Recent Fire Damage Posts
In 2023, avoid five bad habits that can lead to a fire damage disaster
Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak explains how bad habits in the use, cleaning, and storage of appliances can cause an electrical fire that requires fire and water damage restoration services.
SERVPRO® of Ennis/Red Oak provides fire damage, smoke damage, and water damage restoration 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays. Crews can be on the scene in about an hour to begin the cleanup and restoration process. Some property damage disasters are completely avoidable with a few changes in how appliances are used, cleaned, and stored. Other property damage disasters are unavoidable, such as storm damage and flooding.
Nearly 1,000 housefires a day are reported in the United States. Many of these fires could have been prevented by following fire prevention practices. Many of these fires are related to electrical issues and the use and care of electrical appliances. By establishing and practicing these fire prevention strategies, lives can be saved, and property damage can be prevented.
Avoid the following five common bad habits to make the home a safe, fire-free environment for family and friends:
#1. Leaving an electrical appliance on or operating while unattended
Although most home appliances can safely operate without being constantly monitored or adjusted by the operator, people should still be present in the home when appliances are in use. Leaving the house while the dishwasher is running can be very risky. The homeowner who runs the dishwasher or the washing machine while asleep may wake up the next morning to find a flooded kitchen or laundry room.
A dryer left running while everyone is out shopping, playing golf, or at the movies could cause a fire damage disaster. If time does not allow for the completion of a drying cycle, the safest solution is to not start drying in the first place. Interrupting a load of clothes during a heat cycle while the dryer is hot can result in a fire. One safe option is to run a short cycle and partially dry the clothes. Hang up the clothes until later when time allows for the clothes to be completely dried. An article or two of clothing needed for the next day can be dried in a short cycle for light loads. How hot does a residential clothes dryer get? The average residential dryer reaches temperatures between 125 degrees and 135 degrees Fahrenheit.
Safety is the best policy when washing clothes. Operate the washing machine only when someone is home and can turn off the appliance should a supply line burst or a leak erupts inside the machine.
#2. Neglecting to defrost the freezer
Freezers that are not frost-free should be defrosted at least once a year. A freezer free of frost will run more efficiently, use less energy, and save the homeowner money. The appliance will also have a longer lifespan. An overworked freezer can be a fire risk.
Before defrosting, make sure the appliance is turned off and unplugged. Place several bowls of hot tap water inside the appliance to loosen the ice. Lay towels on the floor around the freezer to catch any spillage or leakage from the defrosting process. Avoid using a hair dryer to defrost the freezer, as this may cause electrical shock or cause the hair dryer to overheat.
#3. Allowing grease and grime to accumulate on an oven or grill
The buildup of fat and grease around the stove eyes, on the hood, and inside the exhaust fan and vent pipe creates a fire hazard. After cooking an item in the oven, place an oven-safe bowl of water inside the hot oven for at least 18 to 20 minutes. Steam from the bowl of water will soften and loosen grime and grease. When the unit cools, wipe away the residue. Make sure the stove and oven are completely off before wiping.
#4. Not allowing an appliance to cool before wrapping the power cord around it
A hotplate, griddle, waffle iron, or electric grill gets hot enough to melt or damage the outer insulation of the electrical cord for the device. Allow fifteen minutes for the appliance to cool before storing it on a shelf or in a cabinet. Safely wrap the cord around the device only after the appliance has completely cooled.
#5. Placing items on top of the microwave
The habit of storing items on top of the microwave can have serious consequences. If exhaust vents are blocked or the airflow is impeded, the unit can overheat and possibly catch fire. Re-arrange the counter or cabinets to accommodate the items previously stored on top of the microwave. The increased safety is worth the extra effort.
By putting off a few bad habits, the home can be much safer and less likely to suffer a fire, smoke, and water damage disaster. If the worst scenario happens, contact the property damage professionals at SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak.
To learn more about water damage restoration services in Emhouse, TX, call SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak at (972) 937-1494. The damage restoration company can also be contacted by email at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.
Fireplace Safety Tips to Keep the Fireplace a Safe Place and Avoid Fire Damage and Other Hazards
Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak, a damage restoration company, shares fireplace safety tips for local homeowners.
SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak is the best choice for fire damage restoration in the local area. When a fire disaster strikes, life is disrupted and filled with anxiety and stress. The team of property damage restoration specialists strives to serve the community by reducing the turmoil in the aftermath of a disaster. Ennis and Red Oak residents can count on the caring professionals at SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak to quickly restore homes that have suffered fire damage, water damage, or smoke damage.
Fireplace Safety Tips
The luxurious warmth of glowing flames and a steaming cup of rich hot cocoa create a cozy winter ambiance that extends well beyond the holidays. Every winter, homeowners in Ennis, Red Oak, and the surrounding area rely upon their fireplaces, gas logs, and woodburning stoves for supplemental heating for their homes and other living and working spaces. Yet, there exists a risk of accidental fire from flaming embers, creosote residue, and temperatures that rise at times above 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. To greatly reduce the risk of accidental fire, follow the fireplace safety tips listed below.
Tip #1: Have a certified, professional chimney sweep inspect and clean the chimney annually.
If the fireplace or wood-burning stove has not been used in a while, a chimney inspection to determine creosote levels, assess structural integrity, and remove any blockages from debris ensures the safety and health of the home and family.
Creosote buildup can ignite under high temperatures and when exposed to burning embers. Damage to the chimney can prevent proper airflow and allow hot embers and dangerous smoke and soot to blow back into the home. Animal nests can not only restrict airflow but they can also ignite and potentially cause serious fire damage. Homeowners who rely heavily upon their fireplace or wood stove to heat their homes should consider having an additional inspection and chimney cleaning after burning three chords of wood.
Tip #2: Practice safe fire building techniques.
Before starting a fire, fully open the fireplace damper. Restricted airflow can cause smoke, toxic soot, and carbon monoxide to flow into the home and create serious health effects. Also, be careful when choosing the type of wood to burn in the fireplace or woodstove. Use seasoned hardwoods, which burn more efficiently and produce less smoke and creosote.
Tip #3: Keep the fireplace and nearby area clean and safe.
Debris and clutter, such as extra firewood, newspaper, and kindling, are combustible and should be stored far away from the fireplace. An unnoticed burning ember can light on cured wood, dry newspaper, or kindling and ignite the flammable material.
Keeping fireplace ash to a minimum will increase airflow through the chimney, which will cause the wood to burn more efficiently. Clean out the fireplace frequently. Make sure the fire is completely out and there are no lingering embers. Dispose of the ash properly. Never put the ash in a garbage can just in case there are some remaining hot embers. Avoid allowing ash to accumulate more than one inch in the fireplace.
Use a fireplace screen to prevent hot embers, sparks, and ash from popping out of the fireplace and onto the floor or carpeting and causing a fire. Aerosol cans, stain remover, nail polish, alcohol, and other flammable liquids should be safely stored away from the heat of the fireplace. The dangerous, flammable fumes from these products can ignite, causing a flash fire.
Tip #4: Reduce the risk of a roof fire.
Have a certified chimney solutions provider install a chimney cap with a spark arrestor. This application not only helps prevent roof fires but also reduces the risk of wildfires.
Tip #5: Childproof the fireplace.
To prevent fire-related injuries, children should always be supervised when the fireplace or wood stove is in use. The fireplace glass door should be kept closed. If young children are in the home, install a hearth gate around the fireplace. Teach children proper fireplace safety from the earliest age. Children should know that fires are very hot and can cause serious burns or death. Teaching children to maintain a safe distance from the wood stove or fireplace can prevent serious burns and save their lives.
Tip #6: Never leave a fireplace, wood stove, or gas logs unattended.
Fire safety experts warn that homeowners should never leave a burning fireplace unattended. If the fire is not properly supervised, a chimney fire can flare up and spread very quickly. Before going to bed or leaving the house, the homeowner should make sure that the fire has been completely extinguished. Keep the damper partially open until the fire is totally extinguished and absolutely safe.
Tip #7: Install a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector on each level of the home.
Test and replace batteries at least twice a year. New Year’s Day (January 1st) and Independence Day (July 4th) are great days to practice this home fire safety action. It can take less than two minutes for a small fire to get out of control. Keep a fire extinguisher in one or more accessible locations. In case of a fire, stay calm. Focus on getting everyone out of the home and a safe distance away. Call 9-1-1.
SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak has been serving the community since 2000. Centrally located in Ellis County, the property damage response team can reach any destination in the area in under thirty minutes. The staff receives continuous, rigorous training in property damage cleanup and restoration.
For more information about fire damage restoration in Ennis, TX, contact the SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak office by phone at (972) 937-1494 or by email at acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.
SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak Can Help Recover Your Losses from Fire Damage
A catastrophic event, such as a home fire, can be an overwhelming experience. The process of making sure everyone is safe, finding temporary lodging, starting the clean-up activities, and ultimately rebuilding can take months. It can also take a huge toll on the family. That’s where the training and expertise of the clean-up and restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak (972-937-1494) can provide assistance to get you through.
In this article we will explain one part of the recovery process that can be an almost insurmountable task for the homeowner to do alone. That is, determining what is salvageable and what is not among all the affected items in the home and communicating that information in detail to the insurer. This is a necessary step to recuperating your loses related to your fire damaged belongings.
We at SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak do this task regularly for our customers who are recovering from a home fire. It is a lengthy process that must precede packing your belongings out of the damaged home and beginning cleanup. The process ensures that every item is accounted for and that you and your insurer are informed as to what is deemed salvageable and what is going to have to be replaced.
During the process of assessing your household and personal goods, every item will be photographed, assessed, and inventoried. Then two lists will be created, one of salvageable and one of non- salvageable items. Presumably, depending on your insurance coverage, the insurer will pay to clean or restore the salvageable items and to replace those deemed non-salvageable.
Several factors contribute to the decision as to pace an item in the non-salvageable category. Our technicians are trained to recognize damage that can be cleaned and restored versus irreparable damage.
Some items are easily identified as damaged beyond repair. Those are immediately placed on the non-salvageable list.
Items that sustained smoke or soot damage are carefully assessed and those that cannot be thoroughly cleaned without damaging the item further also go into the non-salvageable list, as well as those that sustained water stains or other water damage that cannot be restored.
In some cases, it might be possible to restore an item, however, the cost to do so is so high that the insurer would opt to replace it instead. Such an item goes on the non-salvageable list.
An important factor to note here is the fate of your unsalvageable items. When your insurer agrees that an item cannot be saved and agrees to issue payment to you for that item, we are required to dispose of the non-salvageable item. Insurance policies prohibit us returning the non-salvageable item to the insured.
Oftentimes customers will ask for one or more of their unsalvageable items to be returned. We fully understand that some items may have sentimental value to you and your family. If this is the case, as soon as possible after we provide you with the list of unsalvageable items you need to let us know of any items you want returned. We must remove that item or those items from the list so that your insurer can adjust payment.
Waiting until close to the end of your job to ask for the return of any unsalvageable items will result in an unhappy ending. After the insurer has paid for those items, we are obligated to dispose of them.
Your belongings that have sustained damage, but can be cleaned and restored to their previous condition go into the salvageable category. These items might be cleaned at your residence, especially if your inventory is being stored on site at your residence, for example, in rented pods. But more often the salvageable inventory will be transported to our warehouse where we have specialty equipment and products to facilitate their careful and thorough cleaning. It is helpful to keep in mind that many household items sustain a normal amount of wear and tear in their daily use. This type of damage is not likely to be repaired in the restoration process. Rather efforts involve removing smoke, soot, and water stains.
How You Can Help
The entire process of inventorying and assessing all your affected items can be a long, laborious task, one that most homeowners chose to leave to the professionals. However, there are some things you can do to help your insurer in completing this process. When negotiating salvageability and pricing with your insurer having good documentation at hand can save the day.
One important task is to keep receipts for all significant purchases. Having proof of purchase and purchase price can be invaluable in recovering the full value of your belongings.
In addition to receipts that show the original price of your items, having pictures from before your fire damage can help to prove that the damage sustained was related to the fire. These two things help immensely when it comes to creating and validating your unsalvageable list with your insurer.
If you have not already compiled a home inventory, please consider making a list of all your items and their associated costs. Store these together with receipts and photos in a safe, fireproof place. It is a lengthy process that most homeowners never consider until it is too late. But in the unfortunate event of a home fire, it could prove invaluable in recuperating your loses.
We hope you never experience the unfortunate circumstance of a home fire. But if you do, remember the professionals who can take the burden of inventorying salvageable and non-salvageable items off you – SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak. We will rush to your assistance and make it “Like it never even happened.” Call us at (972) 937-1494.
Keep Your Holidays Jolly - Prevent Christmas Tree Related Fires
As weather cools and days get shorter, our minds turn to the fun and festivity of the upcoming holiday season. Family gatherings, lavish meals, and festive decorations create lasting memories and build family traditions. A decorated tree is often the center of a home’s Christmas decorations.
To ensure that your family’s holiday memories are not marred by a tragic accident involving your Christmas tree, follow the safety tips below from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
In the event of a fire, no matter how large or small, remember that SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak is nearby and ready to respond. We will quickly clean up and restore your property.
Pick a Tree
- Pick a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
Place the Tree
- Before placing the tree, trim two inches off the bottom end of the trunk. This allows the tree to absorb water and remain fresh longer.
- Place the tree at least three free from any heat source, such as a fireplace, radiator, electric heater, candle, heat vent, or light.
- Ensure the tree is not blocking an exit.
- Fill the bowl of the tree stand with water and add water daily to keep the tree fresh.
Light the Tree
- Use lights that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory. Make sure the lights you use are approved for where they are placed (indoor or outdoor).
- Discard any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose connections. Replace any missing bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions before connecting strands and do not exceed the recommendations for number of light strands to connect.
- Never use lit candles to decorate a tree.
- Always make sure the tree lights are turned off before leaving home or going to bed.
Dispose of Tree Properly
- Dispose of the tree after Christmas or when it becomes dry. Hopefully, your tree will stay green and fresh throughout the season. Waiting to put it up closer to Christmas can help to ensure you won’t have a dry tree that poses a fire hazard before you are ready to dispose of it.
- Don’t leave the tree in the house or garage or outside resting against the house. Dried out trees burn explosively when ignited and pose a dangerous risk left in or near your home.
- Many communities provide recycling programs to help dispose of Christmas trees responsibly. Check with your local community.
- Bring lights you used for outdoor decorations indoors after the season to preserve them for future use.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that
- more than one of every four home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems
- one in every four is due to a heat source too close to the tree
- a small fire that spreads to a Christmas tree can turn serious quickly
If your home or business experiences fire damage due to any kind of fire, SERVPRO of Ennis/Red Oak has highly trained technicians who are qualified to do thorough cleanup and restoration of your property. For any kind of damage due to water, fire, smoke, or mold. We are ready to make it “Like it never even happened.” Call us at 972-937-1494.
This information and more about fire safety and prevention can be found at www.nfpa.org.
If you experience a fire damage loss, we can help.
SERVPRO of Ennis / Red Oak was called out to respond to the aftermath this house fire. As you can see, the damage was extensive.
When our team arrived, we removed all of the fire damaged materials that couldn't be salvaged, demoed the parts of the home that needed to be replaced, thoroughly cleaned the residue and remnants left over from the fire, and made the space ready for reconstruction.
It's hard to see this kind of destruction and imagine it repaired, but it's more than doable for SERVPRO of Ennis / Red Oak. Our highly trained crew are trained especially to deal with these types of situations, and to help make fire damage, water damage, storm damage, or mold damage "Like it never even happened."
We were happy to be able to do that for this customer.
Prevention of Secondary Damage
Beware of secondary damage
This photo shows the roof of a home that was blackened, puckered, and generally damaged by a fire, leaving the home below and its contents exposed to the outside elements. SERVPRO of Ennis / Red Oak was able to respond to the customer's call and tarp off the damaged area to prevent moisture from getting through the open space and causing further damage.
When a customer calls SERVPRO of Ennis / Red Oak with a fire loss, we arrive on scene as quickly as possible, assess the damaged area, and determine what can be done to ensure that any additional damage is prevented or limited. In this specific instance, that included the tarping of the roof. Once the property was secure and protected, remediation of the damage and restoration of the home was able to begin.
Prevent Fire Damage: Don't Let Halloween be Scary for the Wrong Reasons
When autumn arrives our attention quickly turns to the upcoming holidays. Halloween is a favorite of many children, with its colorful decorations, creative costumes, and fun activities. However, holiday celebrations can turn tragic in an instant. The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) reports that 900 reported fires each year involve holiday decorations. Two of five of these fires started with a candle. To ensure that Halloween is not spooky for the wrong reasons, follow a few safety tips from NFPA. And in the event that a fire does affect your property, remember that SERVPRO of Ennis / Red Oak is nearby and ready to help with cleanup and restoration of damages due to any fire no matter how large or how small.
- Don’t purchase or make costumes with long trailing fabric. If a mask is part of the costume, make sure the eye holes are large enough to see out of.
- Provide a flashlight or glow stick for your children to carry for light and to make them more visible.
- Decorations are often made with dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper, which catch fire easily. Keep them away from open flames and other heat sources such as light bulbs and heaters.
- A battery-operated candle or glow-stick is preferred for use in jack-o-lanterns. Use a real candle with extreme caution.
- Monitor children at all times when lighted candles are in the area.
- Light candles inside jack-o-lanterns, with long, fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter.
- Place lighted pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far out of the way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards.
- Keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
- Test home smoke alarms regularly to ensure they are working.
- Warn children to stay away from open flames including jack-o-lanterns with candles in them.
- Be sure your children know to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire. (Have them practice, stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out.)
- If your children are attending a Halloween party away from home, make sure they take note of where exits are and make a planned escape route in case of fire.
If your home or business experiences fire damage due to any kind of fire, SERVPRO of Ennis / Red Oak has highly trained technicians who are qualified to do a thorough job of cleanup and restoration of damage due to water, fire, smoke, or mold. Don’t hesitate to give us a call at 972-937-1494.
This information and more about fire safety and prevention can be found at www.nfpa.org.
Ennis Red Oak Residents: Being Prepared Can Lessen Risk of Damage from Wildfire
Texans can always count on late summer to bring extreme heat and drought. According to the National Integrated Drought Information System, Texas is currently abnormally dry or under severe drought conditions, and there is a relationship between drought and wildfire episodes. The results of wildfire include not only fire and smoke damage to property or even total loss of property, but also the loss of human and animal life. As with any potential disaster, the best defense is to be informed, exercise precautionary measures, and be prepared in case the worst does happen.
There are several things you can do to prepare for and potentially diminish the risk of damage to your property and to protect your loved ones in the case of a wildfire in your community.
- Sign up for emergency alerts. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio issue emergency alerts.
- Be familiar with evacuation routes in your community. Know more than one route, and drive the routes so that you know how to find your way out and to shelter ahead of an emergency. Make a plan for any animals in your care.
- Gather emergency supplies (a list of supplies that should be ready for any emergency can be found at www.ready.gov/build-a-kit). Be sure to include N95 respirator masks, which will filter out any particles from the air you breathe. Don’t forget any medications for your family and pets.
- Store important documents in a fireproof safe, and keep a password protected digital copy.
- Use fire-resistant materials when building, repairing, or renovating.
- Have an outside water source with hoses that will reach any part of your property.
- Create a fire-resistant zone around your house. Remove dried leaves, debris, and any flammable materials for at least 30 feet around your house.
- Review your insurance coverage to ensure it is enough to replace your property in the case of loss.
In the event that you are affected by a fire of any kind, remember that we at SERVPRO of Ennis Red Oak are here to help in the aftermath. Our technicians are trained and equipped to handle cleanup and restoration of fire damage or smoke damage to your home or business so that you can get back to the business of life. Call us at 972-935-0827.
This information regarding how to prepare for a wildfire, as well as information about how to survive during a wildfire and how to be safe afterwards, can be found at www.fema.gov.