or three breaths of hydrogen cyanide are enough to cause one to pass out.

1-3 Minutes

At this point, the fire will rise above 400 F, high enough to kill people. After 2 minutes, it will continue to grow even hotter allowing the fire to spread through direct contact or auto-ignition. Auto-ignition occurs when an object becomes so hot that it will burst into flames even if it hasn’t been touched a fire.

3-6 Minutes

Throughout this time, the fire will continue to rise to tremendous temperatures. The fire will have risen into the ceiling and within the walls. It will be easily visible from the street. After just six minutes of burning, the roof can collapse in and the home may experience total devastation.

The Aftermath

The aftermath is never pretty. Rooms that had the fire in them will obviously be severely damaged. Even rooms that the fire never reached will still have significant damage from melting plastic and glass, blistered paint, and charred wood. Most appliances are probably ruined beyond repair.

As you can see, house fires should never be taken lightly. The damage they can do to a home is massive. Fortunately, you don’t have to endure this type of disaster on your own. Don’t hesitate to give us a call at SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville.

Ways To Reduce Fire Damage Risk

9/10/2020 (Permalink)

reduce fire damage Be aware of reducing fire hazards in your home

A house fire is a terrifying possibility for any homeowner. It’s such a scary prospect not just because of the destructive potential it has to destroy your home and possessions but because of the threat to your life and the lives of your family members. It’s impossible to live 100 percent stress-free about the threat of a house fire, but there are many ways to greatly diminish that possibility. Another factor that can help bring you peace of mind is that SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville is just one phone call away. With professionals working around the clock, you know who to call in the terrible possibility that you have a house fire. Here a few tips to keep your home fire-free.

Keep A Close Eye On Your Electrical Cords

There are a couple of ways that electrical cords could start a fire in your home. A couple of the most common are frayed wires and overloading a circuit with too many cords. This can be prevented by simply paying close attention to the wires around your house. If any of them look frayed or damaged, you know it is time to replace them. The same goes for overloading a circuit. Just don’t plug too many things in at one place where it could cause sparks or overload the circuit.

Be Careful In The Kitchen

Carelessness or accidents in the kitchen are a common cause of many house fires. Don’t leave burners or your oven on when you are done using them. Never leave your food unattended while you are cooking. Clean up any spilled grease that may have accumulated to prevent grease fires from occurring. It’s also wise to avoid wearing any loose or dangling clothes that could easily catch fire without your noticing. Essentially, preventing fires in your kitchen is just a matter of paying close attention to your surroundings and taking the time necessary to be safe.

Test Your Fire Alarms And Have Fire Extinguishers On Hand

This is another no-brainer. Make sure you’ve got working fire alarms on hand so a fire never catches you off guard. Taking the couple minutes necessary to occasionally test them is worth the time. Along those lines, keep a couple of fire extinguishers stored strategically throughout your house so you can quickly respond quickly to put out a fire if one occurs. This is especially useful in your kitchen since that is the most likely place for a fire to happen while you’re right there. 

When it comes to fires, you can never be careful enough. These are just a few of the simple things you can do to ensure that nothing short of a freak accident could ever cause a fire in your home. Unfortunately, freak accidents do happen, and if one happens to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to SERVPRO of Streamwood, Bartlett, West Chicago, & Warrenville for any of your fire damage and restoration needs.

HOME SAFETY CHECKLIST FOR HOME FIRE PREVENTION

9/2/2020 (Permalink)

fire prevention checklist Fire Prevention Checklist for Your Home.

CHECKLIST

  • Make sure your smoke alarm and batteries are working each month. 
  • Get interconnected smoke alarms so when one sounds, they’ll all sound. 
  • Create a home fire escape plan that shows two ways out of each room. 
  • Practice your family’s fire escape plan at least twice a year.

Making a Fire Evacuation Plan

    1. Find all of your home’s possible exits. Start by drawing your home’s floor plan. Spot at least two exits in each room. Make sure each exit is clear from clutter and easy to open in case of an emergency. 
    2. Install smoke detectors in your home. Alarms should be installed in hallways and inside of every bedroom on every level of your home so it’s easy to hear when sleeping. 
    3. Be prepared when you hear the alarm. If you hear your smoke alarm sound, leave immediately. When exiting, stay low to the ground to inhale less of the rising smoke. 
    4. Keep loved ones in mind. If you have elders or infants in the home, have a plan to get them to safety and assign one family member to help them ahead of time. 
    5. Stop, drop, and roll. If your clothes catch on fire during an evacuation, Stop, Drop, and Roll. Stop where you are, drop to the floor, and roll while covering your hands and eyes until the flames are gone. 
    6. Choose a place for everyone to meet safely. Make sure everyone knows how to get there. Call 9-1-1 once you’re in a safe place. Memorize phone numbers just in case you’re not at the meeting location to let family members know you’re safe.
    7. Don’t go back inside. If you left family members or valuables behind, don’t go back towards the fire. When you call, let the dispatcher know so firefighters can handle the rescue. Wait until firefighters say it’s safe to go back to the home.

Soot Damage

6/4/2018 (Permalink)

You might think that the biggest danger a domestic fire is burning flames. After all, it is the most obvious, immediate indication that a major problem is developing. Yet, we know that this isn’t always the case because soot and smoke are far more insidious.

They move faster than flames and produce toxic debris that can enter the lungs and cause respiratory difficulties. For this reason, you’re advised to steer well clear of a house fire and let the professionals safely neutralize it. Fire damage is a stressful experience, but with help from the SERVPRO Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City team, you can turn things around quickly. 

This guide to dealing with fire damage will tell you a little bit about why soot residue is such a challenge and how it can be eliminated. 

What Is Soot? 
Soot is a by-product of incomplete combustion between a form of fuel (vinyl or plastic for example) and the oxygen in the air. It is a fine, black and greasy substance which clings to walls and ceilings after a fire. Soot can be tough to clean because it stains and smears surfaces. It usually produces a pretty unpleasant smell too. 

How Is Soot Removed from Fire Damaged Properties? 
SERVPRO has access to a range of cutting-edge tools and equipment. We have also developed a number of highly effective techniques for soot removal and restoration. The team will use a combination of brushes, cleaning detergents, and ozone deodorizers to lift the oily substance from furniture and prevent it from leaving stains. 

This is a delicate process, but it is important that high standards are adhered to, and the right methods are used. We follow the best practices of the IICRC. Just wiping at soot patches isn’t usually effective, especially when it comes to soft furnishings like sofas, mattresses, curtains, and carpets. Porous items will need the most attention and some objects may have to be removed from the site for additional cleaning.

Can You Get Rid of the Smell Too? 
As soot and smoke produce an acrid, lingering odor, deodorizing machines will be brought into the property to boost the circulation of fresh air and push denser, toxic particles towards special odor killing ‘ozone’ molecules. These molecules eliminate the unwanted smell on contact and then revert back to oxygen. This process requires vacating the premises until the ozone gas has dissipated or converted. 

Once complete, the deodorizing process leaves the home smelling fresh and clean. However, this is the final stage of the remediation project. First, a full inspection is carried out and then the home is cleaned as thoroughly as possible. 

If your home or business suffers fire damage, you need the best help and advice around. SERVPRO Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City is a locally based franchise so that we can respond to emergencies in this region at any time. Call us 24/7 at 630-562-9212.

Dryer Vent Maintenance

6/4/2018 (Permalink)

Dryer vent cleaning prevents fires. You will want to make sure that your home or commercial property is completely safe. Whether by flooding, fire or some other mishap, there are plenty of ways that your property can be threatened. One of the best ways to ensure that you are prepared for a catastrophic emergency is always to have a local residential and commercial property cleanup and restoration service.

Dryer Vent Cleaning Prevents Fires 

Keep your property from sustaining irreversible fire damage. Making sure your dryer vents are clean and free from obstruction will help keep your property safe from the possibility of a fire. It's also an excellent precaution to take to keep the air in the building from getting choked up with dust, lint and other health hazards that can accumulate in a dryer vent. 

Get Help from a Local Cleanup and Restoration Service 

It's up to you to contact an expert local cleaning and fire restoration service to ensure that your vents get cleaned in a correct and timely fashion. When you are in doubt as to whether the vents or other areas in your home are functioning correctly, a good, thorough cleaning is never a bad idea. 

Even if it turns out that your property is not quite yet due for a full cleaning, a reputable local cleanup service can help such as removing any excess pollen or debris that has accumulated in the vents. This way, you can save a great deal of time, money and worry by taking timely preventative measures. Keeping the proper level of air quality in your home or commercial building will go a long way toward keeping the structure safe for your family or employees to inhabit. An expert local service will ultimately save you a great deal of time and stress.

Expert Help for Dryer Vent Cleaning Is Available 

At SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City, we know that dryer vent cleaning prevent fires. This is only one of the many services that we can provide for you to make sure that your home or commercial property will be safe against the event of an unforeseen mishap or emergency. If an emergency should befall your property, you'll want to call a service that can get to you in a prompt and timely manner. 

Fire Prevention Tips

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

Here are some of the top home fire starters with tips on the best way to prevent them: 

Cooking

Cooking is the main cause of home fires. Unattended cooking, and grease build-up, are the most frequent reasons for fires in the kitchen. Continuously supervise the range or stove when cooking and keep the kitchen surfaces free from grease to prevent fires.

Candles

Fires caused from candles are more frequent during holidays, such as Christmas and Halloween. Always keep candles far from draperies, embellishments and other combustibles, and ensure candle holders are steady. Utilizing battery-operated candles rather than real candles is a much safer option.

Children Playing with Fire

Some children play with fire just wondering, not understanding that it can be extremely dangerous. Keep lighters, matches and other flammables out of youngsters' sight and reach. Likewise, avoid as much as possible from using lighters and matches in front of them, as many children mimic what they see the adults do.

Heating Equipment

Amid the colder months, heating equipment, for example electric radiators or fireplaces, are major fire hazards in the home. Place radiators at a safe distance from combustible materials and always supervise them when they are operating. Check your smokestacks for creosote build-up on a regular basis and never utilize combustible fluids to begin a fire in the fireplace.

Electrical Causes

Obsolete wiring and breaker boxes, as well as old appliances, present a fire risk. Additionally, connecting excessively numerous machines to an extension cord can cause the cord or appliance to overheat and a fire to start. Watch for worn cords with exposed wires.

Smoking

Fires brought about by lit cigarettes can begin when a person nods off with a cigarette in hand or when the embers from a butt fall on ignitable materials. Smoke outside to avoid these dangers. On the off chance that you smoke inside, abstain from doing as such when tired, and use deep and large ashtrays.

Flammable Liquids

Liquids that can catch fire include gasoline, paints, cleaning agents, thinners, and much more. Keep these chemicals in approved compartments and far from electrical and heat sources. Store them outside, in a well-ventilated area. Always read the labels for temperature ranges. 

Christmas Trees

Amid the Christmas season, many home fires can begin because of the careless utilization of Christmas tree adornments. Electrical failures and candles are the fundamental offenders of Christmas tree fires. Use only lights that have the mark of an independent testing laboratory. Furthermore, replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. NEVER decorate your tree with lit candles. Water the tree on a daily basis to prevent the tree from drying out.

Residential Fire Tips

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

Small Fires can Pose High Risks 

While you should never pour water on a grease fire, nor on an electrical one, many times that is a person's first reaction anywhere. This can cause even more damage. Cooking fires and electrical shorts are common causes. It can also create physical risks to people standing nearby. With grease fires, baking soda should be poured into the skillet and any grease or oil that has caught fire outside of the cooking pan or skillet instead of water. 

With electrical fires, the appliance should be unplugged if it can be safely done, but not by pulling on the cord. This can cause the cord to snap, leaving the plug, without the cord, still in the outlet. The power to the area where this is happening should be shut off at the fuse box as quickly as possible to eliminate the hazard. 

After the Fire is Out, It's Time to Repair the Damage 

When there's been a localized fire, you should have someone assess the damages for you. This can often help with insurance documentation. Landlords, if you are renting, will need to be informed of the fire, and they can see the damage for themselves. It is every landlord's worst nightmare to have a fire or flood damage their properties. If they can see the amount of damage, they can rest easier knowing the extent of the repairs required.

Damage can range from blackened walls and countertops to heavily burned surfaces, electrical wires being damaged and requiring replacement, to floors suffering damage so severe they must be replaced to be safe again. Having experts conduct the repairs needed can greatly facilitate insurance claims being resolved, as well. 

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City 630-562-9212

Summer Fun

5/31/2018 (Permalink)

There is nothing like firing up the grill during the summer months!  Did you know, July is the peak month for grill fires?  A backyard barbeque can become dangerous quickly if proper safety precautions aren’t considered.  Your local SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City Professionals want you to have an enjoyable and safe summer.  Consider the following tips to help ensure your summer celebrations are fun and disaster-free!

  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only ever be used outdoors
  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings, and out from under eaves, pergolas and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets away from grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill often.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.
  • When using a charcoal grill, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal
  • Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear.
  • Each year fireworks are responsible for thousands of house fires with millions of dollars in property damage.
  • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks.  Keep a bucket of water or fire extinguisher nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire.  Children should never pick up fireworks that may be left over as they may still be active and have explosive residue on them.

Fire Cleaning

5/30/2018 (Permalink)

When it comes to cleaning smoked-damaged contents after a residential or commercial fire here in Streamwood/ Bartlett /West Chicago City the variety of contents in a typical job requires restorers to utilize a variety of cleaning methods.

Here is a quick description of each method of content cleaning:

  • Dry Cleaning - Removes light to medium nongrease-based soils.
  • Wet Cleaning - Removes moderate to heavy residues. The process involves cleaning using water, with or without a cleaning agent.
  • Spray and Wipe - Apply a cleaning product using a spray bottle. After spraying, wipe the surface with a clean white towel. This method is effective for materials possibly damaged if saturated with cleaning product.
  • Foam Cleaning - Effective for light residues or delicate materials. Clean with the foam of a cleaning agent rather than the liquid
  • Abrasive Cleaning - Agitates the surface being cleaned. Apply a cleaning product containing abrasive ingredients
  • Immersion Cleaning - Dipping contents items into a bath of cleaning product. This bath is an ultrasonic tank filled with water and cleaning solution. High-frequency sound waves then create high temperatures and microscopic jet streams of fluid to agitate and scrub contents.

SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City recommends that you DO NOT attempt to clean smoke-damaged surfaces or contents yourself, and call the professionals here at SERVPRO of Streamwood/ Bartlett/ West Chicago City. Our office number is (630)562-9212