Recent Fire Damage Posts

Winter Fire Prevention

12/14/2021 (Permalink)

It seems like every year, the holiday season approaches faster and faster—but that means the increased risk of house fires does, too. Our franchise has seen a dramatic increase recently in calls for house fire cleanup.

The leading cause of home fires is cooking regardless of the season, but the chances for heating and electrical-related fires always increases when the weather turns colder. Focusing on fire safety throughout your wintertime celebrations will ensure that fires are far less likely to get a chance to spark.

Tips for Fire Prevention Around the Holiday Season

Keep safe when cooking. Cooking is the top cause of house fires in every season, but during the winter, there are more large, family style meals and far more baking which causes the frequency of cooking related fires to increase. It is wise to always keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and be careful about utensils, potholders, dish towels and curtains being anywhere near the stove.

Heat the house with proper precautions. It is common to use space heaters throughout the winter season to knock the chill off, but it is important to be certain your model has safety features such as a tip over shutoff and overheating sensor. If you have a fireplace in the home, have your chimney inspected annually to reduce the risk of fire, and be sure to never leave a fire or a space heater unattended or going while you sleep.

Decorate with care. The decorations commonly associated with Christmas, such as trees and lights, present an electrical hazard if they are not installed correctly. Christmas tree fires due to electricity are extremely common, often as a result of the lights being plugged in improperly. Make sure to not overload outlets or power cables, and never use decorations with frayed wiring.

If you have fire damage at your home this holiday season, call the fire restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Monroeville/Evergreen/Brewton at (251) 809-1260.

Winter Weather Fire Safety

12/14/2021 (Permalink)

Winter weather isn’t a common occurrence in our area, but winter storms do happen from time to time. It is important to keep the following advice in mind before, during, and after a winter storm hits our area. These tips will help keep you and your family safe from a winter fire

  • Test all smoke alarms. Do this at least once a month. This way you will know they are working. Install carbon monoxide alarms in your home. Test the alarms.
  • Plan two ways out of the home in case of an emergency. Clear driveway and front walk of ice and snow. This will provide easy access to your home.
  • Make sure your house number can be seen from the street. If you need help, firefighters will be able to find you.
  • Be ready in case the power goes out. Have flashlights on hand. Also, have battery-powered lighting and fresh batteries. Never use candles.
  • Stay aware of winter weather. Listen to the television or radio for updates. Watch for bulletins online.
  • Check on neighbors. Check on others who may need help.
  • Generators should be used outdoors. Keep them away from windows and doors. Do not run a generator inside your garage, even if the door is open.
  • Stay away from downed wires. Report and downed wires to authorities. 
  • Be ready if the heat stops working. Use extra layers of clothes and blankets to stay warm. If you use an emergency heat source, keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away. 
  • Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room. Turn them off when you go to bed. 

IMPORTANT REMINDER

There are more home fires in winter than in any other season. Half of all home heating fires happen in December, January, and February.

As you stay cozy and warm this winter season be fire smart! If you do suffer fire damage at your home, give the fire restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Monroeville/Evergreen/Brewton a call at (251) 809-1260.

How SERVPRO Cleans Up After Fire Damage

12/2/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Follows Scientific Principles When Restoring Your Property After Fire Damage

Fire can wreak havoc on your home. The smoke and soot can cause irreparable damage if it is not taken care of promptly and efficiently. Successful cleanup and restoration after a fire is a job for professionals. Trying to get the damage repaired or restored by yourself can worsen the already bad situation.

SERVPRO of Monroeville/Evergreen/Brewton professionals have years of experience in successful restoration and cleanup of hundreds of homes after fire damage. Our meticulous technicians use tested scientific methods to get rid of the damage due to fire. Our state-of-the-art, multi-step cleaning process restores your home back to the pre-damage condition in no time. Here are the four scientific principles that enable SERVPRO technicians to restore your home after a fire damage.

Modulating the temperature can hasten the cleaning process  

Smoke and soot can build up on the walls and ceilings after an incidence of fire. These residues are notoriously difficult to clean even with some of the best and most active cleaning agents. SERVPRO technicians use their knowledge of chemistry to handle such stains. We use an elevated temperature that speeds up the reaction between cleaning agents and the stain causing residues.

Agitation can speed up the cleaning process

SERVPRO technicians use various agitation techniques such as brushing, air, and water pressure and even sound waves at high frequencies to clean difficult to clean stains. Our technicians have a thorough understanding of how the process of agitation works and how it can be successfully implemented depending on the nature of the damage.

Chemical cleaning products can work wonders

Various chemical cleaning products can work wonders cleaning the smoke and soot residue if they are carefully selected depending on the type of the damage. Our expert technicians use their extensive experience and knowledge to choose the best possible chemical cleansing agents that can clean the damage in no time.

Restoring fire damage is a process that involves careful planning and expertise. You can trust us to ensure that your home looks, smells and feels like home again in no time.

Why You Should Hire Professionals to Clean Your Home After a Fire

7/23/2021 (Permalink)

Hidden damage and strong odors left behind by a house fire

Even after a small grease fire in your kitchen, you are going to wind up with plenty of damage afterward. You also must deal with a heavy smoky odor throughout your home, black soot on your ceiling and cabinets, burnt grease, and even melted appliances.

Many people attempt to clean up after a small fire in their home themselves. However, it is best to leave the inspection and cleanup of the fire damage to the expertise of our technicians at SERVPRO. We are trained and certified to deal with situations like this and have the proper tools as well to restore your home back to its proper state thoroughly.

Kitchen fires produce a mixture of residues which must be cleaned properly. A big challenge of kitchen fires is you will most likely have more than one kind of material which burns and leaves residues. It is not an easy task for the average homeowner to understand how to clean these residues. The different kinds include natural substances such as wood, paper, or natural fabrics, protein substances like grease and burnt food, plus synthetic substances like plastics. It is best that each kind of substance is cleaned with the right method unique to that substance.

Smoke smells are tough to combat. You can keep cleaning, but the smell of smoke can linger still. Smoke particles are tiny, and each of them has an odor. These microscopic particles make their way inside your walls through air ducts, behind the wood trim, into cabinets, under carpeting, and more. Even if you are the best cleaner in the world, there are such a vast number of places you could miss, and it can take weeks for the smell to dissipate.

The fire could have also done more damage than you realize. If flames shot up an air duct, for instance, you may not know about some of the damage done. When you allow SERVPRO staff to inspect your home, we can find all the hidden damage so that your home is completely cleaned and restored, giving you a peace of mind.

SERVPRO of Monroeville/Evergreen/Brewton has the proper training to handle fire damage of all kinds. Call us at 251-809-1260!

Smoke Alarm Safety Tips

7/23/2021 (Permalink)

Smoke alarms play a vital role in saving lives and, when properly installed, can reduce the risk of fire injury in half.*

The National Fire Protection Association recommends smoke alarms be installed in every bedroom, outside all sleeping quarters and on every level of the house. Business owners should consult the local Fire Marshall to ensure specific building fire codes and smoke detector requirements are met.

Smoke alarms work best when paired with a fire escape plan. A plan allows your family, employees, or clients to escape quickly and safely in an emergency situation.

Review the following tips regarding smoke detector installation and maintenance. For more on emergency preparedness, contact SERVPRO of Monroeville/Evergreen/Brewton.

- Install smoke alarms on every level of the home, including the basement.

- Smoke alarms should be installed away from the kitchen to prevent false alarms. Generally, they should be at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance.

- Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.

- Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm "chirps," the battery is low and should be replaced right away.

- Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.

JUST THE FACTS: Smoke Alarms

- Three out of five fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or when the alarms are not working.

- Smoke alarm failures usually result from missing, disconnected, or dead batteries.

- More than one-third (37 percent) of home fire deaths result from fires in which no smoke alarms are present.

- The risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.

*Statistics and tips provided by National Fire Protection Association

Electrical Fires Can Cause Extensive Damage

7/20/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Offers Electrical Fire Damage Restoration Services

Statistics from the U.S. Fire Administration indicate that electrical fires account for about 7 percent of all residential fires in the country. This figure becomes much more significant when scaled down to a specific location. In most cases, the fire occurs from increased use of lights and heating appliances and usually starts in the bedroom. However, the highest number of fatalities (i.e., injuries and even deaths) come from fires happening in the family room, living room, and den.

When it comes to electrical fires, you cannot afford to be tolerant. You need to contact a locally based fire damage restoration company, such as SERVPRO, to start the mitigation process as fast as possible. Some electrical fires happen due to appliance failure or problems in house wiring, but many are a result of simple mistakes such as overloading extension cords or electrical outlets. Whatever the case, our IICRC-certified technicians have the tools and expertise to reverse the damage as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Research on fire damage events has shown that faulty wiring is the leading cause of electrical fires in most homes. If your house is at least two decades old, it is highly likely to have faulty wiring behind the walls. Rodents such as rats, mice, and squirrels can find their way into these spaces and chew on electrical cords, increasing the risk of a fire disaster.

At SERVPRO, we also deal with many instances of electrical fire damage resulting from shoddy installation. Home building trades are flooding with professionals who cut corners to save time or money, including electricians. On the other hand, overloading an older electrical system with modern electrical devices can prove to be too overwhelming, leading to damages on your wiring, appliances, and even the breaker box.

Holiday seasons are associated with the most house fires resulting from misusing extension cords. Generally, an extension cord should only serve as a temporary solution, especially when it comes to plugging several things in at once. Apart from overloading extension cords, using a frayed power cord can also lead to serious fire damage. Indeed, electricity can escape through the holes in the cord and set the surrounding materials ablaze.

In the event of an electrical fire, make sure that everyone is safe and then contact SERVPRO of Monroeville/Evergreen/Brewton as quickly as possible to deal with the fire damage. Electrical fires come with many hidden safety hazards, so it is important to allow trained restoration experts to come in and assess the extent of the damage. For any assistance, you can reach us 24/7, every day of the week at (251) 809-1260.  

Avoid Fire Hazards in the Kitchen

7/19/2021 (Permalink)

Who knew that the kitchen would become that wonderfully versatile place where family and friends gather to spend quality time while delicious meals are being cooked up? Unfortunately, however, the kitchen is also a space where many home fires occur.

Fires caused by cooking are listed as the No. 1 contributor of home fires and injuries. And the leading cause of these kitchen fires is unattended cooking.

In 2017, State Farm paid out over $130 million in homeowners insurance claims related to grease and other cooking fires. According to the insurance company, these are the worst states for kitchen fires:

  • North Carolina
  • Texas
  • Pennsylvania
  • California
  • Ohio
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • New York
  • Alabama
  • Georgia

Important Kitchen Safety Tips

Staying in the kitchen to supervise your cooking is not the only fire safety tip you should be following. Here are some other helpful tips to observe while cooking:

  1. Clothing is flammable! Does your outfit have long, flowing sleeves or is it big and baggy? It could catch on fire if you aren’t careful while cooking over the stove. It’s best to wear short or close-fitted sleeve shirts and make sure any baggy shirts are tucked in or tied back.
  2. Be observant as to what you have around the stovetop. Make sure you don’t have kitchen towels, oven mitts, appliance cords or even curtains too close to the stovetop when cooking. Ideally, anything that is flammable needs to be kept a safe distance from it.
  3. Have a fire extinguisher available in/near the kitchen. It is important that you have at least one fire extinguisher available in your home and, ideally, one that is near your kitchen. Make sure you know how to properly use the extinguisher, just in case it is ever needed.
  4. Hot grease in the garbage can be dangerous. While the grease may not actually be on fire, it might be hot enough to cause something in the trash to burn. You should let the grease cool a bit and then dispose of it in an old coffee can. Also, know the smoke points of the oils you cook with. Be sure to never subject a low-smoke point oil to high heat when cooking, as it could catch fire.
  5. Make an emergency escape plan and practice it! It’s never fun when it comes to thinking about the worst that could happen, but it’s better to be prepared than to be caught by surprise if an emergency were to occur. Go over exit routes and designated meeting points with your family, making sure that everyone knows what to do.

Fire safety in the kitchen is an absolute necessity, as it can help prevent dangerous and destructive cooking fires. If your home has experienced damage from a cooking fire, know that SERVPRO® of Monroeville/Evergreen/Brewton is here to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Frequently Asked Questions About Fire Damage

6/13/2021 (Permalink)

  • How long will the fire restoration process take?
    Because there are many variables and many services involved in fire and smoke restoration, it is difficult to predict exactly how long the complete restoration will take. Consult with your SERVPRO Technician on the estimated dates and phases of your restoration project.
  • Can I clean the fire damage myself?
    We suggest that you do not attempt any “do-it-yourself” cleaning methods without consulting your SERVPRO Technician. Professional cleaning systems and products used by experienced, trained SERVPRO Technicians give you the best chance for complete restoration of your belongings. Pre-testing, using the right cleaning agent for the particular item, mixing deodorizing agents with cleaning solutions, and using correct dilution rates are just some of the ways a fire restoration technician expertly controls the results.
  • What are some safety concerns?
    At SERVPRO, occupant and worker safety is a top priority. During the initial inspection, safety hazards are identified and addressed, including debris removal, air quality, electrical hazards, slip and trip hazards, etc. Burnt electrical cords and appliances are separate out for disposal, and questionable electrical appliances are unplugged and tagged for evaluation of the safe operation. Electrical power may be turned off and kept off until evaluation by a licensed electrician.
  • Can I turn on my heating and air conditioning unit?
    We recommend that you not turn on your furnace or air conditioning unit without clearance from the HVAC contractor.
  • What items do I keep in my possession?
    Cash, Medications, Valuable Jewelry, Checkbooks, Personal Documents, Valuable Paintings, Flammables, Pet, Weapons/Ammunition, Gasoline, Cans, Stamp/Coin Collections, etc.
  • How do I keep track of non-restorable items?
    We recommend you make a list of items (including food items) deemed non-restorable. Use a format like a sample below, or obtain a similar form from your insurance company. Make a copy for your insurance company and keep one for yourself.
  • Do I need to move out of my property during the fire restoration process?
    This is ultimately your decision. Some things you may want to consider are safety concerns, odors, electricity, noise from equipment, etc. If vacating your premises for any length of time, consider the following: forward your mail to your temporary residence; stop newspaper and other deliveries; notify utility company, Cable Company, etc. of temporary suspension of services.
  • Do I need general contractors?
    There are some items that may require general contractors, such as drywall/painting, electrical, plumbing, roofing, framing/finish carpentry, flooring/carpet, installation of doors, windows, cabinets, post-construction cleanup, etc. Please talk with a SERVPRO representative as we have the ability to provide these services to you through our own in-house facility.
  • Do my belongings need to be moved away from the premises?
    Depending on the source, nature, and extent of the fire, it may be best to remove all belongings to a secure facility for cleaning, storage and to make room for restoration or construction. SERVPRO will work with you and your insurance claim representative to manage this process.
  • Will I have access to my belongings while they are in storage?
    Yes, with advance notice we can schedule a time for you to access your requested items.
  • What about special items? Artwork, china, heirlooms, etc.
    Some high-value items require restoration by specialists. Working with your insurance claim representative, we can help you identify these and locate a qualified restorer.

Who is responsible for payment for the service?
Ultimately you, the property owner, are responsible for payment and will need to sign a form authorizing repairs and payment for the restoration services. If this is an insurance claim, SERVPRO generally collects the deductible (co-payment) amount from you and bills the balance to your insurance provider as a service to you. If you have a large loss, your mortgage company may be included as a payee on the payment from your insurance company, and you may need to obtain a signature from them as well. If your claim is not covered by the insurance or you decide not to file a claim, you will be expected to pay in full.

Kitchen Fire Prevention Tips

6/12/2021 (Permalink)

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.

Smoke Detector Maintenance Tips from SERVPRO

6/11/2021 (Permalink)

You have several appliances, systems, components and products in your home, many of which you use and depend on every day. Perhaps the most important one is something you hope to never need: a smoke alarm. This device is a critical warning mechanism that will alert you if smoke is present in your home. However, if you don't have enough in your house, or if you don't properly maintain them, you could suffer awful consequences if a fire does start.

Proper Alarm Placement, Care

If you move into a new home, you shouldn't have to worry much about whether you have enough alarms. On the other hand, older places might not be up to smoke detector standards. Make sure you adhere to the following:

  • Have one alarm in every sleeping room of the house.
  • Have one alarm outside each sleeping area.
  • Have at least one alarm per floor.
  • Make sure you properly install each alarm; have a professional help you if necessary.

Replacement

For years, fire damage restoration experts have advised homeowners to replace the batteries in each alarm at least once a year. This is a good guideline to follow if you have an older alarm. Newer alarms, however, have a much longer battery life. With these, you'll only have to change the batteries once every 10 years. It is wise to test your alarm monthly. Most models have a function where you can push a button on the device, which will sound the alarm, letting you know the battery is working and that the sound is sufficiently loud.

Don't Disconnect

Whatever you do, never disconnect a smoke alarm. Some homeowners get annoyed when the alarms go off if something is burning on the stove or in the oven. It's unwise to unhook your alarm under any circumstance.

A smoke alarm could save your life someday. Make sure you have the right number in your home and that you replace the batteries properly.

Summer Fire Prevention Tips from SERVPRO

6/10/2021 (Permalink)

We here at SERVPRO of Monroeville/Evergreen/Brewton deal with many house fires throughout the year, they are the most common disaster throughout the U.S and with the summer rolling in, here are some ways you can help prevent these: 

#1. Don’t use fireworks at home

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, it’s always best to leave fireworks to the professionals and attend public fireworks displays instead.

#2. Be careful when grilling outdoors

Practice safe grilling this summer with these grilling fire tips:

  • Always use your grill outdoors and far away from any structures. 
  • Clean your grill after every use to prevent a buildup of fat or grease that can cause a grease fire.
  • Stabilize the grill on a flat surface to prevent it from tipping.
  • Watch for gas leaks. 
  • Use charcoal starter fluid carefully. Don’t add starter fluid to the fire if it starts to go down.
  • Have baking soda, a bucket of sand, or a fire extinguisher handy if you need to put out the fire. Never add water to a grease fire.

#3. Beware of lawn mower fires

You may use your mower with no signs of trouble then put it away in your garage without realizing the potential danger. If the fuel flows from the tank into the engine while the engine is turned off, it will eventually cause a buildup of flammable vapors and a heat source can spark a fire in your garage. To reduce this risk, replace your fuel line every other year, inspect your carburetor for damage, and add fuel stabilizer every fill up.

#4. Have your air conditioner inspected

Regular maintenance and tune-ups of your heating and cooling systems can help prevent a fire. 

#5. Reduce your risk of a kitchen fire

Throughout the year, kitchen fires are responsible for most home fires. The stovetop is the usual starting point for kitchen fires, not the oven. To reduce your risk of a fire, always remain in the kitchen when grilling, frying, or cooking on your stovetop. Make sure there are no flammable materials near the heat such as a paper towel dispenser or dish towel. Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen but not too close to the stove and oven in case of fire and remember to suffocate cooking flames with a lid, not water.

#6. Check your dryer

Most dryer fires are the result of failing to clean the dryer vent ductwork as highly flammable lint will build up over time and may be ignited by the heat of the dryer. Clean your lint trap between every load and clean your dryer vent at least once a year with a special vent cleaning brush. Make sure the outside dryer exhaust vent allows hot air to escape.

#8. Make sure your smoke detectors work

You should have at least one smoke detector on every floor of your house in an area where it can be heard from every room of the house. Inspect your smoke detectors regularly to make sure they work and develop an escape plan that your entire household can practice in case of emergency. The escape route should have two possible exits from every room and these paths should be as free of clutter as possible.

Choosing the Right Fire Extinguisher

6/9/2021 (Permalink)

Every fire extinguisher is assigned a class. The suppressant in a Class A extinguisher differs from a Class B, C, D, or K extinguisher. Homeowners should consider where each piece of home fire safety equipment will be kept and choose the most effective suppressant for the fire risks in this area. The following fire preparedness measures can help homeowners purchase the right extinguishers.

Consider the Location

Certain extinguisher classes are better suited for different parts of a residence. Here are a few general guidelines:

  • Home extinguishers should be able to put out fires involving standard combustibles
  • It is a good idea to put an extinguisher rated for electrical equipment near appliances
  • Class B extinguishers can be used on flammable liquids in a garage or work space or kitchen grease fires

Some extinguishers, such as Class D or K, are less common for residential use. Even though a Class K extinguisher is designed to suppress grease fires, using this extinguisher improperly can cause grease to spatter and spread the fire.

Check the Suppressant Class

Each fire extinguisher class is determined by the suppressant. Here are the contents of each major class of extinguisher:

  • Class A uses monoammonium phosphate
  • Classes B and C combine monoammonium phosphate and sodium bicarbonate
  • Class D uses sodium chloride or copper powder
  • Class K uses potassium compounds

Multi-class extinguishers are also available. A-B-C extinguishers are popular for residential use.

Choose One-Time Use or Refillable

Homeowners can save money up front by purchasing a single-use extinguisher. A rechargeable extinguisher costs more, but refills are less expensive than buying a new extinguisher designed for one-time use.

All of these factors determine which class of fire extinguisher is the best choice for various areas of a residence. If a fire is too large to suppress, home fire damage restoration specialists can rebuild structural damage and clean contents.

Wood Encapsulation After a Fire

6/8/2021 (Permalink)

In the process where SERVPRO is preparing a home that has had fire damage, the smells and air quality are very strong and unhealthy to say the least.

Even weeks after the entire home has been demoed and the inside of the home is close to being ready for construction to replace drywall, re-texture walls, paint, lay flooring, etc... The odor still lingers!

Here at SERVPRO we tackle the air quality by cleaning ducts, and often replacing the ductwork. The next step is to encapsulate all wood framing that was not damaged however still has been affected by odor.

Once full encapsulation is complete, the home begins to have a clean smell and is safe for being reconstructed.

SERVPRO takes great pride in this entire process and the family is always very hands-on in the SERVPRO process. It is actually very healing for the family because when anyone has been awoken by a home fire, it is very scary and unsettling!

Allowing these families to be a part in choosing what personal belongings they get back within 48 hours, helping to choose new paint colors, flooring, and stepping in to their home once it is encapsulated, it very comforting and these families begin to not only feel hopeful but they begin to relax and see themselves actually coming home.

Give SERVPRO of Monroeville/Evergreen/Brewton a call at 251-809-1260!

Electrical Fire Safety Tips

12/21/2020 (Permalink)

Overloaded Electrical Circuit Safety Tips

Electrical circuits can become dangerous when overloaded.  Though it may be easy to simply plug in another power strip or extension cord when adding equipment, the wiring in some buildings often isn't capable of supporting too many high powered electronics.  Older office buildings and homes, in particular, often suffer from lack of electrical outlets.

Overloaded electrical circuits are a major cause of residential fires. Help lower your risk of electrical fires by learning the warning signs and not overloading your electrical system.

Overloaded circuit warning signs:

  • Flickering, blinking, or dimming lights
  • Frequently tripped circuit breakers or blown fuses
  • Warm or discolored wall plates
  • Cracking, sizzling, or buzzing from receptacles
  • Burning odor coming from receptacles or wall switches
  • Mild shock or tingle from appliances, receptacles, or switches

How to prevent electrical overloads:

  • Never use extension cords or multi-outlet converters for appliances
  • All major appliances should be plugged directly into a wall receptacle outlet. Only plug one heat producing appliance into a receptacle outlet at a time
  • A heavy reliance on extension cords is an indication that you have too few outlets to address your needs. Have a qualified electrician inspect your home and add new outlets
  • Power strips only add additional outlets; they do not change the amount of power being received from the outlet

If fire damage has impacted your home or business, please call SERVPRO. Let our professional team do the cleanup with the proper procedures to keep you, your home or company safe.

Smoke Detectors Can Save Lives

9/8/2020 (Permalink)

Fire spreads fast once it is started so SERVPRO of Monroeville/Evergreen/Brewton wants to remind you that smoke detectors (smoke alarms) can help save lives in your Cottage Hill home.

An alarm alerts you that danger is present giving you time to get out.

SERVPRO of Monroeville/Evergreen/Brewton wants you to remember:

  • Closed doors can slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire. That is good for reducing smoke damage and fire damage. That is also why you should have a smoke alarm in every sleeping room in the home
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of the home
  • Large homes might need extra smoke alarms
  • Some companies make alarms that are interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound
  • Do not turn off smoke detectors when cooking
  • Test the smoke alarms at least once a month. There is a test button on the alarm
  • When the alarm sounds, get everyone outside and stay outside
  • Replace all smoke alarms every 10 years

If your home is not properly protected by a smoke detector, please install one. If you experience a fire, immediately vacate the home and then contact your fire department once you are outside the home.

Call SERVPRO of Monroeville/Evergreen/Brewton at 251-809-1260 for all your fire restoration needs!

What To Do After A Fire

7/28/2020 (Permalink)

After a house fire you may not know what to do first after the fire department leaves. It is an overwhelming and stressful experience and is hard to decide what you should do first. Being prepared and knowing what to do can do before it ever happens can make a stressful time a little bit easier. Below I am going to talk about the 5 things you should do after you have a house fire.

Contact Your Insurance Agent

  • This is one of the most important steps you should complete shortly after the fire. This will get the process started of restoring your home and getting you moved back in asap.

Contact the Police

  • If the fire is so bad where you’re not able to live there for some time it is necessary to let the police know. This will prevent things from getting stolen and will make sure there is no activity for people that don’t belong there.

Plan Your Finances

  • During this situation you should plan what to expect financially. This includes talking with your insurance as well to see what they are going to cover as far as temporary relocation expenses, restoration services, and possessions.  

Save Undamaged Possessions

  • If your home was only partially damaged it is good to go back and remove anything that wasn’t affected by the fire. Professional restoration companies have the experience and tools to restore fire affected items.

Wait to Turn on Utilities

  • When you have a fire in some cases firefighters will turn off your utilities to prevent damage. You may need to have your house inspected to make sure nothing was damaged before you turn them back on.

If you experience a fire at your home or business, give SERVPRO of Monroeville/Evergreen/Brewton a call at 251-809-1260.

Indoor & Outdoor Fire Safety Tips

7/28/2020 (Permalink)

During the summer and fall months, we all love to enjoy a nice fire with our friends and family (socially distanced of course) and some s'mores! While in the winter, some of us enjoy a nice fire by the fireplace inside. However you enjoy your fires, it's important that you are safe! 

Indoor fireplaces/pellet/ wood stoves

Be sure your chimney and stove (if you have one) is inspected and cleaned by a chimney specialist once a year to ensure there is no creosote build-up and no other issues. Keep the area around the fireplace clean and clear of any fire hazards. This can include decorations, tripping hazards, and any other flammable materials. 

ALWAYS 

  • Ensure the flue is open before igniting a fire
  • Use fireplace gloves when adjusting the doors or screens
  • Close the damper when the fire is completely out
  • Control your fire

Outdoor fires 

While most of us enjoy sitting outside by the fire with friends and family, enjoying a beautiful summer or fall night, it is always important to remember and be aware of safety and any hazards. 

  • Always use a designated fire pit
  • Keep water nearby in case of an emergency
  • Never use a flammable liquid to start a fire 
  • Don't wear flowy clothing around a fire, always wear snug fit or short-sleeved clothes. 
  • After you've had your fun around the fire, be sure the fire is doused with water and is fully extinguished. 

Whether you're enjoying a campfire outside or warming up by the fire inside, always be sure you're practicing proper safety measures!

SERVPRO of Monroeville/Evergreen/Brewton is here to help you with any fire-related damage. Our teams are highly trained to help guide you through the entire process. We'll make it "Like it never even happened."

Give us a call at 251-809-1260! We're always here to help!

It Was Only A Small Fire - Do I Really Need SERVPRO?

7/28/2020 (Permalink)

Soot from Even Small Fires Can Cause Big Damage – SERVPRO Cleans & Restores Your Home “Like it never even happened.”

When most people picture a house fire, they think of a home that gets destroyed. But more commonly, small fires occur in a home that can seem minor but still need professional care.

We put the fire out quickly, and it seems like a quick cleanup is all that is needed?

Kitchen fires and fires from faulty appliances and outlets occur more frequently than most people realize. They are often put out quickly and leave little damage, or so it seems. Your paint may not peel, and it may look like no physical damage has occurred. The only thing you see is some soot on items in the room. The fire damage in your home may only be from smoke damage, but it can be extensive even when you cannot see it. Here’s what you should know about soot:

  •   Soot is smoke that has settled onto surfaces.
  •   It can cause hidden damage.
  •   Its tiny particles can quickly spread.
  •   It produces an acidic film that can cause worse problems when in contact with skin.
  •   Specific chemicals are needed to neutralize soot.
  •   If left untreated, it can eat away at the material it covers.
  •   Causes odors.

Cleaning Up Smoke Damaged Rooms

Because of how soot can get into everything from furniture covers to the corners of the ceiling, you need a professional fire damage company that knows how to do the proper cleaning. SERVPRO’s fire and smoke restoration technicians (FSRT) attack the situation with experience and the best tools. The techs use equipment such as dry sponges, HEPA vacuums, and potent cleaning agents to restore your home to pre loss condition.

Contact SERVPRO of Monroeville/Evergreen/Brewton at 251-809-1260 for quality fire damage service that is Faster to Any Size Disaster.

Top Causes of Summer Fires

7/28/2020 (Permalink)

Grill Fires

In the summer months, many people grill outdoors for various holidays and barbecue dinners. In fact, 5,700 home grill-related fires occur each year. Fifty-seven percent of these fires happen in just four months—May, June, July, and August. Grill fires happen when someone mishandles the igniting of the grill with a spark, ember, or flame. Fire hazards derive from cooking with things like coals, charcoals, or ashes. Oftentimes there are mechanical issues with the grill like broken containers or broken pipes that can also increase the risk of fire.

Take preventative measures by checking your grill’s condition before the grilling season begins. Clean the grill, the drip pan, and anything that could have grease on it from previous barbecue dinners. Inspect each part of your barbecue to make sure everything is attached properly. Additionally, be sure you are in a grill-friendly environment free of branches, roofs or any sort of overhang when igniting the grill. Be prepared for a fire, as grease and fat are likely to catch on fire. Keep baking soda near the grill in case a grease fire breaks out.

Air Conditioning Fires

About 2,300 residential air conditioners start fires each year. These fires are usually the result of inadequate wiring while having to deal with heavy electric loads, short circuits, or other electrical malfunctions. It’s not just the AC that catches on fire, if your AC heats up, flammable materials near your unit can catch on fire. Fires are most likely to occur when it’s hottest outside—between 2 and 8 p.m. While it can sometimes be impossible to be comfortable in your home without the AC on, there are ways to keep your home cool even if you don’t have the AC on all day.

Inspect your air conditioner’s wiring systems each year to prevent these types of fires. Also, find ways to use the AC less during the day. Not only will you save money, you can save your home from a potential fire. Using fans, keeping windows open during the night, and closing blinds during the day are just some ways you can keep your house cool without AC.

Arson Fires

Arson fires are the third-leading cause of fire injuries and fatalities. These fires usually peak in the month of July especially around the Fourth of July holiday since it’s not only firework season, but the weather is usually quite dry and hot, too. It is important to properly store any unused fireworks so they aren’t at risk of accidental combustion or misuse.

Smoking Fires

Smoking fires are common throughout the year but it’s important know they are the leading cause of summer fires. These fires start by improperly putting out cigarettes. If you’re outside enjoying activities like camping, be careful when smoking. Keep used cigarettes off the ground, and make sure they are properly put out before throwing them away so any dry grass nearby doesn’t catch on fire.

Summer is a time to get out and have fun. The weather isn’t the only thing that heats up during these few months. Be aware of the risk of fires and prepare by checking the batteries in your smoke detectors and having functioning fire extinguishers. 

If you find yourself faced with a fire emergency this summer, don’t hesitate to call SERVPRO of Monroeville/Evergreen/Brewton at 251-809-1260!

Steps in Fire Restoration

12/24/2019 (Permalink)

After the fire trucks leave, your home likely suffers from fire and smoke damage and extensive water damage from firefighting efforts. SERVPRO of Monroeville/Evergreen/Brewton has the specialized fire restoration training needed to restore your home to pre-fire condition.

Have Questions About Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?

Call Today 251-809-1260

Every fire damage event is a little different, and requires a unique solution, but the general process stays the same. The steps listed below illustrate our process for the “typical” fire damage emergency.

Step 1: Emergency Contact

The restoration process begins when you call  SERVPRO of Monroeville/Evergreen/Brewton, which is on call 24 hours a day. Our representative will ask a series of questions regarding the fire damage event that will help us dispatch our team of Professionals with the appropriate equipment and resources.

Step 2: Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment

Our Professionals will carefully inspect and test adjoining rooms of your property to determine the extent of the fire, smoke, and soot damage. This step is crucial to developing a plan of action.

Step 3: Immediate Board-Up and Roof-Tarp Service

Fire damage can often compromise windows, walls, and roofs. To maintain security and to protect against further damage, we can board up missing windows and walls and place tarps on damaged roofs.

Step 4: Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present)

The water removal process begins almost immediately and removes the majority of the water. We will then use dehumidifiers and air movers to remove the remaining water and complete the drying process.

Step 5: Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces

We will use specialized equipment and techniques to remove smoke and soot from ceilings, walls, and other surfaces.

Step 6: Cleaning and Sanitizing

We will clean all of the restorable items and structures that were damaged by the fire. We use a variety of cleaning techniques to restore your belongings to pre-fire condition. We’re also trained to remove odors using industrial air scrubbers and fogging equipment.

Step 7: Restoration

Restoration is the final step—getting your home or business to its pre-fire condition. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet; or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business.

Fire Safety

9/16/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Monroeville/Evergreen/Brewton responds to many residential and commercial fire damages, which means we tend to stay in close contact with local fire departments.  

Here is some data:

In Alabama, there are 796 fire departments registered with the National Fire Department Registry.

Most fires are structure/residential and vehicles. 

Fires only make up about 6% of calls in Alabama, others include: service calls (7.8%), false alarms (8.4%), good intent (9.1%), and EMS (65.9%). For the National average, fires make up around 4.7%. Surprising!

In 2016, 82 home fire fatalities were reported by the news media.

Fire prevention is important, we want to make sure your home or business stays safe. Make sure you replace batteries in your smoke detectors and keep a fire extinguisher close. If you don’t know what to do and need some helpful tips call your local fire department. 

Soot Damage and It's Dangers

7/26/2019 (Permalink)

After a fire, soot damage is very typical. Soot can be a black flaky or oily or powdery substance which forms from incomplete combustion. Fine carbonized compounds cling to surfaces in your home like ceilings and walls, plus your possessions. Soot can be difficult to remove, and sometimes it is not possible to restore the surface to its pre-fire condition.

There are two types of sediment you can find after soot damage home – oily and dry. A quick check you can do to discover the type of residue you have is just to run your finger over a soot-covered surface. It is oily residue if it smears. Try not to make a mess. Better yet, leave it to us to inspect and clean.

You need an experienced fire damage restoration team working with you to clean the soot from your home thoroughly. SERVPRO is standing by to help you as soon as the fire is out and everyone is safe. The longer you leave the smoky substance sitting in your home, the more damage it does. 

Heat from the fire pushes the soot and can cover everything in its way. Smoke looks for a kind of equilibrium and travels until its energy is used and it goes to cooler temperatures. When tested, soot can always be found on the acidic side of the pH scale. Acidic materials are destructive to a majority of elements found in nature. Over time, they keep degrading materials by oxidation which leads to discoloration, etching, corrosion or pitting. Stains over metals can yellow and soften. These reactions are ongoing from soot residues until they are removed. 

We can clean up oily residue with special degreasing agents, while we clean dry soot with cleaning sponges. Sometimes, soot will be oily in one room and dry in another. It all depends on the kinds of materials that were burned, so we check ahead of time before we begin remediation. 

Many varying types of damage occur after a fire, including water damage from firefighting efforts, but soot damage continues to eat away at the surfaces it is covering if left untouched.

Fire Safety

7/25/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Monroeville/Evergreen/Brewton responds to many residential and commercial fire damages, which means we tend to stay in close contact with local fire departments.  

Here is some data:

In Alabama, there are 796 fire departments registered with the National Fire Department Registry.

Most fires are structure/residential and vehicles. 

Fires only make up about 6% of calls in Alabama, others include: service calls (7.8%), false alarms (8.4%), good intent (9.1%), and EMS (65.9%). For the National average, fires make up around 4.7%. Surprising!

In 2016, 82 home fire fatalities were reported by the news media.

Fire prevention is important, we want to make sure your home or business stays safe. Make sure you replace batteries in your smoke detectors and keep a fire extinguisher close. If you don’t know what to do and need some helpful tips call your local fire department. 

The Process of Contents Restoration

7/25/2019 (Permalink)

CONTENTS RESTORATION

From furniture to antiques, artwork,  and appliances, we'll treat your treasures with the care they deserve. While some items can be cleaned on-site, in many cases we'll need to inventory, pack out and transport the contents of your property to our state-of-the-art facility to ensure the best care possible.

Key Issues

  • Contents may need to be cleaned off-site
  • Contents inventory
  • Determine replacement and restoration
  • Pack
  • Ozone treatment
  • Cleaning
  • Odor removal
  • Secure
  • Return

Contents Inventory

  • We arrive on-site and inventory all of your personal belongings.
  • We carefully pack all salvageable items to transport to our secure warehouse and cleaning facility.
  • Non-salvageable contents are inventoried and discarded.

Contents Valuation

We have trained professionals to help you establish replacement values versus restoration costs. We are also available for pricing of non-salvageable inventory items.

Restoration

  • Thorough cleaning
  • Proper handling of all electronics
  • Photographs and artwork
  • Fabrics
  • Clothes
  • Memorabilia
  • Antiques
  • Soft goods
  • Dry Cleaning
  • Appliances
  • Surfaces
  • Odor Removal

Smoke and Soot Cleanup

7/10/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot following a fire can be very invasive and penetrate various surfaces and crevices 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 Monroeville/Evergreen/Brewton will work to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the type of smoke identified. 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 to fit the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damaged home or business. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – SERVPRO of Monroeville/Evergreen/Brewton 251-809-1260

Every Second Counts

12/14/2018 (Permalink)

In a fire, seconds count. Seconds can mean the difference between residents of our community escaping safely from a fire or having their lives end in tragedy.

That’s why this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme: “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” is so important. It reinforces why everyone needs to have an escape plan. Here’s this year’s key campaign messages:

  • Draw a map of your home with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
  • Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
  • Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
  • Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
  • Close doors behind you as you leave – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
  • Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.

via http://www.nfpa.org/

Have you contacted your local fire department? See how you can get involved with them and your community to prevent house fires. Sometimes they will have events or give out smoke detectors for your home. Don't think this could never happen to you because it easily could. We don't have control over everything in our homes! Be safe and have a plan!

Fire Damage: How do we do it?

12/14/2018 (Permalink)

Do you ever wonder how SERVPRO keeps up with every customer’s job progress? SERVPRO of Monroeville/Evergreen/Brewton has a pretty tried and true method to keep everyone up to date on the progress of every job. When a customer first calls in a loss, we at SERVPRO of Monroeville/Evergreen/Brewton enter all of the pertinent information into a form called the FNOL or “First Notice of Loss.” This form is sent to everyone involved including our first responders, office staff so they can communicate with your insurance company, managers and ownership so they know the status of every job in progress. Every note, assessment, detail associated with that job from that point forward is attached to that initial FNOL so that it is at our fingertips if you ever have any questions or concerns.