Recent Fire Damage Posts
4th of July Safety Tips
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
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 HandyFires 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?
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.
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.
- 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.
The Fire Restoration Process
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:
Within one hour from notice of loss, a SERVPRO of Birmingham professional will contact you to arrange for service.
Within four hours of loss notification, a SERVPRO of Birmingham technician will be onsite to start mitigation services.
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.
A SERVPRO of Birmingham employee will begin pretesting for restoration, working from the source of the damage outward.
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.”
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
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:
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.
- 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
Golf Tournament Donations
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:
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.
-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
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
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%.
- 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!!
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.
2018 Alabama Fire Chiefs' Conference
"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."
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
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?
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:
Electrical distribution & lighting equipment
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.
- 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.
Every Second Counts
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.
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
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:
Last 30 Days: 6 Wildfires & 184.00 Acres
Year To Date: 26 Wildfires & 363.55 Acres
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!
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
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.
- Contents may need to be cleaned off-site
- Contents inventory
- Determine replacement and restoration
- Ozone treatment
- Odor removal
- 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.
We have trained professionals to help you establish replacement values versus restoration costs. We are also available for pricing of non-salvable inventory items.
- Thorough cleaning
- Proper handling of all electronics
- Photographs and artwork
- Soft goods
- Dry Cleaning
- Odor Removal
Commercial Fire Damage
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.
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
Tips For Fire Safety:
Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.
Test smoke alarms every month. If they’re not working, change the batteries.
Talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice the plan twice a year.
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:
Call 9-1-1. Give first aid where needed; cool and cover burns to reduce the chance of further injury or infection.
Let friends and family know you’re safe.
People and animals that are seriously injured or burned should be transported to professional medical or veterinary help immediately.
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
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?
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.