Recent Fire Damage Posts

Kitchen Fire in Campbell, Ca

1/15/2019 (Permalink)

Last week we discussed how important the proper type fire extinguisher can be should a fire occur in your home; but here are some important tips on how you can prevent having to use the extinguisher in the first place:

Stay in your kitchen whenever you are cooking on the stovetop.

Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.

Keep children away from the stove – at least 3 feet.

Make sure kids and pets stay away from hot food or liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy, or coffee can cause serious burns.

Keep the floor clean so you don’t trip over any toys, purses, or bags.

Keep knives out of the reach of children.

Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer, or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child. 

Do not leave candles burning in rooms where you cannot observe them and make sure the flame is at least 1’ away from any combustible item.

Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

Some people may look to vary the traditional turkey entrée by using a deep fryer. The deep-frying cooking process requires that up to 5 gallons of oil be heated before placing the turkey into the device. Tests have shown that a number of available fryers can tip over easily, allowing hot oil to spill and creating a fire or scald burn from contact. They can also overheat which causes hot oil to spill or splatter outside the fryer, a recipe for fire or serious injury.

Fire in San Jose, Ca

1/2/2019 (Permalink)

Also clean your rang-hood.

In November SERVPRO of SW San Jose helped a customer dealing with a type of puff-back from his furnace.  It was a townhouse rental property with a long-term tenant, no maintenance emergencies in almost 10 years .... sounds like an in deal tenant yes?

In November, the tenant called to report ash streaming out of all the vents like an incinerator!  When I arrived for the inspection I found that the tenant had not changed the filter in 2 years!

We had to treat this type of contamination exactly as we would treat a smoke damage cleanup.  It required 100% wipe down of structure and contents, HVAC cleaning, and then extensive floor cleaning.

Ash has a way of sneaking even into closed areas - have a look below at the ash around his silverware which was enclosed in the silverware drawer.

Homeowners should know about rebuilding cost

1/2/2019 (Permalink)

"Like it Never Even Happened"

For many people their home may be the biggest investment they will ever make.  Determining your home's estimated replacement cost is important because in the event of a loss the replacement cost will ultimately determine how much coverage your policy will provide.  Since it is impossible to predict today what the exact cost will be to replace your home in the future, it's important to have enough coverage to account for unforeseen circumstances.

The keys are:

1.  Understanding the difference between market value and replacement cost

2.  Making sure that your home is insured for at least 100% of its estimated replacement cost.

Market value is the amount a buyer would pay for a home, including the land, regardless of how much it would cost to rebuild the home.  Replacement cost for insurance purposes is the rebuilding cost necessary to repair or replace the entire home.

To determine the proper amount of homeowners coverage:

1.  Ask if a replacement cost estimate is available when you have your home appraised.

2  Consult with your local builder association or a reputable builder for an estimate.

Market conditions in your area may impact the amount it will cost to rebuild your home if you experience a loss.  Replacement cost estimates are influenced by factors such as supply of labor, the cost of labor, and the cost of construction materials.  If neither estimate is available, the following basic guidelines can be used for the San Francisco East & South Bay Areas:

Approximate Economy Home Rebuilding Cost:  $200 / sq ft

Approximate Standard Home Rebuilding Cost:  $250 / sq ft

Approximate Semi-Custom Home:  $350 / sq ft

Approximate Custom / Luxury Home:  $400 / sq ft and up

Should you experience a fire, water, or mold loss, you can count on SERVPRO to help.  Our goal is to help you regain control and make your damage "Like It Never Even Happened".

Be save on Thanksgiving...

11/19/2018 (Permalink)

Turkey Fryer Blazing Up

Did you know that there are about 4,300 Thanksgiving Day fires annually in the United States?   The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says Thanksgiving Day is the leading day for home cooking fires, with three times as many occurring on Thanksgiving as any other day of the year.  Cooking is often a relaxing and fun task that brings family and friends together, and it provides a great way to showcase your creativity and love of good food.   Safety in the kitchen is always important even more so when there is a lot of activity and people at home.

Here are some important tips on how you can prevent having to use the extinguisher in the first place:

  1. Stay in your kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on your food.
  2. Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
  3. Keep children away from the stove – at least 3 feet.
  4. Make sure kids and pets stay away from hot food or liquids.  The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy, or coffee can cause serious burns.
  5. Keep the floor clean so you don’t trip over any toys, purses, or bags.
  6. Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  7. Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer, or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
  8. Do not leave candles burning in rooms where you cannot observe them and make sure the flame is at least 1’ away from any combustible item.
  9. Make sure your smoke alarms are working.  Test them by pushing the test button.

Chimney Fire

11/19/2018 (Permalink)

Chimney on fire clean out chimney ones a year.

Did you feel the chill in the air this past weekend?  For many of us, there’s nothing quite like enjoying a crackling fire to chase away the cold weather.  You’re sitting in your living room with your family enjoying the warm glow of the flames, and suddenly you hear a roaring noise.  It almost sounds like a jet plane is flying right over your home!  Huge amounts of dark smoke billow out of the top of your chimney – what is happening?!?

This is a scenario that plays out almost 25,000 times per year in the US:  Chimney Fires.  These fires can be very dramatic, or they may burn silently, but their silence holds no indication of the harm they may cause as they burn slowly at incredibly high temperatures.  Regardless of the type, all chimney fires can cause substantial damage and risk to you and your family.

So what causes chimney fires?  The build-up of creosote along the chimney lining walls can facilitate the start of a chimney fire. This build-up is caused by the unburned materials in the smoke accumulating along the chimney walls and creating a sticky substance that can easily catch fire. The smoke from the fire contains a substance similar to tar and when the temperatures within the chimney are below 250 degrees Fahrenheit, the substance will condense along the chimney surface. When the temperature drops below 150 degrees Fahrenheit, the substance turns into a dark, sticky substance that is also highly flammable.

The Good News:  Chimney fires are almost entirely preventable!

Chimney fires are a dangerous and serious problem to have, but the good news is that they are also almost entirely preventable.  You must be careful to only burn materials that are ready and meant to be burned.  For example, only use seasoned, dry wood, newspapers, and dry kindling.  Burning cardboard boxes, trash, or wrapping paper can cause the creation of excess creosote and put your home and family in danger.  While using the correct fuel is important, a chimney fire can still occur even after taking these precautions.  This is why annual chimney inspections and cleanings are a critical part of home maintenance.  Most creosote is removed during annual chimney cleaning performed by chimney sweeps.

A clean chimney reduces the risk of a fire; so before you strike the first match for a fire this winter, consider scheduling a chimney inspection and cleaning.   Some simple precautions can help you have a safe and happy winter season.

(Statistics Courtesy of U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC))

Kitchen Fire in San Jose, Ca

9/27/2018 (Permalink)

Kitchen fire in San Jose, Ca

A fire started in San Jose apartment at 3:30 pm. San Jose fire dependent was call and so was the property insurances company Sate Farm. State Farm agent gave a call to SERVPRO of SW San Jose to go out and help their customer with a fire they had in San Jose, Ca. SERVPRO was there with in an hour to help broad up the place and do a little bit of clean up till the insurances adjuster want out to take a look at damaged. SERVPRO of SW San Jose will be taking care of this project from beginning to end. Customers are happy that they are only talking to one company that is going to take care of it all. SERVPRO of SW San Jose is here to  help with all the big and small project.   

Kitchen Fire

1/3/2018 (Permalink)

Stove fire

Last week we discussed how important the proper type fire extinguisher can be should a fire occur in your home; but here are some important tips on how you can prevent having to use the extinguisher in the first place:

Stay in your kitchen whenever you are cooking on the stovetop.

Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.

Keep children away from the stove – at least 3 feet.

Make sure kids and pets stay away from hot food or liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy, or coffee can cause serious burns.

Keep the floor clean so you don’t trip over any toys, purses, or bags.

Keep knives out of the reach of children.

Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer, or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child. 

Do not leave candles burning in rooms where you cannot observe them and make sure the flame is at least 1’ away from any combustible item.

Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

Some people may look to vary the traditional turkey entrée by using a deep fryer. The deep-frying cooking process requires that up to 5 gallons of oil be heated before placing the turkey into the device. Tests have shown that a number of available fryers can tip over easily, allowing hot oil to spill and creating a fire or scald burn from contact. They can also overheat which causes hot oil to spill or splatter outside the fryer, a recipe for fire or serious injury.

Want to see what a turkey fryer disaster can look like? State Farm teamed up with William Shatner to make a short video of what a turkey fryer fire can do, you can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETBD0EqQGoU&feature=feedu

If a house fire does occur, quickly get yourself and loves ones out of the house and call 9-1-1. If you attempt to fight the fire, make sure that others are getting out of the home or have a clear way out. For small grease fires, you can use a Class B extinguisher or smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until the pan is completely cooled. If there is an oven fire, turn off the heat and keeps the doors closed.

Remember to change your furnace filter!

1/2/2018 (Permalink)

You definitely don't want to eat off this silverware right now

In November SERVPRO of SW San Jose helped a customer dealing with a type of puff-back from his furnace.  It was a townhouse rental property with a long-term tenant, no maintenance emergencies in almost 10 years .... sounds like an in deal tenant yes?

In November, the tenant called to report ash streaming out of all the vents like an incinerator!  When I arrived for the inspection I found that the tenant had not changed the filter in 2 years!

We had to treat this type of contanimation exactly as we would treat a smoke damage cleanup.  It required 100% wipedown of structure and contents, HVAC cleaning, and then extensive floor cleaning.

Ash has a way of sneaking even into closed areas - have a look below at the ash around his silverware which was enclosed in the silverware drawer.

Homeowners should know about rebuilding cost

1/2/2018 (Permalink)

For many people their home may be the biggest investment they will ever make.  Determining your home's estimated replacement cost is important because in the event of a loss the replacement cost will ultimately determine how much coverage your policy will provide.  Since it is impossible to predict today what the exact cost will be to replace your home in the future, it's important to have enoughcoverage to acount for unforseen circumstances.

The keys are:

1.  Understanding the difference between market value and replacement cost

2.  Making sure that your home is insured for at least 100% of its estimated replacement cost.

Market value is the amount a buyer would pay for a home, including the land, regardless of how much it would cost to rebuild the home.  Replacement cost for insurance purposes is the rebuilding cost necessary to repair or replace the entire home.

To determine the proper amount of homeowners coverage:

1.  Ask if a replacement cost estimate is available when you have your home appraised.

2  Consult with your local builder association or a reputable builder for an estimate.

Market conditions in your area may impact the amount it will cost to rebuild your home if you experience a loss.  Replacement cost estimates are influenced by factors such as supply of labor, the cost of labor, and the cost of construction materials.  If neither estimate is available, the following basic guidelines can be used for the San Francisco East & South Bay Areas:

Approximate Economy Home Rebuilding Cost:  $200 / sq ft

Approximate Standard Home Rebuilding Cost:  $250 / sq ft

Approximate Semi-Custom Home:  $350 / sq ft

Approximate Custom / Luxury Home:  $400 / sq ft and up

Should you experience a fire, water, or mold loss, you can count on SERVPRO to help.  Our goal is to help you regain control and make your damage "Like It Never Even Happened".

Be save on Thanksgiving

11/17/2017 (Permalink)

Turkey Fryer Blazing Up

Did you know that there are about 4,300 Thanksgiving Day fires annually in the United States?   The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says Thanksgiving Day is the leading day for home cooking fires, with three times as many occurring on Thanksgiving as any other day of the year.  Cooking is often a relaxing and fun task that brings family and friends together, and it provides a great way to showcase your creativity and love of good food.   Safety in the kitchen is always important even more so when there is a lot of activity and people at home.

Here are some important tips on how you can prevent having to use the extinguisher in the first place:

  1. Stay in your kitchen when you are cooking on the stovetop so you can keep an eye on your food.
  2. Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
  3. Keep children away from the stove – at least 3 feet.
  4. Make sure kids and pets stay away from hot food or liquids.  The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy, or coffee can cause serious burns.
  5. Keep the floor clean so you don’t trip over any toys, purses, or bags.
  6. Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  7. Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer, or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
  8. Do not leave candles burning in rooms where you cannot observe them and make sure the flame is at least 1’ away from any combustible item.
  9. Make sure your smoke alarms are working.  Test them by pushing the test button.

This your Chimney at ricks for a fire..

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

Chimney Fire Damaged.

Did you feel the chill in the air this past weekend?  For many of us, there’s nothing quite like enjoying a crackling fire to chase away the cold weather.  You’re sitting in your living room with your family enjoying the warm glow of the flames, and suddenly you hear a roaring noise.  It almost sounds like a jet plane is flying right over your home!  Huge amounts of dark smoke billow out of the top of your chimney – what is happening?!?

This is a scenario that plays out almost 25,000 times per year in the US:  Chimney Fires.  These fires can be very dramatic, or they may burn silently, but their silence holds no indication of the harm they may cause as they burn slowly at incredibly high temperatures.  Regardless of the type, all chimney fires can cause substantial damage and risk to you and your family.

So what causes chimney fires?  The build-up of creosote along the chimney lining walls can facilitate the start of a chimney fire. This build-up is caused by the unburned materials in the smoke accumulating along the chimney walls and creating a sticky substance that can easily catch fire. The smoke from the fire contains a substance similar to tar and when the temperatures within the chimney are below 250 degrees Fahrenheit, the substance will condense along the chimney surface. When the temperature drops below 150 degrees Fahrenheit, the substance turns into a dark, sticky substance that is also highly flammable.

The Good News:  Chimney fires are almost entirely preventable!

Chimney fires are a dangerous and serious problem to have, but the good news is that they are also almost entirely preventable.  You must be careful to only burn materials that are ready and meant to be burned.  For example, only use seasoned, dry wood, newspapers, and dry kindling.  Burning cardboard boxes, trash, or wrapping paper can cause the creation of excess creosote and put your home and family in danger.  While using the correct fuel is important, a chimney fire can still occur even after taking these precautions.  This is why annual chimney inspections and cleanings are a critical part of home maintenance.  Most creosote is removed during annual chimney cleaning performed by chimney sweeps.

A clean chimney reduces the risk of a fire; so before you strike the first match for a fire this winter, consider scheduling a chimney inspection and cleaning.   Some simple precautions can help you have a safe and happy winter season.

(Statistics Courtesy of U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (USCPSC))

What homeowner should know about rebuilding

9/26/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO will be there to help you out.

For many people their home may be the biggest investment they will ever make.  Determining your home's estimated replacement cost is important because in the event of a loss the replacement cost will ultimately determine how much coverage your policy will provide.  Since it is impossible to predict today what the exact cost will be to replace your home in the future, it's important to have enoughcoverage to acount for unforseen circumstances.

The keys are:

1.  Understanding the difference between market value and replacement cost

2.  Making sure that your home is insured for at least 100% of its estimated replacement cost.

Market value is the amount a buyer would pay for a home, including the land, regardless of how much it would cost to rebuild the home.  Replacement cost for insurance purposes is the rebuilding cost necessary to repair or replace the entire home.

To determine the proper amount of homeowners coverage:

1.  Ask if a replacement cost estimate is available when you have your home appraised.

2  Consult with your local builder association or a reputable builder for an estimate.

Market conditions in your area may impact the amount it will cost to rebuild your home if you experience a loss.  Replacement cost estimates are influenced by factors such as supply of labor, the cost of labor, and the cost of construction materials.  If neither estimate is available, the following basic guidelines can be used for the San Francisco East & South Bay Areas:

Approximate Economy Home Rebuilding Cost:  $200 / sq ft

Approximate Standard Home Rebuilding Cost:  $250 / sq ft

Approximate Semi-Custom Home:  $350 / sq ft

Approximate Custom / Luxury Home:  $400 / sq ft and up

Should you experience a fire, water, or mold loss, you can count on SERVPRO to help.  Our goal is to help you regain control and make your damage "Like it never even happened."

What homeowners should know about rebuilding cost

8/16/2016 (Permalink)

For many people their home may be the biggest investment they will ever make.  Determining your home's estimated replacement cost is important because in the event of a loss the replacement cost will ultimately determine how much coverage your policy will provide.  Since it is impossible to predict today what the exact cost will be to replace your home in the future, it's important to have enoughcoverage to acount for unforseen circumstances.

The keys are:

1.  Understanding the difference between market value and replacement cost

2.  Making sure that your home is insured for at least 100% of its estimated replacement cost.

Market value is the amount a buyer would pay for a home, including the land, regardless of how much it would cost to rebuild the home.  Replacement cost for insurance purposes is the rebuilding cost necessary to repair or replace the entire home.

To determine the proper amount of homeowners coverage:

1.  Ask if a replacement cost estimate is available when you have your home appraised.

2  Consult with your local builder association or a reputable builder for an estimate.

Market conditions in your area may impact the amount it will cost to rebuild your home if you experience a loss.  Replacement cost estimates are influenced by factors such as supply of labor, the cost of labor, and the cost of construction materials.  If neither estimate is available, the following basic guidelines can be used for the San Francisco East & South Bay Areas:

Approximate Economy Home Rebuilding Cost:  $200 / sq ft

Approximate Standard Home Rebuilding Cost:  $250 / sq ft

Approximate Semi-Custom Home:  $350 / sq ft

Approximate Custom / Luxury Home:  $400 / sq ft and up

Should you experience a fire, water, or mold loss, you can count on SERVPRO to help.  Our goal is to help you regain control and make your damage "Like It Never Even Happened".

Remember to change your furnace filter!

8/5/2016 (Permalink)

You definitely don't want to eat off this silverware right now

In April we helped a customer dealing with a type of puff-back from his furnace.  It was a townhouse rental property with a long-term tenant, no maintenance emergencies in almost 10 years .... sounds like an indeal tenant yes?

In April, the tenant called to report ash streaming out of all the vents like an incinerator!  When I arrived for the inspection I found that the tenant had not changed the filter in 2 years!

We had to treat this type of contanimation exactly as we would treat a smoke damage cleanup.  It required 100% wipedown of structure and contents, HVAC cleaning, and then extensive floor cleaning.

Ash has a way of sneaking even into closed areas - have a look below at the ash around his silverware which was enclosed in the silverware drawer.

Week 8 Question - Scavenger Hunt Contest Fall 2014

11/23/2014 (Permalink)

Frozen turkey dropped into fryer

Did you know that there are about 4,300 Thanksgiving Day fires annually in the United States? The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says Thanksgiving Day is the leading day for home cooking fires, with three times as many occurring on Thanksgiving as any other day of the year. Thanksgiving can be a fun and relaxing holiday that brings family and friends together; and taking some precautions can help you make sure your Thanksgiving is safe and enjoyable.

Last week we discussed how important the proper type fire extinguisher can be should a fire occur in your home; but here are some important tips on how you can prevent having to use the extinguisher in the first place:

Stay in your kitchen whenever you are cooking on the stovetop.

Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.

Keep children away from the stove – at least 3 feet.

Make sure kids and pets stay away from hot food or liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy, or coffee can cause serious burns.

Keep the floor clean so you don’t trip over any toys, purses, or bags.

Keep knives out of the reach of children.

Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer, or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.

Do not leave candles burning in rooms where you cannot observe them and make sure the flame is at least 1’ away from any combustible item.

Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.

Some people may look to vary the traditional turkey entrée by using a deep fryer. The deep-frying cooking process requires that up to 5 gallons of oil be heated before placing the turkey into the device. Tests have shown that a number of available fryers can tip over easily, allowing hot oil to spill and creating a fire or scald burn from contact. They can also overheat which causes hot oil to spill or splatter outside the fryer, a recipe for fire or serious injury.

Want to see what a turkey fryer disaster can look like? State Farm teamed up with William Shatner to make a short video of what a turkey fryer fire can do, you can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETBD0EqQGoU&feature=feedu

If a house fire does occur, quickly get yourself and loves ones out of the house and call 9-1-1. If you attempt to fight the fire, make sure that others are getting out of the home or have a clear way out. For small grease fires, you can use a Class B extinguisher or smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until the pan is completely cooled. If there is an oven fire, turn off the heat and keeps the doors closed.

Week 6 Question - Scavenger Hunt Contest Fall 2014

11/10/2014 (Permalink)

Kitchen pan fire

Did you know that according to FEMA, 1 out of 4 households in the US have no fire extinguisher at home?  Used at the right time, on the right fire, and in the right way, an extinguisher can limit flame and smoke damage, and can even save your home.

There are five primary types of fire extinguishers, each designed to put out different kinds of fires.  To put out a potential grease fire that may occur in your kitchen at home, you want to make sure your fire extinguisher is effective on which class of fire?

A.  Class A fires
B.  Class B fires
C.  Class C fires
D.  Class D fires
E.  Class K fires

Click on the link above to select your answer.  Once the pop-up window opens, hit "send" on your email to select your answer.  If the pop-up does not work for you, please email your answer directly to SERVPROdave@gmail.com.  You have until 11:59PM on Sunday, 11/16 to submit your answer.

Need a hint?  "Hunt" in our article below!

With so many fire extinguishers to choose from, selecting the proper one for your home can be a daunting task. Everyone should have at least one fire extinguisher at home, but it's just as important to ensure you have the proper type of fire extinguisher. Fire protection experts recommend one for the kitchen, the garage, and workshop.

There are five primary types of fire extinguishers, each designed to put out different kinds of fires.  Each fire extinguisher also has a numerical rating that serves as a guide for the amount of fire the extinguisher can handle. The higher the number, the more fire-fighting power. The following is a quick guide to help choose the right type of extinguisher: 

For use with ordinary materials like cloth, wood and paper.

Often found in homes and businesses

For use with combustible and flammable liquids like grease, cooking oil, gasoline, and oil-based paints.

Often found in homes and businesses 

For use with electrical equipment like appliances, tools, or other equipment that is plugged in.

Often found in homes and businesses For use with flammable metals Often found in factories

For use with vegetable oils, animal oils and fats in cooking appliances.

Often found in commercial kitchens (restaurants, cafeterias, catering businesses)

Water extinguishers or APW extinguishers (air-pressurized water) are suitable for class A fires only. Never use a water extinguisher on grease fires, electrical fires or class D fires - the flames will spread and make the fire bigger! Water extinguishers are filled with water and are typically pressurized with air. Again - water extinguishers can be very dangerous in the wrong type of situation. Only fight the fire if you're certain it contains ordinary combustible materials only.  

Dry chemical extinguishers come in a variety of types and are suitable for a combination of class A, B and C fires. These are filled with foam or powder and pressurized with nitrogen.Dry chemical extinguishers have an advantage over CO2 extinguishers since they leave a non-flammable substance on the extinguished material, reducing the likelihood of re-ignition.

  • BC - This is the regular type of dry chemical extinguisher. It is filled with sodium bicarbonate or potassium bicarbonate. The BC variety leaves a mildly corrosive residue which must be cleaned immediately to prevent any damage to materials.
  • ABC - This is the multipurpose dry chemical extinguisher. The ABC type is filled with monoammonium phosphate, a yellow powder that leaves a sticky residue that may be damaging to electrical appliances such as a computer. 

Carbon Dioxide (CO2).  CO2 extinguishers contain carbon dioxide, a non-flammable gas, and are highly pressurized. The pressure is so great that it is not uncommon for bits of dry ice to shoot out the nozzle. They don't work very well on class A fires because they may not be able to displace enough oxygen to put the fire out, causing it to re-ignite.

These are only the common types of fire extinguishers. There are many others to choose from. Base your selection on the classification and the extinguisher's compatibility with the items you wish to protect.

It is vital to know what type of extinguisher you are using. Using the wrong type of extinguisher for the wrong type of fire can be life-threatening.

When operating a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS:

  • Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.
  • Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
  • Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

Week 2 Question - Scavenger Hunt Contest Fall 2014

10/13/2014 (Permalink)

TRUE STORIES FROM THE FIELD

Imagine this, you're ready for bed and you walk into your kitchen to plug your cell phone into the charger for the night.  Just a few minutes later, the smoke alarm is blaring, there's a fire in your kitchen!

This customer managed to put out the fire quickly but made a very common mistake afterwards that made the situation worse.  Look carefully, can you name the mistake?

A.  Called the Fire Department

B.  Opened windows for ventilation

C.  Turned off HVAC system (Furnace / Air Conditioning)

D.  Used soap and water to wipe down walls to prevent soot from setting

E.   Ate canned food being stored on other side of the kitchen

Need a hint?  "Hunt" for the answer below!

(If the links above do not work for you, you mail email your answer directly to SERVPROdave@gmail.com.)

Smoke/Soot Removal

Soot/Smoke is the product of incomplete combustion made visible by the presence of small particles of carbon.  Remember, fire is indiscriminatory.  Any substance which can burn, will burn!  The more substances which burn, the more complex the odor. (See below)

Smoke odors normally may be classified into three categories:

1) Protein Odors:  Result from burned meat, flesh, or poultry.  The residue is brown/yellow in color.  The residues has a greasy texture.  Thorough cleaning is often required for complete deodorizing.

2) Natural Substance Odors:  Result from burned wood, paper, cotton, wool, jute, cork, feathers, etc.  The residue isgray/black in color and of a dry, powdered consistency.

3) Synthetic Substance Odors:  Result from burned plastics, synthetic textiles, etc.  The residue is black in color and smudges easily.  Smoke webs are often visiblein upper corners and smoke “streamers” and are often found hanging from curtain rods, etc.

Smoke is influenced by…

1) Heat:  Warmed or heated air rises and migrates to cold areas (outside walls, closets, etc.)  Heat causes pores to expand.

2) Pressure: The energy created by the fire produces heat and pressure which enables the smoke to penetrate into minute cracks and crevices.

3) Impingement:  Means splatter, when a substance hits a surface with sufficient velocity it will impinge (or splatter) and remain upon that surface.

4) Magnetism:  Attraction of smoke to metal surfaces.  (Plumbing pipes, nail heads, metal coat hangers).

5) Ionization:  Opposite charges attract, forming smoke webs on structural surfaces.  Plastic bags originating at the dry-cleaner’s retain static electrical charges which attract smoke.  In fact, in many fire situations, more smoke residues will be found on garments protected by plastic bags, than found on unprotected garments.

After fire damage, it is natural to want to clean a home and its contents. Timely action can be a great help, but incorrect or delayed action can jeopardize or seriously impede satisfactory restoration.

DO:

  • Call the fire department if there are any doubts the fire may not be completely extinguished.
  • Clean and protect chrome trim on kitchen appliances with a light coating of Vaseline or other oil.
  • Blow off or brush-vacuum loose smoke particles from upholstery, drapery and carpet.
  • Open windows for ventilation.
  • Turn off HVAC unit - blowing air through the ducts can spread ash and soot to unaffected areas
  • Empty freezer and refrigerator completely if electricity is off, and prop doors open with a rolled towel or newspaper.
  • Clean and protect smoked bathroom faucets, tub fittings and towel bars with light coating of oil.
  • Wash plants with water on both sides of leaves (water softener helps).
  • Remove children & pets (especially birds) to clean environments.

DON’T:

  • Use upholstered furniture if it can be avoided.
  • Use exposed food items, or canned goods which have been subjected to excessive heat.
  • Use TV’s, stereos, or electrical appliances until cleaned and checked.
  • Wipe or attempt to wash walls, ceilings or other absorbent surfaces.
  • Send smoked garments to an ordinary dry cleaner.  Improper cleaning may set smoke and odor.

Smoke residues from fires of natural origin are generally easier to clean up than fires of synthetic or protein origin.  For example, it would be easier to clean up the residue from a wood or paper fire than it would to clean up the residue from a fire of synthetic or protein origin.

And remember, if water was used to put out your fire, sometimes the water damage can be worse than the fire itself!  When the fire is over, most of the time the damage won’t substantially increase much over time.  But if the residence is not dried out completely, the water leftover from the fire department or sprinkler will cause progressive damage increasing over time.