Recent Fire Damage Posts

With Fire Damage, Expect Water Damage, Too

9/1/2021 (Permalink)

Image of home kitchen following house fire damage. 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

9/1/2021 (Permalink)

Image of fire extinguishers posed together 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.

Class A

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.

Class B

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.

Class C

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.

Class D

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.

The Science Behind Putting Out a Fire

7/26/2021 (Permalink)

Fire extinguisher 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)
  • Heat

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.

How to Prepare for a Safe Fourth Of July

6/30/2021 (Permalink)

Woman holding a sparkler Fireworks are a fun tradition on the Fourth of July, but only if you're safe!

It’s that time of the year again — barbecue, parades and, of course, fireworks and sparklers! But with great celebrations, especially ones involving fire, comes great responsibility. That’s why SERVPRO of Central Oklahoma City has you covered when preparing for a safe Fourth of July.

Though fireworks are legal, that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily safe. In fact, the National Safety Council advises people to enjoy public displays of fireworks conducted by professionals. But if you do choose to use them at home, make sure to follow some essential tips to ensure a safe Fourth of July:

  • Keep children safe by never allowing younger children to handle fireworks and ensuring that adults supervise older children.
  • Stay sober minded when using fireworks and never try to use them while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
  • Protect your body parts by wearing protective eyewear and avoiding holding lighted fireworks.
  • Light them in the right place and avoid using them indoors and in close proximity to people, houses and other flammable materials.
  • Keep a safe distance from others by not pointing or throwing them at people and maintaining a safe distance after you light them.
  • Be careful with malfunctioning fireworks and never re-light or try to handle them but keep a bucket of water nearby to extinguish them (or in case there is a fire).

The same seriousness should be taken when using sparklers as they burn at about 2,000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt some metals. The National Fire Protection Association states that sparklers account for more than 25% of emergency room visits for firework-related injuries.

Consider using safer alternatives such as glow sticks, confetti poppers and colored streamers, or just sit back and watch the experts do it. But most of all, have fun this Fourth of July and do it safely!

And remember that we are a phone call away, 24 hours a day: (405) 252-9400.

Steps to Prevent a Fire

6/7/2021 (Permalink)

Photo of a fire extinguisher in a home living room We're experts in fire damage restoration, but we've also got some tips to help mitigate the risk of a fire in the first place.

Our experts at SERVPRO of Central Oklahoma City are trained to be faster to any disaster, and to restore fire damage "Like it never even happened." You know we’re always a phone call away.

With that said, however, there are still a number of easy steps you can take around your home or commercial property to mitigate the risk of a fire before it happens. Take a look:

Check Your Smoke Detectors

Be sure to regularly check the fire detectors throughout your home or property to ensure they have working batteries and are operating properly. You can do this fairly easily by pressing the little button on your smoke detectors. If the alarm is loud and striking, that means it’s working properly. If the sound is weak and faint, or, worse yet, there’s no sound at all, then that means you’re in need of a battery change.

Regularly Clean The Lint Trap in Your Dryer

It can be easy to forget, but when lint backs up in your dryer it can create a dangerous fire hazard. Every so often it’s also a good idea to check behind your dryer to ensure no lint or articles of clothing have fallen back there and created a fire risk.

Clean Your Stove and Oven

One of the leading causes of stove or oven fires are food bits left behind from past meals that can combust the next time you’re cooking, so it’s important to clean your stove and oven regularly to ensure there’s nothing that could suddenly spark a kitchen fire. In that same line of thinking, be sure to always make sure things like towels or oven mitts are far enough away from your stove and/or oven that they won’t accidentally catch on fire.

And be sure to never leave the kitchen while cooking, because a fire can start quickly and can escalate even faster if you’re not there to take action right away. Remember that attacking grease fires will only further feed the flames, and that the best way to subdue a grease fire is to cover it and trap it.

Keep a Fire Extinguisher In Your Home or Property

You never know when you might need it, but when you do you’ll be glad you have it. Keep it somewhere that’s both safe and easily accessible in the event of an emergency, and be sure you and/or someone in your home or commercial property is properly trained to use a fire extinguisher. 

Call Us If you Need Us

If you do sustain fire damage, give us a call 24/7 at 405-252-9400 to speak with our experts and have a team dispatched to your home or property.

Maintaining Your Furnace for a Warm, Worry-Free Winter

12/22/2020 (Permalink)

Home furnace air filter replacement Perform regular maintenance to your furnace

Most residents of The Village, OK, don’t think about their furnace until it’s time to crank up the heat. however, neglecting this crucial piece of home equipment when it’s not in use could wind up costing you in the long run not only in higher heating bills but also in fire cleaning and smoke cleaning costs. Here are some tips to keep your furnace in good working condition.

Get Your Furnace Professionally Serviced

The general rule of thumb is to get a professional to inspect and service your furnace once a year, typically in the early fall. This timing gives you the opportunity to fix any problems a technician finds before temperatures drop and you need to turn up the heat. Professional furnace technicians typically do the following during an annual inspection:

  • Clean your furnace
  • Test for operational efficiency
  • Tighten loose hardware and replace any broken parts
  • Check the wiring for fire hazards

The last action is essential to preventing home fires and avoiding additional fire cleaning costs, including flooding and smoke remediation.

Perform Simple Furnace Maintenance Throughout the Year
While it is best to have a professional take on more complex furnace maintenance tasks, there are some easy things you can do throughout the year to keep your furnace in prime condition. The most critical thing is to replace your filters regularly — every 90 days is standard for some filter types. If you have pets, however, it is best to switch the filters every 60 days.
You also need to check your thermostat to ensure it is working in tandem with your furnace’s electrical system. Circuits can get tripped and if they aren’t fixed, it can cause a larger, more expensive issue down the line. Finally, make sure you choose a sensible temperature for your home so as not to exhaust your system and keep your heating bills down.
Avoid the need for fire cleaning. If you diligently maintain your furnace, it will thank you with years of worry-free and fire-free warmth.

Fireplace Safety Tips for Fall

9/16/2020 (Permalink)

Two wooden chairs facing a stone fireplace outside at dusk. Fireplaces are a great way to relax and unwind in the cooler months.

As colder weather beings to roll into Oklahoma City, it is appealing to light up your fireplace to invite some warmth into your home. Fireplaces are a leading cause of house fires. Here are some tips regarding fireplace safety so that you can enjoy your fireplace with less worry this fall and winter.

Give your fireplace some space. Arrange the area around your fireplace with care. Do not place any furniture too close to the fireplace. If the fireplace overheats, it can cause nearby items to ignite. Make sure that you, your family, and your friends maintain a safe distance from the fireplace as well.

Reduce your risk of chimney fires. There are several ways you can (and should!) do this. First, you should have your chimney checked and cleaned at least once a year by a certified chimney sweep. Second, you should use a chimney cap, and regularly assess that the chimney cap is securely attached to the chimney and is not blocked by any leaves or any other debris. This ensures that smoke and carbon monoxide can exit your home properly. Additionally, you can use a spark arrester, which will decrease the chance that a spark will fall off the chimney into the lawn and start a fire.

Be mindful of what you are burning. You should only use wood in your fireplace. Do not put anything treated with chemicals in your fireplace, as the toxins will be introduced into your home as the wood burns. Do not use any moist or wet wood. Wet wood creates more smoke as it burns, which will likely causes more creosotes to build up in your chimney. Creosotes are extremely flammable, and increase the risk of chimney fire. Ensure that leftover firewood is properly stored while you are saving it so that it can safely be used the next time you do want to use it.  

No matter how careful you are, things can still wrong. And if they do, SERVPRO of Central Oklahoma City is here to help you. Our award-winning team is a trusted leader in the fire damage restoration and repair industry. Our team is standing by 24/7 so help will be on the way as soon as you call!

Looking Out for Your Laundry Room

9/8/2020 (Permalink)

Pile of clothes in a dryer with a dryer sheet being put in the dryer by a female’s hand. There are a number of different things that can cause a fire to start in your laundry room.

In one of our recent blog posts, we went over some of the ways to protect your home from fires. We briefly mentioned the importance of taking care of the appliances of the laundry room. This blog post will further discuss the ways you can protect yourself from fires that start in the laundry room. This is especially important, as 15,000 fires per year are started in the laundry. That is an average of 42 laundry room fires per day! Here are some tips that can help you prevent laundry room fires in your household!

Regularly remove lint from the dryer screen. Even try to make it a habit to do this after every load of laundry that you remove from the dryer. Additionally, be sure to clean behind your appliances, removing any lint from there and in any exposed vents. 92% of all laundry room fires start as a result of lint, so this seemingly obvious action can be of grave importance.

Remove clothes from the drier immediately. If the conditions are right (pile large enough, material has the correct physical properties, etc.) the heat inside the pile could build up faster than the heat could leave the pile which could result in spontaneous combustion.

Make sure that your appliances are plugged in correctly. The outlet needs to be of the appropriate wattage for the associated appliance. Additionally, you should never use an extension cord to power a washer or dryer. Make it a rule not to overload outlets in general.

If you do experience a house fire for any reason, SERVPRO of Central Oklahoma City is here to help! Give us a call at (405)252-9400 and our crew will be dispatched and began restoring your home and belongings to preloss condition!

Leading Causes of Residential Fire Damage

9/4/2020 (Permalink)

Gray wooden house on fire with firefighters working in the front lawn. Both the fire itself and the aftermath needs to be dealt with as quickly as possible in order to minimize possible damage.

The team here at SERVPRO of Central Oklahoma City is no stranger to housefires. In 2018, there were 379,600 fires, which resulted in over $8 million dollars of loss. Between 2009 and 2018, there was a 4% increase in fires at residential properties.

Cooking is the leading cause of residential fires, accounting for 197,200 fires in 2018. Heating systems were the second leading cause of residential fires. Electronic malfunctions caused 25,700 fires in 2018. Aside from unintentionally/carelessly started fires, these were the three leading causes of residential fires over a ten year period.

It can be hard to protect your home from all the dangers lurking out there, but SERVPRO of Central Oklahoma City is here to help in the instance that anything does happen to your residence. Give us a call at (405)252-9400 or submit an information form!

How to Protect Your Home From House Fires

9/4/2020 (Permalink)

Wooden structure of a house on fire. There are many ways a fire can start in your home. Try to protect your home from every angle that you can!

The amount of house fires that SERVPRO of Central Oklahoma City works on is unfortunate. Our team does everything we can to help you get your home, belongings, and life back after a fire, but we also want you to know how to best protect your home. This blog will provide homeowners with tips for how to protect their homes from fire damage.

One easy way to protect your home is by regularly testing your smoke alarm. That way, in the event that a fire does occur, fire fighters can be dispatched immediately. Fire alarms have a test button on them so you can know whether or not you need to change the batteries in the device. Don’t let a fire be how you find out that your smoke alarms are not working!

Considering that most residential fires are started in the kitchen, it would be wise to check your oven and stove for food particles regularly so that they do not get burnt and start a fire. Similarly, you should also regularly check your laundry room appliances and clean your dryer’s lint trap every time you do a load of laundry. Finally, make sure that all flammable items such as household cleaners, hair spray, and many common cosmetics are properly stored. This means keeping them away from heaters and keeping them in a safe, cool place.

SERVPRO of Central Oklahoma City is here to help if a fire does strike your home. Our team will get to work on cleanup and mitigation immediately, and assure that your home is restored to its former glory.

The Source of Soot Webs

8/24/2020 (Permalink)

Black web-like soot damage in the corner of a white room. This type of soot damage may look similar to spider webs, but the two are actually entirely unrelated.

Fire brings with it many unexpected consequences. Of course, you will immediately see the toll it takes on your property and belongings when you are assessing the damage. While taking a look at your home or business, you may notice something unexpected. In the corners and along the ceiling lines of your home or business, you might observe something that looks like black spider webs. This phenomena, commonly called “soot webs” has a more interesting origin than meets the eye. Read on to learn about what the true cause of these “cob webs.”

People think that soot webs occur after smoke has attached itself to pre-existing spider webs and turned dark as a result of the fire damage and resulting smoke. However, this is a misconception. Soot webs (also called soot tags) are new, unique chains of soot that gather in areas of low concentration. Air moves (or at least attempts to move) from hot areas to cold areas. As flames from a fire cause the temperature of the surrounding area to increase, the air tries to seek out cooler spaces to achieve atmospheric equilibrium. If the air is not circulating properly and cannot escape the structure, the smoke and soot will continue to travel around the enclosed air. Soot webs form in areas of lower circulation, which is why you typically see them up in high places and in corners.

SERVPRO of Central Oklahoma City is happy to help you clean up soot webs and all the other damage that a fire might have left behind in your home or business. Give us a call at (405) 252-9400 or submit an information form