Recent Fire Damage Posts

Smoke, Soot, and Safety: Why You Should Consider Professional Electronics Cleaning After a Fire

4/21/2023 (Permalink)

water damaged electronics It is important to have your electronics assessed by a professional after a fire.

After experiencing a fire, it's common to wonder if your electronics are safe to use. Whether it was a small kitchen fire or a larger structural fire, the effects can be devastating, and your electronics may have been exposed to a range of contaminants. So, should you have your electronics cleaned after a fire? The answer is, it depends.

First and foremost, safety should always be the top priority. If you suspect that any of your electronics may have been damaged by the fire, do not attempt to turn them on or use them. In some cases, electronics can become dangerous if they have been damaged by a fire, and attempting to use them can pose a significant risk to you and your family. It's essential to have a professional assess the damage before attempting to use any of your electronics.

Even if your electronics appear to be undamaged, they may have been exposed to a range of contaminants during the fire. Smoke, soot, and other contaminants can cause damage to your electronics, and may even be hazardous to your health if they are not properly removed. The longer these contaminants are left untreated, the more damage they can cause to your electronics, and the more difficult it may be to remove them.

So, should you have your electronics cleaned after a fire? In general, it's a good idea to have a professional assess the damage and determine whether your electronics need to be cleaned or replaced. If your electronics have been exposed to smoke or soot, it's likely that they will need to be professionally cleaned to remove any contaminants that may have settled on them.

Professional electronics cleaning services can help remove contaminants from your electronics safely and effectively. These services typically use specialized equipment and techniques to remove contaminants without causing further damage to your electronics. They can also help identify any hidden damage that may have occurred as a result of the fire, such as damage to the wiring or internal components.

In some cases, it may be more cost-effective to replace your electronics rather than have them cleaned. This is especially true if the electronics were old or already in need of replacement. A professional can help you determine whether it's worth cleaning your electronics or if it's better to replace them.

In conclusion, it's important to have your electronics assessed by a professional after a fire. Even if your electronics appear undamaged, they may have been exposed to contaminants that can cause damage or pose a health risk. Professional electronics cleaning services can help remove these contaminants safely and effectively, ensuring that your electronics are safe to use. If you're unsure about whether your electronics need to be cleaned or replaced, a professional can help you make an informed decision.

How to Clean Up After a Fire

1/10/2023 (Permalink)

HEPA filters Make sure that your wet/dry vacuum has one or more HEPA filters.

How to Clean Up After a Fire

If you've ever been in a fire, then you know it's an experience you never want to repeat. I hope that this article helps with the aftermath and teaches you how to clean up after a fire.

Safety Precautions

After a fire, there are many things that you should do to protect yourself. First and foremost, you should wear a dust mask in order to avoid breathing in the smoke particles. Pets and children should also be kept away from the area until it's been cleaned up. Never use fans or air conditioners, as they will only spread the smell of smoke further throughout your Medulla, FL home. 

Containing the Smoke Damage

If you’re dealing with smoke damage, you may want to consider investing in a wet/dry vacuum. These vacuums are designed specifically for this kind of problem—they can be used both as a wet vacuum (to remove water and other liquid substances) and as a dry vacuum (to clean up dust). The important thing is to make sure that your wet/dry vacuum has one or more HEPA filters.

HEPA stands for “high-efficiency particulate air,” and refers to the type of filter that can capture 99% of particulates within the air stream. Carbon filters are also useful because they help neutralize odors caused by smoke. So, when choosing between various options, look for products with both kinds of filters so you know your tools will be effective at removing all kinds of pollutants from your home!

Cleaning the Air

It may be tempting to open windows and doors, but that can actually spread smoke particles into your home. Instead, use one of the following methods to clean up after a fire:

  • Use an air purifier that removes smoke particles from the air (and other contaminants). You can find these at hardware stores or online.
  • Use an air scrubber, which will help neutralize any remaining odors and clean up any soot on surfaces in your home. They're also good for removing mold spores from walls and ceilings over time, too!
  • Try using a dehumidifier in conjunction with either type above—the dehumidifiers will draw out moisture from walls where it's been trapped by smoke particles. Even more importantly: make sure all appliances are turned off before you leave them unattended - including heating systems like furnaces/air conditioners.

Cleaning Up Surfaces

Cleaning up surfaces is important to minimize the risk of exposure to toxic chemicals and other hazards. Never use harsh chemicals or solvents when cleaning up after a fire.

Let a professional restoration company handle everything for you.

When you’re trying to piece your home back together after a fire, it can be tempting to do everything yourself. However, hiring a professional restoration company is often the best option. They have the experience and equipment needed to clean up your home completely and safely, which will help prevent further damage from occurring. Additionally, they work closely with insurance companies to make sure that you get as much money as possible for the repairs—so there’s no need for you to negotiate with them directly!

Finally, many restoration companies also offer services beyond cleaning up after fires: they can replace walls or floors damaged by smoke or water damage, or even restore entire rooms if necessary.

When you’re faced with the aftermath of a fire, it can be overwhelming. If you or someone you know has been affected by fire damage, contact us today at SERVPRO of Bartow/Lakeland Highlands for help with your cleanup. We’ve been in business for many years and have helped thousands of people get their lives back to normal after fires, floods, and other disasters. You can trust our professional staff to handle everything from start to finish.

4 Things To Avoid When Using a Space Heater

8/25/2022 (Permalink)

Space heater Reduce the chances of fires and other damage by using your space heater safely.

When Using a Space Heater, Avoid These 4 Mistakes

When the weather in Medulla, FL, starts getting colder, you might rely on a space heater to keep you warm. These devices can make you more comfortable, but they can also be unsafe if not used properly. There are some things you should avoid to reduce the likelihood of a burned space heater or a home fire.

1. Don’t Leave the Heater Unattended

Never leave your heater on when you leave the house. While the idea of coming home to a warm, toasty building may be nice, the heater could get too hot while you are out, resulting in a fire or other damage.

2. Don’t Keep Flammable Items Near the Heater

Keep the area around your heater clear of flammable items. These could get too hot and combust. Fabrics, paper, and other similar items should be kept at least a few feet away. Flammable liquids should be placed even further.

3. Don’t Overload the Outlet

When you are using your heater, don’t plug other electronics into the same outlet. This could cause the outlet to overheat, resulting in a burned space heater, outlet, or plug. You should also plug your heater directly into the outlet and avoid using an extension cord.

4. Don’t Use a Damaged or Burned Space Heater

If your heater has damage from a past incident, replace it. You might think it’s fine to keep using it a bit longer to avoid buying a new one, but continuing to warm your home with a damaged heater is a safety hazard. Some components may no longer function as intended and could result in further damage or a fire.

Not only can fires be devastating to your home, but fire and smoke cleanup and restoration can take a lot of time and energy. Reduce the chances of fires and other damage by using your space heater safely.

Safety tips when using candles in your Lakeland home

8/24/2022 (Permalink)

Lit candles Call us immediately if you experience fire or smoke damage from a candle.

Unfortunately, fires from candles are a common occurrence in every city. Our team at SERVPRO of Bartow / Lakeland Highlands wants you to be safe from fire and smoke damage by providing you with some useful fire prevention tips.   

Fire Prevention is the best way to fight against fire damage or injuries.

SERVPRO of Bartow/Lakeland Highlands offers these Tips for Fire Prevention from Candles:

  • Do not let children near candles
  • Keep trees and other plants away from candles
  • Make sure candles are not near window curtains or blinds that could catch fire
  • Keep lit candles in safe candle holders
  • Do not leave children alone in a room with lit candles
  • Do not light candles in the bedroom. You might fall asleep. One-third of all candle fires start in the bedroom. 
  • If the power goes out, use flashlights instead of candles
  • If someone in the home uses oxygen, do not use candles
  • Fire damage from candles happens 35 times a day in the U.S.
  • Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can catch fire
  • Put out candles when leaving the room or going to bed

A little caution goes a long way to protect you and your loved ones. If you have to deal with damage caused by smoke or fire from a candle in your Lakeland, FL home, your friends at SERVPRO of Bartow/Lakeland Highlands are just a phone call away. You can reach us 24/7 at (863)510-5962

4 Tips To Keep Pets Safe in a Home Fire

8/17/2022 (Permalink)

Dog laying on a bed In the event of a fire emergency, consider pet safety by including pets in your escape plan

4 Ways to Keep Your Pets Safe in a House Fire

If a fire emergency breaks out in your home, you want to be fully prepared to keep your family, including your four-legged friends, safe from harm. Here are four key things you can do to make sure your pets will be safe if a fire starts in your Mulberry, FL, home. 

1. Create and Practice a Fire Escape Plan

Having a fire escape plan is critical in the event you need to evacuate your home due to flames. Create one for your household, including marking multiple exits from each room, and practice this escape plan regularly. Assign someone to evacuate pets during these drills and train your animals to come when called to make for an easier escape. 

2. Stock up on Extra Pet Supplies for a Fire Emergency

Humans are advised to have essential supplies like water, blankets, or first aid items stowed safely in the event of an emergency. Be sure to take your pet's safety into account as well by getting the extra supplies your furry friends need such as food, extra water, or leashes. 

3. Prepare Safety of Pet Records

Your animal's documentation, including ownership papers and vaccination history, is just as important as your own personal documents. Keep all these essential items in a fire-safe box in the event of an emergency. 

4. Consider Shelter Options During Rebuild

A key pet preparation item to mark off is lining up alternative shelter in the event your family is displaced. Fire damage restoration professionals work quickly to make the home safe after a blaze but should you be separated from your pet during the rebuilding process, find a relative or friend willing to take care of them in the interim.  

In the event of a fire emergency, consider pet safety by including pets in your escape plan, keeping extra supplies, securing their documentation, and considering alternative shelter for them. 

Why Board Up Services Are Important

6/8/2022 (Permalink)

Board up home Boarding up your home after a fire also keeps out water, debris, and other natural elements that may otherwise blow in.

Why Are Boarding Up Services Important?

A fire in your home in Bartow, FL, causes damage that only certified fire restoration experts can fix. The first thing technicians are likely to do when they arrive on site is to board up any vulnerable spots in the structure. This important step has several benefits.

Crime Prevention

Most people don't look for ways to enter into a property that is not their own. But thieves and other criminals seek out vulnerable spots that make their crimes easier. Emergency board up services make it harder for them to get into your home to commit various offenses:

  • Information or identity theft
  • Vandalism
  • Property theft
  • Material scrapping

Liability Avoidance

Even if people enter your home uninvited, you may still be liable for any physical harm they sustain while they are there. A fire makes your structure unstable, so injury is more likely for anyone who ventures in. If you board up the holes in your walls, windows, and roof, however, they will be less tempted to enter.

Fire Damage Coverage

Your insurance policy covers the restoration process for your home, but there are still expectations that you will take the appropriate measure to prevent further damage. In fact, if you don't protect your home after a fire, your neglect may nullify the policy. This may leave you paying for repairs out of pocket.

Overall Protection

Boarding up your home after a fire also keeps out water, debris, and other natural elements that may otherwise blow in. Your home is already damaged by flames; leaving it vulnerable only causes additional problems. These issues can drive up the cost of restoration considerably.

Technicians board up your home after a fire to protect it from further damage. This crucial first step helps the mitigation process go smoothly and quickly, getting you back into your home as soon as possible. 

3 Ways To Prepare Your Business for a Fire

3/15/2022 (Permalink)

Keep computer files backed up on an external hard drive.

Three Steps to Prepare Your Company for a Fire

Fires can devastate businesses in Highland City, FL, and though it's scary to think that your business could be affected by a fire, it's important to prepare for emergencies. Having a contingency plan in place can help to keep the people in your business safe and can help to protect your property.

1. Maintain Important Tools and Equipment
There are various tools and pieces of equipment that are often useful to have if a fire occurs, and it can be helpful to maintain these items. The fire alarms in your business should have the batteries replaced yearly, and the smoke detectors themselves should be replaced at least every 10 years. Keeping fire extinguishers in key locations, such as in kitchens or near electrical items, can also be helpful.

2. Back-Up Essential Documents
For many businesses, it's important to have access to various documents after a fire occurs. Important documents, such as building permits or documentation of inspections, can be backed up on a cloud as part of your business's contingency plan. Providing these documents to your business's insurance provider and a fire damage restoration company can help to make the claims process as well as the restoration process easier.

3. Prepare an Evacuation Plan
If a fire does occur in your business in Highland City, FL, it's often important to evacuate the building in a timely manner. Placing a visual guide that displays the escape plan around your building can be helpful to staff and visitors. It can also be useful to practice your escape plan routinely with your staff in order to answer any questions that your staff may have and to ensure that everyone knows what to do if a fire occurs.

Fires can occur with little warning, and it's important to prepare your business for disasters of all types. Though you may never need to use your contingency plan, having one in place can help you be more prepared if a fire affects your business.

What on Earth Is a Fire Tetrahedron? | SERVPRO® of Bartow/Lakeland Highlands

1/31/2022 (Permalink)

Tetrahedron - Simply put, there are four components—or sides—needed in order to have a fire survive.

Do you know what the word tetrahedron means? In short, it’s a three-dimensional, triangular shape with four equal sides.

But why are we talking about shapes in our restoration blog? Well, there is also something known as a fire tetrahedron.

Simply put, there are four components—or sides—needed in order to have a fire survive. Without all of these elements working together, a fire can’t start or continue.

The 4 Things a Fire Needs to Live

Fuel. There has to be something to burn! It can be fibers, plastics or wood; no matter the source, they are all perfect fueling agents for a fire.

Heat. The amount of heat necessary will be different for every substance, but there has to be enough heat to cause combustion. Every object has a threshold point at which it will either melt or ignite. 

Oxygen. Fire reacts with oxygen, which produces an expanding series of chemical reactions. Oxygen feeds the fire so that it will continue to grow.

Chemical Chain Reaction. A continual cycle of heat, fuel and oxygen creates a chain reaction. And as long as this chain reaction goes undisturbed, it will continue to grow.  

The 4 Ways to Stop a Fire

Cool it. Dousing a fire with cool water is something that everyone thinks of first. Hoses full of water often offer the best solution by cooling down the burning material. Because the heat from the fire can cause the water to evaporate, it may require a great deal of water to douse.

Smother it. Depriving a fire from oxygen will quickly put a fire out. It’s all about removing the oxygen source, which is why you’re told to “stop, drop and roll” to put out a clothing fire.

Starve it. As long as there are fueling agents for a fire, it will continue to grow. The proactive way to starve a fire is to create a boundary of starvation for the fire. Once the fire runs out of fuel, it will naturally come to an end.

Interrupt the chain reaction. Chemical agents such as halon can effectively put a stop to a fire by causing a disruption to the chemical chain reaction. But while halon is very effective, it has an elevated potential for ozone depletion, which makes it an environmental threat.

If the fire tetrahedron makes a wreck of your home or business, we’re ready around the clock to help you recover. Contact SERVPRO anytime for fast, thorough cleanup and recovery after a fire.

Fire Damage In Your Home

1/2/2022 (Permalink)

Kitchen with burnt pots on stove damage to cabinets and countertop.

After the fire is put out do not enter the damaged site. Fires can rekindle from hidden, smoldering remains. Normally, the fire department will see that utilities (water, electricity and natural gas) are either safe to use or are disconnected before they leave the site. Do not attempt to turn on utilities yourself! Be watchful for structural damage caused by the fire. Roofs and floors may be damaged and subject to collapse. Food, beverages and medicine exposed to heat, smoke, soot and water should not be consumed.
Give notice of the loss to your insurance company or agent. In some cases it may be necessary to board up openings to discourage trespassers. Contact a licensed and insured remediation company about the immediate needs of the dwelling, such as covering doors, windows, and other exposed areas, and pumping out water.
If it is safe to do so, try to locate the following items: • identification, such as driver's licenses, Social Security cards and passports • insurance information • medication information • eyeglasses, hearing aids or other prosthetic devices • valuables, such as credit cards, bank books, cash and jewelry.