Recent Fire Damage Posts

Hindsight is 20/20

12/13/2018 (Permalink)

All homeowners have some type of insurance to cover their home and contents should they ever experience a loss.  However; many take out the policy and think no more about it.  You have done what you should to cover yourself right?  Wrong.  If you were to experience a residential fire that resulted in a complete loss, would you be able to remember every item that was in your home?  In hindsight, you would realize that documenting your contents before the loss would have made the recovery process much smoother.  Keeping an accurate inventory of your belongings can save you time, headache, hassle and monetary loss.  It is also important to check what type of coverage you have when it comes to replacement costs.  All policies have some form of replacement coverage, but there is a key difference. Many cover contents at actual cash value, while some cover only for current market price less depreciation.  After you have created your home log inventory, contact your insurance agent to make sure you are covered.  And of course, when it comes to creating your inventory, there's an app for that!  CLICK HERE to see the top 10 apps for creating a home inventory log. At SERVPRO of Southwest Mobile, we have seen the fire restoration process from beginning to end and we want to help you be better prepared for the unexpected.  We can’t promise you that it will never happen, but we can help you be ready if it does!  

All About Soot

7/25/2018 (Permalink)

All About Soot (Fire)

As defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, soot is “a black powder formed when something is burned : the very fine powder that colors smoke”.   Most of us know what soot is, but did you know there are various types of soot based on what has burned and what started the fire?  At SERVPRO of Southwest Mobile, we clean each item based on its material composition as well as the type of soot. In order to provide the best results, you must determine the type of soot before you begin the cleaning process to ensure the proper methods are used.  Contents may be affected by:

  • Wet soot - results from an oxygen-starved, low smoldering fire with high moisture levels.   

  • Dry soot - caused by high-heat, high oxygen fires with natural materials.

  • Protein soot - typically a fire in the kitchen caused by overcooked meat.  This is usually hard to see but covers all surfaces with a sticky, hard to remove residue.

When it comes to cleaning up after a fire, even a small one, it is a job best left up to the experts.  Our team has undergone extensive training to understand how each type of fire can leave behind its own calling card.  We have the tools and knowledge to make it "Like it never even happened.®"

A Few "Alarming" Facts

7/25/2018 (Permalink)

A Few “Alarming” Facts (Fire)

After the fire is out and we step in, the team here at SERVPRO of Southwest Mobile County  takes great pride in being able to help our clients get their lives back on track as quickly as possible.  However; we also take great pride in sharing the knowledge we have gained to educate our community members on how to lessen the impact of unforeseen disasters.  We can’t ensure that you will never experience a fire or water loss, but we can help you safeguard your family and your property as much as possible. Safety, prevention and planning are key to minimizing property loss and injury.  One of the easiest and most effective ways to protect your family is by having properly working smoke alarms. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):

  • 3 out of 5 deaths in a residential fire occurred in homes without properly working smoke alarms.

  • No smoke alarms were present in nearly 2 out of 5 home deaths.

  • In homes with smoke alarms that did not operate properly, nearly half of those malfunctions were due to missing batteries or disconnected wires.

  • One-quarter of smoke alarms failures were due to dead batteries.

The NFPA recommends that you test your smoke alarms monthly.  Make sure your smoke alarms are on a connected system so that if one sounds, they all go off.  It is also recommended that you replace your smoke alarms with new ones every 10 years.

ICat Inventory System

7/12/2018 (Permalink)

iCat Inventory System

When you experience a fire in your home it can be a very traumatic situation.  The stress is often intensified when you have to move out all of your belongings in order to begin the recovery process.  At SERVPRO of Southwest Mobile, our goal is to make this process as easy as possible for you. One way in which we do that is through our iCat inventory system.  This electronic inventory tool allows us to catalog each item we pack up and note the location to ensure accurate tracking of your contents. Each item is photographed and receives a unique barcode as it is being packed by our crew.  Once it is at our shop, the item is cleaned and receives a new label, allowing our team to place the item in the correct room upon its return to your home. During this entire process, you have the ability to view the contents through the web access and request any items that you may need during the cleanup.  Using this innovative inventory process gives our customers piece of mind by knowing where their contents are at all times. It is just one more way that SERVPRO of Southwest Mobile goes above and beyond to care for our customers.

Residential Packouts

3/8/2018 (Permalink)

After the fire is out and the smoke is cleared the real work is ready to begin.  At SERVPRO of Southwest Mobile, we are there to help you every step of the way.  Everyone thinks about the clean up and restoration that is involved after a fire, but the process is much more involved than you may expect.  It is not just the structure that is affected but also personal belongings as well.  The first step after a serious fire, is to remove all of the contents and transport them to our climate controlled warehouse.  We use a revolutionary new software system called iCat to electronically photograph and catalogue each item as we pack it up.  This system means that we know exactly where each item was located in the house and what box it was packed in to.  Not only does this allow us to place the items back in the corresponding rooms when we bring it back, but it also allows us to quickly locate anything you may need during the cleanup process.  You even have access to the inventory log via the online site while it is being cleaned and stored at our facility.  This is just one more way that SERVPRO of Southwest Mobile is committed to providing the best service to our clients! 

Emergency Tips on a Home Fire

1/31/2018 (Permalink)

Your home is a place to relax, play and enjoy spending time with your family. Our home is also where we spend a good bit of our time, which is why we are going to talk about some simple steps to minimize the risk of getting hurt. Below are some helpful tips to prevent serious injuries that are often completely preventable.

What to Do in case of fire or smoke damage:

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
  • Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
  • Blow or brush vacuum loose soot particles from upholstery, drapes and carpets.
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpeted traffic areas.
  • Clean and protect chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim and appliances with light coating of Vaseline or oil.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator completely and prop doors open.
  • Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves.
  • Change HVAC filter.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.

What Not to Do in case of fire or smoke damage:

  • Do not attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting your SERVPRO professional.
  • Do not attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting your local SERVPRO professional.
  • Do not attempt to clean any electrical appliances, TV’s, radios, etc. that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.
  • Do not use any canned or packaged foods or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water- they may have been contaminated.
  • Do not turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be wet or damaged.
  • Do not send fabrics to an ordinary dry cleaner- improper cleaning may set the smoke odor

9 Ways To Prevent Holiday Fires in Mobile, AL

12/27/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage 9 Ways To Prevent Holiday Fires in Mobile, AL Dangers of Christmas Tree Fires in Mobile, AL

Holidays are here with weeks of celebrating with family and loved ones. But with celebrations comes potential dangers. Here is a great article I found by Anglea Nelson.

More home fires happen in the winter than any other time of year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. And it’s not hard to figure out why — those chilly months are when we turn on our heating systems, use space heaters or light a fire in the fireplace.

Winter also brings the holidays. So make sure the only sparks that fly this season are between you and your sweetie as you smooch under the mistletoe. Here are nine tips from the safety experts at UL for preventing a house fire.

Related: How to Survive a Fire

  1. Keep an eye on candles.Keep lighted candles away from items that might catch fire, including curtains, table runners, fresh garlands and wrapped gifts. Blow out the candle before you leave the room.
  2. Avoid stove distractions.Cooking is the number one cause of house fires. If you leave the kitchen while something's on the stove or in the oven, carry an oven mitt with you as a reminder to go back and tend to the food. Keep children and pets away from the cooking area. Wear short, close fitting or tightly rolled sleeves as you stir and simmer, since loose clothing can dangle onto burners and catch fire. 

If you have a fire on the stove, turn off the burner and cover the pan with a lid. Never use water, baking soda or flour to extinguish a grease fire. Also, never carry the pan outside, as you could spread flames throughout the house in the process.

If your oven catches fire, turn off the heat, and keep the oven door closed.

Related: Quiz: Are You Prepared for a House Fire?

  1. Water your Christmas tree.If you have a real tree,letting it get dry is a fire hazard. A tree needs water once or twice a day for the first few weeks. If you have a fake tree, read the label. It should say “fire resistant.” But that doesn’t mean fireproof. Don’t place any kind of tree near a fireplace, radiator or lit candles.
  2. Have fire extinguishers in your house.You should have one ABC fire extinguisher on each level of your home, near the exit, and in your garage if you have one. It's a good idea to have smaller, supplemental fire extinguishers for your kitchen and car, says John Drengenberg, consumer safety director for UL.
  3. Use space heaters wisely.Keepspace heaters three feet away from combustibles such as curtains, clothing, bedding and furniture. Unplug the appliance when you’re not using it.
  4. Install and test smoke alarms.Install at least one UL-listed smoke alarm on every level of your home, including the basement andinside and outside every sleeping areaTest smoke alarms at least once a monthand replace the batteries twice a year.
  5. Get yourfireplace,chimney and wood stove inspected. These should be cleaned and inspected by a professional every year. Your fireplace should have a sturdy screen to prevent embers from flying into the room.
  6. Have your furnace inspected.Call a professional toservice your furnace once a year. You can replace or clean the furnace filter yourself — the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute recommends doing it three times a year. Keep combustible materials, such as paint thinners, gasoline or kerosene, away from the furnace.
  7. Keep flammables away from the fireplace.Make sure garland, wrapped presents and even stockings are far enough away that they won't catch fire if a spark flies. If you want to hang stockings over the fireplace mantel, move them when you light a fire.

The Costly Effects of a Fire

8/13/2017 (Permalink)

Fire is one of our most valuable resources.  We use it to cook our food, heat our homes, power our world and so much more.  However, when it comes to our homes, fire can also be one of our worst enemies.  Each year, according to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), nearly 358,300 home-owners experience a fire.  Nearly, $10.3 billion in property damage and 3,280 deaths were due to residential fires in 2015 alone.  Residential fires accounted for three-quarters of all structure fires during 2015.  At SERVPRO of Mobile Southwest, we have seen first-hand the devastation that fire can cause.  We take pride in helping customers get their lives back on track in the wake of a disaster; but our wish is that they never go through that experience.  Knowledge is power when it comes to prevention and we want to share information that can help you protect your home.  Cooking is the leading cause of residential fires followed by home heating.  When cooking be sure to never leave anything on or near the stove and use caution when frying.  If you have central heating, make sure to have ducts cleaned regularly to prevent buildup and reduce the chance of fire. Dryer vents should also be cleaned annually.  Clothes dryers cause an estimated 2,900 fires each year, causing over $35 million in property losses. Call us today to schedule your HVAC or dryer vent cleaning and protect your home.

The Costly Effects of a Fire

8/13/2017 (Permalink)

Fire is one of our most valuable resources.  We use it to cook our food, heat our homes, power our world and so much more.  However, when it comes to our homes, fire can also be one of our worst enemies.  Each year, according to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), nearly 358,300 home-owners experience a fire.  Nearly, $10.3 billion in property damage and 3,280 deaths were due to residential fires in 2015 alone.  Residential fires accounted for three-quarters of all structure fires during 2015.  At SERVPRO of Mobile Southwest, we have seen first-hand the devastation that fire can cause.  We take pride in helping customers get their lives back on track in the wake of a disaster; but our wish is that they never go through that experience.  Knowledge is power when it comes to prevention and we want to share information that can help you protect your home.  Cooking is the leading cause of residential fires followed by home heating.  When cooking be sure to never leave anything on or near the stove and use caution when frying.  If you have central heating, make sure to have ducts cleaned regularly to prevent buildup and reduce the chance of fire. Dryer vents should also be cleaned annually.  Clothes dryers cause an estimated 2,900 fires each year, causing over $35 million in property losses. Call us today to schedule your HVAC or dryer vent cleaning and protect your home.

Minimizing Secondary Soot and Smoke Damages

7/26/2017 (Permalink)

Minimizing Secondary Soot and Smoke Damages 

DO:

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
  • Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
  • Brush vacuum loose soot particles from upholstery, drapes and carpet.
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator completely and prop doors open.
  • Clean and protect chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim and appliances with light coating of Vaseline or oil.
  • Wash house plants on both sides of leaves.
  • Change HVAC filter.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.     

DON’T:

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

Even if your property didn’t suffer fire damage, there may be soot particles and residues left to clean up. If cleaned improperly, the odor and effects can linger long after the fire has been extinguished. From the structure itself to the contents inside SERVPRO of Mobile Southwest utilizes the latest technology and training to, make it "Like it never even happened."

Who do you call after the Fire Department has left?

3/15/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO cleans up the fire damage left behind from brutal flames, smoke and that lifesaving fire hose.

Did you know SERVPRO of Southwest Mobile cleans up all the chaos after the firemen leave your home? SERVPRO cleans the fire damage left behind from the brutal flames, smoke, soot, water and fire retardant.  SERVPRO has been tasked with job of removing the debris, then demolishing the walls and removing that debris and then assisting with the starting back over building the house from the inside out.

If you have suffered from a fire damage or smoke damage and do not know who to turn to, call SERVPRO today. 343-0534

We will walk you through the process every step of the way, and make it "Like it never even happened."

Christmas Tree Fire

12/5/2016 (Permalink)

One of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems. Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. On average, one of every 31 reported home Christmas tree fires results in a death compared to an average of one death per 144 total reported home fires. A heat source too close to the tree causes one in every four of Christmas tree fires. Two out of five home decoration fires are started by candles. One-third of all candle fires start in the bedroom.