Recent Fire Damage Posts

Beware of Batteries

8/27/2021 (Permalink)

Technology turning against humans almost sounds like a 2000s horror movie. Unfortunately, that was the reality of a local family when their tech-savvy toys decided to spontaneously combust while charging. 

As this family’s toys started charging up for a fun time, what they got was something else entirely. As the batteries began to combust, the living room quickly caught on fire and the flames began to spread throughout the entire first level. 

How could this have happened? 

The lithium-ion batteries used on the hoverboards, although small, store a lot of power. These batteries are also prone to overheating, which can unfortunately cause explosions; and as this family quickly learned — explosions big enough to set an entire house on fire. What seemed to be a fun time, ended up turning into a homeowner’s nightmare.

Thankfully, the fire was put out in less than 5 minutes after it started, but before the fire department arrived. Those 5 minutes however, caused extensive damage.

Once the fire got going, it moved into their newly renovated, all-white kitchen with custom cabinetry and stainless steel appliances. Though the flames didn’t directly affect the hardware, the soot and smoke from the fire settled into the crevices of the heart of the home. If not addressed immediately, the soot could cause rust and the deterioration of the appliances and potentially cause them to lose their sparkle. 

As you can tell by now, one small spark can set a house ablaze. The focus of attention now is what to do after the fire has been put out? Do what this family did: call SERVPRO of Birmingham. Not only are our technicians restoring the fire and water damage, but our reconstruction team is also gearing up to ensure their house is back to feeling like home.

Fire Pit Tips

7/22/2021 (Permalink)

Here in Birmingham, AL it's a tradition to enjoy the cooler nights outside around a homemade fire pit! Many of us are looking forward to spending time gathering around them to enjoy time with family and friends. Before you start dreaming of moonlit nights and toasted marshmallows, take a moment to check out some of these tips on fire pit safety: 

Backyard Fire Pit Safety Tips:

  • Whether you prefer a built-in or portable fire pit, choose one that is not too large for the area. The pit should be a minimum of 10 feet away from any structures or combustible materials as well as away from trees, fences, sheds, power lines, and telephone wires.
  • Make sure that the seating area is large enough and properly placed for comfort and ventilation.
  • Check wind direction before lighting a fire.
  • Don’t use flammable fluids (gasoline, lighter fluid, etc.) to light or relight fires.
  • To start the fire, use a lighter to ignite crumpled pieces of paper covered with small sticks. Then, add larger sticks and a log or two to keep it burning. 
  • Burn only dry material. Damp material will create excess smoke. 
  • Don’t wear flammable clothing (like nylon) or any loose-fitting clothing.
  • Never leave the fire unattended, and keep pets and children far away from the fire as they will be attracted to it.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher, garden hose, or bucket of water nearby.
  • As the fire dies down, use a shovel and spread out the ashes to allow them to cool down. Then slowly pour water over those ashes and watch them closely to be sure that no burning embers remain or reignite. Put the cooled ashes in a specially designated ash storage metal can. 

Red, White and Barbecue

7/2/2021 (Permalink)

One of the main ways The Fourth of July is celebrated in America is through fireworks and grilling. Every year thousands are injured by unsafely handling grills. Here at SERVPRO of Birmingham we care about fun and safety: therefore, we are giving you a few do's and don'ts when grilling, that way you can stay safe and grill your favorite meal at the same time.

What TO DO when grilling:

  • Keep your grill at least 10 feet away from your house.
  • Clean your grill regularly, this will decrease the amount of fuel the grill would have if there was ever a fire.
  • Check for gas leaks.
  • Keep decorations like umbrellas or plants away from your grill.
  • Keep a bottle of water near your grill just in case it is ever needed.

What NOT To Do when grilling:

  • Don't turn the gas on when the lid is closed: this causes gas to build up.
  • Never leave a grill unattended.
  • Overload the grill with food.
  • Never use a grill indoors.

Reminders:

  1. Do not panic if an emergency occurs, instead call SERVPRO.
  2. Keep safety always at the forefront of your mind.

 Why SERVPRO?

  • 24-Hour Emergency Service
  • Faster to Any Size Disaster
  • Highly Trained Water Restoration Technicians
  • A Trusted Leader in the Water Restoration Industry
  • Locally Owned and Operated
  • Advanced Water Inspection, Extraction, and Drying Equipment

TAKE PROPER PRECAUTIONS BEFORE LIGHTING FIREWORKS!

5/24/2021 (Permalink)

As Memorial Day and the 4th of July approach, make sure you and your family are aware of firework safety! We want the holidays for you and your family to be just as they were meant to be, FUN! Often times, though people handle fireworks in an unsafe manner. 

I am sure everyone has seen the viral video, "Back up Terry." In this video a man in a wheelchair lights a firework and there is a malfunction with his wheelchair. He can't get away from the firework fast enough, and the fireworks start going off right next to him. And yes, although we thought this video was funny, we need to realize that this could have ended entirely different and Terry could have been badly injured. 

DID YOU KNOW?

During the holiday months, on average 180 people a day go to the hospital for firework related injuries. We encourage you here at SERVPRO of Birmingham to: 

BE PREPARED!

  • Store fireworks away from children
  • Always read the labels and follow directions
  • Keep small children and pets indoors: they are easily frightened
  • Always have water near, in case of an incident

BE RESPONSIBLE!

  • Soak used fireworks in a bucket of water afterwards
  • Dispose of used fireworks and debris properly
  • Never re-light "dud" fireworks
  • Never keep fireworks in your pockets: the friction could set them off

BE SAFE!

  • An adult should always be the one lighting the fireworks
  • Keep matches & lighters away from children
  • Use fireworks outdoors only
  • Do not throw fireworks or hold them in your hand
  • Don't be like "Terry", light firework and move away quickly

BE AWARE!

  • Use only legal fireworks
  • Make sure you are able to set off fireworks (every state is different)
  • Fireworks are prohibited on all state parks, and state or federal forest land
  • The National Fire Protection Association estimates that the local fire department responds to more than 50,000 fires caused by fireworks each year. THEREFORE, DO NOT point fireworks toward homes and keep away from bushes, leaves, and flammable substances.

IF YOU ENCOUNTER A FIRE, SERVPRO CAN HELP!

Fire Pit Safety Tips

3/19/2021 (Permalink)

Warmer temperatures and longer days are finally upon us!

This time of year is one of the best because it is time to break out the fire pits. We know this is a great way to gather friends and family around in the backyard during the warmer months. Burgers on the grill, drinks in hand, and some background music is a sure way to have everyone in a good mood. Here is some quick and simple fire pit safety tips to keep the fire bright and the mood light:
  1. Clear all flammable materials away from your fire pit. Make sure it’s kept 10 feet away from the home or building. 
  2. Pile dirt or rocks to keep the fire on the ground from escaping 
  3. Before lighting your fire, check the wind direction. If it’s too windy, do not light your fire pit as the wind can cause the flames to travel.
  4. Contrary to popular belief, lighting fluid is not safe for lighting a fire pit. Use a commercial fire starter kick with kindling on top. 
  5. Once the fire pit is lit, never leave it unattended and never leave children or pets near the fire pit without adult supervision.
  6. Avoid  softwoods like pine or cedar to prevent flying sparks and flame “pops”, 
  7. Only put enough fuel to keep the fire burning gently to prevent flare-ups and uncontrollable flames. 
  8. To extinguish the flames, use water to drown out the fire and stir it with a shovel to make sure it’s fully extinguished. Use the shovel to extinguish any escaped flames as well
  9. Dispose of the ashes in a metal can use only for fire pit ash storage. Careful, even after a few days the ashes are still hot enough to cause a fire. 
  10. Accidents happen, even with the correct preventative measures taken. Having a fire extinguisher nearby can greatly reduce the risk of the fire getting out of control. 

Choosing a Local Restoration Companies

2/16/2021 (Permalink)

Many people may not realize that a small grease fire can cause unsightly soot stains on their wall, or something like an electrical socket that might have a short in it can count as a home fire. 

So, what should you do if your home suffers fire damage? Getting help as soon as possible is the best way to help reduce long-term expenses. SERVPRO of Birmingham can send a team of our talented fire and smoke damage remediation technicians to your property as soon as you call.

What Can SERVPRO of Birmingham Do About a Small Kitchen Fire? 

Did you know that many people might not consider smaller-scale fires as an event they may need help remediating? Just because you experience a small-scare fire does not leave your home in need of reconstruction does not mean that it will not leave unsightly after-effects.  Take a few situations that maybe you have experienced as examples: 
  • Grease fires can leave greasy soot on your walls
  • Burning plastics can leave lingering malodors
  • Ashes can get stuck in your carpets or rug

What Can SERVPRO of Birmingham Do to Remediate These Damages?  

Our team is fire damage experts. This means our teams have been trained and certified to help restore fire damage. All our team members are IICRC certified to handle remediation. The IICRC sets the standard in the restoration industry. Choosing a company that has been trained and certified by the IICRC ensures you are working with professionals who truly know what they’re doing. To remediate, our team can: 
  • Use house-made cleaning agents designed to break down grime
  • Set up odor-reducing equipment, such as hydroxyl generators and thermal foggers
  • Professionally clean your carpets and upholstery to take the smokey smell and ashes away 
Here at SERVPRO of Birmingham, we have access to advanced technology designed to remediate the damages inside of your home. Trust us our team to help get your life back to normal.

Holiday Fire Facts

12/3/2020 (Permalink)

Backyard porch that has been burned. Wood has been charred  and furniture damaged  Fire at this home caused by an overheated extension cord

The holidays are one of the most wonderful times of the year! Are we right?! There is nothing better than putting up those Holiday lights and having the home feel warm and cozy. Not to be forgotten the rides at night to see all the homes dressed up with holiday lights! No matter what type of decorations we hang up during the holidays, we’re surrounded by electricity! If we aren’t careful, it can be a huge hazard if not used or maintained properly. According to the National Fire Protection Association (www.nfpa.org), Holiday fires caused an average of three deaths, 15 injuries, and $10 million in direct property damage annually. On average, one of every 52 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 135 total reported home fires. SERVPRO of Birmingham what to help keep you safe during this Holiday season, with the help of the NPFA, we’ve pulled together some safety tips for you to keep in mind! Electrical Fire Safety Tips

  • Make sure that there are smoke detectors installed on every floor of the building, inside each room and right outside of every sleeping area to ensure that the alarms can be heard even when sleeping.
  • Test smoke detectors monthly to make sure that they’re working properly and have working batteries.
  • Have your electrical system inspected by a certified professional to make sure that all of the electrical work meets the National Electric Code safety standards.
  • Look and listen for signs of electrical problems such as, flickering or dim lights, buzzing or sizzling sounds from electrical outlets, or insulation and circuit breakers that trip repeatedly. If any of these or any other electrical problems are found, contact a professional as soon as possible for the issue to be inspected.
  • Avoid overloading outlets with too many electronics. Consider having more outlets or circuits installed by a professional.
  • In homes with children, install tamper-resistant devices to keep children from getting electrical shocks or burns.
  • Create an evacuation plan that can be used in the event of a fire.

Our team understands that there is nothing worse than being out of the home for the holidays. We know this time of year is filled with traditions and creating memories. Make sure to follow all the tips we’ve complied together but also if an emergency occurs inside your home or business, know that SERVPRO of Birmingham is ready to help you get back to your holiday traditions!

Halloween Fire Safety Tips

10/2/2020 (Permalink)

Keep your Halloween season spooky and fun!

Unfortunately, symbols of Halloween and activities while fun can also present fire risks that have the potential to become truly scary. Halloween decorations are the first thing to ignite in over 1,000 reported home fires each year. Whether you are trick or treating, throwing a party, or staying inside, decorations can be a lurking fire risk and it is important to be aware. Planning ahead, you can help make this Halloween a fire-safe one. Taking simple fire safety precautions like keeping decorations far away from open flames and using battery-operated candles or glow-sticks in jack-o-lanterns can help ensure your holiday remains festive and fun.  From the National Fire Protection Association, here are five Halloween fire safety tips:

  • Use a battery-operated candle or glow stick in jack-o-lanterns.
  • When choosing costumes, stay away from the long trailing fabric.
  • Teach young children to stay away from open flames, including jack-o-lanterns with candles in them.
  • Keep all decorations away from open flames, especially cornstalks, dried flowers, and crepe paper.
  • Provide young children with glow sticks or flashlights to carry with their costumes.
  • Remember to keep all exits clear of decorations so escape routes are not blocked. Also, make sure all smoke alarms are working properly.

Everyone here at SERVPRO of Birmingham wants to ensure your Halloween is safe and fun! Follow these steps to enjoy your Halloween season. In the case of an emergency, know that the team at SERVPRO of Birmingham is going to work around the clock to help keep your Halloween season a good one! Give our team a call at 205.252.8110

4th of July Tips During The Pandemic

7/2/2020 (Permalink)

The 4th of July is just ahead, 4th of July in Birmingham, AL is always one of the cities favorite times. This is a time when people typically enjoy the summer holiday with backyard barbecues, fireworks booming over Vulcan, or water fun. But this year, celebrating Independence Day will be different due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The American Red Cross offers safety tips you can follow.

Community Safety

If your community is reopening, know which precautions to take in public settings.

  1. Continue to social distance by staying 6 feet away from others, especially if you are at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19 (over age 65 or any age with underlying medical conditions).
  2. Continue to wear cloth face coverings in public. Face coverings are most essential when social distancing is difficult.
  3. Follow guidelines for your area when it comes to how large gatherings can be. Avoid crowds and mass gatherings.
  4. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
  5. Stay home if you are sick.

Fireworks Safety

While most kids love playing with fireworks, it is important to never toss or throw the fireworks at anyone. If dealing with fireworks, please consider the following safety tips and suggestions.

  1. Never give fireworks to small children, and never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials. Always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  2. Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  3. Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  4. Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”
  5. Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.

Grilling Safety

Grilling fires spark more than 10,000 home fires on average each year in the U.S. To avoid this:

  1. Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use. Don’t add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
  2. Never grill indoors — not in the house, camper, tent or any enclosed area.
  3. Make sure everyone, stays away from the grill, including children and pets.
  4. Keep the grill away from the house or anything that could catch fire.
  5. Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill.

 If you are choosing to build a bonfire this weekend make sure that you are using only dry material and make sure that all debris is at least 10 feet away. When you are finished ensure that you extinguish the fire, pour water on all embers until the hissing sounds stop. Always keep a fire extinguisher close by when having bonfires or grills going so you can keep any fire damage from spreading in the case of an emergency. If you do have a fire damage know that SERVPRO of Birmingham is a call and ready throughout the entire Holiday weekend! We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and/or smoke damage.  We will ensure the highest care to get you back to celebrating the Freedom we have so graciously been given. 

We at SERVPRO of Birmingham hope these tips will help you have a fun and safe holiday! Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage? Call Us, Birmingham at 205.252.8110

Home Fire Pit Tips

6/8/2020 (Permalink)

Here in Birmingham, AL its a tradition to enjoy the cooler nights outside around a homemade fire pit! Many of us are looking forward to spending time gathering around them to enjoy time with family and friends. Before you start dreaming of moonlit nights and toasted marshmallows, take a moment to check out some of these tips from Allstate to remember.

Backyard Fire Pit Safety Tips:

  • Whether you prefer a built-in or portable fire pit, choose one that is not too large for the area. The pit should be a minimum of 10 feet away from any structures or combustible materials as well as away from trees, fences, sheds, power lines, and telephone wires.
  • Make sure that the seating area is large enough and properly placed for comfort and ventilation.
  • Check wind direction before lighting a fire.
  • Don’t use flammable fluids (gasoline, lighter fluid, etc.) to light or relight fires.
  • To start the fire, use a lighter to ignite crumpled pieces of paper covered with small sticks. Then, add larger sticks and a log or two to keep it burning. 
  • Burn only dry material. Damp material will create excess smoke. 
  • Don’t wear flammable clothing (like nylon) or any loose-fitting clothing.
  • Never leave the fire unattended, and keep pets and children far away from the fire as they will be attracted to it.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher, garden hose, or bucket of water nearby.
  • As the fire dies down, use a shovel and spread out the ashes to allow them to cool down. Then slowly pour water over those ashes and watch them closely to be sure that no burning embers remain or reignite. Put the cooled ashes in a specially designated ash storage metal can. 

Fire Tips for Kids

3/17/2020 (Permalink)

Cartoon of an orange haired little white girl dressed in a yellow firemans coat with a fire hose in her hand Children are going to be curious about fire, but it can be dangerous and costly.

According to the American Burn Association, children are the most susceptible to burn injuries. 73% of all burn injuries happen in the home. At some point in time, children are going to be curious about fire, but it can be dangerous and costly.

Here are some tips to follow to keep your family safe according to the National Protection Association:

  • Be sure to keep all matches and lighters out of the reach of children, preferably somewhere up high or in a locked cabinet.
  • Closely supervise your children, making sure that they are away from any fire sources, including lit candles, cigarettes, fire pits, and stoves.
  • Take advantage of any opportunity to teach your children about fire safety.
  • Explain that fires are something to be taken seriously as they move very fast and can hurt you with contact.
  • Teach young children to not touch matches or lighters, and to notify an adult immediately if found.
  • Establish a clear set of rules and consequences about unsupervised and unapproved uses of fire.
  • Remember, children are always watching. Make sure you set a good example by handling fire in a safe manner.
  • Show your children appreciation for displaying respect and age-appropriate responsibility when it comes to fire.

If your children happen to burn themselves, cool the burn by running it under cold water for 10 to 15 minutes.

If it is a more serious burn, CALL 9-1-1.

Servicing your Smoke Alarm

3/11/2020 (Permalink)

White smoke alarm on a grey ceiling with white smoke rising toward the smoke alarm An unserviced smoke alarm is an unsafe smoke alarm

We’ve all heard the low, quiet, annoying beeping sound from inside the house that feels like it never beeps when you are standing next to it. Yes, you know what we are talking about, the smoke alarm. Did you know that the beeping sound is a reminder to change the batteries and perform a quick service to ensure it is working properly? The question is, do you know how to service your smoke alarms? We found some tips from NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) about how to maintain your smoke alarms. 

  1. Smoke alarms should be maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
  3. Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.
  4. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning to keep smoke alarms working well. The instructions are included in the package or can be found on the internet.
  5. Smoke alarms with non-replaceable 10-year batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.
  6. Smoke alarms with any other type of battery need a new battery at least once a year. If that alarm chirps, warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
  7. When replacing a battery, follow the manufacturer’s list of batteries on the back of the alarm or manufacturer’s instructions. The manufacturer’s instructions are specific to the batteries (brand and model) that must be used. The smoke alarm may not work properly if a different kind of battery is used.

In the case of a fire emergency in your home or commercial business, SERVPRO of Birmingham has the specific damage restoration training, personnel, and equipment and can quickly restore your home. Why should you trust us? Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property as an IICRC-Certified Firmed. SERVPRO of Birmingham is also an A+ rated business by the BBB. Call SERVPRO of Birmingham at 205.252.8110

Process of Fire Restoration

2/18/2020 (Permalink)

When it comes to fire damage, preparation is the key.

The first 48 hours after a fire often can be the difference between "restoring" vs. "replacing" your property and/or personal items. SERVPRO of Birmingham provides timely response with restoration services ranging from fire, smoke, and soot removal, to content claims inventory and document restoration.

If you have experienced fire damage in your home or business, here is what to expect from us:

One Hour: Within one hour from notice of loss, a priority responder will contact you.

Four Hours: Within four hours of loss notification, our certified technicians will be onsite to assess the damage.

Eight Hours: Within eight hours of on-site arrival, certified technicians will be working neatly and efficiently to clean, restore, and deodorization. Pre-cleaning for restoration, to prevent any further damage from soot and smoke.

Detailed Explanation: A trained and uniformed technician will walk you through the job process step-by-step, explaining what to expect and the anticipated outcome. We then use state-of-the-art restoration techniques to ensure your home or business is back to normal in an appropriate timeframe.

Final Walk-through: After the work has been completed, a final walk-through will be conducted with you to help ensure your satisfaction.

Turkey Fryer Tips & Tricks

11/22/2019 (Permalink)

A fireman dressed in tan fire gear is putting out a fire with large flames in a fryer that is on a wood surface Alabaster Fire Department puts out a fryer fire caused by a frozen turkey

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and there is nothing better than a deep-fried turkey during the holidays! Unfortunately, that also means a rise in house fires. It is estimated that 1000 house fires that occur during the holidays are related to turkey fryers.  Our friends at the Alabaster Fire Department shared a few things to be mindful of when you are preparing your Thanksgiving meal to keep yourself from having a house fire:

  • Keep outdoor deep-fryers off decks, out of garages, and a safe distance from trees and buildings.
  • Make sure the turkey is thawed and dry before cooking
  • Place the fryer on a level surface 
  • Follow the manufacture instructions 
  • Never leave the fryer unattended.
  • Turn the burner off before lowering the turkey into the oil. Once the turkey is submerged, turn the burner on.
  • Keep children and pets away from the fryer at all times.
  • Once finished, remove the pot from the burner; place it on a level surface and cover to let the oil cool overnight before disposing of.

The Alabaster Fire Department also helped demonstrate what could happen during a turkey fryer fire if you aren’t careful in this Turkey Fryer Tips & Tricks videoSERVPRO of Birmingham wishes everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving Holiday. In the unfortunate event of fire or smoke damage, we are available 24/7. Call us Birmingham, 205.252.8110

Facts about Smoke and Soot Damange

10/3/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke and Soot Damage can cause a long-lasting odor in your home

Smoke and soot can cause hidden damage and odor. Our Production Techs are experts when it comes to smoke damage who can accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a plan of action.   Facts about Smoke and Soot

  • 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 Did you know there are actually different types of smoke? There is what is called wet smoke and dry smoke! Check out the two types below in more detail. 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. 

4th of July Safety Tips

7/3/2019 (Permalink)

4th of July in Birmingham, AL is always one of the cities favorite times. From the fireworks booming over Vulcan all the way down to the entire City of Alabaster, AL celebrating in parking lots and pools as the night sky is lit up. Gathering with family and friends gather around for food, festivities, and fun. It can be easy to just get lost in all the fun going on but this can be one of the most dangerous times of the year with things such as fireworks, sparklers, bonfires, and BBQ's becoming possible fire damage. 

SERVPRO of Birmingham has some reminders and safety tips to ensure this 4th is the best and safest it can be!  

If you are choosing to build a bonfire this weekend make sure that you are using only dry material and make sure that all debris is at least 10 feet away.  When you are finished ensure that you extinguish the fire, pour water on all embers until the hissing sounds stop. Always keep a fire extinguisher close by when having bonfires or grills going so you can keep any fire damage from spreading in the case of an emergency. While most kids love playing with fireworks, it is important to never toss or throw the fireworks at anyone. If dealing with fireworks, please consider the following safety tips and suggestions.

  • Wear protective eye and hand gear
  • Never carry fireworks in your pockets
  • Always have a bucket of water nearby
  • Keep unused fireworks in a closed box
  • Make sure all spectators are 25 to 40 feet away

If you do have fire damage know that SERVPRO of Birmingham is a call and ready throughout the entire Holiday weekend! We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and/or smoke damage.  We will ensure the highest care to get you back to celebrating the Freedom we have so graciously been given. 

We are SERVPRO of Birmingham hope these tips will help you have a fun and safe holiday! Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage? Call Us, Birmingham at 205.252.8110

Fire Safety for Pets

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

Pets can be considered family, too!

At any given moment, a fire emergency can take place in the North Houston area or abroad, and though unexpected; it can be beneficial to already have a plan in place for everyone in your home to evacuate and meet in a safe location. While you should always be most focused on keeping yourself and your family safe, you can also spend some time on pet preparation so that you can have a better chance of getting your pets out of danger as well. You can be better prepared to keep your pets safe during a fire emergency by following these safety tips:

Practice Evacuating 

In the confusion caused by a fire, it can be hard to think of everything you need to do right away. If you have a plan in place and practice it a few times, you can be better prepared to handle a fire emergency. This can not only be helpful for pet safety, but also for the safety of everyone in your household. 

Notice Where Your Pets Are 

An important part of the planning process can be noticing where your pets usually spend their time. It can be especially helpful to note where they hide when frightened. You don’t want to put yourself at risk by spending too much time searching for your dog or cat during a fire emergency, but you can be better prepared to get yourself and your pets out as soon as possible by having a checklist of areas you can look. 

Keep Collars and Leashes Handy

Fires can be especially frightening to pets. By keeping their collars and leashes handy, you can more easily guide them out of the house. If you are unable to find them, it can be easier for the fire department to get them out if they are wearing collars. It can be a good idea to hang leashes by the door you are planning to evacuate through. Call us Birmingham at 205.252.8110

Why is Board Up Important?

3/22/2019 (Permalink)

Completed job after the adjacent home caught fire caused damage leading to board up

If your property in Birmingham, AL has experienced a fire, there are several reasons why you might want to board up structural damage or windows. In addition to keeping the external elements out of a building with fire damage, boarding up can also prevent additional losses due to looting and make the fire cleanup process easier.  SERVPRO of Birmingham offers full-service restoration specialists who can also assist in board-up services.  

Here are four reasons to board-up after a fire.

  • In a commercial setting, there may still be viable stock on the premises. If products that appear viable remain in the building, you should consider boarding up. These items may require assessment and cleaning and may not be fit for sale, but having them properly processed rather than stolen can be helpful for insurance purposes.
  • You want to protect electronics and other valuables. Depending on the extent of the fire damage, you may be able to restore some electronics or other valuable property to working condition.
  • You need to keep out the elements. If the structure of your property has sustained extensive damage, you should try to keep the elements out to prevent additional damage. Exposure to additional water, wind, or sunlight can compound the damage caused by smoke residue and soot.
  • You want to limit soot damage. It is generally a good idea to reduce foot traffic on the scene of a recent fire. When soot gets embedded into carpeting or upholstery, it can be much more difficult to restore these materials to a pre-fire condition.
Talk to our experts at SERVPRO of Birmingham, about whether boarding up is a good strategy for preventing loss and limiting damage after a fire. Your major concern is likely to be how to recover from fire damage as quickly and completely as possible. Preventing looting and exposure to the elements can make fire cleanup more successful. Call us Birmingham at (205) 664-6770.

The Fire Restoration Process

3/13/2019 (Permalink)

Fire damage is probably the last thing on your mind, but you may want to move it up on your list of priorities; preparation is the key. The first 48 hours after a fire often makes the difference between ‘restoring’ vs. ‘replacing’ your property and personal belongings. SERVPRO of Birmingham provides a timely response with mitigation services ranging from fire, smoke and soot removal, to content claims inventory and document restoration.  

Here is a timeline to help ease your mind of what should be done before and after SERVPRO of Birmingham arrives: 

One Hour

Within one hour from notice of loss, a SERVPRO of Birmingham professional will contact you to arrange for service. 

Four Hours

Within four hours of loss notification, a SERVPRO of Birmingham technician will be onsite to start mitigation services. 

Detailed Explanation

A trained and uniformed SERVPRO of Birmingham employee will walk you through the job process step-by-step, explaining what to expect and the anticipated outcome. 

Pretesting

A SERVPRO of Birmingham employee will begin pretesting for restoration, working from the source of the damage outward. 

Eight Hours

Within eight business hours of on-site arrival, a verbal briefing of the scope is communicated to the appropriate person. 

Cleaning, Restoration, & Deodorization

SERVPRO of Birmingham will work neatly and efficiently to help you regain control of your property. We then use state-of-the-art restoration techniques to make it “Like it never even happened.” 

Final Walk-through

After the work has been completed, a final walk-through will be conducted with you to help ensure your satisfaction. SERVPRO of Birmingham responds quickly, offering a full line of fire cleanup and restoration services to help you return home as soon as possible. Before risking further damage by attempting to clean up the damage on your own, call the fire damage clean up and restoration professionals. Call us Birmingham, (205) 664-6770

What to Do Until We Arrive During a Fire Damage

2/25/2019 (Permalink)

A fire can be devastating. It leaves behind soot, smoke damage and a host of other problems. Fire damages can affect ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting, and floors will often need thorough professional cleaning. If your home or business suffers a fire, it is important to take the appropriate steps to prevent further damage until your local SERVPRO of Birmingham arrives. The following tips may help reduce damage and increase the chances of a successful restoration:

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet
  • Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls, and woodwork. n Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery, and carpet traffic areas
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer/ refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor
  • Wipe soot from chrome kitchen/ bathroom faucets, trim and appliances, then protect these surfaces with a light coating of lubricant
  • If heat is off during winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system
 Call SERVPRO of Birmingham at (205) 644-6770, if you've had a fire or would like to know how we can help in the event you do.

Golf Tournament Donations

11/26/2018 (Permalink)

Every year we have a customer appreciation golf tournament where our customers come and enjoy a day on the course; everything is provided by SERVPRO. The past few years we had a corporate partnership with the American Red Cross but this year we decided to honor our firefighters in Jefferson and Shelby Counties. 

As part of the golf tournament sponsorship, you could support a firefighter foursome to play in the tournament. We were lucky enough to have almost 10 different fire stations present. We showed our appreciation during our lunch and then gifted them with over 10,000 in sponsorship donations. 

Our sales and marketing representatives have been delivering the checks over the last few weeks. We work very closely with our fire departments and appreciate all they do! We look forward to supporting them even more in the future. 

What to do until help arrives:

10/5/2018 (Permalink)

A fire can leave behind soot, smoke damage and a host of other problems. Ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting, and floors will often need a thorough professional cleaning. If your home or business suffers a fire, it is important to take the appropriate steps to prevent further damage until your local SERVPRO of Birmingham South arrives. The following tips may help reduce damage and increase chances of a successful restoration.

DO:

-Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet.

-Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork. n Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.

-If electricity is off, empty freezer/ refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor.

-Wipe soot from chrome kitchen/ bathroom faucets, trim and appliances, then protect these surfaces with a light coating of lubricant.

-If heat is off during winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures.

-Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.

First Responder BBQ Cook-off

5/2/2018 (Permalink)

First place in the corporate division for pork!

This past weekend some of our sales and marketing representatives competed in a BBQ cook-off that was hosted by Hometown Lenders. This competition was held for our local first responders including firefighters and police officers. The money raised went to scholarships for children of first responders.

On the Friday before the competition they prepared by cooking hamburgers and hotdogs for all the employees at SERVPRO of Birmingham South. Once we gave them the thumbs up, they cooked the ribs and BBQ for everyone else at The Hoover Met! 

Our guys ended up winning first place in the corporate division for their pork! Great job! 

If you are wanting more information about our services pertaining to fire damage once your local fire department has arrived, give us a call - we clean up soot & smoke!!

American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign

3/22/2018 (Permalink)

Each year, the Red Cross responds to nearly 64,000 disasters, the vast majority of which are home fires. So we set a goal to reduce fire-related deaths and injuries in the US by 25%.

On average:

  • 7 people die every day from a home fire, most impacting children and the elderly
  • 36 people suffer injuries as a result of home fires every day
  • Over $7 billion in property damage occurs every year

Every day, seven people die in home fires, most in homes that lack working smoke alarms. Sadly, children and the elderly disproportionately lose their lives. The American Red Cross wants to improve the odds and save lives- that’s why we launched our Home Fire Campaign in 2014.

A critical part of the campaign is Sound the Alarm, a series of home fire safety and smoke alarm installation events across the country. Together with fire departments and other community partners, Red Cross volunteers:

  • Canvass at-risk neighborhoods
  • Install free smoke alarms
  • Replace batteries in existing alarms
  • Provide fire prevention and safety education

 

In just three years, our home visits have accomplished so much, including the installation of more than 1 million smoke alarms and preparing more than 1 million people against home fires.

Join us April 28 through May 13 on a Sound the Alarm home visit in your community, where teams of volunteers will be installing 100,000 free smoke alarms in more than 100 cities across the U.S. Together, we can save lives!

Check out www.redcross.org/sound-the-alarm for more information and how to help in YOUR community!!

Smoke Webs

3/13/2018 (Permalink)

Did you know?

Residues (such as burning plastics or the soot from furnace disorders) form long chains of ionized smoke particles that assemble in corners or at junctions of walls and ceilings which are called smoke webs!

The picture is from a fire damage that our large loss division assisted with out of state. The building had 35,000 square feet that was affected, it took our team a few weeks to completely clean the facility. 

Does your business have a plan? Check out these tips:

Protect your people : Your employees are your most important business asset. These tips can help prevent them from being injured in a fire.

  • Fire Plans: 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. 
  • 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. 
  • 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.

https://www.statefarm.com/simple-insights/planning/3-business-fire-prevention-tips

2018 Alabama Fire Chiefs' Conference

2/20/2018 (Permalink)

"The Alabama Association of Fire Chiefs is a fellowship of fire chiefs and senior chief officers from across the state dedicated to the free exchange of ideas and information to advance the delivery of emergency services throughout the state. The association shall foster career development, education, legislation and provide representation to enhance the professionalism and service delivery capabilities of fire and emergency medical services providers. Additionally, the association shall function in a vigilant, innovative, and proactive manner focusing on the objective of reducing the loss of life and property from fire, trauma, acute illness, and hazardous conditions within the state."

https://www.alfirechiefs.com

This year almost all SERVPRO franchises in Alabama united as one and sponsored the Fire Chiefs' Conference in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. There were firefighters from all over the state in one place which made it easy for us to visit with them and thank them for their service. 

Fire Cleanup & Restoration

1/8/2018 (Permalink)

What would you do if...

You receive a call from a client today with a fire loss?

You have a fire loss on one of your properties?

You have a fire at your own personal property?

Some statistics...

Fire claims spike during the months of November - February.

On average, Fire causes over $12.4 billion in property damage annualy.

Top 5 Causes of Fire loss:
Cooking equipment
Heating equipment
Intentional
Electrical distribution & lighting equipment
Smoking materials

After the fire is out...

You need a company "Like SERVPRO"
Industry research from 2016 by Buntin Group found that SERVPRO Brand is becoming synonymous with the services provided!

Why not a Contractor?

Mitigate, clean, & restore FIRST! Then repair and rebuild.

SERVPRO of Birmingham can handle it all -One Stop Shop.

By the way...

WE DO BOARDUP!
Many times, the home or building must be secured immediately BEFORE anything else.

Fireplace Safety

11/15/2017 (Permalink)

  • Fireplaces should not be used as furnaces. Use a fireplace for a short-duration fire — no longer than five hours.
  • Keep the glass open to allow air to be drawn up to cool the chimney, but keep the screen closed to prevent sparks from jumping onto the carpeting.
  • Never leave a fire unattended when children are in the house. Adults, even if near, should not allow children to play near or with fire tools and equipment.
  • Open a window when using the fireplace to prevent the room from becoming smoky. The air coming in from the window will go up the chimney.
  • Before making a fire, open the glass doors, pull aside the screen curtains, and place the kindling, newspaper and logs inside. Next, open the damper and a window. The window needs to be open only a few inches. You can check to make sure the smoke will go up the chimney properly by lighting a match, quickly blowing it out and watching the smoke to see whether it's going up and out.
  • Keep a nonflammable rug (available at fireplace-supply stores) in front of the fireplace so that sparks won't melt or otherwise damage your carpeting.
  • Use fireplace tools to handle burning logs. Never use your hands.
  • Use a chimney cap to prevent water damage, to keep animals from nesting and to keep debris from blocking the chimney and causing carbon monoxide to flow into the house. Use a spark arrester to help prevent sparks from flying out, which could start a fire on the roof or lawn.
  • Glass doors may develop tough stains from flames and heat. To clean them, make sure the glass doors are cool, then scrape off any thick gunk deposits with a razor blade. Add a squirt of liquid dishwashing detergent to a bucket of warm water, or add a cup of vinegar to a gallon of water. Spray or sponge the cleaner on, and then wipe it away with newspaper (which is lint-free). Another option is to buy glass cleaner at a fireplace store.
  • Fireplace coals can remain hot enough to start a fire for up to three days, so always wait at least that long before removing the ashes. At that point, close the damper to prevent cold air in the flue from stirring up excess dust while you're removing the ashes. Be sure to wear a dust mask and open a window in the same room as the fireplace to prevent negative air pressure. Use a shovel to scoop the ashes into a metal container. Store the container far from combustible materials and surfaces and wood floors.
  • Never use a vacuum to clean up ashes, because live coals may remain in those ashes.
  • Have a certified chimney sweep inspect and clean the chimney when necessary. Have him show you how to check it yourself, too. The chimney should be checked at least once a year or after about 80 fires.
  • Shine brass fireplace utensils with Worcestershire sauce and a toothbrush.
  • Clean the firebox (the area where the logs burn) at least once a week during the months you use it, when ash builds up. Leave about an inch of ash because it acts as insulation, allowing the coals to heat faster and retain the heat easier. Keep the firebox completely clean during the months when the fireplace is not in use.
  • To clean an exterior slate hearth, wash, dry and coat it with lemon oil every six weeks to make it shine. For cleaning exterior brick hearths, buy a brick cleaner at a fireplace shop.
 via HGTV.com 

Every Second Counts

10/24/2017 (Permalink)

In a fire, seconds count. Seconds can mean the difference between residents of our community escaping safely from a fire or having their lives end in tragedy.

That’s why this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme: “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” is so important. It reinforces why everyone needs to have an escape plan. Here’s this year’s key campaign messages:

  • Draw a map of your home with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
  • Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
  • Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
  • Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
  • Close doors behind you as you leave – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
  • Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.

via http://www.nfpa.org/

Have you contacted your local fire department? See how you can get involved with them and your community to prevent house fires. Sometimes they will have events or give out smoke detectors for your home. Don't think this could never happen to you because it easily could. We don't have control over everything in our homes! Be safe and have a plan!

Alabama Forest Facts

5/5/2017 (Permalink)

When was the last time you remember hearing of or seeing a wildfire in Alabama.. especially the Birmingham area. You usually think of tornadoes and flooding when you think of natural disasters. But look at these facts as of May 2017:


Jefferson County:


Last 30 Days: 6 Wildfires & 184.00 Acres


Year To Date: 26 Wildfires & 363.55 Acres


Shelby County:


Last 30 Days:6 Wildfires & 8.50 Acres


Year To Date:12 Wildfires & 111.50 Acres


Per The Alabama Forestry Commission:


Wildfire Prevention is an important aspect of Forestry Commission operations. A good fire prevention program makes citizens aware of fire hazards and leads to a reduction in the number of wildfires in the state. The Forestry Commission actively works with local fire departments, schools and civic groups to present messages on safe outdoor activities and how to keep an area “fire-safe.”


Make sure you know the phone number to your local fire department in case of emergencies! SERVPRO of Birmingham covers ALL of Jefferson and Shelby Counties, so if you have smoke and/or fire damage whether from a wildfire or any other source; give us a call! 


http://www.forestry.alabama.gov/

Fire Safety

3/22/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Birmingham responds to many residential and commercial fire damages, which means we tend to stay in close contact with local fire departments.  


Here is some data:


In Alabama there are 796 fire departments registered with the National Fire Department Registry.


Most fires are structure/residential and vehicles. 


 


Fires only make up about 6% of calls in Alabama, others include: service calls (7.8%), false alarms (8.4%), good intent (9.1%), and EMS (65.9%). For the National average, fires make up around 4.7%. Surprising!


 In 2016, 82 home fire fatalities were reported by the news media.


 


Fire prevention is important, we want to make sure your home or business stays safe. Make sure you replace batteries in your smoke detectors and keep a fire extinguisher close. If you don’t know what to do and need some helpful tips call your local fire department. 

Content Restoration after Fire Damage

2/22/2017 (Permalink)

CONTENTS RESTORATION

From furniture to antiques to artwork and appliances, we'll treat your treasures with the care they deserve. While some items can be cleaned on-site, in many cases we'll need to inventory, pack out and transport the contents of your property to our state-of-the-art facility to ensure the best care possible.

Key Issues

  • Contents may need to be cleaned off-site
  • Contents inventory
  • Determine replacement and restoration
  • Pack
  • Ozone treatment
  • Cleaning
  • Odor removal
  • Secure
  • Return

Contents Inventory

  • We arrive on-site and inventory all of your personal belongings.
  • We carefully pack all salvable items to transport to our secure warehouse and cleaning facility.
  • Unsalvageable contents are inventoried and discarded.

Contents Valuation

We have trained professionals to help you establish replacement values versus restoration costs. We are also available for pricing of non-salvable inventory items.

Restoration

  • Thorough cleaning
  • Proper handling of all electronics
  • Photographs and artwork
  • Fabrics
  • Clothes
  • Memorabilia
  • Antiques
  • Soft goods
  • Dry Cleaning
  • Appliances
  • Surfaces
  • Odor Removal

 

Commercial Fire Damage

1/11/2017 (Permalink)

Where the fire originated.

Unfortunately late one night there was a fire at a local school, luckily it was during a holiday break there was time to clean up before students and teachers came back. The fire ended up being caused by a printer, more specifically an outlet. The fire caused the sprinkler system to go off, which caused the water damage. 

SERVPRO of Birmingham worked alongside the local fire department to clean up as much as possible the night the loss occurred. 

Many desks and chairs had to be removed for cleaning, and the fire started upstairs so needless to say numerous classrooms, hallways, and stairwells had to be cleared due to the water from the sprinkler system. 

Don't forget...

SERVPRO of Birmingham provides 24-hour emergency service and is dedicated to being faster to any size disaster. Our highly trained technicians can respond immediately to your residential or commercial emergency.

Fire Safety Tips

12/30/2016 (Permalink)

Tips For Fire Safety:

 

  1. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.

  2. Test smoke alarms every month. If they’re not working, change the batteries.

  3. Talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.

  4. If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL FOR HELP. Never go back inside for anything or anyone.

    We partner with the American Red Cross and also our local fire departments so fire prevention is VERY important to us! These tips are from REDCROSS.ORG

 

 

Here are some tips on WHAT TO DO AFTER A 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.

Caring for Yourself & Loved Ones
  • Pay attention to how you and your loved ones are experiencing and handling stress. Promote emotional recovery by following these tips. Discard any food that has been exposed to heat, smoke or soot.
  • Watch pets closely and keep them under your direct control.
  • Help people who require additional assistance- infants, elderly people, those without transportation, large families who may need additional help in an emergency situation, people with disabilities, and the people who care for them.

Also from REDCROSS.ORG, check it out for more information and make sure you are prepared in case an emergency happens in your Birmingham home!

Smoke and Soot Cleanup

10/18/2016 (Permalink)

Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Birmingham 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 Birmingham 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 – 205-664-6770

Fire Damage: How do we do it?

3/3/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage

Do you ever wonder how SERVPRO keeps up with every customer’s job progress? SERVPRO of Birmingham has a pretty tried and true method to keep everyone up to date on the progress of every job. When a customer first calls in a loss, we at SERVPRO of Birmingham enter all of the pertinent information into a form called the FNOL or “First Notice of Loss.” This form is sent to everyone involved including our First Responders, Office staff so they can communicate with your insurance company, managers and ownership so they know the status of every job in progress. Every note, assessment, detail associated with that job from that point forward is attached to that initial FNOL so that it is at our fingertips if you ever have any questions or concerns.