Archived Fire Damage Blog Posts
What Is the Protocol After a Fire Damages My Home?
Having a fire cause damage to your home or property is devastating, and often times some things get lost in the shuffle as homeowners become overwhelmed with the aftermath. Here is short list of important things to get done immediately after a fire:
- Find a safe place to stay. Living inside a home with soot and fire damage can cause prolonged damage and including poor air quality that you and your family could be breathing in.
- Contact your insurance. Immediately filing a claim with your insurance carrier can help move the process along and make sure you have somewhere to live while your home is being assessed and remediated from the fire damage.
- Protect your home from other weather conditions. Make sure your home has been boarded up or tarped to prevent any rain or wind damage that can be caused by openings in the structure.
- Get your pets inspected by a veterinarian immediately. Smoke inhalation can damage small animals’ lungs and burns can hide under their fur.
- Make sure to get a copy of the fire report. You can usually get fire reports from your local fire department. The report may be helpful in providing information for your insurance agency.
- Continue and budget your finances. You will still be responsible to make your mortgage payments even if your home is destroyed. You'll also need to continue any car payments and replace any credit or debit cards that may have been destroyed in the house fire.
- Take care of your family and yourself. Having a disaster strike can cause concerns with young children. Taking the time you need to recover and make sure everyone is well taken care of will help ease the process of getting your home back to normal.
After you and your family are taken care of, be sure to call SERVPRO of Mount Prospect/North Des Plaines to handle your fire damage and take care of your contents. We are already ready to take your call! (847) 956-1880
Fire Extinguisher Readiness
It’s also a great time to review your fire extinguisher knowledge.
- Do you have a fire extinguisher? Do you know where it is?
- Do you know when your fire extinguisher expires? “You can tell the difference between the two by the head; a rechargeable extinguisher has a metal head with a gauge that reads Charge/Recharge, and a disposable extinguisher has a plastic head with a gauge that reads Full/Empty.”
- Do you know how to use your fire extinguisher? The time to read the instructions is not when you reach for it in an emergency.
You should always familiarize yourself with the instructions for your specific extinguisher, but there are four basic steps to follow with a standard foam model. You can remember them with the acronym PASS:
- P—Pull the pin on the fire extinguisher.
- A—Aim the nozzle or hose at the base of the fire. Keep a safe distance away.
- S—Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing materials.
- S—Sweep the nozzle from side to side.
Continue directing the foam at the base of the fire until it is completely extinguished.
If you have experienced fire damage, call SERVPRO of Mount Prospect/North Des Plaines to find out how we can help you make it “Like it never even happened.”
Proven Experience for Your Fire or Smoke Damage
After a fire or smoke damage at your home or business, trust the restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Mount Prospect/North Des Plaines to return your property to its pre loss condition. We have a proven system to not only restore your property but to make the process as stress-free as possible for you.
Step 1: Emergency Contact
The restoration process begins when you call our office at 847-956-1880, which is answered 24 hours a day. We will ask a series of questions regarding the fire damage event that will help us make a plan of action for your situation.
Step 2: Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment
Our restoration professionals will carefully inspect and test adjoining rooms of your property to determine the extent of the fire, smoke, and soot damage. This step is crucial to developing a plan of action.
Step 3: Immediate Board-Up and Roof-Tarp Service
Fire damage can often compromise windows, walls, and roofs. To maintain security and to protect against further damage, our technicians can board up missing windows and walls and place tarps on damaged roofs.
Step 4: Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present)
The water removal process begins almost immediately and removes the majority of the water. We will then use dehumidifiers and air movers to remove the remaining water and complete the drying process.
Step 5: Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces
Our trained professionals use specialized equipment and techniques to remove smoke and soot from ceilings, walls, and other surfaces.
Step 6: Cleaning and Sanitizing
We will clean all of the restorable items and structures that were damaged by the fire. We use a variety of cleaning techniques to restore your belongings to pre-fire condition. We will also remove odors using industrial air scrubbers and fogging equipment.
Step 7: Restoration
Restoration is the final step—getting your home or business to its pre-fire condition. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet; or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business.
We understand that when faced with a recent fire or water damage, you need help quickly. You can trust the expertise and experience of SERVPRO of Mount Prospect/North Des Plaines to get the job done right and make your property "Like it never even happened."
4 Tips for Keeping Your Home Fire-Safe
Maintain smoke detectors
A home fire is an unthinkable tragedy. However, if everyone in your Mount Prospect, IL, household understands fire safety, it will significantly reduce the likelihood of the worst happening. The first step of fire preparation is knowing how to prevent a disaster altogether.
1. Be Careful With Open Flames
Never use any open flame, such as candles, unattended. Put them on sturdy surfaces, away from anything flammable and out of reach of children and pets. Always smoke outdoors. Use sturdy ashtrays that are deep enough to trap the butts and ashes. Never place an open flame in the vicinity of medical oxygen.
2. Safely Heat Your Home
Keep flammable materials (including curtains and bedding) at least three feet from space heaters, furnaces, radiators, woodstoves and fireplaces. Use only space heaters that have an automatic shutoff function in the case of overheating or tipping.
3. Use Caution When Cooking
Never leave anything unattended while it’s cooking on the stove or broiling. Ensure that pot and pan handles are always turned toward the back of the stove so they can’t be knocked off. One easy fire preparation tip is always to keep a pot lid next to the stove when cooking; if flames erupt, you can easily slide the lid over the fire. Then, turn off the burner. Also, keep a kitchen fire extinguisher nearby and make sure everyone knows how to use it.
4. Maintain Smoke Detectors
Make sure that your smoke detectors are in good working condition by testing them a couple of times a year. Once a year, replace the batteries. Dust and vacuum the detectors when you test them and change the batteries. Dust can build up, making them less effective. Every 10 years, replace the smoke alarms themselves.
No matter how careful you are with your fire safety, there are never guarantees. Always have a fire preparation plan in place. If a disaster occurs, fire damage cleanup professionals can return your home to its preloss condition.
Mount Prospect/North Des Plaines Smoke and Soot Cleanup
We are prepared to respond to any Fire Damage Emergency in Mount Prospect, IL
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 Mount Prospect/North Des Plaines 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 Mount Prospect property with care.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 847-956-1880
Tests Your Fire Sprinkler's Need
Your fire sprinkler system needs periodic testing to make sure that it is ready and capable of handling any commercial fire
When most people think about testing a fire sprinkler system, they see horrible images of all of their equipment getting soaked. Fortunately, you can test your system without actually setting it off. If you don't know how to do this, ask a fire safety professional or your fire inspector to help you.
Tests You Can Perform
There are some simple tests that you can perform on your fire suppression system without actually setting a fire. These tests are:
- The water flow alarm test
- The 2-inch main drain test
- The fire pump test
- The hydrostatic 5-year functionality test
- The dry pipe valve drip test
A qualified employee should perform these tests as part of your regular fire sprinkler testing routine. If you don't test your fire sprinkler system, you could have a malfunction, causing you to need to call a fire or water damage remediation company in North Des Plaines, IL.
You should test your full fire prevention system quarterly. Always follow the manufacturer's testing guidelines to ensure that your system will operate when you need it. You should also check the gauges weekly to be sure that the system is full and properly pressurized.
What Your Fire Inspector Will Test
Your fire inspector will perform some tests to make sure that your system is working properly and up to standard as well. Their inspections are much different than your routine testing. A fire inspector will want to look at your maintenance logs. They will check the gauge and do a live system test. Don't worry, inspectors use the main drain instead of the actual sprinklers to do the live test so you won't have to worry about any fire sprinkler cleanup.
Your fire sprinkler system needs periodic testing to make sure that it is ready and capable of handling any commercial fire. If you don't know how to test your system, speak with the company that installed it or a fire safety professional. They can advise you on proper testing and maintenance.
Putting Out the Flames May Mean Unexpected Water Damage
Home fire in North Des Plaines, IL
Putting Out the Flames May Mean Unexpected Water Damage
The effects of a fire to your North Des Plaines, IL, can be devastating. Along with charred belongings, the stench of smoke, and visible soot damage, the water used to extinguish the flames can also cause damage. Considering that a fire hose used by firefighters can release 300 gallons of water a minute, that could mean dealing with extensive unwanted alongside the fire damage.
After a Fire
The aftermath of the fire and potential water damage means safety should always be the first priority. Once the property is safe to enter, below are some tips to get the restoration process quickly started.
Call Your Insurer – Getting a claim started fast means returning to normal sooner. An insurance adjuster will come and inspect the damage, both from the fire and any damage incurred putting it out. Depending on the severity, discuss if temporary lodging and food expenses will be provided.
Document Everything – While you may want to dig in and start salvaging your precious belongings, photos and videos should be taken of everything that came in contact with the fire or water.
Start the Drying Process – The longer water sits, the more potential for secondary issues to form, such as mold growth. If possible and safe to do so, open windows and run fans to get the air circulating.
The next call you make after insurance should be to a trusted fire damage and restoration company. They will complete and inspection and assessment of the situation, work with your insurer to get the process started and help secure the home against further damage during the wait. Once the restoration process begins, they have the expertise, latest technology and industrial cleaning techniques to thoroughly dry, clean, sanitize and restore any structural problems and many of your belongings.
Any kind of fire damage can have lingering effects. Taking quick action and working with your insurance company and professional restoration service can help you get back to “Like it never even happened.”
The Relationship Between Water and Fire Damage
Water and fire damage in a Mount Prospect, IL building
Ways a Fire Can Lead to Water Damage
If you’re worried about a fire at your Mount Prospect, IL, place of business then you may make plans for a restoration in case of emergency. But did you know you may also want to plan for a water cleanup as well as a fire cleanup? There are a few ways a fire can lead to water damage. Here are three of the most common.
1. Fire Sprinklers
Fire sprinklers are an important system for protecting your business, however, they can also cause some water damage. Sprinklers are designed to release the suppressant directly over the flame to put it out, but the water may still pool in the affected area and can cause some additional problems if not quickly cleaned up. This can be a problem for areas already weakened by the fire.
2. Fire Hose
A fire hose can lead to a water cleanup since this important fire suppression tool has the ability to pump out between 200 and 800 gallons per minute depending on its size. This can cause flooding which if not quickly cleaned up may further damage the space. Fortunately, many restoration services are trained to handle water damage as well, and may already expect to need to perform a flood cleanup.
Weather can play a factor in causing water damage after a fire when the fire has caused structural damage that leaves gaps to the outside. This usually occurs in the roof or around windows. These gaps leave a space where rain or snow can get in. Your Local fire damage restoration service may offer tarping services in additions to smoke cleanup.
Planning for water cleanup can be important as water damage can occur in a number of ways. Fire suppression efforts such as sprinklers of a fire hose can lead to flooding. Additionally, if the fire has caused any structural damage such as in the roof, then rain or snow may get in and cause water problems as well.
Learn About the Cleanup Process After a Fire
Fire damage in Mount Prospect, IL
If your Mount Prospect, IL, home has been through a fire, you may be wondering how it can be restored to its previous glory. Experiencing a house fire can be hard, but with a team of fire and smoke damage restoration professionals, you'll see a clear path to recovery. Each fire damage scenario is unique, so getting a plan that's customized to your needs is important. Here are some common processes involved with fire cleanup.
1. Cleaning up Soot
Soot is an unpleasant residue left after a fire. It's a black substance made largely of amorphous carbon, and it can be powdery or flaky in appearance. After a house fire, soot damage is a concern. It can stain your upholstery, carpet, and walls, as well as your belongings. While you can clean up soot to some degree yourself, many household materials require professional sanitization to remove it fully.
2. Removing Smoke Odor
After the flames are extinguished, the smell of smoke may persist due to smoke damage. When smoke permeates your home, minuscule smoke particles become lodged inside household materials, from your flooring to the paint on your ceiling. Smoke cleaning often requires experts in the industry and specialized cleaning equipment such as industrial air scrubbers and fogging machines.
3. Cleaning Your Home's Structure
Skillful and experienced fire damage cleanup teams should create a plan to fully clean and restore your home's structure. A comprehensive remediation plan ensures that your home doesn't continue to degrade after the fire is put out. Your home needs to be cleaned and repaired after suffering smoke and soot damage as well as water damage from the firefighting efforts.
After a house fire, you may be overwhelmed, but it's important to act quickly. Calling in fire restoration experts with the training and equipment to restore your home will pay off. Efficiently removing water, soot, and smoke damage is crucial to restoring your home to pre-fire condition.
3 Common Causes of House Fires and How to Prevent Them
Unattended candles remain to be one of the leading causes of house fires
The Leading Fire Causes
Nobody ever wants to think about the possibility of a home fire, but it remains to be one of the biggest threats to human life. With your family and prized possessions at risk, it’s important to know what causes these disasters and how to prevent them.
The leading fire causes in North Des Plaines, IL include:
- Cooking fires
- Careless smoking
- Unattended candles
1. Cooking Fires
Cooking is the #1 cause of home fires, accounting for half of the total fires in the state. This news comes as no surprise considering the open flames and intensive heating that happens in this room. If left unsupervised, cooking food could burn, resulting in a big fire and an expensive fire cleaning process. Therefore, stay in the kitchen until the meal is ready or leave someone else in charge.
Smoking poses a danger to your health in many ways, including the risk of igniting your house. While cigarette smoking accounts for only 5 percent of house fires in the entire country, the death rate sits at a whopping 23 percent. In most of these cases, the residents smoke while in the bedroom, and something accidentally catches fire after they fall asleep. It is safer to avoid smoking altogether, but if you must, do it outside the house where there’s little risk of starting an inferno.
There’s something about candles that makes people buy more of them despite the fire hazard they present. Maybe it’s because of the warm, cozy feeling they bring, or it’s the delicious scents they produce. Whatever the reason, unattended candles remain to be one of the leading causes of house fires. To avoid this, consider using safer alternatives such as flameless candles and wax warmers.
Home fires will always remain to be a massive threat, even though you might not think about it much. That’s why you need to be extra cautious in the kitchen and when using traditional candles in your home.
Fires are Preventable
Don't let a fire get you down!
When it comes to your property, certain safety precautions can be taken to help prevent fires. Below are some tips that can help you to prevent a fire from happening.
Electrical and Appliances Safety
- Replace frayed and old worn electrical cords on appliances. Also make sure all extension cords are in good working condition and do not run cords under rugs or furniture.
- If an appliance has a three prong plug, use it only in a three slot outlet. Never force it into a two slot outlet or extension cord.
- Immediately shut off light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker and have replaced by a trained professional.
Fireplaces and Wood stoves
- Inspect and clean wood stove pipes and chimneys annually and check for damage or obstructions monthly.
- Always use a fireplace screen heavy enough to stop a burning log from rolling out and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying embers.
- Make sure that the fire is completely out before leaving your home or going to bed.
For more fire safety tips, visit ready.org and if a fire should occur call SERVPRO of Mount Prospect/North Des Plaines at 847-956-1880 and our trained professionals will make it "Like it never even happened."
How To Put Out a Grease Fire
Smother a small cooking fire with salt or baking soda.
Putting Out Grease Fire
A grease fire is one of the most common ways house fires begin. They often start because food was left unattended while cooking, but even under close watch, fires can happen. All it takes is for a little grease to spill over the side of a pan, and you have the potential of a fire starting. Here are 5 steps to putting out a fire involving grease.
1. Remove the Source of Oxygen
Place a metal lid over the fire. If a lid is not easily accessible, a cookie sheet will also do the trick. Do not remove the lid until the fire is out and it is cool to the touch.
2. Remove it From the Heat
Turn off the source of heat. If you can safely do so, and the fire is contained in a pan, remove the pan from the heat.
3. Smother the Fire
Water should never be used to put out a grease fire. It can splash and spread the fire, making it much worse than it was. Instead, smother a small cooking fire with salt or baking soda.
4. Use a Fire Extinguisher
If you have a class B fire extinguisher that is made to handle chemical fires, you can use it on the fire. Since you should not touch or inhale too much of the powder, you should use this as a last resort.
5. What To Do if All Else Fails
If these steps fail and you are not able to put out the fire or it is spreading, evacuate the area as quickly as possible. Get everyone outside and call emergency services so that your local fire department can put out the fire. Remain outside until they tell you it is safe to go back in.
If you experience a grease fire in Mount Prospect, IL, you need to get the fire out as quickly as possible while protecting your safety. If your home sustains damage, you may want to call a professional fire restoration company for fire cleanup. They are trained to repair or replace damaged items and remove any lingering odors.
Call SERVPRO of Mount Prospect/North Des Plaines at 847-956-1880!
Warning Signs of Faulty Wiring or Electrical Systems
Electric fires account for 34,000 house fires a year
Electrical failure or malfunctions account for an estimated 34,000 home fires, on average, per year and result in roughly 440 deaths and $1.3 billion in direct property damage according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). This threat is higher in older homes built before the 1950's due to lower electrical wiring standards, however; even newer homes are at risk. Older homes were built to handle 30 amps of power, but most newer homes demand 100 to 200 amps. Listed below are some of the warning signs that may indicate an electrical problem in your home:
- Flickering or dimming lights.
- Switches or outlets that are hot to touch and/or give off a strong burnt rubber odor.
- Discolored cords, outlets and switch plates.
- Repeatedly blown fuses and tripped circuit breakers.
If you have any any of these, contact a licensed electrician immediately to examine and repair any electrical problems and if the need for fire restoration is required, we are there to make it "Like it never even happened". SERVPRO of Mount Prospect/North Des Plaines, 847-956-1880.
Recipe for Safety
Make sure to shut off your stove when you leave the house
Cooking Safety Tips:
- Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you have to leave the room for even a second, turn your stove or cooking device off.
- When you are simmering, baking, or roasting, check the food regularly or use a timer to remind you.
- Keep cooking areas clean and clear of combustibles such as potholders, paper towels, food packaging, etc...
- Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a "kid-free zone" of at least three feet around the stove.
- If an oven fire starts, turn off the oven and keep the door closed. If the fire does not go out, get out of the house and the fire department.
Please remember that education in prevention is the best way to keep you and your family safe. In the event there is a fire, call your local fire department and then call SERVPRO of Mount Prospect/North Des Plaines at 847-956-1880 to help you with all your fire restoration needs.
Securing Your Building Post-Fire
Fire extinguisher training can be crucial in preventing fires in a business
Is your Mount Prospect, IL, commercial property suffering after a fire? If you are planning on seeking help from a local fire damage restoration company, you are already on the right track. But you also need to keep your building safe in the meantime. Follow these three steps to make sure looting does not affect your business in the aftermath of a commercial fire.
1. Identify and Secure Open Spaces
Survey your building very carefully when beginning your fire cleanup efforts. Ensure that all windows, doors and other open spaces are securely locked. Next, make sure that you purchase some sturdy boards that will be sufficiently protective for the type of opening that you are securing. The length of time you expect the boards to be in place should also influence what type of covering you buy.
2. Research Further Options
While waiting to repair fire damage to your building, you may want to invest in some fencing for added security. This really depends on whether or not you feel that your building is in an area prone to heavy looting, as well as the amount of time you expect your business to be shut down for.
3. Consider Advanced Security Options
If you feel that your company’s geographical area is highly unsafe or expect you will be closed for a very long time, security services or a high-tech alarm may be the way to go. These options allow your building to be secured when you are not physically available to keep a close watch.
Don’t Get Intimidated
Fire damage is stressful enough without worrying about highly customizable security options. You need to focus on fixing any destruction first and foremost, so if you think complicated security measures are out of the question logistically or financially, stick with basic, reliable boards that will keep your Mount Prospect, IL business protected not only from criminal activity, but also the unpredictable natural elements.