Recent Fire Damage Posts
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 Bethlehem Commercial Fire Damage
SERVPRO Can Treat Bethlehem 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 Bethlehem. 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 (610) 838-0200 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 Bethlehem 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 Bethlehem help you restore it.
So, before you risk doing further damage by attempting to clean up the damage yourself, call us today (610)-838-0200
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 Bethlehem can help #LikeItNeverEvenHappened.
We Answer the Phone Ready to Help
Call Today – 610-838-0200
Smoke and Soot in your Northampton County 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 Bethlehem 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 – 610-838-0200
Top 5 most common causes of house fires
Here are top 5 most common causes of house fires as identified by the National Fire Protection Association.
From 2007-2011, the NFPA says there were an average of 10,630 fires in the U.S. that were started by candles, causing 115 deaths, 903 injuries and approximately $418 million in property damage. That is an average of 29 candle fires per day.
- Never leave a candle burning near flammable items.
- Never leave a candle burning in a child’s room or an unoccupied room.
- Make sure candles fit securing into candle holders so they won’t tip over.
- Blow out any candles before leaving a room or going to sleep
While the number of fires caused by smoking is trending downward, the NFPA found that there were still an average of 17,600 related fires per year resulting in 490 deaths and more than $516 million in property damage.
- If you smoke, consider smoking outside.
- Use wide, sturdy ashtrays to catch butts and ashes.
- Look for cigarette butts under furniture and between seat cushions to make sure no lit butts have fallen someplace where they can’t be seen.
- Don’t smoke in bed, when you’re tired or around medical oxygen.
Electrical & Lighting
According to the NFPA, in 2011 approximately 47,700 home structure fires were caused by some sort of electrical failure or malfunction. These resulted in 418 deaths, 1,570 injuries and $1.4 billion in property damage.
- Don’t overload outlets or electrical cords.
- Make sure you have the right cord for the job – inside cords for inside, heavy duty/outside cords for outdoor use.
- Don’t leave Christmas lights, Christmas trees, or halogen lights on overnight or when not at home.
- Consider having an electrician perform an annual checkup of your home’s wiring.
Dryers & Washing Machines
Clothes dryer fires happen more often than one might think, accounting for 16,800 home structure fires in 2010 and doing more than $236 million in property damage.
- Clean the lint screen frequently and don’t run the dryer without it.
- For gas and propane dryers, make sure there aren’t any leaks in the lines.
- Vent the dryer to the outside of the house and ensure nothing blocks the vent pipe.
- Clean the vent pipe and the area where the screen is housed.
- Keep the area around the dryer free of combustible materials.
From 2007-2011, NFPA says there were an average of 22,600 fires per year caused by lightning strikes.
- Stay away from doors and windows during an electrical storm.
- Do not use corded phones, computers, TVs or other electrical equipment during storms.
- Unplug major electronics – TVs, stereo equipment, computers and microwaves to minimize damage if there is a lightning strike close by.
- Avoid plumbing such as sinks, baths and faucets during a thunderstorm.
If you experience a fire in your home, don't hesitate to call SERVPRO of Bethlehem at 610-838-0200.
Bethlehem, PA - 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 Bethlehem can help your family after a bout of smoke and fire damage from a kitchen flare up. Contact us at 610-838-0200 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 Bethlehem 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 Bethlehem at 610-838-0200.
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:
Do's and Don't's for Fire and Smoke Damage in the Lehigh Valley
- 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: 610-838-0200
· Visit us: 860 N Kiowa Street, Allentown, PA 18109
· Visit our website: www.SERVPROEBW.com
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 Bethlehem, 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 Bethlehem.
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 Bethlehem. 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 Bethlehem a call.