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7 Methods To Prevent a House Fire

10/18/2017 (Permalink)

House fires kill and injure thousands yearly, and cost many more their valued possessions and memories. Here are some steps you can take to lessen the chance of your home becoming a part of this statistic.

Method 1: Checking the House

  1. Inspect your home. You may need to recruit, or even hire, someone experienced in home electrical wiring, plumbing (gas), heating, and air conditioning to ensure that it is thoroughly inspected. You can also do the checks outlined in the following steps.
  2. Check the condition of your home's electrical system 
  • Look for improperly grounded receptacles. Many modern appliances require a "three pronged" (grounded) receptacle, but people will sometimes use an adapter to bypass this safety feature, or even break a ground prong off an appliance cord. Changing existing circuits to provide grounding is a job that is best left to a professional electrician.
  • Look in the attic and crawl spaces for wiring which has been damaged by pests or insects. Some old wiring is insulated with a material which insects eat or chew on, and squirrels or other rodents will often chew the thermoplastic insulation off of modern nonmetallic cable (Romex).
  • Look for overloaded circuit breakers, panel boxes, or fuse boxes. Check for breakers or fuses which may have circuits "piggy-backed" on them. These are rated for single circuit protection, but sometimes in outdated or undersized panel boxes, people will put two or even more wires in the terminal of a single breaker or fuse.
  • Notice flickering lights, or intermittent power surges. These conditions may be caused by outside influences, but if they occur often, they may indicate a bad connection or a short in the circuit.
  • Note breakers which trip, or fuses that blow frequently. This is almost always a sign of an overloaded circuit or other wiring problem, usually of a most serious nature.
  • Look at the individual breaker connections, especially in outdoor panel boxes, for corrosion, signs of thermal damage (smut or smokey residue near terminals) splices which are poorly taped or wire nutted, or abraded or damaged wire insulation.
  • Check the ground cable. A failure in the building grounding system and bonding can be dangerous in regard to electrical shock, as well as fire. Look for loose split bolts, clamps, or other connecting devices, and corrosion.
  • Be especially careful to notice any connections in wiring other than copper. Installed correctly, and with tight connections, aluminum wire is not excessively dangerous, but when connections are made to copper wires, an electrolytic reaction may occur, causing increased resistance in the connection which will generate excessive heat. If you are able to apply an antioxidant compound to aluminum connections, it will help decrease the risk of oxidation causing a short circuit at these locations.

3. Check the natural gas/LP gas system in your home. You will want to look for loose fittings, leaking valves, faulty pilot lights, and debris or improperly stored flammable materials in areas near these appliances.

    • Check the vent stacks on gas water heaters, furnaces, and clothes dryers.
    • Check the automatic ignition systems or pilot lights on these fixtures, as well, particularly for any guards which are not properly installed, and for lint or dust buildup in the immediate area around them.
    • Have the gas plumbing (pipes), valves, and regulators inspected by a professional any time you smell gas or suspect a leak.

 4. Check the air conditioning and heating unit in your home.  These systems operate with electric motors and air moving equipment which requires periodic maintenance.

    • Clean, or have your interior AC coils cleaned, and replace your return air filters regularly. This will prevent the fan motor from being overworked, and also save money on your energy bill. For window air conditioners, never use extension cords!
    • Lubricate belt drive pulleys (where applicable), boss bearings on drive motors, and other equipment as needed.
    • Have the resistance coils or furnace burners cleaned and serviced at the beginning of the heating season, since debris may accumulate there while the system is off during the summer.
    • Listen to the system when it is operating. Squealing sounds, rumbling noises, or banging and tapping sounds may indicate loose parts or bearings which are seizing up.
    • If you have access to a snap-on amp meter, you may check the amperage draw on the high amperage circuit to your heating coils to make sure they are in the normal operating range. Higher than normal amperage draw on a circuit indicates unusual resistance, and in an electrical circuit, resistance is what causes heat, and ultimately, fires.

Method 2: Checking and Safe Use of Household Items

1. Check your appliances

    • Keep your stove and oven clean, especially watching for grease accumulation.
    • Check stove vent hoods, clean the filter regularly, and make sure that if it is equipped with an exterior vent, insects or birds do not build nests or otherwise impede the air flow through it.
    • Check the power cords for your appliances. Look for missing grounding prongs on the plugs and damaged insulation, and replace or repair them if defects are found.
    • Keep the lint trap and outside vent clean in your clothes dryer. Some dryers have internal ductwork which may become clogged and require servicing, so if the dryer is operating poorly, have it checked. Lint or other material collecting near the heat coils in clothes dryers is extremely dangerous. Stay nearby while using the dryer. Have a smoke alarm and fire extinguisher nearby. If you must leave the area for a minute, turn off the dryer. After all, you are not going to be away long, and you can immediately turn the dryer on when you return.

2. Be very careful with space heaters.

    • Keep flammable materials (curtains, the couch) a safe distance (usually 3 feet) from portable heaters.
    • Set heaters where they are not in the traffic flow of the room.
    • As a rule, extension cords are not recommended with space heaters. Small, low wattage heaters may be an exception, but check the manufacturer's recommendations prior to using an extension cord with one. Be safe, just don't use extension cords.
    • Use space heaters only on solid, firm surfaces. They should never be placed on tables, chairs or other places where they may tip over. Replace old space heaters with ones that will automatically turn off if tipped over.
    • Do not drape fabric over lamps to dim them. Either buy a lower wattage bulb, or turn the lamp off.

3. Avoid using extension cords for air conditioners. An overheated cord is like an out-of-control electric heater.

4. Maintain your fireplace correctly.

    • Inspect the fire box (hearth) for cracks, damaged sheet metal (for inserts) and other hazards.
    • Use glass fire doors or a wire mesh spark screen to prevent embers from popping out of the fireplace.
    • Burn dry, seasoned wood to prevent creosote buildup in the chimney. Note that some woods, like cedar, pop excessively when burned, and should not be used in an open fireplace.
    • Remove ash and unscorched wood only when there are no embers or sparks in the fire box. Place ash in a metal (not a plastic bucket) and place outside away from any buildings.
    • Have your chimney inspected and cleaned at least once a year.

5. Keep flammable liquids away from ignition sources. 

    • Keep gasoline, paint thinners, and other highly flammable liquids or materials in UL approved containers and out of the house.
    • Do not store any flammable liquid in a garage or utility room with that has a pilot light equipped appliance in use in it. Be safe, keep these items outdoors, or in a separate outbuilding.

 6. Be very careful in any situation where you use an extension cord for extended periods of time. Often, foot traffic, moving furniture, and other hazards damage these cords, causing a potential for a fire. Holiday decorations are often lit for weeks with these cords, and if you are using them, use a high quality cord with a sufficient rating for the intended purpose.

Method 3: Kitchen Safety

1. Stay in the kitchen when using the range for cooking. If you are leaving for just a minute, turn off all the burners on the range. Going to the basement for a can of tomatoes, or running out to check the mail, going to the bathroom, answering the phone in another part of the house? Simply turn off all the burners. After all, you are just leaving for a minute. You can immediately turn the pot or frying pan back on when you return. Taking this simple step will prevent one of the most common situations that cause house fires: unattended cooking. 

  • When cooking with oil, keep a lid or flat cookie sheet close by. If flames appear, simply suffocate the fire with the lid and immediately turn off the stove or fryer to let it cool down. Do not try to move the pan. Do not use water. The super-heated water will explode into steam, and can cause severe burns, and oil can splash and spread the fire.

2. Don't cook when drinking alcohol, using drugs, or very tired. Eat something already prepared, make a cold sandwich, and go to sleep. Cook your meal later, when you are fully conscious

3. Ensure tea cloths, tea towels dish rags etc are never left on the hob or burner. Never hang towels etc where they may fail onto a flame or hot surface.

Method 4: Taking Care in Daily Activities 

1. Don't sit or lie down when smoking. Standing up will usually prevent you from falling asleep while smoking. Getting too tired? Put out the cigarette thoroughly in an ashtray or water-damp sink and go to bed. Do not smoke in bed - when you're in bed it's easy to fall asleep and drop your cigarette on the floor allowing it to set fire to the carpet. Cleaning out the ashtray? Place the ashes in the sink and dampen them, then scoop them up and place them in the trash can away from the house.

2. Take care when drying laundry on airers or dryers by the fire. Try not to do this unless totally unavoidable. Dry clothes by radiators, or outdoors if possible.

3. Be careful with candles, oil lamps, and other open flame illumination or decorations. Cover the flame with a wire cage to prevent something from falling or blowing onto the flame, and to prevent children and pets from coming in contact with the flame. Extinguish any naked flames when leaving the room, if even for a minute. After all, you'll be right back, and you can immediately relight the candle or lamp.

4. Use caution with holiday decorations, particularly Christmas trees. Natural Christmas trees are highly combustible when they become dry, and old, damaged, or low quality tree lights cause many fires when combined with an under watered or otherwise dry tree. Watch a video of a Christmas tree fire. It is amazing how fast it can destroy a room, and a home.

5. After using matches, quickly place in or run under water to extinguish any invisible flame or heat source that could cause a fire in the trash can.

6. Take care using chargers for devices such as mobile phones. Unplug chargers when not in use.

7. Unplug hair straighteners, curling irons and other similar appliances after use. Don't just turn them off at the socket or switch the device itself off, unplug it.

Method 5: Outdoor Safety

1. Do not pile up lawn clippings near a building. Fermenting lawn clippings can create heat, and catch on fire. Barn fires start this way from bales of hay with no electricity; house fires have been started from a pile of lawn clippings.

2. Be careful using a grill on a deck. Decks are flammable. Place non-flammable pads under your grill. Have a fire extinguisher readily available. Stay with your grill while cooking. Turn off propane if leaving, if even for a minute. After all, you'll be right back and can turn on the propane again.

Method 6: Pet Safety

1. Crate train dogs. Use the crates when you are not home and when you're not awake, to prevent new dogs or puppies from chewing on electrical cords. This will also prevent pets from urinating on electrical objects and starting a fire.

2. Confine new cats to a safe room, a small room with no places for the cat to crawl into to hide (such as into the refrigerator motor), and no electrical cords. Use the safe room until the cat is calm and no longer hiding. Provide cats with edible oat or wheat grass, to prevent them from chewing on electrical cords.

    • Confine rabbits, chinchillas, and other pets when not supervising them, to prevent them from chewing on electrical cords, causing burns or electrical fires.

Method 7: Installing Fire Prevention Tools and Teaching Fire Safety

1. Install and maintain smoke detectors. Rental properties in many countries must have smoke detectors. If you have them in your home, keep them in good working order and if you don't have any, get some, or ask your landlord to install some.

2. Look into the possibility of installing a lightning protection system in your home if you live in an area where lightning is a frequent problem. The savings from reduced damages to appliances may offset the cost of this upgrade.

3. Consider having a home sprinkler system installed. This can be used to extinguish fires both when you are away and at home.

4. Teach your children not to play with lighters or matches. Children are often both the cause and victims of fires, and should not be allowed access to matches or cigarette lighters. Consider getting a lockable box, and keeping matches and lighters locked up.

Fire Damage Tips - Until Help Arrives

10/16/2017 (Permalink)

Fires can be especially devastating to your home or business. After the fire trucks leave, your property will likely suffer from not only fire and smoke damage, but also widespread water damage and flooding from firefighting efforts. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals have specialized fire and water damage restoration training and experience to quickly clean up and restore your home to pre-fire condition. They also can remove the pervasive smoke odor and deep-clean soot from upholstery and carpet.

Fire Damage Tips - Until Help Arrives

After any fire damage situation, your primary focus should be safety:

  • Is it safe to stay in the house?
  • Electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.
  • Only do activities that are safe for you to perform.
  • Wet materials can be VERY heavy. Be careful!

What To Do After A Fire

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
  • Keep hands clean so as not to further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.
  • Clean and protect chrome with light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
  • Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves.
  • Change HVAC filter.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.

What NOT To Do After A Fire

  • Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting your SERVPRO Franchise Professional.
  • Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
  • Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water.
  • Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
  • Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.

Have A Fire or Smoke Damage Emergency? Call SERVPRO of Clifton at 973-928-3705.

Recovering After a Fire

10/16/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Recovering After a Fire SERVPRO of Clifton ~ 973-928-3705

4 Steps to Take Immediately After a Home Fire

  1. Call 9-1-1. Give first aid where needed; cool and cover burns to reduce the chance of further injury or infection.
  2. Let friends and family know you're safe.
  3. People and animals that are seriously injured or burned should be transported to professional medical or veterinary help immediately.
  4. Stay out of fire-damaged homes until local fire authorities say it is safe to re-enter.

Returning Home After Fire

Stay safe when returning to your home after a fire:

Do not cut or walk past colored tape that was placed over doors or windows to mark damaged areas unless local authorities advise that it is safe to do so. If a building inspector has placed a color-coded sign on the home, do not enter it until you get more information, advice and instructions about what the sign means and whether it is safe to enter your home.

If you have children, leave them with a relative or friend while you conduct your first inspection of your home after the fire. The site may be unsafe for children, and seeing the damage firsthand may upset them and cause long-term effects, including nightmares.

Cleaning up and removing smoke odor after a home fire

To remove soot and smoke from walls, furniture and floors, structure, etc. call the professionals at SERVPRO of Clifton. We are always available to get you back-to-new.

SERVPRO of Clifton - 973-928-3705

Protect Your Home For Hurrican Season

9/21/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Protect Your Home For Hurrican Season SERVPRO of Clifton - 973-928-3705

Hurricane season officially starts in June and runs through November. These tropical storms can wreak havoc on anything in their path. 

Review coverage with your insurer

Sit down with your insurance agent to find out if you have adequate insurance for your home, car and any boats or recreational vehicles. Does your policy provide temporary housing in case your residence is uninhabitable following a storm? Do you know your deductible and any policy limits? Tropical storms can impact inland areas, too, so these questions aren't just for those living on the coast.  

Your homeowners policy may cover damage caused by hurricane winds (sometimes subject to a separate deductible). However, a standard homeowners policy does not cover flooding, which is the most common type of damage from tropical storms. Ask about purchasing a separate rider for flood coverage if needed, but understand that any changes or additions to your insurance policy may take 30 days to take effect.

Inspect your home

To prepare for possible storm damage, walk around your home's interior and take an inventory of personal belongings with a short video. Anything stored in a garage or basement could get water-damaged in a flood, so consider raising items on blocks or moving them to other parts of your home. Secure outdoor furniture to prevent exterior damage.

Create an emergency evacuation plan, write it down and share it with all family members. Note where you're storing insurance documents and other important paperwork. Consider scanning these documents and uploading them to secure cloud storage online, or be sure to take hard copies with you in the event of an evacuation. 

Build an emergency safety kit

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recommends preparing an emergency safety kit in case you need to evacuate or you get trapped in your home. You may not be home when you're ordered to evacuate, so consider preparing kits for your car and workplace, too.

DHS suggests that your kit include enough water and non-perishable food for each person in your family for at least three days. If you have pets, don't forget to include extra water and pet food. Other useful supplies: a manual can opener for food, flashlight and extra batteries, first aid kit and wrench or pliers to shut off utilities.

Bottom Line

Hopefully you'll never need to use your flood insurance or an emergency safety kit, but if you do have that unfortunate experience, you'll be glad to have them. Planning for a natural disaster and making sure you have the proper insurance coverage can also help give you and your family greater peace of mind.

Water Damage Repar and Restoration

9/18/2017 (Permalink)

Water Damage Water Damage Repar and Restoration SERVPRO of Clifton 973-928-3705

When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals respond immediately and use advanced equipment and techniques to remove the water quickly. They closely monitor and document the drying process to verify your property is dried properly and thoroughly.

SERVPRO of Clifton Professionals

Have Questions? Call Today 973-928-3705

Why Choose a SERVPRO of Clifton?

We're Faster to Any Size Disaster

SERVPRO of Clifton Professionals are dedicated to responding immediately to water emergencies. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces cost.

Specialists

SERVPRO of Clifton Professionals specialize in water damage restoration, the cornerstone of our business. They have extensive water damage restoration training with an emphasis on monitoring and documenting the drying process until completion.

  • Water Damage Restoration Technician
  • Applied Structural Drying Technicians

We Use Advanced Water Restoration Equipment and Techniques

Our advanced equipment helps to detect hidden moisture, extract the standing water quickly, and thoroughly clean and dry your home and belongings. They finish the job with professional deodorization and sanitizing agents for your comfort and safety.

Commercial Cleaning Services

8/4/2017 (Permalink)

Commercial Commercial Cleaning Services SERVPRO of Clifton will make your workspace look its very best. 973-928-3705

Your commercial property's appearance speaks volumes to your clients.  So when the need arises for professional cleaning or emergency restoration services, SERVPRO of Clifton Professionals have the training and expertise to help make it "Like it never even happened."

Commercial  Building Cleaning Services

You don't have time to worry about the common wear and tear that gradually soils your office.  When grime, odor and moisture challenges go beyond the scope of your regular janitorial staff, call the SERVPRO of Clifton Professionals.  Whether it's removing an odor problem or deep cleaning flooring and carpets, you can rely on SERVPRO of Clifton Professionals to make your workspace look its very best.

SERVPRO of Clifton Professionals will get the job done right and get it done quickly, because the SERVPRO Advantage includes these benefits:

  • Award-winning training
  • Over 40 years' of experience in the industry
  • More than 100 exclusive cleaning products

SERVPRO of Clifton - 973-928-3705

How To Keep Your Summer BBQ From Going Up In Flames

7/20/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage How To Keep Your Summer BBQ From Going Up In Flames Keep your BBQ fro going up in flames!

Keep Your Summer Safe With These Summer BBQ Safety Tips

  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grill and the tray below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.  Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.
  • Keep your grill placed away from the hoe, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • If using charcoal, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.
  • If using propane, check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department.
  • If the flame goes out, turn the grill and gas off and wait at least 15 minutes before re-lighting it.

Have a Fun and Safe Summer from all of us at SERVPRO of Clifton

973-928-3705

Storm Damage Cleanup and Restoration

7/20/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Storm Damage Cleanup and Restoration Our highly trained crews are ready to respond 24/7 to storm or flood damage

SERVPRO of Clifton Professionals

  • Provide 24/7 Emergency Service
  • Highly Trained Water Restoration Specialists
  • Faster to Any Size Disaster
  • A Trusted Leader in the Restoration Industry

Storm and flood damage can be devastating.  Immediate action is needed, and you need the company with storm damage experience. SERVPRO of Clifton Professionals have the expertise and the resources to handle at size disaster and can respond immediately to storm and flooding conditions.

Why Choose SERVPRO of Clifton?

We are Faster to Any Size Disaster

SERVPRO of Clifton Professionals are dedicated to responding immediately to water and storm damage emergencies.  A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces cost.

They're Highly Trained Water Damage Specialist

They specialize in water and storm damage restoration, the cornerstone of our business.  SERVPRO of Clifton Professionals have extensive water damage restoration training that enables them to get you back to normal.

They Have the Resources to Handle Storms and Disasters

SERVPRO of Clifton Professionals have a national network of over 1,700 franchises across the country and elite Disaster Recovery Team strategically located throughout the country.

Regardless of the Storm Damage, We can Help

Storms occur with little warning and can be especially devastating, so you'll need the company that you can trust to rise to the occasion. Regardless of the type of storm, SERVPRO of Clifton Professionals can handle any size disaster.  During catastrophic storms and major events our Disaster Recovery Team can respond quickly with additional resources.

  • Flooding caused by heavy rains
  • Hurricanes and tidal surges
  • Tornadoes and wind damage
  • Ice and snowstorms
  • Wild fires

Have Storm or Flood Damage?  Call Us Today

SERVPRO of Clifton - 973-928-3705

How to Protect Your Home From Summer Storms

7/12/2017 (Permalink)

Storm Damage How to Protect Your Home From Summer Storms If your home suffered summer storm damage call us today! SERVPRO of Clifton - 973-928-3705

What should I be doing to protect my home from spring and summer storms? Follow these seven simple steps to prepare for volatile weather.

Some simple steps can make a big difference in protecting your home from wind, hail and water damage.

  1. Fix your roof. Snow and ice from a tough winter may have damaged, which can cause problems during storms.  Replace any missing shingles  and also make sure your chimney has a cap on it.
  2. Check your gutters. Clean your gutters and make sure they're draining properly
  3. Seal windows and doors. Make sure the caulking around windows and doors are sealed.
  4. Trim trees. Trim and branches that could potentially land on your house.
  5. Check your sump pump. Melted snow and rainstorms are raising the water levels in lakes, streams and rivers which can lead to sewage backup problems.  Make sure your sump pump I working and consider a battery- backup which will keep if running if power should go out.
  6. Adjust your insurance. Sewage backup is automatically included in most homeowners insurance policies, but you can generally add a rider onto your existing policy.
  7. Sign up for storm alerts.

SERVPRO of Clifton - 973-928-3705

Faster to Any Size Emergency

4th of July Fire Safety Tips

7/3/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage 4th of July Fire Safety Tips Have a Happy and SAFE 4th of July SERVPRO of Clifton 973-928-3705

Be Safe this 4th of July

GRILL SAFETY

Grill Fire Facts:

  • Happen between the time of 5-8pm
  • In homes with 1-2 families
  • The month of July has the highest rate
  • Happen in enclosed areas

Ways to Prevent Grill Fires:

  • Use only outdoor, specifically away from your home, deck railings, out from eaves and overhanging branches
  • Keep children and pets away, enforce the 3ft. grilling zone rule
  • Never leave your grill unattended
  • Keep it clean

FIREWORK SAFETY

Firework Facts:

  • On average 240 people go to the emergency room for firework injuries around the 4th
  • Top two injuries from fireworks include hands & fingers (36%) and head, face & ear (22%)
  • Fireworks in brown paper are often made for professional displays

*Make sure fireworks are legal in your area

Firework Safety Tips:

  • For young children & teens, parental guidance is advised with both fireworks and sparklers.
  • Never place your body part directly over a firework and after lighting always back up a safe distance
  • Keep a bucket or garden hose handy in case of fire use
  • Use fireworks outdoors only and in an open space not pointed towards homes or people

CAMPFIRES SAFETY

Campfire No-No's:

  • Do not build a fire around dangerous materials, power lines, buildings, vehicles, or dry grass
  • Never leave a fire unattended and always keep it tamed
  • Never burn dangerous materials such as aerosol cans or glass

Campfire Fire Safety:

  • Set a safe 3ft perimeter around fire, away from flammable materials such as trash and leaves
  • Supervise children like you would at a pool and teach them proper fire safety
  • Extinguish fires properly

SERVPRO of Clifton 973-928-3705