Recent Fire Damage Posts
6 Leading Causes of Home Fires
It is estimated that a home fire ignites every 86 seconds in the United States alone.
Here Are Six Of The Most Common Causes Of House Fires
The National Fire Protection Association complies data on home fires in the United States. The NFPA then publishes the study on home fire, injury, and loss of life. Although the statistics are alarming, there are several areas that many of the fires have in common. You can help increase the odds your home in Easton, PA will never experience a blazing disaster by noting these six leading causes of home fires and proactively checking to make sure your home is safe.
1. Lit candles are a leading cause of fires. Although most candles come with a warning about not leaving the wax creation alone when burning, most people ignore the notice. Once lit, the flames can catch curtains, carpets, and papers quiet easily and then spread through the whole house.
2. Electrical devices are a major cause of house fires. Faulty electrical connections and over-heated equipment top the list of hidden fire causes.
3. Smoking is still a major source of home fire problems. People still fall asleep with a burning cigarette in their hand. The bed, chair, or carpet can then easily catch fire and cause serious injury. This type of fire is ranked by fire repair and restoration professionals as one of the worst type of fire cleaning scenarios.
4. Small children are a major cause of residential fires. Interestingly, playing with fire by children has been ranked in the top five of dangerous fire scenarios for more than a decade.
5. Holiday decorations cause many fire tragedies during winter months. Dry trees and overheating lights are noted as the major cause of holiday fires.
6. During summer months, lightning can often cause home fires. Homes in wooded areas are especially vulnerable to lighting strikes and major fire damage.
It is estimated that a home fire ignites every 86 seconds in the United States alone. That means the odds of a fire occurring in your neighborhood during your lifetime is rather large. By noting the six-leading causes of residential fires, you can take the extra step and proactively protect yourself and your family.
4 Cooking Tips To Prevent Fire Hazards
Fire in a kitchen.
Prevent Fire Hazards
Kitchen fires can quickly grow out of control. For the restoration efforts afterward, you need to follow the guidelines of the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification and hire a team in City, State, that has proof of insurance and experience with a vast array of restoration projects. However, prevention is always preferable over reaction. Follow these tips to greatly reduce the likelihood of your kitchen experiencing fire damage.
1. Do Not Leave Cooking Food Unattended
Whether you are broiling, grilling or frying, you always want to remain in the kitchen when you cook something. You do not want to leave for even one minute, because something could go wrong in an instant. If you need to leave the room for something important, then turn off the stove.
2. Keep Flammable Objects Away From Stove
There are a number of items that can easily catch fire in a kitchen. They include:
- Plastic bags
- Wood utensils
- Oven mitts
Keeping everything away from the stove is one of the most critical tips to follow at all times. Heat travels, and an object could go up in flames even if it is not directly on top of the stove.
3. Clean Regularly
You should clean your stove and oven regularly to prevent a grease fire. Grease builds up over time. Even if you keep paper and towels away from the stove, the grease could still catch fire.
4. Install a Fire Alarm in the Kitchen
You should have multiple fire alarms installed around your home. One of them should be located in or near the kitchen. That way, if something happens, everyone in the house can be alerted immediately.
Fire damage can be easily circumvented as long as you and your family members are willing to follow a few simple tips. With this advice, you will be able to use your kitchen with peace of mind.
After a Home Fire Remediate Fire and Water Damage
Fire damage in Wind Gap, PA.
Fire and Water Damage
Once the fire department stops the blaze, homeowners in Wind Gap, PA, are left with the daunting task of repairing the fire damage. First thoughts likely revolve around fixing the charred walls and smoky odor; much of the property's trouble, though, could actually stem from water damage. In fact, a fire restoration company must attend to the moisture issues first before eliminating the ash. Here are three things to understand about tending to the premise's destruction.
1. Why Is Water Troublesome?
To eliminate the flames, the fire crew used hoses and tons of water. At the time, it was absolutely necessary in order to minimize the home's harm. Water damage, however, can cause issues such as rot, mildew and mold. The fluid soaks into porous materials, and it doesn't dry up easily. This humidity can trigger fungal spore growth. To avoid this complication, experts assess the structure and begin to dry it out immediately. They run dehumidifiers around the clock, use moisture readers to ensure appropriate levels are reached and extract drenched materials that cannot be salvaged.
2. What Do Teams Do About the Ash?
With mold spread under control, the specialists tend to the fire damage. Using highly specialized equipment, ash and soot are removed from surfaces, including ceilings, walls and floors. The entire vicinity is washed and then sanitized. Content cleaning crews assess and salvage personal belongings and electronics as well. It may seem lost, but it's possible, with the right techniques, it's okay to keep.
3. How Is Odor Eliminated?
The fire hose took out the conflagration, but it didn't remove the unpleasant aroma. Opening windows may provide some relief, but it's hard to handle this stench on your own. Remediation employees investigate the source of the smell and use sophisticated technology to eradicate it from the residence.
Fire damage alone is a lot to handle, but it's essential for homeowners to realize that water damage is pivotal too. To get the home back in order, residents should care for both issues.
3 Things You Need To Make a Fire Claim
Content damaged by fire in a Forks Township, PA home
3 Things You Need To Make a Fire Claim
Most homeowners insurance companies have the same general requirements for making a claim in the wake of fire damage to a home in Forks Township, PA. No matter who insures your home, homeowners or residents should take the following measures to ensure that most of the costs of cleanup and fire restoration can be offset when a claim is settled.
1. Proof of Damage
Taking photos or recording videos that show the full extent of damage is an essential step toward making a fire insurance claim. It may be particularly helpful to be able to present footage of the same portions of a home intact prior to the fire. Some property owners get in the habit of making recordings every year or six months to support any insurance claims that may ensue.
2. A List of Losses
A list of items that indicates the condition and that is paired with proof of purchase can facilitate the claim settlement process. In some cases, it may be helpful to seek the professional opinion of content restoration specialists with regard to items that could be good candidates for cleaning and restoration.
3. A Fire Restoration Estimate
An expert calculation of the cost of restoring fire damage and additional measures such as smoke cleaning is helpful when making a claim. For the best results, homeowners may want to schedule an inspection with a restoration company that is a preferred vendor for many insurers.
As you prepare to make a fire damage claim, it can be helpful to document damage in photographic or video format, list items along with their condition, gather proof of purchase and get a professional estimate for cleaning and fire restoration costs. No matter which insurer holds a homeowners policy for a residence in Forks Township, PA, these measures can be helpful for covering more of the cost of cleaning and restoring damage.
Tips To Filing a Fire Damage Claim
Fire damage in a Coffeetown, PA building
Ways To Make The Insurance Filing Process Easier
Dealing with insurance in Coffeetown, PA, in the wake of a fire can be challenging. Insurance policies are very comprehensive, which can make the filing process long, and sometimes confusing. However, with the right knowledge and a good plan, filing a fire claim does not have to be daunting.
1. Reach out Immediately
Most insurance companies are available 24 hours a day, and they make it very easy to reach them. Whether it is by phone, email, or even a mobile app, the sooner you contact your insurer, the sooner you can start your claim.
2. Make a List of All Necessary Information
You will want to keep a master list of vital information like:
- The location and date of the fire damage
- An in-depth list of all of the damages
- The condition of the property
- Estimated costs for repair or restoration
Keeping this list organized and readily available will help expedite the paperwork process involved in filing a fire claim.
3. Take Pictures
Generally, you should leave everything exactly as it was after the fire. However, if you absolutely have to move or dispose of some of the debris, notify your insurer as soon as possible, and take detailed photographs of its pre-disposal condition to submit as evidence.
4. Collect All Business Records
Keep painstaking track of all costs of operation, continued expenses, damaged equipment, and even estimates of what it will cost to operate from a temporary site during fire restoration. You should also report on monthly sales, tax returns, business contracts, and any other financial statements that show the amount of money you stand to lose as a result of the incident.
In the wake of a fire, the last thing most business owners want to do is file a fire claim. However, there are steps that you can take to make the insurance filing process easier. With a little planning, and the help of qualified restoration professionals, you can be back in business in no time.
Tips to Prevent House Fires
At SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall, we focus on the safety of our customers and find ways to make sure they don’t have water or fire damage in their homes again.
Here are some tips to prevent house fires:
· Test Your Smoke Alarms Regularly
The easiest way to avoid a house fire is by checking your smoke alarms regularly. There is a little button on it that you can press to test it. If it beeps weakly, then you need to change the batteries ASAP.
· Keep Your Stove and Oven Clean
Don’t worry, the stove didn’t randomly combust because of your cooking. It most likely happened because forgotten food particles on the burner got too hot. Food particles aren’t the only thing that could cause this to happen.
· Always Check Your Dryer
Depending on what type of dryer you have, they need to be inspected on a yearly basis. We all get in a hurry when we’re doing our chores but, don’t forget to clean out your lint trap every time you put in a new load of laundry. You also want to check behind the machine to make sure lint or little clothing items like socks didn’t manage to get back there.
· Maintain All Cords
Before you plug something in, make sure that the cord hasn’t been frayed or chewed. If you do notice damaged wires, replace them as soon as possible because this is a huge fire hazard. Also, check your cord placement. They tend to get hot so you want to avoid running them under a rug or between your wall and furniture.
· Properly Store Flammable Products
Household cleaners and common cosmetic items like hairspray and shaving cream can be hazardous. If they are exposed to a large heat source, they can combust. You want to keep them away from space heaters, and store them safely in a cool area.
· Be Careful with Your Fireplace
You don’t want any stray sparks to escape so you need to make sure you have a door between the flames and your flooring. It goes without saying, but never leave the room when the fireplace is going. When you throw the ashes away, make sure you’ve given them more than enough time to cool down. Dispose of them in a metal container that is designated just for the ashes.
· Keep Fire Extinguishers Around
Fire extinguishers are your best defense weapon when a fire breaks out. You want to make sure you have one in every room that is a potential threat, such as the kitchen. Every family member should know how to use an extinguisher so if a fire does happen, it can be put out as fast as possible.
If you experience a fire in your home; call SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall to help make your home look "Like it never even happened.” 800-455-9453
3 Important Fire Safety Tips for Pet Owners
As an owner, you take pet safety seriously
Three Important Tips For Pet Owners
As an owner, you take pet safety seriously. You put the lid on the trash can and have the veterinarian on speed dial, but have you thought about your furry friend causing a fire emergency? Here are 3 important tips for pet owners when it comes to fire safety.
Pet-Proof Your Home
Owners know that pets get into trouble. They stick their noses everywhere, climb on tables and knock over all sorts of things. Make it harder for your pet to cause mayhem by doing the following:
- Designate the kitchen a pet-free zone to keep them away from dangerous appliances.
- Keep candles up high and blow out open flames when you leave the room.
- Put pets away when you are not home.
Keeping your pets out of mischief gives you one less thing to worry about.
Have Plans for Pets, too
Every family has a fire emergency plan, and it should include pet preparation. Practice evacuation with your pets and have a backup plan in case you can’t get to them. Let fire rescue know how many pets you have by placing an alert sticker near the main entrance showing the number of animals in your home. You can also put these stickers on windows of the rooms that your pets are in to make it easier for firefighters to find them.
Be Ready for the Aftermath
Pet safety doesn’t stop once flames are extinguished. Know where the nearest emergency veterinary clinic is in case your regular facility cannot be reached. You should also have a place for your pets to stay during fire damage assessment and restoration. Family members or close friends are often willing to help, or you can put them in an animal boarding facility.
A fire emergency is stressful. Even more so when pets are involved. Being proactive and knowing who to ask for help in Forks Township, PA, will prepare you to handle that stress.
Understanding the Benefits of Security Fencing
By using a security fence is to keep out unwanted guests
Three Specific Benefits Of Fencing
When considering the damage after a fire and the expense to mitigate and restore your business, it is difficult to justify any additional costs, including a security fence. While it may be challenging to understand the benefits of installing a fence around your damaged property, it can help to protect vulnerable materials that may still be present in the building. Also, many fire restoration services in Pen Argyl, PA, will point to three specific benefits of fencing.
1. Limits Liability
The primary concern of any business owner after a fire should be protecting their insurance claim. Most insurance companies want you to mitigate further loss after a fire disaster, which is typically done by boarding up and tarping over holes in the vertical and horizontal structures of the building, preventing wildlife, vagrants, and weather from doing further harm.
2. Keeps Out Unwanted Guests
The primary benefit of using a security fence is to keep out unwanted guests. However, do not limit your mind to only thinking of intruders as vagrants or looters; animals can also pose a significant threat to your vulnerable property. By fencing the grounds, you can prevent unwanted intruders of all shapes, sizes, and species.
3. Demonstrates Compliance
Mitigation of further damage is often a requirement of most insurance policies. Therefore, installing a fence may be required to demonstrate or prove compliance. While a fence is not impenetrable, your insurance company will see the effort made to prevent injury and damage, which may only bode well for your claim.
A security fence may not be the first concern among business owners after a fire, but there are several reasons to consider installing one, including compliance with your insurance policy. However, understanding the benefits and specific needs of your business and its insurance policy may be more important. Contact your insurer or a fire restoration service to discuss the need or reasons for security fencing.
5 Tips for Space Heater Fire Safety
Before you purchase a space heater you should look at the safety ratings
5 Tips for Space Heater Fire Safety
If you want to avoid a burned space heater in your Bangor, PA, home, then you may want to consider these five tips that many fire damage restoration professionals recommend. Following these safety guidelines can help you avoid the need for fire and smoke cleanup at your residence.
1. Look at Safety Features Before Purchase
Before you purchase a space heater you should look at the safety ratings. Check out that the cord is sturdy with a GFCI plug, and that a safety shut off feature is available. These safety features can help prevent a fire You may also want to look at the certification for the unit.
2. Keep Children and Pets Away from the Heater
Small children and pets can knock a heater over and cause a problem. There are many safety screens available that you can set up to create a three-foot safety zone around the unit.
3. Keep the Heater Level
Another tip for avoiding a burned space heater includes setting the heater up properly. Choose a level floor space where it can’t be knocked over on a non-flammable surface such as stone, concrete or tile.
4. Keep the Heater Away From Flammable Materials
It’s also important to keep the heater away from any flammable materials. This includes books, rugs, and curtains in addition to clutter such as papers.
5. Never leave an Operating Heater Unattended
It’s important to never leave a unit unattended while it is in operation. This will help ensure that you can turn the heater off if there is a problem. It’s also a good idea to unplug it any time it is not in use.
In order to avoid a potential burned space heater, following these five tips may help. Look at the heater’s safety ratings before you buy, keep children and pets away from the unit, make sure it is set on a level surface, keep the heater away from flammable materials, and never leave a unit unattended while it is on. Remember, if the unit should cause a fire, a restoration service can help.
The Effect of Smoke Damage on Electronics
How does smoke damage electronics?
The process of salvaging electronics after a fire goes beyond checking for burns and water damage. You can’t afford to assume that an appliance is okay just because it survived the blaze. It has to go through an intense fire cleanup process that is dedicated to recovering electronics.
Types Of Smoke Damage in Electronics Include:
- Black film
- Magnetic Charge
- Corrosion from soot
House fires are notorious for producing a tremendous amount of black smoke. These fumes seep into your electronics during the fire and form a thick coat on the circuit boards. As a result, your devices often overheat and end up having a shorter lifespan. Have a restoration professional clean the boards and replace any worn out parts to avoid this issue.
Black smoke also produces a magnetic charge that can cause a short circuit. Since most electronics have tiny components crammed in a small space, the risk of malfunctioning or another fire doubles when using smoke damaged equipment. These types of incidents are few and far between, but there is no point in risking another costly fire cleanup or electric shock.
Soot is also very acidic. That makes it a massive threat to TVs, computers, and appliances. If left to sit in the circuit boards, some of the components degrade slowly to premature death or even worse. Usually, this type of damage happens to electronics that get a DIY soot cleanup and those that receive nothing at all.
As a fire victim in Mt Bethel, PA, it is important to make sure every electronic you intend to save goes through the proper fire cleanup process. That will make sure it goes back to regular operation, and it is safe for your family to use. However, do not attempt to DIY a soot cleanup in big electronics as you can easily mess things up and cause another disaster.
Preparing your HVAC Systems for the Cold Weather Ahead
With cold weather rolling in, so is an increased fire risk. Why, you may ask? Home heating systems or temporary heating systems cause serious fire risks and are one of the highest causes of fires in homes. Here are a few tips for you before the cold weather fully hits and heating becomes a must.
- Make sure that your electric or temporary heater is not plugged into a power strip. It should always be plugged directly into a wall
- Do not leave an electric heater unattended
- Inspect HVAC systems to make sure that there is no faulty wiring
- Change the filters in your system
- Be sure to consult your instruction manuals before making any changes to the location or set up of any heating system or portable heaters
To add another level of safety be sure to have smoke alarms installed in your home and test them regularly. Having a home fire extinguisher is also recommended item to keep you and your family safe. Please see the link below for more tips on how to make sure you are ready for this winter.
Information sourced from: https://www.esfi.org/resource/space-heater-safety-tips-146
Heating Systems and the Fire Risks Associated
With cold weather rolling in, so is an increased fire risk. Why, you may ask? Home heating systems or temporary heating systems cause serious fire risks and are one of the higher causes of fires in homes. Here are a few tips for you before the cold weather fully hits and heating becomes a must.
- Make sure that your electric or temporary heater is not plugged into a power strip. It should always be plugged directly into a wall
- Do not leave a electric heater unattended
- Inspect HVAC systems to make sure that there is no faulty wiring
- Change the filters in your system
To add another level of safety be sure to have smoke alarms installed in your home and test them regularly. Having a home fire extinguisher is another must have item to keep you and your family safe. Please see the link below for more tips on how to make sure you are ready for this winter.
Information sourced from: https://www.esfi.org/resource/space-heater-safety-tips-146
How to Prevent a Chimney Fire
Prevent chimney fires from happening in your home
Imagine you’re curled up in your favorite blanket, surrounded by your loved ones during the cold winter months. But, what happens if you have a chimney fire; have we thought about how to prevent a chimney fire in our homes?
Here are 7 ways to prevent a chimney fire:
- Have Your Chimney and Fireplace Cleaned and Inspected Annually- A damaged chimney can spread fire to the surrounding areas in your home. A dirty chimney with a lot of creosote and soot buildup is dangerous because these materials burn at very high temperatures, spreading the fire. It is therefore important to have your chimney and fireplace checked annually. For best results, use the services of a certified chimney sweep. Annual cleaning of the chimney will ensure better passage for the smoke and exhaust gases, in addition to regular removal of dangerous creosote.
- Build Small Fires- A small fire that burns well does not produce as much creosote as a large fire that is burning slowly. This is because a fire that burns brightly produces lesser smoke and soot, thereby reducing the buildup on the inside of the chimney. Small fires are also safer and easier to control.
- Use Seasoned Wood- Dry, seasoned wood is the best choice for starting a fire. This is because wet wood burns slowly, creating more smoke, which condenses on the inside of the chimney. This results in an increase in the creosote deposits in your chimney. To build any fire, always use wood that has been seasoned for 6 months or longer.
- Never Use Paper or Combustible Liquids in the Fireplace- Never use combustible materials or liquids to start a fire. The flames can get out of hand very quickly, resulting in disaster. Never burn paper, garbage, plants, Christmas trees or wrapping paper in a fireplace. These materials can float up the chimney when aflame and ignite the creosote deposits on top, resulting in a chimney fire.
- Use a Chimney Liner- A chimney liner is an essential part of a fire prevention plan. Chimney liners provide better air flow, better exhaust passage for combustion gases and also protect the chimney structure from excessive heating and exhaust fumes. As a result, your chimney is easier to keep clean. The chimney structure is protected from damage, thereby reducing the chances of a chimney fire.
- Install a Chimney Cap- A chimney cap prevents unwanted elements in your chimney. Animals or birds setting up residence in the chimney could ignite a chimney fire. Also, leaves or twigs that could fall inside are highly flammable and can result in a chimney fire.
- Ensure Good Air Supply- Restriction in the air supply to the fireplace aids in the formation of creosote. To improve air flow, ensure that the fireplace damper is fully open. Leave the glass doors open to ensure that the air supply is not cut off while the fire is burning.
In case you do have a chimney fire, here are 6 steps to put it out:
- Step 1 - Safety First- As soon as you are aware that the chimney is on fire, evacuate all family members and pets from the building, and call the fire department. Even if you do end up extinguishing the fire by yourself, it is always a good idea to have firefighters on their way in the event that things go wrong. Before attempting to put out the chimney fire, evaluate the situation to ensure it is safe for you to tackle it yourself. Make sure you put on heat-proof gloves as well.
- Step 2 - Close Openings- Close any primary or secondary openings into the fireplace or chimney. This helps to deprive the fire of the oxygen it needs to keep burning. This may eliminate smaller fires altogether or just lessen the flames in something larger. You will also lessen the chances of any embers taking light after you've put the fire out.
- Step 3 - Put Out the Fire in the Grate- Tip a generous amount of sand or baking soda onto the fire. This also helps to starve the flames of oxygen. Keeping a bucket of sand by your fireplace at all times is generally a good, practical idea that might just save your home!
- Step 4 - Try a Fire Suppressant- A few products are available on the market to help get rid of dangerous fires. Chimfex is similar to a road flare. Once lit, it is tossed into the fire where it consumes all the available oxygen in the flow path. These are fairly inexpensive and have a decent shelf-life. FireEx is another such product that tends to be a bit more expensive, but airtight plastic packaging ensures that it has an indefinite shelf-life. It is a good idea to have a few of these products handy at all times if you use your fireplace frequently.
- Step 5 - Use a Fire Extinguisher- To be on the safe side, you can use a fire extinguisher on the flames as well. This should left to the last as extinguishers can create a big mess. Direct the nozzle towards the grate and spray in short bursts to make sure that any glowing embers or flames that didn't get extinguished by the sand are completely out. Don't stand too close when using the fire extinguisher as the pressure from the nozzle can throw glowing embers into the air.
- Step 6 - Hose the Chimney Stack- When you are satisfied that the fire in the grate is no longer alight, go outside and hose-down the chimney. Do this from a standing position. If you have a power attachment on your hose, use it as you will find it much easier to direct the water towards where you need it. Use only a fine mist; the heat from the fire will turn it into steam that will help dampen what's left of the fire. Only perform this maneuver if you're confident that you know the right amount of water to use, as too much can end up damaging the flue liner.
Have a safe and cozy winter from SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall!
The Causes of House Fires
Fire Damage in Bethlehem, PA
House fires happen way more than we think. An estimated 358,500 homefires occurevery year. 50% of thesefiresstart in the kitchen, 7% begin in the bedroom, and 6% are chimneyfires, 4% of all residential homefiresstart in the living room, while 3% start from the laundry room.
Here are some common causes of house fires:
- Cooking equipment- Pots and pans can overheat and cause a fire very easily if the person cooking gets distracted and leaves cooking unattended. Always stay in the room, or ask someone to watch your food, when cooking on hotplates.
- Heating- Keep portable heaters at least one meter away from anything that could easily catch fire such as furniture, curtains, laundry, clothes and even you. If you have a furnace, get it inspected once a year to make sure it is working to safety standards.
- Smoking in rooms- A cigarette that is not put out properly can cause a flame, as the butt may stay alit for a few hours. It could burst into flames if it came into contact with flammable materials, such as furniture. Did you know that fires started in the bedroom or lounge make up 73% of all house fire fatalities?
- Electrical equipment- An electrical appliance, such as a toaster can start a fire if it is faulty or has a frayed cord. A power point that is overloaded with double adapter plugs can cause a fire from an overuse of electricity. A power point extension cord can also be a fire hazard if not used appropriately. Double check the appliances and power points in your home.
- Candles- Candles look and smell pretty, but if left unattended they can cause a room to easily burst into flames. Keep candles away from any obviously flammable items such as books and tissue boxes. Always blow a candle out before leaving a room. Did you know that in Perth last year 34 house fires started as a result of candles?
- Lighting- Lamp shades and light fittings can build up heat if they are very close to light globes. Check around the house to make sure. Lamp bases can become a hazard if they are able to be knocked over easily, and so should be removed if they are. Check that down lights are insulated from wood paneling or ceiling timbers.
If you experience a fire in your home; call SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall to help make your home look "Like it never even happened.”
Fire Damage Restoration
Fire Damaged Staircase and Entryway in Easton, PA
Fire Damage Restoration
Fire and the resulting smoke and water damage to your home or business property is both devastating and overwhelming. You can count on our restoration professionals to inspect and evaluate your circumstances and guide you through every step of the process.
SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall has the experience, expertise, equipment and the manpower to effectively respond and repair your resulting damage. No matter what time or the size of the work to be done, we offer 24-hour emergency and full restoration services, and have over 28 years of experience dealing with fire damage restoration in the Lehigh Valley.
Every fire is different but can potentially be equally as damaging. We pride ourselves on our knowledge, hardwork, and customer first attitudes. We will assess the damage and offer recommendations for the next steps to getting your home or property secured and back “Like it never even happened.”
Our customers’ properties are in the hands of well-trained restoration professionals who will use equipment and techniques to contain and remove smoke odor, remove soot residue, and efficiently remove the water from the fire extinguishing efforts. SERVPRO also offers pack-out services, contents cleaning, and secure storage.
We Provide Results:
SERVPRO’s Purpose Statement is to “Build happy customers, one job at a time.” This means that we believe that our customers’ satisfaction is above all. We will communicate each step of our process, as well as answer any questions you might have. Our goal is to return your property to a preloss condition.
*If you ever find yourself in need of Fire Damage Restoration services,
call us at SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall 800-455-9453*
Evacuation Planning in the Event of a Fire
Emergency Evacuation Planning and Its Importance
Home Fire Evacuation Plan: What to do before, during and after a fire
Can you imagine experiencing a house fire and NOT having an evacuation plan? An evacuation means you have to move quickly and effectively, while making sure that nothing is forgotten. SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall recommends having a plan in place so you are prepared to go at a moment’s notice.
Here are some tips to do before, during, and after a fire.
Before A Fire Evacuation
Preparation is the most important part of a good evacuation plan. There are several things you do before a fire to make sure you are prepared.
Disaster Relief Kit
A disaster relief kit, sometimes called a go bag, contains any essentials that you might need if you have to evacuate in a hurry. Make sure to have extra cash in there, along with extra clothing items, like sweatshirts and footwear. You should also pack emergency health information, but make sure that it is placed in a waterproof bag to keep it safe. Extras of medication should be in there, along with an extra phone charger.
There are also certain things that everyone in your household should know if there is a fire. For instance, you should pick out a place for everyone to meet up at if you have to leave in a hurry. This can be in front of a neighbor’s house, for example. Make sure that everyone’s phone numbers are saved in all family members phones so that you can easily communicate if you get separated.
During An Evacuation
You will have to think fast while you are evacuating. It is best to already know what you want to do, so you can make the best decisions and keep everyone safe.
Do your best to keep in touch with everyone from your home at all times. Depending on the cause of your evacuation, there may be power lines down and your phones may not work. Or, you may have family members that cannot get to where you are. Always listen to the instructions from officials, such as the firefighters and police. They have more information and will know what the safest course of action is.
Do not forget about your pets. Part of your preparation can be to have them well-trained enough to come when you call. Be sure that your pets are in a place where you can easily retrieve them.
Health and Safety
Once you are out of the building, check everyone for injuries and other issues. Emergency responders will be able to give everyone a check over as well. When it comes to being exposed to smoke, there may be unseen issues affecting you, so it is never a bad idea to head to the hospital to get checked out.
After An Evacuation
Once the fire is extinguished, you may be tempted to head back into your home to survey the damage. Do not do so until an authority has stated that it is safe, as damage to the structure may have occurred. In some cases, a home may need to be closed off until it is repaired for family members to enter safely.
The best plan of action at this point is hiring a fire damage restoration professional, such as SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall, to help you restore and rebuild your property.
Experiencing a fire in your home can be overwhelming. But, by being proactive and creating a fire evacuation plan, you are taking the first step towards preparing your family for the unexpected.
*If you ever find yourself in need of Fire Damage Restoration services,
call us at SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall 800-455-9453*
Labor Day 2019 is just around the corner
Our last long weekend to enjoy what is left of our 2019 summer is almost here. Residents of the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania are planning trips to the beach, the cabin, amusement parks, or maybe visiting family or friends for a cookout.
Before you rush out the door to start your trip, be sure to check that your home is safe from any fire hazards:
- Kitchen range and oven have been turned off
- Items are stored away from your Gas appliances
- Dryer is not in use
- Ceiling Fans are off
- Small Kitchen appliances are unplugged (toasters, coffee maker, can openers)
- Candles have been extinguished
- Items are stored away from your Gas appliances
- Unplug curling iron, hair dryer, iron, chargers, televisions, computers, and printers – all unnecessary electrical devices
Taking a few extra minutes to protect your home from a fire by taking these precautions can actually make your trip less stressful.
6 Fire Damage Restoration Tips in the Lehigh Valley - Pennsylvania
We’re not going to kid you. Fire damage restoration is tough work. People call SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall frequently to ask for advice on how to clean up after a fire. Here are six of the best tips we give people who ask about fire damage restoration.
Most people can put these tips into practice. But remember that fire damage restoration takes time, work, and skill. Realistically consider whether you want to try these ideas on your own or whether you’d be better off hiring highly trained restoration specialists who will guarantee their work.
- Remove Smoke Damage
With any fire you’ll have a degree of smoke damage to your walls, wall paper, and paint. If the smoke damage is not too serious, you should be able to scrub it clean with detergents and bleach. Soot from smoke damage is greasy stuff, so always try to dust as much of it off from a surface before trying to scrub the surface clean. Often, you’ll want to repaint, but make sure all surfaces are clean and dry before you paint.
- Limit Activity & Other Simple Fire Damage Restoration Steps
Until your house is restored, limit your activity and movement in the house. This helps prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets. Keep people’s hands clean so you don’t further soil upholstery, walls, and woodwork. Protect your things by placing clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery, and carpet traffic areas. Before you clean know the best cleaning method for that particular cleaning job (one example: Clean and protect chrome with a light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.) Wash both sides of the leaves on your houseplants. Change your HVAC filter and tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.
- Get Rid of Mold & Mildew
Firefighters are great. They save many a live and many a home. But they do introduce mold and mildew into houses when they must use water to extinguish the fire. SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall highly recommends you hire fire damage restoration professionals to deal with mold and mildew. Mold and mildew can cause serious health problems. It’s difficult for a nonprofessional to know for certain if he’s cleaned up all the areas affected by the mold and mildew. And mold and mildew can contaminate your furniture, carpets, clothing, mattresses, walls, and vents. The best thing you can do immediately is to air out every room and clean out all vents and filters.
- Replace Carpets. Clean And Dry Your Floors
Your floors and carpets end up absorbing the worst of the damage from all the water used to put out a fire. In almost every case, SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall recommends that you pull up any carpets that have water damage and replace them. Water can also seep underneath vinyl flooring and into the cracks in hardwood. You must address this. If you have experience with flooring, you can lift it up and clean under it. But you may want to call a professional fire damage restoration company to assist you.
- Avoid Smearing Soot Into Clothing
Cleaning smoke damage from clothing is one of the biggest jobs you’ll have after a fire. Make sure you don’t smear the greasy soot into the clothing or just throw the smoky clothes into the wash. Often times dry cleaning is the best bet, and you should ask around local dry cleaners to see if any have experience with post-fire laundry.
- Scrub, Soak, And Cleaning Dishes
Dishes are also important items to clean thoroughly after a fire because they will be in contact with your food. Scrub all dishes well, let them soak in a solution of bleach and water (2 tablespoons of bleach per gallon) for at least 20 minutes and scrub some more for safety. When in doubt, if a dish, pot, or pan won’t come clean, cut your losses and throw it out – especially rubber or wooden dishes that absorb smoke.
Help Is Here
The team at SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall also has specialized training and experience in fire restoration services, natural disaster prevention, water damage, chemical cleanup, and natural disaster cleanup. Call SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall (800-455-9453) anytime.
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How to Test Your Smoke Detectors and Fire Alarms
Smoke detectors and fire alarms may be some of the most important items in your home when it comes to your family’s safety. These early warning devices may help alert your family to fire and dangerous smoke while there is still time to evacuate, but they need to be periodically tested to help ensure proper function.
Why Do It?
Electronic devices are not infallible. Batteries die, and other parts of the smoke detector can wear out over time. Testing them regularly and replacing batteries (or the entire device) is one way to help ensure your family stays safe should there be a fire in your home.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), smoke detectors should be tested at least once a month and batteries should be replaced at least once or twice a year. A good way to remember to do this is to change your batteries when you change your clocks for daylight saving time — when you spring forward or fall back. Make sure to review your smoke detector’s user manual — you may need to check more often if any of the following apply:
- The detector often gives false alarms.
- The alarm emits short beeps regularly without anyone touching it.
- Frequent kitchen smoke has caused it to activate often, which may wear it out faster.
There are two main types of smoke detectors, according to the USFA:
Battery-powered: This type can be susceptible to defective or worn-out batteries. Monthly testing is critical. Never put old batteries into your smoke detectors and fire alarms.
Hardwired: These detectors are powered by your home’s electrical system, but they usually have backup batteries so the device can remain operational in a power outage. Hardwired smoke detectors still require monthly testing to help ensure that both batteries and parts are functioning properly.
How Do You Test It?
You should always check the manufacturer’s instructions for the proper method of testing your smoke detector and fire alarm. But, in general, the USFA states most battery-powered and hardwired smoke detectors can be tested in the following way:
Step 1. Alert family members that you will be testing the alarm. Smoke detectors have a high-pitched alarm that may frighten small children, so you’ll want to let everyone know you plan to test the alarms to help avoid scaring anyone.
Step 2. Station a family member at the furthest point away from the alarm in your home. This can be critical to help make sure the alarm can be heard everywhere in your home. You may want to install extra detectors in areas where the alarm’s sound is low, muffled or weak.
Step 3. Press and hold the test button on the smoke detector. It can take a few seconds to begin, but a loud, ear-piercing siren should emanate from the smoke detector while the button is pressed. If the sound is weak or nonexistent, replace your batteries. If it has been more than six months since you last replaced the batteries (whether your detector is battery-powered or hardwired), change them now regardless of the test result, and test the new batteries one final time to help ensure proper functioning. You should also look at your smoke detector to make sure there’s no dust or other substance blocking its grates, which may prevent it from working even if the batteries are new.
Remember, smoke detectors have a normal life span of 10 years, according to the USFA. Even if you’ve performed regular maintenance, and your device is still functional, you should replace a smoke detector after the 10-year period or earlier, depending on the manufacturer’s instructions.
Installing smoke detectors can be a great way to help keep your family safe, but assuming they are working may lead to a dangerous situation. Taking a few minutes to check them regularly can help ensure they’re working properly.
This article highlights examples of precautions you can consider to help maintain your personal property. Please recognize that a particular precaution may not be appropriate or effective in every circumstance and that taking preventive measures cannot guarantee any outcome. We encourage you to use your own good judgment about what’s appropriate and always consider safety.
3 Things to Throw Away After a Fire
Recovering from a home fire is a long, frustrating process, sometimes compounded by the loss of cherished belongings. When you face the destruction of the furnishings and content of your Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall, home, it can be hard to say good-bye to belongings that don't seem to have been affected. However, there are some items that you need to throw away, even if they don't look like they've damaged by fire or smoke.
Obviously, you'll toss out any cereals and breads that were on the counter. Of course, you'll throw away anything in open containers and foods there were stored in cardboard or thin plastic bags. It may surprise you to learn, however, that even your canned foods should be tossed out. This is because the high heat of the fire will activate the growth of bacteria, even when food is sealed in glass jars and cans from the store.
The contents of your fridge may be safe, even if the power has gone out, but remember that it's safer to throw out questionable foods than to suffer through physical sickness. Anything that smells smoky or odd, has visible soot, or doesn't feel cold should be disposed of.
The last thing you need after a fire is to be left without your necessary medications. However, these items can be affected by fire damage. If there's warping, charring, or signs of soot, throw it out. It's better to contact your doctor for refills than to become sick or suffer other side effects.
You may think that heat could affect cosmetics to the point that they are harmful to your health. However, the same temperatures that affect your food and medications could affect the chemicals in cosmetics to the point that they are no longer usable.
Ultimately, it's best to throw away any belongings that have suffered fire damage. This is particularly true for food, medicine, and cosmetics. Don't put yourself at risk. Ask professionals from the fire department or a fire restoration company if you aren't sure if something is safe to keep.
SERVPRO Can Treat Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall Commercial Fire Damages
SERVPRO Can Treat Easton Commercial Fire Damage
If you are experiencing Lehigh Valley Fire Damage, it is crucial to work with professionals who can help you restore your property. However, fire damage can take many different forms. Watch out for the following types of Lehigh Valley commercial fire damages and call the experts as soon as possible to prevent the damage from getting worse.
One of the first and least dangerous types of fire damage is known as Class A fire damage. This kind of damage can occur on any property, and it is often the result of a solid catching fire and spreading throughout. The fire damage from Class A fires has quantifiable sources, and the solids may include rubber, plastic, paper or cloth. This damage may spread from a single source, and it is often easy for individuals to contain if they are quick and isolate the burning source with a fire extinguisher.
Class B fire damage is another variety, and it is one of the most dangerous types that could occur. Class B fire damage typically results from flammable liquids or from solids that have become liquefied. These are commonly caused by melted plastics and waxes as well as various types of oils, including petrol and grease. While they are often caused by materials similar to cooking oil, cooking oil fires do not often count as Class B fires. These fires often spread quickly and cause tremendous damage because of water displacement issues.
Class C fire damage involves flammable gasses and similar substances. These can include fires caused by gas leaks such as hydrogen or propane, or they may be due to deposits of natural gas. They can spread quickly through the property and result in a great deal of sudden surface damage. More often than not, this type of damage is explosive and can cause tremendous destruction in the property's structure. It is one of the most common examples of Lehigh Valley commercial fire damages, and it may result in a long-term loss if not handled quickly.
Finally, Class D fire damage is a common variety of fire damage that occurs in industrial locations. It is typically caused by combustible metals. Some of the most common metals involved include sodium and potassium, and this type of fire is large and encompassing of the work area. This damage can result in a variety of harmful ambient effects, so if you experience this sort of damage, it is crucial to have it taken care of as soon as possible. If left unattended, unwanted chemicals may become airborne and result in a variety of problems around the work area.
If you are interested in working with a locally owned business you can count on, be sure to call SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall. We can help you manage any and all Lehigh Valley commercial fire damages as necessary. No job is too big or too complicated for us, and we have the resources and experience necessary to help you and your family. Call us today at (800) 455-9453 to learn more about what we can do for you.
Fire Damage - Restore vs Replace
The first 48 hours after fire damage occurs can make the difference between restoring versus replacing your property and personal belongings. SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall can help prevent fire damage from creating long-term problems. Our trained professionals provide timely response with mitigation services ranging from fire, smoke and soot removal to contents claims inventory and document restoration. These services help ensure your property, belongings and memories are restored to preloss condition when possible.
A back draft of emotions often sweeps over the homeowners after a fire ravages a home. Fear, uncertainty, stress and doubt about the future of the property can overwhelm the homeowner long after the flames have been extinguished and the smoke has cleared.
After the first wave of heroes have rescued the property, let SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall help you restore it.
So, before you risk doing further damage by attempting to clean up the damage yourself, call us today (800) 455-9453.
Fire Safety for Pets
Home fires are the most common disaster that the American Red Cross responds to, according to their website – and also, they are the most preventable. According to the United States Fire Administration, an estimated 500,000 pets are affected annually by fires.
It’s important to keep in mind that if you need a plan for your family in case of disaster, you should also have a plan for your pets.
Did you know?
- The National Fire Protection Association estimates that nearly 1,000 home fires each year are accidentally started by the homeowners’ pets.
The best way to protect your pets is to include them in your family escape plan, in case of disaster. Train your pets to go to you when you call their name that way in the event of a fire evacuation, you can leave with them easily and safely.
The American Kennel Club and ADT Security Services have provided the following tips:
- Be sure your pet is not left unattended by open flames, such as cooking appliances, candles, or fire place. Be sure to extinguish any flame before leaving your home.
- Remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before leaving the house. A stove is the number one appliance involved in your pet starting a fire.
- Invest in flameless candles – these candles contain a light bulb rather than an open flame, and take the danger out of your pet knocking over a candle (something cats are notorious for).
- Secure your pets while you’re away – keep them confined in secure areas that don’t present a potential fire hazard.
Some other tips? Keep pets near entrances when you’re away from your home and keep their collars on. Have leashes nearby and ready in case firefighters need to rescue your pet. You can also affix a pet alert window cling and write down the number of pets inside your house and attach the cling to a front window. This information saves rescuers time when locating your pets.
Pets become a part of our families, and we need to remember that we need to have plans in place for them too when it comes to safely evacuating a home in case of a fire. And remember, if you are victim of a house fire, SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall can help #LikeItNeverEvenHappened.
We Answer the Phone Ready to Help
Call Today – 800-455-9453
Smoke and Soot in your Lehigh Valley Home
Smoke and soot are 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 Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall 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 – 800-455-9453
Smoke and Fire Damage from a Kitchen Fire Create Horrible Odors
Kitchen fires can happen very quickly and spread. After the firefighters leave, contact SERVPRO for remediation services.
Team SERVPRO Arrives on the Scene Quickly After a Fire in Your Kitchen
Many residents in the Lehigh Valley add meat to the family meal to ensure adequate intake of protein by everyone present. This same protein can cause severe problems if the person cooking it forgets it and allows it to burn. Catching fire and spewing flames out of your cookware does not need to happen for smoke production to overwhelm your kitchen, but when it does happen, it only increases the amount of overall damage sustained.
Rainy days during the Spring months can keep grilling endeavors indoors where the risk of fire becomes more likely due to interruptions, as well. Outdoor activities can easily cause anyone to lose track of time and forget about the steaks left on the kitchen stove. It takes only a few minutes of extra heat from the stove to go from 'perfectly done' to zero visibility conditions developing inside your kitchen area.
Once we arrive, we set up powerful air movers. These machines move a large volume of air in a very short period. Our air scrubbers go one step further in reducing the amount of smokiness in your home. These machines filter out the particles that may have already passed into other parts of your residence and keep them from becoming constant reminders of a burnt meal.
All meat contains significant amounts of protein that begin producing an extremely acrid, bitter odor after reaching a specific temperature. The oil that often accompanies such food while cooking only adds to the problem. SERVPRO technicians can also perform thermal fogging in cases where the odor persists. The heated fog that carries neutralizing agents permeate the same areas the smoke entered, resulting in significant improvements to the indoor air quality.
Manual cleaning of all surfaces inside your kitchen protects them from soot's abrasive nature. We use special cleansers that cut through the greasiness and unique tools that then lift the mess off the area. After we clean everything and eliminate the smoke odor, without any trace of fire damage, everything in your home goes back to looking "Like it never even happened."
SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall can help your family after a bout of smoke and fire damage from a kitchen flare up. Contact us at 800-455-9453 so we can assist you in getting your home back to normal again. We perform our services in the Greater Lehigh Valley.
With the Memorial Day holiday past us we are at the beginning of grilling season. The weather is getting nicer and SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall would like to provide you with some helpful tips to keep you and your family safe.
- Grilling Safety Tips
- Always grill outdoors
- Grills cannot be used on the balcony with an overhang.
- The grill should be at least 10 feet away from the house or building.
- Keep children and pets three feet away from the grill while in use.
- Gas Grill Safety
- Make sure the lid is open when you light it, the propane can build up inside and when ignited, and the lid may blow off.
- If you smell gas, turn the grill off immediately and do not move the grill.
- Always make sure you turn the burners off and close the propane cylinder when you’re done using it.
- Don’t ever leave a burning grill unattended.
- Charcoal Grill Safety
- Only use charcoal starter fluid. Never use gas or kerosene to start a fire.
- Charcoal can give off carbon monoxide which can be deadly so always use your grill outdoors.
- Always allow the coals to cool for 48 hours before proper disposal. If you can’t wait until they cool then soak them in water before putting them in a metal container.
Looks like a dirty cobweb or spiderweb, right? Well, if you have seen something that looks similar in your home or business it doesn’t mean you need to step up your spring cleaning. Unfortunately, it means you have suffered from a fire or puff back. Burning materials causes a chemical reaction that causes carbon molecules to chain to themselves. Once this process occurs long enough the chains then become visible. The most common place to find them is in corners or around doorways. Since spider webs and cobwebs like to locate themselves in the same places the natural thought is that after a fire a cobweb or spider web absorbed the black discoloration from smoke damage. However, these are brand new structures that need to be cleaned to prevent further soot damage.
Call SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall at 800-455-9453.
Fast Facts about Fire
This week is Fire Prevention Week!! We want to share some fast facts about fire with you so you can be ready for whatever happens.
- Half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. Only one in five home fires were reported during these hours.
- One-quarter of home fire deaths were caused by fires that started in the bedroom. Another quarter resulted from fires in the living room, family room or den.
- Three out of five home fire deaths happen from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
- In 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 365,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 2,560 deaths, 11,075 civilian injuries, and $7 billion in direct damage.
- On average, seven people die in U.S. home fires per day.
- Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fire injuries, followed by heating equipment.
- Smoking materials are the leading cause of home fire deaths.
- Most fatal fires kill one or two people..
- During 2010--2014, roughly, one of every 338 households reported a home fire per year.
- According to an NFPA survey, only one-third of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.
- Almost three-quarters of Americans do have an escape plan; however, less than half ever practiced it.
- One-third of survey respondents who made an estimate thought they would have at least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life threatening. The time available is often less. Only 8% said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out!
- Three out of five home fire deaths in 2010-2014 were caused by fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
- Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.
- In fires considered large enough to activate the smoke alarm, hardwired alarms operated 94% of the time, while battery powered alarms operated 80% of the time.
- When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.
- An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, or where extra time is needed to awaken or assist others, both types of alarms, or combination ionization and photoelectric alarms are recommended.
When disaster strikes, call
SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem & Whitehall! 800-455-9453
We'll make it LIKE IT NEVER EVEN HAPPENED.
Source of article:
What To Do After a Home Fire
Recovering from a fire is not easy by any means. It is an emotionally draining process that turns your life upside down. The hardest part comes at the beginning, when you feel helpless and are completely unsure as to how to proceed. With that in mind, our goal, at SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem and Whitehall, is to present to you the fundamental steps you need to take immediately after the fire is extinguished.
Deal With Insurance
You should already be on the phone with your insurance agent before the firefighters even get done putting out the fire. Mind you, this is just the beginning. After a few days, you’ll need to get a copy of the official “fire report” from your local fire department. The insurance agency will likely send an adjustor out to survey the damage and help you get in touch with a restoration agency, such as the professionals at SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem and Whitehall.
If you are renting, then you’ll obviously need to contact the owner of the home. If you own the house but don’t have insurance, on the other hand, then you’ll want to speak with the Internal Revenue Service. You might be eligible for something known as casualty loss.
Settle in Somewhere
Most likely, your home is currently in an unlivable state, meaning you’re going to have to find somewhere else to stay. Your best bet is to stay with friends or family. However, if that’s not an option, check with your insurance company to see if your policy covers temporary living expenses. Otherwise, contact the American Red Cross.
Before you leave, try to rummage through your home for some essential items like the following: Identification Cards, Medications, Eye Glasses / Hearing Aids, Wallets, Credit Cards / Checkbooks, Money. **Only do this AFTER you get permission from the firefighters to reenter your home.**
Turn Off Utilities
Make certain you get all of your primary utilities turned off. Why waste money for services when you are not even living in your home? Plus, restoration cannot be performed on your home if there’s still electricity and such running through it. The risks of electrocution would be far too high.
Contact a Restoration Company
This is perhaps the most important step. You’ll need to contact a professional, full-service restoration company, such as SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem and Whitehall. Our company is trained specifically to deal with post-tragedy damage. Below is a list of some of the things you can expect us to do:
- The company will start by removing all the water from your home. During a fire, a lot of water from the firefighters hoses usually collects all over the place. Plus, fires sometimes cause pipes to burst, thus leading to even more severe flooding. The point is that restoration cannot begin until the water is first removed.
- The company will then start with water restoration. Carpets, walls, ducts must be dried. Mold must be removed. Just this step itself can take a few days.
- Next is the actual fire restoration. First and foremost, the company will inspect the structural foundation of your home and fix any major problems. Obviously, if a ceiling is about to crash, then it must be attended to before any other restoration efforts can be completed.
- Once the structural foundation is secure, the specialists will start cleaning up soot/smoke damage, deodorizing everything (carpets, walls, furniture, etc.) and basically returning the home back to normal. If anything is so damaged that it cannot be repaired, it’ll be removed and thrown away. It’s your responsibility to let your insurance company know what items you lost.
- Last, but not least, the company will clean up the remaining mess (dust, debris, etc.) and rearrange everything back into place.
Move Back In
Finally, you get to move back into your home and resume life. Unfortunately, it can take quite a bit of time before you even get to this final step. We’re talking about several weeks. The truth is that restoring a home from a fire takes a lot of time, a lot of resources and a lot of money.
Just remember to keep in close contact with your insurance company through the whole process. If all goes well, you’ll get your home back in one piece, and you’ll get your lost possessions replaced.
When you have fire, water and mold restoration service needs, give the experienced professionals at SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem and Whitehall a call.
May is Electrical Safety Month
Home Electrical Safety
Many electrocutions and home fires can be prevented simply by understanding basic electrical safety principles and adhering to safe practices. ESFI has developed a number of resources to help educate homeowners, consumers, older adults, and children.
Whether you are a homeowner or a renter, electrical safety should be a top priority in your home. Awareness of electrical hazards is the key to reducing the staggering number of electrically-related home fires, injuries and deaths that occur every year.
The following information and resources from ESFI will help you gain a better understanding of how to use electricity and electrical products safely:
Prevent Electrical Overloads - Overloaded electrical circuits are a major cause of residential fires. Help lower your risk of electrical fires by not overloading your electrical system.
Extension Cord Safety - Roughly 3,300 home fires originate in extension cords each year, killing 50 people and injuring 270 more. Extension cords can overhead and cause fires when used improperly, so keep these important tips in mind to protect your home and workplace.
Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors - Working smoke alarms can mean the difference between life and death in the event of a home fire, but there is more you need to do to ensure your family is prepared to safely escape from a fire emergency.
Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Electrical Safety - Review ESFI recommendations and safety tips before you decide to tackle electrical projects in your home.
Virtual Home - Take a tour of ESFI's interactive virtual home for a visual introduction to your home electrical system and safety tips for using common electrical devices.
Electrical Safety Videos - ESFI's video library contains a wide variety of safety videos that demonstrate critical home electrical safety concepts and tips. Many videos are also available in Spanish.
Home Safety Checklists - Use these easy checklists to help you identify and correct electrical and fire hazards in your home before a serious incident occurs.
· Call our office: 800-455-9453
· Visit us: 860 N Kiowa Street, Allentown, PA 18109
· Visit our website: www.SERVPROEBW.com
Do's and Don'ts for Fire and Smoke Damage
Lehigh Valley: Do’s and Don’ts for Fire and Smoke Damage
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
- Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further cross contaminate an otherwise unaffected area.
- Call SERVPRO of Easton, Bethlehem and Whitehall.
- Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting our office
- Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture.
- Attempt to clean any electrical appliances, TV sets, computers etc. that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.
- Use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water.
- Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. Wiring may be damaged or wet.
- Send garments to ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.
· Call our office: 610-559-9380
· Visit us: 860 N Kiowa Street, Allentown, PA 18109
· Visit our website: www.SERVPROEBW.com