Recent Fire Damage Posts

What Do Fire Restoration Companies In Everett Do?

8/7/2020 (Permalink)

A kitchen with major fire damage. No matter how the fire started in your Everett home, SERVPRO will be there to assist the entire way.

Fire Restoration Takes More than Just Cleaning and Repairing Damaged Materials, and SERVPRO is Well Equipped to Renovate Your House

Presumably, you have heard that you need to call a fire restoration company after a fire affects your Everett  property. In case you are unsure whether the damage caused by an incident at your property is too immense or too small to involve such a professional, you should probably familiarize yourself with what Everett restoration companies do.

What classifies the kind of damage left by a fire?

One thing that fire restoration companies in Everett do is identifying the correct class of fire damage and thus taking the right steps to address problems associated with such loss. The classification is based on:

  • What sparks the fire
  • Which materials are involved
  • What happens to the materials once combustion starts 

For instance, a fire involving flammable solids such as cloths, plastics, rubber, or wood is classified differently from one involving flammable gases such as hydrogen or propane. Fires involving gases also differ depending on whether the gas is considered flammable or combustible. In general, six distinct categories of fire can affect properties.

Even knowing there are different classifications of fires may not be enough since you might not be sure how that changes the circumstances of the restoration. A professional restoration team like SERVPRO understands the implications each class presents. For instance, when fire crews want to stop a fire involving flammable solids or liquids, they might use special fire retardant chemicals instead of water to quell the flames. Residues from these chemicals remain at the loss site and might pose challenges during cleaning. In such cases, our technicians choose the appropriate cleaning agents to break down the residues.

Do restorers follow specific plans when fixing fire damage?

Although chaos defines the aftermath of a fire incident, a structured approach is necessary when performing the restoration. The experience our SERVPRO technicians have gained over the years allows us to formulate a procedural management process with clearly defined stages like:

  • Initiation of the restoration
  • Planning the restoration
  • Execution
  • Closeout

During the initiation phase, we complete some crucial steps, including consulting with the people involved and performing a site walk-through. The aim is to collect pertinent information that can help ensure the process runs smoothly. For instance, we can tell which section of the property to use as a staging area for the equipment and cleaning products. We also get a clearer picture of whether the restoration would mostly involve cleanup or teardown, and replacement is materials.

During the planning phase, our crews can determine the scope work involved and also make estimates of the time the project is likely to take. We share the information with the property owner and other concerned parties, such as insurance adjusters, for approval. We can then proceed with the execution removing all traces of fire damage, "Like it never even happened."

How different is the execution when done by a professional?

You may consider restoration of fire damage as simply cleanup of soiled areas and replacement of irreparable materials. However, professional repair takes a broader approach that incorporates the prevention of unnecessary secondary damages. Such damages can develop from the moisture that accumulates from the firefighting processes or even cleaning. Residues such as soot can also cause secondary damage by corroding or staining surfaces.

Our SERVPRO technicians pre-clean and apply light oil on vulnerable surfaces to prevent the corrosive residues from causing permanent damage. We also set up dehumidifiers to manage moisture levels within the property as we perform other restoration steps.

Restoration done by a professional team is also likely to be thorough. For instance, our crews use highly efficient equipment such as rotating brushes or even soda blasting equipment to clean residues deposited on surfaces. With such resources, we can clean most types of surfaces, including porous ones such as unfinished wood or old surfaces. 

Restoring a fire-damaged property takes several processes, including:

  • Cleaning soiled materials
  • Drying wet areas
  • Refinishing surfaces
  • Deodorizing 

Handling the process on your own or hiring different people to carry out each step can prove too tedious. Teams from SERVPRO are fully equipped to handle all the operations since we send several crewmembers to the loss site, and we also have a wide variety of equipment to handle basic or specialized restoration tasks. 

When you hand over your fire-damaged home to a restoration company, you do not have to worry about every minor detail of the renovation exercise. Call SERVPRO of South Everett to help fix your Mukilteo, Paine Field, or Evergreen property. You can reach us at (425) 367-4484.

How Do I Know What Food Is Safe to Keep and Consume After Fire Damages My Mukilteo Home?

7/8/2020 (Permalink)

kitchen fire Don't know what to do after a fire? SERVPRO of Mukileto will handle all of your fire damage needs.

Significant Questions During Fire Damage Restoration Concerns Food Safety--SERVPRO Helps Mukilteo Residents Make Appropriate Choices

One of the severe threats posed by the smoke, heat, and chemical transformations during a Mukilteo household fire is the risk of consuming tainted food saved from the flames and residues. No cleaning or other strategies exist to restore the safety of fire-damaged foods. We can help homeowners sort the food in pantries, on counters, and within freezers or refrigerators, retaining only those items clearly unadulterated by the fire's effects.

How Can the Heat from the Fire Jeopardize the Safety of Foods?

As we plot out the fire damage restoration for your Mukilteo home, many questions arise concerning what items need discarding because they are unrestorable. One of the effects of a household fire that makes food unsafe is the high temperatures during the blaze. Even foodstuffs that look normal might have experienced a temperature rise past the point where you can consume them without worry. How does this happen?

  • The heat can cause containers to develop tiny splits and cracks, allowing contaminants to enter.
  • Plastic containers might melt, and hazardous substances created during the heating can leach into the food.
  • The food inside an" undamaged" can or jar can spoil after being heated even while sealed.

What Are the Safety Concerns for Foods Stored on Counters?

If you have fruit, vegetables, butter, or other foods you left on the counter before the fire, SERVPRO recommends that they all be thrown out. If a chemical fire extinguisher helped knock back the fire, and water then sprayed on the same area, the liquid mix is hazardous, even if you feel you could wash the items. Smoke and residues also taint the counter-stored foods, even if you cannot see the contaminants.

Are Foods Stored in Plastic Wrap or Cardboard Boxes Safe?

Many of our foods are packaged in cardboard boxes, sometimes with plastic bags or wrap as a secondary layer. Experts do not recommend that homeowners retain foods packaged this way because the wrapping materials are permeable, capable of letting residues through. When fire moves through your home, it uses plastics, rubbers, paper, grease, food, wood, and more as fuel. When these materials combust, they alter in the heat and burning, creating toxic chemicals as tiny particles of soot that can pass through wrapping, contaminating the food.

Are Jarred and Canned Foods Safe to Eat After a Fire?

Even if you are sure the food in your pantry was not heated or sprayed with water or chemicals during a fire, risks can be present. Sooty residues are incredibly fine, spreading everywhere. They  can even "climb" the threads of an unopened jar or bottle and contaminate the food. Merely opening a can introduce soot if the opener or lid surface contains soot particles.

What About Paper Plates and Plastic Utensils?

Throw away disposal kitchenware exposed to fire residues, water, and chemical extinguishers. If you keep a stash of condiment packets, those need discarding because of the toxic changes heat and residues can create inside each foil or plastic bubble.

Is Food Stored in Refrigerators and Freezers Protected from the Firefighting Chemicals and Smoke and Soot?

Consumer refrigerators and freezers come equipped with seals that are not airtight but can provide some protection if they are left closed until a careful inspection occurs. If the heat and flames did not cause the appliances to stop operating, leave them running and wait until an expert can help you evaluate the contents.

  • Discard foods from the refrigerator or freezer if dark soot residues fan out from the edges of the seals into the interior of the appliance when opened.
  • If a smoky or "off" smell, texture, or flavor is present when chilled or frozen food is prepared, throw it away.

What if the Power Is Off? How Should Food in Freezers and Refrigerators Be Treated if No Other Sign of Soot Infiltration is Present?

  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Refrigerated perishables should be safe as long as the power turned back on within four hours.
  • Discard raw foods (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers) that have been above 41º F. over two hours.
  • Frozen foods that are still icy, or maintained at or below 40º F, usually can be safely refrozen or cooked within two days.

What Is the General Rule Regarding Safe Consumption of Food Exposed to Heat and Fire Residues?

Avoid tasting food as the only determiner that it is fine to consume. Heavily contaminated food can appear and taste fine but be hazardous to your health and wellbeing. It is not worth the risk -- if you or our professionals  have any doubt, the food must go in the trash.

The team at SERVPRO of South Everett is familiar with best fire restoration industry practices, including the evaluation of food and product safety after a blaze. Please consult with us by calling (425) 367-4484 as soon as practical.

Can Fire Smoke Odor At My Everett Home Go Away Naturally?

6/27/2020 (Permalink)

green metal, hydroxyl generator with blue elements Fire-Penetrating Odors in Everett homes getting you down? Call SERVPRO--with hydroxyl generators and advanced products for a solution.

SERVPRO Helps Perform Deodorization Removing Any Stubborn Odors from your Property

After a fire damages your Everett home, you may notice a strong stench. Although you might expect it to go away after cleaning and removal of damaged materials from the loss site, results might vary for several reasons.

Why does it smell after fire incidents?

When making plans for fire smoke odor removal in Everett, you have to understand where various smells originate from to ease the challenges that can develop during restoration. The traditional sources of odor include:

  • Greasy residues from burning meat or grease
  • Residues from incompletely combusted materials
  • Synthetic material residues

Apart from differences in physical properties, the residues produce varying smells. They also react differently to cleaning efforts, which can influence the odor problem in your house further.

 Why do smells remain after cleaning?

  • Invisible residues
  • Penetration of residues into materials
  • Improper removal of residues during cleaning

Lingering smells and mysterious odors require specific deodorization efforts to complement the effects of cleaning. Our SERVPRO technicians use a variety of approaches to help resolve the problem, including applying deodorization products on the surface of the smelling materials. We can apply granules or pellets to absorb the odor or spray liquid odor counteractants on materials.

In case we discover the odor infiltrates beyond the surface of the material, we use methods that penetrate the material in question. We can use Ultra Low Volume misters, which atomize water-based liquid deodorizers, producing particles of around 20-60 microns, which can penetrate many materials that act as odor reservoirs. The hydroxyl generator is a safe and effective device for purging the air of unwanted scents.

Alternatively, we can use thermal foggers, which use petroleum or solvent-based deodorizers, making them perfect when dealing with odor from greasy or synthetic residues.

SERVPRO of South Everett can help when fire odors prove hard to eliminate. Call us at (425) 367-4484 to assist. We're Faster To Any Size Disaster. 

We Put The Flames Of Worry Out In Everett After A Fire

3/10/2020 (Permalink)

A room covered in debris after a fire disaster We worked hard to rebuild the structure and get the family back in their home as quickly as possible after a fire hit this home.

Handling Common Challenges of Fire Damage in Everett

Fire can start anywhere in a property, including bedrooms and living rooms, although the kitchen or other cooking areas are more vulnerable because of the open flames and different electrical appliances. Wherever the fire starts, it can spread quickly throughout the affected Everett property necessitating a comprehensive restoration process, which can pose several challenges.

Addressing all forms of smoke damage

Although the most visible aspect of fire damage incidents in Everett is the damage from flames, smoke damage can be more challenging to address. Depending on how the fire burns, the smoke produced can be either dry or wet, and each category presents its challenges. Dry smoke is easier to wipe off surfaces with cleaning sponges, unlike wet smoke, which requires extensive use of cleaning agents and specialized procedures. However, dry smoke is made up of fine particles that spread easily and penetrate deep into pores and crevices in materials. Cleaning up such areas can be a big challenge. Our SERVPRO technicians use methods such as vacuuming, which can dislodge loose particles hidden in pores or crevices. In extreme cases, we can use sealers after cleaning to ensure any remaining residues do not cause any problems.

Wet smoke is typical in smoldering fires because the combustion process is not complete. Wet smoke can also occur when a fire burns materials such as plastics. Residues from the wet smoke are more likely to latch on to surfaces. Wiping such surfaces can also lead to smudging, which spreads the residues further. Our SERVPRO technicians use professional cleaning products, which break down the residues or suspend them, making removal easier. In extreme cases, we can use specialized cleaning approaches such as soda blasting, which help with better removal of such residues.

Removing Lingering Odor

The smoky odor that is characteristic after a fire damage incident might not go away even after cleaning and removal of damaged items. The most likely reason is the penetration of smoke and other fire residues into porous or old materials. There is a need to reach the hidden odor particles to neutralize such odors. Our technicians use pairing deodorizers, which combine with odor molecules neutralizing them. We use thermal or ULV foggers to deliver such deodorizers effectively.

The effects of a fire can last long after the flames die down. Call SERVPRO of South Everett at (425) 367-4484 to help manage any aspect of an incident, "Like it never even happened."

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How Professionals Evaluate Fire Damage Residues in Everett

1/24/2020 (Permalink)

House model on fire Call us for help with Fire Damage in your Everett home. We are always available.

SERVPRO’s Method For Fire Damage

After a fire in Everett, the smoke residues left behind, present a broad range of cleaning issues. Although our crew’s training through the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) lays out guidelines, the variables presented in any given fire scenario make it hard to establish defined protocols appropriate for every situation.

Every Fire Scene Is Unique

The changeable nature of cleaning up fire damage in Everett makes it even more critical that our highly skilled and experienced technician team is on the job. We have the knowledge and experience to make adaptations to the basic principles and elements of cleaning in response to the way heat, oxygen, moisture, and gases interact to form smoke residues during the fire in your particular scenario.

Basic Principles and Elements 

Principles

  • Locate and identify smoke residues
  • Evaluate the surfaces affected
  • Capture and remove residues
  • Dispose of residues properly

Elements

  • Temperature
  • Agitation
  • Chemical action
  • Time

Examples of Adaptations

Every home has many different types of surfaces affected by the smoke and soot. Because SERVPRO technicians know the process of cleaning varies, we consider multiple ways to agitate and review a list of products to produce chemical reactions. We adjust dwell time and temperature with each challenge.

Agitation uses physical action to break the bond between soil and surface. The surface, the cleaning solution, or both need to move to dislodge residues:

  • Air pressure
  • Rotating brushes
  • Scrubbing
  • Wiping
  • Blasting with an abrasive

Chemical action uses cleaning solutions to simplify the cleaning process, remembering that generally “like dissolves like.” Our service vehicles stock many options.

  • Water-based cleaners dissolve water-based soils.
  • Solvents (oil-based cleaners) dissolve oil-based soils.
  • Detergents assist oil-based soils in loosening in water-based solutions.
  • Acidic solutions and alkaline solutions neutralize each other.
  • Bleaching can add or remove oxygen from soiling.

Pre-Testing 

As SERVPRO seeks the best match to remove soiling, we do not want to damage materials or smear or set-in stains. Technicians make sure the surfaces involved can handle the level of agitation and do not react adversely to the chemicals. We also manipulate temperatures and experiment with dwell times to reach the best outcomes. The testing is done in inconspicuous places before we commit to cleaning larger expanses.

SERVPRO of South Everett has a comprehensive tool-box of products and techniques as well as training and experience to meet the challenges of your fire damage. Call for an assessment at (425) 367-4484.

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We Discuss The Essential Steps Towards Fire and Odor Removal In Everett

11/23/2019 (Permalink)

fire causing damage to home Restoring fire damage and removing odor requires elaborate steps.

Essential Steps Towards Fire and Odor Removal from Affected Everett Properties

Fire incidents cause a wide range of damages in the properties they affect. Apart from the flames consuming materials and blackening surfaces with soot, fire also causes odor issues.  For your Everett property to feel habitable again, several steps are necessary to deal with the damages and remove the odor.

The processing of restoring fire and odor removal from affected Everett property should run systemically to ensure a positive outcome. For example, trying to deodorize the area before removing all the charred materials and smoke residues from surfaces cannot succeed. Our SERVPRO technicians, therefore, start the process by removing all debris and cleaning surfaces. We also remove contents so that we can clean them separately. Doing so eliminates all sources of odor and helps ensure that we can zero in on areas that need elaborate deodorization.

One effective way to remove an odor is to use counteractants that neutralize malodors. Using such products during the cleaning process can reduce the effort you need to put into deodorization. Our SERVPRO technicians use water-based odor counteractants, which we mix with the cleaning solutions that we use. The counteractants work at different pH levels and temperatures, so they remain active throughout the cleaning process.

Having the right equipment also helps with the deodorization process.  Since fires might leave gases, aerosols, and fine particles suspended in the air, there might be a need to ventilate the area after cleaning to get rid of these. Alternatively, some deodorization processes such as thermal fogging leave fumes and vapors that need removal for normalcy to resume. Our SERVPRO team uses air movers or box fans to ventilate the area.

Other equipment can help reach odor particles deep in materials or concealed areas. We use ozone generators and Photocatalytic Oxidizers for such purposes. The Photocatalytic Oxidizer shines a UV, Ultra Violet rays on a titanium dioxide surface producing hydroxyl radicals. The radicals oxidize, breaking down odors into water and carbon dioxide.

Restoring fire damage and removing odor requires elaborate steps. Call SERVPRO of South Everett at (425) 367-4484 to help eliminate all issues caused by the incident, “Like it never even happened.”

For more about Everett click here.

Our Experts In Everett Discuss How To Clean Concrete And Masonry

10/8/2019 (Permalink)

a fire close-up on a black background We’re Faster to Any Size Disaster.

Fire Damage Restorers From Everett Point Out How To Clean Concrete And Masonry

Once an inferno starts to engulf your building materials and contents inside your townhome in Everett, everything inside your building is at risk. The flames and smoke coming from something burning in your neighbor's unit can quickly spread to your residence and cause fire damage to your townhouse's structure. Smoke can create its own issues by leaving soot residues and soils behind on every surface it touches as it floats through your home.

Due to its elevated temperature, smoke can rise and spread throughout your building and cause extensive fire damage to your Everett townhome. Once these gaseous, partially combusted particles come into contact with cooler surfaces, they can solidify in the form of soils and soot residues and adhere to the surfaces of your building materials and contents. Depending on what surfaces they affected, soot residues can sometimes be difficult for our SERVPRO restoration crews to remove.

When dealing with porous surfaces, smoke particles can penetrate them deeply, thus making themselves extremely difficult to remove. Soot residues usually do not adhere as well to hard, non-porous surfaces, but the hotter the fire gets, the more substances can expand, making them more porous than they were during normal conditions. Concrete and masonry can be one surface that can pose difficulties for our SERVPRO technicians. However, when dealing with these types of substances, we utilize four main cleaning methods.

1. Dry Cleaning
When removing light soot residues, dry cleaning with a sponge or vacuum can help us remove a lot of the soils on your concrete surfaces.

2. Wet Cleaning With Alkaline Cleaner
Wet cleaning with an alkaline cleaner can help remove many soils from concrete when light agitation is applied by the restoration technician.

3. Wet Cleaning With A Strong Acid
Highly acidic detergents can be very effective when removing soot residues from stone and brick.

4. Abrasion Blasting
Blasting is the most aggressive but in turn, the most effective way to remove soot from concrete surfaces. Dry ice and soda blasting are more gentle methods and can be implemented instead of highly aggressive sandblasting procedures.

Concrete that gets affected by soot can make areas like your garage look unpleasant and smell burnt. To rid your home of soot residues after something burns on or near your property, call SERVPRO of South Everett at (425) 367-4484 because We’re Faster to Any Size Disaster.

For more about Everett click here.

  Smoke Lingering In Your Everett Home After Fire Damage? SERVPRO Can Help

9/10/2019 (Permalink)

Burning building with smoke coming out Don't try and tackle fire damage alone. Call the remediation specialists at SERVPRO today for help.

The Best Approach for Soot Removal in Everett Homes

Soot can be a challenging threat for properties, specifically because incorrectly cleaning and managing this situation can lead to irreparable damage to Everett homes. Even with as widespread as this threat might seem, these circumstances only require the deployment of specific tools and products. Our professionals have vast experience in soot removal and smoke residue cleaning, and these effects in your home are no different.

One of the unfortunate aspects of fire damage in Everett homes, especially soot and smoke residues, is that they can continue to be a damaging factor for the property after the fire gets extinguished. These particulates circulate throughout the environment and come to rest on new surfaces. Over several days, new areas of your home have become affected by these lingering symptoms from the fire and can begin to have a detrimental reaction on the surfaces where they settle.

Soot has an acidic composition, making it a dangerous substance to remain affixed to surfaces and construction materials within your house. Our SERVPRO professionals have seen firsthand the damage that can happen both from allowing soot to remain in one place untouched for prolonged periods, and the marring that can result from attempting to clean and remove this residue without the proper training, tools, and products. Our fire recovery specialists can help.

Our SERVPRO technicians undergo extensive training in both soot and smoke residue abatement and cleaning, both in the practices that work and the consequences for improperly cleaning these substances. With accreditations from the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), our Fire & Smoke Restoration team can begin both mitigation work and containment steps beginning as soon as we arrive at your home. 

Removing soot is often a combination of several tools and products, including our high-powered HEPA vacuums and chemical sponges. Each of these sponges can typically cover around 50 square feet of the damaged area, and the composition of these products prevents smearing and staining of the residue on the surface beneath the top layer.

It might seem as though soot removal is an insurmountable task after a fire loss incident, but our SERVPRO of South Everett professionals can help. We have the experience and the equipment to make any loss “Like it never even happened.” Give us a call today at (425) 367-4484.

Click here to learn more about Everett. 

Odor Elimination After Fire Damage in Everett

9/6/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke and fire coming out of windows of a home. SERVPRO has no problems tackling odor damage from a Everette fire.

Let SERVPRO take over the fire damage odor in your Everette home.

A fire in your Everett home presents many different challenges. Water removal and structural drying frequently are the first tasks our professionals take on because of the large quantities of water used to quell the blaze. Then our team of Fire and Smoke Restoration Technicians (FSRT) evaluate the consistencies of the soot residues found throughout your house, matching cleaning products, tools, and techniques to remove the coatings efficiently. As the project wraps up, we turn our focus to managing malodors.

First Deodorization Steps

Lingering odors are a common issue after Everett fire damage mitigation and remediation. Unpleasant smells waft through the air and infiltrate structural components and contents. Burned items, including the tiny particles of soot, tiny bits of materials and possessions not entirely combusted by the fire, carry the stench as long as they are inside your home. 

SERVPRO’s initial attempts to eliminate odors include removing burned items and deep cleaning. Our air scrubbing equipment uses negative pressure to force and trap floating soot contamination through HEPA filters before exhausting to the outdoors. We also collect, bag, and dispose of irreparably burned items to rid your home of toxins and smells. Removal of soot residues from surfaces also reduces odor.

HVAC System Cleaning for Odor Control

If your heating and cooling system operated during the fire smoke and soot likely entered the ductwork and took advantage of the opportunity to drift to other spaces in your home. Shutting off the system and switching out filters helps mitigate the spread of odor-bearing particles. If significant quantities of soot invaded the ducts SERVPRO’s NADCA-trained HVAC cleaning technicians need to complete a thorough cleaning.

Innovative Odor Eliminating Equipment

Some persistent odors resist mechanical removal attempts. Before you turn to conventional air fresheners or cover-ups, consider the advanced technology SERVPRO offers. We use thermal foggers to recreate the conditions of the fire, using heat to combust chemical deodorants. The minute bits of deodorant combines with the odor bearing particles to eliminate the smell. Hydroxyl generators neutralize odor molecules and gasses, breaking down chemical bonds. 

Give the highly-qualified technicians of SERVPRO of South Everett a chance to eliminate the noxious odors that linger long after all visible fire damage is cleared. Schedule an assessment by calling (425) 367-4484 24/7.

To learn more about Everette, click here.

Carbon Monoxide Safety

11/7/2018 (Permalink)

High levels of carbon monoxide (an invisible, odorless, colorless gas) can kill a person in minutes.

You can’t see or smell carbon monoxide, but at high levels, it can kill a person in minutes. Often called the silent killer, carbon monoxide, or CO, is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas, created when fuels, like gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas and propane burn incompletely.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning. It is estimated another 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized due to CO poisoning. All people and animals are at risk for CO poisoning, with some groups— including unborn babies, infants, and people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or respiratory problems— being more susceptible to the effects of carbon monoxide.

An excess of CO, leading to CO poisoning, can result from faulty furnaces or other heating appliances, portable generators, water heaters, clothes dryers, or idling cars left running in garages.

Taking some basic, precautionary steps can help eliminate the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Protect yourself by reviewing the following tips, provided by the United States Fire Administration.

  • Have fuel-burning appliances, like oil and gas furnaces, gas or kerosene heaters, fireplaces, and wood stoves inspected by a trained professional every year.
  • Open the damper for proper ventilation before using a fireplace. Never use your oven or stovetop to heat your home.
  • Make sure all fuel-burning vented equipment is vented to the outside to avoid CO poisoning. Keep the venting for exhaust clear and unblocked.
  • If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Never run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not blocked with snow, ice, or other materials.
  • Make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow and other debris.
  • Only use barbecue grills outside, away from all doors, windows, vents, and other building openings. Some grills can produce CO gas. Never use grills inside the home or the garage, even if the doors are open.
  • Use portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from all doors, windows, vents, and other building openings to prevent exhaust fumes from entering the home.

The following are signs that you might be experiencing CO poisoning. Symptoms of CO poisoning include:

  • Dull headache
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Loss of consciousness

Take precautions to prevent CO poisoning in your home.

Source: mayoclinic.org and SERVPRO Industries Inc.

Preventing Kitchen Fires During the Holidays

10/31/2018 (Permalink)

Follow our tips to help reduce the risk of fire in your kitchen this holiday season.

During the holidays, families gather together to celebrate various holidays, most of which involve delicious food and goodies. If you don’t practice safe cooking habits, your holiday could become hazardous very quickly. According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. Follow these tips to help reduce the risk of fire in your kitchen this holiday season.

  • Stay alert. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food.
  • If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that food is cooking.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire—oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels, or curtains—away from the stovetop.

If a cooking fire does occur, consider the following safety protocols to help keep you and your family safe.

  • Just get out. When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
  • Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
  • For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
  • If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
  • Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.

SERVPRO of South Everett wishes you a safe and happy holiday season. If your home does experience fire or smoke damage, give us call at 425-367-4484. We can make it “Like it never even happened.”

Source: National Fire Protection Association and SERVPRO Industries Inc. 

Restoring Versus Replacing - Taking Care of Your Belongings After Fire

10/23/2018 (Permalink)

The first 48 hours after a fire can make the difference between restoring versus replacing damaged property and personal belongings.

The first 48 hours after fire damage occurs can make the difference between restoring versus replacing damaged property and personal belongings. Rapid response and timely mitigation can help prevent fire damage from creating long-term problems.

SERVPRO of South Everett understands that returning to normal is your primary concern. Our team is trained in caring for both you, your property and your belongings. By responding quickly with a full line of fire cleanup and restoration services, we can help you get your home or business back up and running quickly and help protect your property and belongings. We provide the following content restoration services to help reduce the number of items that need to be replaced after a fire affects your home.

Contents Restoration

SERVPRO of South Everett specializes in restoring contents damaged by water, fire, or mold. Our expertise and restore versus replace mentality can help you save money while preserving precious keepsakes that can’t be replaced. We pretest your belongings to determine what items we can restore to pre-fire condition. We use several methods of cleaning your contents, including:

  • Dry Cleaning - Used for cleaning light residues or to pre-clean prior to wet cleaning.
  • Wet Cleaning - An effective cleaning method for removing moderate to heavy residues.
  • Spray and Wipe - Effective for items that can’t withstand wet cleaning.
  • Foam Cleaning - Used for upholstery fabrics that might shrink or bleed if wet cleaned.
  • Abrasive Cleaning - Involves agitation of the surface being cleaned.
  • Immersion Cleaning - Contents are dipped into a bath of the cleaning product.

Electronic Cleaning

Fire-damaged electronics can present a serious hazard. Do not attempt to turn on or operate any electrical device that you suspect has been damaged by fire. Smoke residues can contain acids that corrode metal surfaces. If the residues are not removed, corrosion causes electronic failure in the device. We will coordinate the restoration of your electronics, including:

  • Television sets
  • DVD/Blu-Ray players
  • Computers
  • And more

The key to restoring electronics is taking prompt action to prevent further damage. Electronics will be cleaned and inspected by a qualified electronics technician.

Document / Photograph Drying

When your valuable documents, including photographs, are damaged by water or fire, extreme caution should be taken to help ensure the fire damage does not destroy the document. Although some documents may not be restored to pre-fire damage condition, SERVPRO of South Everett can save a great deal and help minimize additional damage.

Depending on the type of documents and the level of fire, smoke, or soot damage, we have five options for the restoration of documents:

  • Air Drying
  • Dehumidification
  • Freezer Drying
  • Vacuum Freeze Drying
  • Vacuum Thermal Drying

We have earned the trust of the insurance industry by serving thousands of their policy holders and clients with respect and integrity. The more we restore, the less that needs to be replaced. This helps our clients save millions of dollars each year. That helps lower your insurance rates too!

If your home or business suffers a fire damage, contact SERVPRO of South Everett at 425-367-4484 to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

Keep Fall Fire Free

9/22/2018 (Permalink)

The fall season can bring many fire risks. Plan ahead this season to help ensure it is safe and fire-free.

The fall season brings cooler temperatures, beautiful colors, and an abundance of outdoor activities. But the season also brings many fire risks. Plan ahead this season to help ensure it is safe and fire-free.

Decorations

Fall decorations, like dried flowers, leaves and cornstalks, are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations away from open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters. Since these items are dry, they can ignite very easily and spread flames quickly.

Have A Plan

Be sure you have a fire preparedness plan and your family knows what to do if a fire breaks out in your home. Keep emergency exits clear of decorations so nothing blocks escape routes.

Protect your family by teaching your children to stay away from open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop, and roll if their clothing catches fire.

Ensure your smoke alarms are in working order and that you have an easily accessible fire extinguisher.

Make Halloween Safe

Remember safety first when choosing a Halloween costume. Consider avoiding billowing fabrics. If you are making your costume, choose material that won’t easily ignite if it comes into contact with heat or a flame.

It is safest to use a flashlight or battery-operated candle in a jack-o-lantern. Use extreme caution if using a real candle. Place lit pumpkins away from anything that can burn, and out of the way of doorsteps, walkways, and yards.

Be Careful in the Kitchen

With the holidays quickly approaching, your kitchen may be working on overdrive. While cooking, it can be easy to get distracted, especially if you have children. However, kitchens are a high-risk area for household fires, so it’s important to remain watchful.

Never leave food unattended while cooking, especially working with oil. Hot grease can splash and ignite. Keep flammable objects, like washcloths, potholders, and paper towels, away from the stovetop.

If a fire starts in your oven, keep the door closed. Turn it off and wait for the fire to extinguish.

Safely Use Your Fireplace

As the weather turns cold and brisk, fireplaces can bring a warm and inviting atmosphere to any home. However, if fireplaces are not properly cared for, they can lead to an increased fire and smoke risk. Make sure your fireplace is clean and well maintained and never left unattended when lit.

While you can take precautions to prevent fires this fall, sometimes accidents happen. If your home suffers any fire or smoke damage, call SERVPRO® of South Everett.

After smoke or fire damages a home, it’s important to get it fixed as soon as possible. Call us at 425-367-4484, and we’ll assess the damage and make your home “Like it never even happened.”

Facts and information provided by National Fire Protection Association, nfpa.org and SERVPRO Industries Inc. 

When You Have Fire Damage, Call SERVPRO of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe

6/15/2018 (Permalink)

The faster our technicians arrive on-site to perform fire, smoke, and soot cleanup and restoration, the better the results.

Mitigation requires quick action. The faster our technicians arrive on-site to perform fire, smoke, and soot cleanup and restoration, the better the results— including lower claim costs. Within four hours of loss notification, SERVPRO of South Everett will be on-site to help ensure your fire damage is handled by utilizing the following services.

Structural Cleaning

After smoke or fire damage, ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting, and floors will often need a thorough cleaning. Our experienced technicians will pretest to determine the extent of damage, and then use the specific equipment and cleaning products required to clean and protect the different types of surfaces found in your structure.

Contents Cleaning

All of the restorable contents in affected areas will be professionally cleaned and deodorized. This includes area rugs, furniture, draperies, and upholstery. We can provide wet or dry cleaning services. Additionally, all the other restorable contents will be cleaned and deodorized to preloss condition. This includes electronics, art, wood furniture, kitchen items, clothing, bedding, and much more. Finally, our technicians can provide an inventory list of all “to be claimed” items for your insurance claim.

Deodorization

SERVPRO of South Everett provides specialized services that rid your home or place of business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. We do not merely cover up lingering odors with a fragrance; we seek out the sources of the odor and remove them.

SERVPRO of South Everett is dedicated to restoring your property and getting your life back to normal. Contact us at 425-367-4484 before any further damage occurs to your property and belongings.

How to Use Your Fire Extinguisher

6/13/2018 (Permalink)

Do you know how to properly use your fire extinguisher?

Portable fire extinguishers can be life and property saving tools when used correctly. In order to operate an extinguisher, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests remembering the word PASS:

P: Pull the pin. Hold the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.

A: Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.

S: Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.

S: Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

You can also check out this video to see how to best use your fire extinguisher.

Read the instructions on the fire extinguisher and become familiar with them before a fire breaks out. Keep your fire extinguisher somewhere you will remember and be able to access easily. Make sure your extinguisher is up to date and charged.

Remember, extinguishers do have limitations. It is also important to ensure you have the correct type of extinguisher for your facility. To find more information on choosing the appropriate class of extinguisher, please visit the NFPA website at nfpa.org.

It’s important to be prepared before disaster strikes. If ever you do need to use your fire extinguisher, have SERVPRO of South Everett take care of the cleanup. We can clean up any fire or smoke damage as well as the mess created from the fire extinguisher. Give us a call at 425-367-4484 and we’ll make it “Like it never even happened.” 

Why You Should Clean Your Dryer Vents

6/8/2018 (Permalink)

Be sure to clean your dryer vents to reduce the risk of dryer fires in your home.

According to FEMA, failure to clean dryers and dryer vents causes 34% of home dryer fires. Home dryer fires cause $35 million in property loss and can even cause injury or death.

To reduce the risk of these fires happening in your home, clean dryer vents regularly. Every few months be sure to wash the lint filter with detergent to get rid of residue buildup that might be impeding airflow. Also clean the whole exhaust duct line yearly to reduce clogs and risk of fire.

Other tips for keeping your dryer vents clean from the National Fire Protection Agency include cleaning the lint filter before and after each load, and making sure the outdoor vent flap will open and is not restricted by snow, a bird’s nest, or other potential obstacles.

If you have a high efficiency dryer, look for easy-access panels and check inside for any additional lint buildup.

For more fire prevention tips, check out our other fire blog posts here.

The Dos and Don'ts After Fire Hits

1/24/2018 (Permalink)

After fire ravages your home, it's hard to know what to do next.

After fire ravages your home, fear, uncertainty, stress and doubt about the future of your property can be overwhelming. Once the flames have abated, it's hard to know what to do next.

Keep these Dos and Don'ts in mind if fire affects your home.

DO:

  • Limit movement in the home. This helps prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets throughout your home.
  • Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
  • Place towels on carpet traffic areas. Use dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas to limit damage.
  • Empty freezer and refrigerator. If electricity is off, empty your freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open to help prevent odors.
  • Wipe soot from chrome. Clean soot from chrome kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim and appliances, then apply a light coating of petroleum jelly to protect surfaces.
  • Wash houseplants. Wipe down both sides of leaves on your houseplants.
  • Change HVAC filters. Change your filters, but leave the system off until a trained professional can check the system.
  • Cover HVAC intakes. Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of your HVAC system.

DON'T:

  • Wash any walls or painted surfaces. First contact SERVPRO of North Everett/ Lake Stevens/ Monroe.
  • Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture. Before cleaning carpets by yourself, call us at 360-243-8313.
  • Clean any electrical appliances. TV sets, computers and other electronics that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water need to be looked at by an authorized repair service.
  • Consume food and beverages. Food and beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water, may be contaminated.
  • Turn on ceiling fixtures. If the ceiling is wet, wiring may be wet or damaged and can cause electrical shock.
  • Dry clean clothing. Improper cleaning may set smoke odors. Make sure you use a service that knows how to remove soot and smoke from clothing.

Fires are stressful, and you shouldn't have to clean up the mess yourself. SERVPRO of South Everett is here to help you restore your home. With our industry approved training, rapid response, professionalism, cutting-edge technology and open communication, we strive to restore not only your home, but your peace of mind.

Call the fire damage cleanup and restoration professionals at 425-367-4484. SERVPRO of South Everett has the technology and experience to make your fire damage “Like it never even happened.”

*Tips provided by SERVPRO® Industries, Inc.

Protect Your Family From Fire and Burns

1/10/2018 (Permalink)

Be sure to place pots and pans on the back burner with handles turned away from the edge of the stove.

Burn injuries continue to be one of the leading causes of accidental death and injury in our county. Children, the elderly, and the disabled are particularly vulnerable to burn injuries, and almost one-third of all burn injuries occur in children. In 2014, there were over 3,000 deaths from fires and over 50,000 people were treated in hospitals for burn related injuries.

Though treatment for burn injuries has improved over the years, prevention is still the bets way to protect your home and family. Follow the tips below, provided by the American Burn Association, to help protect your family.

General Home Tips:

  • Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement. Smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a fire in half.
  • If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • If a pan of food catches fire, slide a lid over it and turn off the burner.
  • Stir and test food cooked in the microwave before serving. Open lids away from your face, to prevent burns from hot steam.

Tips for Homes with Children

  • Set water heater temperature to no higher than 120°F or just below the medium setting.
  • Create a "no kid zone" in the kitchen around stoves, ovens and hot items.
  • Keep hot drinks away from the edge of tables and counters.
  • Place pots and pans on the back burner with handles turned away from the edge of the stove.
  • Never hold an infant or child while cooking, drinking a hot liquid or carrying hot items.
  • Keep matches and lighters high out of the reach and sight of children, in a locked cabinet.
  • Closely supervise older children when using microwaves, or have them prepare non-hot food. Many burn injuries occur from children pulling hot foods and soups out of microwaves.
  • Teach children to stop, drop, and roll if their clothes catch fire.
  • Test the water before placing a child in the tub. Fill the tub or sink by running cool water first and then adding hot water. Seat the child facing away from the faucets.

If you or someone else sustains a burn injury be sure to:

  • Cool the burn with cool (not cold) water to stop the burning process.
  • Remove all clothing and jewelry from the injured area.
  • Cover the area with a clean dry sheet or bandage.
  • Seek medical attention.

If you would like to read more tips like these check out the American Burn Associations page here and the ABA National Scald Prevention Campaign page here.

*Statistics and tips provided by the American Burn Association

7 Tips for Safe Fireplace Use

11/30/2017 (Permalink)

If fireplaces are not properly cared for they can increase the risk of fire and smoke in your home.

Fireplaces can bring a warm and inviting atmosphere to any home. However, if fireplaces are not properly cared for, they can lead to an increased fire and smoke risk. Use these tips to keep your home safe and warm through the cold months of the year.

  1. Keep it clean: Before starting a fire, clear out ash from previous fires. Make sure there is no debris in the fireplace or flammable items, like newspaper, in the surrounding area.
  2. Cover it up: Glass panes may block the fire, but they also get hot. Install a safety screen to protect your family, particularly children and pets, from accidental burns.
  3. Inspect the chimney: Look at both the interior and exterior of your chimney. Watch for bird nests or other natural debris, like leaves, branches, etc. Make sure there are no tree branches that are above or close to the chimney. Examine the bricks and mortar to ensure they are in good repair. Inspect the chimney cap for damage.
  4. Stick to checkups: Have a professional check out your fireplace annually. They can identify problems you might not notice on your own.
  5. Use the right wood and starters: Use dry, aged wood. Green and wet wood don’t burn as well and cause more smoke. Never use wood that is painted or shows signs of rotting, mold, or disease. Don’t use particle board, cardboard, garbage, plastics, or foam either. Only start fires using newspaper or dry kindling. Don’t try to jumpstart a fire using gasoline.
  6. Stay by the fire: Don’t leave fires unattended, and do not leave children alone with a lit fireplace. Make sure all fires are completely out and cooled before sleeping or leaving home.
  7. Check and open the flue and/or damper: Examine the flue for debris like bird nests or leaves around the same time you check your chimney. Make sure the flue or the damper, which are used to let out gases such as smoke, is open before starting a fire in the fireplace. 

While you can take precautions to prevent problems, sometimes accidents happen. If your home suffers any fire or smoke damage, call SERVPRO® of South Everett.

After smoke or fire damages a home, it’s important to get it fixed as soon as possible. Call us at 425-367-4484, and we’ll assess the damage and make your home “Like it never even happened.” 

Holiday Fire Safety Tips

11/17/2017 (Permalink)

Learn how to keep your family and home safe from fire during the holidays.

The holidays offer many opportunities for family and friends to gather, but they also come with an increased fire risk. With a little extra attention and care, you can help your family have a happy and safe holiday season.

Cooking

The holidays don’t feel like the holidays without delicious food. While cooking always presents potential fire hazards, home cooking fires always spike up around the holiday season.

When you have lots of cooks in the kitchen, it’s easy for things to get messy and confusing. However, a cluttered, chaotic kitchen is a hazardous kitchen. Make sure to keep flammable objects, like towels, packaging, and potholders, away from the stove. Communicate with everyone in the kitchen so you don’t leave the stovetop or oven on when it’s not in use. Wipe up spills quickly, and don’t let grease pile up around a burner.

If a deep-fried turkey is on the menu, make sure you fry it on a flat surface outside at least 10 feet away from the house.

Holiday Lights

While holiday lights can add a fun ambience to your home, it’s important to decorate safely. When you first open a package of new lights or crack open a box of previously-loved strands, take time to inspect each strand. If you find frayed or cracked wires or any broken sockets, return them or throw them away.

Don’t put more strands of lights on your tree than the packaging recommends. Overloading trees (and outlets) are a common cause of holiday fires. Unplug your holiday lights (and tree, if applicable) before you go to bed or leave the house.

If you want to hang lights outside, don’t use nails or staples as they can damage the wiring. Invest in quality hooks or hangers. Once the holidays are over, take down all outside lights. Small animals, like squirrels, may start chewing on the wires if you leave them up all year.

Menorahs

If your family uses menorahs for Hanukkah, you could consider using an electric one to cut down on fire hazards. If you prefer traditional candles, just be careful.

Keep the menorah at least three feet away from flammable items, and make sure you place a non-flammable surface, like an aluminum foil-lined tray, underneath the menorah to catch the melting wax.

Christmas Trees

Setting up the Christmas tree can mark the beginning of the Christmas holiday for many families. Unfortunately, if they are not properly set up and taken care of, they pose a large fire risk.

Keep the Christmas tree at least three feet away from fireplaces or heating elements in your home.

If you prefer a live Christmas tree, make sure to care for it properly. A dry tree can start to engulf a room in flames within a minute of ignition. Help reduce fire risks with the following guidelines:

  • Buy a fresh tree. When you first choose the tree, the pine needles should be green and not easily broken.
  • Cut off the bottom. When you get the tree home, cut two inches of the bottom to create a raw cut so the tree can soak in water.
  • Water the tree daily. Well-watered trees are less likely to catch fire.
  • Throw it out promptly. No matter how much you water it, your tree will dry out over time. Once the pine needles start to fall off and the tree starts to dry, it’s time to throw it out.

If you choose an artificial tree, consider flame-resistant or flame-retardant options.

Taking steps to prevent holiday fires can help reduce the risk, but there’s always a possibility of a fire. If your home suffers fire damage, SERVPRO® of South Everett can help.

We have the knowledge and experience to properly treat fire and smoke damage to make your home “Like it never even happened.” We offer 24/7 emergency service; call us anytime at 425-367-4484.

How to Prevent Fires in Your Home

9/22/2017 (Permalink)

Seven people die every day from home fire. Read our tips to help prevent fires in your home.

According to the American Red Cross, seven people die every day from a home fire. While the causes of these fires vary, there are steps you can take to make your home safer. Apply these tips to help prevent fires in your home.

Install and Maintain Smoke Alarms

While smoke alarms will not prevent a fire from starting, they can save lives and potentially minimize property damage. You should install a fire alarm inside and outside of each sleeping area as well as on every level, including the basement.

Test the alarms monthly, and replace the batteries every 6 months. Replace the entire alarm every 10 years.

Space Out Your Heating Devices

It might be tempting to sit right next to a space heater while curled up in a blanket on a cold day, but it’s important to keep all devices with a heating element at least three feet away from flammable objects.

When your space heaters, curling irons, or other devices are not in use, make sure to shut them off and unplug them.

Be a Watchful Cook

It’s easy to get distracted while cooking, especially if you have children. However, kitchens are a high-risk area for household fires, so it’s important to remain diligent.

  • Never leave food unattended while cooking, especially working with oil. Hot grease can splash and ignite.
  • Keep flammable objects, like washcloths, pot holders, and paper towels, away from the stovetop.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen.
  • Don’t splash water on a grease fire—smother it with a lid.
  • Keep the door closed if a fire starts in the oven. Turn it off and wait for the fire to extinguish.

Smoke Responsibly

Smoking, if you aren’t careful, can create significant fire hazards in your home. To avoid fire hazards, it is best to smoke outside. When smoking, make sure the lit butts don’t fall beneath or near flammable materials such as furniture, debris, etc. Use a wide, sturdy ashtray and dispose of all butts and ashes properly.

While you always run a greater fire risk when you smoke indoors than out, it is particularly dangerous to smoke in bed. It’s too easy to fall asleep while lying in bed and start a fire.

Watch Your Candles

Candles can add a great ambience to your home, but if they aren’t watched carefully, they are a significant fire hazard. According to the NFPA, between 2009 and 2013 an average of 25 home candle fires were reported per day.

Minimize the fire risk with the following tips:

  • Never leave a lit candle unattended.
  • Blow out all candles before going to sleep, even for naps.
  • Keep candles at least 12 inches away from flammable items.
  • Make sure your candles are secure in their holders.
  • Don’t place candles on furniture that can easily tip over.

Check Your Wiring and Appliances

Electrical fires can cause damage before you realize there is a problem. Regularly inspect your electrical appliances. Check to make sure they are still functioning smoothly and that the cords are in good repair.

The electrical wiring within your walls, if damaged, can also cause a fire. If your electricity shuts off regularly or trips fuses or breakers, you likely have a problem. Faulty or old wiring and outlets can be hazardous. If you aren’t an electrician, it’s best to call in a professional to work on the wiring.

These methods will help minimize potential fire risks in your home; however, accidents still happen. If fire damages your home, call SERVPRO® of South Everett.

We offer 24/7 emergency service, and we can restore your home “Like it never even happened.” To start the restoration process, call us at 425-367-4484.

Smoke Alarm FAQs

6/23/2017 (Permalink)

Properly installed and regularly tested smoke alarms can save your family in the event of an emergency.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) claims that three out of every five fire deaths occur in a home without working smoke alarms. Properly installed and regularly tested smoke alarms can save your family in the event of an emergency. Have you ever wondered how often you need to replace and test your alarms? Use this guide to help keep your home and family safe.

Where Should I Place Smoke Alarms?

Because homes are filled with more manmade materials than in years past, fires can move more quickly through homes. It’s important to install enough alarms to give your family as much time as possible to get to safety in the event of a fire.

At a minimum, you should install smoke alarms on every level of your home (including attics, basements, and garages), in every sleeping area, and outside every sleeping area. Other important locations include the top and bottom of stairways and utility rooms.

How Often Should I Test Smoke Alarms?

Test all your smoke alarms monthly. Alarms are loud, and the noise will be less likely to scare children if they know when it’s going to happen. Make it a family event so your children will understand the importance of testing smoke alarms.

Make sure to dust or vacuum the alarm when you test it to keep it in top-working condition.

When you’re ready to test the alarm, strategically place a family member at the furthest point in the house away from the alarm you are testing. You want to make sure people can hear the alarm from anywhere.

Check the manufacturer’s instructions for testing the alarm, but most detectors have a button you can use for testing. Simply press and hold the alarm until you hear it go off. If you don’t hear an alarm, or if it sounds muted and weak, it’s time to replace the batteries.

How Often Should I Replace Batteries in Smoke Alarms?

You should replace batteries every six months even if the alarm passes the test. However, some circumstances warrant more frequent replacements.

  • If your alarm frequently goes off because of smoke while cooking, the batteries will drain faster.
  • If the detector gives out frequent false alarms or short beeps without being touched, the batteries likely need to be replaced.

After replacing the batteries, don’t forget to test the alarm to make sure it’s working.

Remember—under no circumstances should you take out and use the batteries for other devices in the home, like remote controls. Even if you’re sure you’ll remember to replace the batteries later, you run the risk of forgetting and putting your home in danger.

When Should I Replace Smoke Alarms?

The NFPA recommends replacing smoke alarms 10 years after the date of manufacture on the back of the alarm even if the alarm is still working. However, if an alarm does not respond to a test after installing fresh batteries, replace it sooner.

Per the American Red Cross, if all homes had working smoke alarms, around 890 lives could be saved every year. Smoke alarms can also help limit the damage done to homes by fires. If your home experiences a fire, please reach out to SERVPRO® of South Everett.

We have the knowledge and experience necessary to determine the extent of fire and smoke damage and repair your home so it is “Like it never even happened.” It’s important to start mitigating the damage as soon as possible after a fire, so we offer 24/7 emergency service. Give us a call anytime at 425-367-4484.

Identifying Different Types of Smoke & Soot Damage

6/23/2017 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot can cause both visible and hidden damage beyond the original fire damage.

Fire damage is not limited to damage done by the actual flames. Smoke and soot can cause both visible and hidden damage far beyond the area of the original fire.

Different types of smoke damage require different cleaning approaches. At SERVPRO® of South Everett, we have the experience and equipment necessary to identify and remove each soot residue type.

Dry Smoke

Dry smoke residue is usually powdery and dry. High-heat, fast-burning fires fueled by wood and paper typically produce dry smoke. The fine powder is often simpler to clean since it is easy to wipe off. However, it can fall into cracks and porous surfaces, and while the soot may be hidden from view, the smell will remain.

Wet Smoke

Wet smoke damage typically comes from low-heat, slow-burning fires. This thick, black smoke leaves behind an often thick and sticky residue with a strong odor. Wet smoke residue smears easily, which often makes cleanup more difficult. Both burning plastic and rubber produce wet smoke.

Protein Residue

Protein residue is left behind after the evaporation of organic material, like food. The residue is almost invisible. However, it discolors varnishes, paints, and finishes. It also gives off a strong, offensive odor.

Because, unlike wet and dry smoke damage, this residue is virtually invisible, an untrained eye might underestimate the efforts needed for restoration. Homeowners might get frustrated with the pungent smell since they can’t see the source.

Smoke damage can be difficult and extensive. Smoke and soot can permeate any porous surface like fabric, brick, wood, and drywall. HVAC systems can also carry smoke throughout your house.

Depending on the type of smoke damage and the surface that is affected, various cleaning techniques can be used to restore surfaces to their preloss condition. These techniques include:

  • Dry Sponging
  • Wet Cleaning
  • High Efficiency Particulate Air-filtration (HEPA) Vacuuming
  • Thermal Fogging

Fortunately, at SERVPRO® of South Everett our technicians are prepared to find and treat smoke damage with our comprehensive inspections and services. We can make your home “Like it never even happened.”

Call us 24/7 at 425-367-4484.

Keep Your Family Safe with a Fire Preparedness Plan

6/23/2017 (Permalink)

Does your family have a Fire Preparedness Plan? Be sure to set aside some time to create a plan with your family.

Would your family be prepared if a fire broke out in your home? If not, now is the best time to plan. Family fire preparedness plans save lives every year. Set aside time to gather as a household and create a plan unique to your home.

Identify Exits

Identify two different ways to safely exit each room if a fire broke out, such as doors and windows. Teach each member of your household how to safely exit through windows, especially on non-ground level floors.

If you have members of the family who are unable to move themselves—such as babies, elderly relatives, or any individuals with disabilities—make sure to go over who can help them escape as well.

Choose a Meeting Place

Pick a spot outside of your home that’s a safe distance away to serve as your family’s emergency meeting place. Familiar locations like a mailbox, lamppost, nearby park, or a neighbor’s house are great. Walk out with your family to establish it as your official meeting place.

Make sure every family member knows that once they exit the house, they should go straight to the meeting place and not go back inside for any reason.

Teach family members to call the fire department only after they’ve safely arrived at the meeting place.

Draw it Out

Draw the layout of your home on a piece of paper. Mark the different exits and exit paths from every room. Don’t forget to include the family meeting place. Keep your plan somewhere accessible. When you have overnight guests, let them know about your safety plan.

Practice Safety

Once everyone knows the different paths they can take to exit the home and where to go, it’s important to know how to navigate through a burning house as safely as possible.

Teach family members the following safety tips:

  1. Choose the escape route with the least amount of heat and smoke, but be prepared for less than ideal circumstances.
  2. Before opening a door, lightly touch the doorknob. If it’s hot, the fire is close, and it’s likely better to choose another exit if possible.
  3. If it’s necessary to travel through a room or hallway with a lot of smoke, stay low and crawl as necessary! Smoke rises.

In addition to these tips, make sure your house number is easily seen from the road. Firefighters need to be able to quickly find your home.

Plan Realistic Drills

Schedule practice drills at least two times a year. This is a great time to replace the batteries in your smoke alarms, which should be switched twice annually and tested monthly.

If you have young children, warn them about nighttime drills. The point of the drill is to prepare them, not to scare them. If the fire alarm fails to wake up members of your family, assign someone to wake them up in a real emergency.

Practice the safety tips from above as part of the drill.

Nothing is more important than your family’s safety. Things, and even homes, can be fixed or replaced, but your family is irreplaceable. Your family fire preparedness plan can save lives.

If fire or smoke damages your home, give SERVPRO® of South Everett a call at 425-367-4484. With our restoration knowledge and training, we can make it “Like it never even happened.”

Preparing for Wildfires

6/16/2017 (Permalink)

Learn how to protect and prepare your home, family and business for wildfires.

Though this spring has been pretty wet, fires can still pose a risk. Wildfires in particular can cause vast amounts of damage. Wildfires are more common in drier areas, like Eastern Washington, but it is still important to be prepared in case wildfires do occur in our area, especially as we reach the hotter summer months.

Prepare Yourself

It's important to be prepared for any disaster that might occur. Read through these tips from FEMA to learn how to prepare your family, home and business for wildfires.

  • Get an Emergency Supply Kit, which includes items like non-perishable food, water, a battery powered or hand-crank radio, extra flashlights and batteries. You may want to prepare a portable kit and keep it in your car.
  • Make a Family Emergency Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.
  • Protect your property from wildfires by designing and landscaping with wildfire safety in mind.
  • Learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by your state and local government. In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials.
  • Ask your local SERVPRO® Franchise Professional about starting a Disaster Recovery Plan for your business.

If Wildfires Do Threaten

If wildfires do occur near you, follow these tips from FEMA:

  • Wear protective clothing.
  • Take your Emergency Supply Kit.
  • Lock your home or business.
  • Tell someone when you leave and where you are going.
  • Choose a route away from fire hazards.
  • Close windows, vents, doors, blinds or noncombustible window coverings.
  • Shut off all utilities, if possible.
  • Open fireplace damper. Close fireplace screens.
  • Move flammable furniture into the center of the home.
  • Turn on a light in each room to increase the visibility of your home.
  • Seal attic and ground vents with precut noncombustible coverings.
  • Turn off propane tanks.
  • Place combustible patio furniture inside.
  • Connect the garden hose to outside taps.
  • Set up a portable gasoline-powered pump.
  • Place lawn sprinklers on the roof and near above ground fuel tanks.
  • Wet or remove shrubs within 15 feet of the home or business.
  • Gather fire tools.

Wildfires can strike almost anywhere and can cause more than just the damage that you see. If fire or smoke damages your property, it can throw your life into chaos. SERVPRO® of South Everett is dedicated to restoring your damaged property back to its preloss condition and helping your life get back to normal.

If fire or smoke damages your home or business, give us a call at 425-367-4484. We’ll make it “Like it never even happened.”

*Tips provided by FEMA and SERVPRO® Industries, Inc.

Winter Heating Hazards

1/23/2017 (Permalink)

50% of all residential heating-related fires are reported during the months of December, January and February.

Did you know 50% of all residential heating-related fires are reported during the months of December, January and February? During the winter, days are short and temperatures are low. In an effort to keep our homes and workplaces cozy, many people use alternative heat sources like fireplaces, portable space heaters, and wood burning stoves. Did you know heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths? According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment fires cause an estimated $1 billion in direct property damage annually.

Keep the following safety tips in mind to help reduce your risk of a heating-related fire:

  • Keep anything flammable at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove or a portable space heater. Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly.

If your property does suffer fire damage, contact SERVPRO® of South Everett at 425-367-4484 to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

*Statistics and tips provided by the National Fire Prevention Association and SERVPRO® Industries, Inc.