Recent Fire Damage Posts

Watching for Fire Hazards in the Kitchen | SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South

6/6/2019 (Permalink)

Kitchens these days are made to be a wonderfully versatile place—a place for family and friends to gather, for spending quality time and where meals are prepared and shared. However, without proper precautions, the kitchen can be a place where many home fires break out.

The No. 1 cause of home fires and injuries is cooking fires and the leading cause of these kitchen fires is unattended cooking.

In 2017, over $130 million in homeowners insurance claims were paid out by State Farm. These claims were related to grease and other cooking fires. According to the insurance company, these are the worst states for kitchen fires:

  • North Carolina
  • Texas
  • Pennsylvania
  • California
  • Ohio
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • New York
  • Alabama
  • Georgia
Cooking Fire Safety Tips

Cooking should not be left unattended, but this is not the only fire safety tip you should be following. Here are some other helpful tips to observe while cooking:

1. Don’t wear clothing that could easily catch fire. Does your outfit have long, flowing sleeves or is it big and baggy? It could catch on fire if you aren’t careful while cooking over the stove. It’s best to wear short or close-fitted sleeve shirts and make sure any baggy shirts are tucked in or tied back.

2. Don’t place flammable objects on or near the stovetop. Make sure you don’t have kitchen towels, oven mitts, appliance cords or even curtains too close to the stovetop when cooking. Ideally, anything flammable will be moved away from it.

3. Don’t leave your home unequipped with a fire extinguisher. Hopefully you have at least one fire extinguisher located in your home, ideally one that is near your kitchen. Make sure you know how to properly use the extinguisher, just in case it is ever needed.

4. Don’t throw hot grease in the garbage can. The grease may not be on fire, but it could be hot enough to cause something in the trash to burn. You should let the grease cool a bit and then dispose of it in an old coffee can. Also, know the smoke points of the oils you cook with. Be sure to never subject a low-smoke point oil to high heat when cooking, as it could catch fire.

5. Don’t forget to prepare a fire escape plan. Being prepared for the worst thing that could happen is better than being caught by surprise and not being prepared if an emergency were to occur. Go over exit routes and designated meeting points with your family, making sure that everyone knows what to do.

Fire safety in the kitchen is an absolute necessity, as it can help prevent dangerous and destructive cooking fires. If your home has experienced damage from a cooking fire, know that SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South is here to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Protecting your business from fire risks | SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South

5/9/2019 (Permalink)

Business owners have much to take into consideration regarding risks to their business, staff and visitors. As a business owner, one of those risks you need to spend a little extra time planning for and working toward preventing is a fire.

Top Causes of Commercial Structure Fires

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that the leading causes of structure fires in office properties from 2007–2011, listed in order, were:

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

Three of those causes—intentional, exposure, and electrical distribution and lighting equipment—were responsible for the most property damage with 20%, 18% and 15%, respectively.

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

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

Ways to Protect Your Commercial Property

So, what steps can you take to protect your business and employees from the risk of fires? By placing an emphasis on fire risk assessment, fire prevention and staff education, you are taking steps to reduce the chance of a fire breaking out.

First, make an assessment of your facility, looking for any fire hazard risks. In some areas, the local government may even offer a visit from a fire marshal to help identify these risks and provide guidance on your fire prevention plan.

Next, you’ll want to make sure that you have the right fire protection equipment in place. This includes an automatic sprinkler system, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers on each floor.

Last, and most important, you must make provisions for the human aspect of your business—your employees. Create a fire plan and review it regularly with your staff, thereby ensuring that everyone is aware of the procedures to follow in the event of a fire. By conducting fire drills at least once a year, you keep fire safety procedures fresh, and it will also afford you the opportunity to review evacuation plans and first-aid kit locations.

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

Woolsey-Hill Fires

5/2/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Woolsey-Hill Fires Arial Map of Woolsey Fire Burn Area

Our community suffered nearly 97,000 acres burned in recent Woolsey-Hill Fire affecting Los Angeles & Ventura counties 2,000 structures destroyed, 670 Structure alone in Malibu city limits.  Assessment of the damage is still ongoing, yet much of the community was spared the worst devastation. Smoke damage affects many whose homes are left standing.  Before disposing of smoke damaged furniture & clothing, much can be done to restore your belongings. We at SERVPRO Van Nuys South have been proud to provide Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration Services in our community throughout the devastating wild fires.  We at SERVPRO Van Nuys South have been working tirelessly with homeowners, insurance companies & HOA’s to restore your personal possessions from the fire, smoke, soot & ash damage. SERVPRO Van Nuys South also offers contents restoration including, carpet, upholstery, drapes and blinds cleaning and deodorization service of the acrid smoke odor left behind.  Our highly trained team at SERVPRO of Van Nuys South is here and ready 24/7 to help you!  Call us at (818)780-7111.

Learning About Fire Hazards in Your Home

11/7/2018 (Permalink)

When thinking about protecting your home from fire, one way to do this is by understanding fire hazards and knowing how to identify them.

Thinking about the possibility of seeing your home damaged by fire is unpleasant, but unfortunately, it’s a harsh reality for many Americans. In this blog, we’ll be discussing two of the most common household fire hazards.

Be Careful With Candles

Did you know there were 82 deaths, 800 injuries and $295 million in direct property damage during a five-year period from 2011 to 2015? During that time period, fire departments across the United States answered an estimated 8,700 home structure fires a year that were started by candles.

There were an average of 24 home candle fires reported per day during those five years, with December being the prime time of the year for home candle fires. Candles caused 2 percent of the reported home fires, with 3 percent resulting in death and 7 percent in injuries.

Of all the candle fires during this time span, 37 percent started in the bedroom and were responsible for 36 percent of the associated deaths and 51 percent of the associated injuries.

When using a lit candle, be sure it’s kept at least 12 inches from anything that could catch fire and is in a sturdy holder that won’t easily tip over. If oxygen is being used in a home, never use a candle—and remember to never leave candles unattended. Always blow them out before leaving a room or going to sleep.

Smoking Indoors Is Risky

While cooking is the No.1 cause of home fires, smoking indoors is the No.1 cause of home fire deaths.

An estimated 17,200 home structure fires were reported in 2014 due to smoking materials like cigarettes, pipes and cigars. According to the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes, those fires resulted in 570 deaths, 1,140 injuries and $426 million in property damage.

Be sure to extinguish all cigarettes and ashes in water or sand prior to throwing them out, and keep in mind that one out of four fatal victims of smoking-material fires is not the smoker—it is the innocent bystander.

If you’re a smoker, it is safest to smoke outside, as most deaths resulted from fires that began in living rooms, family rooms or bedrooms. Fire-safe cigarettes are the best option, and a deep, sturdy ashtray should be used.

Info on Lesser-known Fire Hazards

While candles and smoking are two of the most common causes of home structure fires, there are also other lesser-known hazards that could be present in your home.

Some types of glassware in your home could actually be a fire risk. When placed in direct sunlight in front of a window, the magnified sunbeam passes through them, and could ignite a flammable object in its path. Therefore, it’s best to move glass accessories away from windows.

Sweeping or vacuuming your floors regularly and cleaning hard-to-reach areas, like behind the entertainment system, can help prevent the buildup of dust bunnies from collecting near electrical sockets and floor heaters.

Also, watch out for loose electrical outlets in your home. The movement of these loose electrical outlets could loosen the wires connected to the outlet and create dangerous arcing.

Fire and smoke damage can be devastating to homes, and in many circumstances, can also be accompanied by water damage from firefighting efforts. If your home is damaged by fire or smoke, SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South is here to help you restore your home to its original pre-fire condition.

Fire Safety Basics for Your Home

10/22/2018 (Permalink)

Did you know that every year in the United States, over 350,000 house fires occur, adding up to more than $5.5 billion in property damage? Aside from the financial loss, these fires also lead to close to 3,000 deaths and another 10,000 injuries.

Your best defense against a fire is advance preparation. It’s important that each member of your household know how to prevent fires and what actions to take if one should occur.

Start by teaching your kids basic fire safety guidelines at a young age. Let’s also consider these three other fire safety precautions you can practice together:

Come Up With a Fire Safety Plan

If there is a fire, each person in the family must know how to react and stay calm—including how to safely get out of the house and where to go once they’re out.

However, creating a plan is just the beginning.

We’ve all heard the saying, “practice makes perfect.” Regular practice of your routine will make you more likely to remember the steps if a fire breaks out.

Learn to Identify Fire Hazards

How many fire hazards would you spot if you were to look through your home? You might be surprised what you find! Take time to go through every room and your outdoor space to uncover these hazards.

  • Are your appliances are in good working condition?
  • Are your electrical cords intact and not frayed or otherwise damaged?
  • Have you overloaded your outlets and/or extension cords?
  • Are you using the correct wattage of lightbulbs in light fixtures?
  • Have you checked to ensure that electrical wiring is not covered up by rugs or carpet?
Be Safe in the Kitchen

Cooking is the biggest single cause of house fires. That’s why it’s important to be especially mindful in the kitchen.

Anyone who’s cooking needs to apprise themselves of basic cooking safety. For example:

  • Cooking when tired or otherwise unable to pay attention is not advised.
  • It is advisable to always supervise kids and teens when they are cooking.
  • Have a lid available when cooking on the stove. If a small grease fire occurs, you will be able to cover and smother the fire with the lid.
  • If the oven catches on fire, turn off the oven and keep the oven door closed.

If a kitchen fire spreads, leave the room immediately and close the door behind you.

If your family has experienced a fire and needs help restoring your home, SERVPRO® of Van Nuys South can help! Give us call to learn about our fire restoration services and what we can do for you.

Van Nuys Smoke and Soot Cleanup

5/4/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Van Nuys Smoke and Soot Cleanup Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Van Nuys 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 Van Nuys South 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.