Recent Fire Damage Posts

Frequently Asked Questions About Fire and Your Insurance

7/15/2022 (Permalink)

Severe home fire A home suffered from fire damage in Richland, MA

Your insurance will cover most of the damage from a home fire on your property. Most homeowners and renters will receive sufficient coverage through their standard insurance policies. However, those with a higher risk may be excluded and need to take other measures.

What Coverage Is Offered To Protect Against Fire and Smoke Damage?

Your insurance policy will cover many of your expenses due to a home fire. The most common expenses they cover include:

  • Repairing your home
  • Replacing your personal belongings
  • Expenses related to lawsuits due to a spreading fire
  • Additional living expenses

Is Standalone Fire Insurance an Option?

You can purchase standalone fire insurance for your home. These policies offer additional coverage that protects you financially in the event of a home fire. They cover damage strictly related to fire, smoke, or explosions. While they don't cover as many perils as standard insurance policies, fire coverage is often cheaper. Therefore, this is a good option for people who live in older homes or those with a history of claims. It is also a great option for your secondary residence which is vacant for most of the year.

What Happens When Your Home Doesn’t Qualify for Standard Insurance?

If your house in Richland, WA has a high risk of catching fire, you may find that your home doesn't qualify for standard insurance. You may be denied some common reasons: living in an arson zone, being too far from the fire department, or living near a brush or a canyon. Fortunately, many homeowners who cannot receive coverage for fires can apply for government-backed insurance policies that have fewer qualifications.

You can expect your standard insurance coverage to pay for you to hire a fire restoration company and start getting back to normal after a fire. Additionally, standalone policies are an option for people looking for cheaper options. They are also great for protecting your vacation home from a vacant home fire. If you cannot get a standard insurance policy, there are government-backed options that are easier to qualify for.

Candles: Safe Burning Practices and Comparable Alternatives

6/29/2022 (Permalink)

Lit candles A burning candle is an open flame that could easily ignite its surroundings if left unattended.

Candles: Best Practices for Burning and Comparable Alternatives

Over the years, candles have remained common in homes across the world, but it's essential to understand how important it is to practice using them safely in your home to avoid a candle fire. A burning candle is an open flame that could easily ignite its surroundings if left unattended, increasing the need for fire damage restoration and smoke cleanup in Richland, WA. Additionally, there are several candle alternatives on the market that could serve the same purpose without the safety risks.

The following guide can help you avoid accidentally starting a house fire.

Safety Tips To Avoid a Candle Fire

Taking precautions is the only way to stay safe when using candles. Here are some ways to ensure a lit candle doesn't cause a fire:

  1. Lit candles should be kept a safe distance away from anything flammable. 
  2. The candle wick should be trimmed to about 1/4 inch to ensure that the flame remains small.
  3. Candles need to be extinguished if there is no one in the room to attend to them.
  4. Candles should not be burning within reach of young children or pets.
  5. All lit candles must be placed on a stable surface.
  6. Drafty areas such as near air vents, fans, or open windows are not optimal places to burn candles.
  7. Candles should be extinguished before bedtime.


Alternatives to Traditional Candles

While candles can be safely used with caution, utilizing alternatives is a great way to have a similar experience while avoiding a candle fire. Taking advantage of safer options will still provide people with the scents or ambient light of candles without the risks. A few worthy substitutes include flameless candles, essential oil diffusers, incense, air freshener spray, lanterns, plug-in air fresheners, and electric wax warmers. These alternatives can be powered by batteries or electricity, making them ideal for a safe environment for all people and animals in the home. 

Utilizing the safe candle burning practices listed and trying replacements to traditional candles are ideal ways to decrease or eliminate the chances of a fire in your home. 

How To Use an Extinguisher During a Fire

2/8/2022 (Permalink)

A man practises how to use a fire-extinguisher A large house fire is a job for firefighters, but small fires can usually be handled with a fire extinguisher.

When A Fire Occurs, Here's How To Use An Extinguisher

Being able to protect your home in Richland, WA, can give you peace of mind. While you want to leave large fires to the fire department, every home should have at least one fire extinguisher on every floor that is easy to access in case of a minor emergency. It's not enough to own the devices, however. You and your family should know how to use them properly by following the P.A.S.S. (pull, aim, squeeze and sweep) technique.

1. Pull

Every extinguisher comes equipped with a pin and a seal. When these items are intact, you know that no one has discharged or tampered with the device. In order to use it, you need to pull the pin out by gripping the tab and yanking it. This breaks the seal and prepares the extinguisher for use.

2. Aim

The nozzle of the fire extinguisher needs to be aimed at the right portion of the fire to work well. It may seem right to aim at the top so that the discharge rains down on the fire, but this is unlikely to put out a small kitchen fire. Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.

3. Squeeze

Once you have the nozzle pointed in the right direction, squeeze the handle to release the contents of the extinguisher. Don't be afraid to use all of the extinguishing agent if that's what it takes to avoid as much fire damage as possible.

4. Sweep

The entire base of the fire should be covered. To accomplish this, you will need to sweep the nozzle back and forth from end to end of the fire. If you release all the contents and the fire is not out, fire mitigation specialists recommend that you call 911 to enlist professional help so that the fire doesn't get out of hand.

A large house fire is a job for firefighters, but small fires can usually be handled with a fire extinguisher. Knowing how to use it can help you put a fire out in a hurry.

What Kids Need To Know About House Fires

2/4/2022 (Permalink)

Rear view of a Caucasian firefighter wearing a fire helmet over his head and teaching about fire extinguisher to school kids Parents should teach kids safety measures in case of a home fire.

What Every Child Should Know About House Fires

Parents should teach kids safety measures in case of a home fire. Here are several steps that can prepare children to safely evacuate a burning structure.

What Fire and Smoke Alarms Mean

Fire and smoke alarms make loud sounds that are intended to get the attention of the occupants of a residence and wake anyone who may be sleeping when a fire starts. Familiarize kids with these noises and what they mean by testing alarms during fire drills. These drills should cover several fire escape basics:

  • Rolling out of bed
  • Pursuing evacuation routes
  • Exiting the house

It is a good idea to do home fire drills several times a year to teach kids safety measures. Develop a plan to increase family fire safety awareness.

How To Evacuate

A fire safety strategy should include primary and secondary evacuation routes. Work with a simple floorplan or play a game in which kids find the fastest ways out of a house from each room. Determine which evacuation routes are best given the age and physical condition of all family members.

Where To Go

Another important part of a fire escape plan is identifying a safe place to meet after evacuating. Parents should make sure that a meetup location satisfies several criteria:

  • Far enough away from a burning structure
  • Known to all family members
  • Not located downwind from smoke

Kids should know to go to this location and wait for other family members or help to arrive. Make reaching this location a part of regular fire drills.

Parents may want to practice evacuation maneuvers such as bed rolls, fire crawls, and door temperature tests during fire drills or turn preparedness practice into games. Teaching kids safety measures is an important part of a family fire safety plan. If fire damages your home in Kennewick, WA, rely on the expertise of mitigation and restoration specialists.

How Water Damage Can Complicate Fire Cleanup Efforts

1/13/2022 (Permalink)

Fire damage Depending on the intensity of the blaze, completing a thorough fire cleanup may require numerous steps.

How Water Damage Can Make Fire Cleanup More Difficult

A fire can destroy or damage numerous aspects of your Richland, WA, business. Depending on the intensity of the blaze, completing a thorough fire cleanup may require numerous steps. In addition to addressing soot and smoke damage, you may also have to conduct an extensive water cleanup. Although potentially time-consuming, failure to accomplish this task may cause additional destruction, which may compromise restoration efforts.

Forms of Damage

Flames, smoke and intense heat can contribute to numerous forms of destruction:

  • Charred debris
  • Dry or oily soot residue
  • Lingering aroma necessitating a smoke cleanup

Water damage is often another issue that requires prompt attention.

Origins of Water Damage

To combat a blaze, the responding fire-fighting team may employ an abundance of water. Your building’s fire sprinkler system may also engage. As a result, the affected area, including essential equipment, may become saturated and require a comprehensive water cleanup.

Assessment and Restoration

To minimize the risk of secondary mold contamination, it’s essential to promptly remove every wet object from the site. Items not burned by the inferno may be salvaged. To help achieve this, saturated equipment and furniture should be dried as quickly as possible and evaluated by a trained professional.

Preventing Mold Contamination

Because mold thrives in moist environments, contamination may be a serious concern. To help minimize the risk of extensive growth, it’s essential to remove wet building materials that may harbor spores, such as carpeting, drywall and insulation. It’s also important to ensure the space is completely dry before finalizing repairs.

A Comprehensive Cleanup Strategy

Recovering from a blaze may be both time-consuming and challenging. Although it can be a vital fire suppression tool, water can also compound the situation by causing additional destruction. To fully restore your building and protect it from mold contamination, you may need to take a comprehensive approach that includes soot and smoke damage repairs as well as an efficient water cleanup.

Two Simple Chores That Can Prevent Fires

12/1/2021 (Permalink)

A house damaged by fire This was the aftermath of the Living Room area of a home that had a fire near the Living Room/Kitchen

Two Simple Tasks That Can Help You Avoid Fires

Learning about common sources of house fires can arm you with a little knowledge that can lead to a little change, and that change can lead to a big impact. Clothes dryers, for example, are one such common origin for many residential fires - about 2,900 per year according to the National Fire Protection Association. Learn how to reduce the chance of a dryer fire in your home in Finley, WA, with simple steps you can do yourself:

  1. Clean the lint trap with every use. Clear the lint screen every time you start a load of clothing. This is an important, routine step that removes the source of tinder and keeps the vent clear from blockages. This is critical to reducing your chance of a lint fire. Never operate your dryer without a screen.

  2. Do a deep lint removal once per year. The lint screen is the first line of defense, but the frequent use of your machine will certainly cause lint to accumulate in the vent pipe. It’s critical to do a deep cleaning of that pipe once a year.

Deep Cleaning Details

Deep lint removal is critical to preventing a lint fire, and it’s really easy to do. Just remove the screen and brush out the entrance of the vent pipe. Next, unplug your dryer and vacuum any visible lint from the backside. Disconnect your exhaust hose and clear it by snaking it, or take it outside to blow out dust with a shop vac or simply shake it out. Lastly, clear lint from the outside vent flap. Make sure air can flow freely in the hose by laying it out, so it is not kinked when you reconnect it.

Assessment

Cleaning your dryer is one of those small things that can make a big impact. If a lint fire causes damage to your home, it can be helpful to have a fire damage assessment done by a professional recovery company. Unlike general contractors, they specialize in damage recovery from major incidents like fires, floods and other major events.

Water Damage: The Unexpected Result of a Fire

7/26/2021 (Permalink)

Firefighters extinguishing a house fire Firefighters must extinguish the fire fast to prevent your home from being fully burned. To do so, they saturate the affected area with water.

Water Damage: An Unexpected Fire Result

Fire damage in your home can be extensive, even if firefighters catch it before it consumes the whole house. What many people often don't consider is that significant water damage is often part of the aftermath of a house fire. If a fire breaks out in your home in Finley, WA you will probably need to hire restoration experts who specialize in both fire and water remediation techniques.

Damage From the Fire

Smoke and soot are likely to be your main problems during restoration. Fire creates both issues, and they permeate any space the fire touches. Fire can also cause flooding, however. High temperatures rage during a house fire. It doesn't take a long time for heat to cause other problems:

  • Melted or damaged pipes
  • Melted supply lines
  • Cracked toilets

Once the heat starts to melt pipes and supply lines, the water inside them leaks out and wreaks havoc. If your home is equipped with a sprinkler system, this can minimize the fire damage, but it also increases the likelihood that your home and its contents will be damaged by water.

Damage From the Rescue

In order for your home not to be completely consumed, firefighters must put the fire out quickly. To do so, they release a large amount of water into the affected area. Water can come out of a fire hose at an alarming rate, and that water can add to the damage already plaguing your home. It can seep into the floor, causing floorboards to buckle. It can saturate the walls and the insulation behind it. If left unchecked, it can lead to a mold problem.

Remediation services in Finley, WA can tackle both water and fire damage after a fire ravages your home. Knowing what to expect may not make the problem go away faster, but it can lessen a little bit of the stress if you know the professionals you hire can address the whole issue.

How to Properly Clean Your Belongings After a Fire

7/8/2021 (Permalink)

Furniture with TV and other ornaments damaged by fire Fire damage in Richland, WA.

Content Cleaning

If you’ve had the unfortunate experience of dealing with a fire in your Richland, WA, home, you may now be focused on the aftermath of it all, which involves salvaging your belongings. Some people assume they must throw out their clothes, books, and other items simply because they smell like smoke, but that isn’t always the case. Although the smell is bothersome, dry cleaning is one of several ways to remove the odor and restore items.

Have Your Clothes Professionally Washed

If you’ve tried washing clothes in laundry detergent and the scent still lingers, you may want to consider enlisting help from professionals. Rather than attempting to remove the odor and any stains from your shirts, pants, and other accessories, bring the items to the dry cleaning company where experts can use various products that are meant to clean and deodorize clothes.

Use a Scrub Brush

When you’re trying to complete a thorough content cleaning of some of your other belongings, consider using a scrub brush to scrub away at any of the soot that may be left behind on items. It’s possible to use a scrub brush on many products, such as:

  • Tables
  • Chairs
  • Bureaus
  • Nightstands
  • Hardback books

Before you start scrubbing, it’s wise to put a mask on that will cover both your mouth and your nose so that you’re not breathing in the heavy scent of smoke while focusing on the cleaning process.

If there are a lot of items that must be cleaned but you don’t have time to take care of it all in one day, you could consider checking out content storage options in Richland, WA. Storage facilities may allow you to put those items away until you’re ready to give them the thorough cleaning they need.

After experiencing a fire in the home, you may now be focused on salvaging items and restoring the home back to its original condition. If you’re worried you’ll have to throw away some of your clothes and other valuable, important items, consider other cleaning alternatives, such as dry cleaning for clothes that currently smell like smoke.

Fire and Smoke Cleanup 101

6/4/2021 (Permalink)

Home with fire and smoke damage Fire damage

Tips That Can Help You After Fire And Smoke Damage

Fires, even small ones, create a great mixture of cleaning challenges because of the ways smoke and flames interact with the environment. The materials being burnt, heat, oxygen, moisture and gases interact to form smoke residues, unique chemical reactions and unique soot. SERVPRO is the expert in the proper cleaning techniques for each unique item damaged caused by a fire.

Here are some great cleaning tips and tricks for you after you have suffered from fire and smoke damage.

Do:

  • Call your insurance agent as soon as possible
  • Restrict movement in the area to avoid soot from being ingrained into carpet, upholstery and fabric.
  • Use gloves when touching items. Sometimes the ash and chemical reaction with oils from your fingers will leave a permanent fingerprint on items.
  • If your electricity is off, remember to remove all your food and brace the doors open to help avoid strong odors
  • If it’s winter and your heat is off, winterize your pipes as soon as possible to avoid frozen pipes
  • Keep your HVAC system off until it can be cleaned and serviced by a professional

Don’t:

  • Don’t attempt to wash walls, painted surfaces, shampoo carpets, clothing, fabrics or upholstery without first contacting your SERVPRO professional. Sometimes using wetting items will actually permanently set the soot and smoke.
  • Don’t turn on fixtures, appliances or electrical switches if there is water in the structure from the fire rescue attempts. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock. First consult with a trained and reputable fire restoration technician.
  • Don’t consume any food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water. (They may be contaminated.)
  • Don't toss out items even if they seem destroyed. SERVPRO can often restore these items using state of the art techniques and equipment, including irreplaceable documents and pictures.
  • Don’t wait to call SERVPRO; your local experts on fire damage restoration. When fire damage takes control of your life, we help you take it back.

SERVPRO... The brand you know and trust.

Destroy Odors with Deodorization

5/4/2021 (Permalink)

A woman covering her nose Odors? Get Rid of Them For Good!

Even a small fire can cause odors for years to come if the affected areas are not properly cleaned and deodorized. Fire, smoke, and soot damage in your home or business can create unpleasant and potentially permanent problems. Water and mold damage or other issues can also be a culprit for funky smells and odors.

As various materials burn, the smoke produced travels throughout the structure, leaving odorous residues and deposits on surfaces and in hard-to-reach places. Unless fast, professional action is taken, these residues and deposits can cause permanent damage to contents and may result in resurfacing odors.

With technicians certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration (IICRC) SERVPRO professionals can provide specialized services that rid your home or business of offensive odors left by fire, smoke, water or mold damage.

SERVPRO professionals do not cover up lingering odors with a fragrance: they seek out and remove the source of the odor.

Once the source is found, SERVPRO’s proprietary line of cleaning products is used to treat and prevent the odor from returning. Any restorable item in affected areas will also be professionally cleaned and deodorized, including furniture, draperies, upholstery, electronics, art, flooring, walls, ceilings, HVAC air ducts and more.

Ask a SERVPRO professional to explain the various deodorization methods available and which one works best for you.

If you or someone you know recently suffered fire damage or some other accident that requires deodorization services, Contact SERVPRO immediately for a free scope.

Whether it's fire, water, or mold damage or just a stubborn odor that refuses to go away, We’ll help make it “Like it never even happened.”

Smoke and Soot Cleanup After a House Fire

12/20/2020 (Permalink)

Walls inside a home covered in smoke and soot Cleaning Up Smoke, Soot And Odors After A Small House Fire

Even with a small house fire, 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 Tri Cities West 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 – 509-943-9290

House Fire? What You Can Do Until Restoration Help Arrives

12/9/2020 (Permalink)

A picture of a burnt kitchen with a woman standing in the center Fire Restoration By SERVPRO Experts. The Premier Fire Restoration Company

A house fire can be devastating and leave you in a panic to put things back together. Many people start trying to clean up the mess right away but sometimes trying to clean it can cause more damage.

Here is what you can do until restoration help arrives

  • Limit movement in your home to prevent soot particles from spreading and additional damage from occurring.
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs and high traffic areas.
  • coat chrome faucets, trim and appliances with petroleum jelly or oil.
  • place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs or wet carpet.
  • DO NOT wash any walls or painted surfaces.
  • DO NOT shampoo carpets or upholstery.
  • DO NOT clean any electrical equipment.
  • DO NOT send clothing to a dry cleaner since improper cleaning may set smoke odor.

The first 48 hours after a fire can make the difference between restoring versus replacing your property and personal belongings. SERVPRO of Tri-Cities West can help prevent fire damage from creating long-term problems, restore your contents and help you get your home cleaned up.

SERVPRO professionals provide timely response with mitigation services ranging from fire, smoke and soot removal to content claims inventory and document restoration. SERVPRO has state of the art equipment and highly trained technicians to restore property. These services help ensure your property, belongings and memories are restored to preloss condition when possible.

Call SERVPRO for a FREE scope

Tips From FEMA When A Wildfire Threatens

7/8/2020 (Permalink)

When a wildfire threatens your home or business

We are getting into the wildfire season and it is best to be prepared. Print this out in case you ever have to evacuate your home or business because a wild fire threatens your property. Keep it with an emergency supply kit. Always evacuate if you’re in question but if you have plenty of time you can follow this list to try to prevent damage.

  • Close windows, vents, and doors
  • Shut off all utilities if possible
  • Seal attic and ground vents with precut noncombustible coverings
  • Turn of propane tanks
  • Place combustible patio furniture inside
  • Connect the garden hose to outside taps
  • Place lawn sprinklers on the roof and near above ground fuel tanks/lines
  • Wet or remove shrubs within 15 feet of the structure
  • Turn on your in-ground or lawn sprinklers if possible
  • Wear protective clothing
  • Take your emergency supply kit
  • Lock your home or business
  • Tell someone when you leave and where you are going
  • Choose a route awhile from fire hazards

If your property suffers fire, smoke or soot damage from a wildfire SERVPRO of Tri Cities West is here to make it “Like it never even happened.”®

Fire, Smoke and Soot Restoration Services

6/7/2020 (Permalink)

Making fire and smoke damage "Like it never even happened."®

SERVPRO of Tri Cities West can help provide a solution to your property's fire and smoke damage needs. 

Structural cleaning – After a smoke or fire damage, ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting and floors will often need a thorough cleaning. SERVPRO of Tri Cities West will pretest to determine the extent of the damage, and then use the specific equipment and cleaning products required to clean and protect the different types of surfaces found in your structure. Depending on the amount of soot, SERVPRO may even be able to reduce the cost of recovery by cleaning, eliminating the expense and hassle of replacing, repainting or refinishing the items.

Contents Cleaning – All of the restorable smoke damaged contents in the structure will be professional cleaned and deodorized including area rugs, furniture, draperies and upholstery. SERVPRO begins by carefully inspecting and testing each material to determine the appropriate cleaning methods and products to be used

Deodorization – SERVPRO of Tri Cities West provides specialized service the rid your structure of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage. We do not merely cover up lingering odors with a fragrance; we seek out the source of the odor and remove it using special equipment.

If you have smoke, soot or fire damage call us today for a free scope! 509-943-9290