Why You Need Professional Cleaning After Fire Damage
Restoration and cleanup from even the smallest fire is no simple chore, which is why our experts are trained to make it "Like it never even happened."
After a fire happens, the first thing you want to do is get your household back to normal as soon as possible. It’s tempting to think small fires have little impact and can easily be cleaned up or restored.
However, it’s necessary to understand that even the smallest fires can have the worst impact. Not only that, but fire restoration and cleanup is nothing like weekly household chores. It takes a lot of time, effort, equipment, training and knowledge to be able to safely clean your house after fire damage.
This is why it’s crucial to call a professional cleaning service after a fire has damaged your home. Yes, there may be some things you can do on your own to mitigate the damage but it’s always best to phone a professional first so you don’t put your household at more risk.
After a fire happens, there is a lot more damage than meets the eye. Your house may have water damage as well from firefighters putting out the fire, which can lead to mold and other health hazards. Fire damage also almost always means there will be smoke and soot damage, which can have long-term effects on your health if not resolved properly.
Smoke and soot can settle in your home in the most unlikely of places and leave a lot of items within your property unsalvageable. If not cleaned immediately, they can even cause more damage, sometimes permanently. Burned debris can release harsh chemicals damaging your lungs and if ash comes into contact with your skin, it can irritate you.
Some of these health effects may not even show up immediately but can take a few months or years to make a difference if your house isn’t cleaned properly.
Ultimately, attempting to clean your house after a fire on your own exposes yourself to danger, especially if you don’t have the right attire or equipment.The common vacuum cleaner won’t filter out small particles but instead blow them into the air where they can be breathed in, and store-bought odor eliminators may only work temporarily and smoke will probably return.
Luckily, you don’t have to go through this cleaning process alone. Professional cleaning services like SERVPRO® of Central Oklahoma City want to put you and your household’s safety first, and we have the means to do so.
We have smoke deodorizers that actually target the smoke and soot to specifically eliminate them from hidden places. We are trained to do this, and we have the time and resources to help you properly clean and restore your property.
Our goal is to assess the damage, secure the building from other elements and people, and improve your home’s air quality and ventilation so your life can get back to normal.
With Fire Damage, Expect Water Damage, Too
Fire damage can take a toll, but so can water damage incurred from putting out the original fire.
Imagine a restoration company shows up at your house after you’ve had a fire, and the first thing they check for is water damage. Doesn’t that seem a little counterintuitive, especially considering how fire and water are opposites?
However, fire and water are much more like kindred spirits than you would think, especially when it comes to how they impact each other in damaging structures, spaces and belongings.
When there is fire damage, there is almost always going to be water damage. Think about when the fire department is involved in a house fire — most likely, your space will get hosed down. Or if your building has a sprinkler system that can be triggered by smoke or intense heat, the structure that has been burned will be immediately soaked with water. Consider the way fire can bend and damage structures, including pipes that may leak within a building.
All of these scenarios can occur because of fire damage, so it is necessary that whatever restoration company you’re working with must understand the ins and outs of fire damage restoration but be well-versed in other categories of restoration as well.
This is especially true because water restoration is a major part (and the first task) of the fire damage restoration process. Before someone can effectively treat your fire damaged household, you must first mitigate the water damage. This includes examining and evaluating the damage that may have been done to your drywall, floors, ceilings and/or belongings.
Also, did you know that if water stays around long enough, it can result in mold growth and damage? So fire damage can start the domino effect causing your space to be damaged by other elements.
That’s why SERVPRO® of Central Oklahoma City provides experts and services for all types of damage restoration — fire, water, mold storm and commercial. This way, you don’t have to wait for the water restoration company to show up before you can start the fire restoration process. You can have them treated simultaneously!
If you ever have damage from not only one but multiple causes, make sure to invest in a company like SERVPRO® of Central OKC that has its hand in all aspects of restoration. Otherwise, you’ll end up spending a lot more time and money than necessary.
Learn the Different Types of Fire Extinguishers
Did you know there was more than one kind of fire extinguisher? Now you do!
Maybe you’ve never used one. Maybe you’ve never seen one or owned one (which, in that case, you should). Whatever the case, fire extinguishers are crucial to understand in terms of safely preparing for the unexpected.
At SERVPRO® Central Oklahoma City, we hope to educate you so you feel confident and prepared to fight any fire before it causes too much damage. With this in mind, you should know the basic types of fire extinguishers.
There are five types — A, B, C, D and K (or F) and each class signals the type of fire the extinguisher can be used to put out.
These are typically used to put out fires on ordinary combustible materials such as paper, rubber, wood, cloth and plastics. Class A extinguishers are usually found in homes or businesses and use water (red label), dry powder (blue label), foam (cream label) or wet chemicals (yellow label) to absorb the heat or coat the fire.
These extinguishers are used on fires that originate from flammable liquids and gases such as oil, fuel, solvents, lacquers or alcohols. They can be found in homes or businesses as well and can use dry powder, foam and carbon dioxide (black label) to put out the fire.
These are used against electrical fires from wires, panels or circuit breakers and can be found in homes and businesses. They release material like dry powder to stop the conduction of electricity so the fire cannot continue to ignite.
These extinguishers are used on combustible metals such as magnesium, sodium, aluminium, titanium, potassium and zirconium. They are typically found in factories and use dry powder to put out the fire.
Class K (or F)
These extinguishers are reserved for commercial use such as in restaurant kitchens. They are effective on fires that were caused by cooking fats, greases or oils and use a process called saponification which releases an alkaline agent foam to trap vapors and put the fire out. Inside these are wet chemicals (yellow label).
How to use a fire extinguisher
All of this information is pretty useless unless you know how to use a fire extinguisher, which is why this little acronym PASS should help you remember how to put out a fire.
Pull the pin in the extinguisher to break the seal.
Aim the extinguisher low with the nozzle pointing toward the bottom of the fire.
Squeeze the extinguisher’s handle to release whatever agent is inside.
Sweep the nozzle from side to side, still pointing it toward the base of the fire until it is fully extinguished.
If the fire continues to re-ignite, repeat the last three steps until the fire is completely out. Remember to keep your distance, act swiftly and always stay safe in the event of a fire.
Customer Communication and Why It Matters
Communication is vital when tackling restoration projects, and we want to help you help us.
At SERVPRO® of Central Oklahoma City, we value communication both on our end as well as the customer’s side. Without clearly communicating the problem, we will not be able to find an effective solution.
That’s why we hope to provide you with some tips on how to best take advantage of communication:
- Call immediately. The longer you wait with water, fire or mold damage, the worse the situation will become. That’s why it’s best to act as soon as you notice something wrong in your household. Luckily, our emergency services are open 24/7, ready to answer any burning questions and rush to your side for assistance in any area.
- Be ready for questions. When you call our emergency services, our professionals will ask you questions, which will help us figure out what equipment or resources will be necessary to bring as well as how many trained experts will be needed at the site. In preparing for these questions, think of the typical Who, What, When, Where and How prompts — who are you (your name and contact information), what happened (present the issue or problem), when did it happen (if you can provide the time the issue occurred), where it happened (the home address where the damage occurred), and how it happened (if you know the cause, provide it).
- Provide essential information. Our professionals may also ask you about your insurance plan and everything it covers. Make sure to have that information on hand as well as let them know if there will be electricity on site.
- Be as detailed as possible. The more information we have, the better we can help and provide effective services. Before we arrive, provide all necessary information so we know what we’re getting into. During the visit, feel free to guide us around and provide more contextual information.
- Follow up if necessary. If another issue arises after we finish our restoration process, make sure to immediately contact us so we can return and figure out what went wrong. Our goal is to make life easier for you.
- Give feedback. Nobody wants to take the post-service survey or leave a review because it takes time, but it helps both us and potential customers in the future. Giving feedback lets us know what we could improve on and affirms services and processes that we should continue for our company.
You’ve heard it tons of times, but communication truly is key. Without it, we would never know how to effectively provide quality services to our customers and connect with them in a way that matters.
Types of Odors Impacting Your Business
Flood damage is one of three common causes of foul odors in your commercial property.
Lingering odors can cause a lot of problems for your business, so it’s important to know the different types of odors and what their main cause is so you can identify and eradicate them.
Odors are typically the product of a fire, flooding or infestation of mold, each having their own causes, attributes and ways to remediate them. The important part to remember is you must discover the cause of the odor before you do anything else. Only then can you find the appropriate response and solution to the problem.
At SERVPRO® of Central Oklahoma City, we hope to not only serve you in all of your restoration needs but also be an educational resource so you can be prepared in the case of an unfortunate event. Here are some different types of odors and what their typical cause is:
Odors from fire
Odors that result from fire are often smoky smelling and can be caused by soot, smoke damage to materials such as wood or entrapped smells within walls, furniture or even clothes. If the cause is soot, it is typically easy to identify as it appears black and powdery in appearance. Smoke can also be the underlying issue from burned food or a larger building fire and can consist of different fumes and chemicals, so it’s best to act quickly in eradicating this odor. Those who work or reside in the building can have their health compromised from these lingering odors.
Odors from flooding
These odors are typically pungent smelling and can be caused by sewage, growth of bacteria and mold/mildew. An example of this occurs if there is a burst pipe in which the sewage and wastewater will diffuse this odor. This flood water also contains bacteria that can absorb into porous furniture and provide a health hazard to those in the building.
Odors from infestations of mold
This odor is described as earthy, stale and damp. Mold that is left alone for too long can grow, which results in the production of gases that are known as microbial volatile organic compounds. These gases are basically the waste products of mold, leaving a musty odor to disperse through the building.
Overall, it’s best practice to act quickly when you notice an odor, even after the restoration process is complete. You never know how the bacteria within these odors can impact you and the people within the building.
The Science Behind Putting Out a Fire
When it comes to controlling, and ultimately extinguishing, a fire, it's helpful to know what you're dealing with.
As the summer goes on, the chance for a fire to ignite continues — whether it be from a grilling accident or the heat of the sun.
Fire can easily destroy a home or business in minutes, so it’s important to understand the basics behind putting out a fire.
At SERVPRO® of Central Oklahoma City, we value your safety and hope to educate you on potential threats to your safety.
What is fire?
First, we must understand how fire works. Fire is a chemical reaction — combustion, to be exact. Flammable substances will combine with the oxygen in the air to produce water, carbon dioxide and waste gases, creating a lot of heat.
This doesn’t happen spontaneously. Typically, there must be something to ignite fire, which is found in activation energy (produced by a spark, match, the sun or an overheating machine).
The fire triangle and how to break it
It’s important to understand that there are three elements that must be present for a fire to ignite:
- Fuel (the substance that will burn, like wood or coal)
- Oxygen (from the air)
To stop a fire, you have to remove one of these elements.
In order to remove heat, it’s best to dump some water on the fire. This cools the fuel down to below the ignition temperature, putting a pin in the combustion cycle. If you want to remove oxygen, you can smother the fire to prevent its exposure to air. You can do this by covering the fire with a heavy blanket or dumping nonflammable substances on it such as sand or baking soda. Removing fuel is much more difficult, especially in house fires as the house itself counts as fuel. Typically, fuel will only be removed after the fire has burned it up.
The usual way of putting out a fire is by using a fire extinguisher, which is basically a giant aerosol. Though there are different types of extinguishers, most of them fight the fires by separating the fuel from the oxygen.
In all circumstances, make sure to take preventative and proactive measures to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. And be sure to call SERVPRO® of Central OKC with any fire restoration needs: (405) 252-9400.
Lightning Fast Facts for Oklahoma City Residents
Lightning strikes are no laughing matter, and as always it's important to know what we're dealing with.
As one of the leading weather-related causes of death or injury in the nation, lighting deserves to be understood better so we can be both awed and avoidant of it.
At SERVPRO® of Central Oklahoma City, we strive to be knowledgeable, proactive and preventative in approaching the stormy seasons of Oklahoma.
Here are some flash facts about lightning:
- While the speed of light (when we see the bolt) is 670,000,000 mph, the actual speed of a strike is only 27,000 mph. Need help visualizing this? Imagine traveling to the moon in only 55 minutes.
- Everyday, there are over 3 million flashes of lightning (about 44 strikes each second). The earth is struck by lightning more than 100 bolts each second.
- Lightning can help plants grow through creating nitrogen oxides by its heat and combining with moisture to provide nitrate-rich water for plants.
- The width of a bolt is only about 2 to 3 centimeters (about the size of a thumb) but it spans a length of about 2 to 3 miles.
- Lightning can reach up to 50,000°F, which is about 5x hotter than the sun’s surface.
- Thunderstorms aren’t the only source of lightning; it can be found in volcanic eruptions, forest fires, nuclear detonations, snowstorms and hurricanes.
- Using surge protectors won’t actually protect your appliances against direct strikes, so make sure to unplug all of your equipment.
- Using the phone while indoors is actually the leading cause of injuries by lightning within a household.
- You can easily be struck by lightning even if the eye of the storm is 10 miles away.
Lightning isn’t something to mess with or worth taking any chances at the risk of death or injury. It must be taken seriously, but we can admire the beauty and nature of lightning without compromising our safety.
And should your home or commercial property incur any damage from a lightning strike or other severe weather event, we're on call 24/7 and faster to any disaster. Just give us a call at (405) 252-9400 and we'll be on our way.
Why Replace When You Can Restore?
Our motto is restore rather than replace, and we have a few reasons behind it.
Here at SERVPRO® of Central Oklahoma City, our motto is that it’s always better to restore than replace.
Why do we believe this so firmly? Let’s first understand the difference between restoring and replacing. Restoring means to bring back to its original condition, while replacing means to substitute the original with an equivalent.
At first glance, replacing may seem like the way to go but we’re here to show you the raw benefits of restoration.
Restoration maintains the character.
Older houses and buildings oftentimes have iconic historic elements, whether it be vintage cabinets or doors. If these items are destroyed by a flood, any replacement you find will never compare to the original elements. By restoring these keepsakes, you’re able to preserve the look and feel of your home or business.
Restoration is cost-effective.
It may seem like replacing would save more money as you may have to purchase tools and products (or a service) to restore your home items, but in reality, restoration is much cheaper in the long run. You need to be critical when thinking of getting rid of a time that is made from older, more durable materials that have proven to last through the generations. When you replace an item, you will often be required to continue to replace it frequently over time.
Restoration takes less time.
Restoration happens as quickly as you want it to, as you’re taking the matter into your own hands. However, replacing items like windows or doors has a much slower turnaround and can take a few months until they’re made (and remember, you have to think of installation time too).
Restoration is better for the environment.
Restoration is a much greener solution as it reduces the amount of waste. Think of all the landfills that are packed with discarded doors, windows and cabinets that easily could’ve been restored.
All things considered, your return on investment is much greater when you restore items, especially when measured over a long period of time.
Call Us Today
Before you replace, give SERVPRO® of Central OKC a call 24/7 for any restoration needs: (405) 252-9400.
A Guide to Equipment Used in Our Water Damage Restoration Process
SERVPRO of Denton pulls back the curtain and explains the equipment it uses in its water restoration process.
You understand our water damage restoration process from one of our previous blogs, but have you ever wondered what equipment SERVPRO of Central Oklahoma City uses during this process and how it works?
Luckily, for you, we’ve compiled a complete guide to the equipment we use during the restoration process!
- Moisture Detectors, Hygrometers and Other Meters: These are used in the third step of the resolution process — water removal and extraction. They measure the extent of moisture saturation in the space.
- Infrared Cameras: These are also part of the third step and are used to find the “hidden” or water that makes its way behind the walls and ceilings of your property.
- Submersible and Gas-Powered Pumps: These use industrial strength to continuously pump high-level water out and help reduce drying time and prevent bacterial growth. They are also used in the third step.
- Truck-Mounted and Portable Extraction Units: These are used in the third step to efficiently remove water from the property.
- Industrial-Grade Dehumidifiers: These are used during the fourth step of the restoration process — drying and dehumidification. They help prevent less obvious water damage that doesn’t happen immediately, such as swelling or warping of floors, walls or furniture.
- High-Speed Air Movers: These create a flow of air across the space including around walls, carpets, pads and furniture. It also helps accelerate moisture evaporation. This is used in the fourth step as well.
- Industrial Air Grade Scrubbers and Fogging Equipment: These are typically used in the fifth step of the process — cleaning and sanitizing. They help mask odors from the former water damage.
- Antimicrobial, Antibacterial and Disinfectant Treatments: All of these are used also in the cleaning and sanitizing stage to help disinfect the space and prevent bacterial and mold growth.
Thanks to SERVPRO of Central OKC, we can be sure that our properties can be safely restored in the event of water damage and that they know what they’re doing with this equipment.
What Do The Hurricane Categories Actually Mean?
When it comes to severe weather events like hurricanes, it's always good to know what we're up against.
Hurricane season in Oklahoma typically begins around June 1 and lasts until November 30, with an increase in August and hitting its peak in September.
Hurricanes are categorized by the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which is rated 1 to 5 based on maximum ongoing wind speed. The scale was developed in the 70s by Herbert Saffir, an engineer in Miami, and Robert Simpson, a meteorologist and former director of the National Hurricane Center.
The scale doesn’t factor other hazards that result from hurricanes such as storm surges, flooding and tornadoes, but it does estimate the probable damage of property. Although category 3 or higher are known as major hurricanes, all categories have the ability to result in major damage.
At SERVPRO of Central Oklahoma City, we’re committed to understanding the storms our communities are enduring and finding practical solutions and preventative measures for each scenario. Here’s a rundown of the different categories of hurricanes to watch out for:
CATEGORY 1 — Winds are 74 to 95 mph
Winds are considered very dangerous and expected to produce some damage. Homes with well-structured frames might suffer roof damage, large tree branches could snap or trees with shallow roots may fall over. If power lines or poles are damaged, it could result in power outages lasting up to several days.
CATEGORY 2 — Winds are 96 to 110 mph
Winds are considered extremely dangerous and expected to cause extensive damage. Houses may endure major roof damage and trees could easily snap or be uprooted, blocking roads. It is expected for an almost total power outage to occur and last up to a few weeks.
CATEGORY 3 — Winds are 111 to 129 mph
Winds are expected to cause devastating damage. Framed homes will suffer major roof damage including removal of parts of the roof. Trees are easily snapped and uprooted, blocking major roads. Electricity and water expected to be unavailable up to several weeks post-storm.
CATEGORY 4 — Winds are 130 to 156 mph
Winds are expected to cause catastrophic damage. Houses will experience severe damage including a loss of the majority of the roof structure as well as exterior walls. Trees will be snapped and uprooted along with power poles, isolating areas in the community. Power outages can last up to months and the area will remain uninhabitable for weeks to months.
CATEGORY 5 — Winds are 157 mph or more
Severe winds are expected to cause catastrophic damage as well. Houses will be destroyed, including total roof failure and collapse of walls or structure. Trees and power poles that have fallen will isolate communities. Outages are expected to last for weeks or months as well as the area being uninhabitable for quite some time.
SERVPRO of Central OKC hopes to serve the community by providing this knowledge for people to understand and take action in protecting them against potential storms. The best thing to do to protect yourself and your loved ones is evacuate these areas vulnerable to dangerous storms.