Recent Fire Damage Posts
Have A Professional Clean Smoke Damage After A Fire
It only takes a few seconds for a fire to wreak havoc on a commercial property or home.
It only takes a few seconds for a fire to wreak havoc on a commercial property or home. The first thing that one will want to do if there is a fire is call the fire department to extinguish the fire. Many people believe that they can re-enter the property and begin restoring it after a fire. However, there are still threats that linger for the property. That is it is best to hire a professional Osceola fire restoration company.
The Aftermath Of A Fire
Many people believe that once the fire has been put out, the danger is no longer present. However, fire leaves behind remnants that can cause serious damage to the property. The smoke and ash that is left behind cause discoloration, etching and a very unpleasant odor. The building will be less likely to suffer those problems if you SERVPRO.
The Sooner You Call, The Better
It is best to contact a fire restoration company, like SERVPRO, as soon as possible in order to restore the Osceola fire damages. Ash is one of the major concerns. It can discolor just about anything that it comes in contact with. Discoloration can begin just a few hours after the fire. Fiberglass, plastic and other finishes can turn yellowish. Metals will start to tarnish. You will have to replace or refinish certain items in your home after a few days because the damage will be permanent.
Hiring A Fire Restoration Contractor
If you have hired a certified and trained professional from SERVPRO, then they will be at your home in a short amount of time. They will assess the home in order to see the type of damage that is done. They will also perform a thorough cleaning in order to remove the ash, smoke and Osceola fire damage. Items that are beyond repair will be removed, and specialized cleaning supplies will be used to neutralize odors.
Do-it-yourself techniques typically do not remove the smoke and ash that is left behind by a fire. You may cause further damage and contamination to your home if the correct techniques are not used. That is it is best to contact SERVPRO so that they can perform fire damage restoration.
Locally Owned Company with National Resources
SERVPRO of Osceola County is locally owned and operated and we are proud to be part of this community. We are also part of a national network of over 1,650 Franchises with special Disaster Recovery Teams placed strategically throughout the country to respond to large-scale fire, water, and storm disasters.
We proudly serve:
Fire Damage Kissimmee, FL
Osceola Fire Damage, FL
and surrounding areas.
Effective Ways to Prepare an Emergency Home Escape Plan
Go through your fire escape plan as a family at least once a year
No one likes to think about dealing with a disaster or emergency situation at home. The results could be disastrous for you, your family members and your house. Fortunately, you can increase the likelihood of your safety and well-being when you have an efficient fire escape plan. It’s too late to come up with a strategy during the event, so make sure you’re proactive and devise a plan today.
Identify the Exits
In a house fire, you may not have a lot of time to deliberate where to go and how to get out. It’s vital to be aware of the closest ways to exit your home, whether it be through a window or door. Make sure everyone in your home knows how to open windows and how to safely get out of second-story rooms.
Know Fire Safety
Most people learned in grade school some basic skills of how to react to house fires. Review this part of the emergency escape plan with your family. Some important elements include staying below the smoke level and feeling doors to measure the heat before exiting a room.
Have a Designated Meeting Place
Even small fires in your Poinciana, FL, home can turn deadly. It’s crucial to leave the home as quickly as possible and have a predetermined spot to meet outside. Ensure that everyone in your household knows this. Select a place far enough away from your home that you will be safe from flames and smoke.
Go through your fire escape plan as a family at least once a year. Role-play the situation so that if the real thing occurs, you won’t panic or be confused.
A fire escape plan isn’t difficult to come up with, but it could save your life someday. Firefighters and professional fire cleanup crews will do their job. Make sure you do yours by getting out alive.
Cleaning Up Smoke and Soot After a Fire
What type of smoke are you dealing with?
A fire in your Deer Park, FL, home will likely cause smoke damage. With everything else you have going on after a fire, you might want to wait to address this problem, but it is important to take care of it sooner rather than later.
What Type of Smoke Are You Dealing With?
It is helpful to know what kind of smoke is damaging your home because different types of smoke respond better to different cleaning methods. Three common types of smoke are the following:
Wet smoke comes from slow burning fires — low-heat fires, often from plastic and rubber.
Dry smoke comes from fast burning fires — high-heat fires, often from wood and paper.
Protein residue, created when food or other organic material evaporates in a fire, is not technically smoke but is still a problem because of the foul odor it produces.
What Happens if You Wait?
Because smoke damage and soot damage are corrosive, the longer they go untreated the more damage they cause. Additionally, movement in the area can cause the smoke and soot to become further embedded in upholstery, carpets, etc. This makes it more difficult, if not impossible, for the items to be fully cleaned and restored.
What Are Your Options?
There are a variety of smoke cleaning options currently available, including air scrubbing, thermal fogging and ozone treatments. Air scrubbers trap smoke particles in their filters. A commercial device can usually filter out more of the smoke than one designed for typical residential use. Thermal fogging works by heating up the surfaces in your home, causing them to expand. This allows the deodorization solution to penetrate further than it could in a room-temperature area. Ozone treatments are also an effective way to deodorize a home because the ozone oxidizes the smoke particles, destroying the unpleasant odors. For soot damage, ultrasonic cleaning is particularly effective. It uses a cleaning solution and ultrasound waves to thoroughly clean contaminated objects.
Regardless of the type of smoke damage you are dealing with, a professional restoration team can choose the best method to get your home and belongings back to normal.
Fire Damage: Who Pays for What in a Rental Situation?
An apartment fire in Poinciana,FL
Going through an apartment fire can be tough on both the tenant and the landlord, if in different ways. With tensions high, it can be more difficult to calmly discuss who is responsible for repairs. Before this happens to you in Poinciana, FL, educate yourself.
Assess the Damage
From the very beginning, the tenant and the landlord should be working together. It's generally a good idea to follow these steps:
Both landlord and tenant should call their own insurance.
As soon as it's been deemed safe by the fire officer, both should do a walk-through to catalogue the fire damage: written lists, pictures and receipts.
The landlord should take the lead on securing the property, like laying tarp over any exposed areas and locking it down.
Both should agree on a fire remediation service to bring in.
After an apartment fire, the responsibility of the landlord is to the bones of the property, unless otherwise stated in a lease agreement. Structural damage can include walls, windows, roofing, electrical, plumbing, cabinets and countertops- basically everything that existed before the tenant's arrival. Usually the landlord won't be paying out of pocket, it will be through their insurance policy.
The tenant is only responsible for all of their personal property, like furniture, electronics, documents and clothing. If they have the appropriate coverage, this could also be paid for through their renter's policy. Insurance could also cover temporary housing while the property is rehabilitated. If the landlord and tenant have been coordinating, the same fire remediation service can handle both the content and structural damage.
An apartment fire involves a lot of interested parties. It's a good idea to get a handle on who is taking care of what before moving forward. That way, everything can get done faster and everyone can get back to living their lives. Team work makes the dream work!
The 4 Steps to Residential Fire Restoration
Restoration companies offer board-up, tarping and fencing services
Residential Fire Restoration Process
The residual fire and smoke damage after a disaster and rescue efforts are likely one of the most devastating experiences of any homeowner's life. However, fire restoration companies exist to repair the seemingly irreparable. Regardless of the size of the property or home, every restoration effort follows the same necessary process.
1. Securing the Property
The first step to getting your home back to normal is to secure the property. Most insurers require homeowners to mitigate further loss, which is why restoration companies offer board-up, tarping and fencing services. These companies make sure that no elements, natural or human, disturb your property or risk your coverage.
2. Removing Water and Drying the Home
Another step in the mitigation process is removing any excess water from the rescue efforts. While it may be disheartening for homeowners not to see smoke damage be cleared away, every effort is made during these early stages to reduce liability concerns for insurers, making it easier for your claim to succeed.
3. Cleaning and Removing Smoke and Soot Damage
After the mitigation work is done, the restoration company you have chosen will begin the process of debris removal and soot and smoke cleaning. Using specialized equipment and chemicals, these companies will clean the existing structure from top to bottom ensuring that all harmful residue is removed before moving on to the final phase.
Once a fire restoration specialist in the Saint Cloud, FL, area has performed all the necessary mitigation and cleaning, they will begin the process of actual restoration work. While some jobs are small enough for one company to handle, many professionals hire outside contractors to rebuild and restructure the home when necessary.
Fire and smoke damage might be extensive after a fire, and homeowners may feel like there is no hope for restoration. However, in the hands of experienced professionals, even the most devastating situation can be rectified.
Escaping a Fire
Causing more than 2,500 deaths and 12,600 injuries each year in the United States, house fires are extremely dangerous for those that are unprepared for the event. But they are preventable.
To be prepared should a fire occur in your home, it’s important to know what to do:
- before a fire
- during a fire
- after a fire
To ensure that your family remains safe throughout the ordeal.
It takes just two minutes for a fire to become life-threatening and just five minutes for a residence to become consumed by a fire. While the flames are what most people fear, that’s not what’s most dangerous as the heat and smoke do most of the damage. This is because the inhalation of extremely hot air can sear the lungs. A fire also has the ability to produce poisonous gases that can make you disoriented and drowsy making them all the more dangerous. In fact, the leading cause of fire deaths is asphyxiation which exceeds burns by a three to one ratio.
Preparing for a Fire
To make sure you’re prepared in the event of a fire, there are certain precautionary measures that must be taken to ensure your safety. The most important step is to create an evacuation plan for your family. Every second counts when a home is filling up with smoke so you need to know the fastest way out. Creating a plan and going over it with each member of your family will ensure that everyone can get out safely.
When developing your evacuation plan, make sure that you have two routes to escape each room in case one is blocked. Once your plan is formed, you should practice the plan at least twice a year. Being prepared for a potential fire means making sure that windows aren’t locked, screens can be taken out quickly, and that security bars can be opened. You should also have your family practice feeling around in the dark with their eyes closed replicating the environment they’ll be in if there’s a fire and teach the children not to hide from firefighters who are there to help.
The most important device to making sure you can safety escape a fire is a smoke alarm. Having working smoke alarms will significantly increase your chances of surviving the fire. To make sure that your smoke alarm will alert you of a fire in the home, test the batteries monthly, replace the batteries at least once a year, and replace the smoke alarm every eight to 10 years.
How to Escape a Fire
If a fire does occur in your home, you should escape the building as quickly as possible. However, there are some things you need to remember to safety evacuate. The first step is to get to the floor and crawl to the exit as heavy, toxic smoke and poisonous gases gather initiallly at the ceiling. When you get to a door, feel the doorknob and door before opening it. If either the doorknob or door is hot, you should leave it closed and go to your alternate way out. You should also leave the door closed if smoke is coming from around it. If you are able to open the door, do so slowly and be ready to shut it quickly should heavy smoke or fire be on the other side.
But what happens if you can’t get out? If the event occurs where you’re trapped in a room, cover the vents and cracks around any doors with cloth or tape to keep any smoke out. Then call the fire department and tell them where you are. You can use a light colored cloth or flashlight to get the attention of the firefighters. If you catch on fire yourself, simply stop, drop, and roll with your hands over your face to put yourself out.
If you’ve suffered a fire in your home rendering it uninhabitable and you have nowhere to go, contact your local disaster relief service like The Red Cross. If you have fire insurance, call the insurance company for details on protecting your property. You also should contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Osceola County to remediate the situation as soon as possible. The sooner they begin the restoration process, the more of your home and possessions will be salvaged.
A house fire is a devastating event that can lead to serious injury or death if you’re not properly prepared. These tips will ensure that you’re prepared for a fire and that you and your family can escape safely.
What To Do When Filing a Fire Insurance Claim
Kitchen fire in Celebration, FL
Steps to Take After You Have Experienced a Fire In Your Home
A fire can cause a lot of damage to your Celebration, FL home, and fire restoration can include a lot of cleanup and repairs. Fires are usually included in your homeowners insurance, so any damage to your house and property should be covered if you file a claim. Here are the steps you should take after you have experienced a fire in your home.
1. Call Your Insurance Agent
The first thing that you should do if your home has been damaged is call your agent to file a fire insurance claim. The sooner you do this, the better. It can take a while for your claim to be completed, so you don’t want to wait too long to begin. Depending on your policy, you may be required to submit your claim within a certain time period of the incident which is another reason that you should do so as soon as possible.
2. Document the Damage
In order for the insurance company to compensate you for anything that will need to be repaired during fire restoration, it is important that they know exactly what was damaged in the fire. Consider keeping a list of affected items and be sure not to throw anything away as it will serve as proof of the damage. Taking pictures of areas that need smoke cleaning might be helpful as well.
3. Take Steps To Prevent Further Damage
If you do not take proper care of your property and further damage occurs, the insurance company may not cover this. Calling a fire restoration company to help mitigate the property is a good idea. They can board up any damaged walls and windows as well as place tarps on missing roof areas.
In order to get the most from your fire insurance claim, you should be sure to file it as soon as possible after a fire has occurred. Keep track of lost and damaged items and do what you can to prevent more damage to make the process go more smoothly.
When Do You Need To Clean Your Dryer Vent?
A lint fire can be a dangerous situation and cause a great deal of damage
So, What Are the Signs That Your Vent Needs Cleaning?
As a homeowner in Saint Cloud, FL, you're probably very diligent about fire safety. You may have a fire extinguisher and smoke detectors on every floor, but have you checked your dryer vent lately? Many homes are damaged each year as the result of a lint fire. If the vent isn't cleaned out regularly, a dryer fire can result.
1. Clothes Are Taking Too Long To Dry
If your vent is blocked, your clothes can take up to two or three times as long to dry. You may find that clothes you put in for a regular drying time are still a little damp when the cycle is over. This is happening because the blocked vent isn't allowing the moisture to be released to the outside.
2. Hot Dryer and Clothes
A blocked vent can also cause excess heat. If your laundry feels unusually hot when you take it out, and the outside of the dryer feels very hot when you touch it, this could be the problem.
3. Burning Smell
If you smell something burning inside the dryer, that's a sure sign of trouble. The drum casing, exhaust tube and trap can get clogged, which makes it easy for a lint fire to start. If you're smelling smoke, turn off the dryer immediately and call a professional right away to inspect it.
4. No Regular Inspections
Your dryer vent should be inspected at least once a year by a vent cleaning specialist. A do-it-yourself job is certainly an option, but hiring a professional can ensure that the job is done thoroughly. These technicians are well acquainted with all the various brands of dryers and have the proper equipment to efficiently clean out the vent.
A lint fire can be a dangerous situation and cause a great deal of damage. But you can easily prevent a fire from happening by looking out for the signs outlined above.
Home Candle Safety Tips
Candle safety tips for your Lokosee,Fl home
Each year, a number of candle fire mishaps occur in households in Lokosee, FL, and across the U.S., leading to injuries, structural damage and the need for professional restoration and smoke cleanup. It's important to know how to properly use candles in your home and avoid a possible mishap. Here are some tips for candle safety.
1. Keep Candles and Matches in a Safe Place
Make sure any lit candle is well away from any areas accessible by children or pets, as it's easy for them to knock over a candle that's sitting out on a low table or shelf. Also avoid candle fires by safely storing matches, lighters and candles in a cabinet that kids can't get to.
2. Place Candles Securely
Candles should be placed on a sturdy surface in an area that's uncluttered. Make sure that the candle is at least a foot away from anything that might catch fire. When using a candle holder, make sure it has a stable base and can't be easily tipped over. Also make sure you have several different sizes of candle holders on hand, and that you put the candles on a heat-resistant surface.
3. Be Aware
Never leave a candle burning in a room without keeping an eye on it. Leaving candles unattended can lead to disaster. Make sure to watch the airflow around the candle. If the flame is constantly shifting direction, move it to a place where the flame stays stable.
4. Burn Candles Safely
When lighting candles, make sure to keep your hair out of the way, and keep the flame well away from any loose clothing. If a candle is down to the last inch or so, put it out and throw it away. Don't allow it to burn down close to the candle holder. Never use candles if someone in the house is using an oxygen tank. Don't use candles in your bedroom. You could easily fall asleep, leaving the candle unattended and increasing the risk of a fire.
Using candles safely is easy. With the aid of these common-sense tips, you'll be able enjoy the beauty and warm glow of candles without the risk of a candle fire.
How To Secure Damaged Roofs and Other Problems After a Fire
Fire damage in Celebration, FL
A fire in a commercial building can lead to a variety of problems and delays for your company. A fire cleanup company can take care of these problems and prevent new ones from occurring, but what happens if the structure of your building is severely damaged? Here are three things you can do to prevent further damage while you are waiting for the full restoration of your building.
1. Cover Any Openings
Often, fires can damage the walls and roof of a building, causing them to cave in and expose the interior rooms to the outside world. Roof repair may take a while to complete. To prevent further damage from rain, wind, or other outside conditions, consider covering any openings with tarps. Your professional restoration company may offer tarp services, or you can purchase some supplies from a local appliance store.
Using tarps to secure all openings is a quick, easy fix that can save time and money in the future. Once all holes are covered, you can wait for fire cleanup services in Celebration, FL, to permanently fix the openings.
2. Secure Your Building
If your building was severely damaged in a fire, you might have temporarily relocated your business. However, it’s still important to secure the damaged building to avoid any break-ins or other unpleasant situations. You may want to board up easily-accessed windows with plywood. Another great way to secure your property is to add stronger locks to all doors that enter the building.
3. Protect Valuable Equipment
If you can re-enter the building after the fire, salvage all equipment that is important or vital to your business. Soot and smoke from the fire can permanently damage objects if they are not treated. While you are waiting for fire cleanup, you may want to clean and protect affected items.
By doing these three things, you can take care of your building and prevent further damage. Once fire cleanup services come and repair the damage, you can be assured that your building will be completely restored.
Florida's Extreme Heat Safety Tips
Summer days in Central Florida can be dangeous because of the extreme. Know how to protect your home and family before Florida's extreme heat is here.
As summer approaches, it is time to consider safety precautions for extreme heat in the coming months in Central Florida. Heat affects all people, but especially the young, elderly, sick, and overweight. As Florida residents, we have a greater chance of being chance of being affected due to the high temperatures and humidity. There are several things you can do to prepare for and prevent extreme heat from affecting you and your family.
Prepare Your Home
- Install windows air conditioners snugly; insulate if necessary.
- Check air-conditioning ducts for proper insulation.
- Install temporary window reflectors (for use between windows and drapers), such as aluminum foil-covered cardboard, to reflect heat back outside.
- Weather-strip doors and sills to keep call air in. This can also help keep your electrical bill down in the summer months.
- Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings, or louvers. (Outdoor awning or louvers can reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80 percent.)
- Keep storm windows up all year.
Prepare Yourself Before Going Outside
- Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing
- Be sure to apply sunscreen
- Wear sunglasses
- Stay hydrated and limit alcohol and caffeine intake on those days.
- Be aware and pay attention to signs of Heat exhaustion
If possible, limit your time outside on extremely hot days and stay indoors in the air conditioning. Be sure to check on your pets who may be outdoors or bring them inside. Staying hydrated will help you from experiencing heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which is life- threatening. Signs of heat stroke are high body temperature (103+), rapid and strong pulse, and possible unconsciousness.
DID YOU KNOW? On average, heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States.
About your local SERVPRO of Osceola County in Central Florida
SERVPRO of Oscoela County specializes in fire, water, and mold remedition. Our highly trained technicians are restoration professionals that use specialized equipment and techniques to properly remediate your home quickly and safely. We service the residents of St. Cloud, Kissimmee, Celebration, Four Courners, and Champions Gate. Contact our office staff if you have any questions about water or mold damage in you home or business area. Schedule a FREE Assessment at 407-933-0707
Stay Fire-Free this Holiday
Ensure your family's safety this holiday by following these recommendations of a fire-free December!
This Fall season in Florida has brought us cooler temperatures, amazing weather, and an abundance of outdoor activities. You can help make sure your seasonal plans don’t go up in smoke by taking a few precautions. Keep your family safe and fire-free by planning ahead this season.
Decorations like flowers, wreaths, and Christmas trees are likely to dry out and are very flammable. Keep these and other decorations away from open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs and heaters.
While celebrating these Holidays, be sure to keep all decorations clear from any emergency exits, whether that’s a window or a back door. Nothing should be blocking an escape route.
Though Florida isn’t known to have many bon fires, they still occur on those rare cold nights either on the beach or in a backyard. Teach your children to stay away from open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop, and roll if their clothing catches fire.
If you’re like me as soon as December arrives, my seasonal and holiday candles are out and lit! But even adults should use caution using real candles. Ensure that nothing flammable is close to the candle before lighting, such as paper, linens, and decorations.
Locally Owned, with National Resources
SERVPRO of Osceola County is locally owned and operated so we are part of the Celebration and Harmony, Florida community too. When you have a fire, flooding or water emergency, we’re already nearby and ready to help. As fire and water damage specialists, we have the experience, the expertise, and the advanced training that enables us to get your property restored quickly and thoroughly. Please call (407) 933-0707
Causes of Wildfires
Wildfires are growing rapidly through the state of Florida and effecting our own communities and homes. Many believe the causes of these wildfires are the lack of rain Florida has had this spring, which is definitely a factor, but not the only one. Humans are actually one of the leading factors in these occurring wildfires even though we, Floridians are in a drought. In the United States, 90% of wildfires are caused by humans. What are we, as a society, doing to cause acres upon acres of burning?
- When cooking with fire on a grill or over a camp fire, people are not taking the right precautions, whether that is not making sure all debris around the fire is clear or keeping a close eye on the fire or leaving it unattended.
- Some smokers are negligently discarding cigarettes or cigars, and in dry weather are unintentionally igniting debris or leaves.
- Children playing with fireworks, matches, or lighters.
- People who are intentionally participating in acts of arson.
- Equipment malfunctioning such as vehicles, tractors, yard equipment that uses gas, garage tools, etc.
- The burning of trash in yards or on large properties. These fires can easily spread by burning ashes or leaves or debris close to the fire.
14 Bad Habits That Could Burn Down Your Home
Electrical fires can occur rapidly and takes minutes to burn down your home.
As busy homeowners, fire prevention has taken a back seat on our list of priorities creating bad habits. House fires are becoming more and more frequent due to common bad habits that can quickly become a fire hazard. Without you realizing it, these potential fire starters are hiding in plain sight throughout your home. For instance forgetting to take the time to change a dull light bulb or leaving an abundant amount of lint in your dryer. Our mind disguises these simple tasks as harmless, when in reality, it can become quite devastating.
1. Piling up dirty, oily rags- If left sitting, these rags could oxidize and spontaneously combust.
2. Misusing electric blankets- If heat starts to buildup or the coils bend the wrong way, the electrical blanket can catch on fire.
3. Neglecting appliance recalls- Last year defective appliances caused 150,000 fires.
4. Lingering dryer lint- The combination of lint buildup and excessive heat creates fire.
5. Letting your laptop overheat- If the cooling vent airflow is restricted, the laptop can over heat and catch on fire.
6. Choosing the wattage- Using the wrong wattage of a light bulb can initiate an electrical fire.
7. Using too many extension cords- This can create an overload leading to a short circuit, which produces a fire.
8. Performing DIYs you’re not qualified to do- Electrical wiring, plumbing, and HVAC mistakes can easily ignite fires.
9. Disregarding dust- Dust buildup around electronics and electronic sockets can become a fire hazard.
10. Storing batteries improperly- If the battery’s terminals make contact with other metals (screws, papers clips, etc.), it can short out the battery producing enough heat to possibly catch flammable material on fire.
11. Ignoring mice or other rodents- These animals are known for chewing on electrical wires, which removes the sheathing and exposes the heated wiring. This can lead to sparking surrounding surfaces caused by short circuiting, resulting in igniting a fire.
12. Forgetting the chimney sweep- Chimney fires are commonly cause by buildup of creosote, dead animals (usually birds or raccoons), and cracked mortar.
13. Overlooking the range hood- Grease and other cooking buildup that’s left on the vent hood filter can drip down on the stovetop, catching the fallen material on fire.
14. Arranging furniture unwisely- Furniture can unexpectedly ignite, if you position it by a source of heating such as a fireplace, wood stove, or space heater.
How to Avoid a House Fire
A house fire can be a devastating event. You could potentially lose many of your possessions in addition to your home. While it may seem that some of these fires are unavoidable, there are ways that you can prevent these events from occurring. These are six of the most common causes of house fires and how you can prevent them.
A NFPA study found that between 2007-2011, an average of 10,630 fires were started by candles causing 115 deaths and 903 injuries. About $418 million worth of property damage was caused by these fires. One-third of these fires were started in the bedroom which were 39 percent of associated deaths and 45 percent of associated injuries.
There are several causes of candle-related house fires. More than half of the fires that were started in the bedroom were because open flames were left too close to flammable items. Other causes of these fires include leaving the room unattended, someone playing with the candles, and the candle knocking over when someone or a pet bumps the table.
To avoid candle related house fires, keep any candles 12 inches away from any flammable items, never leave a candle lit in a child’s room or an unoccupied room, make sure the candle fits securely into the candle holder so it won’t tip over, and blow out any candles before leaving a room or going to sleep.
According the the NFPA, 17,600 house fires are a result of smoking. That’s resulted in 490 deaths and more than $516 million in property damage. In 2013, the NFPA found that there had been a 73 percent drop in smoking-related house fires from 2008-2011 mostly due to a decrease in the number of smokers. Also helping the drop in smoking-related house fires were new regulations creating non-flammable mattresses, clothing, and furnishings.
The causes of these types of fires are usually ashes or cigarette butts not being completely put out, smoking near a medical oxygen tank, or lacking attention to the cigarette due to falling asleep, drinking, or taking medication while the cigarette is lit.
To avoid causing a smoking-related house fire, smoke outside, use wide and sturdy ashtrays to catch all butts and ashes, and be aware of any cigarettes that may have fallen under furniture or between seat cushions. Also make sure that there are no lit butts that have fallen where they can’t be seen.
Electrical and Lighting
The NFPA reports that in 2011, approximately 47,700 house fires were caused by an electrical failure or malfunction of some sort. These types of fires resulted in 418 deaths, 1,570 injuries, and caused $1.4 billion worth of property damage.
Causes of electrical and lighting fires include equipment malfunction, an overloaded circuit or extension cord, an overheated light bulb, a space heater, a washer, and a dryer. Of all the fires caused by electrical and lighting between 2007-2011, 63 percent were due to wiring problems.
Ways that you can avoid starting an electrical or lighting fire include not overloading outlets or electrical cords, ensuring you’re using the right cords (inside cord for inside and heavy duty or outside cord for outside), not leaving Christmas equipment (lights and trees) on overnight or when you’re not home, and having an electrician perform an annual checkup on the home’s wiring.
Dryer and Washing Machines
The NFPA found that 16,800 house fires in 2010 were caused by dryers and washing machines resulting in more than $236 million worth of property damage. Of the fires started by dryers, 29 percent were caused by lint or dust and 28 percent were caused by clothing. For washer-related fires, 26 percent were caused by wire or cable insulation, 21 percent caused by appliance housing, and 15 percent were caused by the drive belt.
Tips to avoiding these types of fires include cleaning the lint screen frequently, ensure there are no leaks in the lines in gas or propane dryers, ensuring the dryer is vented to the outside of the house so that nothing blocks the vent pipe, clean the vent pipe and area where the screen is housed, and keep the area around the dryer free of combustible materials.
The NFPA says that from 2007-2011, an average of 22,600 house fires were started annually from lightning. These fires are different than the others on this list as they were primarily started during the summer months of June, July, and August rather than December and January.
To avoid lightning-related fires, stay away from doors or windows during an electrical storm, don’t use corded electrical equipment during storms, unplug major electronics when lightning is close by, and avoid plumbing fixtures like sinks or baths during a thunderstorm.
Nearly 40 percent of all house fires are started from cooking. That 156,000 house fires per year and they have caused $853 million worth of property damage. Two-thirds of these fires start due to food or other materials catching fire with 57 percent of these fires starting on a range and 16 percent of these fires being caused by an oven. These fires are typically started either when grease is left unattended or when frying something.
To prevent the possibility of a house fire when cooking, don’t leave your food unattended, don’t attempt to put out a grease fire with water instead putting a lid on the pan to smother it, keep flammable items away from the heat source, and make sure your smoke detectors work and there is a fire extinguisher nearby. If a fire occurs in the oven, shut the door and wait for it to extinguish itself.
A house fire can be a traumatizing event but there are ways to prevent them. By knowing what causes these fires and understanding safety measures, you can ensure you won’t suffer this fate. If you do suffer a house fire, call SERVPRO to remediate the problem.