Recent Fire Damage Posts

Fire

11/5/2021 (Permalink)

It is very easy to forget that you left the iron on went to bed with a lit candle and forgot but house fires should be taken very seriously. No one knows that more than SERVPRO of Allentown and Western Lehigh County. We know the process to get you back on your feet can be tough not to mention the danger it brings to you and your family. 

Here are some tips to prevent a common house fire.

  1. Stay in the kitchen. Don't leave a hot cooking surface unattended. 
  2. Check the dryer. 
  3. Maintain electrical cords. 
  4. Know your shutoffs. 
  5. Store flammable products properly. 
  6. Be careful with candles. 
  7. Be a conscientious smoker. 
  8. Use the fireplace responsibly.

Fires start very easy and can you guess the most common way?

Appliances, Heaters, & Children Playing with Fire

Other common causes of home fires include overuse of appliances, home heating systems, and children playing with fire. Faulty or over-used appliances can easily cause a fire with just a few sparks.

Take this advice and use this information as a learning experience.

We are here to help and can help you with a call to us!

Fire Tips

10/22/2021 (Permalink)

It is very easy to forget that you left the iron on went to bed with a lit candle and forgot but house fires should be taken very seriously. No one knows that more than SERVPRO of Allentown and Western Lehigh County. We know the process to get you back on your feet can be tough not to mention the danger it brings to you and your family. 

Here are some tips to prevent a common house fire.

  1. Stay in the kitchen. Don't leave a hot cooking surface unattended. 
  2. Check the dryer. 
  3. Maintain electrical cords. 
  4. Know your shutoffs.
  5. Store flammable products properly.
  6. Be careful with candles. 
  7. Be a conscientious smoker. 
  8. Use the fireplace responsibly.

Fires start very easy and can you guess the most common way?

Appliances, Heaters, & Children Playing with Fire

Other common causes of home fires include overuse of appliances, home heating systems, and children playing with fire. Faulty or over-used appliances can easily cause a fire with just a few sparks.

Where are home fires most likely to start? Home fires are more likely to start in the kitchen than any other room in the home. The second leading cause of home fires are heating sources like wood stoves, and fireplaces. Fires caused by smoking are the leading cause of deaths.

Take this advice and use this information as a learning experience.

Fire Tips

8/11/2021 (Permalink)

Did you know if you do not maintain your dryer properly, it can be a potiential fire hazard. Here are some of our tips to keep your family safe.

  • Have a professional install and repair the dryer
  • Do not use the dryer without a lint filter
  • Always clean the lint filter before/after loads
  • Clean any loose or accumulating lint in and around the drum
  • Rigid or flexible metal should be used in venting for proper use and drying for the dryer
  • If clothing takes longer than usual check the vent pipe for any possible blockages
  • Never leave a dryer left on during the night while sleeping or when away from your home

These are great tips to follow and a great way to prevent fire happening in the home.  Although it is our job to help mitigate and restore after a fire.  SERVPRO of Western Lehigh County would much rather have everyone be safe and not see someone have to deal with fire damage. 

Fire Safety Tips

7/28/2021 (Permalink)

Fires can be devastating to you and your family. Here are some tips for fire safety:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home. 
  • Make sure to change the batteries of the smoke detectors. 
  • Always practice your escape plan with your family, including your pets. 
  • If a fire occurs, escape your house as soon as possible and never go back inside for anything or anyone. 
  • Don’t leave burning candles unattended. 
  • Secure your wires out of sight of your pet, as you do not want them to mistake them for a chew toy. 

According to the American Red Cross, the leading cause of a fire is cooking fires. Always be mindful when you are cooking. You should always stay in the kitchen when you are cooking, such as frying, grilling or broiling food. 

Fire! SERVPRO of Western Lehigh County can help!

6/1/2021 (Permalink)

Fires can cause stress to home owners or property managers. SERVPRO of Western Lehigh County has trained professionals to help you during this devastating circumstance. We have 24/7 emergency response service.

The first step to a fire damage restoration is to contact SERVPRO of Western Lehigh County. Next, our professionals will go to your property to inspect the damage caused by a fire. After that, we will board up missing windows, walls and tarp the damaged roof. This is to ensure security and to stop further damage to your property. If water is in the home, we remove it with our specialized equipment and techniques. We remove smoke or soot followed by cleaning and sanitizing your home or business. The final step is to make it look “Like it never even happened.”

Soot Happens!

4/8/2021 (Permalink)

Ultrasonic Machine with items with soot to be cleaned. This is our Ultrasonic Machine to clean your items!

A fire can cause soot and smoke damage to the structure and personal belongings. Fires can be traumatic leaving homeowners, renters or landlords stressed. 

What is soot? Soot is a black powder 

SERVPRO of Western Lehigh County has specialized equipment and highly trained technicians to remove soot or smoke damage from ceilings, walls and other structures. 

SERVPRO of Western Lehigh County has an ultrasonic cleaning machine to clean your personal belongings, such as electronics, knickknacks, window blind cleaning, chandeliers, dishes, antiques, etc.   

Step 1: Electric lift lowers the baskets into the water. 

Step 2: Once the baskets are in the water, they are cleaned by ultrasonic energy to scrub particles off of the items. 

Step 3: The baskets are raised out of the water by the electric lifts.

Step 4: The baskets are moved to another machine that lifts them down into water to be rinsed. 

Step 5: Items are lifted out of the water and will be moved to a table for the final step. 

Step 6: Drying the items.

Call SERVPRO of Western Lehigh County today at 610-776-7774!

What happens next?

11/6/2020 (Permalink)

After the fire trucks leave, your home likely suffers from fire and smoke damage and extensive water damage from firefighting efforts. SERVPRO of Western Lehigh have the specialized fire restoration training needed to restore your home to pre-fire condition.

Every fire damage event is different, and requires a unique solution, but the general process stays the same. The steps listed below illustrate our process for the “typical” fire damage emergency.

Step 1: Emergency Contact: The restoration process begins when you call the SERVPRO Customer Care Center, which is staffed 24 hours a day. 

Step 2:Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment: Our Professionals will carefully inspect and test all rooms of your property to determine the extent of the smoke, soot, and fire damage

Step 3: Immediate Board-Up and Roof-Tarp Service:  To maintain security and to protect against further damage, we may board up missing windows and walls and place tarps on damaged roofs.

Step 4: Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present): The water removal process begins almost immediately and removes the majority of the water.

Step 5: Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces: We will use specialized equipment and techniques to remove smoke and soot from all surfaces. 

Step 6: Cleaning and Sanitizing: Our professionals will clean all of the restorable items and structures that were damaged by the fire.

Step 7: Restoration: The final step—getting your home or business to its pre-fire condition.  

SERVPRO Franchise Professionals know how devastating a fire can be. Fire and water damage can leave your house unsafe and unlivable. They’re trained to clean and restore your home with as little disruption as possible.

How to recover after a fire damage

10/23/2020 (Permalink)

If you are dealing with fire damage from any commercial or residential building fires, the experienced team at SERVPRO of Western Lehigh County is ready to respond. Since we are locally owned and operated, we are prepared for damage from any fire in the Lehigh County and the surrounding areas, and are able to respond quickly. Immediate action and a fast response can limit damage, prevent further damage and reduce restoration costs. 

Sourced from www.RedCross.org, below are 4 steps you should take immediately after a home fire. 

1. Call 9-1-1. Give first aid where needed; cool and cover burns to reduce the chance of further injury or infection. 

2. Let friends and family know you’re safe.

3. People and animals that are seriously injured or burned should be transported to professional medical or veterinary help immediately.

4. Stay out of fire-damaged homes until local fire authorities say it is safe to re-enter.

As fire and water damage specialists, our business is built upon fire and water restoration expertise. We have the knowledge and the specialized equipment to get your property back to pre-fire condition.

Have any questions? Call us today - 610 776 7774

Fire Safety Tips for Your Household Dryer

8/12/2020 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO of Western Lehigh County we care about your safety of you and your family. Dryer safety is important to know.  Not maintaining a dryer properly can result in a potential fire hazard. Here are some tips to keep your dryer safe from any potential fire, and keep your family safe.  

  • Have a professional install and repair the dryer
  • Do not use the dryer without a lint filter
  • Always clean the lint filter before/after loads
  • Clean any loose or accumulating lint in and around the drum
  • Rigid or flexible metal should be used in venting for proper use and drying for the dryer
  • If clothing takes longer than usual check the vent pipe for any possible blockages
  • Never leave a dryer left on during the night while sleeping or when away from your home

These are great tips to follow and a great way to prevent fire happening in the home.  Although it is our job to help mitigate and restore after a fire.  SERVPRO of Western Lehigh County would much rather have everyone be safe and not see someone have to deal with fire damage. 

Always Stay Fire Prepared!

7/29/2020 (Permalink)

Fire spreads quickly. If a fire breaks out in your home, there is no time to gather valuables or make a phone call. In just two minutes, a fire can become life threatening. In five minutes, your home can be up in flames. Be prepared for a fire before it starts.

Top tips to stay prepared
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside bedrooms, at the top of open stairways, and at the bottom of stairways that are closed in between two walls.
  • Test smoke alarms once a month and replace batteries twice a year. Make it a habit when you reset your clocks for Daylight Saving Time.
  • Replace your smoke alarms once every 10 years.
  • Plan and review your home escape routes with your family. Practice getting out of each room.
  • Check that windows are not nailed or painted shut. If you have security gratings or burglar bars on windows, make sure they have a fire safety opening feature and can be easily opened from the inside.
  • Think about getting escape ladders if your home has more than one level.
  • Teach your family to stay low to the floor (where the air is safer) when getting away from a fire.
  • Put A-B-C-type fire extinguishers in your home and teach family members how to use them.
  • Put heaters at least three feet away from anything that could catch fire. Be very careful when using temporary heating sources like space heaters.
  • Make sure your home is insured. If you rent, consider buying renter’s insurance.

Just know that if you do suffer a fire damage, SERVPRO of Western Lehigh County will be ready at a moments notice to get your property back to normal. 

Fire Vandalism Clean Up

6/4/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Western Lehigh County understands your hardships and wants you to know we have a staff that is willing to do what ever it takes to get you back up and running. This means providing services at any time during almost any situation at hand.  We are always there to help fix the disaster that has taken place.

We offer all services from pressure washing graffiti off of walls to bio hazard cleanings to boarding up fires and rebuilding a facility. Our staff here can clean up the smoke damages by using chemical treatment and taking down charred and damaged. We can remove odor out of a building and extract water that may have came out of a sprinkler system. We can dry your structure so it does not grow any mold. If you already have mold then we offer remediation and treatment for it to keep you and the others around you safe. 

If you are looking for a company who can do it all SERVPRO of Western Lehigh County is here for you and do whatever it takes to get the job done.

Common House Fires

4/3/2020 (Permalink)

It is very easy to forget that you left the iron on went to bed with a lit candle and forgot but house fires should be taken very seriously. No one knows that more than SERVPRO of Western Lehigh County. We know the process to get you back on your feet can be tough not to mention the danger it brings to you and your family. 

Here are some tips to prevent a common house fire.

  1. Stay in the kitchen. Don't leave a hot cooking surface unattended. ...
  2. Check the dryer. ...
  3. Maintain electrical cords. ...
  4. Know your shutoffs. ...
  5. Store flammable products properly. ...
  6. Be careful with candles. ...
  7. Be a conscientious smoker. ...
  8. Use the fireplace responsibly.

Fires start very easy and can you guess the most common way?

Appliances, Heaters, & Children Playing with Fire

Other common causes of home fires include overuse of appliances, home heating systems, and children playing with fire. Faulty or over-used appliances can easily cause a fire with just a few sparks.

Where are home fires most likely to start? Home fires are more likely to start in the kitchen than any other room in the home. The second leading cause of home fires are heating sources like wood stoves, and fireplaces. Fires caused by smoking are the leading cause of deaths.

Take this advice and use this information as a learning experience.

7 Big Warnings & Risks of Holiday Fires!

12/6/2019 (Permalink)

A whole kitchen is burnt after this stove caught fire! Forgotten food was the cause of this kitchen fire!

TOP 7 CAUSES OF ACCIDENTAL HOLIDAY FIRES

Stay safe this holiday season by reviewing SERVPRO’s top causes of holiday fires and be prepared to prevent them.

 The holidays can be such a wonderful time of year as people enjoy putting up decorations, cooking, traveling to visit friends and family and celebrating the time together. But because everyone is operating outside of their normal routine during the holidays, it can also be a recipe for risky behavior and accidents.

As SERVPRO of Western Lehigh County has experienced over the years, one prominent accident that can often occur during the holiday season is unwanted fire! Fires can quickly lead to serious home damage or even injury. That's why it's important to look out for the top causes of holiday fires to ensure you keep your home and family safe throughout the holidays.

  1. COOKING FIRES

One of the best parts of celebrating the holidays is the FOOD! Casseroles, cakes, cookies and more, food can be the focal point of the holidays. But when cooking extra food and feeding more people than usual, it can be easy to make mistakes such as leaving the stove unattended. Luckily, you may have additional people around to help monitor hot areas such as the stove and oven. The holidays can be one time where it’s perfectly acceptable to have too many cooks in the kitchen. So, surprise those family members that offer to help this year by accepting their offer!

  1. PORTABLE HEATER MALFUNCTIONS

Brrr, it’s cold out there! For those of us who celebrate holidays in colder climates, it’s nice to have some extra heat around. But beware the portable space heater! According to the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters account for 43% of home fires in the United States! Always read your space heater safety instructions and review the safety precautions with any visitors to your home who may be using the heaters without your supervision.

  1. SMOKING IN BEDROOMS

Smoking cigarettes indoors is still a leading cause of home fires. The holidays can add a lot of stress so it’s understandable that some may look to ease the stress with their favorite stress reliever, even something as unhealthy as cigarettes. But when it comes to smoking, it’s best to keep it outside whenever possible and never smoke when in a situation where you may fall asleep such as in a recliner, on the couch or in bed. When in doubt just put it out!

  1. ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES AND CORDS OVERHEATING

With decorations comes the need for many plugs and extension cords. Overloaded sockets can sometimes cause sparks or fire. This can quickly escalate into a dangerous situation. Be sure to only use one extension cord per socket. Also, only use electrical power strips or block adapters that have their own fuse. To stay safe at night, be sure to unplug as many decorations as you can until the morning. Decorations are a wonderful addition to any holiday but be sure to read the safety and proper use instructions every time! 

  1. CANDLES LEFT UNATTENDED

There is a reason why many hotels don’t allow guests to light candles in their rooms, they can easily lead to burns or fires. When using candles, be sure to always place candles in a prominent place away from flammable items such as napkins, curtains or clothing. Place a non-flammable object underneath the candle so as the candles burns the heat from the bottom of the candle won’t burn the object it is resting on. Finally, NEVER leave a candle unattended. If you light a candle, remember to blow it out before leaving the area or going to sleep. Turn it into a holiday game by telling the kids they can make a wish for each candle they blow out at the end of the night.

  1. GRILLING TOO CLOSE TO THE HOUSE

Grilling can be a delicious addition to the holiday cooking and it’s great when entertaining guests. When grilling in the winter, however, it can be a common mistake to keep the grill close to the house or try grilling on a small porch. When a grill is placed too close to a building it can cause the wall to unsafely heat up, buckle or burn. Grills used on porches or other structures with ceilings can potentially ignite the ceiling as the heat and flames travel upward. So be sure to keep your grill at least 10 feet away from any flammable structure both during cooking and after cooking while the grill cools down. And NEVER start a grill or outdoor fire with combustible fuels such as kerosene or gasoline. Use gas grills or self-lighting charcoal whenever possible to easily get your grill heated up to cooking temperature.

  1. CURIOUS CHILDREN

The holidays often bring families together with kids in tow. Children can be very curious, especially in a new location. It’s important to remember to put away matches and lighters that may normally be accessible when children aren’t present. Also, make sure flammable liquids such as gasoline are stored safely out of reach in the garage or shed. Kids should also be taught about the dangers of fire whether around a grill, indoor fireplace or outdoor fire pit. When cooking smores by the fire, be sure instruct children to never try and put out a burning marshmallow by waving their stick around and accidentally flinging the burning marshmallow into the air!

 The SERVPRO of Western Lehigh County team hopes this list helps you have a safer holiday experience this season and beyond. If an unexpected fire should occur this holiday season leading to damage to your home, please call us for a free quote on repairing the damage and getting your home back to normal!

Happy Holidays!

Apartment Complex Fire

11/5/2019 (Permalink)

Debris from the fire is scattered over the apartment complex property. This is the scene after the flames were extinguished at the apartment complex.

There are times when the worst happens and you can not control when a fire occurs in your property.  A fire started on the roof of a Western Lehigh County apartment building affecting five floors plus common hallways and the lobby. Our crew worked together to keep each tenant satisfied through the process of the cleanup. A chemical sponge was used to brush the entire structure. We ran vapor sharks and we had air scrubbers with charcoal filters to eliminate odors and performed demolition on anything that could not be restored. This way we could bring in brand new dry wall and kitchen cabinets to replace, and remove the odors of the smog.  We were however able to salvage the floors as we use our top of the line equipment to make the process as quick and cost effective as possible. The hard work of SERVPRO of Western Lehigh County team were able to save the original hardwood floors. With in a total of 5 days we were able to have this building completely restored. Next time you have a fire do not hesitate to call.

Colder weather means time to clean the fireplace & chimney!

9/13/2019 (Permalink)

It's almost that time of year again. Where the family is gonna gather round the warmth of the fireplace. An before you throw those logs on and spark it up, its very important that your fireplace and chimney are properly cleaned, and SERVPRO of Western Lehigh County is the place to call! During the spring an summer seasons when your fireplace is not in use a variety of things could have built up in the chimney. Such as soot, leaves and sticks, or even a variety of critters! A chimney is a great place for birds,squirrels, and other varmints to build there nests. Whether the critter is still there or not this still is a huge risk or starting a fire. Always take a flashlight an do a self inspection to make sure your chimney flue is clear of all debris. Even if you think you've done a sufficient cleaning, its always safe to have a professional come out an inspect it properly. If you own a gas fireplace make sure all gas lines are tightly secured, and don't have any leaks. Although it may seem alright to leave it untended. you should always turn it off when leaving your home or going to sleep. Fireplaces are nice an cozy, but if not properly cleaned an attended to they can become a huge fire risk for your home. So just follow the step given an you and your family can enjoy your fires safely! From all of us at SERVPRO of Western Lehigh County have a great fall/winter seasons!

Fire Cleanup Professionals

8/16/2019 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Western Lehigh County takes pride in our highly trained team to make sure after something as devastating as a fire in your home or business we get you back to normal as soon as possible. With that being said when you call us we make sure you are getting the best service and one of the ways we do that identifying the type of fire to best perform our duties to restore the property.

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 Western Lehigh 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. 

With our highly efficient equipment, and trained professionals there isn't a fire damage that we can't handle. The fire may burn it down but SERVPRO of Western Lehigh County is there to build it back up!

Teaming up with local Fire Departments!

8/16/2019 (Permalink)

The fire department is very important to our community. Their goal is to decrease the number and severity of all fires within our town. We believe this can be accomplished through an active code enforcement program, public education activities, engineering and plans review, and investigations. We strive to provide these services utilizing well trained and highly motivated personnel who understand the importance of customer service and fire safety education.

According to the US Fire Administration each year, more than 4,500 Americans die and more than 30,000 are injured in fires. Many of those deaths and injuries could have been prevented if people had a better understanding of fire.

The local fire companies have the responsibility of educating the community, inspecting local businesses and various public establishments, and enforcing codes to ensure the safety of the community. This website has been established in order to assist in dispensing information to the community as well as aiding in its education.

That is why SERVPRO of Western Lehigh County does all it can to help local first responders out.  Providing them with cases of bottled water is one of the small things we provide to these fire stations. We are continually teaming up to help educate communities about fire safety.

Summer grilling tips to keep only the food cooked

8/7/2019 (Permalink)

It's summertime and that means backyard barbecuing season is well underway! There's nothing like a burger or hotdog right off the grill, but if you're not being safe you could be leaving yourself getting burned.... An average of 8,800 home are damaged or destroyed from grilling incidents involving lack of safety. At SERVPRO of Western Lehigh County, we want you to be safe and have a fun summer with these tips on grilling safety!

1. Keep your grill at least 10 feet away from house or any type of overhangs. You should also avoid carpets or mats around your grill that could start a fire.

2.  Clean your grill regularly and make sure to do a big cleaning at the start/end of summer.

3. When using a gas grill you should check the  gas lines and connections for leaks. An easy way to do this is with some liquid soap and little bit of water, you can rub the lines and connections with soap and look for bubbles to form in areas that either have a leak or a connection that isn't tightened properly.

4. Keep decorations away from the grill. Decorations help spice up the backyard and especially make things festive during the holidays, but they can be dangerous near a grill and can be a fire hazard for everyone in the area. Let the food be the sight to see.

5. Keep a spray bottle of water nearby in case of any flareups, the spray bottle can help calm down the flare up and the water wont ruin your food.

6. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case of a big flare up, you can buy more food, but its a lot more expensive if you have to buy a new backyard.

7. Don't ever leave the grill unattended, you never know what could happen when your not looking. The grill master needs to stay by the grill.

8. Don't start the gas up when the grill lid is closed, this can cause a buildup under the hood and cause a fireball-like flare that can be harmful to you and the things around you.

9. Never overload your grill with food especially if the food has fat on it. The fat can drip down into the fire and cause a flare up that can be dangerous.

10. Never use a grill indoors, too many things can go wrong and not only will fire be a danger but also smoke damages and unhealthy breathing issues can occur. 

At SERVPRO of Western Lehigh County we want you to have a happy and safe summer! You can call us with all your Fire/Water/Mold restoration needs to get you back behind the grill and enjoying the sunshine.

Dryer Safety to Prevent Fires

7/12/2019 (Permalink)

At SERVPRO of Western Lehigh County  we care about your safety of you and your family. Dryer safety is important to know. Here is some tips to keep your dryer safe from any potential fire.

  • Have a professional install and repair the dryer
  • Do not use the dryer without a lint filter
  • Always clean the lint filter before/after loads
  • Clean any loose or accumulating lint in and around the drum
  • Rigid or flexible metal should be used in venting for proper use and drying for the dryer
  • If clothing takes longer than usual check the vent pipe for any possible blockages
  • Never leave a dryer left on during the night while sleeping or when away from your home

These are great tips to follow and a great way to prevent fire happening in the home

Lehigh County Smoke and Soot Cleanup

11/14/2018 (Permalink)

Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Lehigh 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 Western Lehigh 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 – 610.776.7774

National Preparedness Month: Home Fires

9/15/2018 (Permalink)

Learn how to prevent home fires!

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.

Smoke Alarms

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.

More Fire Safety Tips

  • Make digital copies of valuable documents and records like birth certificates.
  • Sleep with your door closed.
  • Contact your local fire department for information on training on the proper use and maintenance of fire extinguishers.
  • Consider installing an automatic fire sprinkler system in your residence.

During a Fire

  • Crawl low under any smoke to your exit - heavy smoke and poisonous gases collect first along the ceiling.
  • Before opening a door, feel the doorknob and door. If either is hot, or if there is smoke coming around the door, leave the door closed and use your second way out.
  • If you open a door, open it slowly. Be ready to shut it quickly if heavy smoke or fire is present.
  • If you can’t get to someone needing assistance, leave the home and call 9-1-1 or the fire department. Tell the emergency operator where the person is located.
  • If pets are trapped inside your home, tell firefighters right away.
  • If you can’t get out, close the door and cover vents and cracks around doors with cloth or tape to keep smoke out.  Call 9-1-1 or your fire department. Say where you are and signal for help at the window with a light-colored cloth or a flashlight.
  • If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop, and roll – stop immediately, drop to the ground, and cover your face with your hands.  Roll over and over or back and forth until the fire is out.  If you or someone else cannot stop, drop, and roll, smother the flames with a blanket or towel.  Use cool water to treat the burn immediately for 3 to 5 minutes.  Cover with a clean, dry cloth.  Get medical help right away by calling 9-1-1 or the fire department.

Fire Escape Planning for Older Adults and People with Access or Functional Needs

  • Live near an exit. You'll be safest on the ground floor if you live in an apartment building. If you live in a multi-story home, arrange to sleep on the ground floor, and near an exit.
  • If you use a walker or wheelchair, check all exits to be sure you get through the doorways.
  • Make any necessary accommodations, such as providing exit ramps and widening doorways, to facilitate an emergency escape.
  • Speak to your family members, building manager, or neighbors about your fire safety plan and practice it with them.
  • Contact your local fire department's non-emergency line and explain your special needs. Ask emergency providers to keep your special needs information on file.
  • Keep a phone near your bed and be ready to call 911 or your local emergency number if a fire occurs.

After a Fire

The following checklist serves as a quick reference and guide for you to follow after a fire strikes.

  • Contact your local disaster relief service, such as The Red Cross, if you need temporary housing, food and medicines.
  • If you are insured, contact your insurance company for detailed instructions on protecting the property, conducting inventory and contacting fire damage restoration companies.  If you are not insured, try contacting private organizations for aid and assistance.
  • Check with the fire department to make sure your residence is safe to enter. Be watchful of any structural damage caused by the fire.
  • The fire department should see that utilities are either safe to use or are disconnected before they leave the site.  DO NOT attempt to reconnect utilities yourself.
  • Conduct an inventory of damaged property and items.  Do not throw away any damaged goods until after an inventory is made.
  • Try to locate valuable documents and records.  Refer to information on contacts and the replacement process inside this brochure.
  • Begin saving receipts for any money you spend related to fire loss.  The receipts may be needed later by the insurance company and for verifying losses claimed on income tax.
  • Notify your mortgage company of the fire.

Prevent Home Fires

Home fires are preventable! The following are simple steps that each of us can take to prevent a tragedy.

Cooking

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
  • Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a "kid-free zone" of 3 feet around the stove.
  • Position barbecue grills at least 10 feet away from siding and deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.

Smoking

  • Smoke outside and completely stub out butts in an ashtray or a can filled with sand.
  • Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away. Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash can.
  • Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used, even if it is turned off. Oxygen can be explosive and makes fire burn hotter and faster.
  • Be alert - don’t smoke in bed! If you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy, put your cigarette out first.

Electrical and Appliance Safety

  • Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately and do not run cords under rugs or furniture.
  • If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
  • Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker.

Portable Space Heaters

  • Keep combustible objects at least three feet away from portable heating devices.
  • Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • Check to make the portable heater has a thermostat control mechanism, and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over.
  • Only use crystal clear K-1 kerosene in kerosene heaters. Never overfill it. Use the heater in a well-ventilated room.

Fireplaces and Woodstoves

  • Inspect and clean woodstove pipes and chimneys annually and check monthly for damage or obstructions.
  • Use a fireplace screen heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying sparks.
  • Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.

Children

  • Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching children that fire is a tool, not a toy.
  • Store matches and lighters out of children's reach and sight, preferably in a locked cabinet.
  • Never leave children unattended near operating stoves or burning candles, even for a short time.

More Prevention Tips

  • Never use stove range or oven to heat your home.
  • Keep combustible and flammable liquids away from heat sources.
  • Portable generators should NEVER be used indoors and should only be refueled outdoors or in well ventilated areas.

Source: Ready.gov