Recent Fire Damage Posts

State Farm’s Steps to Take After a Home Fire

11/2/2021 (Permalink)

  1. Find a safe place to stay. No matter the amount of damage, you likely can't stay in your own home. If staying with friends or family isn't an option, talk to your local disaster relief agency, such as the American Red Cross or Salvation Army. These organizations will help you find a safe place to stay temporarily.
  2. Contact your insurance agent. You'll need to start a claim and address your immediate needs. "Loss of use" funds from your insurance policy may cover living and other daily expenses. If you receive these funds or an advance on your claim, save all receipts and keep a detailed record of all purchases. Your insurance agent should also be able to help you secure your property and offer recommendations for cleaning up or restoring salvageable items.
  3. Protect your home. Even though your home is damaged and you may not be able to stay there, as the owner you still need to protect it as much as possible from both weather and unlawful entry.
  4. Take care of your pets. Always have your pets checked by a veterinarian after a fire. Your pets’ lungs can be damaged by smoke and burns can hide under fur.
  5. Get a copy of the fire report. You can usually get fire reports from your local fire department. The report may be helpful in providing information for your insurance agency.
  6. Address your finances. You'll still need to make mortgage payments — even if your home is destroyed. You'll also need to continue any car payments and replace any credit or debit cards that may have been destroyed in the house fire.
  7. Recover your possessions. Items destroyed in a house fire are usually covered by insurance. Typically, the home owner’s policy is a replacement-cost policy. When that's the case, and a loss occurs, you will receive the actual cash value of your damaged items at the time of settlement and may recover the replacement cost once the items have been replaced. To help make sure everything is accounted for, keep a home inventory of your possessions. This inventory should include the date of purchase, cost at purchase and description of each item, wherever possible.
  8. Take care of your family’s mental health. Disasters can make it difficult to cope. This is particularly true of children. Be patient with yourself as you work through any stress caused by the fire. If you or others in your family are having difficulty coping, please seek professional help. 

5 Home Appliance Fire Hazards

10/5/2021 (Permalink)

Cooking Ranges – Even after controlling for human error, stoves and ovens cause a lot of fires. In many situations, it’s difficult even for investigators to determine whether a fire began due to human error or an electrical/mechanical problem inside the stove. You also might be surprised to learn that electric ranges cause more fires than gas ranges. Regardless of the range, it is not recommend to use it for storing unused pots or pans and do not leave a range unattended while in use.

Clothes Washers and Dryers – It’s no secret that clogged lint traps cause dryer fires. Washers and dryers cause an estimated 16,000 fires each year and most dryer fires ignite when the lint trap isn’t cleaned frequently enough. That being said, the heating element in your dryer and the moving parts inside your washing machine’s drum can catch fire through no fault of your own. For this reason, we always recommend following the manufacturer’s instructions and do not overload either of these appliances.

Dishwashers – Dishwashers are the second most common source of a kitchen fire caused by non-cooking appliances. Dishwashers combine electronics and heating elements with water, which is the perfect environment for electric fires to begin. We suggest you avoid turning on your dishwasher before leaving your home to avoid the risk of faulty elements starting a fire.

Portable Cookers/Warmers – Small cooking appliances like chafing dishes and slow cookers are also a relatively common cause of cooking equipment-related fires. While newer models have safety features like automatic timers – older ones don’t.  Always unplug small appliances when they are not in use – but especially those with heating elements.

Refrigerators – You may be surprised to learn that –  refrigerators are the most common appliance for fire hazards in the United States. There is virtually no opportunity for human error when it comes to refrigerator operation. Refrigerators run day and night, automatically cycling on and off for many years. Over time, various parts can wear out, including relay switches and compressors which are the primary causes of refrigerators igniting.

If you have had the unfortunate event of an appliance fire - please call SERVPRO of Sussex County today and we will help with the clean-up - 303-856-9768.

How to Maintain Your Fire Extinguisher

8/12/2021 (Permalink)

How to Maintain Your Fire Extinguisher

Hopefully, you have a properly inspected and maintained fire extinguisher in your home in the event of a house fire. The National Fire Protection Agency requires extinguishers be inspected when they are initially installed and once a month after that. You should inspect extinguishers more frequently if they are installed in locations where they are more prone to rust, impact or tampering.

  There are three critical check points to cover when inspecting your fire extinguisher:

  1. Confirm the extinguisher is visible, unobstructed, and in its designated location.
  2. Verify the locking pin is intact and the tamper seal is unbroken. ...
  3. Confirm the pressure gauge or indicator is in the operable range or position, and lift the extinguisher to ensure it is still full.

If you are a business owner the regulations also state: The regulations state that a minimum of two Class A fire extinguishers on every floor of a building are needed, unless the premises are very small, in which case one may be acceptable. ... If there is a sprinkler or automatic suppression system in place, fewer fire extinguishers may be required.  

What is the difference between Class A and B fire extinguishers?

Class A: freely burning, combustible solid materials such as wood or paper. Class B: flammable liquid or gas. Class C: energized electrical fire (energized electrical source serves as the ignitor of a class A or B fire – if electrical source is removed, it is no longer a class C fire. 

Fires can be classified in five different ways depending on the agent that fuels them: Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, and Class K. Each type of fire involves different flammable materials and requires a special approach. In fact, trying to fight a blaze with the wrong method might make the situation worse.

  In the unfortunate event of a house or business fire; SERVPRO of Sussex County stands ready to assist with the best remediation and restoration service attainable.  Please call us at 302-856-9768.

Business Fire Prevention Tips

1/15/2021 (Permalink)

   A fire can cause severe damage to business equipment, materials, and structures. As a business owner, focusing on fire risk assessment, fire prevention, and staff education can help reduce your chance of fire and smoke damage. Here are three tips to help:

Have fire protection equipment

  • If you have an automatic sprinkler system in place, this will provide primary fire protection for your business.
  • Standard fire safety practices call for smoke detectors and fire extinguishers on every floor. Employees should be aware of the location of fire extinguishers on each floor.
  • Your best bet is multipurpose extinguishers, which will douse most small fires with ease, without shorting out your electronics.

  Not only are your employees part of your team, they’re also essential assets to your business. These tips can help prevent them from being injured in a fire.

  • Fire Plan. Make sure your employees know what to do if there's a fire, including calling 911 immediately. Conduct a fire drill at least once a year to keep employees aware of your workplace fire safety protocol.
  • Have a Safety Officer. Designate a person as your office’s fire prevention officer. Their duties will include escape routes for employees, as well as keeping all of your safety plans, equipment, and information updated.
  • Install a Sprinkler System. Sprinkler systems are cost effective and the best way to fight the spread of a fire in a business with properly installed and maintained systems being 95% effective according to the National Fire Protection Association.
  • Leave Space for Appliances. Leave some room behind appliances that heat up, like coffee machines and computers, to allow them to cool down. Keep all of your business appliances away from combustible materials, like paper or cloth. If possible, unplug these appliances at the end of the day as most business fires occur after typical operating hours.
  • Regularly Replace Wiring. Check power cords regularly for fraying, broken connectors, or cracked insulation. These need to be replaced immediately. Only use one extension cord per outlet and follow manufacturer recommendations for maximum wattage when using power strips. Avoid “octopus wiring,” when wires and plugs clutter around one outlet, as it could lead to an overload.
  • Evacuation Plan. In larger buildings, post a fire evacuation plan in several spots around the workplace. Never include elevators in an evacuation plan; always use the stairs. Businesses with disabled employees should develop a detailed evacuation for those employees needing additional assistance in an emergency.
  • First Aid. In case of fire injuries, your employees should be familiar with the location of the first-aid kit, which should be kept where possible hazards can occur most, such as in the kitchen.

If you suffer the misfortune of a fire at your business – call SERVPRO of Sussex County today at 302-856-9768.

3 Most Common Causes of House Fires

1/6/2021 (Permalink)

3 Most Common Causes of House Fires

  The National Fire Protection Association reports that there are as many as 400,000 house fires every year in the United States. Take precautions to prevent the most common cause of house fires, and consider a home safe to protect your most valued possessions as your last line of defense, just in case.

Cooking Fires

The #1 cause of house fires, accounting for 42% of reported incidents, is cooking. Open flames from the stove and intense heat in the oven easily result in a fire when unsupervised. Most often food or cooking tools catch fire and quickly lose control. While giving up cooking all together may be a bit extreme, paying extra attention and never leaving the kitchen while preparing food is an easy way to reduce this risk.

Heating Equipment

Space Heaters should be used if only a small portion of your home needs heated.  Keep all space heaters away from anything that could easily catch fire; such as curtains, laundry, blankets and furniture.  For central heating systems; it is always a good idea to have them maintained manually by a professional.  Also – please be mindful of carbon monoxide danger when using any fuel burning device.

Faulty Wiring

Most of us never think about all of the wires in our home. Unfortunately, faulty wiring is the third leading cause of house fires in the U.S. Typical signs of wiring deficiencies include dimming lights, frequent blown fuses and the inability to use multiple electrical appliances at the same time.   

It should go without saying; but the minimal investment in a reliable smoke detector is always a proper step in deterring home fires.

If you should suffer the misfortune of any sized fire in your home; we at SERVPRO of Sussex County stand ready to offer the most professional remediation and re-build services available.

5 Holiday Fire Hazards

12/16/2020 (Permalink)

5 Holiday Fire Hazards

Check the Basics

Make sure your smoke detectors are up-to-date and have working batteries by testing each one. If you have a detector that keeps going off, fix the problem. Smoke-alarm malfunctions are typically caused by dust that has collected inside or nuisance triggers, such as cooking fumes or bathroom steam. First, clean the unit by removing the cover and vacuuming it out. Replace the cover and press the test button to ensure that it's working. If the problem persists, relocate the unit farther away from sources of steam or smoke.

Keep fire extinguishers on each floor, near exits, and where you can easily grab them. Learn how to choose and use fire extinguishers and how to create a fire plan with your family.

Heating Up the Room

As the temperature drops, boilers, fireplaces, radiators, and space heaters are cranked up. Heating equipment is the second-greatest cause of home fires each year, reports the NFPA. Keep space heaters at least 3 feet (but preferably in a different room) from items that might easily burn, including upholstery and the Christmas tree.

Before lighting the fireplace, make sure your damper is open. Use a protective screen or grate in front to keep sparks from escaping.

Kitchen Fires

The heart of the home can get chaotic when you're prepping a big family feast. It's easy to become distracted and forget about a simmering pot. Unattended cooking is the No. 1 cause of kitchen fires, says the NFPA, and Thanksgiving is the peak day of the year.

The best line of defense is to stay present in the room while you are cooking. Next, be sure to keep clutter to a minimum, and store combustible items, such as towels, plastic or cardboard food containers, and cooking utensils, away from the stove.

The Christmas Tree

Each year, U.S. fire departments respond to more than 200 home fires involving Christmas trees, says the NFPA. The key to avoid joining that statistic is to keep your tree from becoming dehydrated. Choose the freshest tree possible, and set it up at least 3 feet from any heat source, such as a radiator, space heater, fireplace, or furnace. Be sure to cut the bottom inch or so of your tree's trunk, fill the stand with water as soon as the tree is upright, and refill it daily. You may be surprised to see just how much water the tree "drinks" every day.

Overpacked Outlets

Decorative lights give many homes and neighborhoods a festive glow during long winter nights. Just be careful not to overcrowd outlets. Electrical malfunctions, called shorts or arc faults, are the cause of half of all devastating residential fires. Install an Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) outlet to detect and automatically shut down an arcing circuit.

Plug or Unplug - That is the Question?

11/4/2020 (Permalink)

Plug or Unplug – That is the question?

  We often hear of home or business fires starting from faulty or malfunctioning appliances – large and small.  Thousands of fires occur each year and you may be surprised which appliances caused the most risk.  Of over 10,000 such fires surveyed over a three year period – the results were as follows:

  • 14% washing machines (1,723)
  • 12% tumble dryers (1,456)
  • 11% dishwashers (1,324)
  • 9% cookers (1,080)
  • 7% fridges / freezers (861)
  • 5% central heating (606)
  • 4% toasters / grills (495)
  • 4% microwaves (427)
  • 3% TVs (372)
  • 2% washer dryers (225)
  • 1% irons (92)

  Most major appliance manufacturers advise that you register with them after purchase so that they may communicate any problems such as recalls; etc.  Also, if the appliance has a warranty – such a registration is mandated if a problem should occur and restitution is in order. Generally, if any appliance is found to be unsafe – the manufacturer is mandated by law to contact those who have purchased the faulty product.

  Probably; the issue most consumers worry about is their clothes dryer and the lint that collects in the pipes and the vent.  Rightfully so; since dryer lint removal has been increasing in demand over the last several years with specialized companies offering that specific service alone.  The bottom line is better safe than sorry and if you feel unsafe leaving a small appliance plugged in – unplug it!  SRVPRO of Sussex County has helped with such problems – please call us today at 302-856-9768 or visit: https://www.SERVPROsussexcounty.com/.

Basic Fire Safety

10/7/2020 (Permalink)

Basic Fire Safety

As we begin Autumn of 2020; much has changed in our country and much of the change has centered around safety. COVID-19 and its effects have taken over our lives and have been our primary concern as a people and a nation. However, the COVID pandemic should remind us that there are many other dangers in our lives that we may be able to control.  Basic Fire Prevention and Safety Tips are one such topic which over the years have proven to save lives and increase public safety. Below we offer some of the most basic tips and encourage all of you to learn more about fire safety.

Top Tips for Fire Safety

  1. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Radon and Carbon Monoxide detectors can also add safety to your home and are also very easy to install.
  2. Test smoke alarms every month. ... If you are like me – once that detector is changed – I rarely give it another thought. Take the time and check them every six months.
  3. Talk with all family members about a fire escape planand practice the plan twice a year. This is not just for discussion – it should be in writing where all have access and should be updated.
  4. If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL FOR HELP.
  5. Most fire deaths occur after someone re-enters a burning building.
  1. CALL SERVPRO of Sussex County at 302-856-9768 or visit our site today for more safety tips: https://www.SERVPROsussexcounty.com/

SERVPRO’S Professional Fire Restoration Process

8/19/2020 (Permalink)

A house or business fire can cause extensive damage from fire and smoke and also water damage from the firefighting efforts. The professionals at SERVPRO of Sussex County have the expertise and training to restore your home or business to pre-fire condition.

We have listed the steps below to illustrate our process for a fire emergency.

  1. Call SERVPRO– The SERVPRO National Call Center is available and staffed 24 hours a day – 7 days a week. Our professional representative will ask a series of specific questions regarding the fire and will dispatch the nearest SERVPRO Franchise Professional and they will arrive quickly to the scene with the appropriate equipment and resources.
  2. Inspection and Assessment– the SERVPRO of Sussex County professionals will carefully inspect your property and test adjoining rooms for fire, smoke and soot damage. The information gathered at this point is crucial to develop a plan of action.
  3. Roof Tarp and Board-Up Service– this is sometimes an immediate need after a fire since the event can compromise windows, walls and roofs. Our SERVPRO professionals will offer the service to properly board up missing windows and place tarps over damaged roofs. This will add security and hopefully prevent further damage.
  4. Water Removal and Drying– If water damage is present the water removal process begins almost immediately and the majority of the water is removed. Dehumidifiers and air movers are used to complete then drying process.
  5. Smoke and Soot Removal– All surfaces which have been exposed to smoke and soot are cleaned with specialized equipment and techniques. This includes ceilings and walls and other surfaces.
  6. Cleaning and Sanitizing– The SERVPRO professionals will clean all restorable items and structures damaged in the fire to pre-fire condition. Odors are removed by air scrubbers and fogging equipment.
  7. Restoration– The final step is restoration – which means getting your home back to its pre-fire condition. This may involve minor repairs such as replacing drywall, painting and new flooring installation or if the damage is extensive; full reconstruction measures may be required.

Please call SERVPRO of Sussex County at 302-856-9768 or go to:www.SERVPROsussexcounty.comfor more information and services.

When the Furnace Puffs Back

1/29/2020 (Permalink)

Many Sussex County homeowners will find themselves eager to turn up heat as the weather grows colder. Precautions should be taken when firing up your heater for the first time. A puff back could result if your heating system has not been inspected or cleaned for over a year.

What is a Puff back? Puff backs are messy expulsions of soot and smoke caused by improper furnace ignition. When an oil burner doesn’t ignite immediately, excess oil builds up within the combustion chamber. The fuel can ignite explosively, similar to the backfiring of a car. Depending on how much fuel has built up in the chamber, the result can range from a small explosion to a cloud of oily smoke.

As a result, the mess of soot and debris will be mixed with oil. It can quickly spread throughout your home, covering cabinets, walls, furniture, and everything else you would never want covered in black, sticky grime. In addition to the mess, puffbacks contaminate the air and surfaces with unhealthy material. The consequences can be unpleasant, but SERVPRO of Sussex County can work with you in the cleaning and restoration of your home and belongings.

Should a puff back occur, here are some helpful tips to follow.

  • Assess the damage
  • Wash all affected clothing and throw out exposed food
  • Contact a technician to repair the malfunctioning furnace
  • Contact SERVPRO of Sussex County to restore your home

SERVPRO of Sussex County is a trusted leader in the restoration industry. We have the specific damage restoration training, personnel, and equipment to quickly restore your home to its original state. If you need someone to help with any type of smoke, soot, or fire damage, our highly trained technicians will be there to start the restoration process. Call the professionals at – SERVPRO of Sussex County 302-856-9768.

Burnt out of Business

1/7/2020 (Permalink)

Did you ever stop to consider what happens to a commercial business after they have a major disaster?  Let’s just think about your favorite restaurant that you and your friends meet at for  your weekend get-together.  During the week, your favorite restaurant has suffered a fire.  The local fire department was called in to put out the fire. Afterwards the fire marshal came in to determine the cause.  The report in the local newspaper said it was due to an electrical short from the overhead lighting.  The photos were devastating and “your booth” is now covered in black soot along with everything else in the restaurant!  What happens next?

Your favorite restaurant will probably be out of business for many, many months if not a year or longer to clean and repair the damages – as well as a loss of income to them.  If they don’t own the building, they will likely continue to pay rent without any income to offset it.  For some small businesses in this situation, it may put them out of business without having the insurance to cover that loss.  What about you and your friends?  Will you wait that long for them to recover and be back in business?  By the time that happens you will probably have found a “new” favorite restaurant.

 By calling SERVPRO of Sussex County to help with the clean-up, your favorite restaurant could be back up and running in ‘short order’.  Our crews are ready to help 24-7 for all disasters, residential or commercial, big or small.  SERVPRO of Sussex County prides itself in helping to make the loss "Like it never even happened."  When disaster strikes call us the experts, SERVPRO of Sussex County at 302-856-9768.

Christmas Tree Fire Safety

12/17/2019 (Permalink)

According the National Fire Prevention Association; there are more than 200 fires per year that are caused by Christmas Trees. These fires cause an average of 6 deaths, 16 injuries and $14.8 million in property damage annually. There is a common myth that tree lights alone are the source of these accidents. In reality, the cause is often related to overloaded extension cords and electrical sockets. When overloaded with too many devices drawing power beyond the cord/power strip’s rating, they can fail and short circuit.

The following are measures which can be taken to diminish this risk:

  • Keep your tree at least three feet away from any heat source.
  • Purchase a freshly cut tree.
  • Water the tree every day.
  • Remove the tree soon after Christmas or once it dries out.
  • Check extension cords for damage before use.
  • Do not overload extension cords. Use only UL approved lights and cords.
  • Check for any shorts, or damaged bulbs in the strings of lights and discard the string if they are found.
  • Check extension cords for any exposed wire and make sure they art grounded.
  • NEVER PUT LIT CANDLES ON YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE!!
  • Make sure your lights are turned off before you turn in at night.
  • Make sure all outdoor light connectors are away from rain gutters and off the ground.

Your Christmas tree is not the only item to exercise caution with. It is reported that candles start two out of every five decoration fires. Speaking from experience; this can happen in the blink on an eye; causing considerable damage. We had a small fire in our kitchen during Thanksgiving dinner one unfortunate year. A dish towel got too close to a lit candle and we had to replace the island that it sat on.All it takes is a temporary lapse in attention.

SERVPRO of Sussex County wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday season! If you should have some bad luck during the holidays or at any time – call us at 302-856-9768 and we will help to restore the joy of the holidays.

Where There's Fire There's Smoke

11/12/2019 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Sussex County can help you eliminate the smell of smoke after a fire in your home or business.  If you have had a fire in your home; you may notice the smell of pungent, lingering smoke odors which at times can become overwhelming.  Post fire soot, ash and debris may also be present and in such cases it is in your best interest to call in professionals who can restore and prevent further damage to the property and belongings.

   SERVPRO offers the most professional fire damage restoration process. Our crew will apply proven methods to remove fire and smoke residues from furniture, walls, floors and ceilings and other surfaces in your home. If valuables are in need of removal and cleaning; we offer these services as well and sanitize salvageable items off site. We also discard any items deemed unsalvageable by the homeowner.

  The use of air movers, air scrubbers and foggers can also be utilized to push odors from the atmosphere to reduce smoke odors and improve overall air quality.

  Surfaces are also cleaned to remove soot and smoke residue.  Walls, floors and ceilings are all cleaned and checked for odor penetration.  In some cases the entire structure may need cleaning.

  Whether a small kitchen fire or a serious house fire; the odors associated with such a loss can be lasting and overwhelming. Call SERVPRO of Sussex County at 302-856-9768 as soon as the fire is out and we can begin the process of restoring your home to its pre-fire condition.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 
(302) 856-9768 or visit: www.SERVPROsussexcounty.com

October is National Fire Safety Month

10/2/2019 (Permalink)

  October is Fire Prevention Month and is sponsored by the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA).  Fire Prevention Month actually started as National Fire Prevention Day as declared by President Woodrow Wilson in 1922 and has evolved into a week or month long observance of the issues associated with Fire Safety.

  The event which inspired the longest running public safety and health campaign on record was The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 which started on October 8, 1871. The fire lasted for three days and killed more than 300 people and left more than 100,000 people homeless.  It burned more than 2,000 acres and destroyed about 17,400 structures and was reportedly started in a barn.  It caused an estimated $200 million in damages and legends of its cause range from a cow kicking over a lantern in a barn to human error and even a meteor. The worst destruction occurred on October 9 and this is why the national campaign always begins around this time.  An area a mile wide and four miles long were left in ruin in its aftermath.  Historically, it is still one of the worst American disasters on record.

  In 2000, the NFPA extended the Fire Prevention Week to include the entire month of October and most Fire Departments, schools, libraries and utility companies participate in spreading the word about Fire Safety and Prevention.

  SERVPRO of Sussex County is happy to offer its ongoing support to all of the local Fire Departments and we will be participating in the Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Company 2018 Fire Safety and Awareness Program on Sunday October 6 at the bandstand just off the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk.  This four hour event from noon until 4 pm will feature this year's Fire Safety Campaign "NOT EVERY HERO WEARS A CAPE – Plan and Practice Your Escape.”

  Children of all ages are welcome. Come see the firetrucks, firefighters, police officers, EMTs, and many more of the public servants that work hard every day to help keep you and your families safe. 

Unimaginable Loss

8/9/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Sussex County has offered our support to the majority of fire victims in our community.  We have helped with house fires as well as fires that have affected local businesses.  Fortunately, most have not involved a major loss of life and typically we have offered restoration services for the external and internal structure as well as its contents.  A recent fire occurred in Long Neck that caused a loss so great it is difficult to describe.  Three very young children perished.  They were each under six years of age.  Even if you are not a parent as am I; the sadness is so deep it sickens anyone with a soul.  A photo was posted online and these children appeared radiant and beautiful.  They looked so full of life and joy and with their whole lives ahead of them – and why wouldn’t they be?

The enemy is fire and we should all learn to respect the terrible power it has to consume life if not controlled.  If the fire itself does not cause harm the smoke will.  This double edged hazard shows no discrimination and can take the lives of both young and old.  Over 1450 lives are lost to fires each year and 2/3 of those deaths were due to missing or non-functioning smoke detectors.  Proper and functioning smoke detectors save thousands of lives each year; however these detectors require regular care to keep them functional and when you consider these three little children and what may have been saved – this is a no brainer.  Install and inspect your smoke detectors to keep you and your family safe and don’t ever assume that a fire won’t happen to you.  SERVPRO of Sussex County donates hundreds of smoke detectors every year and we support every fire department in our county.  Almost every local fire department offers fire safety seminars and sessions.  In light of this most terrible recent tragedy – it is critical that we all - Learn Not to Burn.      

Puff Back Attack

1/28/2019 (Permalink)

Puff Back Attack

  As the winter days grow colder, many Sussex County homeowners will find themselves eager to turn up the heat in their residences.  Precautions should be taken when firing up your heater for the first time.  If your heating system has not been inspected or cleaned for over a year, this could result in a puffback.

  Puff backs are messy expulsions of soot and smoke caused by improper furnace ignition.  When an oil burner doesn’t ignite immediately, excess oil builds up within the combustion chamber.  This fuel can ignite explosively, similar to the backfiring of a car.  Depending on how much fuel has built up in the chamber, the result can range from a small explosion to a cloud of oily smoke.

  The resulting mess of soot and debris will be mixed with oil. It can quickly spread throughout your home, covering cabinets, walls, furniture, and everything else you would never want covered in something black and sticky.  In addition to the mess, puffbacks contaminate the air and surfaces with unhealthy material. The consequences can be unpleasant, but SERVPRO of Sussex County can work with you in the cleaning and restoration of your home and belongings.

  Should a puff back occur, here are some helpful tips to follow.

  • Assess the damage
  • Wash all affected clothing and throw out exposed food
  • Contact a technician to repair the malfunctioning furnace
  • Contact SERVPRO of Sussex County to restore your home

  SERVPRO of Sussex County is a trusted leader in the restoration industry. We have the specific damage restoration training, personnel, and equipment to quickly restore your home to its original state.  If you need someone to help with any type of smoke, soot, or fire damage, our highly trained technicians will be there to start the restoration process.  Call the professionals at – SERVPRO of Sussex County 302-856-9768.

Burnt Out

1/7/2019 (Permalink)

Burnt Out

Did you ever stop to consider the after effects of what happens to a commercial business when they have a major disaster?  Let’s just think about your favorite restaurant that you and your friends have a standing every other Saturday night get-together.  Suddenly your favorite restaurant has a fire.  Of course, the local fire department was called in to put out the fire and then the fire marshal came in to determine the cause.  The report in the local newspaper said it was due to an electrical short from the overhead lighting.  The photos were devastating and “your booth” is now covered in black soot along with everything else in the restaurant!  What happens next?

Your favorite restaurant will probably be out of business for many, many months if not a year or longer to clean and repair the damages – as well as a loss of income to them.  If they don’t own the building and only rent, they must continue to pay rent without any income to offset it.  For some businesses in this situation, it may put them out of business without having the insurance to cover that loss.  What about you and your friends?  Will you wait that long for them to recover and be back in business?  You will probably have found a “new” favorite restaurant.

 By calling SERVPRO of Sussex County to help with the clean-up, your favorite restaurant could be back up and running in ‘short order’.  Our crews are ready to help 24-7 for all disasters, residential or commercial, big or small.  SERVPRO of Sussex County prides itself in helping to make the loss "Like it never even happened!"  When disaster strikes call us the experts, SERVPRO of Sussex County at 302-856-9768.

Oh!!!! Christmas Tree!!!!

12/17/2018 (Permalink)

                OH!!! Christmas Tree!!!

  According to U.S. Fire Departments; there are more than 200 fires per year that are caused by Christmas Trees. These fires cause an average of 6 deaths, 16 injuries and $14.8 million in property damage annually.  A myth is that the tree lights alone are the problem but in reality the cause is also overloaded extension cords and electrical sockets which were faulty and short circuited.

  The following are measures which can be taken to diminish this risk:

  • Keep your tree at least three feet away from any heat source.
  • Purchase a freshly cut tree.
  • Water the tree every day.
  • Remove the tree soon after Christmas or once it dries out.
  • Check extension cords for damage before use.
  • Do not overload extension cords. Use only UL approved lights and cords.
  • Check for any shorts, or damaged bulbs in the strings of lights and discard the string if they are found.
  • Check extension cords for any exposed wire and make sure they art grounded.
  • NEVER PUT LIT CANDLES ON YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE!!
  • Make sure your lights are turned off before you turn in at night.
  • Make sure all outdoor light connectors are away from rain gutters and off the ground.

 Your Christmas tree is not the only item to exercise caution with.  It is reported that two out of every five decoration fires is started by candles.  Speaking from experience; this can happen in the blink on an eye and can cause considerable damage.  We had a small fire in our kitchen during Thanksgiving dinner one year after a dish towel got too close to a lit candle and we had to replace the island that it sat on.  A temporary lapse in attention is all it takes.

SERVPRO of Sussex County wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday season!  If you should have some bad luck during the holidays or at any time – call us at 302-856-9768 and we will help to restore the joy of the holidays.

A Recipe For Disaster

11/12/2018 (Permalink)

A Recipe for Disaster

  Thanksgiving is a popular time for family and friends to come together for food and company. Unfortunately, it is the leading day for home cooking fires in the United States. According to the National Fire Protection Association; between 2011 and 2015, it is estimated cooking fires contributed to $1.2 billion in property damage annually. There is an average of 455 daily cooking fires in the US. Their evidence has stated that in 2015, on Thanksgiving Day, there were four times as many cooking fires as any other day of the year.

  Unattended cooking equipment continues to be the primary cause of holiday fires. Some equipment presents a greater risk than people have prepared for. Turkey fryers have become a popular and easy way to prepare your holiday feast. Despite the ease and delicious results, these fryers come with their own unique set of safety precautions. According to the NFPA, deep-frying turkey has led to an exponential increase in holiday fires.

  Nobody wants a disaster to ruin a perfect Thanksgiving with the people we love. Below are some essential tips to keep yourself and family safe while cooking this year.

In your home:

  • Do not leave food unsupervised, especially when cooking with oil
  • Keep flammable material like wooden utensils, oven mitts, towels, and food packaging away from stovetops
  • Use a timer to keep track of cooking times, and monitor meals that take a long time to cook.

If you are using a fryer:

  • Fully thaw and dry your turkey. Excess water will cause the oil to boil over, potentially burning anyone nearby. If cooking oil spills onto the burner, it can easily start a fire.
  • Set your fryer up outdoors, on flat ground, and away from your home
  • Keep track of the oil temperature, and use protection when touching the lid and handle.
  • Be prepared for a fire. Have a multi-purpose dry powder fire extinguisher ready at all times.

 We encourage everyone to practice safety this holiday season. Please call SERVPRO of Sussex County at 302-856-9768 for any questions or issues relating to fire damage and remember it is always best to use an expert in such cases to lessen cost and severity of damage. You may also visit our website at: www.SERVPROsussexcounty.com

The Origins of National Fire Prevention Month

10/1/2018 (Permalink)

The Origins of National Fire Prevention Month

  October is Fire Prevention Month and is sponsored by the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA).  Fire Prevention Month actually started as National Fire Prevention Day as declared by President Woodrow Wilson in 1922 and has evolved into a week or month long observance of the issues associated with Fire Safety.

  The event which inspired the longest running public safety and health campaign on record was The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 which started on October 8, 1871. The fire lasted for three days and killed more than 300 people and left more than 100,000 people homeless.  It burned more than 2,000 acres and destroyed about 17,400 structures and was reportedly started in a barn.  It caused an estimated $200 million in damages and legends of its cause range from a cow kicking over a lantern in a barn to human error and even a meteor. The worst destruction occurred on October 9 and this is why the national campaign always begins around this time.  An area a mile wide and four miles long were left in ruin in its aftermath.  Historically, it is still one of the worst American disasters on record.

  In 2000, the NFPA extended the Fire Prevention Week to include the entire month of October and most Fire Departments, schools, libraries and utility companies participate in spreading the word about Fire Safety and Prevention.

  SERVPRO of Sussex County is happy to offer its ongoing support to all of the local Fire Departments and we will be participating in the Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Company 2018 Fire Safety and Awareness Program on Sunday October 7 at the bandstand just off the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk.  This four hour event from noon until 4 pm will feature this year's Fire Safety Campaign "LOOK, LISTEN, LEARN - Be Aware, Fire can Happen Anywhere."

   Children of all ages are welcome. Come see the firetrucks, firefighters, police officers, EMTs, and many more of the public servants that work hard every day to help keep you and your families safe. 

Strong Smell of Smoke in your Sussex County Home or Business?

9/20/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Sussex County Can Eliminate Strong Smoke Odors.  If you have had a fire in your home; you may notice the smell of pungent, lingering smoke odors which at times can become overwhelming.  Post fire soot, ash and debris may also be present and in such cases it is in your best interest to call in professionals who can restore and prevent further damage to the property and belongings.

   SERVPRO offers the most professional fire damage restoration process. Our crew will apply proven methods to remove fire and smoke residues from furniture, walls, floors and ceilings and other surfaces in your home. If valuables are in need of removal and cleaning; we offer these services as well and sanitize salvageable items off site. We also discard any items deemed unsalvageable by the homeowner.

  The use of air movers, air scrubbers and foggers can also be utilized to push odors from the atmosphere to reduce smoke odors and improve overall air quality.

  Surfaces are also cleaned to remove soot and smoke residue.  Walls, floors and ceilings are all cleaned and checked for odor penetration.  In some cases the entire structure may need cleaning.

  Whether a small kitchen fire or a serious house fire; the odors associated with such a loss can be lasting and overwhelming. Call SERVPRO of Sussex County at 302-856-9768 as soon as the fire is out and we can begin the process of restoring your home to its pre-fire condition.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 
(302) 856-9768 or visit: www.SERVPROsussexcounty.com

SERVPRO of Sussex County and the Fire Restoration Process

8/17/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Sussex County and the Fire Restoration Process

   A house fire can cause extensive damage from fire and smoke and also water damage from the firefighting efforts.  The professionals at SERVPRO of Sussex County have the expertise and training to restore your home to pre-fire condition.

  Although every fire event is different and the damage may vary; a unique solution is required but the general process is the same.  We have listed the steps below to illustrate our process for a fire emergency.

  1. Call SERVPRO – The SERVPRO National Call Center is available and staffed 24 hours a day – 7 days a week. Our professional representative will ask a series of specific questions regarding the fire and will dispatch the nearest SERVPRO Franchise Professional and they will arrive quickly to the scene with the appropriate equipment and resources.
  2. Inspection and Assessment – the SERVPRO of Sussex County professionals will carefully inspect your property and test adjoining rooms for fire, smoke and soot damage. The information gathered at this point is crucial to develop a plan of action.
  3. Roof Tarp and Board-Up Service – this is sometimes an immediate need after a fire since the event can compromise windows, walls and roofs. Our SERVPRO professionals will offer the service to properly board up missing windows and place tarps over damaged roofs.  This will add security and hopefully prevent further damage.
  4. Water Removal and Drying – If water damage is present the water removal process begins almost immediately and the majority of the water is removed. Dehumidifiers and air movers are used to complete then drying process.
  5. Smoke and Soot Removal – All surfaces which have been exposed to smoke and soot are cleaned with specialized equipment and techniques. This includes ceilings and walls and other surfaces.
  6. Cleaning and Sanitizing – The SERVPRO professionals will clean all restorable items and structures damaged in the fire to pre-fire condition. Odors are removed by air scrubbers and fogging equipment.
  7. Restoration – The final step is restoration – which means getting your home back to its pre-fire condition. This may involve minor repairs such as replacing drywall, painting and new flooring installation or if the damage is extensive; full reconstruction measures may be required.

Please refer to our Fire Damage Tips - Until Help Arrives Guide and follow these tips to protect yourself and your property. 

Please call SERVPRO of Sussex County at 302-856-9768 or go to: www.SERVPROsussexcounty.com for more information and services.