What Can Turn Into a House Fire?
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fire departments in the United States responded to a house fire every 86 seconds. Given this risk, it’s critical for homeowners to pinpoint potential triggers and take action to prevent fire damage.
As you review your home safety, here are a few common causes of house fires you should stay aware of.
What Can Turn Into a House Fire?
- Portable Heaters
When winter strikes, a portable heater may provide the little bit of extra warmth you need to stay comfortable. However, these devices can get extremely hot and ignite surrounding objects — such as curtains and furniture. If you must use a portable heater, never leave it unattended and make sure it’s not near any flammable items.
- Kitchen Accidents
It takes a lot of heat to cook food, so danger can arise quickly if it’s not properly controlled. Gas stoves, grease, and food left in the oven for too long are all potential sources of fire damage. Minimize these risks by supervising meal preparation activities, keeping curious kids away from active stoves, and maintaining a clean kitchen space.
- Faulty Wires
Since electrical wires remain hidden behind walls, it can be hard to detect potential risks caused by factors like old age or pets that chew through cables. Call an electrician for an inspection at the first sign of trouble, such as flickering lights, malfunctioning outlets, and mysterious burning smells. A professional survey is also a good idea if your wiring is over 20 years old.
When dropped into the trash or left unattended, cigarettes can quickly spark massive flames, especially if everyone in the house is asleep. The best way to prevent this problem is to smoke outdoors — or quit.
Open flames from candles can feel inviting and elegant, but they aren’t as contained as you might think. When flames get too big or candles are knocked over, they can trigger massive house fires. Always blow out lit candles before leaving a room or use battery-operated versions that do not use real flames.
Watching out for these risks can help prevent house fires, but there may be instances where the danger is simply out of your control. For these situations, turn to SERVPRO® of Cape May & Cumberland Counties for complete residential restoration services. Our trained experts use state-of-the-art tools to safely remove and restore fire damage, as well as water damage resulting from fire hoses. Call 609-624-0202 to request assistance.
Poor Air Quality? Allergies?
Reasons Why You Should Clean Air Ducts
When you use a traditional HVAC system, the air ducts are a vital part of circulating the air. However, when the duct work becomes dirty, your indoor air quality can suffer as a result. It can also lead to further problems like mold growth, which may impact your health. To avoid this, the Franchise Professionals at SERVPRO® of Cape May & Cumberland Counties recommends having your ducts cleaned regularly.
Why Your Air Ducts Should Be Cleaned
- Breathe Easier
As air circulates through the HVAC system and your home, it is easy for dust, dirt, and pet dander to become lodged in the ducts. As the amount of allergens in your ducts increases, those with allergies may experience an influx of symptoms, such as red and puffy eyes, sneezing, and a scratchy throat. Dust and dirt in your ducts may result in poor air quality.
- Remove Mold
When moisture from damp areas in the home makes it to the air ducts, they may encourage mold and mildew growth. This may lead to spores spreading throughout the structure and possibly lead to other health effects.
- Increase Energy Efficiency
When air ducts become impacted with dust and other debris, it causes the HVAC system to work harder. As a result, your monthly energy bill can start to go up. When you have it cleaned, the air can blow freely out of the vents. Additionally, your unit is less likely to require as many repairs when it is working efficiently.
If you are experiencing an increase in allergy symptoms or smelling a musty odor coming from the air vents, it’s time to have your duct work cleaned. The trusted team at SERVPRO of Cape May & Cumberland Counties provides numerous residential and commercial restoration services, including air duct and HVAC cleaning, mold remediation, and odor removal and deodorization. For questions about our services, contact us at 609-624-0202 or EMAIL.
20 Bad Habits That Can Burn Down Your House!
20 Bad Habits That Could Burn Down Your House
House fires are more common than you may realize, with potential fire starters like light bulbs, laptops, and lint traps hiding in plain sight throughout your home, disguised as harmless, everyday necessities. Are you guilty of one of these bad habits that could burn your house down? Read on to find out.
Piling Up Dirty Rags/Oil Soaked Rags
A wood stain can bestow the perfect finishing touch on a DIY furniture project. But later on, that pile of oil-soaked rags you tossed in the corner could trigger the perfect storm: Left unattended, those rags are a very real fire hazard, as they could oxidize and spontaneously combust, causing a house fire. To dispose of oily rags properly, place them in a metal can that's been filled with water, and cover it with a tight-fitting lid, or lay them flat outside to dry.
Misusing Electric Blankets/Electric Blanket Fire
A warm and cozy electric blanket is a welcome comfort in the cold of winter, but it also poses a potential fire hazard if used improperly. Never allow pets to snuggle up on top, and don't pile extra covers over the electric blanket, because excessive heat buildup may lead to fire. Keep your electric blanket at its lowest setting, never bend the coils, and always turn it off in the morning.
Neglecting Appliance Recalls
During the last decade, home appliances caused an estimated 150,000 fires each year, and a significant number of these were caused by defective appliances. To keep on top of recalls and prevent disaster in your home, register your appliance with the manufacturer or go to www.recalls.gov to find out if any of your models are on the list.
Lingering Dryer Lint/Lint Trap Fire Safety
We all know that emptying the lint screen increases your dryer’s efficiency, but did you know that lint is also flammable? Mixing excessive heat with lint buildup is a recipe for disaster. Clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct regularly, as well as the interior of the dryer frame, to clear away lint and clogs, and reduce the risk of fire.
Letting Your Laptop Overheat/Laptop Fires
If you own a laptop, you know how hot it can get. When you leave your computer on your bed, couch, rug, or other soft, flammable surface, you run the risk of restricting airflow through the cooling vents, which can cause your laptop to overheat and possibly catch fire. To prevent fires, keep your laptop on a desk or table instead.
Choosing the Wrong Wattage/Light Bulb Fire Safety
If you've ever thought to yourself, "It's probably OK to use this 60-watt bulb in a 40-watt socket," you're not alone. You are, however, putting your home at risk. Installing a light bulb with a wattage that is too high for a lamp or light fixture is a leading cause of electrical fires. Always check the light fixture’s maximum wattage, and never go over the recommended rating.
Using Too Many Extension Cords/Extension Cord Fire
Extension cords are meant to be a temporary response to a lack of electrical outlets, not a permanent solution. This is why: Connecting a large number of cords for a significant amount of time can cause an overload that leads to a short circuit—which could ignite a fire. If you need additional outlets, hire a qualified electrician to install them, and you'll avoid this problem altogether.
Performing DIYs You're Not Qualified to Do/Electrical Fires
Americans will spend about $200 billion this year fixing up their homes, and nearly a fifth of this expense will go toward DIY projects. But jobs involving electrical wiring, plumbing, and HVAC units should never be completed without a qualified professional, because gas leaks and electrical sparks resulting from improper installation are a common cause of house fires. Don't put your home and your family at risk by attempting these dangerous DIYs on your own—hire a licensed professional instead.
Disregarding Dust/Dust Fires
Believe it or not, built-up dust can be a fire hazard if it collects in and around electronics, electrical sockets, and even floor heaters. By vacuuming on a regular basis, especially behind your electronics, you’ll significantly reduce the likelihood that particles of dust will catch fire due to prolonged exposure to heat sources.
Storing Batteries Improperly/ Battery Fires
If you store 9-volt batteries in your kitchen junk drawer, you may be putting your home at risk. When loose batteries roll around with other metals, such as screws or paper clips, the two terminals could short out and generate enough heat to ignite nearby flammables. Put a piece of electrical tape over the terminals, or store the batteries in their original packaging to prevent this possibility.
Ignoring Uninvited Guests/ Rodents Cause House Fires
Mice and other rodents like to gnaw on electrical wires to control the length of their teeth. Over time, they can remove the sheathing, leaving the wires exposed. Unfortunately, the electric current that travels through the wire generates heat, and in the absence of sheathing this could lead to sparks caused by short circuits, which in turn could ignite the surrounding surfaces. If you suspect a rodent infestation, call a professional exterminator immediately.
Forgetting the Chimney Sweep/Chimney Fires
Dead birds, raccoon nests, cracked mortar, and built-up creosote are all common causes of chimney fires. The National Fire Protection Association recommends scheduling a professional chimney sweep at least once a year to ensure the safe operation of the chimney. And when you're building a fire in your fireplace, always light it with an approved fire starter—never kerosene. The consequences could be disastrous.
Overlooking the Range Hood/Range hood fire
While ovens and cook tops are the most common sources of kitchen fires, range hoods also pose a potential threat. Over time, grease that has built up on the vent hood filter can drip down onto the cook top, possibly igniting a fire. From there, the flames could easily reach your cabinets, and before you know it, your kitchen could be consumed by fire. Don't let this happen to you! Regularly clean and maintain your range hood to keep your kitchen out of harm's way.
Arranging Furniture Unwisely/Furniture fire hazard
If your furniture is too close to your wood stove, it could spontaneously ignite. Pyrolysis, a chemical decomposition of a combustible item, occurs when an object (say, a sofa) is continually exposed to a heat source (a wood stove) and eventually dries out. This leading yet seldom-considered cause of structural fires does not require a direct flame; all it takes is heat and time for ignition to occur.
Leaving Candles Unattended/Candles fire hazard
Candles add ambiance and aroma to any interior, but their soft glow can grow into a blaze far bigger than you planned for if left to burn unsupervised. While you’re away, Fido could knock the votive over, or a draft could cause the flame to flare up and ignite nearby flammable items. Always keep lit candles in sight and out of reach of pets, children, or flammables like drapes. Before leaving the room, use a snuffer to completely extinguish candles.
Cigarettes, pipes, and other smoking materials sparked around 17,200 home fires in 2014; careless smoking practices indoors are all too often to blame. The embers of an improperly extinguished cigarette can interact with newspapers or other nearby flammable items and start a fire. While smoking in bed can cause nearby bedding to go up in flames, especially if the smoker accidentally dozes off while puffing. To avoid a visit from the fire department, only smoke outside, and be sure to pour water on cigarette ashes and butts before tossing them in the trash.
Stepping Away from the Stove/Kitchen fire
You may think you have enough time to get the laundry out before the onions on the stove brown, but resist the urge to leave the kitchen with the stove still on. A small flame can turn into a conflagration in less than 30 seconds, so keep your feet in the kitchen and your eyes on the stove whether you’re sautéing vegetables or searing meat. If you must step away, turn off the stove before doing so; it won’t take as long as you think to reheat!
Ignoring Loose-Fitting Plugs/Outlet fire
If no plug seems to stay put in one of your electrical outlets, it’s likely because the metal contact points in the receptacle have deteriorated and no longer allow for a secure connection. Continue plugging into the shoddy outlet and the missed connection could ignite a spark and cause a house fire as the current moves across air gaps, a phenomenon known as “arcing.” For peace of mind when plugging in, call an electrician to replace the at-risk receptacle right away.
Not Giving Space Heaters Space/Space heater fire
The same space heaters that keep you toasty when the duvet alone doesn’t cut it are the culprit in 43 percent of home heating fires and 85 percent of home heating fatalities. When placed too close to other combustible items, those items can get too hot to handle—so hot in fact, that they can catch fire. Only use heaters that automatically shut off when knocked over, and park them no less than three feet from any item that can burn, be it clothing or bedding.
Leaving Traces in the Toaster/Toaster fire
Every time you brown bread or a bagel in the toaster, they shed crumbs that fall into the bottom of the appliance. During the next toasting cycle, these same crumbs can heat up and catch fire, and your toaster, along with the kitchen, could, well, be toast. If your toaster has a removable crumb tray, regularly unplug and cool down the toaster, take out and empty the tray, and wash it with warm soapy water to prevent crumb build-up. If the unit doesn’t have a crumb tray, unplug it and then gently tip over and shake it to get rid of most of the crumbs.
Adjust these bad habits now to avoid a dangerous situation in the future.If you have a fire in your home or business and need the help of a specialist trained in fire cleanup and restoration, contact a Franchise Professional today: 609-624-0202 or EMAIL.
SERVPRO of Cape May & Cumberland Counties - we're Here To Help and are Faster to Any Size Disaster!
Information obtained by: Jill Lawrence O'Hara and Manasa Reddigari - BobVila.com
Storm Damage? Call us for Board-Ups!
Storm Damage To Your Cape May or Cumberland County Home or Business?
Leave the Hassle of Board-Ups to the Franchise Professionals at SERVPRO of Cape May & Cumberland Counties.
Whether the damage was caused by fire, storm, or other structural disaster, boarding up damaged property is a burden that no one should ever have to go through - especially if it is your property that has been damaged!
Boarding up damaged property the wrong way could cause secondary damages such as moisture or animal intrusion, making the situation even worse than before you tried to board up. The process of boarding up after a storm can be as dangerous as the damage itself.
SERVPRO of Cape May & Cumberland Counties can board up the damaged property quickly and efficiently and mitigate and remediate the original damage, providing you with peace of mind while helping to make it, "Like it never even happened."
We serve Ocean City and The Wildwoods and surrounding communities in Cape May County. We also serve Vineland and Millville and surrounding communities in Cumberland County. Call 609-624-0202 when you need emergency board up services. We're Here to Help 24/7!
SERVPRO Named "Business of the Week"
SERVPRO of Cape May & Cumberland Counties Named "Business of the Week" by Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce.
We are honored to have been selected as "Business of the Week" and are proud to be a member of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce in Cape May County. Click here to learn more!
The next time you find yourself stuck in a messy situation, be sure to call SERVPRO of Cape May and Cumberland Counties! We serve Ocean City, Wildwood, and surround communities in Cape May County as well as Vineland, Millville, and surrounding communities in Cumberland County.
We're here to meet your residential and commercial cleaning and restoration needs and can make it, "Like it never even happened." We're here 24/7 - call 609-624-0202 or email us today!
How to Protect Your Home in Severe Weather
We urge Cape May and Cumberland County residents to prepare for severe weather by following these winter safety tips.
How to Protect Your Home in Severe Weather
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says to be sure you have these things:
- Snow shovels – more than one because they can break, and four hands are better than two, if you have them
- De-icers, preferably the pet-safe type*
- Extra fuel such as firewood, a full propane tank, or a generator
- Clean blankets, pillows, warm clothing, etc., because you might not be able to do laundry for awhile
- Food and water that doesn’t require refrigeration
- Transistor radio with new batteries — and backup batteries
*When it comes to de-icers, some of the more environmentally-safe types include calcium magnesium acetate and sand to improve traction. Be sure to stock up early in the season, as they become scarce before a well-publicized storm.
How to Winterize Your Home
High winds, ice, and moisture from winter storms can easily strip off roof tiles and gutters, exposing your home to serious damage. Make sure no roof tiles are loose or missing. Do the same with your gutters and siding.
- Check roof tiles, shutters, siding, and other exterior materials to ensure they’re secure
- Seal air leaks around the home to keep it warmer (and save energy costs)
- Insulate all exposed plumbing pipes to prevent burst pipes
- Trim tree branches away from your roof to prevent roof damage
Clean Your Gutters.
If you don’t, you risk an ice dam. What’s an ice dam? Ice dams occur when ice melts off the roof during the day and then re-freezes as it drips into a clogged gutter. This can force water back under the roofline and cause serious leaks, often thousands of dollars in damage!
Overgrown tree branches are a risk to your home, vehicles, and loved ones. But trimming and removal can be dangerous, too, so don’t attempt it on your own. Best to hire a professional!
Insulate Your Pipes.
Buy foam insulation to cover your pipes. Invest in a temporary patch kit in case you need it later in the season. While you’re insulating your pipes, remind yourself where all water shut-off valves are so you can turn off the water supply in case of any leaks.
NOW you’re ready for a snow day, but if you find yourself with winter storm or severe weather damage, read more HERE for important tips to help. We're here 24/7, 365 days a year to make it, "Like it never even happened."®
SERVPRO Ranks #27 on Entrepreneur's 2020 Top 500 Franchises!
SERVPRO maintains its top ranking in the Restoration Services industry for over 10 consecutive years in Entrepreneur Magazine's Top 500 Franchises.
SERVPRO has been included in the magazine's Top 500 list, standing out in a group of more than 900 franchises that qualified for inclusion in the list. Read more...
"This recognition affirms that SERVPRO is a dynamic organization that continues to grow and strives to always provide superior support for its franchisees, and by extension, its customers," said Barbara Jones, Co-Owner of SERVPRO of Cape May & Cumberland Counties. "The recognition that the company earns year after year in this prestigious list is confirmation of a commitment to excellence that starts at the top and is evident in the service that each franchisee provides to each and every customer."
According to Jones, a number of differentiators set SERVPRO apart from the competition and fuel the attractiveness of the company to both existing franchisees and would-be entrepreneurs looking for a strong business opportunity. Key among these are:
- SERVPRO's strength as a brand with a national footprint, and the ability to create national partnerships with organizations such as the PGA TOUR, Allstate Insurance, Farmers Insurance, State Farm Insurance, Valero Energy Corporation, Bob Evans Restaurants, Genesis Healthcare, Planet Fitness, Costco Wholesale, and the American Red Cross - to name a few.
- SERVPRO's commitment to being a learning organization, which keeps training and support at the forefront of the company's culture and philosophy of success and helps franchisees plan, track, and deliver best-in-class services to consumers.
- SERVPRO's focus on continued development and support for proprietary software and systems to allow the company's operational capacity to keep pace with an aggressive growth strategy.
"Today, as a mature franchise organization with more than 1,700 locations under a single brand, recognition like this makes it clear we are reaping the rewards of having laid a solid foundation and a framework to handle quick growth. As our brand continues to grow, we will continue our winning strategy of supporting and improving upon our infrastructure and investing resources in training and support."
SERVPRO of Cape May & Cumberland Counties specializes in fire, mold, and water cleanup, mitigation, and restoration services, helping both commercial and residential customers recover from property damage emergencies "Like it never even happened."
For more fire prevention tips and information about fire, mold, and water damage restoration and mitigation services, call 609-624-0202, or reach us by email, or visit SERVPROofCapeMayCounty.
Need Post Construction Cleaning?
SERVPRO of Cape May & Cumberland Counties Ensures Your Finished Projects Always Look Their Best!
Post Construction Cleaning
Once the floors are down and the drywall is up, it's time to remove the debris and dirt in order to lay carpet, paint, and decorate. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can provide the debris removal services to prepare your home or office for interior design.
Dehumidification and Drying
During the construction phase, a building can trap moisture. Excessive moisture could result in mold growth. If you think one of your projects may have a moisture issue, rely on our Franchise Professionals to provide the help you need eliminating the moisture and preventing the potential for mold growth.
You want your home or business to look its best. Our Franchise Professionals provide cleaning services to give your property that extra shine. Services include:
- Carpet/flooring prep & finish
- Air duct cleaning
- Debris removal
- Window cleaning
SERVPRO of Cape May & Cumberland Counties serves Ocean City, Wildwood, Vineland, Millville and the surrounding communities in each county. Call 609-624-0202 when you need trained, uniformed Franchise Professionals! 24-hour emergency services available. We make it, “Like it never even happened.”
Winterize Your Property From Storm Damage
Winterize and Protect Your Most Valuable Asset!
- Have a professional inspect your heating system annually.
- Clean your fireplace or stove and have your flue checked for any buildup of creosote. Be sure other fuel burning equipment is properly vented to the outside.
- Insulate your home properly. If necessary, insulate walls and attics to conserve energy.
- Caulk doors and windows to keep cold air out.
- Install storm windows, or cover windows with plastic from the inside to provide an extra layer of insulation.
- Protect pipes from freezing:
- Wrap pipes in insulation or layers of old newspapers. Cover the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture.
- Turn both hot and cold faucets to continuously drip a little.
- Keep a wrench near the valves and know how to shut off your water valves if a pipe bursts.
- For more information: "Preventing and Thawing Frozen Pipes" from the American Red Cross
- Inspect and flush your water heater.
- Clean gutters. Leaves and other debris will hamper drainage.
- Cut away tree branches that can fall on the house during an ice storm or from heavy snow. Notify the utility company of branches that overhang power lines; do not attempt to trim by yourself.
- Replace batteries for smoke, and carbon monoxide detectors. If you did not do this when you set the clocks back, do it now.
- Have a back-up power source in place if you are dependent upon electricity for medical or mobility needs.
- Know where your snow shovel is located and have a supply of sand or a sand substitute.
- Prepare a warm, safe place for your animals in severe winter weather. Make sure any outbuilding that houses or shelters animals can withstand wind, heavy snow and ice.
- Bring pets indoors. Horses and livestock should have a shelter protected from wind, snow, ice and rain. Grazing animals need access to a protected supply of food and non-frozen water.
- Make sure your animals have access to high ground in case you do not have time to relocate them during a flood.
- Be aware of the potential for flooding when snow and ice melt.
- Consider purchasing flood insurance. Homeowners' policies do not cover damage from floods. Ask your insurance agent about the National Flood Insurance Program if you are at risk.
If Power Goes Out
Follow these tips:
- Dress in warm, light layers and wear a cap for warmth.
- Close off unused rooms.
- Eat well-balanced meals for energy.
- Use only safe sources of alternate heat such as a fireplace, a small well-vented wood or coal stove, or portable space heaters. Always follow manufacturers' instructions and never substitute one type of fuel for another.
Clearing Your Roof
- Clearing your roof is a dangerous task. Always think about safety first. If possible, do not attempt to clear the roof alone.
- When possible use long-handled rakes or poles.
- If you must use a ladder, make sure the base is securely anchored. Ask someone to hold the ladder while you climb.
- Know where the snow is going to fall before clearing the area.
- Make sure you do not touch electrical wires.
- If the job is too big for you, HIRE HELP.
If you have water damage to your property, call the franchise professionals at SERVPRO of Cape May & Cumberland Counties, 609-624-0202. We are trained in water removal, dehumidification, mold mitigation/remediation. We make it, "Like it never even happened.®"
The information in this blog is obtained from Ready.nj.gov (the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management).
SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team
No Job Is Too Large
As part of the SERVPRO Commercial Large Loss Division (SERVPRO Disaster Recovering Team), we are the best of the best in restoration. Commercial large-loss specialists are pre-qualified and strategically positioned throughout the United States to handle any size disaster.
Every large loss is supervised by a commercial operations manager to help ensure seamless communication and timely mitigation.
At SERVPRO, the difference is our ability to dispatch trained production professionals and cut costs through the strategic placement and oversight of temporary labor. Get the professionals, call SERVPRO of Cape May & Cumberland Counties.
Clients for the Commercial Large Loss program include the following:
- The Hospitality Industry
- Property Managers
- The Pentagon
Catastrophic Storm and Major Event Response
The SERVPRO Disaster Recovery Team can provide help whether you're dealing with a tornado, hurricane, blizzard or a flood. The SERVPRO System has a network of strategically positioned storm teams on standby should a disaster strike near you. Available 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals are prepared for the unpredictable.
With the ability to mobilize local command centers, along with the resources of more than 1,700 Franchises nationwide, no disaster is too big. Recent mobilizations of the Catastrophic Storm Response Teams include:
- 2017 California wildfires
- 2017 Hurricane Irma
- 2017 Hurricane Harvey
- 2016 Hurricane Matthew
- 2015 Carolina floods
- 2014 Polar Vortex
- 2012 Sandy
- 2010 Nashville floods
- 2008 Ike
- 2007 Chicago floods
- 2007 Ohio floods
- 2007 California wildfires
- 2005 Katrina/Wilma/Rita
Should a storm or major event strike, call 609-624-0202 or toll free: 844-350-3131.