Recent Fire Damage Posts

Should I have a home fire extinguisher?

10/2/2019 (Permalink)

A fire extinguisher hangs on a wall. Quick use of a fire extinguisher can suppress a small fire before it spreads throughout the home.

Home fire safety should start with a working smoke detector and a fire safety plan. If you already have those in your home, though, you may consider a fire extinguisher as the next step in fire preparedness.

A fire extinguisher works to put out a small fire by removing one of the three components of the fire triangle: heat, oxygen, and fuel. The most common fire extinguisher removes oxygen from a fire by smothering it in a dry chemical foam. In a way, it’s a high-powered version of pouring baking soda on a grease fire, which makes it particularly relevant in the kitchen.

But if you’re going to invest in a fire extinguisher to help protect your home and family—which luckily isn’t a huge investment, with most home units coming in between $10 and $40—you don’t want a one-hit wonder. The National Fire Protection Association recommends a multipurpose extinguisher, which works to suppress fires from ‘ordinary combustibles,’ grease fires, and electrical fires. On the market, this translates to a fire extinguisher that is ABC rated, such as a unit with a 3A:40-B:C rating, or the slightly smaller 2A:10-B:C rating. Units with these ratings can be found at almost any home improvement store.

Once again, having a working smoke detector in each room of your home should be your first priority in home fire preparedness. Two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends checking the batteries in your smoke detector once a month, changing them at least once a year, and replacing the unit altogether once it is 10 years old. Once you’re confident with this routine, you can consider adding a fire extinguisher to your home arsenal!

 

The Insidious Side Effect of Fire: Smoke Damage

9/10/2019 (Permalink)

A living room wall is covered in smoke damage from a kitchen fire. Even fires that occur outside the home can have lasting effects on household contents when smoke damage isn’t addressed quickly and properly.

When a fire occurs in or outside your home, visible damage to your property is often your first concern. While this instinct is understandable, even materials completely untouched by flames can pose health risks and be permanently damaged if left unaddressed.

Smoke and soot damage ranges in severity, but most often leaves items in your home discolored and odorous. Because smoke is acidic in nature, it affects the majority of household materials, from fabrics to wood to metal surfaces. The fact that smoke and soot particles can also get into your HVAC system and be redistributed throughout your home makes this kind of damage particularly insidious. According to the IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification), cleaning within the first few weeks post-fire is crucial to removing odor, stopping the discoloration process, and minimizing the need for replacement of belongings. Improper cleaning can actually push soot further into porous materials, and using the wrong cleaners on hard surfaces will only move hazardous particles around without eliminating odor or discoloration.

The last thing you’ll probably think about in the days immediately post-fire is whether or not your household vacuum is HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) certified. So, while you’re making other important arrangements, let us worry about that! The technicians here at SERVPRO of Missoula are IICRC certified and travel with the equipment—like air scrubbers, HEPA vacuums, and deodorization agents—that will make smoke damage “Like it never even happened.”

Fire Safety Tips

6/6/2019 (Permalink)

Follow these tips to help keep your home and loved ones safe.

Ensuring adequate placement of smoke detectors in your home or office is critical in keeping the occupants safe.  Non-working smoke alarms are often caused by missing or disconnected batteries.  With such grave consequences attributed to such a small oversight, it’s a good idea to check smoke alarm operation every 30 days.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that:

  • In 2009-2013, smoke alarms sounded in more than half (53%) of the home fires reported to U.S. fire departments.
  • Three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • No smoke alarms were present in more than one-third (38%) of the home fire deaths.
  • One of every five (21%) of the home fire deaths, smoke alarms were present but did not sound.
  • In reported home fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, almost half (46%) of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries. Nuisance alarms were the leading reason for disconnected smoke alarms.
  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Install alarms in the basement. Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
  • It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds they all sound.
  • Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
  • Today’s smoke alarms will be more technologically advanced to respond to a multitude of fire conditions, yet mitigate false alarms.
  • A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove.
  • People who are hard-of-hearing or deafcan use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.
  • Smoke alarms are an important part of a home fire escape plan.
  • See https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Smoke-alarms for more information

Following these tips can help keep your loved ones safe.  If you experience a smoke or fire damage in your Missoula home or business, call SERVPRO of Missoula at 406-327-9500 to clean and restore your home to preloss condition.  We have highly trained technicians and top of line equipment to help clean and repair your fire loss, no matter how large or small.

Where there's smoke, SERVPRO of Missoula can help

5/2/2019 (Permalink)

Even if your property isn't damaged by fire, residual soot and smoke odor can linger long after a fire has been in the area.

Fire season will soon be upon us in Western Montana. A wildfire can cause more than just the damage that you see. If fire damages your property, it can throw your life into chaos. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals are dedicated to restoring your damaged property back to preloss condition and helping your life get back to normal.

Even if your property didn’t suffer fire damage, there may be soot particles and residues left to clean up. If cleaned improperly, the odor and effects can linger long after the fire has been put out. From the structure itself to the contents inside, your Franchise Professionals use the latest technology and training to leave your property smelling fresh and clean.

Tips from FEMA for when wildfire threatens:

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

For more detailed wildfire safety tips visit FEMA’s website at www.ready.gov

When wildfire takes control of your life, SERVPRO of Missoula is here to help you take it back. Our trained professionals can give you peace of mind by helping make it “Like it never even happened.” Don’t fear, we are here! Call us today at 406-327-9500 to see how we can help.

A clean clothes dryer reduces your chance of fire

1/10/2019 (Permalink)

Most clothes dryer fires like the one pictured here, can be prevented with proper installation and cleaning.

According to the National Fire Protection Agency, between 2010-2014 US fire departments responded to an estimated 15,970 fires each year involving clothes dryers and washing machines. Clothes dryers accounted for 92% of those fires, washing machines and washer dryer combinations accounted for the remainder.

Doing laundry is most likely part of your everyday routine. But did you know how important taking care of your clothes dryer is to the safety of your home? Failure to clean dryers is the leading cause of home clothes dryer fires. With a few simple safety tips, you can help prevent a clothes dryer fire.

  • Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
  • Do not use the dryer without a lint filter.
  • Make sure you clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry. Remove lint that has collected around the drum.
  • Rigid or flexible metal venting material should be used to sustain proper air flow and drying time.
  • Make sure the air exhaust vent pipe is not restricted and the outdoor vent flap will open when the dryer is operating. Once a year, or more often if you notice that it is taking longer than normal for your clothes to dry, clean lint out of the vent pipe or have a dryer lint removal service do it for you.
  • Keep dryers in good working order. Gas dryers should be inspected by a qualified professional to make sure that the gas line and connection are intact and free of leaks.
  • Make sure the right plug and outlet are used and that the machine is connected properly.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions and don’t overload your dryer.
  • Turn the dryer off if you leave home or when you go to bed.

And don’t forget…

Dryers should be properly grounded. Check the outdoor vent flap to make sure it is not covered by snow. Keep the area around your dryer clear of things that can burn, like boxes, cleaning supplies and clothing, etc. Clothes that have come in contact with flammable substances, like gasoline, paint thinner, or similar solvents should be laid outside to dry, then can be washed and dried as usual.

If you experience smoke or fire damage in your home or business anywhere in Western Montana, call SERVPRO of Missoula at 406-327-9500 to clean and restore you to preloss condition. We have highly trained technicians and top of line equipment to help clean and repair your fire loss, no matter how large or small.

Smoke Alarm Safety

10/23/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO utilizes the many approaches to mitigation of smoke damage. Different types of soot occur depending on the type of materials involved.

Ensuring adequate placement of smoke detectors in your home or office is critical in keeping the occupants safe. Non-working smoke alarms are often caused by missing or disconnected batteries. With such grave consequences attributed to such a small oversight, it’s a good idea to check smoke alarm operation every 30 days.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that:

  • In 2009-2013, smoke alarms sounded in more than half (53%) of the home fires reported to U.S. fire departments.
  • Three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • No smoke alarms were present in more than one-third (38%) of the home fire deaths.
  • One of every five (21%) of the home fire deaths, smoke alarms were present but did not sound.
  • In reported home fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, almost half (46%) of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries. Nuisance alarms were the leading reason for disconnected smoke alarms.
  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Install alarms in the basement. Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
  • It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds they all sound.
  • Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
  • Today’s smoke alarms will be more technologically advanced to respond to a multitude of fire conditions, yet mitigate false alarms.
  • A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove.
  • People who arehard-of-hearing or deafcan use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.
  • Smoke alarms are an important part of ahome fire escape plan.
  • See https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Smoke-alarms for more information

Following these tips can help keep your loved ones safe. If you experience a smoke or fire damage in your Missoula home or business, call SERVPRO of Missoula at 406-327-9500 to clean and restore your home to preloss condition. We have highly trained technicians and top of line equipment to help clean and repair your fire loss, no matter how large or small.

Fire Damage Statistics

10/19/2018 (Permalink)

Fire department responds to a residential fire scene.

The National Fire Protection Association reports that between 2009-2013, decorations were the item first ignited in an estimated average of 860 reported home structure fires per year.  Please heed the following tips to help keep you and your loved ones safe this Halloween.

  • Nearly half of decoration fires in homes occurred because the decorations were too close to a heat source.
  • These fires caused an estimated average of one civilian death, 41 civilian injuries and $13 million in direct property damage per year.
  • Forty-one percent of these incidents were started by candles; one-fifth began in the living room, family room, or den. 
  • When choosing a costume, stay away from long trailing fabric. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so he or she can see out.
  • Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costume.
  • Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper catch fire easily. Keep all decorations away from open flames and other heat sources like light bulbs and heaters.
  • Use a battery-operated candle or glow-stick in jack-olanterns. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside jack-olanterns, use long, fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of the way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards.
  • Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
  • Make sure all smoke alarms in the home are working.
  • Tell children to stay away from open flames including jack-o-lanterns with candles in them. Be sure they know how 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.)

For more information visit https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Seasonal-fires/Halloween-safety

If the unexpected does happen you can always count on SERVPRO of Missoula to respond to any fire or smoke damage.   We have the knowledge, experience and top of the line equipment to help make any fire damage “Like it never even happened.”  Call us today at 406-327-9500 to see what SERVPRO can do for you.

Halloween Safety

10/19/2018 (Permalink)

A wood stove flue caused this fire outside of Missoula, MT

FEMA reports in terms of numbers of Halloween fires, the largest general property type category was outside fires (38 percent) followed by residential fires (32 percent). Residential Halloween fires, however, resulted in the most deaths (68 percent), injuries (79 percent) and property loss (51 percent).

For each year from 2014 to 2016, an estimated 10,100 fires were reported to fire departments in the United States over a three-day period around Halloween and caused an estimated 30 deaths, 125 injuries and $102 million in property loss.1

For more information please follow the following link: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/data/statistics/snapshot_halloween.html#cards

If the unexpected does happen you can always count on SERVPRO of Missoula to respond to any fire or smoke damage.   We have the knowledge, experience and top of the line equipment to help make any fire damage “Like it never even happened.”  Call us today at 406-327-9500 to see what SERVPRO can do for you.

Safety First this Thanksgiving in Missoula

11/13/2017 (Permalink)

November is alive and well in Missoula! The fall festivities have officially begun. The leaves have changed colors and snow has made its first appearance. Friendsgivings and Thanksgivings are currently being planned. SERVPRO of Missoula would like you to have an amazing Thanksgiving! We would like to talk a little safety during this holiday!

While you’re busy creating all those culinary delights for the holiday. Staying in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling or broiling food is must. Cooking fires are the leading cause of homes fires and home -fire related injuries in the U.S.  The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports, “Cooking equipment was involved in almost half (48%) of all reported home fires. It was also tied with heating equipment for the second leading cause of home fire deaths.”

The other delicious and yet dangerous method of preparing the turkey is the daredevil method of deep frying!  We would like to highlight five dangers of deep-frying.

1.Turkey fryers can easily tip over, spilling hot oil over a large area.

  1. Even a small amount of cooking oil spilling on a hot burner can cause a large fire.
  2. Overfilled cooking pot will cause cooking oil to spill when the turkey is put in. A partially frozen turkey will cause cooking oil to splatter when placed in the pot.
  3. The sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles can get extremely hot.
  4. Without thermostat controls deep fryers can overheat oil to the point of starting a fire.

Your SERVPRO of Missoula professionals want you, your family, friends and property to stay safe. Should you experience a fire or water damage, SERVPRO of Missoula is here to help make it “Like it never even happened.” SERVPRO of Missoula is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

'Tis The Season For Fire Prevention Tips

10/23/2017 (Permalink)

The National Fire Protection Association reports that 1,345,500 fires were reported in 2015, up 3.4% from the previous year. Those fires led to 3,280 civilian fire deaths and 15,700 injuries and causing $14.3 billion in property damage. A fire department is responding to a fire every 23 seconds. Keep those statistics in mind as we move into the colder part of the year. Staying warm during the winter months means more people are turning up furnaces, space heaters and firing up those wood stoves. Keep the following tips in mind for keeping your family safe and warm this winter:

-Avoid using extension cords to power any unattended heating source. Voltage drops through undersized extension cords can cause a dangerous fire hazard. Always use UL approved, gauge appropriate cords and make sure space heaters are not left unattended.

-Always keep at least a three foot perimeter around any heating source clear of any combustible material. Make sure doors / fireplace screens are in place and functioning properly to keep sparks and burning material where it belongs. Make sure to have chimney flues inspected and cleaned annually. Avoid leaving candles or any open flame unattended, even for a short period of time.

-Test all smoke and CO alarms monthly to make sure they are working properly. It’s also a good idea to develop and practice an evacuation plan in case the unexpected does happen. Having multiple escape routes and a designated meeting place in the event of a fire will help you and your family stay safe.

As always, if the unexpected does happen you can always count on SERVPRO of Missoula to respond to any fire or smoke damage. We have the knowledge, experience and top of the line equipment to help make any fire damage “Like it never even happened.” Call us today at 406-327-9500 to see what SERVPRO can do for you.

Smoke damage? Call SERVPRO of Missoula!

9/15/2017 (Permalink)

With all of these wildfires throughout our beautiful Montana, it’s time to talk about smoke damage. SERVPRO of Missoula is here to help with soot, smoke or fire damage your property may have incurred. There are different types of smoke damaged losses. Wildfires will burn mostly natural materials, but sometime when wildfires burn man-made materials, it can leave soot particles which are more difficult to remove.  Our highly trained technicians will pretest all soot residues to determine the best method of cleaning to help ensure no lingering odors.

Even if your property didn’t suffer fire damage, there may be soot particles and residues left to clean. If cleaned improperly, the odor and effects can linger long after the fire has gone. Our technicians use the latest technology to ensure your property is smelling fresh and clean. Soot is sneaky and can get inside your home even when windows and doors are closed. Your HVAC unit and air ducts usually hold large amounts of soot and disperse it throughout the house. Our technicians will thoroughly inspect your HVAC units along with your air ducts for soot particles and remove the particles so no further damage is incurred. SERVPRO of Missoula wants to help you and your property’s damage to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Where there is smoke, there is fire

8/2/2017 (Permalink)

Fire season is back in Montana and throughout the West. A wildfire can cause more than just the damage that you see. If fire damages your property, it can throw your life into chaos. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals are dedicated to restoring your damaged property back to preloss condition and helping your life get back to normal.

Even if your property didn’t suffer fire damage, there may be soot particles and residues left to clean up. If cleaned improperly, the odor and effects can linger long after the fire has been put out. From the structure itself to the contents inside, your Franchise Professionals use the latest technology and training to leave your property smelling fresh and clean.

Tips from FEMA for when wildfire threatens:

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

For more detailed wildfire safety tips visit FEMA’s website at www.ready.gov

When wildfire takes control of your life, SERVPRO is here to help you take it back. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can give you peace of mind by helping make it “Like it never even happened.” Don’t fear, we are here! Call us today at 406-327-9500 to see how SERVPRO can help you.