Recent Fire Damage Posts
Christmas Season Safety
Use these safety tips in your Montgomery County residence or commercial building to make it the merriest time of the year!
Christmas will be here in a few days! Can you believe it?
During the winter holiday season, we notice a pattern of catastrophes, many dealing with Christmas trees. While they’re beautiful to look at, Christmas trees can cause a lot of issues if not properly taken care of.
To avoid issues such as a tree fire, house fire, outlet overload, and even electrocution, follow the tips below to keep you and your family safe and happy during this 2019 holiday season!
- Water your tree daily! A dry tree can quickly transform into a tree in flames.
- Do not connect more than three strings of lights.
- Got cords? Sure you do, it’s the holiday season! Keep them away from heat sources. Do not nail or staple them either. Placing them under a rug isn’t a safe idea. Neither is completely shutting a door or closing a window with a cord running through it. This is a fire hazard.
- Plugging in too many appliances can overload the outlet. Avoid doing so.
- But before plugging in appliances, lights, yard decorations, etc., make sure your sockets are in good condition and that wires are not bare. Oftentimes, we use these decorations or particular outlets once a year, so it’s important to carefully inspect them.
- Turn off and unplug any lights before going to sleep or leaving your home. Extinguish any candles before leaving the vicinity.
- Cooking or baking for the holidays? Make sure to stay in the kitchen when doing so.
- Use battery-operated candles instead of candles with actual flames.
- Water and electricity never mix well. Be careful your string lights are not touching or partially in the tree’s water bowl. Additionally, snow=water. Make sure you are dry when plugging in outdoor lights especially. Dry your hands from any falling elements such as rain and snow before dealing with electricity.
- It’s cold! But be careful where you place space heaters. They should always be at least three feet away from furniture, etc. and even farther from Christmas trees.
We at SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney and SERVPRO of Silver Spring North wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and safe holiday season!
For more fire safety tips, check out our website:
Turkey Tips Part 2
It’s almost Thanksgiving! Can you believe it?
Our company wants to ensure your safety, as well as the safety of your family, pets, property, and belongings, during the holiday season.
In our last blog post, we discussed how fires are caused by a propane deep-fryer and a turkey. Please reference that post if you’ll be preparing your turkey by that method. We at SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney and SERVPRO of Silver Spring North have explained and provided very valuable and important tips you must follow when frying your turkey that way. Avoiding cautions can result in a serious home or property fire.
In this blog, we will outline and provide tips for when you cook your turkey in the oven.
To prepare, clean your stove and oven. Old food or crumbs must be removed. Over time, grease can buildup, leaving quite a residue, which can be flammable.
When you’re ready to put your turkey in the oven, set a timer. Also make sure your smoke alarms are working in case of an emergency.
While a fire caused by baking a turkey in the oven is much less common than a fire caused by frying a turkey, it’s still very important to take all precautions and while in use, to monitor the oven closely.
A few safety tips to follow include:
- No long sleeves while cooking to avoid catching on fire
- Pot handles turned towards the back of the stove to avoid tipping or falling
- Remember health safety tips too!
- Thaw and dry properly
- Use a meat thermometer to ensure turkey has been fully cooked
We at SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney wish each of you a very happy and safe Thanksgiving!
See our website for more fire safety tips!
As Thanksgiving approaches (only one week away), we at SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney and SERVPRO of Silver Spring North want to give you a few very important tips on how to keep your home safe during the holidays.
Believe it or not, far too many home catch on fire during the fall season! Imagine preparing for the holidays just to have flames devour your property over something as small as a turkey. The impact around this time of year (as winter holidays quickly approach following Thanksgiving) is astronomical and quite stressful to say the least.
Yet time and time again, we are called to homes in the Silver Spring North, Rockville and Olney communities around Thanksgiving to cleanup and restore fire damage… and all because of a turkey.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, compared to any other day of the year, the number of house fires reportedly doubles on Thanksgiving Day.
We don’t want our neighbors of Silver Spring North and Rockville-Olney to have to experience such a catastrophe, especially during the busiest time of your year. We want to explain to you how a turkey can cause such a huge mess and then, provide you with some tips, so you are ready to enjoy the holidays!
So, how does the bird cause a fire? Well, these fires usually originate from a deep fryer. The oil used typically spills over the sides of fryer in these instances, and falls into flames beneath. Even vapors can react with the heat, causing a fire.
If your turkey has not been completely dried and thawed, the excess water will cause the oil to bubble and spill down.
Here in the Maryland/DC area, temperatures around the holidays drop. It’s typically quite cold outside. Rain or snow can also factor into the catastrophe. It can cause the oil to splatter.
Due to chilly weather, you might be tempted to shield yourself from the cold weather and fry your turkey in the garage or under your deck. Maybe you have a nice, screened-in deck you’d like to cook inside. Don’t! If your turkey catches on fire, the flames will extend to the ceiling or roof, then spread, engulfing the room and beyond.
Of course we understand people enjoy cooking their special dinner in a propane deep-fryer. So, we are including a few tips to follow in avoiding a fire!
- Make sure your fryer is equipped with a gas valve controller
- While in use, keep your fryer away from children, pets, trees, shrubs, bushes, vehicles, etc. alike
- Your turkey must be completely thawed and dry before placing it in the fryer
- Make sure the fryer in placed on a flat surface
- Do not leave your fryer unattended
- Notice the oil is beginning to smoke? Turn the propane tank off immediately!
- Have a fire extinguisher handy
Be sure to check out our next blog including cautions and tips when cooking a turkey in the oven!
This fall season, create memories by having a campfire with family and friends! Be sure to follow safety precautions so that everyone has a good time!
Fall is the perfect time to have a campfire with family or friends. While enjoying spending time in the outdoors with your group, it’s important to remember campfire safety, especially as dry foliage can be a serious fire hazard.
When leaves catch on fire, irritants are released into the air, which can cause respiratory problems. Additionally, campfires that aren’t properly prepared or maintained can cause huge issues such as burns or out-of-control fires, possibly developing into a forest fires.
Follow these important steps to keep everyone safe before and after the campfire, so that everyone can have a great time!
- Picking your campfire spot: Look for signs and follow rules! If the area has rules prohibiting campfires, find another area, and do not build your campfire in an area with dry and/or hazardous conditions. Additionally, watch out for tree branches, and be sure to make your fire at least 15 feet from any shrubs, bushes, trees, and tents. Inspect the area, ensuring no flammable items are nearby. Do not build a fire if winds are strong.
- Building your pit: If there’s no pit, you can dig your own. This website has great tips, along with pictures, on how to do so. Take a look! https://smokeybear.com/en/prevention-how-tos/campfire-safety/how-to-prepare-your-campfire-pit
- Building your campfire: For everyone’s safety, it’s always important to gather a bucket filled with water along with a shovel before starting up the fire. When gathering wood, do not cut a tree or an entire branch. Instead, gather small twigs, and sticks or pieces of wood you find on the ground (or which you purchase). Large pieces of wood should always be stacked upwind, away from the fire. Make sure you don’t collect sticks from an animal’s dwelling space. For specific details on how to position and start your campfire, check out this link: https://smokeybear.com/en/prevention-how-tos/campfire-safety/how-to-build-your-campfire. If you’re using matches to start the fire, make sure it’s cold before discarding (into your trash bag, of course). Once you start a fire, it must be monitored at all times. Adult supervision is required at all times. Children and pets must be closely and carefully watched.
- Maintaining a fire: Once you are pleased with your campfire, add larger pieces of wood to keep it going steadily, but keep your fire to a manageable size. Do not let it get out of hand. Also, do not burn plastics, cans, or glass, as doing so can result in explosions, shattering, or the release of dangerous fumes.
- Extinguishing your fire: If possible, allow firewood to burn to ash. Then, pour water on the fire. All embers must be completely soaked and dead (no red embers). Until the hissing sound stops, keep pouring water on the area. Remember, if it’s too hot to touch, it’s not appropriate to leave. Add more water, dirt, and/or sand until all material is cool.
We hope these campfire tips were helpful and will keep you and your family and friends safe!
SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney and SERVPRO of Silver Spring North wishes you a happy autumn season.
Fire Prevention Week!
Fire Prevention Week, brought to us by the National Fire Protection Association, is observed Sunday, October 6 through Saturday, October 12 of 2019.
The NFPA has sponsored this national and public observance week since 1922. With a goal of increasing awareness and education people young and old about fire safety, NFPA hopes causalities caused by fire will drastically decrease.
This year, the theme is “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!”, and it aims to inform about the importance of escape planning and practicing it at least twice a year. The NFPA wants to encourage people to take small, but very important steps to ensure they and others will stay safe from fire.
It may be surprising to hear, but the average time it takes for a fire to consume an entire home is five minutes. Often times, there will only be one or two minutes for your escape. If you don’t have an escape plan, much disarray and chaos will result. A lack of an escape plan also puts you, your family, and even pets in a vulnerable position.
A video on the NFPA website highlights a few steps you can easily take to create your home fire escape plan. The steps are listed below and can also be found on the video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khyHziYGFZg&feature=youtu.be).
- Draw a map of your home
- Mark two exits from each room, typically a door and a window. Mark a path from each exit to the outside.
- Include the location of all smoke alarms in your home
- Choose a meeting place outside of your home where everyone will meet up once they have exited
- Add 911 or any other emergency number to your plan
- Call 911 once you’re outside. Use a neighbor’s phone or a cellphone if you have one on you
Check out NFPA’s website where you can gain valuable and even life-saving information. The website will equip you with free apps, videos, printables, and much more! There’s something for everyone of any age to check out on their page. https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Staying-safe/Preparedness/Fire-Prevention-Week/Resources
We at SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney and SERVPRO of Silver Spring North want you to stay safe! We know the damage a fire can do and find it very important that you create your own, home fire escape plan. We encourage you to take charge in preventing fires!
Flames or Soot?
SERVPRO® of Rockville/Olney was recently called in to clean up a fire damaged building/home. Restoring a home after fire damage is a difficult and emotional process. Not only are we here to be there for your property but for your family as well.
Flames can cause the most visible damage to your property but the most damage comes from the smoke and soot. Soot is a coating of fine, black dust created when substances are burned. Inhaling soot can cause severe health issues. It is important to our team that we get rid of all the after-effects of the fire including 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.
Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Rockville/Olney and of Silver Spring North will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will be based on which type of smoke damage there is. Below are the different types of smoke:
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.
Call SERVPRO® of Rockville/Olney or SERVPRO of Silver Spring North when you are in need of cleaning after fire strikes. We know it is hard seeing your home in flames and we are here to restore it the best we can.
Stay Safe This Fourth of July
Summer is traditionally known for fireworks, barbeques, and picnics with loved ones.
While putting on a firework show at your own home may seem fun, there are many risks. If lighting fireworks are not legal in your residential area there could be a large fine. As well as a fine, keep in mind the potential dangers that could occur. Fireworks can result in severe burns, blindness, and scars. Kids should not be near or handling the firecrackers or rockets. Supervise children around fireworks at all times. To avoid the dangers of fireworks, enjoy a public firework display put on by professionals.
If you choose to give your children sparklers never leave children unattended with sparklers. It is possible to get burned by the tip of the sparkler. Make sure your children do not point the sparklers towards themselves or others. Keep a bucket of water near for when your child is finished with the sparkler to ensure that the sparkler is no longer lit.
Not only should you be cautious of your children with fireworks and sparklers but your pets too! Leave your pets inside your home so there are no risks. Loud fireworks and unfamiliar places can be scary to your pet which can lead to your pet running away.
Remember these tips while grilling:
- Do not wear loose clothing while cooking at a barbeque.
- Never grill in an enclosed area, as carbon monoxide could be produced.
- Use caution when using lighter fluid on a barbeque. Do not add fluid to an already lit fire, as the flame can flashback into the container and explode.
- Make sure children are away from the grill.
Have fun this summer and stay safe!
Kitchen Fire Tips
Did you know...
A majority of fires that take place in homes begin in the kitchen.
The holiday season is approaching, which means that many of us will be spending a lot more time in the kitchen. This also means that, with every pumpkin pie and each batch of Christmas cookies you make, there is a greater risk of a fire emergency.
Aside from calling 9-1-1, which should be one of your first moves, here are some quick tips for dealing with a fire emergency in your kitchen.
- Always watch your cooking; don't leave anything unattended
- Set a timer so that you don't accidentally burn something or forget that an appliance is being used
- If something on the stove catches on fire and it is small, cover it with a lid and turn off the burner
- Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen near your cooking area where it is easily accessible
- Add baking soda to a grease fire, not water
- Clean your appliances regularly so that grease does not accumulate and start a fire
- Clean and dust around and behind appliances, as dust accumulation can cause fires if it is close to electrical wiring
- Keep flammable objects away from cooking appliances, especially those things like tea towels and potholders
- Install a smoke alarm in your kitchen
- Test your smoke alarms and make sure they will work when you most need them!
Keep these quick tips in mind, and prevent a major fire damage emergency from taking place in your home this season!
Holiday Fires - Christmas Tree Fire Safety
Christmas Tree Fire Safety
Statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) show the holidays are a high-risk time for home fires. Christmas trees are responsible for 240 home fires each year, and other holiday decorations are the cause of another 1,170 fires.
Here are some tips to keep your home safe this holiday season:
•Check the stand daily to make sure that the level of water does not go below the base of the tree.
•Keep trees at least three feet away from major sources of heat (fireplaces, heaters, heat vents, and direct sunlight). Lowering the room temperature will slow the drying process.
•Use lights that produce low heat, such as miniature lights, to reduce drying of the tree.
•Always inspect light sets before placing them on the tree. If worn, replace with a new set.
•Do not overload electrical circuits.
•Always turn off the tree lights when leaving the house or when going to bed.
•Monitor the tree for freshness. After Christmas or if the tree is dry, remove it from the house.
•Install and ensure smoke alarms work inside and outside each bedroom and sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home, including the basement.
If you have a fire, call SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney or of Silver Spring North. We make it "Like it never even happened."
What to do in case of a fire
What You Should Do When Dealing with Fire Damage in Your Home
Life has enough interruptions and bumps along the way without the unwanted disaster of a house fire. The aftermath is almost as bad but much longer-lasting. Even small fires can merit the use of a professional restoration company. Cooking fires that spread beyond the stove, barbecue grills that go haywire, and even small appliances that catch fire can cause damage to surrounding areas.
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 of Montgomery County fire damages. 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 also appreciate if you inform them 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. Fires do happen, through nobody's fault, and your landlord will know this.
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.
Locally Owned Company with National Resources
At SERVPRO of Rockville-Olney and of Silver Spring North, we have highly trained and skilled professionals who are experienced in all sizes of fire damage clean-up and restoration. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help you clean-up and repair fire damage, no matter how large or small. Call us at (301) 340-1313 to get the necessary damages repaired and the mess eliminated so you can go back to your daily routine.