Recent Fire Damage Posts
Leading Cause of Home Fires? Your Kitchen!
Kitchen fires are the leading cause of house fires!
House fires, no matter how or why they start, are frightening at best and can easily become deadly. What you may not know is exactly how preventable so many kitchen fires can be. Cooking equipment is at the top of the list for causing kitchen fires; and what is on the top of the list of reasons why? Pot and pans being left unattended. Food drying out and catching fire and, more notably, oils left on the stove exceeding their smoking point. Statistically fires that begin with cooking equipment are the highest cause of personal injury and sadly, the 2nd leading cause of deaths in home fires. Please take a few minutes to read up about preventing home fires on the National Fire Protection Association website.
We also did a little digging for some information on what oils have the highest and lowest smoking points. Whether you cook often or typically just use your oven for extra storage, the more you know, the safer you will be. Check out this table of smoking points of your favorite cooking oils from one of our favorite websites, The Spruce.
As always, we at SERVPRO of Greater Northern Charleston hope you never have to face the aftermath of a fire damage in your home, but in the unfortunate event that it does happen, we are here to help. We can be reached 24/7/365 days a year at (843) 552-1226, always with a knowledgeable manager answering the phone. No answering service here! We love taking care of you, Charleston... Feel free to call us anytime.
Lights, Candles, Action!
Seasonal traditions cause an average of 230 home fires each year.
The holidays bring with them brightly lighted decorations, elaborate meals and large gatherings are all part of traditional holiday celebrations. Unfortunately, these seasonal traditions also cause an average of 230 home fires each year, with an average of 4 deaths, 21 injuries and $17.3 million in property damage.
There are almost twice as many on Christmas Day as there are on non-holidays. Homeowners can help keep their homes and their families safe during the holiday season by understanding the dangers and taking some simple, commonsense precautions in the kitchen. Here are a few facts to consider:
Holiday Cooking Fire Facts
· Thanksgiving Day has three times the average number of reported home structure fires involving cooking equipment.
· The two other peak days for cooking-related fires are Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.
Holiday Cooking Safety Tips
· Supervise items on the stovetop. Fifty-eight percent of kitchen fires involve ranges; homes with electric cooktops have a higher risk of fire than homes with gas cooktops.
· Keep flammable items – potholders, packaging, wrapping, wooden utensils, loose clothing – away from the stovetop.
· Don’t let lack of sleep or alcohol consumption affect your ability to concentrate on preparing the meal.
We hope these tips will be a reminder to families in North Charleston and surrounding Charleston communities to make fire prevention a priority in preparing for the holidays. The aftermath and clean up after a house fire would certainly be an unwanted interruption to time celebrating with family and friends!
For more fire prevention tips and information about fire and water damage restoration services, contact SERVPRO® of Greater Northern Charleston at (843) 747-8750, 24/7.
Heat Your Home Safely
Portable heating devices are a leading cause of house fires.
Each year fire claims the lives of 3,500 Americans, injures 18,300, and causes billions of dollars worth of damage. Many of these fires originate with portable heating devices. The misuse of wood stoves, space heaters and kerosene heaters are especially common risks in rural areas.
All heating equipment needs space. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away. Supervise children whenever a wood stove or space heater is being used. Have a three-foot "kid-free" zone around open fires and space heaters.
Wood stoves cause over 4,000 residential fires every year. Carefully follow the manufacturer's installation and maintenance instructions. Look for solid construction, such as plate steel or cast iron metal. Check for cracks and inspect legs, hinges and door seals for smooth joints and seams. Use only seasoned wood for fuel, not green wood, artificial logs, or trash. In pellet stoves, burn only dry, seasoned wood pellets. Inspect and clean your pipes and chimneys annually and check monthly for damage or obstructions.
Electric Space Heaters
Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Check to make sure it has a thermostat control mechanism, and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over. Heaters are not dryers or tables; don't dry clothes or store objects on top of your heater. Plug space heaters directly into wall outlets and never into an extension cord or power strip. Always unplug your electric space heater when not in use.
Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), and check with your local fire department on the legality of kerosene heater use in your community. Never fill your heater with gasoline or camp stove fuel; both flare-up easily. Only use crystal clear K-1 kerosene. When refueling, allow the appliance to cool first and then refuel outside. Never overfill any portable heater. Use the kerosene heater in a well-ventilated room.
Fireplaces regularly build up creosote in their chimneys. They need to be cleaned out frequently and chimneys should be inspected for obstructions and cracks to prevent deadly chimney and roof fires. Check to make sure the damper is open before starting any fire. Never burn trash, paper or green wood in your fireplace. These materials cause heavy creosote buildup and are difficult to control. Use a screen heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying sparks. Don't wear loose-fitting clothes near any open flame. Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed. Allow ashes to cool before disposing of them. Place ashes in a tightly covered metal container and keep the ash container at least 10 feet away from your home and any other nearby buildings. Never empty the ash directly into a trash can. Douse and saturate the ashes with water.
Finally, having a working smoke alarm dramatically increases your chances of surviving a fire. And remember to practice a home escape plan frequently with your family.
To find out how SERVPRO of Greater Northern Charleston responds to a fire damage, visit the Fire Restoration page on our website.- you can also visit us on Facebook.
For more information on Home Heating Safety from FEMA, visit http://www.usfa.fema.gov/citizens/home_fire_prev/heating/.
Smoke Can Be Surprising!
Even a small fire can produce devastating smoke damage.
The complexity of property loss or destruction due to fire damage is due to the unique behavior of smoke. Smoke can penetrate within cavities of the structure, causing hidden damage and odor.
Some things you may not know about smoke:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, using holes around pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the fire damage restoration process.
- There are at least many types of soot and residues left behind by smoke: Wet, Dry, Protein, Fuel Oil and others.
Having a SERVPRO of Greater Northern Charleston Professional inspect and pretest your home after fire damage prior to beginning the cleaning process saves time and can prevent the loss of important items or keepsakes.
For more detail on the behavior of smoke, the risk of hidden damage and how we at SERVPRO of Greater Northern Charleston can help, visit our Fire Damage and Restoration page and feel free to contact us, 24/7 at (843)-747-8750 or via our Contact Us form.
THIS WEEK! Fire Prevention Week
Sparky and the NFPA bringing you National Fire Prevention Week, 2013.
With over 90 years of history, Fire Prevention Week is the longest running national health and public safely observance. What started as a commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire 1871, has become a week dedicated to educating and preventing fires and the injury, death and destruction they produce.
President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the first Fire Prevention Week in 1925. As part of his proclamation that day, he cited that fires the previous year were responsible for the loss of 15,000 lives and over 500 million dollars in damages. His determined response remains the focus of the National Fire Prevention Association as they sponsor this important week each year.
“This vast waste is incurred under conditions which cannot fail to arouse a sense of horror and shame, for our experience indicates a major portion of it is preventable. “
The number of deaths due to fire has been drastically reduced over the past 9 decades; however, the number of unnecessary deaths is still staggering. In the United States, an average of 7 people, per day, die in-home fires. Many of which could have been prevented.
As we provide information and tips to you this week, we hope that you will take a little time to inspect your home and office for potential fire hazards. Most are very easy and inexpensive to correct.
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Have a safe and happy week!
Sources for this blog and more information on Fire Safety: National Fire Prevention Association: http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/fire-prevention-week; Fire Files Digital Library: http://fire.omeka.net/items/show/596