The Behavior of SMOKE
Fire Cleanup and Restoration
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 typed of soot residue after a fire.
SERVPRO technicians are thoroughly trained in fire cleanup and restoration, and know the different types of smoke and its behavior patterns. Knowing this information is vital to proper restoration. Before restoration begins, the technicians 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 us to focus on your precious items.
Smoke can penetrate various cavities within the structure, causing hidden damage and odor. Our knowledge of building systems helps us to 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.
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 dries.
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 technicians 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.
Our technicians are trained to handle even the toughest losses. And make any smoke disaster "Like it never even happened."
Fire Cleanup and Safety
Each November, families gather to celebrate Thanksgiving, which includes cooking large dinners, but if you don't practice safe cooking habits your holiday could become hazardous very quickly. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires is unattended cooking. Here are some useful tips to avoid cooking fires:
- Be on ALERT! If you are sleepy or consumed alcohol don't use the stove.
- Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food.
- If you are simmering, baking or roasting food, check it regularly, and 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, and towels) away from the stovetop.
If you have a cooking fire, consider the following safety protocols to help keep your family safe.
- Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
- Call 911 or the local fire department 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 fire. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is cooled completely.
Have a safe and happy holiday season!
A Business Plan: For Fire Emergencies
An emergency escape plan is not required for all businesses; however the Occupational Safety and Health Admin. (OSHA) recommends building an emergency action plan to protect yourself, your employees, and your business. OSHA suggests the following when creating your plan:
Organize a Preparedness Procedure review with employees to review your company's emergency plan. You may want to select an individual or team 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. At all times ensure all routes are clearly marked, well lit, unobstructed, and wide enough to accommodate the number of evacuating personnel.
Conduct office evacuation exercises and drills. Designate a safe spot outside the facility where employees can regroup, recover and conduct a head count. Once conducted, evaluate how well the plan worked and if additional training is needed.
Every second counts during a fire, help your employees and business by being prepared by having a plan in place. Call SERVPRO to help with restoring your business after the disaster.
What To Do Before Help Arrives
WHAT TO DO UNTIL HELP ARRIVES
A fire can leave behind soot, smoke damage and a host of other problems. Ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting, and floors will often need a thorough professional cleaning. If your home or business suffers a fire, it is important to take the appropriate steps to prevent further damage. The following tips may help reduce damage and increase chances of a successful restoration.
- 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/refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor.
- Wipe soot from chrome kitchen/bathroom faucets, trim and appliances, then protect these surfaces with a light coating of lubricant.
- If heat is off during the winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures.
- Change HVAC filters; 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 walls, painted surfaces, furniture or carpets. Instead call SERVPRO.
- Do not attempt to clean electrical appliances before consulting authorized repair service.
- Do not consume any food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water, as it may be contaminated.
- Do not turn on ceiling fans. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock.
- Don't send garments to the dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set in smoke odor.
Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out
Fire Restoration and Safety
October is Fire Prevention Month and an excellent time to examine the emergency preparedness plans for your home and business.
- Do you have a fire escape plan?
- Have you changed your Smoke Alarm batteries within the last year?
- Are you prepared?
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sets aside a designated week each October to focus on Fire Prevention. This years theme is "Every Second Counts: Plan 2 ways out!"
According to the NFPA, once the fire alarm goes off "you have less than two minutes to get out safely," yet only 8% of people surveyed said getting out was the first thought after hearing the alarm. Creating, implementing, and practicing a fire escape plan for your home or business may be the difference between safety and tragedy. Make your plan today. Visit http://www.nfpa.org/fpw
Does Your Home or Business have a Mold Problem?
Mold Mitigation and Remediation
Microscopic mold spores naturally occur almost everywhere, both indoors and outdoors.
This makes it impossible to remove all mold from a home or business. Therefore, mold remediation reduces the mold spore count back to its natural or baseline level. SERVPRO has specialized mold removal equipment and trained technicians to get the job done right. Consider the following mold facts:
- Mold is present almost everywhere, indoors and outdoors.
- Mold spores are microscopic and float along the air and may enter your home through windows, doors, or AC/heating systems or even hitch a ride indoors on your clothing or a pet.
- Mold spores thrive on moisture. Mold spores can quickly grow into colonies when exposed to water. These colonies may produce allergens and irritants.
- Before mold remediation can begin, any source of water must be addressed. Otherwise, the mold may return.
- Mold often produces a strong, musty odor.
- Even higher-than-normal indoor humidity can support mold growth. Keep indoor humidity below 45 percent.
If your home or business has a mold problem, we can inspect and assess your property and use our specialized training, equipment, and expertise to mitigate your mold infestation.
Flood Awareness Safety Tips
Flood Safety and Remediation
10 Actions to Take Before the Flood
- Learn the safest route from your home; or business should you have to leave in a hurry
- Develop and practice a "family escape" plan and identify a meeting place if family members become separated.
- Make an itemized list of all valuables including furnishings, clothing and other personal property. (Keep the list in a safe place-not in your home)
- Stockpile emergency supplies of food, medicine, first aid supplies, and drinking water. Store drinking water in clean closed containers.
- Don't forget to plan for your pets.
- Keep a portable radio, emergency cooking equipment, flashlights in working order, and extra batteries.
- Keep your automobile fueled. If electric power is cut off, service stations may not be able to pump fuel for several days.
- Find how many feet your property is above or below flood levels.
- Keep materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber handy for emergency weatherproofing.
- If flooding is likely and there is time, move essential items and furniture to upper floors in the house. Disconnect electrical appliances that can't be moved....Never touch appliances if you are wet or there is standing water.
And don't forget to monitor NOAA Weather Radio, and TV Emergency Broadcast Stations.
October is Fire Prevention Month: Every Second Counts
Fire Detectors Save Lives
Every Second counts during a fire.
Fire experts agree; people have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home. That is why every second counts, it is critical to be prepared and have an escape plan in place. Once a plan is developed, it is important that everyone in the home understands the plan. The best way to do this is to practice the escape plan at least twice a year.
A survey by the American Red Cross shows only 26% of families have a fire escape plan in place.
Here are a few suggestions to help you develop an emergency escape plan.
- 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 by the window)
- Choose an outside meeting place a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they've escaped, emergency personnel will also be able to see you. Make sure to mark this on your plan.
- Teach children how to escape on their own in case you cannot help them.
- Practice your plan twice a year during the day and at night.
Increase your chance of surviving a fire by having working smoke/fire detectors in place, developing an escape plan, and then practicing the plan with the family.
At SERVPRO our priority is your safety. We are here to help you to prepare for possible disasters, and restore your home after a disaster strikes.
The Water You Don't See
Water Removal and Dehumidification
Even small water damages have the potential to cause serious structural and indoor air quality issues over time.
The key to avoiding costly future restoration is to handle every water problem as a real threat to your property. SERVPRO Northwest Bergen / Southern & Eastern Rockland County has the equipment, training and experience to find and dry unseen water before secondary damages occur. The proper equipment makes a measurable difference in reducing the damage expense during a fire or water loss. When time matters, technology and equipment must be counted on to perform.
We have a full arsenal of drying equipment. Here are a few of the tools used by our trained SERVPRO staff.
- Moisture Sensors are used to detect moisture in carpets, baseboards and walls.
- Moisture Meters are used to determine the actual moisture content of various materails. The moisture tester provides accurate readings, allowing SERVPRO to monitor the drying process.
- Thermohygrometers measure temperature and relative humidity. When armed with this information, SERVPRO staff can calculate and create an environment most conducive to drying. When facing a contaminated water loss, it is not only important to dry the structure, but the structure must also be disinfected and often deodorized.
- Ultra Low-Volume (ULV) Foggers will atomize liquid deodorizing agents, producing a fine mist that can easliy penetrate the site where odor-causing residues may accumulate. This device can also be used to inject fungicides and disinfectants into wall cavities and other hard-to-reach areas.
- Thermal Foggers dispense solvent-based products by creating a dense fog. The fog consists of tiny particles of deodorant solution that attch to and neutralize odor-causing particles.
The bottom line? SERVPRO of Eastern Rockland County we have the training and equipment to help make it "Like it never even happened."
Be Informed and Prepared: Build A Kit
Storm Damage Remediation and Restoration
The goal of September being Preparedness Month is to inform the public of storm safety.
In our area we don't get hurricanes often, however we can get severe storms and being prepared is still important.
Build An Emergency Supply Kit:
- Water-1 gallon per person per day
- Food-non-perishable 3-day supply
- Manual can opener
- Battery operated radio, preferrably a NOAA Weather Radio
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First Aid Kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust mask or bandanas
- Plastic sheeting, garbage bags and duct tape
- Hygiene items
- Fire extinguisher
For more information on building a kit visit https://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit