Recent Fire Damage Posts

Outdoor entertaining

3/11/2019 (Permalink)

Source: https://www.nfpa.org

Summer outdoor parties are some of the best events of the year.

The warm balmy nights, food cooking on the grill, and friends and family spending quality time together in the backyard or around the pool create wonderful memories that last a lifetime. But, hosting outdoor events also means there’s an increased risk of home fires.

Fortunately, following some simple safety tips and guidelines can help ensure you and your guests stay safe. Consider the following when you host your next outdoor event: 

  • Have an adult present at all times when a portable fireplace is burning
  • Use sturdy candle holders that won’t tip over easily
  • Keep anything that can burn, as well as children and pets, at least three feet away from open flames
  • Use battery-operated flameless candles and solar-powered patio (tiki) torches in place of an open flame. Flameless candles come in all colors, shapes and sizes, and many are scented. Flameless candles look and feel like the real ones, and add a beautiful soft glow to any outdoor event.

Outdoor entertaining by the numbers

  • Outside fireplaces or fire pits caused nearly 3,700 grass and brush fires
  • Total outdoor patio heater or fire pit injuries has nearly tripled in six years (1,330 to 3,608) from 2006 – 2012
  • More than half of all candle fires start when things that can burn are too close to the candle
  • An average of 8,800 home fires involved grills, hibachis, or barbecues each year
  • In 2012, sparklers, fountains and novelties accounted for 25% of emergency room fireworks-related injuries.

More outdoor entertaining information

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Home fire sprinklers

2/15/2019 (Permalink)

Source: https://www.nfpa.org

Home fire sprinklers can dramatically reduce the heat, flames, and smoke produced in a fire. Properly installed and maintained fire sprinklers help save lives.

Fire sprinklers have been around for more than a century, protecting commercial and industrial properties and public buildings. What many people don't realize is that the same life-saving technology is also available for homes, where roughly 80 percent of all civilian fire deaths occur.

NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition

NFPA's Fire Sprinkler Initiative outlines proven, effective ways that home fire sprinkler advocates can communicate the impact of sprinklers to their decision makers. Visit the initiative's site for free resources for the fire service and other sprinkler advocates, including fact sheets, videos, a free monthly newsletter, research, and our "Faces of Fire"campaign, which features real people demonstrating the need for home fire sprinklers.

The Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) is a leading resource for accurate, noncommercial information and materials about home fire sprinklers for consumers, the fire service, builders, and other professionals.

Free resources

Facts about home fire sprinklers

Automatic sprinklers are highly effective and reliable elements of total system designs for fire protection in buildings. According to NFPA's "U.S. Experience with Sprinklers" report

  • the civilian death rate was 81 percent lower in homes with fire sprinklers than in homes without them.
  • the average firefighter injury rate was nearly 80 percent lower when fire sprinklers were present during fires.
  • when sprinklers were present, fires were kept to the room of origin 97 percent of the time.
  • the home fire death rate was 90 percent lower when fire sprinklers and hardwired smoke alarms were present. By comparison, this death rate is only 18 percent lower when battery-powered smoke alarms are present but automatic extinguishing systems weren't.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

12 Protection Tips for Fire Damage Restoration

1/22/2019 (Permalink)

Source: https://www.randrmagonline.com

During a fire, innumerable toxic chemicals, poisonous gases, heavy metals, and other toxins are generated by the materials, household products, and vegetation that burns. These contaminants fill the air, become part of the ash, and are extremely dangerous to your health if inhaled or come in contact with your skin. We often forget about the dangers involved in the various environments we enter, but safety should always be a top priority.

If you are entering an area affected by fire or smoke, consider the following safety tips:

  1. Avoid breathing air contaminated by smoke odor and minimize your exposure to contaminated areas.
  2. If you need to enter a smoke damaged structure, wear proper personal protective equipment, including a proper fitting respirator with a P-100 HEPA filter designed to filter vapor or gasses (not a dust mask).
  3. Persons with heart or lung disease should consult their physician before using a mask during post-fire cleanup.
  4. Avoid handling or coming in direct skin contact with items or materials affected by smoke, soot, or ash. If you need to retrieve items damaged by smoke, wear proper personal protection equipment, such as coveralls, eye protection, gloves, proper foot wear, hardhat, etc.
  5. Avoid getting ash into the air as much as possible. Do not use leaf blowers or take other actions that will put ash into the air.
  6. Avoid using shop vacuums and other common vacuum cleaners. These do not filter out small particles, but blow them out the exhaust into the air where they can be inhaled.
  7. Do not allow children or pets to enter areas that have smoke odor, ash or soot. If children or pets get soot or ash on their skin or hair, wash immediately with mild soap and warm water.
  8. If you anticipate that you will need to be inside a building or area affected by smoke, attempt to ventilate the area by opening windows or doors unless doing so will allow outdoor smoke odor or ash to get in. Minimize your exposure as much as possible.
  9. Have an environmental testing laboratory test for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) and particulates to determine what types and concentrations of toxins may be present. 
  10. When sorting through contents, don't take chances. People should not eat or drink anything that has signs of heat or smoke damage. When in doubt, throw it out!
  11. If you experience any adverse health symptoms from exposure to smoke or soot, seek medical attention immediately.
  12. If you need to be in an enclosed space that has smoke odor, such as an office, home, or building, try to set up air scrubbers with HEPA filters or other type of filter designed to remove ultra-fine particulate matter as quickly as possible. In addition, using a hydroxyl generator can help to break down odor causing molecules.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Reduce Damage to Homes from Alternative Heating Sources

11/11/2018 (Permalink)

Source: https://disastersafety.org

Consumers often turn to alternative heating systems like wood pellet stoves (a.k.a. wood burning stove or wood pellet furnace) during the winter to heat their homes. If you’re considering switching to a wood pellet stove, space heater, or fireplace this winter, consider the following safety information.

Use Caution

  • Before using any heating device, install carbon monoxide detectors in several parts of the house.
  • Except where specifically recommended by the manufacturer, only the fuel (e.g., pellets, corn, log wood, coal or gas) for which a stove is designed should be used.
  • Never use a kerosene heater indoors.

Stove Placement

Alternate heating stoves can vary in construction regarding self-contained insulation and thermal protection. A single layer iron-walled stove, for example, can generate enormous heat several feet in all directions. On the other hand, more sophisticated multiple walled insulated forced-air stoves can remain safe to the touch when in use.

Placement of the stove must take into consideration adequate space for installation, maintenance and replacement, flue or vent pipe routing, and most importantly, safe location relative to combustible materials. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recognizes appropriate American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standards and testing of the reduction of heat with distance from the unit as well as non-combustible shielding (defined in codes). Properly tested and rated stoves will have an attached safety label and an installation manual, which will detail the manufacturer’s recommended minimum separations. Some general guidelines are provided for different types of stoves in the following sections for cases when labels are missing.

In most cases, protection of the floor or combustible surface under a stove is required and specified including shielding beneath and extending on all sides in accordance with the code and label requirements. This includes adequate protection in front of the fire box and where ash removal is required.

Standards also exist for locating and routing flue and vent pipes in order to provide separation from combustibles adjacent to and through walls and to existing chimneys.

Pellet Stoves

These modern devices operate through an automated fuel-delivery process. In some designs, a fan delivers air to the fire and blows exhaust by-products out of a vent pipe that is smaller and typically less expensive than a chimney. Often, a separate fan blows air through heat exchangers in the stove and out into the home.

  • Always hire an installer who is licensed and certified.
  • Stove placement must allow for access to proper venting and electrical sources and must meet minimum required clearances. Certified installers operate according to these guidelines.
  • Outlets must be checked for proper voltage, grounding and polarity.
  • According to model building codes, multiple walled insulated forced-air stoves within compartments or alcoves should have a minimum of 3 inches of working space clearance along the sides, back and top with a total width of the enclosing space being at least 12 inches wider than the stove.
  • Stoves having a firebox open to the atmosphere should have at least a 6-inch working space along the front combustion chamber side.
  • Keep the stove clear of all combustible materials.
  • Use PL vent pipes tested to UL 641.

The following materials should never be used to vent pellet appliances:

  • Dryer vent
  • Gas appliance Type B vent
  • PVC pipe
  • Single-wall stove pipe, unless approved by local codes and the installation manual.
  • Inspect chimney before installation. Relining may be required.
  • Altitudes higher than 2,500 feet may require special venting options.
  • An outside air source may be required for houses with tight construction or strong kitchen, bath or other exhaust fans.
  • Manufacturer’s instructions must be closely followed regarding sealing joints and seams, particularly of pressurized mechanical exhaust vents.
  • Regular maintenance is critical to ensure safe operation.
  • Frequency of cleaning will depend on the fuel type, grade and content.
  • Components should be inspected daily.
  • Professional cleaning is recommended for vent systems before each seasonal use.

Wood Stoves

These traditional heat sources remain popular, but have been linked to an increase in house and chimney fires.

  • Choose a stove that has been tested by UL.
  • Second-hand stoves should be free of broken parts or cracks.
  • Maintain at least a 36-inch clearance between the stove and combustible materials or use fire-resistant materials to protect woodwork and other areas. Follow manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • Keep the stove clear of combustible materials.
  • Noncombustible floor covering should be used under and around the stove. The material should extend 18 inches on all sides.
  • Prior to using the stove, place a layer of sand or firebrick in the bottom of the firebox.
  • Vent pipes or chimneys must be inspected prior to use.
  • If a stove pipe is used:
  1. Use 22- or 24-gauge metal with a total length of less than 10 feet.
  2. Maintain at least 18 inches between the top of the stove pipe and the ceiling or other combustible material.
  3. Ensure that the stove pipe enters the chimney at a spot higher than the outlet of the stove firebox and that it does not extend into the chimney flue lining.
  4. The inside thimble diameter should be the same size as the stove pipe for a proper seal.
  5. The stove pipe should not pass through a floor, closet or concealed space, or enter the chimney in the attic.
  6. If a metal chimney is used, make sure it is UL-approved.

Whether masonry or metal, the chimney should extend:

  • At least 3 feet above the highest point where it passes through the roof, and
  • At least 2 feet above any portion of the building within 10 horizontal feet of the chimney.

The chimney flue lining should not be blocked.

  • Keep the chimney flue and stove pipe clean and free of obstructions.

Space Heaters

These appliances can be an affordable option for heating a small space, but they also are the leading source of house fires during winter months.

  • Look for products that have been tested by UL.
  • Buy a model with an automatic shut-off feature and heat element guards.
  • Maintain a 36-inch clearance between the heater and combustible materials, such as bedding, furniture, wall coverings or other flammable items.
  • Do not leave a heater unattended.

Electric heaters should be inspected prior to use.

  • Check the cord for fraying and cracking, and look for broken wires or signs of overheating in the device itself.
  • Use only heavy-duty extension cords marked with a No. 14-gauge or larger wire.
  • If the heater’s plug has a grounding prong, use only a grounding (three-wire) extension cord.
  • Never run the heater’s cord (or any cord) under rugs or carpeting.

Liquid-fueled heaters must be operated using only the fuel recommended by the manufacturer.

  • Never use gasoline or any other substitute fuel.
  • Allow the heater to cool down prior to refueling.

Fireplace

This popular heat source is found in homes throughout the United States, but requires proper maintenance and caution to ensure safe operation.

  • Annual inspections are required by a professional chimney sweep.
  • Regular cleaning will keep the fireplace free of obstructions and creosote.
  • Have a removable cap installed at the top of the chimney to keep out debris and animals.
  • Install a spark arrestor that has 1/4-inch mesh.
  • Maintain proper clearance around the fireplace and keep it clear of combustible materials such as books, newspapers and furniture.
  • Always close the screen when in use.
  • Keep glass doors open during the fire.
  • Use a fireplace grate.
  • Approved fireplace tools are recommended.
  • Never burn garbage, rolled newspapers, charcoal or plastic in the fireplace.
  • Avoid using gasoline or any liquid accelerant.
  • Clean out ashes from previous fires and store them in a noncombustible container with a tight-fitting lid. Keep the container outside and away from the house.
  • Never leave a fire unattended.
  • Make sure the fire is completely out before closing the damper.

Gas fireplaces require specific maintenance:

  • Adjust the milli-volt output.
  • Keep the glowing embers and logs clean.
  • Inspect and clean the air circulation passages and fan.
  • Clean the glass as needed.
  • Avoid obstructing the vents.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Put A Freeze on Winter Fires

11/2/2018 (Permalink)

Source: https://www.nfpa.org

Heating, holiday decorations, winter storms and candles all contribute to an increased risk of fire during the winter months. NFPA and the U.S. Fire Administration are teaming up to help reduce your risk to winter fires and other hazards, including carbon monoxide and electrical fires.

Heating

Heating is the second leading cause of U.S. home fires, deaths and injuries. December, January and February are the peak months for heating fires. Space heaters are the type of equipment most often involved in home heating equipment fires, figuring in two of every five fires (40%). More statistics on heating fires.

Carbon Monoxide

Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels such as gasoline, wood, coal, propane, etc. do not burn completely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of CO. Carbon monoxide incidents are more common during the winter months, and in residential properties. More statistics on carbon monoxide incidents.

Winter storms

Most of the U.S. is at risk for winter storms, which can cause dangerous and sometimes life-threatening conditions. Blinding wind-driven snow, extreme cold, icy road conditions, downed trees and power lines can all wreak havoc on our daily schedules. Home fires occur more in the winter than in any other season, and heating equipment is involved in one of every six reported home fires, and one in every five home fire deaths.

Generators

Portable generators are useful during power outages, however, many homeowners are unaware that the improper use of portable generators can be risky. The most common dangers associated with portable generators are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, electrical shock or electrocution, and fire hazards. According to a 2013 Consumer Product Safety Commission report, half of the generator-related deaths happened in the four coldest months of the year, November through February, and portable generators were involved in the majority of carbon monoxide deaths involving engine-driven tools. 

Candles

December is the peak time of year for home candle fires; the top four days for home candle fires are New Year’s Day, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Christmas Eve. Each year between 2009 and 2013, an average of 25 home candle fires were reported each day. More statistics on candle fires.

Electrical

Electrical home fires are a leading cause of home fires in the U.S. Roughly half of all home electrical fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment, while nearly another half involved other known types of equipment like washer or dryer fans, and portable or stationary space heaters. More statistics on electrical fires.

Christmas tree disposal

Christmas trees are combustible items that become increasing flammable as they continue to dry out in your home. Nearly 40 percent of home fires that begin with Christmas trees occur in January. Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur they’re much more likely to be serious. More statistics on Christmas tree fires.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

College Campus Fire Safety

9/13/2018 (Permalink)

Source: https://www.nfpa.org/-/media/Files/Public-Education/Resources/Safety-tip-sheets/CampusSafetyTips.pdf

FACT

  • Fires in dormitories are more common during the evening hours, between 5–11 pm, and on weekends.
  • Roughly six out of seven fires in dormitories are started by cooking.

College students living away from home should take a few minutes to make sure they are living in a fire-safe environment. Educating students on what they can do to stay safe during the school year is important and often overlooked. College students living away from home should take a few minutes to make sure they are living in a fire-safe environment. Educating students on what they can do to stay safe during the school year is important and often overlooked.

SAFETY TIPS

  • Look for fully sprinklered housing when choosing a dorm or off-campus housing.
  • Make sure you can hear the building alarm system when you are in your dorm room.
  • If you live in a dormitory, make sure your sleeping room has a smoke alarm, or your dormitory suite has a smoke alarm in each living area as well as the sleeping room. For the best protection, all smoke alarms in the dormitory suite should be interconnected so that when one sounds, they all sound.
  • If you live in an apartment or house, make sure smoke alarms are installed in each sleeping room, outside every sleeping area, and on each level of the apartment unit or house. For the best protection, all smoke alarms in the apartment unit or house should be interconnected so that when one sounds, they all sound.
  • Test all smoke alarms at least monthly.
  • Never remove batteries or disable the alarm.
  • Learn your building’s evacuation plan and practice all drills as if they were the real thing.
  • If you live off campus, have a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room.
  • When the smoke alarm or fire alarm sounds, get out of the building quickly and stay out.
  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking.
  • Cook only when you are alert, not sleepy or drowsy from medicine or alcohol.
  • Check with your local fire department for any restrictions before using a barbeque grill, fire pit, or chimenea.
  • Check your school’s rules before using electrical appliances in your room.

Smoking Sense

If you smoke, smoke outside and only where it is permitted, Use sturdy, deep, nontip ashtrays. Don’t smoke in bed or when you’ve been drinking or are drowsy.

Candle Care

Burn candles only if the school permits their use. A candle is an open flame and should be placed away from anything that can burn. Never leave a candle unattended. Blow it out when you leave the room or go to sleep.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Cleanup: What To Do Until Help Arrives

3/15/2018 (Permalink)

EMERGENCY TIPS FOR YOUR HOME SMOKE DAMAGE

Please follow these DOs and DON’Ts to help reduce damage and increase the chances of a successful restoration.

DO:

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet.
  • Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
  • Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator   completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor.
  • Wipe soot from chrome on kitchen and bathroom   faucets, trim and appliances, then protect these   surfaces with a light coating of lubricant.
  • If heat is off during winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures.
  • Wash both sides of leaves on house plants.
  • Change HVAC filter, but leave system off until a trained professional can check the system.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.

DON'T

  • Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County.
  • Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County.
  • Attempt to clean any electrical appliances (TV sets, radios, etc.) that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.
  • Consume any food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water. (They may be contaminated.)
  • Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock, and air movement may create secondary damage.
  • Send garments to the dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set in smoke odor.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter, Google+, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Smoke Damage Can Cause Pervasive Odors

3/1/2018 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot is 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 Northern Sussex County 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.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter, Google+, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Be Prepared

2/26/2018 (Permalink)

What You Can Do.

In order to be fully prepared, you should have all pertinent and proper information in a written plan for easy retrieval. Some key questions to consider when creating a personal emergency preparedness plan include:

  • Do you have an escape or evacuation route in place?
  • Do you have a designated meeting place in case of separation?
  • Does everyone have a list of contact information including family members out of state who can serve as a point of contact?
  • Do you have a disaster supply kit with necessary supplies?
  • Do you have a first aid kit that includes necessary prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines and basic medical supplies?
  • Do you have enough non-perishable food and bottled water?
  • Do you have access to important family documents, including insurance policies, bank, credit card and loan information and family records such as birth certificates and social security cards?
  • Do you have an inventory of valuable household goods?

A well-equipped disaster supply kit should include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Water- a large enough supply to provide each person with 1 gallon daily for drinking and sanitation.
  • Food- enough to last 3-7 days. Food needs to be non-perishable or canned food. You will also want to include a non-electric can opener, paper plates and plastic utensils.
  • Bedding including sheets, blankets and pillows.
  • Clothing- remember it may be warm, however, you may be working and cleaning and may prefer pants or long sleeves to protect your skin. You will also need sturdy, closed-toe, non-slip shoes if available.
  • First aid kit including antiseptics or sanitizers and bandages, over-the-counter and prescription medications.
  • Extra flashlights and batteries. Oil lanterns also provide a good source of light, if available.
  • Toiletries including toilet paper and hygiene items. Hand sanitizers are also good to have on hand.
  • Battery-operated radio with extra batteries so you can listen to weather service announcements.
  • Cash- you will want some cash and small bills on hand as banks may not be open.
  • Emergency phone numbers and contact information including insurance agent and family contacts.
  • Tools, tarps, plastic sheets, trash bags, duct tape, etc. to help make minor repairs.
  • Important documents should be kept in a waterproof bag or plastic sealed container and should include insurance, medical and family records, birth certificates, social security cards, bank account information and a complete home inventory analysis.
  • Gas- fill your car’s tank ahead of time if time permits. You may also want to fill plastic gasoline-approved containers with gas to store.
  • Pet care items including food, leash and a carrier or cage.

Don’t wait until it is too late; prepare now to help protect your family in an emergency or disaster situation.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter, Google+, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

KITCHEN CAUTIONS

11/14/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage KITCHEN CAUTIONS Fire Safety

Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.  The leading cause?  Unattended cooking.

Each November, families gather to celebrate Thanksgiving by preparing a delicious feast, but if you don’t practice safe cooking habits, your holiday could become hazardous very quickly.  According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. It’s important to be alert to prevent cooking fires.

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

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

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

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter, Google+, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

How To: Use a Fireplace

11/3/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage How To: Use a Fireplace Fireplace Safety

Add ambience and save on heating costs by utilizing your fireplace this winter. Here's all you need to know about the proper technique and safety precautions.

By Katelin Hill

Source: https://www.bobvila.com/

During the colder months, nothing beats warming the house with a crackling fire. But while wood-burning fireplaces should give you long-lasting and evenly burning flames, one simple mistake can fill your living room with smoke—or even spark a dangerous house fire. Here’s the proper technique for how to use a fireplace, with safety precautions every homeowner should know.

MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon
– Smoke detector
– Carbon monoxide detector
– Batteries
– Fire extinguisher
– Flashlight (optional)
– Hardwood or softwood kindling
– Newspaper (optional)
– Matches
– Fireplace gloves
– Metal fireplace poker
– Metal fireplace shovel
– Metal box for fireplace ashes

STEP 1: Stay Safe
Before bringing out the lighter, it’s vital to understand safety precautions for using a fireplace. First, always double-check that your fire extinguisher, smoke detector, and carbon monoxide detector are each in working order (check those batteries!). Remove anything flammable within three feet of the fireplace in case stray sparks escape the hearth, and use a fireplace screen as well. Make sure the flue isn’t blocked by obstructions like an animal’s nest, especially if this is your first time using the fireplace. If the system hasn’t been recently inspected, hire a chimney sweep certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America(CSIA) to do the job.

STEP 2: Gather the Kindling
Gather kindling in a variety of sizes (small, medium, and large) for the proper fire-building technique that is outlined below. To emit less smoke and soot, make sure the wood is dry, well-seasoned, and split a minimum of six months ago. You can choose either hardwood or softwood for the fire; while hardwoods like oak or maple burn longer and create more sustained heat, softwoods like cedar or pine start fires easier because they ignite quickly. Whatever you don’t use can return to the firewood rack, best stored outdoors in an elevated and covered location.

Note: Never burn trash, plastic, painted materials, or anything with chemical treatment like scraps of pressure-treated wood—these materials can release harmful chemicals into your home.

STEP 3: Open the Damper
The damper is a movable plate inside the flue. When opened, it allows the smoke and ash to travel safely up the chimney. If you start a fire with a closed damper, however, the smoke will have no escape route and circle back into the house.

Adjust the damper as needed with the handle located inside of the chimney. It will move either front to back, left to right, or in a clockwise or counterclockwise rotation. Check to make sure you opened it properly by sticking your head in the flue and looking upwards, using a flashlight if necessary. You should see up the flue without any obstructions if the damper is open; a closed damper will block your view entirely.

STEP 4: Prime the Flue
Now, gauge the temperature. If you feel a rush of cold air (which usually occurs if the chimney is built on the outside of the house), then you need to prime the flue—in order words, you need to preheat it. Otherwise, the cold draft may cause smoke to blow into the room. Light a roll of newspaper and hold it against the open damper to send warm air into the flue. The draft should reverse after a few minutes, making your fireplace ready for action.

STEP 5: Build the Fire 
While there are multiple ways to build a fire, the CSIA recommends the top-down method, which produces less smoke and requires less tending. Start by donning thick fireplace gloves and grabbing a metal poker. Position large pieces of wood in the bottom of the fireplace in one row, perpendicular to the opening of the fireplace. Next, take mid-sized pieces of wood, and stack four or five rows on top of the base layer in alternating directions. Make sure the stack takes up no more than half the height of your fireplace. Now add your smallest pieces of wood, making sure these pieces are very dry. The tiniest bits (which can take the form of wood shavings or bunched-up newspapers) should be at the very top.

Light the top of the stack with a single match. The fire should travel down, igniting the pieces underneath without prompting. Let the fire burn for as long as you’d like. Don’t close the damper until the fire is completely out and all the embers have stopped burning.

STEP 6: Clean the Ashes 
The CSIA says you can leave a bed of ashes between one to two inches in the fireplace as an insulating layer, which helps the next fire to burn. But when you need to dispose of ashes, proceed with caution. Coals may take several hours or several days to completely cool, and ash could still be burning during that time. Using a metal shovel, scoop ashes into a metal container with a tight-fitting lid. Store the container outdoors away from the house, and not in garages or on decks.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter, Google+, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

What To Do After a Fire

9/28/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage What To Do After a Fire Fire Damage

Now that the fire is out, there are a few things you need to know. Here is a check list to follow:

Step 1 - Securing the site

  • Protect the fire site from any further damage by weather, theft or vandalism. Do not leave the site unsecured.
  • If you are the owner it is your responsibility to see that openings are covered against rain and entry. Make sure outside doors to the property can be locked and secured. The Fire Department will help secure the premises until responsibility can be handed over to the tenant or insurance company.
  • If you are the tenant, contact your real estate agent or landlord and inform them of the fire. If you cannot contact them and you need professional assistance in boarding the premises, a general contractor for or fire damage restoration firm can help. Check your telephone directory.
  • If you plan to leave the site, try to remove any valuable remaining in the building.
  • Contact your own insurance agent to report the loss.

Step 2- Cautions

  • Household wiring which may have been water damaged should be checked by a licensed electrician before power is turned back on.
  • Check for structural damage caused by the fire. Roofs and floors may be weakened. The local Municipality's Building Inspector may be able to help.
  • Food, drink and medicines exposed to heat, smoke or soot may be discarded in the appropriate manner.
  • Refrigerators and freezers left unopened will hold their temperature for a short time. However do not attempt to refreeze thawed items.
  • The Fire Department will call for the services of the local gas, fuel and electricity suppliers to disconnect services before they leave the site.
  • If a utility (gas, electricity or water) is disconnected, it is your responsibility to have the services checked and reconnected by a licensed trade person. Do not attempt to reconnect the service yourself.
  • Start collecting receipts for any money you spend. These are important because you can use them to show the insurance company what money you have spent relating to your fire loss and also verifying losses claimed.

Step 3 - Insurance Claims

  • Make personal contact with the insurance claims manager.
  • Advise the claims manager of loss or damage and give him, or her, a forwarding address and telephone number if the circumstances have forced you to leave the damaged fire building.
  • The sooner the insurance company is alerted, the quicker the insurance claim can be processed, as the company has to alert the insurance adjuster to carry out the inspection.
  • Try to form an inventory, as soon as possible, of household items either inside or outside the buildings which have been damaged by fire. The inventory of damaged items will further speed the claim when the loss assessor makes contact. Do not throw away any damaged goods until after the inventory is made by the insurance adjuster.

Step 4 - Leaving your home

  • If you have to leave your home because the fire has left it unsafe, contact the local police. They may be able to keep an eye on the property in your absence.
  • Check with your insurance company to find out whether you are entitled to stay in hotel as part of a temporary housing clause in your policy, or how soon you might get an advance on your eventual insurance claim settlement.
  • Provided it is safe to do so, try to locate the following to take with you:
    • Identification
    • Vital medicines, such as blood pressure regulating drugs or insulin.
    • Eyeglasses, hearing aids, prosthetic devices or personal aids.
    • Valuables such as credit cards, check-books, insurance policies, savings account books, money and jewelry.

Notify these people of your new address

  • Your employer.
  • Family and friends.
  • Your children's schools.
  • Your Post Office. Have them either hold or forward your mail, depending on the length of time you expect to be relocated.
  • Delivery services like newspapers.
  • Telephone company and the suppliers of gas, electricity and water.

When fire or water damage strikes, you need professional help to get your property back to preloss condition.  SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County provides 24-hour emergency service and is dedicated to being faster to any size disaster.  Our highly trained technicians can respond immediately to your residential or commercial emergency.??

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services. 

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter, Google+, or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Fire Damage: Escape Planning

3/17/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Fire Damage: Escape Planning Fire Escape Planning

Plan Ahead! If a fire breaks out in your home, you may have only a few minutes to get out safely once the smoke alarm sounds. Everyone needs to know what to do and where to go if there is a fire.

Facts

  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire. Install smoke alarms inside every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one smoke alarm sounds, they all sound.
  • According to an NFPA survey, only one of every three American households have actually developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.
  • While 71% of Americans have an escape plan in case of a fire, only 47% of those have practiced it.
  • One-third of American households 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. And only 8% said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out!

Safety Tips

  • MAKE a home escape plan.  Draw a map of your home showing all doors and windows. Discuss the plan with everyone in your home.
  • KNOW at least two ways out of every room, if possible. Make sure all doors and windows leading outside easily open.
  • HAVE an outside meeting place (like a tree, light pole or mailbox) a safe distance from the home where everyone should meet.
  • PRACTICE your home fire drill at night and during the day with everyone in your home, twice a year.
  • PRACTICE different ways out.
  • TEACH children how to escape on their own in case you can't help them.
  • CLOSE doors behind you as you leave.

IF THE ALARM SOUNDS....

  • If the smoke alarm sounds, GET OUT AND STAY OUT. Never go back inside for people or pets.
  • If you have to escape through smoke, GET LOW AND GO under the smoke to your way out.
  • CALL the fire department from outside your home.

Information provided by the National Fire Protection Association (nfpa.org).

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Fire Damage: Home Heating System Safety

3/10/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Fire Damage: Home Heating System Safety fireplace safety, fire safety

As the temperature drops outside, wood and pellet stoves may be fired up inside the home. What you may not realize is that heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fires during the winter months.

Did you know that heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fire deaths? With a few simple safety tips and precautions you can prevent most heating fires from happening.

Wood and Pellet Stove Safety

  • Have a QUALIFIED professional install stoves, chimney connectors, and chimneys.
  • Stoves should be listed by a qualified testing laboratory.
  • In wood stoves, burn only DRY, seasoned wood. In pellet stoves, burn only dry, seasoned wood pellets.
  • Have your chimney and stove INSPECTED and cleaned by a certified chimney sweep every fall just before heating season.
  • CLEAN the inside of your stove periodically using a wire brush.
  • Allow ashes to COOL before disposing of them. Place ashes in a covered metal container. Keep the container at least 10 feet away from the home and other buildings.
  • Keep a CLOSE EYE on children whenever a wood or pellet stove is being used. Remind them to stay at least 3 feet away from the stove.
  • Stoves need SPACE. Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from the stove.
  • INSTALL and maintain carbon monoxide alarms (CO) outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. For the best protection, interconnect the CO alarms. When one sounds, they all sound.

Other Heating System Safety Tips

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three-feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
  • Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month.

For more information on fire safety, visit the National Fire Protection Association's (nfpa.org) website.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Fire Damage: Portable Fire Extinguishers

2/27/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Fire Damage: Portable Fire Extinguishers Fire safety, fire extinguisher, putting out a fire

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

  • Pull the pin. Hold 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.

Read the instructions on the fire extinguisher and become familiar with them before a fire breaks out.

Remember, extinguishers do have limitations. It is also important to ensure you have the correct type of extinguisher for your facility.

To find more information on choosing the appropriate class of extinguisher, please visit the NFPA website at nfpa.org.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Fire Damage: Smoke Alarms - Life Savers

2/27/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Fire Damage: Smoke Alarms - Life Savers fire safety, smoke alarm, smoke detector

FIRE FACTS:



  • 7 people die every day from a home fire.

  • 36 people suffer injuries as a result of home fires every day.

  • $7 billion in property damage occurs each year.


Smoke alarms save lives when properly installed and maintained, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).


In homes, smoke alarms should be in every bedroom and on every level, including the basement. In office and commercial environments, check your state requirements or contact your local Fire Marshall to help ensure all
codes are met.


Test smoke alarms monthly using the test button. Smoke alarms with non-replaceable batteries need the entire smoke alarm unit replaced every ten years. Other alarms need batteries replaced every year, and the unit replaced every ten years. If the alarm chirps signaling low battery, take the proper steps to replace the unit or the batteries immediately. Never disable or remove the battery from an alarm. Almost half of fires where smoke alarms were present but did not activate had
missing or disconnected batteries (NFPA).


In larger commercial facilities, hard wired or wireless smoke alarms offer benefits such as not needing to be tested as often and activating throughout the entire building if smoke is detected in just one area (NFPA).


If you need help installing, testing or changing batteries in your smoke alarms, contact your local fire department, an electrician or the American Red Cross.


Be sure your home or workplace has a fire emergency plan in place and conduct regular fire
drills. For more information on Emergency Preparedness, contact SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County.


Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.


Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Fire Damage: The Public Adjuster

2/10/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Fire Damage: The Public Adjuster House Fire - Working with a Public Adjuster

If you have ever filed an insurance claim, whether it be for your home, auto or health, you know it can be a very stressful process fraught with uncertainty and questions.  Will I be covered?  How much will I be covered for?  How will it impact my premiums?

Because of this confusion and uncertainty, many turn towards a Public Adjuster to get them through their ordeal.  But, before engaging a Public Adjuster, there are a few things you need to be aware of.

What happens first?

After you’ve taken care of your loved ones, you will need to get your home back in order.  When you have a damaging event to your home, for which you wish to submit a claim, one of the first things you should do is to contact your agent or your insurance company directly.

Your insurance company will record your loss and issue you a claim number.  They will also assign an internal or independent adjuster to review your claim.   This adjuster works on behalf of the insurance company.  This adjuster will schedule a visit to your home to inspect and assess the loss to determine coverage.  This is a benefit to you as a policyholder and does not cost you anything. 

Once coverage is determined, the insurance company’s adjuster will then discuss actions which need to be taken immediately, such as getting the home dried out or possibly boarded up if needed.  They’ll then provide you with their assessed value of the loss.

So now comes the question of whether or not to use a Public Adjuster.  Let’s go through this.

First, exactly what is a public adjuster?

A public adjuster is someone that you pay to help you with your insurance claim.  They are an insurance claims specialist who interprets the homeowner's policy, assesses the damage and how much it will cost to repair, and negotiates with the insurance company on behalf of the homeowner until the claim is settled.

The Public Adjuster does not represent your insurance company nor is he/she assigned by your insurance company.  Public Adjusters are sought and hired by you to be your representative and deal with your insurance company.   For their services they will charge you a fee, typically a percentage of the total award amount that they negotiate with your insurance company.

Remember, a Public Adjuster can assist with the claims process, but cannot get you more money than you are entitled to under your insurance policy and will not be able to get your claim settled any faster. You are simply paying them for a service.

OK, so when should I use a Public Adjuster?

Many will hire a Public Adjuster simply because they don’t have the time to deal with the claim.  Remember, though, you are paying a fee for this convenience. 

Typically, the Public Adjuster will charge a fee of 10%-15% of the final claim awarded.  This can be a sizable fee, so be sure before you sign any paperwork.  It’s also important to know that this fee can be negotiated depending on the size of the loss.

If you chose to deal with the claim personally, there are steps you can take before bringing a Public Adjuster in.  Your insurance company is a reputable business and they want you to continue to be a policyholder.

If you feel you can justify additional damages, speak with your insurance company’s assigned adjuster and present your case.  If you are not getting anywhere, ask to speak with a more senior representative.  You may find that these steps yield good results.

If you still feel that you need more representation, this is when you may consider working with a Public Adjuster.  It’s really a judgment call as to whether or not you believe your loss, and the associated damages you claim, are fairly reflected in your insurance company’s assessment.

Before you proceed, do some simple math. 

Let’s say you had a fire loss, for which your insurance company has assessed a $200,000 payment to cover the loss, but you feel you are entitled to $20,000 more and you have not been successful with your discussions with your adjuster.  So, you hire a Public Adjuster with a fee of 10%.  At the end of it, he argues and wins $10,000 more from your insurance company for a total payment of $210,000. The fee will be $21,000 to the Public Adjuster, netting you $189,000.  You would have been better off accepting the initial payment offered by the insurance company.

How can I find a good Public Adjuster?

As with anything else, a Public Adjuster can be found by doing some internet searches.  Another place to start would be going to the NAPIA website.  They have a vetting process and require their members to be licensed and to have been in business for at least 2 years.

Some steps you should think about:

  • Always avoid any Public Adjuster who tries to pressure you into signing a contract. Remember this a business transaction.
  • Interview several.
  • Get reference lists and check with their prior clients.
  • Check their company websites.
  • You can also ask friends and colleagues who they might recommend.
  • Avoid single practitioners or small firms unless they demonstrate a good track record.

Before signing anything, make sure your rights are protected:

  • Determine how long you have to cancel any contract you sign. New Jersey protects consumers with a 72-hour cancellation provision under the Consumer Fraud Act.
  • Verify that the Public Adjuster will remove any lien once the contract is terminated.
  • Limit the contract to no more than six months.

Once you’ve identified your Public Adjuster, you will sign a contract between you and them, which obligates your relationship with them until the claim is settled.  The Public Adjuster will likely place a lien on your insurance claim, naming them as additional payee on all payments from your insurance company.

What role with the Public Adjuster play in the process?

So now you’ve hired a Public Adjuster.  Here’s what you can count on him doing and what you should not expect.

You will still be very involved in helping the Public Adjuster document the loss.  He will need details of the event and information about content damage and their value.

A public adjuster will assess your losses and help you get every penny you deserve, but don't expect miracles.  Understand the insurance company may not agree to everything you want just because you hired a public adjuster.

The Public Adjuster will be your representative and negotiate every aspect of the loss with your insurance company until a final agreement is made.  Once the negotiations are completed, your Public Adjuster’s job is done.  They do not perform or manage the restoration portion of this project.

The next and final step is to begin the restoration process by hiring the various contractors needed to perform the cleaning and repairing of your home.  This could start during negotiations between your Public Adjuster and your insurance company, depending on the urgency and what may have been agreed to. 

Remember, the Public Adjuster may provide you contractor referrals to do the work, however, you are under no obligation to use them, after all, this is your home and you have every right to decide who performs the work. 

Always consider using SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County for your cleaning and restoration needs, regardless of any contractors your Public Adjuster may insist on using. SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County is a full service restoration company, providing everything from board-up and drying, to cleaning and rebuilding.

Summary

I hope this has helped you in understanding the role and costs surrounding using a Public Adjuster.  There is always risk in any decision.  Minimize your risk by doing your research first by working with your insurance company.  It will be well worth it to go down this path first.

Always feel free to contact SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County at 973-383-2024 to discuss this before making your decision.  We’re always glad to help.

Like Us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter or Instagram and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Fire Damage: HALT WINTER HEATING HAZARDS

1/13/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Fire Damage: HALT WINTER HEATING HAZARDS Heating Related Fire Statistics

The winter season is here and with it comes shorter days and lower temperatures. No matter where you live, winter brings a change in the weather. In an effort to keep our homes and workplaces cozy, many people use alternative heat sources like fireplaces, portable space heaters, and wood burning stoves. Did you know, heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths? According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment fires cause an estimated $1 billion in direct property damage annually. Keep the following safety tips in mind to help reduce your risk of a heating-related fire.

  • Keep anything flammable at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or a portable space heater. Have a three foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room.   Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home. 
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment  according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Test smoke alarms monthly.

If your property does suffer fire damage, contact SERVPRO® of Northern Sussex County to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

Call us today at 973-383-2024 and be sure to check us out on Facebook and Twitter for tips on how to protect you 

 

Fire Damage: Helping Homeowners Recover

12/16/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Fire Damage: Helping Homeowners Recover SERVPRO professional cleaning a fire damage home.

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.

So after the first wave of heroes have rescued the property, let SERVPRO® of Northern Sussex County help you restore it. With the industry approved training to employ rapid response, the utmost professionalism, cutting-edge technology and open communication, we strive to restore not only the home, but the customer’s peace of mind, as well.

So, before you risk doing further damage by attempting to clean up the damage yourself, call the fire damage cleanup and restoration professionals.

What You Can Do Until Help Arrives

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from spreading and additional damage from occurring.
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs and high traffic areas and upholstery.
  • Coat chrome faucets, trim and appliances with petroleum jelly or oil.
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpet.
  • Do not wash any walls or painted surfaces.
  • Do not shampoo carpet or upholstery.
  • Do not clean any electrical equipment.
  • Do not send clothing to a dry cleaner since improper cleaning may set smoke odor.

SERVPRO® of Northern Sussex County provides the following restoration services:

  • Board-ups-In some cases it may be important to secure openings to your home or structure using sturdy, durable materials designed to protect it from both weather intrusion and intrusion by outsiders. SERVPRO® may perform the board-up themselves, or outside subcontractors may be utilized.
  • Move-Outs - If prolonged exposure to the loss event could cause additional damage to your contents, your contractor requests relocation of the contents, or the safety of your contents is a concern,a move-out may be recommended. In these situations, SERVPRO® is trained to properly inventory, move out and control the contents from the structure during the cleaning, restoration and deodorization process.
  • Electronics Cleaning - Smoke residues can contain acids that corrode metal surfaces when moisture is also present. If the residues are not removed, corrosion can eat away at the metal casing and can ultimately cause electronic failure in the device. SERVPRO® can clean the outside casing correctly, as well as refer your equipment to a qualified electronics vendor.
  • Artwork - Artwork ranges from inexpensive framed pictures to extremely valuable fine art. Restoration of valuable art requires the use of a trained art restorer (known as a conservator), while less expensive art may not warrant these costly specialized services. SERVPRO® will usually subcontract fine art restoration to a conservator. If desired, SERVPRO® may attempt to remove smoke residues and odors, after qualifying with the customer that such cleaning procedures may affect the visible appearance of the item.
  • Structural Cleaning - After a smoke or fire damage, ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting and floors will often need a thorough cleaning. SERVPRO® will pretest to determine the extent of damage, and then use the specific equipment and cleaning products required to clean and protect the different types of surfaces found in your structure. Depending on the amount of soot, SERVPRO® may even be able to reduce the cost of recovery by cleaning lighter soot deposits found on some surfaces, eliminating the expense incurred with repainting or refinishing. In other cases, SERVPRO® will clean to “prepare for painting”. This process deodorizes and ensures the new paint will adhere properly to the surface.
  • Contents Cleaning–All of the restorable contents in affected areas will be professionally cleaned and deodorized.  This includes area rugs, furniture, draperies and upholstery. SERVPRO® begins by carefully inspecting and testing all fabrics in the structure to determine which cleaning methods are most appropriate. SERVPRO® can provide wet or dry cleaning services. Additionally, all the other restorable contents will be cleaned and deodorized to pre-loss condition. This includes electronics, art, wood furniture, kitchen items,clothing, bedding, bric-a-brac and much more. Finally,SERVPRO® can provide an inventory list of all “to be claimed” items if requested.
  • Deodorization–SERVPRO® provides specialized services that rid your home or place of business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. SERVPRO® does not merely cover up lingering odors with a fragrance, they seek out the sources of the odor and remove them. 
  • Repair / Rebuild-In most cases, SERVPRO® can provide full scope repair and rebuild services, including structural repairs, painting and flooring.

So, before you risk doing further damage by attempting to clean up the damage yourself, call the fire damage cleanup and restoration professionals at 973-383-2024

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

Like US on Facebook and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

 

Fire Safety - Celebrate Safely This Holiday Season

12/1/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Fire Safety - Celebrate Safely This Holiday Season Take care when arranging your holiday decorations.#firesafety

DID YOU KNOW?
December is the peak time of year for home candle fires.

Pretty lights, candles and decorations are just a few of the items bringing charm and cheer to the holiday season—however, if they are not used carefully your holidays may go from festive to frightening.

The American Red Cross offers the following safety tips to help greatly reduce the fire risk in your home or business this holiday season.

  • Place Christmas trees, candles and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles.
  • Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving the property or going to bed.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate a tree.  Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over. Keep curious pets and children away from Christmas trees.
  • Keep anything that can catch on fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from your stove top.  
  • Designate one person to walk around your property to ensure all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.

Contact us at 973-383-2024 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County's System Services.

Like US on Facebook and follow the tips, tricks and advice we share with our community.

Thanksgiving: CELEBRATE SAFELY WITH A RECIPE FOR SAFETY

11/10/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Thanksgiving: CELEBRATE SAFELY WITH A RECIPE FOR SAFETY Cooking Fires are most common during the holidays.

DID YOU KNOW?

Thanksgiving is the leading day for home cooking fires, with
three times the average number.

 

Each November, families gather to celebrate Thanksgiving by preparing a delicious feast, but if you don’t practice safe cooking habits, your holiday could become hazardous very quickly. According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. It’s important to be alert to prevent cooking fires.

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

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

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

Five Dangers of Deep Frying a Turkey

  • Turkey fryers can easily tip over, spilling hot cooking oil over a large area.
  • An overfilled cooking pot will cause cooking oil to spill when the turkey is put in, and a partially frozen turkey will cause cooking oil to splatter when put in the pot.
  • Even a small amount of cooking oil spilling on a hot burner can cause a large fire.
  • Without thermostat controls, deep fryers can overheat oil to the point of starting a fire.
  • The sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles can get dangerously hot.

SERVPRO® of Northern Sussex County wishes you a safe and happy holiday season.

Understanding The Behavior of Smoke

11/3/2016 (Permalink)

The damage to your property following a fire can often be complicated due to the unique behavior 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. SERVPRO® of Northern Sussex County professionals are thoroughly trained in fire cleanup and restoration and know the different types of smoke and their behavior patterns. Knowing this information is vital to proper restoration.  Before restoration begins, SERVPRO® of Northern Sussex County Professionals will survey the loss to determine the extent of impact from fire, smoke, heat, and moisture on the building materials and contents. The soot will then be tested to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. Pretesting determines the proper cleaning method and allows SERVPRO® of Northern Sussex County Professionals to focus on saving your precious items.

SERVPRO® of Northern Sussex County Professionals
know smoke can penetrate various cavities within the structure, causing hidden damage and odor. Their knowledge of building systems helps them investigate how far smoke damage may have spread. The following are additional facts you may not know about smoke.

  • 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

  • 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.
  • Fuel Oil Soot (Furnace Puff Backs) - While “puff backs” can create havoc for homeowners, SERVPRO® of Northern Sussex County Professionals can, in most cases, restore the contents and structure quickly.
  • Other Types (Tear gas, fingerprint
    powder and fire extinguisher residue) -  Special loss situations require special care.

SERVPRO® of Northern Sussex County Professionals are trained to handle even the toughest losses. If your home or business suffers fire or smoke damage, contact SERVPRO® of Northern Sussex County at 973-383-2024 to help make it “Like it never even happened.”

For more information on Fire and Smoke Damage Restoration, visit our website.

LIKE us on Facebook and keep up to date with weekly cleaning tips and tricks?

Home Fires - America's Biggest Disaster Threat

10/14/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Home Fires - America's Biggest Disaster Threat Map your escape plan

Courtesy of The American Red Cross

Fast Facts

  • Nearly 47,000 fires occur during the winter holidays claiming more than 500 lives, causing more than 2,200 injuries, and costing $554 million in property damage.**
  • On average, one of every 22 home fires started by Christmas trees result in death.***
  • Candle fires are four times as likely to occur during the winter holidays.**
  • During the winter holiday season, an average of 40 home fires per day are caused by children playing.**
  • The number of home fires the American Red Cross has responded to has risen 10% since 2000.*
  • Having a working smoke alarm reduces one’s chances of dying in a fire by nearly half.**

Preparedness Tips

  • Place Christmas trees, candles, and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles.
  • Purchase flame retardant metallic or artificial trees. If you purchase a real tree, make sure that it has fresh, green needles that aren’t easily broken. Keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water.
  • Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over. Keep curious pets and children away from Christmas trees.
  • Keep anything that can catch on fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from your stove top.
  • Designate one person to walk around your home to make sure that all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.
  • Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.
  • Visit www.redcross.org/homefires for more information on how to keep your home fire safe during the holidays.

Sources: American Red Cross,* U.S. Fire Administration,** and the National Fire Protection Association.***

 

Fire Escape Planning

9/30/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Facts

  • One quarter of home fire deaths are caused by fires that start in the bedroom. Another quarter result from fires in the living room, family room or den.
  • 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 much less. Only 8 percent said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out.

CAN YOU DO IT IN UNDER 2 MINUTES?

Every second counts during a fire. Fire experts agree, people have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home before it’s too late to get out.* In a matter of moments, a small flame can become a major fire, making it critical to be prepared and have an escape plan in place. A survey conducted by the American Red Cross shows only 26 percent of families have developed and practiced a home fire escape plan. Once a plan is developed, it is critical everyone in the home understands the plan; the best way to do this is by practicing the escape plan at least twice a year. Increase your chance of surviving a fire by ensuring you have working smoke detectors in place, building an escape plan, and then practicing the escape plan. The following are a few suggestions to help you develop an emergency escape plan.

Draw a map of each level of your home and show all doors and windows. Find two ways to get out of each room. Make sure all doors and windows that lead outside open easily. 

Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas on the second and third floors. Only purchase collapsible escape ladders evaluated by a recognized testing laboratory. Store them near the window where they will be used.

Choose an outside meeting place a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they’ve escaped. Make sure to mark the location of the meeting place on your escape plan.

Teach children how to escape on their own in case you cannot help them. Plan for everyone in your home with special considerations for elderly or disabled individuals.

Practice your fire escape plan during the day and at nighttime.

Escape Planning for Your Business

An emergency escape plan is not required for all businesses, however, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends building an emergency action plan to protect yourself, your employees, and your business during an emergency. OSHA suggests the following steps when developing such a plan.

Organize an Emergency Preparedness Procedures review with employees to review your company’s emergency plans. You may wish to select an individual or team of individuals to lead and coordinate your emergency plan.

Once a plan is developed, post evacuation procedures, including routes and exits, where they are easily accessible to all employees. Ensure all exits and routes are clearly marked
and well lit, wide enough to accommodate the number of evacuating personnel, and unobstructed and clear of debris at all times.

Conduct office evacuation exercises and drills. Designate a safe spot outside of the facility where employees can regroup, recover and conduct a head count. Once completed, evaluate how well the plan worked and if additional training or exercises are needed.

For more information, visit our website.

Become part of our social community where we provide all kinds of helpful hints on cleaning and home improvement projects:

American Red Cross Fire Prevention Month

9/22/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage American Red Cross Fire Prevention Month Home Fire Statistics

Hooray!  It’s American Red Cross Fire Prevention Month!  For the whole month of October, we are going to help you celebrate by learning more on how to prevent and prepare for home fires with the American Red Cross.  For more information, please visit www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergeies/fire.

Did you know that home fires are actually the majority of the disasters that occur?  You can easily prevent a home fire if you know the right protocol.  The American Red Cross has many great tips for you.  Please visit www.redcross.org to learn more about preventing home fires and be prepared if one does occur.

Don’t let a home fire happen to you and your family.  The American Red Cross can help you learn how tips on how to prevent a home fire at your household.  Make sure your family can safely escape your home in less than 2 minutes.  Test your smoke alarms.  To learn more please visit www.redcross.org/homefires for home fire prevention information. Don’t let a home fire affect your family.

Everyone knows “Stop, drop and roll”.  But does everyone know how to escape their house I n less than 2 minutes?  To prevent a home fire in your house, please visit the American Red Cross at www.redcross.org/homefires for home fire prevention information.  Don’t let a home fire affect your family. 

On average, 36 people suffer injuries as a result of home fires every day.  To help prevent an injury to you or your loved ones, visit the American Red Cross at www.redcross.org/homefires to learn more information.  You can help home fire victims by donating to http://redcross.org/cm/SERVPROindustries-pub

When is the last time you checked your smoke alarm?  Make sure you are checking monthly to keep you and your family safe.  The American Red Cross will help you learn the other ways to prevent home fires at www.redcross.org/homefires.

Over $7 billion in property damage occurs every year due to home fires.  Your help is needed in every form.  If you can finally donate please visit, http://redcross.org/cm/SERVPROindustries-pub.  If you can give your time or effort, please become an American Red Cross volunteer at www.redcross.org to help others recover from home fires. 

Are you home fire safety savvy?  Challenge friends, family members, and yourself by taking the quiz at www.redcross.org/homefires.

Teaming with the American Red Cross, we are striving to reduce deaths and injuries due to home fires by 25%.  Help us help you.  Make sure you know all the proper ways to prevent and prepare for home fires.  For more information, please visit www.redcross.org/homefires.

Attention grown ups!!  The Red Cross #MonsterGuard app is a great way to teach your kids how to prepare for emergencies.  Role playing as monsters, kids learn about different hazards such as home fires, floods and hurricanes.  Learn more at www.redcross.org/monsterguard.

You cannot predict when something tragic is going to strike.  You can make sure you are prepared when it does.  The American Red Cross has great ways to get prepared at www.redcross.org/prepare.

Do you know how often you are supposed to replace your smoke detectors in your house?  The American Red Cross does, and to find out the answer, please visit www.redcross.org.  It is very important to have updated smoke detectors for your family’s safety.

What is something you can do in less than 2 minutes?  You can make a cup of coffee, floss your teeth, but most importantly, evacuate your house in the event of a home fire.  For more information on the proper procedure, please visit the American Red Cross at www.redcross.org.

A home is more than a supportive structure.  It shelters you, your family, and all of your treasured keepsakes.  What if you had the power to prevent the loss of your home?  Well, the American Red Cross can give you some of that power by learning proper home fire prevention and safety.  For more, please visit www.redcross.org

You can help save lives by having a home fire escape plan.  The American Red Cross can help you get your worksheet today by visiting www.redcross.org/escapeplan.

SERVPRO supports the American Red Cross by asking every household in America to join us in taking two simple steps that can save lives; checking or installing smoke alarms and practicing fire drills at home. www.redcross.org

According to the American Red Cross, 82% of family have not practiced fire drills at home.  Don’t be a part of that statistic.  Practice home fire drills to save your children’s lives.  For more information, please visit www.redcross.org

SERVPRO® Pledges Ongoing Support to the American Red Cross Disaster Responder Program

6/16/2016 (Permalink)

Red Cross recognizes SERVPRO for their contribution to disaster preparedness and recovery efforts

The American Red Cross recently recognized SERVPRO®, a cleanup and restoration company, for participation in its Disaster Responder Program1.  As a Disaster Responder Program member, SERVPRO pledges a donation to the Red Cross in advance of disasters, allowing the organization to respond quickly and effectively to nearly 66,000 disasters annually, most of which are home fires. SERVPRO is entering their third year of partnership with the Red Cross; their donations to the organization to date exceed one million dollars.

According to statistics cited by the Red Cross, seven people die in a home fire each day in the U.S. Aiming to reduce deaths and injuries caused by home fires by 25 percent by the end of 2019, the Red Cross launched a Home Fire Campaign in October of 2014. The support of SERVPRO and other Disaster Responder Program members allows the Red Cross to pursue their home fire prevention goals while they continue to provide critical services to disaster victims.

“One of the reasons home fires account for the majority of the disasters the Red Cross responds to annually is that the risk for home fires exists all year long,” said Jack Oliver, owner of SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County. “Statistics compiled by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)2 show the majority of home fires are related to unattended cooking accidents – and cooking is something most people do every day.”

Although SERVPRO’s business is helping business and home owners recover from fire, flood and other disasters, the company and its franchisees actively support disaster preparedness education, including fire prevention efforts. When disaster does strike, their relationships with major insurance companies combined with industry-leading job-management technology help smooth the path to rebuilding and restoration for home and business owners affected by the unexpected.

“SERVPRO’s commitment to the Red Cross Disaster Responder Program means that, when disaster strikes, homeowners can count on the Red Cross to address their immediate needs and supply essential services,” said Oliver. “Once the immediate emergency is under control, homeowners can count on the expertise of restoration specialists at SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County to help them restore their property and move forward with their lives.”

For fire prevention tips and information about fire and water damage restoration services, please visit www.SERVPROnorthernsussexcounty.com. For more information on SERVPRO® of Northern Sussex County, please contact Jack Oliver at (973) 383-2024 or office@SERVPROsussex.com.

1 http://www.redcross.org/news/article/local/tennessee/SERVPRO-Recognized-for-Contribution-to-the-American-Red-Cross

2 http://www.nfpa.org/research/reports-and-statistics/fires-by-property-type/residential/home-structure-fires

 

Home Emergency - Disaster Preparedness

11/20/2015 (Permalink)

Disaster Preparedness - What You Can Do.

In order to be fully prepared, you should have all pertinent and proper information in a written plan for easy retrieval. Some key questions to consider when creating a personal emergency preparedness plan include:

  • Do you have an escape or evacuation route in place?
  • Do you have a designated meeting place in case of separation?
  • Does everyone have a list of contact information including family members out of state who can serve as a point of contact?
  • Do you have a disaster supply kit with necessary supplies?
  • Do you have a first aid kit that includes necessary prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines and basic medical supplies?
  • Do you have enough non-perishable food and bottled water?
  • Do you have access to important family documents, including insurance policies, bank, credit card and loan information and family records such as birth certificates and social security cards?
  • Do you have an inventory of valuable household goods?

A well-equipped disaster supply kit should include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Water- a large enough supply to provide each person with 1 gallon daily for drinking and sanitation.
  • Food- enough to last 3-7 days. Food needs to be non-perishable or canned food. You will also want to include a non-electric can opener, paper plates and plastic utensils.
  • Bedding including sheets, blankets and pillows.
  • Clothing- remember it may be warm, however, you may be working and cleaning and may prefer pants or long sleeves to protect your skin. You will also need sturdy, closed-toe, non-slip shoes if available.
  • First aid kit including antiseptics or sanitizers and bandages, over-the-counter and prescription medications.
  • Extra flashlights and batteries. Oil lanterns also provide a good source of light, if available.
  • Toiletries including toilet paper and hygiene items. Hand sanitizers are also good to have on hand.
  • Battery-operated radio with extra batteries so you can listen to weather service announcements. 
  • Cash- you will want some cash and small bills on hand as banks may not be open.
  • Emergency phone numbers and contact information including insurance agent and family contacts.
  • Tools, tarps, plastic sheets, trash bags, duct tape, etc. to help make minor repairs.
  • Important documents should be kept in a waterproof bag or plastic sealed container and should include insurance, medical and family records, birth certificates, social security cards, bank account information and a complete home inventory analysis.
  • Gas- fill your car’s tank ahead of time if time permits. You may also want to fill plastic gasoline-approved containers with gas to store.
  • Pet care items including food, leash and a carrier or cage.

Don’t wait until it is too late; prepare now to help protect your family in an emergency or disaster situation.

Home Fire Danger Peaks During Holiday Season

11/11/2015 (Permalink)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jack Oliver

SERVPRO® of Northern Sussex County

973-383-2024

office.SERVPROsussex@gmail.com

Home Fire Danger Peaks During Holiday Season

SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County cites statistics on escalated cooking and candle fire risk that can turn festivities into a fire drill

Franklin, NJ, November 11, 2015 -- As the holiday season approaches and families gear up for decorating their homes and hosting large gatherings of friends and family, Jack Oliver of SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County reminds homeowners to take note of some sobering statistics about home fire safety from the National Fire Prevention Association:

·      Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home structure fires. The three peak days for home cooking fires are Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.1

·      Candles fires peak in December. The top three days for candles fires are Christmas Day, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.2

“These statistics are a serious reminder of how the excitement of holiday entertaining can quickly turn into a life-altering fire or even a tragic injury or death,” says Oliver. “While glowing candles and elaborate meals set the stage for a great holiday get-together, homeowners need to exercise extra care in controlling the dangerous potential for fires.”

According to the NFPA3, unattended cooking is by far the leading cause of home cooking fires, with frying posing the greatest fire risk and electric ranges posing a higher risk than gas ranges. Range top cooking in general started the majority of home cooking fires and caused 86 percent of related civilian deaths for the reporting period.

While incidents of candle fires peaked in 2001 and have been falling since, candles are still one of the top 10 causes of U.S. home fires, according to the NFPA. As with cooking fires, unattended or abandoned candles account for a large portion of candle fires–almost 20 percent–but the most frequent cause of candle fires is placing the candle too close to something that can burn, like curtains, decorations or furniture.

“It’s easy to see why cooking and candle fires both peak during the holiday season,” says Oliver, “and it’s also easy to see why homeowners need to take extra care when decorating their homes or entertaining. A moment’s inattention at the stove or a guest repositioning a candle on a tabletop may be all it takes to turn the festivities into a fight to save property and lives. While our business is fire and water damage restoration and we stand ready to help at a moment’s notice if disaster does strike, our sincere hope is that our friends and neighbors will enjoy a fire-free and festive holiday season.”

For more fire prevention tips and information about fire and water damage restoration services, please visit www.SERVPROsussex.com. For more information on SERVPRO of Northern Sussex County, please contact Jack Oliver at 973-383-2024 or office.SERVPROsussex@gmail.com.

http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/causes/cooking

http://www.nfpa.org/research/reports-and-statistics/fire-causes/candles 

http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/holidays/put-a-freeze-on-winter-fires