Recent Fire Damage Posts

Ready Set Grill

6/24/2022 (Permalink)

Ready, Set, Grill!

Local SERVPRO Clinton/Sterling fire remediation specialists advises grill masters to prepare now for a safe, savory outdoor cooking 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. 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, before the outdoor cooking season is in full swing. The NFPA offers these basic tips for fire-safe grilling:2

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 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. 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 Clinton/Sterling, please contact our office at 563- 212-2874. For more information on SERVPRO of Clinton/Sterling, please visit www.SERVPROclinton.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

Smoke and Soot Cleanup

6/8/2022 (Permalink)

Soot on walls, cabinets, and contents. Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Home.

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Clinton will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage? Call Us Today – 563-212-2874

Fire Safety Plan. Practice with your Family.

3/25/2022 (Permalink)

home caught on fire at night house fire

We all know that fires move fast and that our first instinct when we see a fire is to evacuate as quickly as we can, but what we forget to do is come up with an effective fire escape plan with our families. 

Every second counts during a fire, and it is important that you and your family are on the same page on what to do if this disaster strikes your home. 

With your family walk through all the rooms in your home and come up with 2 exit strategies on how you would vacate the room in case of a fire.

While you are doing your walk through make sure that all windows are accessible and unstuck for quick opening. 

Walk around the room in the dark to practice trying to find the doors and potential obstacles in case of a fire occurring in the middle of the night.  

Talk to your children on the importance of not being afraid of fire fighters.

Having an effective plan can be life or death for your family. 

What to do if there is a Fire

3/25/2022 (Permalink)

house gulfed in flames House filled with flames

If you find yourself in your home in the event of a house fire, the first thing you are going to want to it drop down to the floor and crawl low, under any smoke to your exit.


If you find yourself in a closed bedroom before opening a door, feel the doorknob and door for warmth. If either is hot, you are going to look for your second way out of the room.

Open all doors slowly to reduce the risk of waving in heavy smoke or fire.


If you can’t get to someone needing assistance, 
pets are trapped inside your home, tell firefighters right away when they arrive as well as the operator when you call 9-1-1.


If you can’t get out, close the door and cover vents and cracks around doors with cloth or tape to keep smoke out. 


If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop and roll covering your face with your hands. Roll over and over or back and forth until the fire is out. 

Ready When You Need Us

12/17/2021 (Permalink)

a small interior room showing extensive damage from a recent fire If a fire issue pops up during the holidays, remember the trusted leader in the recovery industry, SERVPRO of Clinton.

If you’re of a certain age—let’s say, old enough to remember keeping change in your car for pay phones—then you probably remember a time when there were simply more things for which people had to wait. It wasn’t uncommon to have to sit and wait on a person or a service, with nothing to do but look around or maybe balance your checkbook.

In the Internet era, we don’t expect to wait for almost anything—instant gratification is the name of the game. And waiting is out. We don’t even wait for things we want anymore, so why should we wait for things we desperately need?

For example, when a pipe bursts or a fire ravages your kitchen, not only is it helpful to have the 24-hour service of SERVPRO available; it’s crucial.

After a fire. Some effects of fire are easily seen, and the destruction of hungry flames is quickly recognizable. But a sneaky after-effect of fire damage is the presence of soot, which is sticky, incredibly small and dense, and which begins to stain ceilings and walls immediately, and attaches itself to carpets and fabrics right away.

In only a few hours, soot can leave irreparable marks on your home and become embedded in your carpets and furniture beyond repair. This plus the smoke smell that works its way into every surface combine to create a great need for immediate remediation.

After water damage. The countdown starts right away, and in addition to the immediate damage done by water, you have 48 hours at most to get your home dried out and dehumidified before mold takes hold. Your respiratory health, and indeed the integrity of your home’s surfaces and walls, may hinge on fast recovery from water damage.

Storms, fires and natural disasters can all disrupt your life, and they can happen at any time of day, leaving you with no time to wait. Mold doesn’t twiddle its thumbs until the office opens at 9 a.m., and neither should you.

When you trust SERVPRO with your cleanup and recovery, you know we’ll be on the case right away, taking care of the things that most endanger you and your home. We’re Faster to Any Size Disaster, and that’s a promise.

When you need help after a home or business disaster, fast service is a priority, and there’s nobody faster or more prepared than SERVPRO. Call us anytime to take advantage of our 24-hour emergency service.

House Fires & Their Top Causes

11/4/2021 (Permalink)

a firefighter battling a fire with a water hose in hand Regardless of the cause, SERVPRO of Clinton is here for you if your home is affected by fire.

The thought of fire—unpredictable, quick to spread and potentially devastating for a home and family—causes nightmares for homeowners. One would imagine homeowners would go to any and all lengths to avoid this kind of disaster, and yet a quarter of all reported fires still occur in the home, despite all we now know about fire safety and decades of safety campaigns.

So we’re here to once again raise the issue and make sure you know the dangers of home fires—let’s look at the most common ways they start.

Cooking. Cooking is by far the No. 1 cause of house fires and injuries, although there’s another cause that claims more lives. Half of all house fires start at the stove or in the kitchen, and most of those begin because of unattended cooking. Yes, the single highest cause of all home fires is preventable simply by being present and paying attention while you cook.

Heating equipment. Heaters start 14% of all fires at home. Many of these are caused by portable space heaters in colder months, which tip over or catch nearby curtains, furniture or clothes on fire.

Electrical fires. An under-represented cause of fire is the fact that we generally use more electricity than many old homes are wired for. Combine this fact with the tendency of wiring and outlets to develop faults and seasonal overloads for lighting, and you start to see exactly how easy it is for electrical fires to start at home.

Intentional fires. You might not believe it, but there are some 28,000 intentional home fires each year in the United States. These are fires that began with the intention of burning a structure, not simply fires set on purpose for some other reason that got out of control.

Smoking materials. Smoking materials, while responsible for only 5% of home fires, are tragically responsible for more fire deaths than any other cause. Ashes are often left burning as victims fall asleep, leaving little time to react and increasing carbon monoxide toxicity.

Regardless of the cause, SERVPRO is here for you if your home is affected by fire. Contact your local team today to see how we can help.

Autumn Fire Dangers

9/16/2021 (Permalink)

a small campfire burning bright in the dark night Be mindful about fall fire safety. Always remember that SERVPRO of Clinton is the trusted leader in the restoration industry.

Do you feel that? The air is getting crisper, the humidity is dropping, and in the mornings and evenings, you may even want a light jacket. That’s right: Fall is here again. A favorite season for campers, leaf-peepers and of course trick-or-treaters, fall is perfect for many fun activities.

As always, however, each season brings its own potential fire hazards as activities commence. So grab a pumpkin spice latte, and let’s look over a few fire safety tips for the season.

Campfire Safety

Knowing where and how to build a campfire is as important as knowing how to put it out. Use a match or lighter to set fire to dry leaves or twigs, then add dry wood and bigger sticks.

Never use an accelerant like kerosene or lighter fluid. Build your fire away from structures and out from under tree branches.

Extinguish your fire completely before leaving your campsite. Slowly douse it with a bucket of water and make sure no embers remain—anything you leave behind can start up again with the right breeze.

Leaf Burning

Your yard is almost certainly full of dry, brown leaves by now, and many people like to burn them as a disposal method.

This is fine, provided it’s legal in your area, but only put leaves in that burn barrel. Adding household trash or debris can have adverse effects like explosions or the release of toxic fumes.

Space Heaters

Portable space heaters are one of the most frequent causes of home fires in fall and winter. Keep your heater away from anything flammable on any side.

Make sure it’s on a level surface away from kids or play areas, and that it has automatic shutoff capability for tip-overs and overheating. Plug it directly into an outlet, never an extension cord, and turn it off when you leave the room or go to bed.

Halloween

We’ll talk more about this later, but candles, decorations and even costumes can be fire hazards, and all these things are ubiquitous during the spooky season, so be attentive and responsible as you celebrate.

If a fire hazard should turn from potential to reality in your home, remember the trusted leader in the recovery industry and contact SERVPRO to get your property fully restored right down to the smell of smoke.

Keeping Wildfire From Threatening Your Home

7/22/2021 (Permalink)

a gated long brown pebble driveway tucked next to a large brick home If your home is damaged by fire or any other reason, SERVPRO of Clinton is ready and able to repair any damage.

Wildfires are a more common threat to homeowners than you might realize. They are incredibly powerful, damaging and fast-moving, and given the amount of natural terrain and manmade structures made of combustible material, it’s a bit of a marvel that we are even able to contain them at all.

But there are some things we can do right at home to give ourselves a better chance of keeping our home safe from wildfire, aside from the obvious choice of simply being more careful.

Specifically, we’re talking about “defensible space.”

What Is Defensible Space?

Despite the nomenclature, it has nothing to do with Star Wars. “Defensible space” is the buffer zone (actually there are three zones, but we won’t go that deep today) you can create around your home by removing potential fire fodder like leaves and dead trees, adding gravel and hardscaping to the immediate area around your exterior, and pruning and planting responsibly.

Think of it as a barrier of protection (aka defense), designed to slow the spread of fire as it nears your home, keeping it from breaching your exterior walls as it runs out of fuel. Defensible space also gives first responders their best chance of stopping a wildfire before it breaches the perimeter of the structure.

Defensible space is not required by law in Iowa like it is on the West Coast, but it’s a good fire safety doctrine to consider all the same.

Why Defensible Space Matters

You may think of wildfires as a California problem, but wildfires can happen anywhere. There were over 59,000 wildfires across the United States in 2020.

Even removing California and its astounding 10,000+ fires from the statistics, the national average of wildfires per state in 2020 was almost 1,000.

What’s more, the first six months of 2021 have seen an increase in fire activity of about 25% over last year’s rate. Iowa suffered 126 wildfires (see, we told you) that burned over 2,100 acres of land.

Defensible space is just one of any number of preventive measures we can take against fire damage, but any measures that can save lives and property are worth taking.

If your home is damaged by fire of any sort, wild or not, SERVPRO is ready and able to repair the damage caused. Get in touch today to get the pros on your team.

Avoiding Fires While Enjoying Barbecue Season

6/4/2021 (Permalink)

flames and smoke from a bonfire Restoring fire and smoke damage is one of our specialties. Contact SERVPRO of Clinton to learn more.

Spring and summer give us a lot of things. They give us a gentle reminder that even the coldest, harshest winters pass and give way to warmth and new life.

They give us encouragement to get out and get going on all the things we’ve been putting off since January. And of course, maybe the greatest thing spring and summer give us is an excuse to barbecue.

Barbecuing and backyard activity skyrockets in the spring and summer months, and it’s a joy in which to partake. But it also means that there’s an unfortunate rise in the number of accidental fires.

In fact, spring sees more daily fires on average than any other time of year. Let’s take a look at the main culprits of grilling season fires and how we can prevent them.

The grill. Let’s start with the No. 1 perpetrator of barbecue season fires: the barbecue grill. It has all the elements needed for accidental fires—high heat, open flame, grease and in some cases flammable gas. Some important things to remember: Only operate your grill if it’s in good working order, with no leaks or rusted-out holes. Don’t use liquid accelerants to speed up the process or quickly raise the temperature. And don’t forget how important it is to keep the grill clean. Almost 20% of grill fires are due to poor cleaning.

The fire pit. A newer favorite among homeowners, the fire pit has become the center of the backyard hangout for some families. So when you’re gathered around the pit on a warm evening, make sure you have a bucket of water within reach, so you can quickly quell any jumping flames or falling ash. Use a grate to cut down on flying embers, and don’t add leaves or pine needles for the same reason. Never leave the fire unattended, and don’t allow unsupervised activity around it by children or pets. When it’s time to turn in, douse the fire slowly with your water bucket, making sure all ashes are soaked through and cool to the touch before you call it a night.

Chimneys and dryer vents. And while we’re on seasonal fire safety, it’s probably a good time for you to clean out your chimney, getting rid of layers of built-up soot and leftover ash, and to check your dryer’s vent pipe for dangerously flammable lint that may have snuck past the lint trap initially.

Your local SERVPRO technicians are on hand 247 for emergencies. If you encounter fire damage at your home or business, no matter the cause, we will be there faster and have it cleaned up sooner. Call or click today, and experience the SERVPRO difference.

Ready For Summer Barbecues? Follow These Tips To Prevent Home Fires When Grilling.

5/26/2021 (Permalink)

Meat and vegetables cooking on grill Grill safely this summer!

It's summer time and that means it's barbecue season! Many families will be camping or hosting barbecues at their homes and we want to help everybody take the proper precautions to grill safely.

Do:

1. Keep your grill at least 10 feet away from your house. Farther is even better. This includes portions attached to your house like carports, garages and porches. Grills should not be used underneath wooden overhangs either, as the fire could flare up into the structure above. This applies to both charcoal and gas grills.

2. Clean your grill regularly. If you allow grease and fat to build up on your grill, they provide more fuel for a fire. Grease is a major source of flare ups.

3. Check for gas leaks. You can make sure no gas is leaking from your gas grill by making a solution of half liquid dish soap and half water and rubbing it on the hoses and connections. Then, turn the gas on (with the grill lid open.) If the soap forms large bubbles, that's a sign that the hoses have tiny holes or that the connections are not tight enough.

4. Keep decorations away from your grill. Decorations like hanging baskets, pillows and umbrellas look pretty AND provide fuel for a fire. To make matters worse, today's decor is mostly made of artificial fibers that burn fast and hot, making this tip even more important.

5. Keep a spray bottle of water handy. That way, if you have a minor flare-up you can spray it with the water to instantly calm it. The bonus of this tip is that water won't harm your food, so dinner won't be ruined!

 6. Keep a fire extinguisher within a couple steps of your grillAnd KNOW HOW TO USE IT. If you are unsure how to use the extinguisher, don't waste time fiddling with it before calling 911. Firefighters say many fire deaths occur when people try to fight a fire themselves instead of calling for expert help and letting the fire department do its job. Don't:

7. Turn on the gas while your grill lid is closed. NEVER do this. It causes gas to build up inside your grill, and when you do light it and open it, a fireball can explode in your face.

8. Leave a grill unattended. Fires double in size every minute. Plan ahead so that all of your other food prep chores are done and you can focus on grilling.

9. Overload your grill with food. This applies especially fatty meats. The basic reason for this tip is that if too much fat drips on the flames at once, it can cause a large flare-up that could light nearby things on fire.

10. Use a grill indoorsPeople often think it will be safe to use a grill, especially a small one, indoors. NOT TRUE. In addition to the fire hazard, grills release carbon monoxide, the deadly colorless, odorless gas. That gas needs to vent in fresh air or it can kill you, your family, and pets.

Should you need assistance with fire restoration, call SERVPRO of Clinton at 563-212-2874

Home Fire Safety

5/25/2021 (Permalink)

Garage on fire. Call SERVPRO of Clinton should your home sustain any fire damage.

Did you know that if a fire starts in your home you may have as little as two minutes to escape? During a fire, early warning from a working smoke alarm plus a fire escape plan that has been practiced regularly can save lives. Learn what else to do to keep your loved ones safe!

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms, and outside sleeping areas. 
  • Test smoke alarms every month. If they’re not working, change the batteries.
  • Talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.
  • If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT, and CALL FOR HELP. Never go back inside for anything or anyone.

The most effective way to protect yourself and your home from fire is to identify and remove fire hazards. Sixty-five percent of home fire deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarms. 

Steps You Can Take Now:

  • Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as space heaters.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Talk to children regularly about the dangers of fire, matches, and lighters and keep them out of reach.
  • Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep.

SERVPRO of Clinton is here to help should your home suffer any fire damage. Our team is ready to assist and available 24/7. Please call 563-212-2874.

Easy Steps You Can Take To Prevent Winter Fires At Home

1/22/2021 (Permalink)

large image of red, yellow and orange flames Fire

There’s no season of the year that’s free from the danger of house fires. These tragedies are more common during the winter months than they are at any other point during the year.

Beyond the damage that events like house fires cause to property, they cause thousands of injuries and even deaths. Experts estimate that as many as 890 people die from house fires every winter.

Why is that? There are various reasons for the uptick in fires during the winter season, ranging from the lights and candles we all enjoyed all over the recent holiday seasons to more time spent in the kitchen and issues with home heating systems. But regardless of the fire risks, there are steps you can take to mitigate them.

How You Can Lower Your Risk

Lowering your home’s risk for fire doesn’t have to be a difficult task. You can take plenty of steps to make your home safer that won’t require you to invest a lot of time or money.

Make a safe kitchen your priority Grease catches fire quickly. Do you know how to put one out? Water can make these fires worse. Instead, use a fire extinguisher. A metal lid or baking soda will work, too.

Use candles safely. Don’t leave a candle burning when you’re not home because it can create a fire risk. Instead, use them only when you’re going to be around. Be sure they’re not placed in a spot where kids or pets can knock them over.

Don’t use extension cords for space heaters. The safest way to use these items is to plug them directly into the wall. Also, make sure your space heater is clear on all sides and away from any flammable items, including curtains.

If your home is damaged due to a fire or any other cause, you can always count on us for restoration assistance. We have teams who are available 247 in the event of an emergency. Contact us at any time to learn more about our restoration services and how we can help your family.

Smoke and Soot Cleanup

12/21/2020 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Clinton will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 563-212-2874