Recent Fire Damage Posts
Fire Damage Emergency Tips
Residential Fire Damage
After any fire damage situation, your primary focus should be safety first:
- Is it safe to stay in the house?
- Electrical and "slip and fall" hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.
- Only do activities that are safe for you to perform.
- Wet materials can be VERY heavy. Be careful!
Have Smoke or Fire Damage? Call (818) 246-2200!
What To Do After A Fire
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
- Keep hands clean so as not to further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
- Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
- If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.
- Clean and protect chrome with light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
- Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves.
- Change HVAC filter.
- Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.
What NOT To Do After A Fire
- Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting us.
- Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
- Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water.
- Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
- Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.
Why You Should Clean Your Dryer Vents!
Dryer Vent Cleaning Can Prevent Fires
According to FEMA, failure to clean dryers and dryer vents 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, clean dryer vents regularly. Every few months be sure to wash the lint filter with detergent to get rid of residue buildup that might be impeding airflow. Also clean the whole exhaust duct line yearly to reduce clogs and risk of fire.
Other tips for keeping your dryer vents clean from the National Fire Protection Agency 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.
If you have a high efficiency dryer, look for easy-access panels and check inside for any additional lint buildup.
Woosley Fire Burns 96k Acres
Forced out of their neighborhoods for more than a week because of a wind-driven wildfire that raced across the canyons, devouring hundreds of buildings in its path, residents in Malibu are finally returning home.
Mandatory evacuation orders continued to lift over the weekend in the aftermath of the Woolsey Fire. One of the largest and most destructive in LA history, it has torched 96,949 acres and destroyed an astonishing 1,500 homes and buildings across two counties, from the beaches to the Valley
Two people, who officials believe were trying to flee flames in Malibu, have died. An additional fire-related death is under investigation. In the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, 83 percent of all National Parks Service land has burned.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, who surveyed the area by air last week, called the devastation “heartbreaking.” In his three-decade career, Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said he’s only witnessed devastation on this scale in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The size of the fire—more than 150 square miles, according to Osby—is astounding. Firefighters, who endured erratic wind and steep terrain, expect to get to full containment by Thursday.
Pet Fire Safety
Never leave pets alone around an open flame. If your pet is rowdy, it's best to avoid candles.
Prevent Your Pets from Starting Fires
The National Fire Protection Association estimates that nearly 1,000 home fires each year are accidentally started by the homeowners' pets.
The American Kennel Club and ADT Security Services have joined forces to provide the following tips:
- Extinguish Open Flames - Pets are generally curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. Ensure your pet is not left unattended around an open flame and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flame before leaving your home.
- Remove Stove Knobs - Be sure to remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before leaving the house - a stove or cook top is the number one piece of equipment involved in your pet starting a fire.
- Invest in Flameless Candles - These candles contain a light bulb rather than an open flame, and take the danger out of your pet knocking over a candle. Cats are notorious for starting fires when their tails turn over lit candles.
Help Firefighters Help Your Pets
- Secure Young Pets - keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home such as in crates or behind baby gates in secure areas.
- Keep pets near entrances when away from home. Keep collars on pets and leashes at the ready in case firefighters need to rescue your pet. When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near entrances where firefighters can easily find them.
- Affix a pet alert window cling and write down the number of pets inside your house and attach the static cling to a front window. This critical information saves rescuers time when locating your pets. Make sure to keep the number of pets listed on them updated.
Fire in the classroom.
A fish tank in a classroom exploded overnight caused half the classrooms and the basement to catch on fire in a school in the Los Angeles area. This picture shows that one of the classrooms that got more damaged than any other rooms. SERVPRO of Central Glendale was called in by the principle of the school the very next day within thirty minutes we have arrived to the damage areas. Fire is very dangerous and its usually hard to get rid of when it spreads rapidly. The process of the work took about a week and two days to finish. The owner was thrilled when he saw the aftermath of the work we did for them and he said "The classrooms look amazing and thank you again!"
Smoke and Suit up
SERVPRO of Central Glendale is on 24/7!
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 Central Glendale 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 – (818) 246-2200
Prepare, prepare, prepare!
Most electrical fires are caused by faulty electrical outlets and old, outdated appliances
In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames.
Learn About Fires
- Fire is FAST! In less than 30 seconds a small flame can turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house or for it to be engulfed in flames.
- Fire is HOT! Heat is more threatening than flames. Room temperatures in a fire can be 100 degrees at floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level. Inhaling this super-hot air will scorch your lungs and melt clothes to your skin.
- Fire is DARK! Fire starts bright, but quickly produces black smoke and complete darkness.
- Fire is DEADLY! Smoke and toxic gases kill more people than flames do. Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three-to-one ratio.
Before a Fire
Create and Practice a Fire Escape Plan
In the event of a fire, remember that every second counts, so you and your family must always be prepared. Escape plans help you get out of your home quickly.
Twice each year, practice your home fire escape plan. Some tips to consider when preparing this plan include:
- Find two ways to get out of each room in the event the primary way is blocked by fire or smoke.
- A secondary route might be a window onto a neighboring roof or a collapsible ladder for escape from upper story windows.
- Make sure that windows are not stuck, screens can be taken out quickly, and that security bars can be properly opened.
- Practice feeling your way out of the house in the dark or with your eyes closed.
- Teach children not to hide from firefighters.
A working smoke alarm significantly increases your chances of surviving a deadly home fire.
- Install both ionization AND photoelectric smoke alarms, OR dual sensor smoke alarms, which contain both ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors.
- Test batteries monthly.
- Replace batteries in battery-powered and hard-wired smoke alarms at least once a year (except non-replaceable 10-year lithium batteries).
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement, both inside and outside of sleeping areas.
- Replace the entire smoke alarm unit every 8-10 years or according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Never disable a smoke alarm while cooking – it can be a deadly mistake.
Smoke Alarm Safety for People with Access or Functional Needs
- Audible alarms for visually impaired people should pause with a small window of silence between each successive cycle so that they can listen to instructions or voices of others.
- Smoke alarms with a vibrating pad or flashing light are available for the hearing impaired. Contact your local fire department for information about obtaining a flashing or vibrating smoke alarm.
- Smoke alarms with a strobe light outside the home to catch the attention of neighbors, and emergency call systems for summoning help, are also available.
Southern California is infamous for its wildfire seasons. With high temperatures and winds, fires can spring up and can spread very quickly. It is important to take the time to prepare for evacuation should an emergency situation arise.
Below is a checklist that can help you with this:
1. Pack an emergency bag for you and your family (basically act like you’re going on a weekend camping trip):
- Water and nonperishable food (3 day supply per person). If you have animals, ensure you include their food.
- A first aid kit, including any absolutely needed medications or medical items.
- Emergency tools including flashlights, batteries, radio, etc.
- Sanitation and hygiene items, including any items needed for any infants such as diapers.
- Extra clothes and footwear for each person.
- One blanket or sleeping bag per person.
- Some cash and emergency credit cards (if you have them).
2. Put a plan together:
- Plan two ways out of your neighborhood in case a usual road is blocked
- Select a meeting place for your family members in case you are evacuated, can’t get home, etc. Also select one person who is out of the area to be a central contact point in case you are not able to meet up or get a hold of one another.
- Figure out what documents you should take with you. Make sure the documents are all in one location that is easy for you to access. You can also make copies of all of them and keep them specifically with your emergency bag.
- Figure out any cherished (irreplaceable) items you would want to take (jewelry, artwork, etc.). Make a list ahead of time so that if you do HAVE TIME to pack, you can quickly gather up these items (NOTE: These are the LAST things you would gather up, the first being your family and pets, the second being your emergency supplies, the 3rd being your documents and this being the LAST. If there is something so important to you that you must take it with you, put it with your emergency bag).
- Don’t let your vehicle get to empty on gas. You don’t want to have to evacuate and be out of gas, that would be bad. Try to keep at least 1/2 a tank of gas throughout the fire season.
3. Prepare your home:
- Clear dead brush, dead or dry plants and pine needles from around your home
- Keep your roof and rain gutters clean and clear of all pine needles, dry leaves, etc.
- Keep trees and bushes trimmed and not hanging over your roof
- There are many other steps you can take, including using fire resistant material for your roof and fence, but the above 4 are things you can do immediately. For longer term fire proofing of your home, here are some great tips.
If and once you’re told to evacuate, do so immediately, don’t wait. Don’t panic. Take your emergency kit, family and pets and then anything else you have time for, lock your home and go to your emergency meet up location.
The more difficult part is establishing the accurate salvage value of the damaged goods.
Although typically not given much thought, salvage has a significant impact on a claim and the claim process. It can either be a means to be fully indemnified for a loss, or potentially impede the recovery. If there is sufficient insurance on the damaged goods, the insured still has the first choice in the handling of the goods whether they are salvageable or not. After all, it’s his/her goods until paid for by the insurance company. If the owner of the damaged goods has no insurance for his/her loss, every penny that can be recouped from the pile of debris is even more critical for the owner.
The Basics of Salvage
The dictionary describes “salvage” as
- The act of saving imperiled property from loss.
- The property so saved.
- Something saved from destruction or waste and put to further use.
The owner of damaged goods (insured or not) will always want to recover as much as possible for the salvageable items. How that is accomplished could fill volumes of books, as almost every salvage effort is unique. This is because the major factors that affect salvage value are market conditions, and time and place of loss. Each of these components is ever-changing.
The following scenarios provide a basic look at salvage principles.
1. Salvage Turned Over to the Insurance Company
Insured A has $100,000 in inventory value. They have $100,000 in coverage without
a coinsurance clause or a deductible in the policy. In the event of a total loss to the coinsurance clause or a deductible in the policy. In the event of a total loss to the insured property, the insured would be paid the policy limits of $100,000 and surrender title and ownership of the damaged inventory. The inventory, now owned by the insurance company, would be removed by them and salvaged if possible.
2. Salvage Retained by the Insured
Insured A has $100,000 in inventory value. They have $100,000 in coverage without a coinsurance clause or a deductible in the policy. In the event of a loss to the insured property the insured decides to retain and attempt to salvage the inventory themselves.
The insurance company places a salvage value of $30,000 on the damaged inventory. The $30,000 value is deducted from the policy limits of $100,000 and the insured would be paid $70,000. It is then up to the insured to salvage the inventory.
3. Salvage in an Underinsured Loss
Insured A has $100,000 in inventory value. They only have $50,000 in coverage and no coinsurance clause or a deductible in the policy. In the event of a total loss the insured is paid $50,000 — the limit of liability of their policy. The insured also retains the damaged inventory and, if salvageable, those monies contribute to the reduction of the policyholder’s uninsured loss. Salvage becomes a means to become more fully in terms of the consignment with respect to damage while the goods are in the “care, custody, and control” of the insured?