Recent Fire Damage Posts
Fire Detectors 101
Ionization Smoke Detector
Your Queens, NY, home should be a safe place where precious memories are made. A major safety element to keep that home a memorable place instead of one that needs a fire and smoke damage restoration specialist is ensuring it is equipped with a smoke alarm. With so much on the line, choosing the right smoke detector and ensuring it is placed in the best location can be daunting.
When it comes to fire safety, it’s important to understand that not all fires are the same. Some smolder while others flare up. Luckily, many smoke detector options are available to help you cover all the bases.
Ionization Smoke Detectors: These rapidly detect small particles associated with flaming fires. If installed near kitchens, cooking may set off a false alarm. These are best used in other areas of the home.
Photoelectric Smoke Detectors: Smoldering smoke fires often have larger particles, making this type ideal for those types of fires. They aren’t typically as quick to detect flaming fires, so they are a good option for the kitchen.
Dual-Sensor Smoke Detectors: These are a combination of the previous types. They rapidly detect both kinds of fires, making it only necessary to install one alarm. Some also include carbon monoxide detection. Again, a separate alarm may be needed near the kitchen that isn’t prone to false alarms.
Smart Detectors: Available as ionization, photoelectric, or both, this new trend of alarms provides the extra perks of being interconnected and other handy features that can be accessed through a smartphone app, such as remote notifications and disabling false alarms. These are much more costly devices.
Once you have decided which smoke alarm is right for you, where it needs to go is the next consideration. It is recommended to have detectors that can sense flames and smoke for each bedroom. There should be an additional one installed on each floor of the home, including the basement and attic.
Regardless of which smoke alarm works best for your home, ensure that you have enough and can detect the two kinds of fires to help keep everyone safe.
Embrace Fire Alarms in Your House, Even When They Are Annoying
4 Things To Consider When Bashing A Chirping Alarm
Everyone knows the chirping sound of the battery dying in a fire alarm. That noise can drive people crazy, but the alarms in your home in Jamaica Bay, NY protect the lives of you and your family. Here are four things to consider next time you contemplate bashing a chirping alarm.
1. How much time do you have to escape a fire?
Smoke can arrive before fire damage, and with only 3-4 minutes to get out, an alarm can be the deciding factor in your escape. Individual units go off when fire reaches them whereas connected units go off as soon as one unit is triggered letting the whole house know to escape.
2. What is the right alarm for your house?
Smoke alarms come in two styles - photoelectric and ionization. Photoelectric units sense smoky fires while ionization units sense more flames with less smoke. Since all fires are different, installing both types of alarms can be a great decision.
3. How long does an alarm device last?
Everyone knows that the batteries should be changed twice a year, but not many people know when to change the actual fire alarm unit. Typical devices can last for 8-15 years, so check the date on your alarm the next time you change the batteries. If it was manufactured in the 1990s, it's definitely time to install a new one.
4. How expensive are alarms?
Installing an alarm in each bedroom, on every floor, and more outside of every sleeping area of the house can seem like a huge expense. However, standard units cost just $6-20 and bi-annual battery replacements can cost just a few bucks.
If you thought fire alarms were too annoying, too expensive, or not really necessary, think again. With limited time to escape a fire and unit options that can detect fire and smoke damage, these inexpensive devices can save lives.
Prevent a Gas Explosion By Following These Safety Tips
If you genuinely suspect your home has a gas leak, you will need to act fast
Follow These Tips To Prevent a Fire and Leave Safely
If you smell rotten eggs or a similar scent inside your Whitestone, NY, there is a strong risk of a gas fire. This smell is an obvious sign of a gas leak. You need to be careful around the house, as the wrong move can spark a devastating fire that can harm others. As you move through the location, follow these tips to prevent a fire and leave safely.
1. Extinguish Open Flames
The first hazard you must disable is an open flame. Immediately head to the kitchen and check on the stove. If the area is safe, shut off the burner. It is important to check the device anyway in case it is set off by accident. Also, look for candles and other places with open flames to extinguish them immediately. Even a small spark can react to the natural gas and create a fire.
2. Avoid Igniting a Fire
Now that you have stopped exposed fire, you must avoid triggering a flame that leads to a gas fire. For starters, do not turn on lights or activate electronic devices. If you have low visibility around your house, use an emergency flashlight to help you. Increase the airflow throughout the building by opening as many doors and windows as possible. This action can decrease the probability of a gas explosion.
3. Evacuate Your Home
Since you have decreased and avoided the immediate hazards, it is time to leave the building. Ensure that everyone present can safely and quickly evacuate, from family and friends to pets. Do not call 911, insurance or fire damage cleanup until you are outside. If you know how to operate the gas meter outside, head outside and shut it off. Stay outdoors from a safe distance until professionals give the all-clear.
If you genuinely suspect your home has a gas leak, you will need to act fast. Eliminating open flames, introducing air and evacuating the building are the most effective ways to prevent a gas fire from consuming your home.
What To Expect After a Fire in Your Home
Fire in a home in Briarwood, NY
A home fire often creates tremendous stress and upheaval for a homeowner. It can help to have an idea of what to expect in the early stages of the inspection and cleanup process. Before you begin the cleanup, you will want some help surveying the fire damage and assessing your risk.
When the fire has been extinguished, a fire inspector will evaluate the damage to your structure and property. Here are the areas the specialist will inspect to determine whether it’s safe to enter your house:
Structure – The floors, walls and stairways will likely be inspected first, to determine whether it is safe to move throughout the house and begin the fire cleanup and restoration.
Electrical – The electrical system will be inspected for damage. Because a fire hose releases so much water, the panel may need to be disconnected for safety purposes until the wet areas dry out.
Hazards – Miscellaneous safety hazards, such as chemical spills, will likely need to be removed before residents enter the home.
This inspector will let you know if repairs need to occur before you can go inside. The first time you enter your home, the inspector or a fire supervisor will generally accompany you to survey the fire damage.
You will enter your home with a fire expert who will point out safety risks and explain the extent of the fire and water damage. Once you’ve absorbed the information, it’s a good time to notify your insurance agent and discuss your coverage.
Unless your damage is minimal, it may be necessary to hire a fire restoration service to handle the cleanup. They will use specialized methods to restore your structural damage, furnishings, textiles and documents. Their teams are trained to work safely to return your home to you as soon as possible.
If you’ve sustained fire damage in your Briarwood, NY, home, you know the disruption it creates. The initial stress can be significant, and it is recommended you allow yourself to rely on the knowledge of inspectors and fire remediation experts for help with getting your life back to normal.
Fire Extinguisher Basics
A fire extinguisher is your first line of defense to prevent fire damage
Humans can be forgetful. Even the most proficient home chefs have likely forgotten to set a timer or turned the wrong burner off. While these incidents typically don’t turn into a dire situation, keeping a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and other areas of the house is essential to protect your home in Ozone Park, NY.
Types of Extinguishers
Instead of dealing with extensive fire damage, being prepared can keep damage to a minimum. Different types of fires also require different types of extinguishers. The following are the main kinds:
Class A – Used to put out common combustibles including wood, cloth and paper materials.
Class B – Ideal for flammable liquids and gases.
Class C – Should only be used on electrical fires.
Class D – Work on flammable metals.
Class K – For fires involving oil and grease.
For the home, the first three are typically all that are needed. Many fire extinguishers are available that cover multiple classes of fires.
How Many Should Be in the Home?
At the minimum, every home should have at least one extinguisher. Since a kitchen fire tends to be a common type, it should be stored near cooking areas. Additionally, one should be accessible on each floor of the home, including the garage.
Using an Extinguisher
Regardless of which brand, manufacturers strive to make these potentially life- and property-saving devices easy. It’s important to remember that these are only for small, contained fires. If the fire spreads, get out and call for help. To use an extinguisher:
- Break the seal by pulling the pin.
- Point the nozzle toward the bottom of the fire.
- Squeeze the handle to release the agent.
- Continually spray left to right and back until the fire is out.
A fire extinguisher is your first line of defense to prevent fire damage. Even after it is extinguished, some fire cleanup may be needed. If the damage is overwhelming, contact a professional to make it “Like it never even happened”.
How Can I Avoid a Dryer Fire?
Clear the lint trap of all lint after each load of laundry.
Ways to Prevent a Dryer Fire
Throwing your clean laundry in the dryer is such a common activity, you usually do it without a second thought. People usually don’t think about the risks involved with the use of a residential clothes dryer. But a lint fire is a real threat if your dryer isn’t properly maintained. Here are ways to prevent a dryer fire:
1. Clean Lint Trap and Lint Filter Opening
Clear the lint trap of all lint after each load of laundry. Occasionally clean the filter with soap and water, as fabric softener sheets can clog the screen. Regularly vacuuming the lint filter opening will keep residual lint from building up in the area around the filter.
2. Clean Exhaust Vent
The exhaust vent should be cleaned at least once a year. You will have to move the dryer a couple of feet away from the wall. After unplugging the power cord, carefully detach the hose from the back of the dryer. A vent brush is recommended. Use a vacuum crevice attachment to remove any excess lint.
3. Clean Interior
A lint fire is often the result of a lint buildup around the heating element. Vacuum inside the dryer housing, including motor and vent. Be careful to avoid breaking any wires or small parts. Your owner's manual will detail how to access the interior.
4. Clean Exhaust Vent Hose
Use the vacuum to carefully suck the lint from the hose. Vacuum all areas around and under the dryer to remove excess lint and debris. You can now reconnect the hose, plug the dryer back in and move the dryer back into place.
5. Clean Exterior Vent
Clean the exterior vent a couple of times each year. Go outside and remove the vent cover. You should be able to remove all the lint with your hands. Turn the dryer on the air dry setting for about 20 minutes to blow out excess lint, then replace the cover. Some exterior vents are more accessible than others, so you may want to hire a certified professional.
Extensive fire damage from a lint fire in your home in Rosedale, NY is easily avoidable.
Should You Get Commercial Property Insurance?
Commercial fire damage
If you own a commercial property or business, you have a lot on your plate. If you haven't already, you should look into your commercial insurance options, so you aren't left high and dry should any sort of emergency occur. There are several important aspects to consider when tailoring you insurance to your specific needs.
What Does It Cover?
This type of insurance protects your commercial property against all sorts of disasters. Depending on where you are located and after an assessment of risk, you should determine what areas you would like your insurance to focus on. For instance, if your business is in a location that frequently experiences tornadoes, you should more heavily invest in that genre of coverage. Some common sources of risk include:
- Fire damage
- Flood damage
- Other natural disasters, like earthquakes
- Theft and vandalism
What Exactly Should You Insure?
The most obvious part of your property to consider insuring would be the buildings that contain your business operations. Commercial insurance can be applied whether you own or rent those buildings, so that services such as fire remediation can be applied when appropriate. You are also able to insure all supplies and equipment within those buildings, including furniture and electronics. Less tangible assets like records, documents and databases are also insurable.
What Will It Cost?
To determine how much you will pay, first you will need to figure out the total value of your physical assets. Most likely you will meet with an agent to discuss the coverage you want and what it will cost per the amount of property you own. Luckily, as a business, you can usually deduct the cost of your insurance as an expense on your taxes, which should give you a substantial break.
One of the smartest things you can do for your commercial property is to protect it from any potential threats it may face with the proper commercial insurance. Make sure your business can thrive no matter the circumstances.
3 Steps To Prevent Dryer Fire
Clean the screen of your lint every time you run the dryer
Three Steps to Reduce the Amount of Lint in The Dryer
Running your dryer year in and year out may lead to the loss of a lot of socks, and it also leads to a lot of lint inside the appliance. As lint accumulates, the dryer will function less efficiently, taking longer to dry your clothes and working harder to complete cycles. Eventually, the accumulated debris could lead to a lint fire. There are a few steps you can take to reduce the amount of lint in the dryer:
- Clean the lint trap
- Deep clean the vents
- Deep clean the inside of the dryer
1. Cleaning the Lint Trap
Every time you run the dryer, you should pull out the lint screen. It's usually located at the top of the appliance, on the side, or at the bottom of the dryer door. Clean all of the lint off the screen and then reach inside the opening to remove as much lint as you can. If necessary, vacuum out the opening. Every few weeks, you ought to rinse off the screen until the water runs clear.
2. Deep Clean the Vents
Before you begin this process, unplug the dryer. If you own a gas appliance and it's an older model, you may want to call a local professional before you begin moving the dryer around. Next, pull the appliance away from the wall and remove the exhaust hose. You may need a screwdriver or some pliers to remove the O-ring clamp that holds the hose in place. Use a cleaning brush or a vacuum attachment to gently clean out the vent and the hose. Don't forget to run the cleaning rod through the wall vent. This is a great step in preventing a lint fire.
3. Deep Clean the Interior
Again, unplug the dryer and slide it away from the wall. Remove the access panel (whether from the top or the back) and wipe the interior down. Remove lint you can grab with your hands and vacuum carefully to finish cleaning. This should be done every six months to prevent a dryer fire.
Routine maintenance is a good way to reduce the risks of a lint fire. Talk about other common causes of residential fire in Flushing, NY, with fire damage cleanup professionals.
How To Estimate Fire Damage
The cost of fire damage restoration can range from a few thousand dollars all the way up to $20,000 or more. Read on to learn more about how restoration professionals estimate the cost of a commercial fire.
Calculate Cleaning, Repair, and Replacement Costs
Restoration costs are determined by the extent of the damage. Many commercial properties have fire suppression systems that limit the amount of damage. Expenses will increase depending on several factors.
- The amount of damaged building materials and contents
- Materials or contents that can be cleaned
- Materials or contents that must be replaced
Some expense is involved in any restoration strategy. Professionals can ensure that mitigation measures are performed in a cost-effective and efficient manner.
Get an Estimate From a Restoration Company
A restoration company will assess damage and calculate a price for an insurance adjuster based on a variety of criteria:
- The extent of a rebuild
- The cost of cleaning or replacing materials and contents
- The duration of the restoration process
After professionals provide an estimate of the damage, property owners should have a clearer sense of the cost of restoration.
Check Your Insurance Policy
A commercial property insurance policy should cover all damage caused by a fire. The policyholder is responsible for paying the deductible. An adjuster will need to perform several tasks:
- Determining the cause of the fire
- Confirming damage reported by the owner or restoration service
- Processing the claim
Policyholders should familiarize themselves with the terms and limits of commercial property insurance coverage. The cost of a policy may go up after a fire.
The overall cost of a fire is determined by the extent of the damage, the types of restoration required, and the level of insurance coverage. After a fire at a commercial building in Ozone Park, the property owner should call his or her insurance provider and schedule a consultation with a fire damage mitigation and restoration company to obtain an estimate and begin the rebuilding process.
4 Facts About Fire Damage Coverage
Garage fire in Flushing,NY
4 Facts About Fire Damage Coverage
Fire damage is a covered peril under most insurance policies. If you lease a portion of a building for residential or commercial purposes in Flushing, NY, it is important to know how much liability coverage you have, and its limits.
1. "Fire Legal" Is Equivalent To "Damages To Premises Rented To You"
"Fire legal" was the term used to describe liability coverage in the 1986 commercial general policy. In 1998, this portion of a commercial policy became known as "damages to premises rented to you." Liability coverage applies if the named insured causes a fire, and is usually an exception to policy exclusions.
2. A Lease Contract Can Cancel Out Liability Coverage
Liability coverage will not apply if a lease agreement states that a tenant accepts full responsibility for fire damage. This is called contractual liability, and a modification of lease terms will be necessary to restore coverage.
3. Limits Should Correspond To a Policyholder's Stake
The limits of liability coverage should reflect the value of the portion of a structure in the care, custody, and control of the named insured. If it does not, the tenant is underinsured. Limits on these policies are usually $100,000 or less, but can be increased.
4. This Coverage Only Applies to Fires Caused by the Policyholder
Fire liability coverage only applies to fires for which the named insured is at fault. This coverage does not apply to other types of damage or no-fault fires. Other types of coverage are needed to offset these damages and the cost of fire damage restoration.
Policyholders should be aware of the extent and implications of their insurance coverage. Tenants should consult with an insurance agent or risk advisor to ensure that they have a sufficient amount of liability coverage for fire damage and smoke damage to the portion of a structure in their care, custody, and control.
Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Home
Smoke and soot damage in Ozone Park,NY
Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and soot facts:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Different Types of Smoke
There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Ozone Park / Jamaica Bay will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:
Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
- Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
- Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
- Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – SERVPRO OF OZONE PARK/ JAMAICA BAY - 347-233-2305
Content Cleaning After Fire Damage
Content cleaning after fire damage in Jamaica Bay,NY
When your home has been damaged because of a fire, you may choose to hire a content cleaning company to clean up many of your belongings. The process involved in this cleanup has several steps:
- Packing up your contents
- Carrying contents away for dry-cleaning and other processes
- Storing your belongings until they are returned
- Unpacking your belongings
Many of the furnishings and belongings in your home will suffer smoke damage after a fire. You can't do much on your own for heavy curtains, couches, and mattresses, but don't despair. Cleanup professionals have tools and techniques at their disposal that can bring many of your belongings back to new. Most of your clothing will probably go through dry-cleaning. If you have a lot of non-porous belongings that have suffered damage, it may go through an ultrasonic treatment.
As your belongings are prepared for transportation to cleaning facilities, they will be photographed and packaged for safety. Professionals work hard to be sure your items don't suffer any further additional damage during this cleanup process. Bubble-wrap and packing paper will protect your belongings as they are stored and transported in large boxes.
The cleaning part of the process may take place in more than one facility. Specialists will determine the best process for each type of furnishing, so your possessions aren't damaged by the wrong cleansers and so that contamination is fully contained. For example, electronics require a different type of cleaning process than your carpets. After cleaning, the contents of your home will be packaged in new bubble wrap and packing materials.
As the furnishings and contents of your home move through the dry-cleaning process and after they have been repackaged, they will be kept in a content storage location until they are returned to your Jamaica Bay, NY, home and restored to their original positions. It is possible enjoy your home after a fire after a thorough cleaning and restoration process.
Will Insurance Always Cover House Fires?
As a homeowner, you never want to have to make an insurance claim for damage to your place. Recovering from a catastrophe can be stressful and devastating. However, you’re relieved that a good insurance plan can help cover the costs of any damage. It’s important to know, though, that in some cases, an insurance policy won’t cover a home fire. Be aware of thee guidelines so you don’t make a bad decision or so that you’re not caught off guard.
No insurance policy will ever cover damage to your home due to an act of arson. Arson insurance fraud is a crime and could land you in prison.
* Homeowners who commit this are trying to collect money from the insurance company.
* The insurance company will investigate any house fire.
* If the investigation reveals arson was the cause, the insurance company will not cover any loss or damage to the Queens, NY, home.
If you leave your home vacant, and a fire occurs, the insurance company will not cover the incident. Insurance companies have specific definitions for what constitutes a vacant home fire. First, most insurance companies consider a home to be vacant if the owners haven’t occupied the property for more than 30 days. Also, the home fire must have occurred during this vacancy period. This doesn’t mean if you’re away for an extended vacation, or if you only live in the home for part of the year, that you can’t get coverage. In these cases, simply apply for vacant home insurance or get an endorsement on your current policy.
You can have tremendous peace of mind after a home fire if you have the right insurance coverage. If you plan on vacating your home for more than a month, make sure you work with your provider to ensure you have coverage. Also, remember that no plan will cover a fire that results from a criminal act.
For more information, please visit us at http://www.SERVPROozoneparkjamaicabay.com/.
Preventing Cigarette Damages
Smokers are aware of the decline in public places in which they are permitted to puff, and many enjoy the fact that privately, they may still light up in their own homes if they choose. However, fires caused by cigarettes are still the most common type of fire in residential properties. Forming good fire safety habits when smoking can help you avoid starting a cigarette fire.
Fire Safety Basics for Smokers
• Smoking outside is the best way to prevent starting a residential cigarette fire. Remember to properly discard your cigarette remains when smoking outdoors, and never leave a lit cigarette unattended.
• Clean your ashtray to ensure embers from recently disposed cigarette butts do not ignite those that were previously disposed, as this may cause an ashtray fire. It is also best to keep ashtrays away from your home as well as flammable materials.
• Smoking near medical oxygen is dangerous and should never be done. The oxygen can explode in the presence of a flame or spark even if the tank is turned off.
• Linens and Mattresses are extremely flammable, and smoking in bed is never a good idea.
Removing the Odor of Smoke
If you’ve been smoking inside your home and would like to quit smoking or want to begin practicing fire safety techniques by smoking outside, the smoke odor in your home may become more apparent. Eventually, you may want to have this odor removed. Luckily, local Queens, NY, businesses that offer deodorization services may be able to assist you. Often, these experts do not solely specialize in odor removal, and they can also help with fire cleanup in the unfortunate event that a cigarette fire occurs in your home. Additionally, more than just deodorization may be necessary to fully remove the effects of previous indoor smoking. Yellowing from the cigarette smoke may be visible and require removal of paint or wallpaper as well.
For more information, please visit us at http://www.SERVPROozoneparkjamaicabay.com/.
How to Prevent a Fire in your Home?
Board up job in Queens, NY
“I never thought it could happen to me,”
people often say after they are in a fire, hurricane, or other emergency or disaster. While you may take comfort thinking that an emergency will never happen, this thinking really is not very helpful. Instead, take control now by planning how you will prevent or manage in an emergency.
Here are some ways that all people, including those with disabilities, can help prevent and prepare for fires and other disasters or emergencies.
Fires at home: these are ways to prevent them.
- Smoke detectors
- Fire extinguisher
- Fire blanket
- Rope/chain-link ladder
- Fire safe box
- Nonflammable material
- Sprinkler system
Common fire hazards and ways to prevent them
- Space heaters
- Fireplaces and wood-burning stoves
- Electrical outlets, appliances and wiring
- Trees, leaves, bushes, and other landscaping
Read more about this here.
HAD A FIRE CALL SERVPRO OF OZONE PARK/ JAMAICA BAY TODAY - 347-233-2305
How Much do you Know about Fire Prevention?
Smoke Alarms Save Lives in House Fires
Learn About Fire Safety
As a result of those and related findings, we’re addressing smoke alarm replacement this year with a focus on these key messages:
- Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.
- Make sure you know how old all the smoke alarms are in your home.
- To find out how old a smoke alarm is, look at the date of manufacture on the back of the alarm; the alarm should be replaced 10 years from that date.
Think you know a lot about preventing Fires. Take the Quiz and see how much you actually know.
Didn't score well? Take what you learned from the quiz and use it to make you home safer from starting a fire.
Want to learn more about Fire Prevention?
These are all educational videos to explain fire prevention.
This is a link to Fast Facts about Fires.
How to protect your House from a possible Fire
Safe holidays are happy holidays. Here are some helpful tips as you decorate your home or business:Holiday, candle and Christmas tree fire safety outreach materials
Help increase awareness about holiday fires in your community with these messages and free materials.
Facts about home holiday fires
- One of every four home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.
- Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. On average, one of every 32 reported home Christmas tree fires results in a death compared to an average of one death per 143 total reported home fires.
- A heat source too close to the tree causes one in every four Christmas tree fires.
- The top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Christmas Eve.
- Candles start two out of five home decoration structure fires.
Stay Safe by following these Steps and if something goes wrong we are happy to come out and make it like it never even happened.
Fire ? No Problem Call Now
Here is some tips to prevent a fire in your home:
Residential fires during the holiday season are more frequent, more costly, and more deadly than at any other time of the year. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) reports more than double the number of open-flame fires on Christmas Day than on an average day, and about twice as many on New Year’s Day. And when those fires occur, they do more damage: Property loss during a holiday fire is 34% greater than in an average fire, and the number of fatalities per thousand fires is nearly 70% higher. When the source of the fire is a highly flammable Christmas tree, the toll in property and lives is even greater.
To keep your household from becoming a holiday fire statistic, here are some safety tips to follow.
Cooking is the top cause of holiday fires, according to the USFA. The most common culprit is food that’s left unattended. It’s easy to get distracted; take a pot holder with you when you leave the kitchen as a reminder that you have something on the stove. Make sure to keep a kitchen fire extinguisher that’s rated for all types of fires, and check that smoke detectors are working.
If you’re planning to deep-fry your holiday turkey, do it outside, on a flat, level surface at least 10 feet from the house.
The incidence of candle fires is four times higher during December than during other months. According to the National Fire Protection Association, four of the five most dangerous days of the year for residential candle fires are Christmas/Christmas Eve and New Year’s/New Year’s Eve. (The fifth is Halloween.)
To reduce the danger, maintain about a foot of space between the candle and anything that can burn. Set candles on sturdy bases or cover with hurricane globes. Never leave flames unattended. Before bed, walk through each room to make sure candles are blown out. For atmosphere without worry, consider flameless LED candles.
It takes less than 30 seconds for a dry tree to engulf a room in flames, according to the Building and Fire Research Laboratory of the National Institute for Standards and Technology. “They make turpentine out of pine trees,” notes Tom Olshanski, spokesman for the USFA. “A Christmas tree is almost explosive when it goes.”
To minimize risk, buy a fresh tree with intact needles, get a fresh cut on the trunk, and water it every day. A well-watered tree is almost impossible to ignite. Keep the tree away from heat sources, such as a fireplace or radiator, and out of traffic patterns. If you’re using live garlands and other greenery, keep them at least three feet away from heating sources.
No matter how well the tree is watered, it will start to dry out after about four weeks, Olshanski says, so take it down after the holidays. Artificial trees don’t pose much of a fire hazard; just make sure yours is flame-retardant.
Inspect light strings, and throw out any with frayed or cracked wires or broken sockets. When decorating, don’t run more than three strings of lights end to end. “Stacking the plugs is much safer when you’re using a large quantity of lights,” explains Brian L. Vogt, director of education for holiday lighting firm Christmas Décor. Extension cords should be in good condition and UL-rated for indoor or outdoor use. Check outdoor receptacles to make sure the ground fault interrupters don’t trip. If they trip repeatedly, Vogt says, that’s a sign that they need to be replaced.
When hanging lights outside, avoid using nails or staples, which can damage the wiring and increase the risk of a fire. Instead, use UL-rated clips or hangers. And take lights down within 90 days, says John Drengenberg, director of consumer safety for Underwriters Laboratories. “If you leave them up all year round, squirrels chew on them and they get damaged by weather.”
Kids Playing with Matches
The number of blazes — and, tragically, the number of deaths — caused by children playing with fire goes up significantly during the holidays. From January through March, 13% of fire deaths are the result of children playing with fire, the USFA reports; in December, that percentage doubles. So keep matches and lighters out of kids’ reach. “We tend to underestimate the power of these tools,” says Meri-K Appy, president of the nonprofit Home Safety Council. “A match or lighter could be more deadly than a loaded gun in the hands of a small child.”
Soot can harden on chimney walls as flammable creosote, so before the fireplace season begins, have your chimney inspected to see if it needs cleaning. Screen the fireplace to prevent embers from popping out onto the floor or carpet, and never use flammable liquids to start a fire in the fireplace. Only burn seasoned wood — no wrapping paper.
When cleaning out the fireplace, put embers in a metal container and set them outside to cool for 24 hours before disposal.
SERVPRO is Always here
Disasters don’t wait for regular business hours. SERVPRO® is available 24/7, including holidays.
SERVPRO of Ozone Park/ Jamaica Bay is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.
We Answer the Phone Ready to Help
Call Today - 347-233-2305
We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of Ozone Park/ Jamaica Bay has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.
What to Expect
When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.
Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:
- Your name and contact information
- Your insurance information (if applicable)
- The street address of the water-damaged home or business
- When did the flooding or water damage occur?
- What caused the water damage (if known)?
- Is there electricity available (on-site)?
About SERVPRO of Ozone Park/ Jamaica Bay
SERVPRO of Ozone Park/ Jamaica Bay specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.
Check out the Meet the Crew Page by clicking the link. http://www.SERVPROozoneparkjamaicabay.com/employee-photos
The Certifications that we hold are:
- AMRT - Applied Microbial Remediation Technician
- ASD - Applied Structural Drying Technician
- SRT - Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration Technician
- WRT - Water Damage Restoration Technician
- IICRC Certified Firm
- OCT - Odor Control Technician
CALL SERVPRO OF OZONE PARK/ JAMAICA BAY TODAY - 347-233-2305
How To: Use a Fireplace
STEP 1: Stay Safe
Before bringing out the lighter, it’s vital to understand safety precautions for using a fireplace. First, always double-check that your fire extinguisher, smoke detector, and carbon monoxide detector are each in working order (check those batteries!). Remove anything flammable within three feet of the fireplace in case stray sparks escape the hearth, and use a fireplace screen as well. Make sure the flue isn’t blocked by obstructions like an animal’s nest, especially if this is your first time using the fireplace. If the system hasn’t been recently inspected, hire a chimney sweep certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America(CSIA) to do the job.
STEP 2: Gather the Kindling
Gather kindling in a variety of sizes (small, medium, and large) for the proper fire-building technique that is outlined below. To emit less smoke and soot, make sure the wood is dry, well-seasoned, and split a minimum of six months ago. You can choose either hardwood or softwood for the fire; while hardwoods like oak or maple burn longer and create more sustained heat, softwoods like cedar or pine start fires easier because they ignite quickly. Whatever you don’t use can return to the firewood rack, best stored outdoors in an elevated and covered location.
Note: Never burn trash, plastic, painted materials, or anything with chemical treatment like scraps of pressure-treated wood—these materials can release harmful chemicals into your home.
STEP 3: Open the Damper
The damper is a movable plate inside the flue. When opened, it allows the smoke and ash to travel safely up the chimney. If you start a fire with a closed damper, however, the smoke will have no escape route and circle back into the house.
Adjust the damper as needed with the handle located inside of the chimney. It will move either front to back, left to right, or in a clockwise or counterclockwise rotation. Check to make sure you opened it properly by sticking your head in the flue and looking upwards, using a flashlight if necessary. You should see up the flue without any obstructions if the damper is open; a closed damper will block your view entirely.
STEP 4: Prime the Flue
Now, gauge the temperature. If you feel a rush of cold air (which usually occurs if the chimney is built on the outside of the house), then you need to prime the flue—in order words, you need to preheat it. Otherwise, the cold draft may cause smoke to blow into the room. Light a roll of newspaper and hold it against the open damper to send warm air into the flue. The draft should reverse after a few minutes, making your fireplace ready for action.
STEP 5: Build the Fire
While there are multiple ways to build a fire, the CSIA recommends the top-down method, which produces less smoke and requires less tending. Start by donning thick fireplace gloves and grabbing a metal poker. Position large pieces of wood in the bottom of the fireplace in one row, perpendicular to the opening of the fireplace. Next, take mid-sized pieces of wood, and stack four or five rows on top of the base layer in alternating directions. Make sure the stack takes up no more than half the height of your fireplace. Now add your smallest pieces of wood, making sure these pieces are very dry. The tiniest bits (which can take the form of wood shavings or bunched-up newspapers) should be at the very top.
Light the top of the stack with a single match. The fire should travel down, igniting the pieces underneath without prompting. Let the fire burn for as long as you’d like. Don’t close the damper until the fire is completely out and all the embers have stopped burning.
STEP 6: Clean the Ashes
The CSIA says you can leave a bed of ashes between one to two inches in the fireplace as an insulating layer, which helps the next fire to burn. But when you need to dispose of ashes, proceed with caution. Coals may take several hours or several days to completely cool, and ash could still be burning during that time. Using a metal shovel, scoop ashes into a metal container with a tight-fitting lid. Store the container outdoors away from the house, and not in garages or on decks.
If you don't follow these step your putting yourself in danger of starting a fire.