Recent Fire Damage Posts

Heavy Smoke Damage Remediation Is Only Effective When Handled Professionally

8/30/2022 (Permalink)

White smoke on black background SERVPRO of Loveland is your local specialist in fire and smoke remediation.

Heavy Smoke Damage Remediation Is Only Successful When Done Professionally

One of the most difficult parts of a fire cleanup is a full-scale smoke cleaning throughout a home. Smoke is insidious – it gets into every nook and cranny, coating everything it touches with a nasty, oily residue.


A small fire, like when a candle touches a tablecloth and is put out quickly, probably can be handled by the homeowner. A little baking soda in water will strip away the light film.


However, once the damage has spread beyond a single room – or if it’s heavy in that room – you’ll need professional equipment for a quality smoke cleaning. Residential fires produce toxic materials in the smoke, including from items such as

  • Plastics
  • Electronics
  • Treated wood
  • Foam and bedding
  • Synthetic fibers

A Royal Mess


Smoke from a house fire is disgusting. Humans may have a small amount of resistance to natural wood smoke, having lived around it for as many as 1 million years. But modern houses use a wide variety of chemicals and building materials that we’re not used to. Additionally, inside every house is a huge variety of personal property, and all will leach some toxins into the air while burning.


Cleanup of the Smoke Odor Is Tricky


Soot is caused by incomplete combustion of a material. Oily residue is also produced, combining with the soot to produce a sticky, abrasive goo. It latches on to everything, but porous material is especially tenacious.


There is no effective way a homeowner can clean up this level of smoke damage. It requires professional techniques and specialized equipment, including

  • Air filtration devices
  • Thermal foggers
  • Ozone machines
  • Industrial solvents

TSP used to be the leading way to perform a smoke cleaning, but real TSP is no longer available, and the substitute isn’t up to professional standards. Your local experts in smoke remediation use sanitizers recommended by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification to strip away the stench and absorb toxic soot. The damage is usually covered by insurance, and the restoration company will work with you and your insurance agent to ensure your home is returned to its former condition.

4 Tips To Avoid Fires While Grilling

7/30/2022 (Permalink)

Barbecue grill with fire on nature, outdoor, close up A grill fire can ruin more than your cookout

Stay Safe When Using Your Grill

Most people in Loveland, CO, enjoy getting together for a cookout: It’s hard to beat the smell of meat cooking on the grill. Nothing ruins a backyard barbeque faster than a grill fire. These four tips will help you stay safe when using your grill.

1. Use Proper Grill Placement
Only use gas or charcoal grills outdoors, never in the garage, in an enclosed patio, or under a cloth awning. Place the grill at least four feet away from the house, fence, and other structures. Check for any low-hanging tree limbs or branches overhead. Be sure the grill is level and stable.

2. Watch for Flare-Ups
Keeping a close eye on the grill while food is cooking is important to make sure you don’t ruin your food, but it can also help you prevent a barbeque fire. Flare-ups can get out of hand quickly, and an unattended grill is a tempting target for children and pets.

3. Keep Your Grill Clean
Cooking on a dirty grill increases your risk of a grill fire. The fat and grease in your grill’s drip tray or grease cup can easily ignite. This kind of grease fire is notoriously difficult to put out and can cause serious smoke damage to your house and surrounding areas. After cooking, wait for the grill to cool, and then clean the grates and drip the pan.

4. Be Prepared
Fire safety experts report that most people who cook on a grill do not keep anything nearby to extinguish potential grill-related fires. Always keep some baking soda on hand to smother a grease fire and have a fire extinguisher nearby that you can access quickly if necessary. Never use water on a grease fire!
A grill fire can ruin more than your cookout. Smoke damage to your home could require lengthy fire restoration work. Worse, grill-related fires can easily become structure fires. Follow these tips to stay safe when using your grill.

4 Steps To Take When Cleaning Your Grill

6/6/2022 (Permalink)

Hand holding a wire brush and cleaning the inside of a grill Keep your grill clean.

Grill Maintenance

When the weather starts to warm up, you might dream about breaking out the grill and firing it up for parties at your Loveland, CO, home. However, if you don't follow a few cleaning tips, your grill might not be safe to use. Fire mitigation experts recommend yearly grill maintenance to keep it in great shape and reduce the chance of grease fires. Here are three steps to take when cleaning your grill. 

1. Gather Your Grill Cleaning Materials
Before you start cleaning, you want to gather everything you need to clean your cooker. You'll need a large container to hold water and cleaning solution, a stiff wire brush, a sponge and some stainless steel polish. 

2. Clean the Grate
Before taking the grate out of the grill, scrub it well with your wire brush to ensure you get any food particles off and help remove any built-up charred material. Then, fill your container with some hot water and dish soap and allow the grate to soak for a half-hour. Once it is done soaking, scrub it clean with a sponge. Rinse the grate well and set it aside to dry while you do the rest of the grill cleaning.

3. Wash the Inside
If you have a charcoal grill, empty any old briquettes into a metal container. If you have a gas grill, remove any hoods or grease trays. Vacuum the inside of the grill to remove all charcoal dust or lingering food bits. Thoroughly clean every surface of the inside of the grill with a wet sponge and a powerful cleaning agent. Pay special attention to any built-up grease spots that could cause a grease fire if left alone. 

4. Polish the Outside
The final step of the grill cleaning process is polishing the outside. You want the outside to look just as good as the inside. Be mindful of areas around knobs or hookups where dirt might linger. If you don't have a stainless steel grill, use your sponge and cleaning solution to clean the outside of your grill. 
Keeping your grill cleaned and in tiptop shape extends the life of your grill and helps keep your family safe from dangerous grease fires. 

How To Use a Fire Extinguisher Effectively

3/14/2022 (Permalink)

PASS method fire extinguisher The PASS technique (pull, aim, squeeze, sweep) for proper use of an extinguisher.

The PASS Technique

Are you familiar with proper fire extinguisher use in the event of a fire at your business in Loveland, CO? It may appear straightforward, but every second counts in an emergency and quick action may help stop the spread of the fire. By correctly using an extinguisher, you may also be able to prevent the need for a significant fire damage assessment after the event. The following steps illustrate the PASS technique (pull, aim, squeeze, sweep) for proper use of an extinguisher.

1. Pull

The first step is to pull the ring pin on the extinguisher, located near the lever. Removing the pin will break the seal and prepare the device for use. Look at an extinguisher in your building to see where the pin is located.

2. Aim

While holding the lever in one hand, point the fire extinguisher nozzle in the direction of the fire. Aiming towards the base of the fire, and not at the flames, will help cut off the fire from its source.

3. Squeeze

When you are ready to discharge the extinguisher contents, squeeze the lever. Hold on tight, as the contents may be expelled forcefully. Be sure to keep aiming at the fire’s source.

4. Sweep

Sweep the extinguisher from side to side while still pointing it at the source of the fire. Continue this motion until all of the extinguishing media is released or until the fire is completely out. Be sure to watch the area closely to ensure the fire does not re-ignite.

Keep in mind that a fire extinguisher should be used on small fires only. If the fire is large or if you feel incapable or uncomfortable handling it on your own, evacuate the building and call for help. Whether you are dealing with a small kitchen fire, utility room fire or a fire in a cigarette receptacle, being prepared to use an extinguisher may prevent serious property damage from occurring.

You Fire Cleanup Should Include Electronics – Here’s Why

2/1/2022 (Permalink)

Keyboard of a computer on flames Be sure to talk to your fire cleanup specialist about electronics cleanup.

You and your family made it through the fire and most of your belongings look untouched. But unbeknownst to many homeowners in Loveland, CO, even materials that look undamaged can be impacted. This is especially true of electronics, which can be penetrated and permanently ruined. Still not convinced your fire cleanup efforts should include cleaning electronics? Learn exactly how smoke can impact your electronics.

How Smoke Causes Damage

Electronics are remarkably delicate and lots of things can impact how well they work. There are two main elements of fire that can impact electronics.

• Smoke damage - smoke penetrates deep crevices in electronics, making them prone to overheating and failure

• Soot - Pushed in by smoke, soot can form a layer in delicate electronics, interrupting circuits and causing malfunction
You know what about smoke causes the problems, but how do these things wreak havoc?

Corrosion

Soot is acidic, and acid and electronics never mix. When soot gets into wires and circuitry, it can corrode these delicate surfaces. The result is degraded components and a device that may soon fail.

Insulation Damage

Soot can also leave a film that coats the inside of electronics, forming a sort of insulation. This can result in overheating once you turn these devices back on after fire cleanup. Overheating leads to failure in the best case and can trigger a fire in the worst case.


Magnetization

Believe it or not, smoke has a magnetic charge. Magnets can short circuit electronics - something you might not realize until you’ve used your device a few times and find it stops working.
High heat and soot can be devastating to sensitive electronic devices, causing malfunction and even triggering new fires. The good news is that there are ways to salvage your electronics safely. Be sure to talk to your fire cleanup specialist about electronics cleanup to ensure you’ve covered all your bases after a fire.

Using Your Space Heater Safely

12/28/2021 (Permalink)

Portable electric heater, halogen light heater When placing your space heater, ensure it’s on a level surface.

Safely Using Your Space Heater

When the winter chill sets in, it’s only natural to want to stay warm. However, sometimes your heating fails you, or maybe you don’t have central heating to begin with. That’s typically when the space heaters come out to keep things toasty and warm. While these appliances are certainly useful, they can be extremely dangerous to you, your family and your home if not used correctly and responsibly, leading to a burned space heater and a lot of professional smoke cleanup in the aftermath. What many people using space heaters don’t realize about them is that:

  • They cause around a third of winter house fires every year.
  • They typically contribute to around 80 percent of winter house fire deaths.
  • Insurance companies have had to pay over $48 million for space heater damages in the past five years.

Fortunately, there are plenty of precautions you can take to use your heater responsibly so you and your family can be both safe and warm this winter in Loveland, CO.

Isolated Spaces

The leading cause of a burned space heater is that homeowners often set them up much too close to other items. According to a number of insurance websites, your heater should be at least three feet away from anything it could potentially burn at all times to reduce the likelihood of a fire occurring.

Don’t Leave It Unattended

Yes, you want your home to be warm when you get home, but is it worth risking a house fire? If you’re not able to directly supervise your space heater, it’s always best to switch it off and let it cool down before you leave.

Level Settings

When placing your space heater, ensure it’s on a level surface. This way, it’s less likely that the machine will tip over and create a hazardous condition.

By keeping children away from your heater, refraining from using extension cords, and keeping your smoke alarms in order, you can reduce the chances of experiencing a burned space heater in your home this winter.

Smart Smoke Detector: To Buy or Not to Buy

11/4/2021 (Permalink)

white smoke detector and red warning light A smoke alarm can be one of the wisest decisions you ever make.

Should We Purchase Smoke Alarms?

Should a smoke alarm cost over a hundred dollars? Companies developing new smart detectors think they should, but are the improvements a luxury or a necessity? You be the judge.

1. Expense Versus Performance

When comparing performance against the expense, you can be blinded by the technological gadgetry of smart detectors. True, most smart detectors can connect and communicate with your other smart devices, but does this bonus contribute to its effectiveness? Most reviewers don’t think so, claiming that a regular smoke detector functions and performs the same as a smart detector, without the bells and whistles.

2. Convenience Versus Luxury

The argument to buy or not to buy comes down to convenience versus luxury. A regular smoke alarm is a bargain find, costing around $20, but a smart detector can cost upward of $100. The inter-connectedness and advanced notifications equate to the increased price tag.

3. Technology Versus Necessity

Fire safety may be a necessity but is it necessary to shut off a detector from your phone or to be notified of a fire when you’re not home? These tools may be beneficial, but that does not mean they are necessary. Regular detectors have worked well for decades with simple batteries and buttons.

4. Preparation Versus Spontaneity

No matter your decision, you may want to invest in fire preparations because spontaneity puts both you and your property at risk. Many fire departments recommend having an evacuation plan in case of a fire and practicing that plan with your family monthly. Additionally, you may want to work with a company in Loveland, CO, that specializes in emergency planning as preparation for an crisis, like a fire.

A smoke alarm can be one of the wisest decisions you ever make, but do you need a smart alarm? All smoke detectors work the same way and, by many accounts, perform equally. The most significant differences between smart alarms and regular alarms are in the advanced notifications and ease of use, but does that make them worth the price tag? What do you think?

3 Steps to Protect Pets From a Fire

10/8/2021 (Permalink)

Map of a house and escape routes Remember to include your pets in your fire escape plan.

3 Steps to Keep Your Pets Safe in the Event of a Fire

Approximately 500,000 pets are affected by fires every year, according to the United States Fire Administration. Promote the safety of the people and animals in your home in the event of a fire emergency by planning ahead. From preventative caution to making an evacuation plan that includes pet safety, here are three pet preparation steps you can take today.

1. Avoid open flames. Cats or dogs may knock candles over or singe their tails in open flames. Try a flameless candle alternative instead. You should also consider the risk posed by knobs on a gas stove. If you leave your pets unconfined at home while you are away, you may want to block the kitchen entrance or install protective covers to prevent pets from accidentally turning on the gas.

2. Include pets in fire safety and evacuation plans. Prepare to safely evacuate pets along with the rest of your family in a fire emergency. Obtain and put up a front window cling to inform firefighters of the number and types of pets living in your home.

3. Gather pet records and supplies in a fire box. Store this box near an exterior door so that you can quickly grab all of these items during an evacuation. Make sure to include ownership and vaccination records as well as spare collars and leashes in case you need to control or restrain a frightened pet.

These simple steps can help you prevent fires and promote pet safety in the event of a fire emergency. You may also want to keep other home ownership or insurance records in a place where you can also easily find and take them in the event of an evacuation. Depending on the extent of a fire, you may also want to keep the number of a certified residential fire damage restoration company in Loveland, CO with these records.

5 Things To Do If You Smell Gas

7/27/2021 (Permalink)

Gas Stove Top If you have a gas stove, furnace or dryer, you may be able to slow or stop the leak by turning off your appliances.

If You Smell Gas, Here Are 5 Things You Should Do

Have you ever walked into your Loveland, CO home to an aroma of gas? This smell can signal to you that there's a hazard in your house. Natural gas can leak into your home and create a nice habitat for fire. If you notice the pungent aroma, you need to take a couple of steps to ensure you don't start a gas fire.

1. Avoid sparks. Gas is highly combustible. If you add a spark to the environment, you could set off a gas explosion. You can avoid sparks by keeping all the lights in the house turned off. Only use flashlights if you need them.
2. Start ventilation. Allowing the gas to escape can help you avoid a catastrophic gas fire. Open as many windows and doors as you can to get the gases out as best as possible.
3. Turn off appliances. If you have a gas stove, furnace or dryer, you may be able to slow or stop the leak by turning off your appliances. If it is safe for you to venture further into the house, you can turn off burners that accidentally got bumped on, for example.
4. Shut off gas. If you know where the gas meter is located, you can go one step further by turning off the gas supply to the house. Don't got searching for this meter in an emergency, but only venture to it if you know exactly where it is.
5. Leave the house. Evacuating your home is a necessary part of a gas leak. Try to congregate with the rest of your family in a safe location. Make sure you call emergency responders. You can also call fire restoration professionals if necessary.

Smelling natural gas in your home can put you on edge. Taking smart, precautionary steps can help you avoid a gas fire and keep your entire family safe.

Cook Smart With These 3 Kitchen Safety Tips

6/29/2021 (Permalink)

Burned kitchen after fire caused by cigarettes Burned kitchen in Loveland, CO.

What Is The Best Way To Ensure Safety In The Kitchen

You do it every day, oftentimes three times a day, without a second thought: cooking. For many people, cooking is second nature, and the thought of a grease fire or a kitchen fire is far from their minds. However, even the most experienced of cooks have set fire to their stoves once or twice. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association, kitchen fires are the leading cause of house fires. Fortunately, kitchen fires are highly preventable, with these tips from fire restoration experts in Loveland, CO:

  • Keep track of what you place on your stovetop.
  • Remain in the kitchen while you cook.
  • Wear proper cooking attire.

Know What’s on Your Stovetop

One of the biggest culprits of kitchen fires is miscellaneous items left on stovetops, such as towels, papers, appliance cords and curtains. Keep your stovetop clear of all items that do not belong on a hot surface or, at the very least, know what is on your stove before turning it on. By keeping track of what you place on your burners, you can know what to remove and therefore prevent kitchen fires.

Stay in the Kitchen While You Cook

This tip is especially important if you have small children or animals. Children and pets may be small, but they’re quick, and if left unattended for even a second, they could unwittingly knock a hot pot from the stovetop or place a flammable item on its surface. Protect your home and your family by remaining in the kitchen and vigilant the entire time you’re cooking.

Wear Proper Clothing

This is one of the most ignored cooking tips but probably one of the wisest. Many kitchen fires start because a flowing sleeve or a too-big shirt gets caught in a gas grill, burner, or open flame. Make sure to wear tight clothing while cooking, and roll up long sleeves.

Kitchen fires can be extremely dangerous, not to mention the extensive amount of fire damage they can cause. Fortunately, such fires are preventable. With these three tips, you can cook smart and stay safe whenever you decide to yield a spatula and frying pan.

5 Top Ways to Prevent Home Fires

3/17/2021 (Permalink)

Rear view of a Caucasian firefighter wearing a fire helmet over his head and teaching about fire extinguisher to school kids Teach children about fire safety.

5 Top Ways to Prevent Home Fires

Fire preparation in the form of a family escape plan is important for keeping your family safe. Preventing a home fire from occurring in the first place is also important, for the safety of both your family and your home. There are many precautions you can take to reduce your chances of fire. The following five reminders are some of the most important.

1. Teach Children About Fire Safety
It is important to talk to children about fire safety and to instruct them to never use lighters or matches on their own. Keep these fire starters safely out of reach.

2. Cook With Safety in Mind
Never leave the stove or oven unattended while in use. Stay nearby while using the stovetop for most things, such as frying. Remain in the home while your food is baking or simmering. It is also important to keep the area around the stove clear while cooking. Here are a few common items that would cause a safety risk if too close to the stovetop:

  • Curtains
  • Oven Mitts
  • Paper Towels
  • Napkins

3. Check Your Wiring
Having your electrical wiring checked by a home inspector is a great idea, especially if you've noticed anything suspect, such as exposed wires. Make sure that all outlets have cover plates to prevent that wiring from being exposed.

4. Maintain Heating Sources
Regular maintenance on heating sources is an important part of fire preparation for any home. Have your chimneys cleaned out regularly, keep your stove clean and in good repair, and look for rust or cracks on furnace parts.

5. Never Smoke Inside
Smoking indoors causes a significant fire risk. Consider keeping all smoking outdoors only. If you do smoke indoors, be sure that you are alert at all times. Don't smoke in your bed.
Not all fires can be avoided, and in that case, a fire restoration company can help you to get your Loveland, CO, home back in order. To bolster your fire preparation against those common fire risks which can be avoided, keep these prevention tips in mind.

Saving Your Electronics After a Fire

11/8/2020 (Permalink)

SERVPRO logo with flames behind it How does smoke damage electronics?

Electronics Can Be Cleaned After Fire Damage

A fire in your Loveland, CO, business affects everything in your building, including furnishings, paperwork, and electronics. The cleanup efforts taken by electrical fire damage restoration professionals are specifically suited to the items being cleaned and repaired. For example, computer cleanup steps are much different from the steps for cleaning the drapes and other window treatments. The good news is that electronics can be cleaned even after suffering smoke damage.

Don't Toss Electronics
Sometimes, business owners believe that computers, copy machines, and other electronic appliances can't be salvaged after they've been exposed to flames, heat, and soot. This may be true for anything that was too near the source of the fire, especially as they are exposed to

Acidic soot: This substance gets into the nooks and crannies of wiring and electrical components. The acidic makeup of soot causes degradation and may cause your appliances to quit working immediately or may cause delayed damage.
Black Film: In addition to soot, smoke leaves a film on the surfaces it touches, including the interior components of your electronics. This can lead to overheating. Even if you have machinery in rooms not touched by flames, the smoke can cause the equipment to fail before it should.
Smoke Composition: The precise makeup of smoke is determined by the burning materials. Smoke commonly contains sulfur dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and sometimes hydrogen cyanide and ammonia. As smoke particles move through your building, they interact with the components of your machinery, leaving a significant negative impact.

The good news is that professionals who understand the cleanup and repair of an electrical fire have the right tools and resources at their disposal.

Unplug and Wait
While waiting for professionals to arrive, you can disconnect your appliances from the power supply. Technicians will probably remove any batteries and other parts that were affected by heat, soot, and smoke. The exterior of your device will be wiped down, and the interior parts will probably receive close attention. An air compressor or similar tool may be used to clear out particles that resist other cleaning methods. It's important that you don't try to use your equipment after an electrical fire until professionals have made these repairs. Otherwise, you could cause further damage to your electronics.