Recent Fire Damage Posts

The Importance of HVAC When Dealing With Fire, Smoke, and Soot

2/13/2024 (Permalink)

Ventilation systems are often the biggest culprit in poor indoor air quality, however, the biggest culprit of fires is your furnace. In fact, according to FEMA, heating appliances were the second highest cause of residential building fires in 2014- specifically furnace flame rollout. 

Flame rollout happens when flames escape and “roll” outside of the closed combustion area. 
If those open flames come into contact with insulation or nearby flammable objects, you will be dealing with a dangerous house fire.

Flame rollout happens when there isn’t enough oxygen to “feed” your furnace. Your furnace needs a mixture of oxygen and fuel to create heat, but if there’s not enough ventilation to provide oxygen, the furnace flames will “roll out” in search of oxygen elsewhere.

Tips on how to keep your furnace safe from flame rollout include:

  • Regularly check and change your air filter- A clogged air filter can cause a buildup of soot inside the flue (the tunnel where combustion gases exit outdoors). And when soot buildup blocks the flue, this also restricts your furnace’s oxygen supply.
  • Check for obstructions in your furnace flue- Your furnace flue connects to the outside, so obstructions like a bird’s nest, leaves, or other debris are very likely and can prevent your furnace from getting oxygen. 
  • Install a rollout switch- These devices detect and shut off power to the furnace when the burner area exceeds normal and safe temperatures. This prevents rollout from happening in the first place.
  • Schedule annual furnace maintenance- Annual maintenance allows our techs to spot any issues early on that could lead to flame rollout. We’ll make sure everything is working properly to avoid the abnormal situations that lead to flame rollout.

SERVPRO of North Prince William County will make recommendations about the best way to address any indoor air quality concerns. This can save you money and provide peace of mind on the health of your system.

Smoke Detectors Save Lives

2/13/2024 (Permalink)

Smoke alarms play an important 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 their 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.  Having a plan allows for a quick escape in an emergency situation. 

Review the following tips regarding smoke detector installation and maintenance:

  • 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.  We have found it useful to change the batteries when daylight savings time either begins or ends.  If an alarm "chirps," the battery is low and should be replaced right away.
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.

SERVPRO of North Prince William County wants you and your family to be safe. If you have a home or business fire, we are here for you and are a phone call away.  For more on emergency preparedness or service, contact SERVPRO of North Prince William County at 703-368-4399.

Skilled Restoration After a Grease Fire

1/4/2024 (Permalink)

Did you know that cooking happens to be one of the most common causes of a kitchen fire? Out of those fires, the highest risk comes from frying foods. A grease fire in your property is dangerous because it can get out of control quickly. While prevention is critical, SERVPRO® is always available 24/7 when you need help handling the cleanup after a grease fire or any blaze within your home or business. We make it “Like it never even happened.”

Before you need to call us for fire restoration in North Prince William County, these are some helpful tips to remember to help prevent a fire in your kitchen:

  • Always cook in a clean area and clean up any spills on your cooktop once it cools. Greasy exhaust hoods or stovetops can catch fire easily.
  • Never leave your food unattended while cooking, as it can take minutes for cookware to scorch or boil over.
  • Always have a lid within reach, and a fire extinguisher handy should flame erupt. 

Did you know? It is best that you have at least three fire extinguishers readily accessible in your home!

When you call SERVPRO® to handle the fallout of a kitchen fire, there are bound to be pungent odors from burnt proteins. We have specialized methods to break through the most challenging, stickiest soot residue to clean surfaces and remove odors. Our team wipes down cabinetry, discards all food items, and cleans appliances. In some situations, it is best to replace your microwave if it is positioned above the stove, as it will be counterproductive to have a repair team fix it.

A fire in your kitchen can be scary, but SERVPRO of North Prince William County is here for prompt fire restoration service! Call us at (703)368-4399 or request help online.

What To Do: Fire & Smoke Damage | North Prince William County

11/15/2023 (Permalink)

Fire and Smoke damage can be devastating! We hope you never have to experience a fire; in case you do, we are here to help and will walk you through the steps to bring your home back to preloss condition. 

There are numerous ways fire damage can devastate homes and businesses. It’s destructive and can leave lingering odors behind not to mention the extensive water damage that results from the firefighter’s efforts to extinguish the flames. The professionals at SERVPRO of North Prince William County, have specialized training, equipment, and experience that will restore your home or place of work back to the way it looked before or even better!

The first steps for SERVPRO of North Prince William County to take your home back to preloss condition.

Step 1: Initial Inspection-

If possible, it’s always good to have your Insurance adjuster present during the first initial inspection but it’s not necessary. We work for you and will work with your adjuster to make the restoration process go as smoothly as possible. It is best if we can all meet at the same time so we can all be on the same page regarding the cleaning and restoration of your home or business. Once the inspection date is set, our Production Manager will meet with you at your home or business to inspect the damages and discuss the cleaning process. They will guide you through step by step, so you know what to expect.  

Once the inspection is complete, they will go over the authorization form and a customer information form to be signed prior to beginning the restoration process.   

Step 2: Content and Structure Cleaning

SERVPRO of North Prince William County has the knowledge, professional equipment and ability to eliminate all traces of a fire. Besides the easily accessible areas, we also examine wall cavities, ductwork, crawl spaces, and plumbing chases to establish whether they also suffered any smoke or fire damage. We will make sure that all fire damage is cleaned, repaired, or removed and leave your home or business "Like it never even happened." Because that is the SERVPRO® way! 

After you, the Adjustor and SERVPRO of North Prince William County have chosen the correct course for your home. SERVPRO will begin the cleaning process of your home or business. Depending on the severity of damage it may be necessary to box up your belongings and bring them back to our cleaning facility. This enables us to clean your contents in a clean environment while the structure cleaning and demoing is being completed. Once all cleaning is finalized of both the structure and your contents, we will bring your belongings back to your home.

Step 3: FINAL WALK Though –

When the cleaning is complete our production manager will do a final walkthrough to address any questions or concerns you may have. Once that is complete, they will present you with a Certificate of Satisfaction form for you to fill out and sign. Your satisfaction is very important to us and we appreciate any feedback you have regarding your experience with SERVPRO of North Prince William County. 

It is our SERVPRO goal to ensure that our customers understand the process and are happy they call us to make their loss “Like it never even happened.”

The Vital Basics of Smoke Alarm Maintenance

11/10/2023 (Permalink)

Smoke alarms are essential to your North Prince William County home, and you may not realize it until the day comes when they save your life. While it is easy to forget about this tool when it isn’t beeping in your ears, you must keep it in order to keep everyone in your home safe.

Smoke alarms shouldn’t be ignored once they’re installed, and they’ll require your ongoing maintenance to stay in good working order. When flames finally appear, the work you put in to keep your alarms in working order could mean the difference between life and death!

Follow our recommendations for maintaining your smoke alarm and keeping your home free of fire for years to come:

What’s That Beeping Noise?

When you first hear a smoke alarm beep, it can make you panic and cause you to run around your house looking for a fire. If there is no smoke, that annoying chirping could indicate that your smoke alarm needs to be serviced.

Low batteries are the most common cause of a misbehaving smoke alarm. When the batteries in your alarm begin to fail, you’ll hear a chirping sound every now and then, indicating that it needs to be replaced.

Another common cause of beeping is that your alarm needs to be completely replaced. Replacing the batteries will not suffice in this case, and you will need to have a new model installed.

Keep Everything in Check

To protect your ears from that painful beeping when there’s no fire to be found, you’ll need to perform constant TLC! These actions will ensure your smoke alarms are on the job if flames were to break out.

You shouldn’t just check the batteries in your smoke alarms when the time changes; you should check them at the end of each month! This will ensure all of your alarms are in good working order all year long.

With working batteries, smoke alarms can stay in working order for a long time, but they don’t last forever! Retire all of your alarms after 10 years and replace them with a new model.

Are They in the Correct Location?

Your smoke alarms will work best if you install the appropriate number in the appropriate spots in your home. This ensures that your home’s alarms notify you as soon as there is a fire.

The amount you need in your home will vary depending on its size, but it’s a good idea to keep one on each level, inside each bedroom and hallway. Keep them a safe distance away from your cooking appliances, bathrooms and windows to avoid false alarms.

Once your alarms are placed perfectly, remember to test them every month to ensure every alarm inside your home is good to go!

When you have major fire damage, SERVPRO of North Prince William County is here to help. Give us a call, and we’ll rapidly eliminate traces of smoke, soot and flames!

Fall Fires

11/8/2023 (Permalink)

When the cold weather comes around, more residential homeowners begin to use heating elements to warm their space. Incidents and mishaps with these elements can lead to fires that damage the property. The American Red Cross even notes that the amount of house fires increases in the fall and winter months. 

SERVPRO of North Prince William County knows how frequent fires occur, so we want you to know tips to stay safe this season. If a fire does occur in your residential or commercial space, know that SERVPRO has the professionals to restore the damage. Our teams use their expertise and experience to make a fire disaster “Like it never even happened” and provide 24-hour emergency services. To stay safe this fire season, make sure to test your smoke alarms. Also, check that space heaters are clear of surrounding objects and do not leave them unattended. If you will be using a fireplace, be sure to have it inspected and cleaned of debris. Additionally, replace furnace filters and keep the area clean.  

A Fire Checklist Every Homeowner Should Have

11/7/2023 (Permalink)

A house fire is always a devastating event. It leaves homeowners with questions about what they need to do next, who to call, where to begin, etc. With a proper house fire checklist, you can execute the right procedures that can help you mitigate the damage and get back on your feet within a shorter period of time.

What NOT to Do After a House Fire
It’s important to know what NOT to do prior to a house fire. This is for your safety.

  • Don’t enter your home until you have received permission from the local fire department that it is safe to do so.
  • Don’t turn on the water, gas, or electric until it has been deemed safe to do so by a professional.
  • Don’t move or start your vehicle if it has sustained any damage from the fire.
  • Don’t try to clean any soot or smoke damage on your own - leave it to the professionals like SERVPRO®, who have the right safety equipment and expertise.

What You CAN Do After a House Fire
There are many things you should not do when it comes to a house fire, and although we understand that you want to go through your home - it is for your safety not to until it is deemed safe. However, there are some things you can do.

  • Get permission from your local fire department before you re-enter your damaged property.
  • Get in touch with your friends and family to inform them of the disaster.
  • Attend to your frightened pets and provide them with the necessary support.
  • Call all utility providers (water, gas, electric) and inform them of the disaster.
  • Call your homeowner’s insurance company to submit a claim.
  • Call SERVPRO of North Prince William County to discuss fire damage and restoration.
  • Have an understanding of the different terms of the fire report issues by your local fire department and keep a copy. This report is important for insurance claim purposes.
  • Document all fire damage and jot down detailed notes along with photographs of the damage to your property.
  • Retrieve your valuables before leaving the property.
  • Contact your local police department to inform them that your home will be vacant for a temporary period. It’s also important to inform your children’s schools so their teachers will know that your children will not be attending school temporarily during this difficult time.
  • Notify the post office to forward your mail or hold it temporarily
  • Start the process of replacing important documents that may have been lost in the fire such as passports, licenses, birth certificates, etc.
  • Take care of the emotional needs of every family member, as a fire can inflict a tremendous amount of stress.
  • For property damage by wildfires, you may be eligible for Fire Management Assistance.
  • For disaster relief, there are several organizations that you can seek assistance from such as The Salvation Army or Red Cross depending on where you are located.

A fire will also cause water damage as a result of firefighters putting out the fire. SERVPRO can help with fire damage restoration, water damage restoration, and even mold remediation if the water damage hasn’t been cleaned up in a timely manner.

As for a checklist for your family to understand in the event that there is a fire, get together and discuss what items you’d want to save if possible, have a plan for your pets, and know the best ways to exit the house.

Call SERVPRO of North Prince William County - 703-368-4399

Protect Your Home from Winter Fires

9/28/2023 (Permalink)

Follow these fire safety tips to keep your home and family safe:

  • Keep area around heating equipment clear of flammables.
  • If you use a fireplace, have the chimney swept yearly, use a sturdy screen to stop sparks and store ashes outside at least 10 feet away from the house. 
  • Use space heaters with automatic shut-offs and keep pets & children 3 feet away.
  • Test smoke & carbon monoxide alarms and make sure batteries are fresh.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher on each floor and teach family members how to use it.
  • Keep baking soda by the stove to combat grease fires.
Candles

December is the peak time of year for home candle fires; the top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day, and New Year’s Eve.

Heating

Heating is the second leading cause of U.S. home fires, deaths and injuries. December, January and February are the peak months for heating fires. 

Carbon Monoxide

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

Winter storms

Home fires occur more in the winter than in any other season, and heating equipment is involved in one of every six reported home fires, and one in every five home fire deaths.

Generators

Portable generators are useful during power outages, however, many homeowners are unaware that the improper use of portable generators can be risky. The most common dangers associated with portable generators are carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shock, and fires. 

Electrical

Electrical home fires are a leading cause of home fires in the United States. Almost half of all home electrical fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment, and almost another half involved other known types of equipment like washer or dryer fans, and portable or stationary space heaters.

Fire Restoration

3/2/2023 (Permalink)

A fire is one of the most destructive elements of nature and can turn a habitable home into a heap of dust within a short amount of time. Even though there are proactive methods to control the destruction of the house, you cannot snub the damage that may have already occurred. Not only do the flames from a fire cause charring on things like cabinets, but you would be looking at the smoke, which causes widespread damage. The smoke penetrates carpets, clothing, furniture, upholstery, and other porous materials. The ultimate goal of fire restoration in damaged  homes is to reinstate the property and contents to pre-incident condition, leaving a clean and safe environment. If cleaning is not done properly, the smoke odor lingers, and further ruin can occur to your contents and structure. SERVPRO professionals start by evaluating the situation, including the extent of the damage, to know what they are dealing with. Depending on the situation, our crews can use onsite and offsite techniques to restore your home. Onsite restoration may include the removal of odor particles using the following equipment: 

  • Air Scrubbers
  • Thermal Fogging 
  • Ozone Treatments

Cleaning Smoke Damage

Only some restoration projects require a pack out. Some contents can be manipulated and cleaned within their respective spaces. SERVPRO crews might even clean items onsite and then move them to a designated area that has not been affected to be stored. However, when cleanup requires multiple treatments, contents could be packed and taken to the Franchise Warehouse for cleaning. 

SERVPRO of North Prince William County knows rebuilding a fire damaged home can be stressful, but you don't have to face fire restoration alone. Call us at (703)368-4399. We're Faster To Any Size Disaster. 

Fires in the Warmer Months

3/2/2023 (Permalink)

Looking forward to the warmer weather after the long cold months of winter. Spring is in full bloom, and summer is right around the corner. 

It's a time of renewal and getting outdoors. There are plenty of activities to do outdoors such as hiking, going to the lake, grilling, and barbecuing with friends and family, just to name a few.

With the warmer weather families will begin to gather for reunions, graduations and the seasonal cookouts that everyone loves. That also brings with it the risks of increased fires. 

Unfortunately, spring sees more daily fires on average than any time of year. But by being cautious, you can minimize fires at home this season. 

Here are some great places to start: 

The grill: Grills are one of the biggest culprits of spring fires. It presents a substantial risk due to the combination of flame, grease, heat and gas. But just taking a few precautions can greatly reduce the risk of a fire on the barbecue grill! Make sure the grill is cleaned prior to every use and that all parts are in proper working order. Replace any worn or damaged components before grilling and keep the grill at least six feet away from any flammable objects, especially the home! Lack of proper cleaning is responsible for almost 20% of grill fires! 

The fire pit. While the grill gets it share of blame for accidental fires, the fire pit can be dangerous as well. Gathering on a cool spring or summer evening around a fire pit can provide some of the best rest and relaxation after a long day or week. Keep these safety tips in mind: Kids should never be left alone or around a fire pit. Keep a bucket of water close by at all times. Don't add pine needles or leaves to a fire pit as this can cause "flare-ups" and embers can be carried away by the wind. If you are cooking hot dogs or roasting marshmallows do it over the embers and not the open flame, which will help avoid the flame damage and help you get that elusive perfect roasted finish that you're looking for. 

Chimneys and dryer vents. Chimneys should be inspected and cleaned by a professional at least once every season. Ash, soot and creosote buildup is a major cause of fires, and with proper maintenance, this risk can be reduced. The failure to clean dryer vents is a leading cause of fires that emanate from the dryer. 

Our technicians are on speed dial 24/7 for emergencies. If you encounter fire damage at your home or business, no matter the cause, we will be there faster and have it cleaned up sooner. Experience the SERVPRO of North Prince William County difference. 

What To Do When You Smell Natural Gas

1/16/2023 (Permalink)

If your home in North Prince William County, VA uses gas for heating or cooking, it's important to know what to do in the event of a gas leak. On its own, natural gas doesn't have a smell, so providers put additives in that give it a scent in order to protect consumers. If you smell gas inside or outside of your home or hear a hissing sound, there are steps to take to ensure that you protect yourself and your family.

1. Don't Touch the Lights
When you first smell gas and you're not sure what's happening, the first step is to NOT turn on the lights. If there is a leak, turning a light switch on or off can trigger a reaction that causes a gas fire. Similarly, don't use matches, start or stop appliances, or use the phone.

2. Check the Stove
Check the stove to make sure that all the burners are off. One common reason that you smell gas but a gas explosion isn't imminent is that a burner was accidentally bumped on.

3. Open the Windows
If you can verify that the natural gas smell was caused by an improperly closed burner, it's safe to open the windows and doors to air out the house. However, if you've checked the stove and no burners are on, it's important to leave the windows closed to prevent oxygen from getting to a flame.

4. Leave the House
When the stove is ruled out as the cause of the smell, it's time to leave the house — and quickly. Worry only about getting the people in your home out; don't try to take extra items with you. A potential gas fire is an emergency!

5. Call for Help
Once you're safely away from the house (at least across the street), call 911 for help. In the event of an explosion that causes damage, an emergency restoration team will work with you to get you back in your home quickly.
A gas fire is a common way that homes sustain damage. If you think you smell gas, protect your family by leaving the house and calling for help.

Renters Can Expect From Their Coverage...

11/14/2022 (Permalink)

Many tenants buy renter’s insurance to cover the cost of replacing their personal belongings if they are damaged or destroyed by an accident in the building where they live. Your coverage, however, may pay for much more than just item replacement. It’s important to talk to your agent, so you know just how much you can expect your insurance company to pay if the place you are renting in Reston or Herndon catches fire.

Belongings

Part of the fire restoration process is determining which items can be cleaned and saved and which must be thrown away. Your insurance coverage should pay for:

  •  Assessment
  •  Cleaning costs
  •  Replacement costs

Make sure your policy states that it pays replacement cost rather than the actual cash value of your items. The purpose of insurance is to make you whole again, and replacing lost belongings is a good start.

Liability

If the fire was caused by your negligence, you might be liable for any damages you cause to other people or to the structure itself. Your renter’s insurance probably has a clause that protects you from legal costs. Your policy may cover damage to your neighbor’s belongings or the property itself, as well as cover medical bills of anyone injured in the fire if you bear some responsibility for its starting.

Shelter

Fire restoration experts may work quickly, but there are probably going to be some nights that you are unable to stay in your rented space. Finding a temporary place to live can be expensive. Your insurance policy is likely to cover this as well. You can include your shelter needs as part of the fallout of the fire damage to your home when you file your claim.

Your renter’s insurance does cover the loss of your belongings, but it can also cover other losses. Your insurance agent can help you build a solid policy that takes all potential expenses of the fire into consideration.

What Kind of Smoke Detector Do You Need?

11/9/2022 (Permalink)

There are 3 types of smoke detector alarms on the market today. They are Ionization, Photoelectric and Combination.

An ionization smoke alarm contains a small amount of radioactive material. The radiation passes through an ionization chamber which is an air-filled space between two electrodes and permits a small, constant current between the electrodes. 

When smoke that enters the chamber absorbs the alpha particles, it reduces the ionization and interrupts the current, setting off the alarm. 

This type of alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires.

The Photoelectric smoke alarms operate using a light source.

A light beam collimating system and a photoelectric sensor. When smoke enters the optical chamber and crosses the path of the light beam, some light is scattered by the smoke particles, directing it at the sensor and thus activating the alarm. 

This type of alarm is generally more responsive to fires that begin with a long period of smoldering.

Combination smoke alarms feature both ionization and photoelectric technologies. Ionization smoke alarms respond faster to high energy fires, whereas photoelectric detectors respond better to low energy smoldering fires. The best overall protection is provided by using combination smoke alarms.

Do You Know How To Respond To A House Fire?

11/7/2022 (Permalink)

A fire can start from any number of sources: a faulty wire, an overloaded outlet, a kitchen accident, or a bonfire left unattended. If your home catches fire it’s important to know how to respond quickly and effectively.

Stay Safe!

If a Fire Starts, Here Is What You Need To Know:

The first line of defense against a fire is to know how to safely use the right fire extinguisher for a house fire. This simple step can save lives and tens of thousands in property damages. If the fire loses control, immediately get out and stay out, then call 9-1-1. Leave all your things where they are and save yourself.

If your clothing catches on fire, remember the old phrase: Stop, Drop, and Roll.

If you live in a building with elevators, it is important to use the stairs in case of a fire. A fire can short out the elevator electrical system, and the shaft can act like a chimney and rapidly fill up with dangerous smoke.

Understanding how to use doors to your advantage during a fire can mean the difference between life and death. If the door or handle is warm, do not open it. If you can't escape through the primary way, find another way out. Do not open any doors that are warm to the touch.

If some, heat, or flames block your exits, close any doors around you, place a wet towel under the doors and call the fire department or 9-1-1. Tell them exactly where you are so they know where to find you.

If you're near a window that you can't use as an escape, open it and wave a brightly colored cloth or use your phone flashlight to signal for help.

What To Do After a Fire:

After a fire, it is important to contact a professional fire damage restoration company like SERVPRO of North Prince William. We have the training, experience, and equipment to properly restore your home - "Like it never even happened."

If you try to clean up the fire damage yourself, you could end up making the situation worse both in your home and with your insurance company's process.

Call us today! (703)368-4399

Electric Heater Safety

11/3/2022 (Permalink)

As winter begins to hit and temperature begins to drop, you may choose to buy a space heater for warm up your home, apartment, or work space. Space heaters are a good alternative if you do not want to turn up your thermostat to heat up your home. However, space heaters, if not used correctly, can cause fire damage to your property. Here are some tips that you can use to prevent any disaster caused by a space heater:

  • Leave the heater on level floor, don’t place on carpet - it can overheat and start a fire.
  • Do not use in bathroom, unless it is designed for it - moisture can damage the heater.
  • Keep three feet away from flammable materials and out of the way of children and pets.
  • Should always be plugged directly into wall outlet, don’t use with extension cord because it can cause overheating.
  • Don’t leave heater unattended, make sure to unplug when not in use.
  • Install smoke alarms on every floor.

If you run into any issues with fire damage, call SERVPRO of North Prince William County. 

Do You Know How To Put A Grease Fire Out...?

9/22/2022 (Permalink)

Grease fires happen when oil, grease or fat get hot enough to ignite. Grease fires can be extremely dangerous because grease is a liquid that can easily spread.  If you suspect the fire is larger than you can handle contact 9-1-1.

NEVER THROW WATER ONTO A GREASE FIRE THIS CAN CAUSE THE FIRE TO WORSEN.

Steps to take if this happens to you:

  • Turn off the Stove – If you’re cooking and a pot catches fire, the first step is to remove the heat source. Turn off the burner or oven. (If your grease fire is in the oven, leave the door closed.) A fire can reignite if it’s not smothered.
  • Cover with a Lid – Using a metal pan lid or baking sheet can be another to way to cut off oxygen to a grease fire. Do not use any type of Kitchen fabric the material may catch fire.ALWAYS avoid using glass or ceramic pan lids these materials can shatter.
  • Products to use –Baking soda or salt can help to extinguish the fire; however this would require smothering the fire with salt or baking soda to fully extinguish the fire. Sometimes it’s easier and more effective to quickly find a lid & cover the fire.*DO NOT USE FLOUR OR BAKING POWDER as these products are highly combustible and can explode.*
  • It is always recommended to have a fire extinguisher close by.

What to do after a fire

3/3/2022 (Permalink)

Have you had a fire in your home?  "Devastating" is an understatement when experiencing the chaos of a fire in your home. Not only is it difficult to deal with the loss, but the clean-up can be, too. If it is a small isolated fire, getting the area cleaned and repaired should be a priority!  The first thing to consider is the ash and smoke damage. These can lead to corrosion, unpleasant odor, and discoloration. Getting ash and smoke cleaned up immediately will prevent any of these from leading to an even larger problem.    Take immediate action by following these steps if you find yourself handling the aftermath of a house fire:  1. Contact your insurance company. 2. Contact your local fire restoration company. 3. Take photographs of the damage. 4. Keep a record of all conversations with your insurance company. 5. Make a list of everything you lost or that was destroyed. 6. Find a place to stay while your restoration company cleans up your property. While a house fire is a difficult experience, it helps to have a game plan in place. So remember these steps for the next time you or someone you know is handling the aftermath of a house fire, and call SERVPRO® of North Prince William county

Common causes of fire

3/2/2022 (Permalink)

Do you and your family know the common causes of fires?

 Here are a few common causes to look out for: 

  • Cooking
    • 48% of all fires are caused by cooking.
    • Remember to turn off source of heat.
    • Have a fire extinguisher on hand.
  • Heating
    • Do not put anything close to the heater.
    • Follow guidelines on how the heater can run.
  • Electrical Fires
    • Make sure fireplaces and lighting are up to code and are safe.
    • Ensure alarms are replaced
  • Smoking
    • Never lay cigarettes, cigars, etc., down and forget about them.
    • Smoke outside to avoid any potential fires related to dropping or forgetting about the item.
  • Candles
    • Never leave a candle unattended.
    • All materials should remain 12 inches away from all candles.

These are just some tips in order to prevent fires. SERVPRO of North Prince William county keeps your safety a priority and we hope you and family values that as well. Other things to have in place is a route for you and your family if there ever was a fire. Also, everyone in your family should know the route and plan in place. IF there is a fire in your home, call SERVPRO of North Prince William county.

Electric heater safty

1/19/2022 (Permalink)

As winter begins to hit and temperature begins to drop, you may choose to buy a space heater for warm up your home, apartment, or work space. Space heaters are a good alternative if you do not want to turn up your thermostat to heat up your home. However, space heaters, if not used correctly, can cause fire damage to your property. Here are some tips that you can use to prevent any disaster caused by a space heater:

  • Leave the heater on level floor, don’t place on carpet - it can overheat and start a fire.
  • Do not use in bathroom, unless it is designed for it - moisture can damage the heater.
  • Keep three feet away from flammable materials and out of the way of children and pets.
  • Should always be plugged directly into wall outlet, don’t use with extension cord because it can cause overheating.
  • Don’t leave heater unattended, make sure to unplug when not in use.
  • Install smoke alarms on every floor.

If you run into any issues with fire damage, call SERVPRO of North Prince William county.

Common Causes of Fires

11/18/2021 (Permalink)

Here are a few common causes to look out for: 

  • Cooking
    • 48% of all fires are caused by cooking.
    • Remember to turn off source of heat.
    • Have a fire extinguisher on hand.
  • Heating
    • Do not put anything close to the heater.
    • Follow guidelines on how the heater can run.
  • Electrical Fires
    • Make sure fireplaces and lighting are up to code and are safe.
    • Ensure alarms are replaced
  • Smoking
    • Never lay cigarettes, cigars, etc., down and forget about them.
    • Smoke outside to avoid any potential fires related to dropping or forgetting about the item.
  • Candles
    • Never leave a candle unattended.
    • All materials should remain 12 inches away from all candles.

These are just some tips in order to prevent fires. SERVPRO at North Prince William county keeps your safety a priority and we hope you and family values that as well. Other things to have in place is a route for you and your family if there ever was a fire. Also, everyone in your family should know the route and plan in place. IF there is a fire in your home, call SERVPRO of North Prince William county.

What to do after a property fire

11/18/2021 (Permalink)

Have you had a fire in your home?  "Devastating" is an understatement when experiencing the chaos of a fire in your home. Not only is it difficult to deal with the loss, but the clean-up can be, too. If it is a small isolated fire, getting the area cleaned and repaired should be a priority!  The first thing to consider is the ash and smoke damage. These can lead to corrosion, unpleasant odor, and discoloration. Getting ash and smoke cleaned up immediately will prevent any of these from leading to an even larger problem.    Take immediate action by following these steps if you find yourself handling the aftermath of a house fire:  1. Contact your insurance company. 2. Contact your local fire restoration company. 3. Take photographs of the damage. 4. Keep a record of all conversations with your insurance company. 5. Make a list of everything you lost or that was destroyed. 6. Find a place to stay while your restoration company cleans up your property. While a house fire is a difficult experience, it helps to have a game plan in place. So remember these steps for the next time you or someone you know is handling the aftermath of a house fire, and call SERVPRO® of North Prince William county.

What to do after a fire!

11/1/2021 (Permalink)

Have you had a fire in your home?  "Devastating" is an understatement when experiencing the chaos of a fire in your home. Not only is it difficult to deal with the loss, but the clean-up can be, too. If it is a small isolated fire, getting the area cleaned and repaired should be a priority!  The first thing to consider is the ash and smoke damage. These can lead to corrosion, unpleasant odor, and discoloration. Getting ash and smoke cleaned up immediately will prevent any of these from leading to an even larger problem.    Take immediate action by following these steps if you find yourself handling the aftermath of a house fire:  1. Contact your insurance company. 2. Contact your local fire restoration company. 3. Take photographs of the damage. 4. Keep a record of all conversations with your insurance company. 5. Make a list of everything you lost or that was destroyed. 6. Find a place to stay while your restoration company cleans up your property. While a house fire is a difficult experience, it helps to have a game plan in place. So remember these steps for the next time you or someone you know is handling the aftermath of a house fire, and call SERVPRO® of North Prince William county.

'Tis the Season - Fire Safety Tip #1

11/30/2020 (Permalink)

Tip #1 - Preventing Christmas Tree Fire

'Tis the Season to be festive and merry with decorations around the house.  You will most likely find amidst those decorations the glorious Christmas Tree in all its glory!  

According to the NFPA, between 2013-2017, U.S. fire departments responded to an average 160 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year.

Here are a few tips to help prevent a tragedy in your home this year.

  1. Pick a fresh-looking tree

Fresh trees are much less likely to catch fire, according to the American Christmas Tree Association. If purchasing a real Christmas tree, it’s essential to choose a tree with green needles, regardless of the type of tree.

You can also tell a fresh tree from a dry one by handling the foliage.  Signs of a fresh tree include soft and flexible needles that don’t easily fall off.

Fir needles from a fresh tree should crisply snap if you fold them. Experts recommend continuing to test your tree’s needles for freshness throughout its duration in your home.

  1. Keep the tree watered

Constant moisture is key, because a dried-out Christmas tree in a home is a recipe for disaster.

In fact, a parched tree can burn faster than newspaper, according to the NFPA.  

Experts recommend keeping a real tree watered at all times to ensure that it remains consistently moist.

A medium to large Christmas tree can drink up to a gallon of water a day.

  1. Keep tree away from heat

Ensure that the tree is at least 3 feet way from any heat source, including fireplaces, radiators or heat vents, the NFPA recommends.

Experts also recommend that lit candles should NEVER be used to decorate a tree.

  1. Shake the tree

Give your real tree a good shake, experts suggested. If you find that a lot of needles fall to the ground, it’s a sign that the tree isn’t getting enough water, which poses a fire risk.

  1. Check the tree’s lights

Faulty lights can cause a tree to ignite, which is why It’s essential to check the lights you use to decorate the tree.

The NFPA recommends using lights that are listed by a qualified testing laboratory and keeping in mind that some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.

Examine the lights and keep an eye out for any frayed wires, broken bulbs and any loose connections, he recommended. If you spot signs of damage or wear, the lights should be replaced.

Experts also recommend preventing a short circuit by avoiding overloading extension cords and power sockets with Christmas tree light strands.

  1. Turn off your tree’s lights

Ensure that your lights are always turned off when you’re not around to keep an eye on them, experts suggested.

  1. Get rid of your tree soon after the holidays

We at SERVPRO of North Prince William County wish you a Safe and Happy Holiday!

Fire Safety Tips During Grilling Season

8/18/2020 (Permalink)

Ahhhh summer...a time when friends and family get together to enjoy the beautiful weather to eat and especially during the hot summer months…cook outdoors! And, who doesn’t love a good BBQ?  70% of US households own a grill and odds are will fire it up at least once a week during the summer.  Be that as it may, it is also when fire can become an issue for your home and property.  According to the U.S. Fire Administration, roughly 5,700 grill fires take place on residential property every year amounting to an annual average of $37 million in damages.

As you fire up your grill or smoker of choice, here are some basic tips:

  • When grilling, it is important to do so in a safe environment. Have a space outdoors where you can set up a grill safely and on level ground with a three-foot space between any structures nearby that could catch fire.
    • If you live in a condominium or an apartment, check with your landlord/property manager to find out if grilling on your balcony area is acceptable before you do it!
  • When lighting/igniting your grill, always open the lid prior to turning on the propane. Backdrafts can occur if you leave the lid closed while lighting.
  • Be sure to wear short sleeve clothing when grilling to stay safe from the grill flames.
  • NEVER leave the grill unattended!
  • Be sure you have a fire extinguisher nearby to put out any fires that may occur.
  • Clean your grill after each use to prevent grease fires.
  • Dispose of used coals in a metal can with lid after they have cooled.

We at SERVPRO of North Prince William County hope you stay safe and enjoy cooking outdoors safely!

Fire Safety - Kitchen

10/23/2019 (Permalink)

Follow this link to see the after photo of this kitchen. https://www.SERVPROnorthprincewilliamcounty.com/before-after-photos/

Fire damage restoration is our specialty.  We are trusted experts in our field. We are here when you need us.  Before that time comes we like to provide you with information to keep you and your loved ones away from harm.  Some disasters can be prevented. SERVPRO of North Prince William County cares about the community we serve.

Grease fires - we’ve heard of them, maybe even experienced them, but what about them?

Well, first of all, they can happen to anyone.  The most common reason a grease fire occurs is leaving a pan on the stove unattended with oil in it.  The oil heats up, smokes and eventually catches fire. You don’t have to spill grease or have something else flammable nearby.  Oil in a pan unattended, heating up past the smoking point, will get to the point it sets itself on fire.

Guess what, it’s happened to me and this may be a shocker to you but it was SILENT!  No smoke alarm, nothing. Just flames shooting up out of my pan. I was fortunate because although I did also have something very flammable next to it (another no no) it didn’t ignite.  

Enough about me.  If this happens to you, you need to smother the fire and take the oxygen away.  A metal cover or cookie sheet are good options for smothering the fire (glass will shatter from heat).  You can also use salt or baking soda but only for a very small fire otherwise you will need large amounts to dump on and smother the fire.  Flour and other items that seem like salt or baking soda are NOT the same and should not be used. It is also wise to have a special extinguisher in the kitchen for this type of fire.  Be sure you know what you are using before spraying it, all extinguishers are not created equal. The best thing to do is pay attention and don’t leave the stove unattended and, of course, call the fire department if things are out of hand.

Ok, I’ve held out long enough.  I can’t talk grease without thinking of bacon.  If you are someone that likes bacon or cooks bacon for others that like bacon…I have a method for cooking bacon your bacon eaters will love!

At first I resisted this method because I thought it would soak up too much grease, yada, yada, yada.  I’m here to tell you this method of frying bacon beats ALL other methods. I’ve never seen this method anywhere else (except my mother-in-laws kitchen). There’s no splatter, the bacon cooks evenly and it doesn’t curl up needing to be pressed to the pan.  Perfect every time and easy. (I’ve never set this on fire.)

Here’s what you do.

  1. Open bacon package of your choosing just needs to be sliced first.
  2. Cover another plate with flour (amount depends on how much bacon you cook).
  3. I take scissors and cut the bacon in half so the strips are shorter (I like this a lot!!!).
  4. Dredge each piece in the flour (both sides of bacon should be covered with flour).
  5. Place bacon on frying pan (I prefer flat electric skillet, so grease can drain off).
  6. At about 325° the bacon will cook nice and even, flip after a few minutes when the bottom is browned.
  7. Remove from pan and place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain any excess grease.
  8. Store in fridge or enjoy immediately.  You can even freeze it for quick use in the future.  I just warm it up in the microwave when I need it.  

There you go!  Next time you cook something, remember to be attentive and not let the oil get too hot and if you use this recipe remember it was SERVPRO of North Prince William County that saved your bacon!

https://youtu.be/WcffMgKUmMc

Fire Safety - Campfires

8/8/2019 (Permalink)

Here at SERVPRO of North Prince William County we pride ourselves on being a leader in fire and water damage restoration.  Our highly trained specialists are trustworthy and “faster to any size disaster.” Our “restore first” mentality helps keep the costs down and get you back into your home or business faster.

When the panic of a disaster hits you will be glad you thought ahead...put SERVPRO of North Prince William County in your phone NOW.  If disaster strikes we are here for you 24/7/365! Call SERVPRO of North Prince William County (703) 368-4399

Having said that...let’s discuss outdoor fire safety.

It’s the end of Summer.  School is starting. The temps are high and the ground and brush are most likely dry.  You have a lot on your mind while trying to soak up the last days of summer camping and outdoor fun.

My name is Anne Marie and today I’d like to share the rules of building a campfire.

First things first, make sure ahead of time that you are allowed to have a campfire where you are located.  (That would certainly put a damper on things.)

Next, check that there are no burn bans in place.  If there aren’t then observe the area for windy conditions.  Very important so things don’t get out of hand.

You are now ready to dig your pit.  Select a spot without any overhanging branches.  

Now that you have your pit, circle it with rocks and rake a 10 foot area around the pit.  Once completed there should be just dirt in this area, nothing that could catch fire should be left on this ground.

If you have extra firewood/kindling stack it upwind and away from the fire.  Don’t leave anything around that could be a tripping hazard.

Never leave a campfire unattended by an adult.

Keep a hose or a bucket of water close by at all times.  You should always have a metal shovel as well.

When you are ready to call it a night or leave the fire be sure it is extinguished.  This means douse it with water, stir it up with a shovel and dump more water on it. The fire should be cold beyond a shadow of a doubt before you leave.

Please also remember:  Only burn wood.

The above rules are not just for camping they are for the fire pit in your backyard as well.  When things are easy and convenient we sometimes become more lax with adhering to these rules.

This is a personal experience of mine.  I was visiting a friend that had a fire pit in their yard.  It was around 10 AM when I knelt down to pick something up in the area of their fire pit.  The ground was quite warm. I alerted my friend to the situation. They had used the fire pit the night before.  Upon stirring the ashes we saw that down below there were still red coals. There was a plant/weed that had very long roots that connected from plant to plant that grew in the area.  These roots had “caught fire” so to speak, there wasn’t enough oxygen for them to ignite but they were red at the pit and carried the heat just below the surface of the ground. If this had reached the woods or an uncleared area this story could’ve ended very differently.  What did they do wrong? The fire had been left cold enough instead of completely cold. So, while no one in my story needed to call SERVPRO, make sure you are prepared in case someone in your story does.

Add SERVPRO of North Prince William County (703) 368-4399 to your contacts today!

Fire Extinguisher Tips

7/5/2016 (Permalink)

Fire tipes from SERVPRO

Fire extinguisher tips 

Only use a fire extinguisher if.....

*The fire is contained to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and is not growing.

*Everyone has exited the building

*The fire department has been called or is being called; and the room is not filled with smoke.