Recent Fire Damage Posts

Ready, Set, Grill!

5/27/2022 (Permalink)

Two men standing under a tent grilling hamburgers and hotdogs. Two of our SERVPRO employees grilling hamburgers and hotdogs.

Blog Summary: Local SERVPRO fire remediation specialist advises Crowley and Johnson County grill masters to prepare now for a safe, savory outdoor cooking season.

Blog: For many, the Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of the summer season. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) warns families that the onset of the summer season also marks a rise in home fires started by outdoor grilling activities. According to the NFPA, on average, 10,600 home fires are started by grills each year. July is the peak month for grill fires, followed by June, May, and August.1

“Sixty-one percent of U.S. households own a gas grill,” says fire remediation specialist Steven VonFeldt of SERVPRO of Crowley and Johnson County. “A total of sixty-four percent own at least one outdoor BBQ, grill, or smoker. The popularity of this outdoor cooking equipment combined with longer, warmer days creates a unique fire hazard that should be taken seriously.”

“The time to take precautions is now,” adds VonFeldt, “before the outdoor cooking season is in full swing.” The NFPA offers these basic tips for fire-safe grilling:

For gas/propane grills:

  • Check the gas tank for leaks before using.
  • Open the lid on all gas grills before lighting the grill.

For charcoal grills:

  • Use only charcoal starter fluid to start the fire but never add it or any flammable liquids to a fire that is burning.
  • Cool coals completely before you dispose of them in a metal container.

For all grills:

  • Place the grill well away from house and deck railings. Don’t place under eaves or branches.
  • Remove grease and fat buildup from grills and trays after each use.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill.
  • Never leave the grill unattended when in use.

“Basic precautions set the stage for a safe and enjoyable outdoor cooking season,” says VonFeldt. “Life is unpredictable, but you can take steps to control the risk of house and property fires caused by outdoor cooking. Whether you are strictly a summer grilling warrior or you use your grill year-round, simple, common-sense actions can help ensure that the only smoke you smell this summer is the sweet aroma of steaks and vegetables grilling.”

SERVPRO specializes in fire and water cleanup and restoration services and repair services, helping to remediate damage for both commercial and residential customers. For more information on SERVPRO of Crowley and Johnson County, please contact Steven VonFeldt at 817-297-8588 or info@SERVPROcrowley.com. For more information on SERVPRO, please visit www.SERVPRO.com.

  1. https://www.nfpa.org//-/media/Images/Infographics/Grilling-Infographic2020BIG.png
  2. https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Publications-and-media/Press-Room/News-releases/2021/NFPA-offers-safe-grilling-tips-and-recommendations-to-prevent-fires-and-injuries

What is fire restoration cleaning? 3/30/2022

3/30/2022 (Permalink)

Insurance policies normally distinguish between Structure and Contents, so restorers commonly separate Structure and Contents when scoping and estimating a fire loss. Restorers also clean structure and contents separately. In some situations, contents are moved out of the structure and cleaned at a separate location. When cleaned on-site, contents are moved to a clean area of the structure for cleaning.

What Is Structure?

Structure is considered any part of a structure that is permanent. Items are called structure if they are permanently attached to a building. For example, the framework of a building including walls, ceilings, floors, attached floor coverings, doors, and windows are structure. Other items might be called structural components, such as cabinets, light fixtures, the heating and cooling system (HVAC), and bath fixtures. An easy way to distinguish structure from contents is to imagine turning the building upside down and shaking it; what falls out is contents and what remains is structure.

What Is Fire Restoration Cleaning?

The fire damage restorer, the carpet cleaner, and the building maintenance janitor all perform cleaning. The restorer’s cleaning task, however, is slightly different from the task of the other two cleaning professionals. The restorer faces a unique situation—a building damaged by fire and smoke. The task is to remove the damage and return the building to the way it was before the fire. The industry describes this task as restoring the building to preloss condition.

Cleaning to preloss condition means removing the effects of the fire damage. The restorer will remove smoke residues from interior and exterior surfaces of the building. The residues will often give off smoke odors, so the restorer must also deodorize to rid the building of the malodors. The fire possibly damaged some parts of the structure so badly they cannot be returned to preloss condition, so the restorer will dispose of structural items that are blistered by heat or charred by flame.

Fire restoration cleaning is a unique form of cleaning in which the goal is returning items to a preloss condition. The restorer determines what items can be restored and what items must be replaced. The restorer identifies what items do not need any restoration and estimates the odds of restoring items that are questionable. The restorer will identify for the customer and insurance company any conditions that likely existed before the fire occurred, since fire restoration cleaning does not mean cleaning structure to a better condition than it was before the fire. Preexisting damages or conditions do not need to be addressed as part of fire restoration, but should be recognized and documented.

Methods of Structural Cleaning

Before cleaning structure, the restorer tests to determine the appropriate cleaning method. Appropriate means a method that will effectively remove the residues from the surface or material without damaging the surface or material itself. One goal of testing is to categorize materials as washable or non-washable:

Washable: Materials that can be wet cleaned. Applying a water-based cleaning product to the material will not damage the material.

Non-washable: Materials that cannot be wet cleaned. Applying a water-based cleaning product to the material could result in additional damage, so the material must be cleaned by a dry cleaning method.

The type of residues on a material may also determine the cleaning method. Oil- or grease-based residues will require a dry solvent cleaning agent, even though the material being cleaned would not be damaged by water-based products.

Emergency Services for Structure

Restorers provide emergency services to protect both the loss site and human health. A restorer’s immediate objectives are (1) to prevent fire and smoke damages from causing additional damage to the property, (2) to provide a safer work site for people who enter the structure, and (3) to prepare the site for mitigation and restoration work to begin. The restorer may perform a variety of emergency services to meet these needs.

Emergency services play a different role for fire losses than for water losses. The following defines the benefits of emergency services:

Since every fire loss is unique, the types of emergency service activities will vary from one job to the next, but might include some of the following:

Conduct building inspections. Evaluate the loss site for any safety or health hazards.

Board up the structure. Secure the property to prevent intrusions.

Dry the structure. Water is often used to extinguish a fire. Extract excessive water, set up drying equipment, and monitor humidity and moisture content levels.

Establish emergency electricity. Arrange for a temporary power source to provide electricity to the jobsite. Electricity is needed for lighting and heat.

Deodorize the affected areas. In rare situations, the degree of smoke odors present may require deodorization to make the structure more habitable. The method of deodorization might be thermal fogging or the use of air scrubbers.

Initial cleaning. In some situations, initial cleaning is advantageous. If occupants are moved out of the structure, their personal contents may be cleaned for use in their temporary housing. If restoration does not begin immediately, initial cleaning may prevent additional damages from soot residues. Pre-clean carpets and furniture to remove the heaviest soot. Wipe acidic soot residues from porcelain and metals. Remove charred materials that remind occupants of the fire loss.

Pest extermination. Exterminating roach infestations may be needed before Franchise employees can begin packing, inventorying, or cleaning. Contents being relocated to a warehouse may in turn infest the warehouse and other customers’ contents.

Advising Occupants About Emergency Steps

Most occupants of fire-damaged residences feel their homes are not just homes, but rather a treasure chest of memories. When their home is damaged, people naturally ask themselves, “What can I do to help?” They may attempt to clean some portions of the building or contents on their own. Sometimes the wrong cleaning action by an occupant can hinder the effectiveness of professional restorative actions by restorers. Inappropriate cleaning may cause permanent damage. Advise the occupants of Do’s and Don’ts they should follow to make sure their personal efforts are positive steps toward restoring their home or building.

Do’s and Don’ts

Don’t attempt to wash any walls.

Don’t attempt to clean carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting a professional restoration service.

Do place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on carpet and upholstered furniture to limit the potential for further damage.

Do limit the movement in the house to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.

Do keep hands clean. Soot on hands can impregnate upholstery, walls, and woodwork, causing more damage.

If electricity is off, do empty the freezer and refrigerator completely and prop doors open. This prevents the food from leaving odors in the appliance.

Do clean and protect chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim, and appliances with a light coating of lubricant.

Don’t operate any electrical appliances or equipment until they have been cleaned and checked. Smoke residues can be conductive.

Don’t send clothing with smoke residues to dry cleaners not experienced in cleaning fire-damaged garments. Inexperienced efforts may result in setting residues or odors.

Do wash plants on both sides of leaves with water.

If the HVAC system was operating during the fire, do change the furnace filter and tape folded pieces of cheesecloth over air registers.

Also advise occupants of steps to protect their safety. They should not use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat, or water. Cosmetics or medications may have been contaminated and should not be used.

Emergency Service Procedures

The type of emergency services needed depends on whether occupants are to remain in the building during restoration procedures, or if they are relocating while the restoration occurs.

When Occupants Remain in the Structure

An adjuster may request a restorer to provide emergency cleaning when occupants are to remain in the structure after a fire damage. The emergency cleaning makes part of the building “livable” and saves the adjuster the costs of placing the occupants in temporary housing (known as ALE or Additional Living Expenses). Emergency procedures might include the following:

Deodorization if strong odors are present, such as those from a protein fire.

Immediate cleaning of any areas of the home the family will need to utilize while remaining in the structure. Such areas might be the kitchen, a bathroom, and a bedroom.

Laundry/dry cleaning services by a laundry or dry cleaner qualified to clean smoke-damaged garments. Have occupants identify clothing needed immediately.

Containment. If only a portion of the structure has been damaged, seal off the affected areas and advise the occupants to limit movement in those areas.

When Occupants Vacate the Structure

Occupants are often vacated from a structure when fire damages are more severe. This situation necessitates a different set of emergency procedures.

Secure the property. Perform a board-up (see the next section) or other action necessary to protect the property.

Restore power to the structure after addressing electrical safety issues (such as bare electrical wires).

Check for any loss of stability or integrity to structural components (such as floor joists or roof trusses).

If water was introduced into the structure by a sprinkler system or by the firefighting efforts, perform water mitigation procedures. See the SERVPRO® Water Damage Restoration Manual (#35023).

Restore heat to the structure during winter months to prevent freeze damage.

If unable to restore heat, protect plumbing and sewer lines from freezing. Turn off the water source and, if possible, drain water lines and fill toilets and drains with a mobile home type antifreeze.

If unable to restore power, advise customers to remove food from refrigerators and freezers to prevent damage from food spoilage.

SERVPRO: Deodorizing and cleaning smoke damaged surfaces 3/23/2022

3/23/2022 (Permalink)

Deodorizing through Chemical Changes

Ozone is a colorless to pale blue gas consisting of highly volatile O3 molecules. When ozone molecules contact odor-causing molecules, they oxidize the odor molecules, neutralizing them and breaking them down to smaller, less offensive materials.

Dislodging Soils by Mechanical Action

In fire damage restoration, various kinds of mechanical actions produce friction to agitate and loosen smoke residues. For some smoke conditions, mechanical action may be sufficient to remove residues without applying a cleaning product. Light concentrations of non-greasy smoke particles, as sometimes produced by a dry type of smoke, may be cleanable from nonporous surfaces through mechanical action. An example might be removing a light soot from a glossy painted surface with dry cleaning sponges.

Mechanical Actions for Mild Agitation

Some mechanical actions produce only mild agitation and are safe to apply to almost all surfaces.

o Feather duster—Excess residues on hard-

surface furniture might be removed just by

dusting.

o Brushes—Paint brushes of various sizes and

softness are useful for brushing residues from

decorative or ornamental areas of hard-surface

furniture.

o Vacuum—Heavy deposits of loose smoke

particles and smoke webs can be vacuumed

from wall and ceiling surfaces. Use the cleaning

brush attachment to agitate residues from the

surface.

o Compressed air—Loose soot residues may be blown from electronic equipment by using regulated compressed air. Be careful to control the amount of air pressure applied to surfaces and not allow the air blast to blow particles into crevices or under edges or moldings of the item being cleaned.

Mechanical Actions for Medium Agitation

o Dry Cleaning Sponge—Rubber sponges used to remove loose soils. As the dry cleaning

sponge is pulled across a soiled surface, soils transfer to the sponge because of friction

and the porous nature of the sponge. Dry cleaning

sponges are not effective in removing

greasy smoke residues—they tend to

smear them—but are incredibly effective

on dry smoke residues.

o Dusting Cloths—Dusting cloths treated

with a light mineral oil that attracts light

soot and dust.

o Crumbly Cleaner works like an eraser absorbing pencil graphite from a paper surface.

As Crumbly Cleaner is rubbed on a surface, it self-destructs and the pieces of the cleaner absorb soils from the surface. The Crumbly Cleaner is most effective in removing dry smoke residues from flat-painted surfaces or loose smoke residues from paper surfaces or from art paintings like watercolors or acrylic oils. Glossy surfaces do not provide enough friction to break up the cleaner, so the cleaner smears residues rather than absorbing them. Crumbly Cleaner will not remove greasy residues. Drop clothes are needed to catch the mess created as the Crumbly Cleaner breaks apart.

o Cleaning Towels—A clean, white towel used to apply

wet cleaning solutions. Towels help prevent streaking of

a surface. They also absorb and remove soils and

moisture from the surface.

Mechanical Actions for Heavy Agitation

Several tools are capable of producing heavy amounts of agitation.

o Abrasive Powders provide different degrees of agitation depending on the product. Liquid Crème Cleaners like Stain Scrub (#110) contain a mild abrasive. Rub with the grain when applying to stainless steel. When cleaning high-gloss surfaces, apply Liquid Crème Cleaners sparingly with a damp sponge and rub gently to avoid scratching the surface.

o Sandpapers and steel wool come in a variety of grades, each grade offering greater or lesser amount of abrasiveness. The grade 0000 steel wood pad is extra fine.

o Roto pads and brushes. Various types of pads can be attached to the drive block of the Roto. The rotating pads and brushes agitate, buff, or polish flooring surfaces.

o Blast Cleaning involves using either compressed air or rotary blasting equipment to blast some type of media against the soiled surface. Several different types of media are used in Blast Cleaning, including sand, baking soda, CO2, dry ice, and ground corn cobs. The amount of agitation depends on the size and shape of the media and the speed at which the media is blasted against the soiled surface.

Controlling Application of Cleaning Products

The restorer can vary the aggressiveness of cleaning by controlling the application of the cleaning product. Some materials might suffer damage if exposed to heavy concentrations of product. By utilizing different techniques, the restorer controls the amount of product applied.

Absorption

Some surfaces or materials may be too fragile to withstand aggressive agitation or a direct application of either water-based or solvent-based cleaning products. These materials might be cleaned safely by absorbing residues from the material.

Absorbent powders clean through absorption. Soils and residues absorb into the powder and are extracted or vacuumed from the surface along with the powder. Absorbent powders can be effective at removing soils from porous surfaces such as concrete, marble, brick, upholstery fabrics, carpets, and draperies.

Powders are sometimes used in conjunction with solvents or other cleaning agents. The soils are treated first with the solvent or cleaning agent, then absorbent powders are applied to the treated area. When the area is dry, the surface is vacuumed. In other situations, solvents may be mixed with the absorbent powders. For example, Stain Absorb Powder (#109) can be mixed with Solvent Spotter (#107) to make a slurry of thin paste consistency. The paste is applied and allowed to dry before being vacuumed off.

Surface Techniques

Surface techniques prevent the material from being saturated with cleaning product. By limiting the amount of cleaning product, surface techniques avoid overwetting a material and allow a surface to dry quickly.

o Spray and wipe. The cleaning product is sprayed lightly or misted onto the surface, then the surface is wiped with a dry cleaning towel. This technique is used for cleaning hard-surface contents and furniture. After cleaning smoke residues from appliances, apply Glass Cleaner, Ready-to-Use (#208) with the spray-and-wipe technique to leave a shine.

o Foam cleaning is appropriate for cleaning materials that could be damaged by excessive moisture of cleaning products. By cleaning with foam generated from the cleaning product, the technician applies less moisture to the surface than when cleaning with the liquid cleaning product itself.

Foam cleaning is effective for shampooing upholstery. Dip a natural sponge into Shampoo Super Concentrate (#252) and squeeze most of the moisture out of the sponge. Squeeze the sponge several times until a lathery foam develops. An alternative is to use a pump-up sprayer to generate a foam that is dryer than foam from shampoo in a bucket.

Saturation Techniques

The advantage of saturation techniques is applying a greater amount of cleaning product on the material. This allows for more dissolving action from the product and for more extraction of residues and odors from the surface. The use of more cleaning product increases the risk of overwetting, color loss, or other changes in the material, so effective drying is important.

o Hand wash and rinse. Wet clean by immersing cleaning towels in a bucket of surface

cleaning solution and wringing excess solution back into the bucket.

After the wash step, rinse with a cleaning towel immersed in a bucket of rinse solution. Finally, towel-dry the cleaned areas.

o Upholstery Cleaning Machine wash and rinse. The Upholstery Cleaning Machine applies water-based solutions for wet cleaning or solvents for dry cleaning. Wet cleaning processes are generally more effective in cleaning heavily soiled fabrics than dry cleaning. Some fabrics, however, are sensitive to water-based products and must be cleaned with a solvent. The Upholstery Cleaning Machine allows for more agitation than hand cleaning, and rinses and vacuums emulsified or dissolved soils from the fabric.

Immersion Techniques

The immersion technique allows for the greatest application of cleaning solution, since the material is immersed in the cleaning agent. With immersion, the restorer controls the quantity and temperature of the cleaning product, as well as the time the material is immersed. The technique is limited to contents items small enough to be placed in a tank or machine.

o Ultrasonic Cleaner. Ultrasonic cleaning uses sound waves to form and instantaneously implode millions of tiny vapor bubbles. The energy produced by the collapsing bubbles makes an efficient cleaning process to remove residues.

Restorers can control the amount of product applied. The amount utilized varies based on the selected cleaning technique—spraying, saturating, or immersing.

SERVPRO: Chemical cleaning action for fire and smoke damage 3/16/2022

3/16/2022 (Permalink)

Principles of Cleaning

The procedures for cleaning smoke residues follow basic principles.

o Find residues.

o Identify the type of residues.

o Identify the type of surface the residue is on.

o Capture residues in dry particulate form or in solution.

o Remove the residues.

o Properly dispose of residues.

Finding and Identifying Residues

The estimator inspects and tests for smoke residues to evaluate the extent of damages and determine what cleaning services are needed for restoration. Besides the estimator’s inspection, the restoration technician should pretest particular items to determine the best restoration procedure. By inspecting and pretesting, the estimator and technician locate residues, identify the type of residues, and determine the types of surfaces to be cleaned.

Capturing and Removing Residues

Residues must be captured before they can be removed. Restorers use air and fluids to release and carry soils away. Air and fluids carry suspended particles with them on contact. Vacuuming and dissolving are two ways to contact soils and carry them off to be disposed of.

Vacuuming

Smoke residues contain solid particles consisting mostly of carbon. Dry particles that are attached loosely to surfaces may be removed by vacuuming. Moisture contacting the particles can cause them to be absorbed by the surface and be difficult to remove. Always try to vacuum dry smoke residues from a surface before applying wet cleaning products.

Dissolving

Residues and soils that are not loose particles must be dissolved before they can be removed. Dissolving the residues and loosening their bond with the surface allows them to be suspended in a cleaning product and flushed away as the cleaning product is rinsed or extracted from the surface.

The type of soil and the type of surface are two main factors in dissolving soils. Some soils are water-soluble while others are not and require use of a solvent-based cleaning product. The

type of surface must be considered to preserve the material being cleaned. Some surfaces can be damaged by water, while others are damaged by solvents.

The three steps of dissolving are wash, rinse, and dry.

o Wash—Apply a cleaning agent to the surface and agitate it to penetrate and loosen soils. Once the soils are dissolved and held in suspension by the cleaning agent, they can be removed.

o Rinse—Remove soils with the cleaning solution. This step depends on pressure, absorption, agitation, airflow, or water lift to penetrate the material and extract the cleaning solution.

o Dry—Remove the remaining water or moisture and leftover soils from the material. Air movement, heat, and low humidity will allow drying to occur quickly. Use air movers or natural air movement by opening doors and windows, using ceiling fans, or turning on the HVAC system (if free of smoke).

Disposing of Residues

Determine state and local requirements for properly disposing of cleaning residues. Requirements differ from state to state and may even be different for cities within a state. Some general rules are fairly consistent across the nation:

o Do not dispose of dry cleaning solvents in a sewer or septic system. Dry cleaning solvent is an industrial waste and must be disposed of in an approved disposal site.

o Do not dispose of any cleaning wastes into a storm drain or gutter.

o Do not dispose of any cleaning wastes into a septic system.

o Waste water that does not contain dry cleaning solvents should be disposed of in a treated sewer line through the commode or a utility sink. Some cities and states require a permit to dispose of cleaning wastes in treated sewer lines.

o Water with biohazards (medical hazards, human blood, or tissue) should be handled by a biohazard disposal firm. Check with local and state authorities.

The Elements of Cleaning (TACT)

Four elements affect how soils and residues are suspended in a cleaning product:

o Temperature

o Agitation

o Chemical action

o Time

These can be summed up as TACT. All of these elements are used in effective cleaning. If you decrease one element, you need to increase the others. For instance, if you are cleaning with cold water, you may need to spend more time, increase agitation, and use more products to get the same results.

Temperature

Heat makes molecules move faster. The faster molecules move, the faster the speed of the chemical reaction between cleaning solutions and soils. In fact, once a cleaning product heats above 118 degrees Fahrenheit, the speed of the chemical reaction in the cleaning solution doubles when the temperature increases another 18 degrees.

Each cleaning product has its own appropriate temperature. Cleaning solutions can be too hot to use safely or hot enough to damage the materials you are trying to clean. Always pretest, follow the label directions on products, and use the correct process steps for each cleaning method.

Heat has other advantages. It reduces the surface tension of water-based solutions, allowing the products to penetrate surfaces and dissolve soils better. As soil molecules move faster, they remain suspended in the cleaning product longer, allowing better extraction.

Agitation

Agitation means moving the surface being cleaned, moving the cleaning solution, or moving both. We use agitation to free or dislodge soils. Once the bond between soil and surface is broken, the soils can be washed away.

Several methods are used to agitate during cleaning: water pressure, air pressure, rotating brushes, scrubbing, wiping, and sand-blasting. For example, hot water extraction uses water pressure and airflow to agitate carpet fibers.

Chemical Action

Cleaning solutions help to bridge the gap between the soil and the water, making the cleaning process easier. The key principle to remember is like dissolves like. A water-based soil will dissolve best in a water-based cleaning solution. An oil-based soil will dissolve best in an oil-based cleaning solution (solvent).

Several other types of chemical actions are utilized to achieve results in removing smoke residues. Detergents help oil-based soils mix with water-based cleaning solutions. Acidic solutions and alkaline solutions neutralize each other. Bleaching either adds oxygen or removes oxygen from the chemical structure of a soil. Restorers use these various chemical actions to break the bond between smoke residues and the surfaces they cling to.

Time

The restoration industry refers to time regarding the cleaning process as dwell time. Dwell time is the time needed for the soils to dissolve and the chemical action to work. Your laundry would not be very clean if you dipped your clothes into the wash water, immediately pulled them out, and dried them. You would not have allowed time for the soils to dissolve, time for the chemical action of the detergent to work, and time for agitation to help loosen the soils.

Dwell time varies for different cleaning processes and professional products. Specific time requirements will be based on a number of factors—the type of material, the type of soil, the method of agitation, and the temperature of the cleaning solution. Always allow your products enough time to work.

Cleaning Actions

The cleaning process must break the bond between soils and the surfaces they adhere to. Four actions are used to loosen soils from surfaces:

o Mechanical action

o Lubrication

o Chemical action

o Suspension and dispersion

Mechanical Action

Agitation is often an effective way to dislodge soils from the surfaces they are attached to. When smoke residues adhere to surfaces, utilizing mechanical action prior to other cleaning actions could be advantageous. For example, if you apply liquid cleaning products to smoke particles you may cause the particles to be absorbed by the surface. Use mechanical action as an initial step to preclean excess dry, nongreasy residues from a surface before applying either water-based or solvent-based cleaning products.

Lubrication

Lubrication is the action of making something slippery. The goal of lubrication is to break the connection between the soil and the surface it is adhering to by making soils “slide” into the cleaning solution. Detergents lubricate some soils from a surface, while also emulsifying them.

Chemical Action

Chemical actions occur when one substance chemically changes or alters another substance. Often a restorer applies a cleaning product to chemically alter some type of residue. The changes made to the residues allow them to be removed from a surface or material. For example, product Natural Fabric Brightener (#153) is a reducing bleach solution. When mixed

with Shampoo Super Concentrate (#252), the product removes oxidized stains from cotton and wool carpeting.

Suspension and Dispersion

The most common cleaning action is loosening soils, then suspending and dispersing them in a cleaning product, and finally extracting soils along with the cleaning product. Suspension takes place when a soil dissolves in a cleaning product it mixes with or when soils emulsify in a cleaning product they will not mix with.

Like Dissolves Like

“Like dissolves like” is the basic principle of dissolving soils with cleaning solutions. Soils and residues will dissolve in something that is “like” them. For example, syrup will dissolve easily in water, especially if you heat the water and agitate the syrup in the water. On the other hand, syrup will not dissolve in a solvent no matter how much you agitate it. Motor oil, however, will not dissolve in water. Water is “like” the syrup but not “like” the motor oil.

The principle of “like dissolves like” is explained with the following definitions.

HYDRO means WATER

PHILIC means LOVE

LIPO means OIL

PHOBIC means FEAR

Just put these parts together to define the terms below:

Hydrophilic: Water-loving

Hydrophobic: Water-fearing

Lipophilic: Oil-loving

Lipophobic: Oil-fearing

“Like dissolves like” means a hydrophilic soil will easily dissolve in water. A lipophilic soil easily dissolves in an oil-based cleaning solution. Syrup is hydrophilic; motor oil is lipophilic. When a substance will not dissolve in water, it is hydrophobic. When a substance will not dissolve in oil-based solutions, it is lipophobic. Motor oil is hydrophobic; syrup is lipophobic.

Removing Oily Soils

Oily soils are removed in different ways. Some oily soils are light enough to be emulsified in

water-based detergents. Other oily soils may be too heavy for detergents to be effective in

removing them. These heavier soils can be dissolved with oil-based solvents.

Emulsifying Oily Soils with Detergents

Can we put something into water to help us clean oily soils? Yes—detergents! Water-based

detergents are able to dissolve in water, but they are also able to attach to oily soils. Detergents

pull the oily soils away from the surface, so we can extract the soils with the detergent.

Detergent molecules are made so that they have a water-loving head and an oil-loving tail.

The makeup of the tail of a detergent molecule is similar to the makeup of oil, gasoline, grease,

and animal fats. The detergent’s tail will dissolve substances similar to grease and oil. The head

of the detergent molecule is attracted to and surrounded by water molecules. And so, the tail of

the detergent molecule breaks oily soils apart and the head pulls them into the water, creating

an emulsion. An emulsion means that the detergent acts as a connecting link between oil and

water molecules, allowing them to be mixed evenly through the cleaning solution. The cleaning

solution can then be rinsed out along with the emulsified soils. Detergents have some drawbacks. If they are not rinsed thoroughly, they leave a sticky residue. Also, when detergents combine with hard water (water that contains minerals, such as calcium or magnesium), they make a salt. These salts will not dissolve in water, so they slow down the cleaning action of the detergent and form a scum.

Dissolving Oily Soils with Solvents

The word “solvent” can mean any substance capable of dissolving another substance. In the cleaning industry, however, a solvent is a cleaning agent that is not water-based. Solvents are used in situations where water might damage materials or in removing soils that are not water-soluble.

Some solvents used in the past are too flammable or toxic by today’s standards. Today, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set standards for toxicity and flammability. You can find specific ratings for each product on the Safety Data Sheets (SDS).

Some solvents can dissolve in water and be mixed with water. For example, many pre-spray cleaning products contain water-soluble solvents. Other solvents will not dissolve in or mix with water.

Solvents may cause damage to some surfaces. Protect all finished wood, plastic, and painted surfaces. If overspray does affect one of these surfaces, only blot the area (do not rub or you may remove the finish or paint). Solvents can also damage some textile backings.

Never dispose of solvents in a septic or sewer system. Solvents are industrial waste and must be disposed of properly at an approved site. (This applies to hazardous water-based solvents as well.) Keep an extra, properly-labeled solvent bucket with a tight-fitting lid to hold solvent wastes.

The pH of Water-Based Products

pH is one of the most important concepts to understand in cleaning. pH stands for the Potential for Hydrogen and is a measurement of acidity or alkalinity. The pH scale goes from 0 to 14 with 7 being neutral. Pure water is neutral.

Knowing the pH will help you know how to attack soils. The general rule is that you use acids to neutralize alkaline soils, and alkalis to neutralize acidic soils. In addition, after cleaning, materials should be left in a condition as close to a neutral pH as possible. This will help prevent color bleeding and browning in textiles.

Acids are substances with a pH less than 7. Acids are normally thought of as sour. Most soils are slightly acidic. Mild acids won’t burn the skin or cause much damage to materials. Strong acids (like battery acid) can do considerable damage to the skin, materials, carpets, or fabrics, and are dangerous if taken internally. In cleaning, acids can help to stabilize dyes, prevent browning, prevent yellowing, and neutralize alkalis.

Alkaline substances are typically bitter, feel slippery, and have a pH greater than 7. Most cleaning agents are alkaline. Soap has a pH of about 9, making it a mild alkali. Mild alkalis will not damage skin or fabrics. A solution of baking soda, sometimes used for an upset stomach, has a pH of about 10. Liquid drain cleaners have a pH around 14. These are strong alkalis that will burn your skin and damage materials. One way to be more aggressive in cleaning smoke residues is to increase the pH of alkaline water-based cleaning products. A general rule of thumb is to not use a pH greater than 10 on synthetic fibers.

Solvents do not have a pH. A substance must contain water to have a pH. This means that substances like oil and grease don’t have a pH.

As the steps on the pH scale move from neutral, they increase in strength by multiples of 10. That is, a pH of 9 is 10 times stronger than a pH of 8. A pH of 10 is 100 times stronger than a pH of 8. A pH of 11 is 1,000 times stronger than a pH of 8. This is true on the acid side of the scale as well.

This concept about increasing strength is important when trying to neutralize a very strong acid or alkali. To return a material to a neutral pH, you must select acids or alkalis of equal strength. For example, to neutralize an acid with a pH of 2, you would use an alkali with a pH of about 12.

Testing pH

How do you determine the pH? Most cleaning agents indicate their pH on the bottle. To test the pH of a soil, moisten the soil with water known to be neutral (this means bottled or filtered water), and blot a piece of test paper (called Hydrion paper or pH paper) into the moisture. Unexposed Hydrion paper is a light tan color. When exposed to mild acids, the color changes to a darker tan or light orange. Strong acids change the paper to a dark red. Mild alkalis change the paper to a light green or light blue. Strong alkalis change the paper to a dark blue. You can compare the color of the paper to the color scale on the Hydrion Paper package to tell the specific pH.

Test all spots and areas that have been cleaned with a strong acid or alkaline solution to make sure that the material has been returned to a neutral pH level. Leaving a surface in a strong acid or alkaline state can sometimes result in damage to materials.

After a fire damage, pH paper can test smoke residues to determine whether acids are present. Several byproducts of combustion produce acids. When plastics burn, they produce chlorides that combine with moisture to form hydrochloric acid. Another byproduct of combustion is carbon dioxide, which combines with moisture to form carbonic acid. These acids will cause discoloration and corrosion if the acidic smoke residues chemically react with materials over time.

Chemically Altering or Changing Soils

Some cleaning procedures work by altering or changing the soils or residues. Alterations occur when restorers use enzyme digestion, bleaching, oxidizing, and strong acids for certain types of cleaning tasks.

Enzymes

Enzymes are living organisms that digest protein soils like blood, starch, perspiration, body discharges, dairy products, eggs, and fish slime. They work by changing the condition of the soil from insoluble to soluble. Water, detergents, or ammonia solutions can then remove the soil.

Enzymes come from living organisms, so to use them effectively you must control the temperature, the pH, and the amount of moisture present. The temperature must be kept between 100 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and the soiled area must be kept damp. The pH must be kept neutral. Allow 15 minutes to one hour for effective dwell time. Also remember that some enzyme cleaning products may have a “shelf life.” (Shelf life means the amount of time the mixed product may be stored and still remain effective for use.)

Bleaching Agents

Some soils chemically bond with the materials they are on. The objective of cleaning is to reverse this bond without removing the color of the material. Bleaching is an example of chemically altering a stain to reverse the coloration of a stain. Do not apply bleaches to dyed materials, since they will remove the dyed color from the material.

There are two types of bleaching agents. Oxidizing bleaches (like chlorine bleach) add oxygen to stains, which changes their chemical structure and breaks them down. Reducing bleaches (also called strippers) take oxygen away, also changing the chemical structure and breaking down the stains. A reducing bleach is the opposite of an oxidizing bleach; a reducing bleach will somewhat neutralize the bleaching action of the oxidizer.

Removing Water Stains

SERVPRO’s water stain remover called Brown Out (#257) is a peroxide water stain remover. Brown Out produces a chemical change to remove “browning” caused by overwetting or slow drying of fabrics or carpets. When mixed with Shampoo Super Concentrate (#252), the product Brown Out turns alkaline and decomposes slowly, liberating hydrogen peroxide and then oxygen. Be careful using Brown Out on dyed fabrics. The chemical reaction removes colored spots and stains, but can also remove dyes from fabrics and carpet.

Brown Out (#257) is an oxidizing bleach, and an opposite chemical reaction occurs with Natural Fabric Brightener (#153), which is a reducing bleach. While Brown Out is an effective brightener for synthetic carpets, Natural Fabric Brightener is recommended for removing oxidized stains from natural fibers, such as cotton and wool carpeting and fabrics.

Removing Rust

Another chemical alteration occurs when removing rust stains. The rust remover product Rusticide (#116) is an oxalic-phosphorus acid solution. This strong acid has a pH of 2 and dissolves rust stains on cotton, linen, silk, wool, synthetic fibers, and carpeting. The chemical change may take place slowly, so you may have to allow 10 to 20 minutes of action time before extracting the rust remover.

SERVPRO: Basics of fire damage cleaning 3/9/2022

3/9/2022 (Permalink)

Cleaning and restoration services will normally reduce the costs of a fire damage claim. The most expensive option for the insurance adjuster is replacement, since the damaged item is disposed of and replaced with a new item. Another costly option is resurfacing. Structural surfaces can be repainted; upholstered contents can be recovered; wood contents can be refinished. Cleaning and restoration services are usually only a fraction of the cost of replacement or resurfacing. The restorer often can apply the principles and elements of cleaning to restore materials to preloss condition and lessen the loss expense of the fire claim.

Principles of Cleaning

When restoring smoke-damaged materials, the goal is to restore materials to preloss condition. Restorers apply the following basic principles of cleaning to accomplish this task.

Locate smoke residues by carefully inspecting the affected area. The inspection will start near the source of the fire and trace how far smoke moved through the structure.

Identify the type of residues. Different types of smoke residues can exist in the same loss environment. The restorer will select a cleaning method that will effectively remove the type of smoke residues present.

Identify the type of surface. The type of surface determines which cleaning methods and products are safe to use on that surface. Restorers must be careful to preserve the material or surface being cleaned, and some materials may be unrestorable because they cannot withstand the cleaning process.

Capture and remove residues. Smoke residues bond with surfaces they contact. The restorer uses dry and wet cleaning processes to release and carry residue particles away from the affected surface.

Dispose of residues. The restorer properly disposes of debris and cleaning waste.

Elements of Cleaning

Four fundamental elements are required to suspend residues so they can be removed.

o Temperature. Heat increases the speed of chemical reactions in cleaning products. The restorer selects an appropriate temperature depending on the cleaning solution and the material being cleaned.

o Agitation. The restorer agitates surfaces by using towels, brushes, air and water pressure, and sonic vibrations in ultrasonic machines. Agitation dislodges residues from surfaces and distributes cleaning products across surfaces.

o Chemical action. Professional cleaning products work through several chemical reactions with residues and surfaces. The restorer selects the proper cleaning product depending on the action desired, such as dissolving, emulsifying, bleaching, oxidizing, changing pH, or digesting.

o Time. The amount of dwell time needed for professional cleaning and deodorization products to work varies depending on the product and the type of residues.

Combining Principles and Elements

Performing “cleaning” in fire damage restoration means removing smoke residues and deodorizing smoke odors. Fire damages present a great variety of cleaning challenges due to the many ways that heat, oxygen, moisture, and gases interact to form smoke residues. The different types of burning materials found in buildings and the effects smoke and heat have on materials create other variables for cleaning methods. All these variables make it difficult to establish fixed, defined procedures for cleaning fire damages.

Fire damage restorers must respond to the variety of challenges created when smoke residues and odors affect different surfaces and materials. To be successful, restorers adapt basic concepts of cleaning to each particular situation. They have multiple ways to agitate surfaces, multiple products to produce chemical reactions, and multiple cleaning procedures for using heat and dwell time to remove residues. The complete range of restoration procedures should be utilized before fire-damaged materials are declared unrestorable.

Six Common Sources of Hidden Damage That Can Occur After a House Fire

11/12/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: In the aftermath of a fire damage disaster, hidden damage can wreak havoc on a home, even after the flames have been extinguished.

SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County understands the stress, anxiety, and frustration homeowners experience when confronted with fire damage, smoke damage, and water damage disaster. A fire creates a multi-faceted disaster scene. Fire seriously damages anything it touches. Smoke coats floors, walls, the ceiling, and personal belongings with a hazardous layer of soot. Water deployed to extinguish the fire saves the structure but adds a layer of complexity to the restoration process. A fire damage disaster is best left to trained professionals with the equipment, expertise, and cleaning solutions needed to restore the damaged areas and make the home safe for humans and pets. The team at SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County can transform a fire-damaged home into a safe, clean, and beautiful living environment.

Hidden Fire Damage

A fire damage disaster creates a complex disaster scene. Some of the damage is readily visible. Other damage is hidden from view and requires the skill of a trained professional to identify and mitigate the damage.

The most obvious damage is caused by the fire, smoke, and water used to extinguish the blaze. Furniture, drapes, upholstery, carpeting, and clothing, which readily absorb odors and moisture, are the most vulnerable to being damaged beyond repair or restoration. The less obvious, hidden fire damages are costly and can endanger the health and lives of family members and pets.

Hidden Damage #1: Soot

Soot is comprised of small particles from combustibles such as wood or coal. Soot is everywhere in the environment. Daily, millions of people breathe in soot in small quantities. In the closed environment of a fire-damaged home, it is possible to miss trace amounts of soot during the initial inspection just after the fire and after the cleanup.

Extreme caution should always be exercised during the cleanup of soot. Full PPG is recommended. The best, safest, and most efficient course of action is to enlist the services of highly trained professionals who know how to remove soot from both the obvious and not so obvious places.

Hidden Damage #2: Sewage and Water Pipes

Most modern plumbing is manufactured from PVC or other strong, flexible materials. This inherent pliability helps prevent cracks and leaks, but extreme heat compromises the integrity and stability of these materials. If damage to the plumbing system is suspected, secure the services of a certified, reputable plumber to inspect the system. Turn off the water at the main valve and avoid using toilets, tubs, sinks, and showers until the damage can be fully assessed. The addition of a large-scale sewage spill to a fire scene will make the disaster cleanup much more complicated.

Damaged sewage pipes can release noxious, toxic gases into the home, and these gases may cause nausea, vomiting, headaches, dizziness, and breathing issues. Potentially dangerous carbon monoxide may also be leaking from damaged sewage pipes. This odorless, colorless gas can be harmful to young children, the elderly, and the immunocompromised. An air quality inspection will help identify any toxic gases in the air.

Hidden Damage #3: Mold

A mold infestation is most likely to develop in areas where water can settle undetected, such as in drywall and insulation. Choose a property damage restoration company with experience and certification in mold remediation.

Hidden Damage #4: Cleaning Products

Household cleaning products are dangerous if not used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If the containers of these products are damaged by fire, the contents of several bottles could spill out, adding another layer of danger since some household chemicals become very toxic if mixed with other cleaning solutions. In addition, aerosol cans compromised by the heat may be vulnerable to exploding if not properly handled.

Exercise extreme caution when cleaning up spilled cleaning products. Use gloves and goggles to avoid contact with the skin, and wear a respirator to avoid inhaling the fumes. If necessary, entrust the cleanup to damage restoration and cleaning professionals.

Hidden Damage #5: Electrical

As fire spreads through a home, it can melt wires, short out junction boxes, damage receptacles, and create live hanging wires. When the fire is out, immediately contact the power company and have the electricity shut off. Then, secure the services of a licensed, insured, and bonded electrician to inspect the damage.

Hidden Damage #6: Gas Leaks

During efforts to extinguish a fire, an internal gas line may be damaged. Later, the small nick may grow into a full-blown leak. If, at any time, the smell of gas is detected, exit the residence and immediately call 911. Do not re-enter the premises until approval is granted from trained fire and utility officials.

After a house fire, homeowners in Cresson, TX, can turn to SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County, a locally owned and operated damage restoration and cleaning company. The technicians and staff members live and work in local communities and are ready to respond immediately when a homeowner needs property damage restoration or cleaning services.

For more information about fire damage restoration in Cresson, TX, call SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County at (817) 297-8588. The office can also be reached by email at office@SERVPROcrowley.com

Halogen Landscape Lighting: A Potential Cause of Residential Fire Damage

11/2/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County warns homeowners that halogen landscape lighting, which gives off a significant amount of heat, could cause fire damage to the home.

When fire damage ravages a home, the structure is uninhabitable and its contents are unusable until the cleanup and restoration process has progressed to the point that residing in the house is no longer dangerous. Permission to return may require approval from the fire department, health department, and building and codes department. A fire damage disaster is accompanied by stress, uncertainty, and the disruption of normal life. It is helpful for homeowners to know about what factors can cause fire damage. Some causes are obvious, such as cooking or using a firepit, but other potential causes may not be considered by the homeowner until it is too late.

Internal Causes of House Fires

Statistics indicate that most residential fire damage incidents start from within the home. The National Fire Protection Association reports the following top causes of home fires:

  • Cooking
  • Heaters and heating
  • Electrical
  • Smoking
  • Candles

A house fire that starts within the home can have a cascade of destructive effects. Flames generated from the stove or from an appliance spread to the ceiling, and the heat of the fire ruins paint, wallpaper, and sheetrock. Flooring and rugs may catch on fire. Smoke and soot coat everything and penetrate upholstery, carpeting, furniture, clothing, and other fabrics. The process of extinguishing the fire leads to devastating water damage.

External Causes of House Fires

Although it is more common for a house fire to start within a home, fires can start from both inside and outside the home. Some common external causes of house fires include:

  • Grills, fire pits, and campfires
  • Outdoor fireplaces
  • Electrical fires at the outside connections and receptacles
  • Lightning strikes
  • Wildfires

A fire hazard often overlooked by the homeowner is the traditional halogen landscape lighting system. A halogen light bulb generates light by heating a filament until it is white-hot. Temperatures may range as high as 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is more than hot enough to ignite dead plants, dry leaves and grass, pine needles, and mulch. In fact, over 90% of the energy used by a halogen bulb is wasted in heat loss.

How Can Landscape Lighting Cause a Mulch Fire?

Organic mulch may consist of shredded wood or bark nuggets, and pine needles are often used as an alternative to traditional mulch. All three coverings are highly combustible, especially during the long, dry Texas summers.

A landscape well light with a missing lens cover is a serious fire hazard. The fixture can collect mulch over time. Sometimes when mulched beds are being refreshed, well lights can be accidentally covered over with mulch. When the traditional halogen fixture comes online at dusk, the likelihood of a fire is great. Dry mulch will ignite at temperatures at or above 600 degrees Fahrenheit, well below the burn temperature of a halogen bulb.

Mulch Fire Prevention Tips

  1. Regularly check halogen landscape lighting fixtures for a build-up of organic matter. Clear away the accumulated leaves, twigs, pine needles, or mulch.
  2. Check to see that, where needed, lens covers are in place. Immediately replace missing or broken lens covers. Make sure the fixture is cool.
  3. During extended dry periods, periodically water down mulch beds to reduce the risk of fire. Keep mulch from piling up around halogen landscape lighting fixtures.
  4. Convert to LED low-voltage landscape lighting. LED technology uses 80 percent less energy, and the bulbs last up to ten times longer than traditional halogen bulbs. While LED lighting does generate some heat, the temperatures are well below the ignition point needed for mulch, leaves, and other organic matter to catch fire.

If a fire should start in a mulch bed or flower bed and spread to the home, trust the cleanup and restoration to SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County. The team responds within one hour or less. A trained technician will inspect the structure, assess the damage, and present the customer with an estimate that includes documentation and photos. If the fire, smoke, and water damage is extensive, the SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County staff can coordinate all aspects and phases of the fire damage restoration and reconstruction project. The team will also manage the insurance claims process from start to finish. In fact, SERVPRO is often a top pick for insurance agents and property managers when property damage restoration services are needed by homeowners, businesses, institutions, and manufacturing units.

For more information about Hillsboro, TX, fire damage restoration services, contact the SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County office by email at office@SERVPROcrowley.com. The staff can also be reached by phone at (817) 297-8588.

What Fire Damage Risks Are Associated With Common Countertop Appliances Found in the Kitchen?

8/18/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County explains the fire risks associated with common kitchen countertop appliances.

Fire damage in Grandview, TX, kitchens can occur for a variety of reasons. The stove is a leading culprit for kitchen fires, and the National Fire Protection Association reports that ranges and cooktops “were involved in 61 percent of reported home cooking fires, 87 percent of cooking fire deaths, and 78 percent of cooking fire injuries.” However, homeowners should not underestimate the destructive potential of smaller countertop appliances and should abide by fire safety best practices in order to ensure that the kitchen remains a safe place.

Microwaves

Microwaves are one of the top causes of fires started by countertop appliances in the kitchen. Common microwave fire hazards include overcooking food, heating food in containers that are not microwave safe, and sparking, a relatively common microwave malfunction.

Toasters

According to data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), toasters, along with toaster ovens, caused 1,416 fires over a four-year period. An insurance provider cautions, “Toasters have electric elements inside that are used to brown your bread or bagel. If the toaster fails and doesn’t turn off, a fire can start. Never leave a toaster unsupervised, and remove the crumbs on the bottom of the toaster regularly. In addition, inspect the electric elements for stuck crumbs.”

Coffee Makers

While coffee makers may not be the first appliance that homeowners think of when they consider fire risks, certain types of coffee makers can be a fire hazard. Special care should be taken in the case of cappuccino machines, which use high-pressure steam to create the frothy drink.

Consumer Watch explains, “Coffee makers are notorious for being a source of burns and fire, especially when an automatic shut-off mechanism is not present in the machine. If the unit does not shut off or is not turned off after use, the unit may continue to heat the carafe and plastic parts. Burns, melting of components, and even home damage are not uncommon.”

Slow Cookers

Compared to other appliances like microwaves and toasters, slow cookers are less likely to catch fire. FEMA reports that, from 2012 through 2015, slow cookers caused 103 fires, as well as nearly 1.6 million dollars in property damage costs.

Pressure Cookers

Pressure cookers add another factor of potential danger to the cooking process with their use of high-pressure steam to cook food. While pressure cookers, as well as multi cookers that combine pressure cooking and slow cooking functions, are occasionally the cause of fires, the main concern is the potential for the cooker to produce a steam explosion due to misuse or a malfunction.

A Houston area law firm warns, “Pressure cookers typically fail when the vent to release the pressure inside of the pot is defective, the lid of the pot is designed poorly or when the advertised safety features of the pressure cooker malfunction….Some defective pressure cookers lack a manual shut-off safety feature to prevent the device from exploding or occasionally the safety feature itself is defective. Defective pressure cookers may provide inaccurate pressure readings, causing home cooks to believe it is safe to remove the lid when it is not. Defective pressure cookers may also have design flaws in the lid which may prevent it from closing properly or allow for pressure to build inside of the pot when the lid is not properly sealed.”

Appliance Fire Prevention Tips

In addition to the appliance listed above, homeowners often have many other types of countertop appliances in the kitchen, including waffle irons, electric grills and griddles, blenders, and air fryers.

By practicing the safety tips listed below, homeowners can minimize the fire damage risk associated with countertop appliances.

  • Always unplug the appliance when it is not in use.
  • Never use an appliance in a manner in which it was not intended to be used.
  • Regularly inspect the appliance’s power cord for signs of wear or damage.
  • Do not attempt a DIY repair of a damaged appliance.
  • Discard the appliance if it has exposed wiring, a fraying electrical cord, or is otherwise damaged.
  • Keep the appliance away from flammable materials and liquids.
  • Do not use the appliance too close to the range, which could set the appliance on fire, or the sink, which could lead to an electrocution situation due to the presence of water.
  • Be very cautious of older appliances, which sometimes lack the safety features that are present in modern models.

To learn more about fire damage restoration in Grandview, TX, call SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County at (817) 297-8588 or email the team at office@SERVPROcrowley.com

Tips for the Proper and Safe Use of a Fire Extinguisher

7/1/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: Before using a fire extinguisher to control or put out a fire in the home, homeowners need to make sure that they understand how to use this tool.

The fire damage restoration team at SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County understands the stress, anxiety, and frustration homeowners experience when dealing with fire damage. Property damage from a fire touches almost every area of the home. Smoke and soot contamination is widespread, and the water used to extinguish the flames can cause more damage than the fire itself. For the SERVPRO professionals, water extraction, cleanup, and property damage restoration are a top priority.

How important is knowing how to properly operate a fire extinguisher?

According to a National Fire Protection Association report entitled “Home Cooking Fires,” US Fire departments responded each year to about 173,000 home structure fires resulting from cooking. In 2018, fire departments were called out to 470 home cooking fires per day. These statistics do not include those fires that were extinguished without the services of the local fire department.

The majority of home cooking fires involved ranges or cooktops. Leaving the stove unattended was the leading cause of cooking fires and casualties. Over half of non-fatal injuries occurred when individuals attempted to put out the fire themselves. This last statistic highlights the importance of knowing how to properly operate a fire extinguisher in the heat of the moment.

Every homeowner should know the basics about safely and effectively operating a fire extinguisher. All mature and physically able members of the household can easily be trained in the proper use of this valuable piece of equipment should a fire break out in the home. Knowledge and training can enable the quick response that is needed to extinguish a fire. When a fire breaks out, the adrenalin rush can be paralyzing. Familiarity with the fire extinguisher and proper training can overcome the chaos and paralyzing fear of the moment. The correct application of the extinguisher can eliminate the fire in seconds.

Home fire safety tips

Consider the following basic home fire safety tips:

  1. Have the appropriate type of fire extinguisher on hand.

Make sure that the appropriate type of fire extinguisher has been acquired and is stored in a location that is quickly and easily accessible. Only people trained in the proper use of fire extinguishers should use these tools.

  1. Call for assistance before attempting to put out a fire.

A fire can spiral out of control far more quickly than homeowners may have anticipated. While taking steps to extinguish the fire, if possible, have someone summon help to be on the way in case the fire gets out of hand.

  1. Plan a safe escape in case the fire grows out of control.

Decide on a safe escape path before approaching the flames. Avoid allowing the smoke, heat, or flames to block the evacuation path.

  1. Stay alert to the scope of the fire.

A house fire can spread very quickly because of the presence of many flammable materials present and the confined area of the structure. Seconds matter. However, unless an explosion is involved, the occupants have time to evaluate the situation and respond accordingly in most situations.

How to use the fire extinguisher

Address the flames using the PASS Method:

Step #1: Pull the pin.

Remove the pin by pulling it from its location on the handle. Prior training to become familiar with the parts and operation of the equipment should be adequate to reduce or eliminate any delay in this vital first step. Once the pin is removed, the operating lever is unlocked and ready to be pressed, discharging the chemicals onto the fire.

Step #2: Aim low.

Aim the extinguisher hose or nozzle at the base of the flames. Attacking the base of the fire targets the materials or liquids that are fueling the flames.

Step #3: Squeeze the operating lever.

This action should allow the extinguisher to discharge the extinguishing agent onto the flames. Since fire extinguishers may differ in their design and operation, familiarity with the units that have been purchased for use in the home is crucial. Some extinguishers have a button or other means of activation other than a standard handle.

Step #4: Sweep from side to side.

While aiming at the fire’s base, sweep the extinguisher back and forth as the chemicals are being discharged until the flames are completely out. Maintain focused attention on the fire. If the fire re-ignites, follow the same process of pressing the lever and sweeping the discharged agent on the re-emerging flames. Do not leave the area unattended until the fire department has arrived or the fire has been completely extinguished and is unable to flame up again.

Bonus safety reminders

When a fire erupts, time seems to slow down as the heart races. Controlled breathing and calm thinking can win the day and save lives. These safety tips save lives every day.

  • The person discharging the fire extinguisher should always keep a safe exit behind them so that they can quickly escape from the fire.
  • Before beginning the PASS method, people should make sure that they are standing at least eight feet away from the fire.
  • Exit the home, business, or other structure if the fire is not immediately extinguished. Most fire fatalities are from smoke inhalation. Stay low to the floor while making the retreat.
  • If the fire is extinguished, have the fire department inspect the burned location to ensure that the fire has been completely put out and the area is entirely safe. Smoldering embers can flare up many hours after the original fire has been extinguished.
  • Without exception, any fire extinguisher that has been discharged should be recharged or replaced.

The staff of SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County is ready to respond immediately when a homeowner or business needs the services of a fire damage restoration company. To learn more about fire damage restoration in Grandview, TX, contact SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County by phone at (817) 297-8588 or by email at office@SERVPROcrowley.com.

Why Spring Cleaning Season Is the Perfect Time to Practice Fire Safety and Prevent Fire Damage

5/12/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County, a Crowley, TX, fire damage restoration and property damage restoration company, reminds homeowners to remember fire safety precautions as they are making their list of things to do for spring cleaning.

SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County provides property damage restoration services to homeowners and businesses that have suffered a fire, smoke, or water damage disaster. A house fire and the accompanying smoke and water damage can bring life to a standstill. The traumatic experience of being awakened in the middle of the night by the pungent smell of smoke or the shrill alarms of smoke detectors is not soon forgotten.

As winter draws to a close and spring blooms fresh, clean, and green, SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County reminds homeowners to review fire safety precautions when making their list of things to do for spring cleaning.

Why Homeowners Should Review Fire Safety Precautions This Spring

When a fire erupts in a home or business, seconds count. If a stove top grease fire is not extinguished within a minute or less, the homeowner must seek to escape safely rather than put out the blaze. Knowing how to swiftly execute a fire safety plan can and does save lives. When creating a spring-cleaning list, include the fire safety precautions listed below.

  1. Test all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.

Annually testing all smoke and carbon monoxide detection devices and replacing old batteries with fresh, new batteries verifies that the alarms are operational. Knowing that all devices are in good working order instills confidence that the early warning devices will perform as expected if a fire breaks out. Do not wait until spring cleaning to change the batteries in a chirping smoke or CO detector. The distinctive, piercing chirp sends a message: “Change my batteries now!”

  1. Replace all smoke alarms that are over ten years old.

Most homeowners are not aware that smoke detectors have a limited lifespan. Ten years can slip by in a moment, and many homes have smoke detectors that have been in place for decades. Older devices and dated smoke detection technology have been replaced by improved devices that are more reliable and have additional functionalities.

  1. Replace all carbon monoxide alarms that are over seven years old.

These devices also have a limit to their functional lifespan. Be proactive, and change out these devices even if they are still operational. An alarm malfunction when the home is at dangerous levels for carbon monoxide can be fatal.

  1. Inspect the dryer vents and clean the clothes dryer housing, including the vents.

According to the US Fire Administration, failure to clean the clothes dryer accounts for 2,900 residential clothes dryer fires each year and causes an estimated five deaths, one hundred injuries, and $35 million in property damage. Clogged dryer vents account for a large percentage of these fires. The gradual buildup of lint inside the dryer, a kink in the exhaust tubing, or an obstruction at the outside vent can present a situation that makes the dryer and the exhaust system a serious fire hazard. Inspecting and cleaning the clothes dryer housing and venting system can help prevent clothes dryer house fires.

  1. Clean out the clutter in the home to avoid fire hazards and make entry and exit of the home easy and safe.

Piling clutter on extension cords or electronic devices, near heaters, or next to appliances creates a fire hazard. Clutter may make a hallway, bedroom, or stairway impossible to escape from in the middle of the night when the air is thick with smoke and the mind is foggy from being awakened from a deep sleep. Old magazines, newspapers, mail, books, and clothing provide tinder for sparks that may grow into a raging house fire.

  1. Remove any clutter outside the home that could be a fire hazard or that could be dangerous in a fire damage situation.

Flower and shrub beds laden with dry leaves, pine cones, and sticks are a tinderbox waiting to ignite. A spark from a fire pit, campfire, grill, or combustion engine could easily alight in the beds and cause a house fire. Debris and clutter in the yard could also impede escape from a burning home and result in injury from a trip-and-fall incident in the dark.

  1. Inspect electrical outlets and electronic devices for fire hazards.

Replace any electrical outlets or light switches that are malfunctioning or appear to be worn out. Repair or replace frayed, damaged, or cracked electrical cords.

  1. Practice the fire escape plan with the family, roommates, or other home occupants.

Having a comprehensive fire safety plan and being able to escape the structure in the event of a fire are crucial. Saving lives is more important than the material contents of the home or the home itself.

  1. Pre-qualify a reliable damage restoration company, such as SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County, that will respond quickly to a fire damage disaster.

The time to choose a fire damage restoration company is before a fire damage disaster occurs. Ask about the company’s availability, response times, service areas, certifications, experience, equipment, and rating with the BBB.

For more information about Crowley, TX, fire damage restoration, call the SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County office at (817) 297-8588 or email at office@SERVPROcrowley.com.

What Are Some Common Causes of Fire Damage Disasters in the Bathroom?

4/8/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County, a damage restoration company serving the Crowley and South Johnson County areas, advises homeowners regarding some common causes of fire damage in the bathroom.

The fire damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County understand that a house fire of any size in the home is dangerous and traumatic. The painfully loud shrill of the smoke alarm, the darkness of a smoke-filled home, the shouts to flee the house, the rush to dress and grab a few belongings, and the bright lights and commotion of fire engines and firefighters arriving on the scene to save lives and extinguish the flames make a residential fire a memory that will not soon be forgotten.

One of the most dangerous and inconvenient locations for a fire to break out is the bathroom. Many of life’s daily activities can only happen in the bathroom, and a fire in the bathroom disrupts life at its core. The bathroom has many electrical fixtures and lots of moisture points. Unfortunately, electricity and water do not go together well, making the bathroom one of the most dangerous rooms in a home or apartment if proper safety precautions are not followed.

Here are some common causes of fire damage in the bathroom and tips on how to avoid them.

  1. Malfunctioning, unattended, or misused appliances

A hairdryer is an example of a bathroom appliance that can spit sparks and flames when it malfunctions. In the rush of morning preparations for work or school, the temptation is to squeeze as much use out of the appliance as possible. However, giving in to this temptation could result in fire damage in the bathroom. Instead, unplug the worn-out device, let it cool to ensure no fire hazard remains, and discard it in a safe manner.

Unattended appliances pose a greater danger in the moist environment of the bathroom. Never leave electrical devices unattended in the bathroom. Space heaters should be kept level and on a firm surface. A laptop left on a cloth toilet seat cover or on a throw rug can overheat and cause a fire. Charging electronic devices using the power socket next to the bathroom sink while one is bathing or sleeping involves great risk.

Misusing a small space heater or other appliance to dry a towel, washcloth, wet socks, or other clothing should be avoided entirely. Space heaters get very hot and can quickly ignite flammable fabrics, even if the fabrics are damp or wet.

A fire damage disaster occurred recently when a wet towel was hung over a light fixture to dry. The local news report reads, “Firefighters said when they arrived, they found smoke in two apartments. They said they at first believed the fire to be mechanical in nature, but later found the fire was caused by a towel hung on a light fixture in a bathroom. Firefighters found the smoldering towel and were able to put out the fire. No one was hurt.”

Use extension cords appropriately. Do not run the excess cord under rugs or near flammable items. A space heater and a handheld hair dryer put a heavy load on an extension cord and may cause the cord to overheat. The best safety practice is to avoid using an extension cord in the bathroom.

  1. Candles

For obvious reasons, scented candles are a popular bathroom decoration that serve a practical function. The bathroom, often the smallest room in a home, is a hub of activity. Candles can easily be knocked over or forgotten and left to burn for hours or days. An open flame in a bathroom can have disastrous effects, considering the many highly flammable solutions often used or stored in the room. Alcohol is only one of these highly flammable liquids.

  1. Spraying an aerosol near an open flame or space heater

Aerosols, such as hair spray and disinfectant cleaners, are often used in the bathroom. However, they are highly flammable and can be ignited by a candle, space heater, or a spark from an overloaded circuit or extension cord. The safest approach is to avoid using an aerosol in a confined area. Appliances should be turned off, and candles should be extinguished before using an aerosol.

  1. Keeping flammable objects too close to fire hazards

Facial tissue, cleansing pads, and wipes are indispensable in the bathroom, but they are easily ignited when left too close to a fire hazard like a space heater, candle, or hairdryer. Avoid a potential fire hazard by properly disposing of these items after each use. Facial tissue should not be flushed down the toilet because it does not break down quickly and can clog sewer pipes.

  1. Bathroom exhaust fan

The bathroom exhaust fan is the unsung hero of the bathroom. With the flip of a switch, foul smells and moisture are quickly removed from the environment. However, these fans need proper maintenance and cleaning to ensure they perform their task effectively and safely. If the exhaust fan makes odd noises, gives off a burning odor, or fails to spin freely, take immediate steps to have the device replaced. The replacement should be thermally protected so that if the unit overheats, it will automatically shut off.

Paying close attention to small details can save lives. Understanding the causes of fire damage in the bathroom can help homeowners and their families stay safe. Having adequate fire safety practices in place is crucial for fire safety in the home. Creating an emergency response plan will prepare the family for the worst of situations.

Pre-selecting a reputable and trusted fire damage restoration company before a crisis hits should be a part of every readiness plan. As a locally owned and operated business, the SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County team lives and works in this community and is ready to respond immediately when a home or business needs property damage restoration or cleaning services. Service areas include Crowley, Cleburne, Joshua, and surrounding areas.

For more information about fire damage restoration in Cleburne, TX, contact the office by phone at (817) 297-8588 or by email at office@SERVPROcrowley.com.

When Fire Strikes your Home or Business

4/2/2021 (Permalink)

Fire damage in the kitchen. Kitchen cabinets damaged by a fire

A home or business fire can be a very stressful event for the property owner. Damage to personal belongings and contents of the building is just one concern. Timely mitigation is the key to controlling damage, while reducing downtime and recovery cost. Your local SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County professionals understand how disruptive fires can be for business owners, their tenants and even their customers. That is why SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County offers 24-hour emergency response. SERVPRO service response guidelines can help prevent fire damage from creating long-term problems. Under normal circumstances, SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County will be on-site within four hours to begin emergency mitigation services.

Rapid response and the training of your local SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County professionals will help limit damage and get your facility back to operation quickly and help make it, “Like it never even happened.”

Securing a Property After a Fire

4/2/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County, realizes having a fire in your home can be a  traumatic and stressful event. After the fire trucks leave, it is imperative to act immediately to secure the property and prevent secondary damage. Follow the tips below to secure your property and start the restoration process. 

  1. Board up any holes left by the fire. It will help to prevent further losses due to weather or other causes.
  2. Remove all contents not damaged by the fire. The longer you delay, the more damage will be caused by soot and smoke.  Delaying removal of undamaged contents increases the likelihood of the insurance company citing negligence and reducing compensation.
  3. File an Insurance Claim Immediately. 
  4. Call a professional fire damage restoration company. Fire restoration is not a project to tackle alone.

Should the unthinkable happen and your home suffers a fire damage event, call SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County. Our team will respond quickly with the training and equipment necessary to get you back to “Like it never even happened.”

Keeping Pets Fire Safe

4/2/2021 (Permalink)

Considering the possibility of facing a fire emergency in the home is difficult, but necessary to prepare ahead. Many families have a fire evacuation plan to ensure the entire family makes it out safely. Did you include your pets?  If pets were not included during planning, you may not be able to get your furry friends out in time. Ensure this heartbreaking situation doesn’t happen by utilizing the following tips to create a fire evacuation plan for your pets.

  1. Keep Pets Away From Fire Hazards

If you have any potential fire hazards, such as space heaters or fireplaces, keep your animals away from those areas. A baby gate or leash can be used to confine your pets to the safest areas of your home so they can’t accidentally start a fire. If you plan to leave the home, turn off all heaters, electronics and other potential fire hazards beforehand.

  1. Use a Pet Alert Window Cling

If firefighters have to get you out of your home during a fire emergency, they’re not likely to know you have animals inside. As part of your pet safety plan, purchase or create a pet alert window cling that includes the number and type of pets inside your home. Keep the window cling affixed to a front window where it can be easily seen by first responders.

  1. Put Pets Near Doorways When You Leave

When leaving home, ensure your animals are located near a front doorway so they can be easily rescued if needed. You may choose to confine your pets in a playpen or put them on a leash so they don’t wander from the area while you’re gone.

These steps will make it easier for rescuers to bring your pets to safety in the event of a fire emergency. You may also want to have the number for your local fire damage restoration experts on hand to help you repair damage after a fire.

Why Fire Safety Practices Are Vital During COVID-19 in Order to Prevent Fire Damage

2/4/2021 (Permalink)

Here to Help advertisement with SERVPRO information Fire affecting belongings in a home.

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County explains how homeowners can practice proper fire safety in order to prevent fire damage from the increased house fire risks presented by COVID-19.

At SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County, the team understands that a house fire can be the most traumatic event in the life of a family since fire damage and smoke damage affect every room of a home.  The expert technicians are skilled in restoring customers’ valuables with care and thoroughness. The SERVPRO office staff helps customers navigate the process of restoring the home and personal property back to normal.  The caring professionals at SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County assist homeowners and businesses through the fire damage restoration process until the job is finished.

Fire prevention advisors recognize the recent spike in house fires and associate the cause with certain aspects of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The COVID-19 situation has resulted in many localities recommending or requiring people to ‘self-isolate’ and, in some cases eliminate all social movement except for critical needs (going to the doctor, getting groceries, etc.).”

The analysis continues: “The fact that many more people are in their homes for longer periods of time can present enhanced risks due to increased cooking, increased use of heating equipment and increased consumption of smoking materials inside as well as alcohol use. These activities, although they may be thought of as routine, can turn disastrous if not exercised with an attitude of prevention…. In addition, the “normal” risks associated with target populations, notably the elderly and children, are still present.”

Anecdotal evidence points to a rise in house fires during the COVID pandemic as more people self-quarantine, work remotely, and do school from home. Here are five critical areas that contribute to this increase in fire damage disasters in homes, not only in Crowley and South Johnson County but also across the United States.

  1. More home cooking is taking place

According to an article at Food and Wine magazine, “The issue is also reportedly tied to more than people just cooking more meals at home. Importantly, more novice cooks may be trying their hand at cooking out of necessity, boredom, or both, which can cause more mistakes. And speaking of boredom, people may also be trying new cooking techniques they’re less familiar with.”

Tips to avoid causing a cooking fire include:

  • Never leave an item cooking on the stove unattended. Turn off the burner and remove the pot or pan from the burner. Be careful of seemingly insignificant distractions such as a knock at the door, a phone call, or posting on social media.
  • Keep an appropriate fire extinguisher and a supply of baking soda handy in case of a grease fire. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire.
  • Keep fresh batteries in all smoke detectors.
  1. Virtual work and school overloading circuits with devices

The pandemic has sent millions of workers and students home to continue work and school on laptops or desktop computers. Home offices and home classrooms are stressing electrical circuits to the max. As a preventive safety measure, schedule an inspection by a certified electrician to assess needs based on consumption with the aim of making appropriate and sufficient upgrades at the panel box.

  1. Use of home space heaters

Compact space heaters are an efficient and economical way to customize a work or study space to individual needs. Users should be aware of load usage and avoid overloading electrical circuits. Space heaters should never be used to dry wet clothing. Keep young children and pets away from space heaters at all times. Never leave an operating heater unattended. Keep heaters and all electrical equipment away from water and moisture.

  1. Increased fireplace usage to heat homes in order to save money

Fireplace use has skyrocketed during the pandemic. Make sure to have a CO detector near the fireplace, along with the appropriate fire extinguisher. Burn the more efficient well-seasoned hardwoods in fireplaces and wood stoves. If usage is heavy, call in a chimney sweep for an inspection and cleaning at least twice a year. Be informed of fireplace safety tips and follow them carefully.

  1. Grill usage is up, presenting an additional fire concern

Outdoor spaces, especially outdoor kitchens, have become ever more popular during the pandemic as grill masters fire up the grills to exercise their culinary skills in the safety of the outdoors. Gas grills cause more house fires than briquette-type grills.

Basic grill safety should start with a clean and well-maintained grill. Position the grill at least ten feet away from any structure. Avoid grilling under an awning or overhang. Take proper precautions when lighting the grill. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby, and never leave the grill unattended, especially if children or pets are in the area. To avoid personal injury while grilling, use implements that are designed and approved for grill usage.

SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County is ready to respond immediately when a home or business needs fire damage restoration services. Since even small house fires cause extensive fire, smoke, and water damage, enlisting the services of a restoration company that has knowledgeable, experienced, and well-trained technicians certified across many areas is the homeowner’s best option. The SERVPRO team is available 24/7 and can have resources and personnel mobilized on scene and in action in minutes, not hours. Count on SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County for fire damage restoration to your home in Cleburne, TX or surrounding areas.  

For more information about fire damage restoration, contact the office by phone at (817) 297-8588 or by email at office@SERVPROcrowley.com.

How to Avoid Fire Damage from Seven Common Winter Fire Hazards

12/7/2020 (Permalink)

Here to help - image of clean living room Here to help

Blog Summary: SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County offers tips on avoiding seven common winter fire hazards.

Experiencing a house fire and having to go through a fire damage disaster can be emotionally and financially devastating. The team at SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County understands the stress and anxiety of such a traumatic disruption. Years of experience helping customers put their lives back together have made the company one of the highest-rated service providers in the property damage restoration industry. From the initial call until the job is finished, the technicians at SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County have the knowledge and determination to make a property damage disaster “Like it never even happened.”

Seven Winter Fire Hazards to Avoid

To experience a house fire is traumatic. Within minutes, the home can be engulfed in flames. According to the American Red Cross, “Home fires can happen at any time, but they generally increase during the fall and winter, with December and January being the peak months. Home fires are also more common on Saturday and Sunday and tend to peak between 6:00 PM and 7:00 PM. Where are home fires most likely to start? Home fires are more likely to start in the kitchen than any other room in the home. The second leading cause of home fires are heating sources like wood stoves and fireplaces. Fires caused by smoking are the leading cause of deaths.”

To help keep the holidays and winter months safe, the SERVPRO team in Crowley, TX, explains seven winter fire hazards and offers tips to avoid them.

  • Cooking fires in the kitchen

More house fires start in the kitchen than any other room in the house. Grease fires are a leading cause of kitchen fires. During the holiday season, the stove and oven are centers of activity. To prevent a cooking fire, never leave the kitchen unattended while food is cooling on the stove. If a situation arises that requires attention in another room, turn off the stove burners that are involved in the cooking, and if possible, remove the pot or pan from the hot burner. Be sure to have the appropriate fire extinguisher handy should a cooking fire, such as a grease fire, occur.

  • Heating equipment: wood stoves, chimneys, and space heaters

To prevent this winter fire hazard, keep combustibles at least three feet away from the heat source. Combustibles include furniture, curtains, and pets. Have the chimney and wood stove inspected and cleaned annually.

Use newer space heaters that are UL-approved. Over time, dust can build up in a space heater and create a fire hazard. Annually cleaning the heater is strongly advised. Do not use an extension cord with a space heater, and do not plug the heater into an overloaded circuit.

  • Christmas trees

Frequently water a live Christmas tree. If the needles begin to fall off, the time has arrived to discard the tree. Once dry needles ignite, the tree can become a raging fireball in seconds. Take down Christmas decorations soon after the holiday season. Inspect extension cords for frayed wiring. Make sure outlets are not overloaded.

  • Candle fires: decorative and religious

Candles are one of the most common causes of house fires during the winter months. The month of December is the peak time for candle fires in the home. In many instances, the fire begins when decorations come into contact with the candle’s flame. An unstable candelabra displaying religious or decorative candles may tip over, potentially causing a fire. Consider using electric or solar candles. Extinguish candles when they are not in use or if they are left unattended.

  • Electrical fires: faulty wiring, overloaded circuits, and extension cords

Before installation, inspect Christmas lights and other electrical decorations for damaged or frayed cords. Avoid overloading circuits or receptacles. Carefully inspect extension cords before usage since a frayed or damaged cord could cause a fire or result in electrocution and death. The few extra dollars spent on a properly rated heavy-duty extension cord could save thousands in fire damage or hospital bills.

  • Fireworks

According to the National Fire Protection Association, “Fireworks started an estimated 19,500 fires in 2018, including 1,900 structure fires, 500 vehicle fires, and 17,100 outside and other fires. These fires caused five deaths, 46 civilian injuries, and $105 million in direct property damage.”

The handling and use of fireworks are prohibited within the corporate limits of Crowley, TX, as in most cities in Texas. Nevertheless, fireworks are popular around holidays, especially New Year’s Eve. Following the manufacturer’s directions, including adult supervision, is strongly recommended.

  • Grills and fire pits

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly expanded the use of outdoor grills and fire pits. These simple safety tips should keep everyone safe. Position the grill or fire pit at least ten feet away from any structure. A clean grill is a safe grill. Never leave a grill or fire pit unattended. Keep a fire extinguisher or bucket of sand nearby in case the fire gets out of control.

Finally, have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of the house and inspect them regularly. Install ten-year, long-life batteries in the detection units. Locate fully charged and working fire extinguishers in the kitchen, garage, and near the Christmas tree. Have an evacuation plan in place so that, in the stressful environment of a fire, everyone knows what to do and where to go.

In the case of fire and water damage, the team of experts at SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County have the equipment, tools, training, and expertise to take control of the situation and begin the water and fire damage restoration process before advanced secondary damage begins to take place.

For more information about fire damage restoration in Crowley, TX, contact the office by phone at (817) 297-8588 or by email at office@SERVPROcrowley.com.

What are the Green and Black Spots on My Things After a Fire?

9/2/2020 (Permalink)

Did you know that mold damage is secondary damage created by fire extinguishment? SERVPRO can handle the process from start to finish. Call us today.

SERVPRO Techs Can Clean up the Fire Damage and Additional Issues Such as Mold in Your Cleburne Home 

As quickly as 48 hours after a fire in your home, naturally occurring mold spores can germinate, establish themselves in colonies, and spread. You may enter your Cleburne home post-fire to survey the damage and see numerous areas on the walls and your possessions of small spots, and those are usually mold growth. It is crucial to get professional remediation to halt the infestation and save as much of your possessions as possible.  

Is It Possible to Get Mold Remediation and Fire Damage Restoration at the Same Time?   

When the techs at SERVPRO handle fire damage restoration services in local Cleburne properties, along with fire damage, it is not unusual to deal with water damage and sometimes mold infestations. After a fire, there are three primary outcomes for building materials and contents in the home: 

  • Removal and disposal due to charring or other non-restorable damage
  • Deep cleaning making the item suitable for reuse  
  • Reuse after repairs, such as with electronics or the application of a sealant on sheetrock, locking in embedded soot  

Mold sometimes compounds the issues by appearing when the cleanup efforts get a delayed start. The locked-in warmth and moisture create a suitable environment for germination and infestation of colonies. During the fire damage cleanup of a property, the techs remove undamaged furnishings to a safe space outside the work area. 

SERVPRO technicians have certifications in Mold Remediation #MRC1353 and have the training and equipment to successfully neutralize any size infestation. Before any repairs can occur in the home, the mold issues need to get remediated. The typical process for handling mold damage is:   

  • Containment (much like fire cleanup) to stop airborne spores from spreading 
  • Removal of mold-damaged materials and articles  
  • Drying of colonies and abatement to remove dried residues    

Afterward, the techs rely on their professional-strength antimicrobial cleaning agents to disinfect surfaces where mold colonies grew previously. Post-cleaning, the use of antimicrobial sealants assures no return of the problem to that area.  

For both the cleanup of the water used in extinguishing the fire in Cleburne and areas of mold growth, the drying equipment SERVPRO uses is critical in lowering the interior humidity levels. Air movers work to direct air throughout a room while specialized equipment such as drying mats can lay on the hardwood flooring and dry the boards in place. In water seepage cases under tile or other types of floor covering, the drying mats can pull the embedded moisture from the subfloor. The drying process gets monitored carefully using various devices to ensure that drying goals for interior humidity levels get attained, and the work area verifies as unsustainable levels for mold.  

When needed in cases of mold and with permission from the adjuster, SERVPRO techs can bring in certified professionals in industrial air quality or aerobiologists to ascertain the types of mold present and afterward to verify the success of the remediation.  

A big part of fire damage cleanup is the odor removal. Repairs and restoration to the property cannot get done on top of smelly smoke odors. As the techs clean the visible residues away, embedded soot particulate continues to produce odors until it gets neutralized.  

SERVPRO techs call upon using a diverse selection of both deodorization solutions and applications to eradicate the smoke scent that fires leave behind. Often a single type of control method to remove the residual smells in a property may not be successful, and the techs utilize a multi-layered approach. Along with air scrubbers running during the entire restoration process, the use of both hydroxyl generators and thermal fogging neutralize any remaining odorous particulates at the molecular level.  

The follow up after the restoration is one of the most vital parts of the cleanup. SERVPRO techs work closely with both property owners and their adjusters to ensure the work is within the scope of coverage. Afterward, the crew chief takes the property owner throughout the job-site and goes over the actions taken, items that required disposal, and everything that got restored. Afterward, the techs provide a written report covering this information to assist in expediting any insurance claims. 

SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County at (817) 297-8588 serves the local community with small and extensive fire damage restoration needs. The certified technicians have extensive training and access to various equipment to assist cleaning items exposed to the fire for reuse. 

How Can Cooking Out Cause a Fire?

8/5/2020 (Permalink)

Cleburne, your fire damage needs SERVPRO’s tools and reliability.

SERVPRO technicians can handle any size fire damage to your Cleburne home.

Grilling weather in this part of Texas is year-round, and many people enjoy not only entertaining at home but tailgating and other cookout fun. When cooking on a grill at your Cleburne home, a fun time can turn into a tragedy if some basic safety rules get ignored:

  • Never bring an outdoor grill indoors, the result can be deadly
  • Always grill at least fifteen feet from overhanging tree branches and structures to inhibit the chance of fume build-up or accidental fires
  • When you think the fire is out, double-check it

How Can I Get Fire Damage Restoration to the Exterior and Interior of My Home?  

When a cookout goes wrong at your Cleburne home, and fire damage restoration is in order, there are numerous actions the SERVPRO technicians can take to assist in limiting any further loss to your property or contents. The techs are available around the clock for any type of fire cleanup and restoration, and upon arrival, they immediately handle any temporary repairs or securing the property needs such as: 

  • Placing tarps over damaged roofing to stop rain from entering
  • Boarding up broken windows or damaged doors  
  • Setting up security perimeters to keep unauthorized people out of the job site

How to Grill Safely and Avoid Fires

There are many things that homeowners can do to ensure that the fun time they had while cooking out can stay that way through the following:

Safe storage of flammables  

Where you store your flammable fuels such as liquid propane and natural gas away from electrical outlets, heat sources, and away from where you are cooking, briquettes and wood chips should get stored in containers with the same care.  

Always Have a fire extinguisher handy  

It is a good idea to have a household CO2 fire extinguisher and be sure every member of the household knows where it is and how to use it. If you do not have one, alternative ways to put out a fire are a large amount of baking soda. One thing you should'nt ever do is put out a grease fire with water. The water vaporizes upon contact with the grease and immediately rises, bringing the flames with it. A small grease fire can gut an area quickly if water gets tossed on it. The same outcome can happen when frozen items get placed in hot oil, and the ice turns into steam, such as people that use outdoor fryers for cooking frozen turkeys that did not get adequately thawed.   

Routine cleanup helps avoid fires  

If you have a propane or natural gas grill, do a check before you light it before every cook session and look at the following:   

  • Ensure fittings, lines and connections are in good condition as gas hoses exposed to heat can melt
  • Look for leaks
  • Clean blocked tubes
  • Check to make sure burners are free of debris and clean grill after each use

Wear the right clothes for cooking out

Make sure when you cookout that you have the correct clothing and protective equipment. Loose clothing can wind up charring or catching on fire, and you should avoid wearing it. Fireproof hand protection and long-handled utensils can allow you to cook safely over your grill. 

Know how to use your grill properly

Know the basics for operating your grill safely, such as leaving the lid open when igniting the grill. If the cover gets closed, it can cause a build-up of gases and explode. In cases where you have issues lighting your grill, leave the lid open for a minimum of five minutes to ensure it clears. Gas is heavier than oxygen and needs time to clear out of the cook box. 

If you need to swap tanks while grilling, use care  

Turn off the tank valve and burners to ensure no gas flow and make sure there is space to maneuver in the new tank without coming into contact with any hot surfaces. Natural gas grills should have a blue flame with a yellow tip. If the flame goes yellow, cease using the grill until a certified professional can inspect it. 

If a fire occurs, get everyone out of the way and extinguish the fire as rapidly as possible. It is wise to keep your insurance agent's contact information and the number for your local SERVPRO if you need assistance cleaning up post-fire. Soot can be caustic, and damage metal and smoke damage that enters your home will not go away until it is manually removed. 

When you need fast and efficient fire damage restoration, contact SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County at (817) 297-8588. The certified techs are on-call 24/7 to clean up and repair your home from any size fire loss. 

What Can I Do to Remove Fire Damage from My Crowley HVAC System?

5/21/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County serves the community with mitigation that is Faster to Any Size Disaster.

SERVPRO Professionals Restore Your Crowley Home After Fire Damage

Fire damage residues in your ventilation can be challenging for Crowley homeowners to clean. According to 2016 data, ad many of 55% of residential fire and smoke-damaged HVAC systems could be repaired without fully replacing them.

If you need fast fire damage mitigation for your Crowley residence, SERVPRO technicians are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to address the damage and restore your home to a preloss condition with EPA-registered antimicrobials.

How Fire Damage Affects Ventilation

    •    Smoke trapped in your HVAC. When a fire occurs in your home, smoke residues and soot deposits can get into the vents and circulate through your property the same way that clean air normally would. These deposits can introduce foul odors into areas that were unaffected by a home fire.
    •    Clogged filters require fast replacement. HVAC filters get clogged quickly after the strain of absorbing fire damage residues. Make sure that filters are cleaned or replaced to prevent costly repairs.
    •    Residues damage your ducts. Fire damage brings more than just smoke and soot into your home. Corrosive chemicals and acidic debris can tarnish or damage your vents and HVAC components. Fast removal minimizes the risk of large-scale failures in your system.

SERVPRO Cleans Out Soot-Filled Vents

SERVPRO’s multi-pronged approach to fire damage cleanup includes tools and solutions for cleaning ductwork. It is often more cost-effective to replace flex duct. Sheet metal ducts, on the other hand, may require some disassembly for thorough cleaning. Technicians use augers, brushes, and alkaline cleaners to address soot deposits and remove acidic residues.

SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County serves the community with mitigation that is Faster to Any Size Disaster. Call (817) 297-8588 to begin cleanup at any time of the day or night.

For more about Crowley click here.

We Put The Flames Of Worry Out In Cleburne After A Fire

4/2/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO powered this air scrubber with our generator to clean the air in this home after a fire disaster struck.

Attics Cans Be A Common Place For Fire Damage In Cleburne

Many attics inside houses in Cleburne can have electrical wires or heating vents running through them. If an electrical wire short or another mishap occurs, a fire could ignite inside your attic.

The flames coming from the blaze could start to consume your building materials such as your trusses, drywall, and insulation. The smoke created can also cause fire damage inside your Cleburne home. When the smoke starts accumulating in the attic, your drywall ceiling can get affected, and it can make its way into your living space. It is also possible that smoke can enter your heating and ventilation system and cause foul aromas to get circulated throughout your house.

Ensuring Safety Is Top Priority

Before beginning any fire damage restoration work, our SERVPRO team first assesses the situation to make sure that your structure is safe for all building occupants. Burnt building materials can create a dangerous environment, and we can inspect and mitigate the following safety hazards:

Fall Hazards: If drywall is hanging from your ceiling, we can safely remove it so that it cannot fall and injure someone.
Trip hazards: If burnt materials and other debris have already fallen onto your floors, we can remove the debris or clear out pathways for foot traffic.
Electrical Hazards: If the source was electrical-related or wiring was affected during the blaze, we can shut off the power and get a certified electrician to repair the problems.

Removal Of Charred Materials

During an attic fire, our SERVPRO technicians can start by removing any severely burnt debris, including insulation or drywall. If other materials such as your trusses or roofing materials get charred, we can conduct demolition procedures and dispose of these large, heavy items. Once the large chunks of debris are removed, we can then vacuum up the remaining dust with a high-efficiency particulate air or HEPA vacuum.

Attic fires can become disasters that are best handled by calling SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County at (817) 297-8588. We are available 24/7 and we can restore your loss, "Like it never even happened."

See more about Cleburne.

Cooking is a Leading Cause of House Fires

2/12/2020 (Permalink)

House fire caused by a kitchen fire.

Did you know cooking equipment is the leading cause of residential fires?

Often times food cooking is left unattended or forgotten, causing home fires and fire injuries that then cause approximately 49% of home fires that resulted in 21% of the home fire deaths and 45% of the injuries. Unattended equipment is a factor in one -third (31%) of reported home cooking fires and half (48%) of the associated deaths.

After your local Fire Department has rescued your property and left - let your local SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County help you restore your property to its preloss condition. Combining our fast response time and the utmost professionalism, open communication throughout the entire job process - we strive to restore - not only the structure, but your peace of mind as well. SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County will work alongside with your insurance agent.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) they offer the following eye-opening statistics on structure fires:

  • 482,030 structure fires were reported in the United States in 2018.
  • These fires caused $9.9 billion in the property damages.
  • One structure fire was reported every 48 seconds.

If the unthinkable happens and a fire strikes at your business or home, give the experts at your local SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County a call. We will work with your insurance agency and help make your property look “Like it never even happened”.

Cleburne House fire caused by Heating Lamp

2/11/2020 (Permalink)

House fire due to heating lamp left unattended.

SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County was dispatched to a home in Cleburne, that had fire damage due to a heating lamp catching fire at the resident’s home. Thankfully no one was hurt in the fire, but approximately 75% of the house was affected from the fire. Unfortunately due to the damage of the home, the insurance has declared the home to be a total loss.

Heating equipment, such as a heating lamp, is one of the leading causes of fires in the U.S. In winter months many use heating lamps to keep their farm animals warm, pets on their porches warm and reptiles inside the home.

According to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA); “Our local fire departments responded to an average of 52,050 fires involving heating equipment each year in the years 2012 thru 2016. During that time, those fires resulted in annual losses of 490 civilian deaths, 1,400 civilian injuries and $1 billion in direct property damage.”

If you are using heating lamps, please be sure to follow these following safety tips.

7 Helpful Safety While using a heating lamp:

  • Clean up any cobwebs/dust: Make sure to dust often and there are no cobwebs near the heating lamps you may have in your barns and/or homes. Barns can be dusty places!
  • Keep wires out of reach: Be sure wires are not being heating by the lamp itself and that wires are not exposed.
  • Double secure the lamp: Make sure wherever you have your heating lamp setup that is secure.
  • Never put a water bucket under the heat lamp: This can cause an electrical fire if the lamp was to fall into the water.
  • Use heat lampcages: To help reduce the risks of burns.
  • Keep lampsaway from bedding:  Material is flammable.
  • Check lampsfor frayed wires: Safety is important! This is a basic electrical rule. And one of the leading causes of electrical fires.

Should you find yourself in an unfortunate event due to a fire - give us a call! We’ll help pick up the pieces and make it like “Like it never even happened.”

House Fire Caused by Clothes Dryer in Fort Worth

2/10/2020 (Permalink)

This clothes dryer caused a house fire.

SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County received residential fire damage call out of the Fort Worth area. The fire was caused by the resident’s clothes dryer in their utility room. Our crew was dispatched for the demo and cleanup at this location.

Clothes Dryer Lint Is a Fire Hazard! Regular cleaning and maintenance can protect your family and your home investment.

The most common dryer now days are the front load dryer. When in use, make sure they're used safely! According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) there were close to 17,000 clothes dryer fires reported each year. Dryer fires have caused approximately 51 deaths, 380 injuries and an average of $236 million in property loss. Lint and debris can build up inside your dryer hose and the vent duct - reducing air flow, backing up exhaust gases and eventually creating a fire.

SERVPRO TIP: Make sure to have regular cleaning and maintenance to your clothes dryer to prevent a house fire! 

Fire Damage Recovery In Your Cleburne Home

1/16/2020 (Permalink)

Contact SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County at (817) 297-8588.

Wet Smoke and Surface Refinishing for Fire Damage Recovery in your Cleburne Home

Our homes are full of synthetic materials. These human-made plastics contain all kinds of toxins and chemicals which are harmless in a healthy environment. However, by introducing excessive heat, such as in a fire, these chemicals released during the combustion process in the form of thick, hot smoke. Synthetic smoke residues are typically greasy and tough to remove, which is why we refer to them as wet smoke deposits. In the high temperatures and pressure of a fire, these wet smokes can bond physically with the surfaces that they contact. Often removing them can be more challenging than using household water-based cleaning solutions.

It is tempting to try and rectify fire damage in your Cleburne home without the assistance of professional services. However, where plastic or synthetic materials are among the debris, it may be more prudent to consider professional expertise. Unlike water-based staining and soiling, wet smokes can spread around quickly, resulting in further damage to your home due to a broader spread of the offending soiling. Besides, the products SERVPRO uses in removing wet smokes can be corrosive, which makes experiential knowledge of the product and its applications essential.

Most surfaces in your home use finishes. These finishes may vary in composition from the varnishes used on flooring to the sealant applied onto appliances. At high temperatures, finishes can melt, releasing chemicals into the home but also bonding with wet smoke in a fire. It can be tough to remove the bonded texture using water-based products or simply scrubbing at with steel wools.

To combat staining that has bonded at a molecular level, SERVPRO uses dissolution. Dissolution techniques involve applying a particular chemical to the surface that dissolves both the finish and the soots attached to it. Once the dissolution process is complete, we can remove both the solvent and the soiling at the same time. This measure can be exceptionally effective at restoring your home to a preloss condition because it ensures that the surface is refinished evenly once complete.

Tackling synthetic wet-smokes may be a challenge using household cleaning products. Contact SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County at (817) 297-8588.

For more about Cleburne click here.

Fire Damage In Your Cleburne Homes

12/29/2019 (Permalink)

Cleaning up after a fire loss incident can be a vital element to bringing a property back to preloss condition.

Common Cleaning Methods for Fire Damage in Cleburne Homes

Cleaning is one of the most critical stages of our SERVPRO team to make fire losses “Like it never even happened.” for Cleburne homes. There are no universal approaches that work every time for every situation, however. As part of the experience and expertise that we can offer projects, we have the training to identify the type of material damaged, the residues or debris present, and potential concerns with specific cleaning techniques that could smear or stain particular surfaces.

Many products and tools can help to achieve fire damage cleanup for Cleburne homes. Each of these can help to accomplish dozens of specific practices designed to remove residues, debris, and other potential threats from the affected area. In severe instances where our advanced cleaning techniques cannot restore damaged surfaces or contents, we can rely on our team of licensed general contractors to help with controlled demolition, content management, and debris removal.

Ceilings and walls are among the most soiled of areas after a structure fire, because the circulation of the air during the fire forces smoke and soot particles upwards. Our SERVPRO professionals have multiple techniques for addressing residues left on ceilings and walls. We determine the best approach by the type of material affected and any additional factors like paint, wallpaper, and kind of soiling.

There are primarily three approaches to removing the residues, soiling, and debris from affected ceilings and walls after a structure fire. Dry cleaning with sponges and other tools is effective against non-grease soiling on surfaces.

Dry cleaning can also get used as a precursor to wet cleaning approaches. These would be effective on painted surfaces, wood, and metal materials. Dense concentrations of dry ash or soot or even oil-based residues can get removed with wet-cleaning approaches.

Peroxide cleaning is another approach that our SERVPRO team might implement in specific circumstances. This practice is one that our cleaning technicians already utilize for removing nicotine staining from ceiling materials. Because wet cleaning might be ineffective on textured ceiling materials, peroxide active cleaning can be an effective alternative.

Cleaning up after a fire loss incident can be a vital element to bringing a property back to preloss condition. No matter how we can help, give our SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County team a call today at (817) 297-8588.

For more about Cleburne click here.

Elements of Fire Damage Cleanup in Cleburne

11/26/2019 (Permalink)

Don’t let your fire damage go untouched in Cleburne, SERVPRO is here to assist you.

SERVPRO will break down the elements for your Cleburne fire clean up.

To prepare for the cleanup of a fire’s aftermath in Cleburne, we must determine the location and types of all residues left throughout your home. The composition of the structures coated with soot is also part of the equation. Because the variables can differ depending on the materials combusted, the amount of oxygen feeding the burn, and the temperature, we often employ several distinctive approaches to clean portions of the same damaged home.

Inspection and Pretesting

The success of fire damage cleanup in Cleburne depends on proper evaluation of and preparation for the particular circumstances. Pretesting cleaning strategies saves time and resources, avoiding making an already challenging situation even more difficult to manage. Customizing the cleaning agenda permits our training and experience to deliver the best outcome.

Residue Capture and Release

SERVPRO’s restoration technicians use fluids and air to release residues from surfaces before containing the coatings for appropriate disposal. Dry and loose soiling vacuums away easily. More closely adhered coatings must be dissolved to loosen the bond to the surface. 

Observe TACT During Fire Damage Cleanup

Dissolving allows for the suspension of the “stuck” residues in the cleaning solution, which can be flushed from the surface. Facilitation of this process requires manipulation of the following elements:

  • Temperature
  • Agitation
  • Chemical action
  • Time

Temperature and Agitation

A rise in temperature assists in the dissolving of residues as it accelerates the chemical reaction between the cleaning product and the soil. SERVPRO technicians are familiar with the optimal temperatures for our range of cleaning solutions, moderating the application of heat to mirror best practices. The surface tension of water-based cleaning solutions reduces as heat rises, allowing better penetration of surfaces. Heat causes both soil and cleaner molecules to move faster, improving dissolving action and encouraging soils to remain suspended. Adding agitation helps to dislodge the soils.

Chemical Action

The rule SERVPRO professionals follow is that like dissolves like. We match the type of fire residue with a similarly based cleaner to unlock the bond between the soot and the surface. We also use care when our training leads us to combine different categories of chemicals to remove stubborn soiling and staining. 

Patience Pays Off

SERVPRO technicians also take into consideration the dwell time needed for the chosen cleaning solution to release the residues. Particular timeframes are research-based, and impatience is likely to result in only partial cleaning or complete failure of the attempt.

Rely on the expertise and training of the SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County team for efficient fire damage cleanup. One call to (817) 297-8588 can resolve all your fire recovery needs.

If you would like to know more about Cleburne, click here.

Let Our Experts Take Care Of Soot Removal In Your Cleburne Home

10/30/2019 (Permalink)

You can reach our technicians 24/7 by calling (817) 297-8588.

Why Soot Removal is Not Advisable for Cleburne Homeowners

For all of the layers of damaging effects that could exist after fire spreads in your Cleburne home, few are as destructive and hazardous as soot. Even with the likelihood of structural deterioration and weakening, soot is hazardous in both short and long term ways. Soot gets created when fuels like coal, oil, wood, and other materials do not entirely burn up. The result may be harsh carcinogens and particulates circulating in the environment.

What makes soot such severe fire damage in Cleburne homes is how widespread the effect can become. Because it can continually circulate throughout the environment and spread from the source to neighboring rooms and areas, contents and surfaces can quickly become coated by this black film. Even in this settled state, soot can still damage the material beneath it and those exposed to its presence in the environment.

Microscopic particles of soot can be hazardous to a respiratory system when homeowners and even our experienced SERVPRO technicians encounter it. Its small size allows an individual to inhale a concentrated amount and have these particles travel deep into the lungs, where it is challenging to expel. We take all of the necessary precautions and ensure that our professionals have the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) even before assessing the damage and beginning initial mitigation steps. For this same reason, we encourage homeowners not to do their own damage assessment without taking the necessary precautions themselves.

Because of the acidic composition of these partially combusted materials resting on surfaces and contents throughout your fire-damaged home, our SERVPRO professionals must prioritize cleaning these areas. We have chemical sponges and potent cleaning agents that can wipe surfaces clean without allowing the soot to smear and stain, or aerosolized again. For many of the contents affected by soot, we can clean and deodorize these items in our SERVPRO facility. With our ultrasonic immersion cleaning tanks, we can restore glassware, toys, jewelry, and even porcelain pieces of art back to a pristine condition.

Soot can seem like a natural element to the aftermath of a fire, but it is far more problematic and hazardous than you might believe. Let our SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County team help you to remove soot and airborne contaminants for your home. You can reach our technicians 24/7 by calling (817) 297-8588.

For more about Cleburne click here.

Smart Strategies for Preventing House Fires | SERVPRO® of Crowley & South Johnson County

8/13/2019 (Permalink)

Fires caused by cooking are the leading source of house fires. If your home has fire damage, call SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County.

While every household should make installing smoke alarms a priority, there are other prevention resources you can use in conjunction with smoke alarms to make your home even safer. Because house fires occur often and for many reasons, it is essential to learn about the statistics and strategies for preventing them.

House Fires and the Numbers

According to the NFPA, every 24 seconds, someone is affected by a home fire. Extrapolated, that means there are an estimated 8,600 house fires in the United States each day.

Fires caused by cooking are the leading source of house fires, but there are many other reasons a fire could start as well. Faulty appliance cords, dryer lint and aerosol cans can also pose a fire risk if not handled carefully.

Top Tips for Fire Prevention

The best way to defend against house fire risk is by being proactive. Learning tips about fire prevention will help you understand the risks and how you can prevent them:

Check up on smoke alarms. Check your smoke alarms every 30 days, and replace them every 10 years, even if they still appear to be functional.

Clean dryer lint. As lint builds up and the dryer gets warm, it can become a combustion risk. Remove lint from the dryer tray after each load of laundry.

Never leave open flames. Fires can start and spread faster than you think, which is why it is never wise to leave the room when there is an open flame. Whether it is a candle, cooking flame or fireplace, always keep an eye on them.

Monitor electrical cords. Cords and electrical wires should be checked often for frayed spots and immediately replaced if they are present. Never run electrical cords under rugs or behind furniture, as they can produce heat.

Check for flammable products. Chemicals in household products can be highly flammable, as well as products that come in aerosol cans. Keep these away from sunlight or heat sources.

If your home has suffered damage from a house fire, give us a call. We are certified in fire and soot remediation, and here to help 247.

SERVPRO is Here to Help Restore Your Property After a Disaster

6/8/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO is well-known for getting there faster when disaster strikes--but there's another reason  SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County should be one of your first calls when disaster strikes.

Our “restore first” mentality when it comes to your property helps reduce interruptions to your everyday life and gets your home or business back to pre-disaster conditions. This is aided by the use of specialized equipment and cleaning techniques.

Restore First for Fire Damage

Knowing who to call first after a fire has damaged your property is stressful. SERVPRO is here to lessen that stress. Once you contact us, our team will get started right away to service your damage needs.

Our highly trained team will develop a unique plan, tailored to your needs, because every fire damage event is different. Here are the steps that are generally included in our process:

1. Emergency contact. Once you’ve made the initial contact with us, you will be asked to answer a series of questions regarding the fire damage. This helps us make sure our team is dispatched with the appropriate equipment and resources.

2. Inspection and fire damage assessment. When our team arrives on the scene, they will inspect and test adjoining rooms of the property to determine the extent of fire, smoke and soot damage. This helps us determine the right plan of action moving forward.

3. Immediate board-up and roof-tarp service. Because fire damage can compromise windows, walls and roofs, we will make sure that your property is secure and protected from further damage by boarding up missing windows and walls and placing a tarp on damaged roofs.

4. Water removal and drying (if water damage is present). Water damage from a fire is almost inevitable. We’ll begin the removal process right away and then use dehumidifiers and air movers to remove the remaining water and finish up the drying process.

5. Removal of smoke and soot from all surfaces. Our techniques and equipment are specialized to remove smoke and soot from ceilings, walls and other surfaces.

6. Cleaning and sanitizing. If your items, structures, and surfaces are able to be restored, we will clean them. After cleaning, we use industrial air scrubbers and fogging equipment to help remove stubborn odors.

7. Restoration. This is our final step in the process of getting your property back to pre-fire condition. Restoration can include minor repairs like replacing drywall, painting and installing new carpet. It could also call for major repairs like reconstruction of damaged areas.

Remember, if you need us, we’ll be there—no matter the time or day. The team of highly trained restoration experts at SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County is available for emergency cleanup and restoration services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Fire Safety Tips for Your Business

3/8/2019 (Permalink)

Business owners have many responsibilities--and one all-important responsibility is spending time planning and creating a fire prevention and evacuation plan. As a business owner, you will find there are plenty of safety factors to take into consideration regarding risks to your business, staff and visitors.

Some Leading Causes of Commercial Structure Fires

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has found that the leading causes of structure fires in office properties from 2007-2011 were (in order):

  1. Cooking equipment, 29% of fires
  2. Electrical distribution and lighting equipment, 12% of fires
  3. Heating equipment, 11% of fires
  4. Intentional, 10% of fires
  5. Smoking materials, 9% of fires
  6. Exposure, 4% of fires
  7. Electronic, office or entertainment equipment, 3% of fires.

Of those causes, intentional, exposure and electrical distribution and lighting equipment accounted for the most property damage with 20%, 18% and 15% respectively.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that fires and explosions accounted for 3% of all workplace fatalities in 2007.

In looking at more recent numbers, the NFPA estimates that from 2007-2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 3,340 fires in office properties per year, which resulted in an annual average of four deaths, 44 injuries and $112 million in direct property damage.

Protecting Your Business from Fire

So what are the steps a business owner can take to protect a business from the risk of fires? By focusing on fire risk assessment, fire prevention and staff education, a business owner can help reduce the chance of a fire breaking out.

First, a fire hazard risk assessment must be made. In some ares, the local government may even offer a visit from a fire marshal to help identify these risks and provide guidance in creating a fire prevention plan.

It is important to ensure that the right fire protection equipment is in place. This includes an automatic sprinkler system, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers on each floor.

Finally, the most important aspect to consider is the human element, namely your employees. By creating a fire plan and reviewing it with staff, a business owner ensures that everyone knows what to do in the case of a fire. Conduct fire drills at least once a year to keep the fire safety protocol fresh, and take time to review evacuation plans and where the first-aid kits are.

Despite best efforts with fire prevention and safety tips, the worst could always happen at your business. If a fire has damaged your business, SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County is available to help make it "Like it never even happened."

Do I Need to Move Out of My Home After a Fire?

2/12/2019 (Permalink)

Kitchen in Crowley, TX with smoke and soot damage.

Move Out After Fire Damage

If any part of your home suffers smoke damage from a fire, the severity of the damage will determine if you have to move out. Staying in your home may seem like the best option, but there are some really good reasons for moving out.

  1. It will allow the workers to assess the house and conduct any repairs. During such a time, one would have to move into a motel. The soot damage may mean one’s clothing is destroyed and unusable.
  2. It will allow you to have essentials, such as clothes and boots for work, cleaned and not stored in a smelly home.

Purchasing new items right away should only be done by approval of the insurance adjuster. You must ensure they keep all the receipts safely.

In the case of a fire loss or smoke damage, the insurance has to act fast. There is a legal requirement that they work fast. If you feel the insurer is moving too slowly to compensate for the soot damage, it is essential to contact them or have the restoration company contact them.

How To Create a Fire Evacuation Plan for Your Pets

2/12/2019 (Permalink)

Planning Ahead is the Best Way to Ensure Your Pets' Safety.

No one wants to consider the possibility of facing a fire emergency in their own home, but it could happen at any time. Coming up with a fire plan is key to getting yourself and your family out safely. But what about your pets? If you don’t include pet preparation in your fire safety plan, you may not be able to get your furry friends out in time. Make sure this heartbreaking situation doesn’t happen by following these steps to create a fire evacuation plan for your pets.

  1. Keep Pets Away From Fire Hazards

If you have any potential fire hazards in your Crowley, TX, home (such as space heaters or fireplaces), keep your animals away from those areas. A simple baby gate or leash can be used to confine your pets to the safest areas of your home so they can’t start a fire. If you plan to leave the home, turn off all heaters, electronics and other potential fire hazards beforehand.

  1. Use a Pet Alert Window Cling

If firefighters have to get you out of your home during a fire emergency, they’re not likely to know you have animals inside as well. As part of your pet safety plan, purchase or create a pet alert window cling that includes the number and type of pets inside your home. Keep the window cling affixed to a front window where it can be easily seen by rescuers.

  1. Put Pets Near Doorways When You Leave

Whenever you leave the home, make sure your animals are located near a front doorway so they can be easily rescued if needed. You may choose to confine your pets in a playpen or put them on a leash so they don’t wander from the area while you’re gone.

These steps will make it easier for rescuers to bring you and your pets to safety in the event of a fire emergency. You may also want to have the number for SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County on had to help you repair damage after a fire.

Fire Damage to Your Commercial Building in Crowley.

2/7/2019 (Permalink)

Trucks from SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County on the scene of a company damaged by fire and smoke.

Smoke Damage to Your Business 

Recovery after a fire is important to keep your company in business. The longer smoke particles stay embedded on surfaces in building materials, the more difficult it is to remove. The smoke damage remediation process must begin at once. SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to get your business back up and running.  With a properly applied Mitigation process all salvageable items can be cleaned and restored by our vastly trained and highly skilled crew of technicians.

As a professional fire damage restoration company, SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County can completely restore a building that has been affected by any fire despite the size or scope, so your company looks "Like it never even happened."

3 Ways To Avoid Fires When Grilling

10/25/2018 (Permalink)

Grill in safe place in your Keene,TX

Three Ways to Prevent a Grill Fire

Gas, hardwood, and other types of grills generate a lot of heat and often rely on open flame. It is possible to grill safely if you take a few simple fire safety precautions. Here are three ways to prevent a grill fire at your home in Keene, TX.

1. Grill In a Safe Place

One of the best ways to avoid starting a barbeque fire is to move a safe distance away from structures and flammable items. Never operate a grill on a patio or porch that has a roof. You should also never start kindling a cooking fire inside. Always allow a grill to cool completely prior to storage.

2. Clean and Maintain Your Grill

A grill fire is more likely to break out on a grill covered with grease and flammable food residue. Maintain a fire for at least ten to fifteen minutes after cooking to burn off residue and scrape the grates with a wire brush. Give the entire grill a deep cleaning at least once or twice per season. When the grill is cool, remove the grates and drip pan and clean them with water and a suitable soap. Wipe down the interior and exterior.

3. Factor Fire Safety Into Food Preparation

Trim excess fat from meat prior to grilling. This can reduce the amount of grease that builds up on the grates or in the drip pan and lower the risk of a barbeque fire. You should also use igniting agents responsibly and store containers at a safe distance from an open flame. Keep other flammable items such as napkins and towels at a safe distance.

These measures can help you grill more safely. If a grill fire does start and cause damage to the exterior of your home, schedule an appointment with a fire and smoke damage mitigation and restoration company in Keene, TX.

Can I Salvage My Electronics After a Fire?

7/15/2018 (Permalink)

It’s no secret that fire can leave destruction in its wake. Even small house fires can damage or even destroy your home’s structure as well as your belongings inside. You may think that items such as electronic equipment would be useless after a fire. However, you’ll be happy to know that in some cases, you can use fire cleanup methods to restore and preserve your electronics such as laptops, TVs, stereos and other valuable items.


What can You do Immediately?


Once you have the fire under control, you will start to assess the damage. When you get to your electronics, take the following action without delay:

• Carefully move them to a safe, secure location.
• Do not turn them on or try to operate them.
• Call a seasoned restoration specialist to examine the extent of the damage.


What Will the Pros Do?


When a professional comes to your Cleburne, TX, home to look at the smoke damage your electronics sustained, he or she will promptly work on removing the acids the smoke left behind. This acid will begin to corrode the equipment and render it useless. The faster the technician can remove and clean these materials, the better chance you have of using the electronics again.


Why Call Professionals?


During fire cleanup, you may be tempted to clean your electronics yourself. You should always let a trained professional take care of these items. Not only do the pros have the right equipment to effectively and successfully clean your electronic equipment, but they also have extensive experience in restoring people’s TVs, computers and various other electronics. If you attempt to do this on your own, you may cause further damage.

If you want to salvage your most important electronic equipment during a fire cleanup, make sure you call a professional restoration company. With expert help, you don’t have to say goodbye to your electronics.

For more information, please visit us at http://www.SERVPROofcrowleysjc.com.

Two Types of Fires You’re Likely Not Prepared For

5/7/2018 (Permalink)

A home fire can destroy everything you own, and insurance is the best way to ensure you are compensated for damages. However, what if your house is vacant during the fire or is subject to arson? In these circumstances, insurance does not usually cover damage you incur. Residents in Cleburne, TX, are preparing by taking decisive action to protect their homes and their pocketbooks.


Ensure Your Property Isn’t Vacant


Insurance policies have varying definitions of what constitutes a vacant property, but generally it means a property that has been unoccupied for 30 days or longer. Holiday homes only used for a few weeks each season may fall into this category. If you vacation or travel extensively, whether for business or pleasure, the insurance company could consider your home vacant if a fire occurs during your absence. Here are some tips to make sure you don’t get caught off guard by the finer details of your policy:

• Verify the exact number of days your property can be left unattended without being declared vacant.
• Prove that you were home at least once within the specified period as an extra precaution.
• Purchase vacant home fire insurance if you cannot guarantee that you will be around before the window of time expires.


Don’t Fall Victim to Arson


If you experience a fire that is purposely set, the damages may not be covered by insurance. Arson constitutes insurance fraud; in other words, it’s starting a home fire on purpose to collect insurance money. If investigators discover that your home has deliberately been set ablaze, then the insurance company can reject your claim.

Luckily, most homeowners don’t set fire to their own homes, so all you need to do is take some common-sense precautions to prevent others from doing it. Install basic security cameras around your property, particularly near flammable structures. Keep multiple fire extinguishers on your property and consult with experts on how to fireproof your home.

The stakes are too high to be caught off guard by a home fire. You stand to lose everything if you are not prepared. Fortunately, with the right research and preparation you can be ready for anything.

For more information, please visit us athttp://www.SERVPROofcrowleysjc.com.

How To Create a Fire Evacuation Plan for Your Pets

2/6/2018 (Permalink)

No one wants to consider the possibility of facing a fire emergency in their own home, but it could happen at any time. Coming up with a fire plan is key to getting yourself and your family out safely. But what about your pets? If you don’t include pet preparation in your fire safety plan, you may not be able to get your furry friends out in time. Make sure this heartbreaking situation doesn’t happen by following these steps to create a fire evacuation plan for your pets.

1. Keep Pets Away From Fire Hazards

If you have any potential fire hazards in your Crowley, TX, home (such as space heaters or fireplaces), keep your animals away from those areas. A simple baby gate or leash can be used to confine your pets to the safest areas of your home so they can’t start a fire. If you plan to leave the home, turn off all heaters, electronics and other potential fire hazards beforehand.

2. Use a Pet Alert Window Cling

If firefighters have to get you out of your home during a fire emergency, they’re not likely to know you have animals inside as well. As part of your pet safety plan, purchase or create a pet alert window cling that includes the number and type of pets inside your home. Keep the window cling affixed to a front window where it can be easily seen by rescuers.

3. Put Pets Near Doorways When You Leave

Whenever you leave the home, make sure your animals are located near a front doorway so they can be easily rescued if needed. You may choose to confine your pets in a playpen or put them on a leash so they don’t wander from the area while you’re gone.

These steps will make it easier for rescuers to bring you and your pets to safety in the event of a fire emergency. You may also want to have the number for your local fire restoration experts on hand to help you repair damage after a fire.

Do I need to move out of my home?

1/30/2018 (Permalink)

Kitchen stove with fire and soot damage.

Move Out After Fire Damage

If your house suffers smoke damage due to an incident in the kitchen it depends on the severity of the damage if you have to move out. But there are some really good reasons for moving out.

  1. It will allow the workers to assess the house and conduct any repairs. During such a time, one would have to move into a motel. The soot damage may mean one’s clothing is destroyed and unusable.
  2. It will allow you to have essentials, such as clothes and boots for work, cleaned and not stored in a smelly home.

Purchasing new items right away should only be done by approval of the insurance adjuster. You must ensure they keep all the receipts safely. 

In the case of a fire loss or smoke damage, the insurance has to act fast. There is a legal requirement that they work fast. If you feel the insurer is moving too slow to compensate for the soot damage, it is essential to contact them or have the restoration company contact them.

Securing Your Property after Fire

1/30/2018 (Permalink)

Boarded front door after a fire.

Ensure that Property is Secured

When afire occurs, you should ensure to prevent any further loss. There are a couple of ways to make sure your home is safe.

  1. Board up any holes left by the fire. It will prevent further losses. Your local restoration company can provide board up services for you.
  2. Move any property that is undamaged by the kitchen fire. An insurance company could claim the owner was negligent. Thus, it may reduce the amount one gets as compensation.
  3. File a Claim Immediately. Fire-claims need to be filed immediately. The longer you delay, the more damage will be caused by soot and smoke.

Considers the above measures to reduce the suffering of fire damage. Call SERVPRO of Crowley & South Johnson County to schedule your board up and cleaning.

Board Up Services in Crowley, TX

1/10/2018 (Permalink)

After a fire, there may be some gaping holes in your home. Firefighters break windows and doors to vent the home of smoke. It keeps them safe while working inside your home to battle the fire.

However, there are those in our community who would take advantage of those broken windows and doors to take away your possessions for themselves or to sell. It is for this reason that insurance companies will pay for boarding up your home in case of a fire.

SERVPRO of Crowley and South Johnson County can board up your home after a fire to keep it secure. We understand that there are a lot of decisions that need to be made between the homeowner and the insurance. One of those decisions shouldn’t be a secondary claim due to theft and vandalism.

Fire Damage Restoration in Crowley

11/22/2017 (Permalink)

Removing Fire Damaged Items

A professional fire restoration company can help the business owner decide what items they want to keep and what items they want to get rid of and replace. A fire sprinkler system may have caused problems to many other items that the business owner needs to use in order to help serve their clients. Fire restoration efforts after an electrical fire should concentrate on restoring such spaces so they can become functional again. Professionals can help the owner decide what to do to make the spaces ready to open after commercial fire damage. They may suggest items in the space that can help with fire suppression methods should another fire break out again.

Creating Inviting Spaces Again

In the aftermath of a fire, any business owner may look around the property and feel overwhelming. Damage from a fire can make the entire space feel unappealing. Fortunately, there is hope. Many business owners can turn to professionals to help them figure out what needs to be done to clean up after the fire has been put out. A professional Disaster and Restoration service may suggest that an area be cleaned of ash and soot and that windows and doors be cleaned. They can also clean items that had been used for decoration such as furniture or paintings. An effective professional company can help a business get back to doing business after a utility fire.
Visit http://www.SERVPROofcrowleysjc.com for more information on commercial fire damage.

Restoration Services for Property Owners

11/22/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Restoration For Property Owners

When a property owner is dealing with the effects of a fire in home, they will look to hire a restoration company to help them. The services provided by this type of company are quite similar whenever there is either a fire in home or a fire in business. If there is a fire in home, the restoration company will often evaluate the damage of the home and then clean off all of the smoke and soot.

If there is a fire in business, fire damage restoration will likely be more intensive and take longer to complete. However, fire damage restoration is arguably the most effective way to address a fire in business. After experiencing commercial fire damage such as a fire in business, property owners will want to take advantage of a number of services offered by a restoration company. These services include things such as fire cleanup which is the process of eliminating lingering smoke, soot and debris from the fire. Companies that are assisting property owners who have experienced fire in business will perform a number of steps similar to that of a regular home.

The first step in fire damage restoration for commercial fire damage is to first evaluate and inspect the property. This entails going over all of the structures and assessing their condition. It also consists of looking for smoke and soot and then looking to board up parts of the property. The next step in fire damage restoration and addressing commercial fire damage is to eliminate the smoke and soot. Part of the process may include a board up. When a company looks to boar up parts of the property, it is done to shield everyone from smoke and soot. A company will then perform fire cleanup by using specialized equipment to get rid of smoke, soot and other debris after a board up. Once fire cleanup is finished, a company will then look to sanitize the property and make sure that there are no more hazardous particles in the property. With a combination of a board up and fire cleanup, property owners will be in position to effectively resolve any negative effects caused by commercial fire damage.
Visit http://www.SERVPROofcrowleysjc.com for more information on fire damage.

How Restoration Companies Help Home Owners Recover from Fire Damage

11/6/2017 (Permalink)


How Restoration Companies Help Home Owners Recover from Fire Damage

Property owners will usually do everything they can to maintain their property and keep it in the best possible condition. However, there are some things that occur that are beyond the property owners’ control. One of these things is a fire which can occur at any time. When a fire occurs, the property will likely experience a lot of adverse effects such as fire damage. With fire damage, a number of the property structures will be broken down and in some cases fall apart. As a result, fire damage can have some very devastating effects on a property. However, there is a solution that property owners can take advantage of when dealing with fire damage. This solution is to hire a company that specializes in both residential and commercial fire restoration.

As well as fire damage, property owners also deal with smoke damage whenever there is a fire. Smoke damage is caused by the fire which results in a number of particles getting on the property structures. The effects of smoke damage can be quite devastating as it can not only break down the various property structures, but also cause odors and ruin the appearance of the property as well. Smoke damage is one of the things that property owners will need to address shortly after there is a fire. Along with causing a deterioration of the structure and appearance of a property, damage caused by smoke can cause a smoke smell that is quite unpleasant. The smoke smell will usually be an odor that is quite strong and which will need to be eliminated right away. Whenever a property owner is dealing with smoke damage and a smoke smell, they will benefit by hiring a restoration company. The services of a restoration company will help property owners eliminate damage as well as the smoke smell.

Along with experiencing damage from fires and smoke, any property that catches fire will also have soot damage. When a property experiences soot damage, it will have an accumulation of black particles that get on various structures of the property. Soot damage will often contribute to the deterioration of a property after a fire. As a result, soot damage can have devastating effects on any property. In order to address this issue, property owners will benefit by getting a professional company to help remove soot and other particles that can be hazardous.

Visit http://www.SERVPROofcrowleysjc.com for more information on fire damage.