Recent Fire Damage Posts
This Is the Smoke Alarm You Need
Dual sensor smoke detector.
How To Choose The Right Smoke Detector
You probably think that simply installing any smoke alarm in your home is enough. However, there are several options to choose from. Read on to find out how to choose the right smoke detector for your particular residence.
1. Consider the Size of Your Home
A bigger home will need more units. When purchasing, consider:
- Number of rooms
- Square feet
- Sleeping location
- Special needs
You need to put a smoke alarm in each room, as well as the hallways leading to bedrooms. Also factor in attics, basements, and both ends of staircases. Essentially, make sure you'll be able to hear the alarm at any time of the day.
2. Choose a Type
If you have a larger residence, you should look into devices that can be wired along with the same network.
- CO2 combo
There may be regulations in Pflugerville, TX, so make sure to check before installing. Often, these regulations can require hard-wired devices. If this is the case, you have to have them installed by local fire prevention and remediation specialists.
3. Make Sure It Works
This may seem obvious, but you need to test your smoke detectors. Think about fire safety. You may only have 2 minutes to evacuate. Does your alarm do its job in time? Check if batteries need to be replaced. If your system is hard-wired, it may also have backup batteries. Make sure these are in working condition. Keep in mind that placement should also be conducive to monthly testing. If you can't reach the alarm or don't have a ladder, reconsider placement. You should also keep units free of dust and grime that may inhibit usefulness.
Further, look for the circle logo on your units or their packaging. There should be a "UL" denoting that they have been tested and certified by Underwriters Laboratories. This is the most common certification, but there are others. Always do a quick internet search to verify your alarm's standard testing.
If you pick the right smoke alarm and test it monthly, you are doing the best that you can for fire prevention. Practice how to turn off the alarm without dismantling it from the wall or ceiling. Stay safe.
Temporary Business Closure? Business Interruption Insurance Can Help
BI insurance is intended for small to midsize businesses
Here's An Overview
For business owner's in Pflugerville, TX, a fire can test the resilience of the most successful commercial ventures. A business fire means temporary closure, lost income, destroyed equipment and materials, ongoing fixed expenses plus added costs like fire cleaning and restoration services. Business interruption insurance can help ease the impact of a business fire by providing a hedge against uncertain monetary losses.
1. BI insurance underwrites common business expenses. It covers lost net income as well as mortgage, rent and lease payments, loan payments, taxes and employee payroll for a defined period of a business interruption.
2. There are exclusions. Additional insurance may be needed for non-covered outlays and circumstances. These include broken items (glass), flood and earthquake damage, utility costs, undocumented income and pandemics.
3. BI insurance is intended for small to midsize businesses. Companies with 100 or fewer employees and revenues up to $5 million are the norm. Owners can purchase a business owner's policy that combines property, liability and BI coverage, which is typically more cost-effective than buying separate policies.
4. Insurance pay out is usually limited to 30 days. Extensions of up to 360 days can further buoy up operations as a business works to recover its revenue stream. Policies usually have an initial 48-to-72-hour waiting period before reimbursement.
5. The cost of coverage varies. In general, cost depends on a business' geographic location, industry, employee count, the amount of coverage and the business' claims history.
6. Coverage is business-specific. To arrive at a ballpark estimate of adequate coverage, consider a business's gross earnings and revenue projections.
A prolonged business interruption can put pressure on a company's financial statements. BI insurance can neutralize the high cost of closure and give a business economic relief while it rebuilds. Like any insurance, BI is an investment in the future. It's worth a second look.
How to Avoid Home Fires Caused by Candles
Candles should always be placed in plain sight and spaced reasonably apart
What sets the mood better than a romantic glow? That said, a wayward candle fire could just as easily ruin a special evening. If such an incident takes hold in your house, you will inevitably need a fire damage cleanup specialist to set things right.
Candle Incident Statistics
You may be shocked to learn some data concerning how often candle fires occur:
- They account for 2% of all reported home blazes.
- Every day, there are 21 unique reports of such accidents.
- 60% of all candle-related incidents occur when unsecured combustible material comes into contact with flames.
In consideration of the above, decreasing the number of mishaps caused by candles remains a worthy objective. Luckily, commonsense measures can curb your odds of requiring smoke cleanup and other restoration procedures.
Candle Fire Prevention
Before setting anything alight, consider a flameless alternative. On top of their inherent safety, electric candles sometimes come with flashy features like remote controls and flicker settings. Should you opt for the real deal, forego the use of matches. Instead, use a long, flexible lighter that gives control over the flame’s size and cools nearly instantaneously.
Always keep wax clean and remove flammable remnants such as dust or hair. Never use a plastic container and toss cracked glass. Using a wick trimmer, bring the string to 1/8th of an inch. Note, too, that when wax gets low it becomes unsafe. Stop burning once your jarred candle reaches a half-inch. Non-jarred candles should be retired after arriving at the two-inch mark.
Candles should always be placed in plain sight and spaced reasonably apart. Only extinguish flames with a snuffer, never water, and use them exclusively in properly ventilated rooms.
Nobody wants their home burned by a candle fire, but observation of best practices can help prevent disaster. Simple due diligence can stop your residence from suffering the fate of so many others.
How to Clean Your Electronics After a Fire
It is deeply frustrating when possessions get destroyed, but computerized equipment can sometimes be saved.
Between tossing everything that has become damaged and hiring a fire restoration service to handle the most difficult aspects of the task, any fire cleanup job is deeply stressful. Often getting lost during the process is the recovery of precious electronics. Never trash them until you have confirmed they are impossible to repair.
Smoke Damage and Electronics
When smoke infects our digital gadgets, it impacts them in three ways:
1. Magnetization, leading to short-circuiting.
2. Corrosion, dramatically shortening their lifespans.
3. Overheating, caused by a thick layer of soot.
Any items displaying evidence of the above conditions should be disposed of, but those that do not may be rehabilitated. Should a fire strike your home in Pflugerville, TX, remember that inspecting your beloved digital toys should automatically be included as part of the fire cleanup.
Cleansing Electronics of Smoke Damage
First, disconnect the device you wish to salvage and remove the batteries or any other existing power source. With a soft, dry towel, wipe your gizmo’s exterior of any residue, then use an air compressor or blow dryer to clear out any outlets or vents. Once this has been done, you can test your device by switching it on. Never do this, however, until the cleaning stage has been completed.
Sadly, your beloved item will likely never operate the way it once did, as ash is virtually guaranteed to compromise proper functioning. Should you detect unusual behavior from your device, have it inspected by a product specialist. You may have taken out warranties on your most prized pieces, but also note that many home insurance policies cover electronics-related losses, so check your provisions.
It is deeply frustrating when possessions get destroyed, but computerized equipment can sometimes be saved. Never let the hectic nature of a fire cleanup undertaking prevent you from granting your favorite gadgets one last shot at life.
How Fire Sprinkler Systems Work
A fire sprinkler system can prevent a small fire from becoming a large fire; however, the water from the sprinkler system can damage your property.
Fire sprinkler systems are an effective means of suppressing fires in commercial buildings and many states and localities have laws requiring their use. To get the most out of your sprinklers, it is important to have an understanding of how they work.
Sprinkler Heads Detect Heat
Many people mistakenly believe that their fire suppression system is activated when it detects smoke. However, sprinklers are triggered by an increase in temperature. When a fire occurs, the air above the fire is rapidly heated. This hot air rises and travels across the ceiling. Most sprinklers contain a glass bulb filled with a glycerin-based liquid that expands when heated. Air that has been heated between 135 and 165 degrees will cause the liquid to expand to the point where the bulb shatters and activates the sprinkler.
The Sprinklers Douse the Fire
Once activated, the sprinkler or sprinklers will spray pressurized water in an arc around the sprinkler head. The water is pressurized because this allows the water to reach a wider area and better douse the flames. Contrary to popular belief, only the individual fire sprinkler or sprinklers that have been activated will spray water. This makes it possible for a small fire to be doused without spraying water in the entire building, which can reduce the amount of fire sprinkler cleanup needed.
However, a special type of sprinkler, called a deluge sprinkler, is available for situations, such as buildings that contain extremely flammable materials. With a deluge system, every sprinkler in the building is set off when a fire alarm sounds. This allows for fires to be quickly extinguished in circumstances where taking a more cautious approach may be too dangerous.
A fire sprinkler system can prevent a small fire from becoming a large fire; however, the water from the sprinkler system can damage your property. If you need water damage remediation services, a professional in Pflugerville, TX, is ready to assist you.
3 Types of Damage Covered by Commercial Insurance
Commercial fire damage in New Sweden, TX
3 Types of Damage Covered by Commercial Insurance
Commercial buildings in New Sweden, TX, are potentially exposed to a variety of risks and dangers that threaten them and the property inside them. This is why business owners often obtain a commercial insurance plan that covers these hazards. Each business has different risks than others, so insurance providers offer several coverage additions for potential incidents.
1. Theft and Vandalism
Business owners are always at risk of theft that can target their physical property or stored funds. Additionally, the building and the equipment or property inside can also be vandalized by malicious parties. Crimes like these can be difficult to predict and recover from, so insurance coverage is recommended to make up for the losses. Note that in some cases, similar crimes like burglary and robbery are not included under a specific plan, so owners and insurance agents need to establish distinctions.
2. Fires and Related Damage
Another potential incident that can severely impact any business is fire. When a fire strikes the building or the equipment, the owner can file a commercial insurance claim to cover the profit loss. When dealing with the aftermath, the insurance provider and the client work together with fire damage remediation specialists to assess the loss and repair or replace the damaged property. There are exceptions, such as damage to nearby buildings and injury to third parties.
3. Natural Disasters
An existing insurance policy can also cover several natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes, as long the corresponding additions are made. These natural events can devastate any business. While they can be unpredictable, owners who live in risk areas for these disasters can take preventative measures in addition to obtaining insurance coverage. As with fire incidents, insurance agents and business operators collaborate with repair professionals to fix any damage.
Businesses should anticipate all types of dangers that can significantly disrupt their operations. Commercial insurance and additional policies can help these establishments get repairs and recover financially.
3 Types of Smoke Odor Removal
Deodorizing in Austin, TX
Smoke Odor Removal
After a fire, home deodorization can be an important step toward getting your Austin, TX, home back in order. Fortunately, a local fire damage restoration service can help with this process. Here are some tools you may see them use.
1. Special Cleaners
During the restoration process, the affected area can be washed with special cleaning solutions. These are designed to help break down and remove soot, as well as help remove odors. The methods used to apply these cleaners will depend on the type of material being cleaned. Curtains and other cloth items can be washed while furniture may need upholstery cleaning. Large solid furniture and walls may be wiped down.
2. Ozone Machine
Even after everything has been cleaned, odor may still linger in the air. The next step of home deodorization is the use of an ozone machine. An ozone machine works by charging oxygen molecules so they temporarily break apart and then recombine with new oxygen molecules to form a triple pairing instead of a double. The new third molecule can then combine with the odor molecule and disperse, leaving the air smelling fresher than before.
3. Deodorizing Paint
Another way to help get rid of fire or cigarette smoke odor is to use a deodorizing paint. After the damages are cleaned up and any necessary repairs are made, the restoration team will begin making your home look as though the fire never occurred. Part of this may include repainting the space, and a deodorizing paint can help prevent the return of any unwelcome odors.
With the help of the right cleaners, an ozone machine, and a good paint, the restoration team working on your home deodorization can restore it to pre-fire conditions. With a little time and work they can have your home looking “Like it never even happened.” Not even a lingering odor should remain. If you have any further questions these professionals can help.
Proper Use of an Electric Space Heater To Heat a Room
Never plug a space heater into a power strip or an extension cord
Follow These Tips To Keep Your Home Warm
An electric space heater is an alternative to your home’s heating system because it warms a small area for overall greater cost-efficiency. However, improper use can not only result in a burned space heater but also a burned house. Space heaters cause thousands of avoidable house fires each year. Follow these tips to keep your home warm while dodging a disaster of your own.
Position It Three Feet Away
The heater should be positioned at least three feet from anything flammable. This includes drywall, curtains, furniture, papers, and clothing. Also, don’t let children and pets come into contact with the heater. They could tip it over, which could cause a fire. It can also be a tripping hazard.
Plug It Directly Into a Wall Outlet
Never plug a space heater into a power strip or an extension cord since overheating can occur and start a fire because of a high current. Plug the heater directly into a wall outlet by itself.
Avoid Leaving It Unattended
Avoid using the heater when you’re not in the room. Be especially mindful to turn it off when you leave the house or go to bed.
Turn It Off When Not in Use
Make sure to unplug your heater when it’s not in use. There’s a chance that it could accidentally be turned on if it’s left plugged in. Carelessness can result in a burned space heater – or more.
Purchase One With Auto-Shutoff
Make sure that you buy a heater with an automatic shutoff function. This safety function forces the unit to shut down if it tips over. It should also automatically turn off after a certain period of time.
Place It on a Proper Surface
Place the heater on a non-flammable surface. Make sure the surface is flat and level.
With portable electric heaters being the leading cause of home fires, it’s important to monitor your unit closely when it’s in use. If your Cele,TX, home has experienced damage from a burned space heater, fire damage cleanup professionals will handle all aspects of the fire and smoke cleanup.
How To Clean Items After a Fire
Call in the professionals to get your building back to working order.
If you suffer a fire in the workplace, your first concern is whether everyone is safe. Your thoughts will then likely turn to the damage in your Austin, TX, building. If the flames don't destroy or harm materials, the smoke will likely cause some problems. Luckily, there are effective ways to clean many of the items in the workplace. With prompt attention and the right techniques, such as dry-cleaning, you can salvage important belongings and work equipment.
Calling the Pros
A fire in the workplace could leave behind significant damage to building materials, computers and other electronic equipment, documents, furniture and more. A job this size could overwhelm you, but professional fire restoration teams have what it takes to clean and save these items. Cleanup specialists have the following traits:
Years of content cleaning experience
The right equipment
The best techniques and restoration methods
Cleaning Carpets, Furniture, and Clothing
The smell of smoke can remain in an area for months or even years after a fire. Only high-powered tools and dry-cleaning processes will work effectively. Technicians can use these machines on many materials, including clothing items such as uniforms in your office.
If you don't have fire-resistant content storage, paper items such as books, files, maps and photographs can suffer. Using freeze-drying methods, technicians can preserve these belongings and retain their quality.
What if non-porous items in your building have smoke or fire damage? Things such as wood floors or fixtures may appear lost, but professional crews can save them. Using ultrasonic tools, the team can rid these areas of the smell of smoke and remove soot and ash. Your office can look like it did in its pre-fire state.
Dry-cleaning, freeze-drying and ultrasonic cleaning are all effective approaches after a fire in your office. Call in the professionals to get your building back to working order.
Austin, TX Document Restoration from Fire and Flood
This is the custom built freeze drying chamber for SERVPRO, housed at our corporate office and in operation year round to take care of your documents!
It is an unfortunate fact that most homeowners and business owners experience fires and floods throughout their lifetime. To give you an idea, in 2017 there were 1,319,500 reported fire losses in the United States alone. As a business owner in Austin, Texas, you have a 1 in 13 chance of having a fire or water loss every year. This is a staggering number, considering 75% of business owners are under-insured and 40% of small business owners have no insurance at all. One very important and very costly item to salvage is photos and documents. In many cases, documents must be maintained by law, and after a fire or flood it can be extremely difficult to take care of. One of the many services that SERVPRO of Pflugerville offers is complete document restoration services. These include:
Some of the many types of documents we work with include:
books and magazines
manuscripts and files
photographs, films, negatives, and microfiche
blueprints and maps
Our vacuum freeze-drying process is the only method approved by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the General Services Administration (GSA).
If you have any questions about how we might be able to help your business recover from a disaster in Austin, please give us a call at 512-990-4776.
How To Choose the Right Smoke Detectors for Your Home
A system of combination or dual-sensor detectors is probably your best bet
Factors You Need To Consider When Deciding For a Smoke Detector
A good smoke alarm system can alert you to a fire in your home in Austin,TX, so you can escape more quickly. Choosing the right system is crucial to your family's safety. There are several factors you need to consider when deciding which one is best.
Type of Detector
The first thing you need to decide is the type of smoke detector you want to install. There are several types to choose from:
- Air sampling
A system of combination or dual-sensor detectors is probably your best bet. The combination detectors also include a carbon monoxide detector, which means you can get better coverage for more issues with fewer devices. The dual-sensor detectors combine ionization devices for detecting small-particle smoke and photoelectric detectors for sensing large-particle smoke. That way, no matter what kind of fire breaks out, your system can detect it.
Source of Power
Smoke alarm systems can be powered in several ways. Many detectors require a 9-volt battery that has to be periodically replaced. You can simplify your replacement schedule if you have a lithium battery or a detector with such a power source built in. Other systems wire the detectors into your home. With such a system, you can go without batteries or just use them as backups.
Location of Detectors
When deciding how many or what type of detectors to buy, you need to consider the size of your home. A large home is better served by a fire safety system in which the detectors are connected. That way, if one goes off, the rest of them go into alarm as well. You may also consider putting photoelectric detectors near the kitchen, as ionization detectors are more easily triggered by smoke from grease. No matter what kind of detectors you get, you need one on every level and both inside and outside each sleeping area.
A reliable smoke alarm system is your first notice when a fire breaks out. Early detection can help you stay safe and avoid the need for extensive fire restoration services.
How To Use a Fire Extinguisher
Take time now to prepare for the unexpected.
As a homeowner in Austin, TX, you should prioritize safety, for both your family and your property. That includes preparing ahead of time for a home fire. While you consider evaluation routes and emergency contacts, it's also beneficial to supply your home with a fire extinguisher as the first line of defense. The red canisters may seem a bit intimidating, but they are designed to help residents. Here are a few tips for wielding one with better care.
1. Pick Appropriate Locations
You want to have extinguishers near areas likely to have a fire; therefore, consider purchasing one for the kitchen and garage. These locations often have several appliances or electrical equipment capable of exposing the house to fire damage. Is your place two stories? If so, put one upstairs in a spot that is easy to access; furthermore, make other family members aware of where they are, and teach them how to use them.
2. Review Procedures
Don't expect to know how to handle these containers. Practice with them. Pick them up and examine the parts. You want to know if they will be able to physically use the device. If it's too heavy consider investing in smaller units. Next, go over the steps for using a fire extinguisher. A popular phrase is P.A.S.S.: pull the pin, aim low, squeeze the handle, and sweep from side to side. As you release the agent, you want to stay as close to the base of the flame as possible. This could help eliminate the flames.
3. Call for Help
Once you've suppressed the blaze, call in a fire restoration company to inspect the premises. The workers can test the area to determine the extent of the problem and recommend recovery services. Whether it's a kitchen fire or lightning strike, they can offer assistance in repairs as well as how to salvage ruined materials. In fact, they have special equipment to remove smoky aromas and remove soot from walls and ceilings.
Take time now to prepare for the unexpected. Purchase safety equipment, and learn how to use a fire extinguisher. It could save your property.
Lightening’s Effect on a Home
The raw power of Mother Nature can be scary, especially if it results in a lightning fire.
Homeowners in Pflugerville, TX, know that Mother Nature is fickle. While most thunderstorms result in downed branches and potentially window or roof damage, a strong storm can also result in a lightning fire.
How Is a Home a Conduit?
Most people may feel like being inside the home means protection from a severe storm. While typically the case, on average there are more than 22,000 fires reported that are caused by lightning. These electrified bolts naturally find the easiest route from the sky to the ground. A home is actually filled with a plethora of items for these bolts to travel through. These include:
Gas and water pipes
Cable and internet lines
Metal window frames
It also can travel from one conduit to another, known as a side flash.
Three Types of Damage
If your home is struck, there are three main types of damage that can occur.
Fire – A house fire is the most common danger. Within the home are flammable materials, both structurally and your belongings, that can be ignited. Since the bolt can travel through wires, a lightning fire that starts in the attic has the potential to follow circuits throughout the house.
Power Surge – The power behind a bolt of lightning is immense. If it enters the electrical system, along with a potential fire, it can create a surge that damages any items plugged into the electrical system.
Shock Wave – That thunderous clap of thunder hopefully heard off in the distance is actually the shock waves of lightning. If it happens close to a home, its power is strong enough to crack concrete, bricks, stones and foundations; shatter windows; damage plaster walls; leave behind trenches in soil; and produce shrapnel that can become embedded in walls.
The raw power of Mother Nature can be scary, especially if it results in a lightning fire. While most people luckily won’t have to deal with it, if a bolt affects your home, contact a professional to get your home back in shape.
Do’s and Don’ts if You Suspect a Gas Leak
If your home experiences a gas fire, fire damage cleanup professionals can restore it to its original state.
Do’s and Don’ts If You Suspect a Gas Leak
The smell of sulfur at your home in Pflugerville, TX, can be an ominous sign of a natural gas leak. It’s important to act on it immediately. A gas leak could potentially result in a gas fire or explosion, turning into a major disaster for your home and residents.
Things to Avoid
In a potentially explosive situation, it’s what you don’t do in this incendiary environment that’s of primary importance. Be sure to avoid:
Turning on anything electrical (switches, lights, appliances, televisions, computers)
Plugging in or unplugging electronics
Using phones (landline or cell phones)
Operating garage doors
All of the above are potential ignition sources, which will likely result in a gas explosion if you have a natural gas leak. Even a small, undetectable spark such as that from a cell phone can cause a gas fire that will immediately create an explosion. If your first impulse is to always reach for your smartphone, resist it. Static electricity is another risk; it can be generated by simply walking across the carpet.
Immediate Actions to Take
The sulfur or rotten egg smell that is associated with a natural gas leak is actually an additive to make the typically odorless gas detectable. The sooner you act, the less chance of a disaster occurring. If the odor is very weak, it might be as simple as turning off the gas valve on your gas appliances (e.g., stove, fireplace, water heater).
However, if you notice a strong odor, get everyone out of the house immediately, including all pets. You may be inclined to open windows for fresh air, but time is of the essence and distancing yourself should be your main priority. Once you’re out of close range of the house call the utility company and/or fire department to come out and check for the leak.
If your home experiences a gas fire, fire damage cleanup professionals can restore it to its original state.
Manda Smoke and Soot Cleanup
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 Pflugerville will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:
Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – (512) 990-4776