Recent Fire Damage Posts
Fire Drills at Home Can Save Lives
Fire drills are not just for schools, they should be completed by business and families alike. It is crucial to the safety of all that everyone knows more than one way out of the building or home, the designated meeting spot a safe distance from the structure where a head count can be taken to inform first responders of anyone left in the building and what to do should they not be able to have an escape route. We like to suggest that customers regularly perform a “fire drill” so that everyone knows what to do and how to keep themselves and others safe. If disaster should strike your home, we are ready 24/7, 365 at 630-771-1720 to help walk with you through the cleanup and repairs to help you make it “Like it never even happened.”
Fire Extinguisher Knowledge- Part 2
This blog post is a continuation of "Fire extinguisher knowledge part one" from our website.
The fourth type of fire extinguisher is the wet chemical extinguisher. The wet chemical extinguisher helps in that it focuses on removing heat from the fire in order to extinguish a fire and is most effective on fires made from paper, wood or plastics.
The fifth type of extinguisher is the clean agent. This type of extinguisher focuses on breaking the chemical reaction of a fire and is best worked on fires caused by flammable liquids, electrical equipment or combustibles such as wood or trash.
The sixth type is the dry powder extinguisher which focuses on separating the oxidizing agent from the fuel source and is most useful on fires created by combustible metals.
The seventh is the water mist extinguisher. This extinguisher is mainly water and focuses on cooling the fire and adds a cleaning agent to simplify the mess and should mainly be used on fires caused by electrical content.
The eighth and final extinguisher is the cartridge operated dry chemical and is similar to the clean agent in that it interrupts the chemical reaction of the fire
Fire Extinguisher Knowledge- Part 1
In the case of a fire emergency, both knowing general facts and tips on fire extinguishers can help exponentially when putting out any kind of fire. This will be one of two blogs explaining the facts on extinguishers.
The different types of extinguishers.
In total there are eight different types of fire extinguishers, the first is water and foam based. This type focuses on taking the heat element out of a fire and should mainly used on a fire made from wood, paper or plastic.
The second type of extinguisher is carbon dioxide based that focuses on taking away the oxygen element of a fire, and should only be used on fires made from flammable liquids such as gas or oil, or fires from electrical equipment such as outlets or transformers.
The third is a dry chemical extinguisher. This type is the most common of extinguishers and focuses on interrupting the chemical reaction of a fire triangle. (The fire triangle is what makes up a fire; Heat, Fuel, and an oxidizing agent which is normally oxygen) This extinguisher should be mainly used on; material fires caused from wood or plastic, fire caused from a flammable liquid such as gas, and fires made from electrical equipment.
Smoke or Soot Damage in Bolingbrook IL
Clean Up from Fire & Smoke Damage Calls for Professional Help
Dealing with soot is one of the most time-consuming parts of fire damage restoration. Residue quickly settles on all kinds of surfaces after a fire, and the cleanup is a genuine struggle for homeowners who are dealing with the aftermath of a blaze. However, what is soot, and why does it form after the fire?
Soot is the fine brown or black powder that clings to and discolors surfaces in the home after fire damage. Soot is what gives items that charred and blackened look. Smoke is a by-product of the incomplete combustion of materials; as wood, paper, plastic and other materials burn during a house fire, they produce residues and release particles into the atmosphere.
The composition of soot makes it slightly sticky, which means it clings to surfaces and is difficult to remove. A smoke-damaged house does not feel like a home, SERVPRO will help with fire damage cleanup and restore your home “Like it never even happened.”
Our highly trained technicians arrive ready to thoroughly assess your property and devise the best cleaning plan for you. We advise you on which items are salvageable from soot damage and which are not.
If your home has soot, smoke and fire damage call SERVPRO of Woodridge/Bolingbrook at 630-771-1720
How To Prevent Dryer Vent Fires
Facts about home clothes dryer fires
- 2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year and cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss.
- Failure to clean the dryer (34 percent) is the leading cause of home clothes dryer fires.
- More home clothes dryer fires occur in the fall and winter months, peaking in January.
Clothes dryer fire safety messages
It is important for community residents to know how to keep themselves safe from fire. Use the following fire safety messages to teach people about clothes dryer fire safety.
Clothes dryer do’s
- Have your clothes dryer installed by a professional.
- Make sure the correct electrical plug and outlet are used and that the dryer is connected properly.
- Read manufacturers' instructions and warnings in use and care manuals that come with new dryers.
- Clean the lint filter before and after each load of laundry. Don’t forget to clean the back of the dryer where lint can build up. In addition, clean the lint filter with a nylon brush at least every six months or more often if it becomes clogged.
- Clean lint out of the vent pipe every three months.
- Have your dryer cleaned regularly by a professional, especially if it is taking longer than normal for clothes to dry.
- Inspect the venting system behind the dryer to ensure it is not damaged or restricted.
- Put a covering on outside wall dampers to keep out rain, snow and dirt.
- Make sure the outdoor vent covering opens when the dryer is on.
- Replace coiled-wire foil or plastic venting with rigid, non-ribbed metal duct.
- Have gas-powered dryers inspected every year by a professional to ensure that the gas line and connection are together and free of leaks.
- Check regularly to make sure nests of small animals and insects are not blocking the outside vent.
- Keep the area around the clothes dryer free of items that can burn.
- If you will be away from home for an extended time, unplug or disconnect the dryer.
Clothes dryer don’t's
- Don’t use a clothes dryer without a lint filter or with a lint filter that is loose, damaged or clogged.
- Don’t overload the dryer.
- Don’t use a wire screen or cloth to cover the wall damper. They can collect lint and clog the dryer vent.
- Don’t dry anything containing foam, rubber or plastic. An example of an item not to place in a dryer is a bathroom rug with a rubber backing.
- Don’t dry any item for which manufacturers' instructions state “dry away from heat.”
- Don’t dry glass fiber materials (unless manufacturers' instructions allow).
- Don’t dry items that have come into contact with anything flammable like alcohol, cooking oils or gasoline. Dry them outdoors or in a well-ventilated room, away from heat.
- Don’t leave a clothes dryer running if you leave home or when you go to bed.
Need Dryer Vent Cleaning? Call SERVPRO of Woodridge/Bolingbrook at 630-771-1720
4 Furnace Safety Tips for Winter
As the cold winter months approach us, most of us turn to our furnace to keep our homes cozy and warm. Although furnaces are a great way to heat our homes, there are some precautions that we should take to safely operate our furnaces and avoid problems in the long run.
Start the year off right with the following furnace safety tips:
1. CHANGE YOUR AIR FILTER
It is important to change your furnace filter regularly. A clean air filter will help your furnace burn more efficiently and will help keep dust from being circulated through your home. A dirty filter can cause a number of efficiency, performance and safety issues, as well as result in furnace failure. Change or clean your air filter every 1-3 months during the winter when the furnace is being used the most.
2. ANNUAL FURNACE CHECK-UP
Have your furnace cleaned and checked every year by a professional. An annual furnace check-up is essential to make sure that the system is working well and operating efficiently. During the inspection, your furnace will be checked for problems such as carbon monoxide leaks or frayed electrical wires that could lead to safety hazards in your home.
3. TEST YOUR CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS
If your furnace isn’t functioning properly, one of the biggest threats that it can impose to your home is a carbon monoxide leak. Carbon monoxide is a type of gas that is colorless and odorless, so there is no way to detect high levels of it on your own. A carbon monoxide leak can cause us to have flu-like symptoms, disorientation, confusion and even death. It is imperative to check that all of your home’s carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.
4. KEEP THE AREA AROUND YOUR FURNACE CLEAR
In order to minimize the chance of a fire, it would be smart to keep the area around your furnace clear. Flammable products such as papers, sawdust, old rags and wood scraps should be kept a safe distance away from the furnace. Liquids such as gasoline and kerosene should be stored in tightly sealed containers, since vapors from flammable liquids easily ignite.
Wishing You a Safe and Happy Holiday Season
Please keep these Christmas Tree Fire Safety Tips in mind during this holiday season!
1. Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
2. Place your tree it at least three feet away from any heat source including your fire place, heaters and candles (or anything that can dry out the tree and make it more flammable).
3. Always keep your tree stand filled with water.
4. When decorating your tree replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of LED strands to connect.
5. Make sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are operating properly.
6. Try not to leave your tree up for more than two weeks.
7. Never leave Christmas tree lights on if the tree is unattended. Unplug them when you go to bed or leave the home.
8. When purchasing an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled as fire-retardant.
Have a safe and joyful holiday season!!
Smoke Alarms Are Important
Test Your Smoke Alarms Regularly
Smoke alarms are a key part of a home fire escape plan. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast. Working smoke alarms give you early warning so you can get outside quickly.
- A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Install alarms in the basement. Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.
- Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
- It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds they all sound.
- Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
- There are two kinds of alarms. Ionization smoke alarms are quicker to warn about flaming fires. Photoelectric alarms are quicker to warn about smoldering fires. It is best to use of both types of alarms in the home.
- A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove.
- People who are hard of hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
- Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.
- Smoke alarms are an important part of a home fire escape plan.
What to Do Before and After a Fire
After any fire damage situation, your primary focus should be safety first:
- Is it safe to stay in the house?
- Electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.
- Only do activities that are safe for you to perform.
- Wet materials can be VERY heavy. Be careful!
Have Smoke or Fire Damage? Call (630) 771-1720
What To Do After A Fire
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
- Keep hands clean so as not to further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
- Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
- If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.
- Clean and protect chrome with light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
- Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves.
- Change HVAC filter.
- Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.
What NOT To Do After A Fire
- Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting us.
- Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
- Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water.
- Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
- Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.
Home Fire Safety
Did you know that if a fire starts in your home you may have as little as two minutes to escape? During a fire, early warning from a working smoke alarm plus a fire escape plan that has been practiced regularly can save lives. Learn what else to do to keep your loved ones safe!
Top Tips for Fire Safety
Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
Test smoke alarms every month. If they’re not working, change the batteries.
Talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.
If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL FOR HELP. Never go back inside for anything or anyone.
If a Fire Starts:
- Know how to safely operate a fire extinguisher
- Remember to GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL 9-1-1 or your local emergency phone number.
- Yell "Fire!" several times and go outside right away. If you live in a building with elevators, use the stairs. Leave all your things where they are and save yourself.
- If closed doors or handles are warm or smoke blocks your primary escape route, use your second way out. Never open doors that are warm to the touch.
- If you must escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your exit. Close doors behind you.
- If smoke, heat or flames block your exit routes, stay in the room with doors closed. Place a wet towel under the door and call the fire department or 9-1-1. Open a window and wave a brightly colored cloth or flashlight to signal for help.
- Once you are outside, go to your meeting place and then send one person to call the fire department. If you cannot get to your meeting place, follow your family emergency communication plan.
If your clothes catch on fire:
- Stop what you’re doing.
- Drop to the ground and cover your face if you can.
- Roll over and over or back and forth until the flames go out. Running will only make the fire burn faster.
Once the flames are out, cool the burned skin with water for three to five minutes. Call for medical attention.
HVAC Fire Hazards and Prevention
The Top HVAC Fire Hazards
HVAC systems are usually in a back room of the basement, outside behind the house, or in the attic – three places that are easy for homeowners to forget about.
Regardless of the season, HVAC fire hazards are present at any time of the year. Fortunately, many of these risks are preventable.
The Top HVAC Fire Hazards:
- HVAC parts are old, corroded, or broken:This problem often stems from an HVAC unit that is not regularly serviced. Problems with essential parts can lead to decreased efficiency and also lead to potential fire hazards.
- Items are stored too close to the HVAC unit:The HVAC unit itself produces a considerable amount of heat. Storing combustible items such as boxes, paper, motor oil, and chemicals too close to the unit creates a high-risk environment for a fire.
- Problems with connections or gas pressure:Problems with connections in a gas furnace can lead to toxic gas being released into the home, leading to both health and fire hazards.
- The HVAC unit has an electrical problem: Whether the unit has a loose cord connection, a frayed cord, an old cord that overheats, or another issue, electrical problems with HVAC units can easily spark furnace fires.
- A fuel line is leaking: This can be a harder problem to spot since many fuel lines are located inside or behind the unit. Yearly inspections can help catch old, at-risk fuel lines before they start leaking and posing a major fire hazard.
- Improper installation: When an HVAC unit is installed improperly, it can lead to many problems such as reduced air flow and efficiently, and increased costs. Improper installation can also cause serious problems such as carbon monoxide poisoning and fire hazards.
If you notice the smell of gas in the basement, evacuate the home and call your service technician immediately.
What You Can Do to Prevent HVAC Fires
Taking steps to prevent HVAC fires is the best way to avoid an emergency situation. In addition, these steps can save you a lot of long-term hassle and cost.
Tips for Preventing HVAC Fires:
- Schedule HVAC maintenance at least once a year.Not only is a yearly inspection a good way to ensure that every part is in serviceable condition, you can maintain optimal efficiency for energy savings.
- Don’t attempt DIY HVAC maintenance. Always hire a professional, certified technician to perform any repairs or tune-ups on your HVAC unit. DIY repairs can lead to accidental problems such as carbon monoxide poisoning or increased risk of fire hazards.
- Ensure that the area is properly ventilated.HVAC systems produce carbon monoxide, a toxic, invisible, odorless gas. Without proper ventilation, this gas can collect in the home and become extremely hazardous to occupants.
- Be aware of what you store near your HVAC unit.It is advised to keep all items at least 3 feet away from the unit. Much like portable heaters and other appliances, HVAC units can get extremely hot and cause flammable items to combust. Storing items too close to heating equipment is one of the primary causes of home fires.
- Replace the filters on your HVAC at least twice a year, if applicable.Set a routine that is easy to remember, such as once during the spring and again during the fall. Not only will a filter improve the air quality in your home, it will help ensure proper airflow and reduce overheating.
- If you have an outdoor HVAC unit and keep it covered during certain seasons, make sure to remove the cover prior to the first use of the season. An obstructed airflow can cause overheating and pose a fire hazard.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector near the HVAC unit.Evacuate the home and call your HVAC technician if the alarm goes off.
Now that you know the top HVAC fire hazards and how to prevent them, you can take steps to keep your family safe year-round.
Bolingbrook Smoke and Soot Clean-Up
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 Woodridge/Bolingbrook 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.
Locally Owned Company with National Resources
SERVPRO of Woodridge / Bolingbrook is locally owned and operated and we are proud to be part of this community. We are also part of a national network of over 1,700 Franchises with special Disaster Recovery Teams placed strategically throughout the country to respond to large-scale fire, water, and storm disasters.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today –630-771-1720