The Behavior of SMOKE
Fire Cleanup And Restoration
The damage to your property following a fire can often be complicated due to the unique behavior of smoke.
There are two different types of smoke--wet and dry. As a result, there are different typed of soot residue after a fire.
SERVPRO technicians are thoroughly trained in fire cleanup and restoration, and know the different types of smoke and its behavior patterns. Knowing this information is vital to proper restoration. Before restoration begins, the technicians will survey the loss to determine the extent of impact from fire, smoke, heat, and moisture on the building materials and contents. The soot will then be tested to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. Pretesting determines the proper cleaning method and allows us to focus on your precious items.
Smoke can penetrate various cavities within the structure, causing hidden damage and odor. Our knowledge of building systems helps us to investigate how far smoke damage may have spread. The following are additional facts you may not know about smoke.
- 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.
Types of Smoke:
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 dries.
Protein Fire Residue (Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire) Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Fuel Oil Soot (Furnace Puff Backs) While "puff backs" can create havoc for homeowners, SERVPRO technicians can, in most cases restore the contents and structure quickly.
Other Types (Tear gas, fingerprint powder, and fire extinguisher residue) Special loss situations require special care.
Our technicians are trained to handle even the toughest losses. And make any smoke disaster "Like it never even happened."
Fire Cleanup and Safety
Each November, families gather to celebrate Thanksgiving, which includes cooking large dinners, but if you don't practice safe cooking habits your holiday could become hazardous very quickly. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires is unattended cooking. Here are some useful tips to avoid cooking fires:
- Be on ALERT! If you are sleepy or consumed alcohol don't use the stove.
- Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food.
- If you are simmering, baking or roasting food, check it regularly, and remain in the kitchen while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
- Keep anything that can catch fire (oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, and towels) away from the stovetop.
If you have a cooking fire, consider the following safety protocols to help keep your family safe.
- Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
- Call 911 or the local fire department after you leave.
- For an oven fire turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
- If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
- Keep a lid nearby when you're cooking to smother small grease fire. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is cooled completely.
Have a safe and happy holiday season!
A Business Plan: For Fire Emergencies
An emergency escape plan is not required for all businesses; however the Occupational Safety and Health Admin. (OSHA) recommends building an emergency action plan to protect yourself, your employees, and your business. OSHA suggests the following when creating your plan:
Organize a Preparedness Procedure review with employees to review your company's emergency plan. You may want to select an individual or team to lead and coordinate your emergency plan.
Once a plan is developed, post evacuation procedures, including routes and exits, where they are easily accessible to all employees. At all times ensure all routes are clearly marked, well lit, unobstructed, and wide enough to accommodate the number of evacuating personnel.
Conduct office evacuation exercises and drills. Designate a safe spot outside the facility where employees can regroup, recover and conduct a head count. Once conducted, evaluate how well the plan worked and if additional training is needed.
Every second counts during a fire, help your employees and business by being prepared by having a plan in place. Call SERVPRO to help with restoring your business after the disaster.
Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out
Fire Restoration and Safety
October is Fire Prevention Month and an excellent time to examine the emergency preparedness plans for your home and business.
- Do you have a fire escape plan?
- Have you changed your Smoke Alarm batteries within the last year?
- Are you prepared?
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sets aside a designated week each October to focus on Fire Prevention. This years theme is "Every Second Counts: Plan 2 ways out!"
According to the NFPA, once the fire alarm goes off "you have less than two minutes to get out safely," yet only 8% of people surveyed said getting out was the first thought after hearing the alarm. Creating, implementing, and practicing a fire escape plan for your home or business may be the difference between safety and tragedy. Make your plan today. Visit http://www.nfpa.org/fpw
Every Second Counts: October is Fire Prevention Month
Fire escape plan: 2 Minutes to escape
Every Second counts during a fire.
Fire experts agree; people have as little as two minutes to escape a burning home. That is why every second counts, it is critical to be prepared and have an escape plan in place. Once a plan is developed, it is important that everyone in the home understands the plan. The best way to do this is to practice the escape plan at least twice a year.
A survey by the American Red Cross shows only 26% of families have a fire escape plan in place.
Here are a few suggestions to help you develop an emergency escape plan.
- Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas on the second and third floors. Only purchase collapsible escape ladders evaluated by a recognized testing laboratory. (Store them by the window)
- Choose an outside meeting place a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they've escaped, emergency personnel will also be able to see you. Make sure to mark this on your plan.
- Teach children how to escape on their own in case you cannot help them.
- Practice your plan twice a year during the day and at night.
Increase your chance of surviving a fire by having working smoke/fire detectors in place, developing an escape plan, and then practicing the plan with the family.
At SERVPRO our priority is your safety. We are here to help you to prepare for possible disasters, and restore your home after a disaster strikes.
Are You PREPARED?
How quickly you company can get back to business after a fire, flood, or storm often depends on the emergency planning done today. The regular occurrence of natural disasters demonstrates the importance of being prepared for any emergency. While each situation is unique, your organization can be better prepared if you plan carefully, put emergency procedures in place, and practice for all kinds of emergencies. Review the following questions to learn if your company is prepared.
Be Informed: Do you know what types of emergencies might affect your company?
Develop a Business Continuity Plan: Do you know which staff, procedures, and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep operating? Are you ready for utility disruptions? Do you have a plan if your building is not accessible? What will you do if your suppliers are impacted?
Prepare Your Emergency Plan: Do you have an plans for evacuation and shelter? Do you have plans for communications with employees before and during? Do you have copies of buildings and site maps with utilities and emergency routes marked? Are any employees trained for medical emergencies?Practice the Emergency Plan: If you have a plan, have your practiced it recently? How often do you review the plan? Do you have to coordinate the plan with other businesses?
Review Insurance coverage: Have you review your insurance coverage recently to see if you're covered in a disaster?
Secure Your Facility and Equipment: Have you conducted a room to room survey to determine what can be strapped down and secured?
Improve Cyber security: Do you regularly install patches to your software? Have you installed a firewall on your computer? Do you update your antivirus software?
Promote Family and Individual Preparedness: Do you encourage employees to have a personal emergency supply kit and a family communication plan?
If you answered "NO" to any of these questions, visit https://www.ready.gov/ and learn how to better prepare your business, employees, and family.
September is National Preparedness Month: Be Ready for Whatever Happens with the SERVPRO ERP
September is National Preparedness Month, and it is the perfect opportunity to share the benefits of having a readiness plan in place with your customers, employees and family.
The SERVPRO Emergency READY Profile (ERP) will help ensure you and your business are "Ready for whatever happens." In the event of an emergency, the SERVPRO ERP can help minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action in place for your facility.
Advantages of the SERVPRO Emergency Ready Profile:
- The no-cost assessment ERP is a comprehensive document containing critical information about your business, including emergency contact information, shut-off valve locations, and priority locations.
- The ERP is also accessible online using your computer or tablet; download the SERVPRO free Ready Plan APP to access this information at any time using your smartphone or tablet.
- Establishes SERVPRO as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider. Knowing who to call in advance is key to a quick response and timely mitigation, helping to minimize the amount of time your business is inactive.
Preparation is the key to making it through any disaster, whether it is a small water leak, a large fire or an area flood. No one plans on a disaster, but now you can have a plan in place when it happens.
The Science of Drying
Specialty Drying Equipment
Did you know there is actually a science behind the process of drying? Having the knowledge of psychrometrics is essential to restoring a water-damaged structure to its preloss condition. SERVPRO technicians are trained in the science of drying and follow strict industry approved standards. This helps lower the chances of any secondary damages like mold growth.
Here are the steps we will take to ensure your water damage restoration is handled correctly and efficiently.
- Inspect the building to detect every component that is wet to help prevent secondary damage from happening.
- Measure how much moisture is in wet materials is in wet materials and monitor whether the materials are drying properly.
- Speed up Mother Nature by using professional drying equipment.
What exactly does it mean to help "speed up mother nature"? A wet building can often dry naturally because the environment always seeks equilibrium. When materials are wet, moisture will naturally move to drier air at the surface of the material-but only if the air-is drier. The only issue is that nature often takes too long and secondary damage such as mold may occur. SERVPRO has special equipment and tools to help dry hard wood floors, and hard to reach spaces inside walls. We use modern moisture monitoring equipment and a proven scientific process called DryBook to help speed the drying of your home or business. DryBook is a proprietary tool that provides real-time documentation and updates on the drying process. It helps ensure industry drying requirements are met. With DryBook Mobile, you have the ability to know exactly where your property is in the drying process. SERVPRO has the training, equipment and technology to help make your water damage disaster "Like it never even happened."
As summer approaches it is time to consider safety precautions for extreme heat. Heat affects all people, but is particularly dangerous for the sick, elderly and young. Urban area residents also have a greater chance of being affected than those who live in rural areas due to the heat island effect.
According to the EPA, "the sun can heat dry, exposed urban surfaces, such as roofs and pavement, to temperatures 50-90° F hotter than the air, while shaded or moist surfaces often in more rural settings remain close to air temperatures."
Whether you are in an urban or rural area, there are several things you can do to prepare for an prevent extreme heat from affecting you and your family. If possible stay indoors I the air conditioning. Remember to bring your pets indoors, or have shade and water available for them at all times. Stay hydrated and limit alcohol and caffeine intake.
If you must venture outdoors, wear light-colored, and loose-fitted clothing. It is also important to wear sunscreen when outdoors, and follow the instructions for application.
Pay attention to signs of heat exhaustion, which include: heavy sweating, weakness, cold, pale and clammy skin, nausea or vomiting, and fainting according to the Center For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC). Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, which is life-threatening. Signs of heat stroke are a high body temperature (103°+), rapid and strong pulse, and possible unconsciousness. If you think someone has heat stroke, call 911 immediately and move the person somewhere cool. Try to reduce the body temperature with cool, wet clothes or a bath. Do not give the person with heat stroke fluids, and treat the situation as a serious medical emergency. (CDC)
If you live in a humid climate, be aware of the heat index. The heat index factors in the humidity, which can make the temperature feel 15° hotter.
Extreme Heat Safety Tips to Prepare Your Home
- Install window air conditioners snugly, insulate if necessary
- Check air-conditioning ducts for proper ventilation
- Install temporary window reflectors (for use between windows and drapes). Aluminum foil covered card board can be used to reflect heat back outside.
- Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades, awnings, or louvers, to reduce the heat that enters a home by up to 80%.
Extreme Heat is a serious danger. For more information on preparation and prevention, visit https://www.ready.gov/ or https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/index.html
The Mold Mitigation & Remediation Process
When there's a water intrusion, like a roof leak from a storm or leaking water line, mold can quickly become a problem in your home or business. Mold can affect your health and can also cause significant damage to your property. SERVPRO technicians have the training, protective gear, specialized equipment and cleaning products to handle your mold problem.
Call SERVPRO, the mold cleanup and restoration process begins when you call. Our customer service will ask a series of questions to help determine the necessary equipment, resources, and personnel needed.
Inspection & Damage Assessment, we will inspect your property for signs of mold using technology designed to detect mold and hidden water sources. Mold feeds on cellulose and water which can be hidden from plain view.
Mold Containment, we use various containment procedures that prevent the spread of mold. The contaminated area is isolated with physical barriers and negative air pressure to keep the mold spores from spreading during the cleanup.
Air Filtration, equipment captures microscopic mole spores our of the air. Technicians use powerful air scrubbers and HEPA vacuums to prevent the spread of these mold spores while the mold remediation is in progress.
Removing Mold & Mold-infested materials, is dependent on the amount of mold growth and the type of surfaces on which the mold appears. Antifungal and antimicrobial treatments will be used to eliminate mold colonies and help prevent new colonies forming. Removing and disposing of mold-infested porous materials, like drywall and flooring, may be necessary to remediate heavy mold growth.
Cleaning Contents & Belongings, we clean your furniture, decorative items, curtains, and other restorable items affected by mold. A variety of cleaning techniques are used to clean and sanitize your belongings. Technicians will also remove odors and deoderize using fogging equipment.
Restoration, may include removing drywall, subfloors, and other building material depending on the level of mold damage. Restoration may involve minor repairs such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new flooring. Or major renovations if the mold damage is extensive.
SERVPRO of Southern Rockland County is locally owned and operated—so we live and work here too and are proud to be part of this community. We are proud to provide mold remediation services in our community.