Recent Fire Damage Posts

Keep Fall Fire-Free!

10/1/2019 (Permalink)

October is Fire Prevention Month, and we'll be sharing educational information to help you "KEEP FALL FIRE-FREE."

Cooler temperatures and beautiful colors define the beginning of the Fall season. And with an abundance of outdoor family activities, it's a good idea to plan ahead to make sure your Fall is Fire-Free.

Fall decorations, like dried flowers and cornstalks, are highly flammable. Be sure to keep these decorations away from any open flames, including light bulbs and heaters, which are other heat sources.

Keep emergency exits of your home or business clear of decorations so nothing blocks escape routes.

Teach your children to always stay away from open flames. Be sure they know how to stop, drop, and roll if their clothing catches fire.

When choosing a Halloween costume, remember that safety should be your first priority. Consider avoiding billowing fabric. If you are making your costume, choose material that won’t easily catch fire if it comes into contact with heat or a flame. Some of the most flammable fabrics in your home include linen, cotton, rayon, and all light fabrics which allow oxygen to circulate more freely through their fibers.

It is safest to use a flashlight or battery-operated candle in a jacko-lantern. Use extreme caution if using a real candle. Place lit pumpkins away from anything that can burn and out of the way of doorsteps, walkways, and yards.

Stay safe this Fall and stay tuned for the next article in our "Fire Prevention Month" series, "Plan and Practice Your Escape!"

This information is provided by the National Fire Protection Association, nfpa.org.

What's a Puff Back?

9/30/2019 (Permalink)

If you use an oil furnace, it’s important to know about the risk of puff backs.

Essentially, furnace puff backs occur when burners do not ignite on start-up, causing excess oil fumes to combust. This reaction produces a great deal of smoke that causes soot to spread throughout the property.

When this happens, SERVPRO® of Cape May & Cumberland Counties recommends acting fast to protect your health and your belongings from smoke damage. To help you stay prepared, we highlight a few do’s and don’ts to follow when you experience a furnace puff back:

DO:

Protect your belongings.

Soot can spread quickly, so you’ll need to act fast to keep it from setting on your belongings. If you have a forced air system, tape cheesecloth over the vents to help keep particles from coming through the ducts. You can also place towels over carpets, rugs, and upholstery to provide a protective barrier.

Review your homeowner’s insurance policy.

Since it takes special tools and experience to properly clean smoke damage, you’ll need to call a residential restoration service provider to clear your home of soot. But before you call, check your homeowner’s insurance policy, as most providers cover this kind of restoration.

Have your furnace inspected.

Puff backs can be caused by a mechanical issue with the equipment. To prevent further puff backs, have a heating specialist inspect and repair your furnace.

DON'T:

Touch or breathe soot.

Soot can be extremely hazardous to your health when inhaled, as it contains a variety of toxic components and carcinogens. Limit movement and keep individuals out of the home until the problem is resolved. As you protect your belongings, cover your mouth and nose with a face mask. Additionally, throw away any exposed food.

Try to clean surfaces.

While it’s fine to take steps to shield items from smoke damage, you shouldn’t try to clean surfaces. Standard cleaning supplies will not remove soot and may only cause particles to settle in further. Instead, wait for a SERVPRO Franchise Professional who specializes in smoke and fire damage restoration to clean the area.

Increase air circulation.

You may be tempted to turn on a fan or open windows to eliminate smoke, but increased air circulation will only spread particles. To keep the problem contained, try to keep airflow to a minimum.

When furnace puff backs occur, SERVPRO of Cape May & Cumberland Counties offers fast, thorough, and affordable restoration services. Equipped with specialized cleaning products, our Franchise Professionals minimize smoke damage in your home and eliminate stubborn odors. 

SERVPRO of Cape May & Cumberland Counties serves Ocean City, Wildwood, and surrounding communities in Cape May County as well as Vineland, Millville, and surrounding communities in Cumberland County. To request assistance, call 609-624-0202 to reach a specialist 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Portable Fire Extinguishers

8/29/2019 (Permalink)

Portable Fire Extinguishers can be life and property saving tools when used correctly.

In order to operate an extinguisher, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests remember the word PASS:

Pull the pin. Hold the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.

Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.

Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.

Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

Read the instructions on the fire extinguisher and become familiar with them before a fire breaks out. Remember, extinguishers do have limitations. It is also important to ensure you have the correct type of extinguisher for your facility. To find more information on choosing the appropriate class of extinguisher, please visit the NFPA website.

Cleaning Dryer Vents May Prevent Fires

8/28/2019 (Permalink)

The Importance of Cleaning Dryer Vents.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), failing to clean home dryers causes 34% of home dryer fires. Home dryer fires cause $35 million in property loss and can even cause injury or death.

To reduce the risk of these fires happening in your home or business, SERVPRO of Cape May & Cumberland Counties can help clean dryer vents and ducts that may have lint buildup.

Other tips for keeping your dryer vents clean from the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) include cleaning the lint filter before and after each load and making sure the outdoor vent flap will open and is not restricted by snow, a bird's nest, or other potential obstacles.

For more information on cleaning dryer vents, contact a Franchise Professional at 609-624-0202. We serve Vineland, Millville and surrounding communities in Cumberland County as well as Ocean City and Marmora and surrounding communities in Cape May County.

Know The Signs of a Gas Leak

8/26/2019 (Permalink)

The Signs Of A Gas Leak

They are sometimes hard to recognize, but it doesn't take much of a leak to cause a gas fire. These home disasters are all too common.

Fortunately, you can avoid a fire or worse by recognizing signs of a leak:

  •  A hissing or whistling sound near the line
  •  The smell of rotten eggs or sulfur
  •  Bubbles in the water
  •  Dead houseplants
  •  Visible dust near the gas line
  •  Damage to the gas pipe

Family members or pets may show signs of a natural gas leak, as well. These may include nosebleeds, reduced appetites, nausea, mood changes, irritation to the eyes and throats, disorientation, and breathing difficulties. 

Keep Your Family and Home Safe 

Avoid a gas fire or explosion in your home by following these top tips:

1. Check Gas Stoves

If you have a gas stove, the dials may have been turned on or left on accidentally. If you're confident it's safe to remain in your home, move to the stove and turn off any flames. 

2. Do Not Flip Switches

Simply flipping the light switch to on or off could make a spark that causes a gas explosion. Instead, use a flashlight for any other actions you take in the house. Don't use the phone inside the house, either. In fact, don't use lighters, candles, or anything else that could ignite.

3. Ventilate the Home

Open all the windows and doors, so fresh air can come in and gas will move out of the house. Don't worry about taking any steps further than this. Instead, wait to contact emergency or fire remediation professionals when you and your family are safely outside. 

4. Go Outside

Get everyone outside and go across the street. From this safe distance, call 911 or the appropriate authorities. 

Learn as much as you can about what may cause a gas fire and how to avoid them to keep your family safe. Teach your family about natural gas and how to stay safe if they suspect a gas leak. Click the following link for more fire safety tips.

Smoke Damage After A Fire

8/22/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke Damage After in Your Ocean City Building? Here's What To Do:

If you experience a fire in your Ocean City NJ building, it’s not only the flames that you need to be concerned about. In some cases, smoke can cause even more damage. The following are a few reasons that smoke cleaning should be performed as soon as possible after a fire.

  1. Smoke Travels Further Than Flames

Even if the fire was small or contained to a specific area, there may be smoke damage beyond this point. Smoke travels through the air and carries soot and other contaminants as it does. Because of this, it is important to have smoke cleaning done throughout the building, whether the flames spread far or not.

  1. It Can Cause Long-Term Damage

While fire damage is often obvious, smoke damage can be less so. Smoke and soot particles can find their way into small crevices where they can begin to cause problems for your belongings. This is especially true for electronics, as the acidic elements in the smoke can cause the metal and hardware to corrode. If you believe that your computers, televisions or equipment have been affected, do not turn them on until they have been examined to prevent making the damage worse.

  1. Odor Can Be Difficult to Remove

It may be fairly easy to remove the visible signs of smoke and fire damage, but the smell can linger for long afterward. Smoke particles can become trapped in the walls, carpeting and porous items, so you should include these in the cleanup process as well. Smoke odor can be stubborn, but a fire restoration company will have professional equipment that should be able to remove it from the air and your belongings.

After a fire, it can be easy to focus on the damage that you can see, but you should be sure to pay attention to that which is less visible as well. Performing smoke cleaning is an important part of the restoration process and should be done thoroughly to return your building to its previous condition.

For questions about cleaning smoke and soot after a fire, call the Franchise Professionals at SERVPRO of Cape May & Cumberland Counties - 609-624-0202. We serve Ocean City and surrounding communities in Cape May County.

Fire Damage: Smoke & Soot

8/21/2019 (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 Cape May & Cumberland Counties will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pre-testing.

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 – 609-624-0202.

Preventing Fire Damage With Dryer Vent Cleaning

8/21/2019 (Permalink)

Startling Dryer Fire Statistics

Statistics show that clothes dryer fires are more common than most people may believe. In fact, improper cleaning of dryers is estimated to cost over $100 million each year. There are other surprising statistics:

  • There are approximately 15,500 fires attributed to clothes dryer blazes each year.
  • More than a dozen deaths result from dryer fires yearly.
  • Clogged dry vents can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, which injures more than 200 people annually.

With the additional number of injuries caused by lint fire issues, it is easy to understand why dryer safety is important and considered a seriously neglected home maintenance routine.

When your dryer blows hot air on the tumbling clothes inside the barrel, the residual hot, humid blast is generally expelled through a hose attached to the back of the drying unit itself. The hose is then attached to a dryer vent that allows the hot breeze and fabric lint to move away from the clothes and out of your home. If the dryer lint accumulates in the vent and reduces the airflow needed for efficient use of the dryer, the heating element can overheat. Since lint is a highly combustible material, a lint fire can then easily start.

Proper maintenance and repairs can prevent future fire damages.

Simple Signs of Clogged Dryer Vents

If you are worried that your dryer vent has become clogged, or if you haven’t cleaned the tube in over a year, there could be a problem with overheating. If the clothes feel overly hot at the end of their drying cycle, the vent could be blocked. Also, if you notice a burning smell while the dryer is running, the vent is probably full of lint. Moreover, when you see lint lying on the ground near the outside vent, the dryer air removal system may need cleaning.

Advantages of Proper Repair and Maintenance

If you do have a lint fire in your home, you can call in our team of fire damage specialists to get your home restored quickly. The SERVPRO of Cape May & Cumberland Counties Franchise Professionals are Here To Help and make it, "Like it never even happened."

SERVPRO of Cape May & Cumberland Counties serves Ocean City, Wildwood and surrounding communities in Cape May County. We also serve Vineland, Millville and surround communities in Cumberland County. Call 609-624-0202.

Prevent Fire in Your Home

7/13/2019 (Permalink)

Prevent Fire With Smoke Detectors

Keep your family safe with a working smoke alarm in every bedroom.

Did you know that roughly half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when most people are asleep?

Smoke alarms save lives. If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out. In fact, having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half!

When it comes to smoke alarms, it’s about “location, location, location”.

The key message from Fire Departments everywhere, is to install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of your home, including the basement (if you have one). Larger homes may need more alarms.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) shares this important information so everyone better understands the life-saving value of home smoke alarms. Visit NFPA's website for more information.

The above information and more courtesy of the National Fire Prevention Association. 

For information on what to do AFTER call a Franchise Professional at 609-624-0202. We're here 24/7 every day of the year.

5 Common Causes of Fire Damage & How to Avoid Them

4/25/2018 (Permalink)

According to the National Fire Protection Association, 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?

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. Smoking

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.

  1. Candles

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 COUNTY 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. 

What Is Furnace Puff Back & How Should You Handle It?  

4/11/2018 (Permalink)

If you use an oil furnace, it’s important to know about the risk of puff backs. Essentially, furnace puff backs occur when burners do not ignite on start-up, causing excess oil fumes to combust. This reaction produces a great deal of smoke that causes soot to spread throughout the house.

When this happens, SERVPRO® of Cape May County recommends acting fast to protect your health and your belongings from smoke damage. To help you stay prepared, we highlight a few do’s and don’ts to follow when you experience a furnace puff back:

DO:

Protect your belongings.

Soot can spread quickly, so you’ll need to act fast to keep it from setting on your belongings. If you have a forced air system, tape cheesecloth over the vents to help keep particles from coming through the ducts. You can also place towels over carpets, rugs, and upholstery to provide a protective barrier.

Review your homeowner’s insurance policy.

Since it takes special tools and experience to properly clean smoke damage, you’ll need to call a residential restoration service provider to clear your home of soot. But before you call, check your homeowner’s insurance policy, as most providers cover this kind of restoration.

Have your furnace inspected.

Although puff backs can be one-off events, the problem may have occurred due to a mechanical issue with the equipment. To prevent further puff backs, have a heating specialist inspect and repair your furnace.

DON'T:

Touch or breathe soot.

Soot can be extremely hazardous to your health when inhaled, as it contains a variety of toxic components and carcinogens. Limit movement and keep individuals out of the home until the problem is resolved. As you protect your belongings, cover your mouth and nose with a face mask. Additionally, throw away any exposed food.

Try to clean surfaces.

While it’s fine to take steps to shield items from smoke damage, you shouldn’t try to clean surfaces. Standard cleaning supplies will not remove soot and may only cause particles to settle in further. Instead, wait for a professional smoke and fire damage restoration team to clean the area.

Increase air circulation.

You may be tempted to turn on a fan or open windows to eliminate smoke, but increased air circulation will only spread particles. To keep the problem contained, try to keep airflow to a minimum.

When furnace puff backs occur, SERVPRO of Cape May County offers fast, thorough, and affordable restoration services. Equipped with specialized cleaning products, our professionals minimize smoke damage in your home and eliminate stubborn odors. To request assistance, call 609-624-0202 to reach a specialist 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

The Do's & Don’ts of Recovering From Fire Damage

4/2/2018 (Permalink)

A fire is one of the most damaging and traumatic events that can happen to a home or business. Although the safety of everyone in the building is the top priority, knowing the steps to take to recover from fire damage can provide a clear road map to normalcy. Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.

DO:

Cover carpets.

Even when the flames are extinguished, fire damage can continue if the necessary precautions aren’t taken. A lot of ash and soot hangs in the air after a fire. When this material settles, it will damage your carpets and floors. To mitigate these effects, cover these surfaces with old towels or sheets. The extra barrier will keep them free of soot and make them easier to clean.

Call professionals as soon as possible.

Although there are some basic actions you can do yourself to help recover from fire damage, most of the work is for professionals only. Call a restoration company after a fire to keep you safe and pave the way for a speedier recovery for your home or business.

DON'T:

Clean furniture or upholstery yourself.

While it might be tempting to start cleaning as soon as possible, doing so can do more harm than good. Without professional experience and know-how, cleaning furniture and upholstery can spread the damage and soot to other areas of the items. It’s best to leave the heavy lifting to fire damage professionals.

Use electrical appliances.

Fire can impact different appliances in different ways. Even if an item seems to be in good shape, the blaze could’ve had unexpected effects that make it dangerous for use. Refrain from using any electrical appliances until they’ve been tested. 

SERVPRO® of Cape May County is the go-to source for fire damage recovery in the Ocean View, NJ, area. With more than 50 years of experience, the company takes pride in helping both residential and commercial customers recover from water damage, mold, and storms. To schedule service, call (609) 624-0202 today.

Cape May County Smoke and Soot Cleanup

6/2/2017 (Permalink)

Smoke and Soot Damage in a Cape May County 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 Cape May County 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 – 609-624-0202.

American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign

2/6/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO® of Cape May County is a proud supporter of The American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign.

Can your family escape in just 2 minutes? You can keep your family safe with 2 simple steps.

  • Step 1. Practice your 2-minute drill. Make sure your family can safely escape a home fire in under 2 minutes. Use our worksheets to plan and prepare your 2-minute drill today.
  • Step 2. Test your smoke alarms monthly. Make sure you and your family are alerted as soon as a fire is detected. If the smoke alarm isn't working, change the batteries.

Our goal is to help reduce death and injury from home fires. For more information, visit The American Red Cross website. Follow this link for SERVPRO FIRE safety tips.

The American National Red Cross is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions to the American National Red Cross are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. The American National Red Cross' tax identification number is 53-0196605.