Recent Fire Damage Posts

Statistics on Main Causes of Fires

8/1/2022 (Permalink)

House damaged by fire. If you experience fire damage, call us and we will help make "Like it never even happened."

Unfortunately we all know for a fact that fires happen. As much precaution as we take to prevent them, they happen! So then what are the main causes of fires starting? The U.S. Fire Administration estimated that the leading reported causes of fires in non-residential buildings for 2013 was due to cooking materials (29.3%), intentional (9.7%), and carelessness (9.2%). However, The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) broke down the statistics on the main causes of fire in healthcare, educational, and commercial properties.

Healthcare

In the healthcare arena, the U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 6,240 structure fires during 2006-2010.

61% of fires were due to cooking equipment
7% of fires were due to clothing equipment
6% of fires were started intentionally
While cooking equipment seemed to have been the leading cause of fires, nursing homes were more likely to have fires involving clothes washer & dryer. And facilities providing care of those with developmental disabilities, mental illness or substance abuse had more fires that were intentionally set.

Education

In the educational arena, during 2007-2011 an estimated average of 4,060 structure fires per year were reported in educational facilities. And an estimated 700 structure fires per year were reported in college classrooms and adult education centers.

13% of fires began in a kitchen or cooking area
49% of fires were started intentionally
32% occurred in the lavatory or bathroom
Most fires in educational properties occurred in nursery, elementary, middle, or high schools.

Commercial

In the commercial arena, an estimated average of 3,700 fires in hotels were reported to the U.S. fire departments during 2006-2010. And the U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 3,340 fires in offices during 2007-2011.

In Hotels:

45% of fires were due to cooking equipment
10% of fires were due to smoking material
9% of fires were due to heating equipment
Nearly three-quarters of fires in hotels didn’t spread beyond their origin. However, fires that began in a bedroom were responsible for 31% of civilian injuries and 72% of civilian deaths. Smoking materials were the cause of the fire in 79% of civilian deaths.

In Office Buildings:

29% of fires were due to cooking equipment
12% of fires were due to electrical and wiring equipment
11% of fires were due to heating equipment
Although cooking equipment was the leading cause of office fires, it only accounted for just 6% of the direct property damage. Electrical and lighting equipment caused 15% of direct property damage, while fires that were intentionally set caused 20% of direct property damage.

All in all cooking and electrical equipment, carelessness as well as fires set intentionally, are the main causes of fire. So what can you do to prevent fires from happening? Be cautious when using electricity or any kind of heating equipment and make sure your passive fire protection system (fire/smoke dampers, fire doors, and firestop) are inspected and tested to help ensure that your building as well as its occupants are safe in case of a fire.

If you experience a fire, call us at 609-256-8890 and we will make it like it never even happened! 

Business Safety

8/1/2022 (Permalink)

Fire Fighter Follow these tips to keep your business safe in case of a fire.

Fire Safety Tips for the Workplace 
No matter what type of business you conduct at your workplace, fire safety should always be a main concern. Here are a few fire safety tips you can distribute to your staff:

Fire Prevention

  • Keep your work area free of waste paper, trash and other items that can easily catch fire.

  • Check on your electrical cords. If a cord is damaged in any way, replace it. Try not to lay cords in places where they can be stepped on, as this will contribute to deterioration of the protective outside coating.

  • Don't overload your circuits.

  • Turn off electrical appliances at the end of each day.

  • Keep heat producing equipment away from anything that might burn. This includes copiers, coffee makers, computers, etc.
      

In the Event of a Fire

  • Upon finding a fire, call 911 immediately and don't hand up with the emergency responder until told to do so.
  • Close doors when exiting to help limit the spread of smoke and fire throughout the building.
  • Never use elevators during an evacuation.
  • Follow the escape plan and meet at a per-determined place outside of your building and away from danger. Conduct a headcount to ensure all of your staff has evacuated.


The best way to ensure the safety of your staff is through fire prevention and preparation. Talk with your staff about fire safety in the workplace today. 

Fires in Kitchens

8/1/2022 (Permalink)

Firefighters at a house fire. Follow these tips to stay safe from kitchen fires.

Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home fire injuries. Home fires are more likely to start in the kitchen than any other room in your home. Unattended cooking causes nearly 90 percent of all kitchen fires. Here are some tips to prevent Kitchen fires.

  • Never leave cooking food unattended! Fires can happen spontaneously. Cooking food should always be monitored. Make sure if you leave the room, to turn off the stove.
  • Avoid any loose clothing. Baggy t-shirts or dangling sleeves can potentially catch on fire while around a stove.
  • Always watch your kids! For parents, we want to keep our kids safe and sound from any fires. Try to avoid having your child(ren) around cooking areas. At least 3 feet away from the stove is ideal to insure their safety.
  • Try to keep anything that can catch on fire away from your stove stop. This can include oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, and towels or curtains. Materials like such can generate heat.
  • Consider purchasing a fire extinguisher to keep in hands reach in your kitchen.

The Public Adjuster

7/18/2022 (Permalink)

House damaged by fire. Fires can destroy homes, know your options of how to get help.

If you have ever filed an insurance claim, whether it be for your home, auto or health, you know it can be a very stressful process fraught with uncertainty and questions. Will I be covered?  How much will I be covered for? How will it impact my premiums?

Because of this confusion and uncertainty, many turn towards a Public Adjuster to get them through their ordeal. But, before engaging a Public Adjuster, there are a few things you need to be aware of.

What happens first?

After you’ve taken care of your loved ones, you will need to get your home back in order. When you have a damaging event to your home, for which you wish to submit a claim, one of the first things you should do is to contact your agent or your insurance company directly.

Your insurance company will record your loss and issue you a claim number.  They will also assign an internal or independent adjuster to review your claim. This adjuster works on behalf of the insurance company. This adjuster will schedule a visit to your home to inspect and assess the loss to determine coverage. This is a benefit to you as a policyholder and does not cost you anything. 

Once coverage is determined, the insurance company’s adjuster will then discuss actions that need to be taken immediately, such as getting the home dried out or possibly boarded up if needed.  They’ll then provide you with their assessed value of the loss.

So now comes the question of whether or not to use a Public Adjuster.  Let’s go through this.

Exactly what is a public adjuster?

A public adjuster is someone that you pay to help you with your insurance claim. They are an insurance claims specialist who interprets the homeowner's policy, assesses the damage and how much it will cost to repair, and negotiate with the insurance company on behalf of the homeowner until the claim is settled.

The Public Adjuster does not represent your insurance company nor is he/she assigned by your insurance company. Public Adjusters are sought and hired by you to be your representative and deal with your insurance company. For their services, they will charge you a fee, typically a percentage of the total award amount that they negotiate with your insurance company.

Remember, a Public Adjuster can assist with the claims process, but cannot get you more money than you are entitled to under your insurance policy and will not be able to get your claim settled any faster. You are simply paying them for a service.

OK, so when should I use a Public Adjuster?

Many will hire a Public Adjuster simply because they don’t have the time to deal with the claim.  Remember, though, you are paying a fee for this convenience. 

Typically, the Public Adjuster will charge a fee of 10%-15% of the final claim awarded.  This can be a sizable fee, so be sure before you sign any paperwork. It’s also important to know that this fee can be negotiated depending on the size of the loss.

If you chose to deal with the claim personally, there are steps you can take before bringing a Public Adjuster in. Your insurance company is a reputable business and they want you to continue to be a policyholder.

If you feel you can justify additional damages, speak with your insurance company’s assigned adjuster and present your case.  If you are not getting anywhere, ask to speak with a more senior representative. You may find that these steps yield good results.

If you still feel that you need more representation, this is when you may consider working with a Public Adjuster. It’s really a judgment call as to whether or not you believe your loss, and the associated damages you claim, are fairly reflected in your insurance company’s assessment.

Before you proceed, do some simple math. 

Let’s say you had a fire loss, for which your insurance company has assessed a $200,000 payment to cover the loss, but you feel you are entitled to $20,000 more and you have not been successful with your discussions with your adjuster. So, you hire a Public Adjuster with a fee of 10%.  At the end of it, he argues and wins $10,000 more from your insurance company for a total payment of $210,000. The fee will be $21,000 to the Public Adjuster, netting you $189,000. You would have been better off accepting the initial payment offered by the insurance company.

How can I find a good Public Adjuster?

As with anything else, a Public Adjuster can be found by doing some internet searches. Another place to start would be going to the NAPIA website. They have a vetting process and require their members to be licensed and to have been in business for at least 2 years.

Some steps you should think about:

  • Always avoid any Public Adjuster who tries to pressure you into signing a contract. Remember this is a business transaction.
  • Interview several.
  • Get reference lists and check with their prior clients.
  • Check their company websites.
  • You can also ask friends and colleagues who they might recommend.
  • Avoid single practitioners or small firms unless they demonstrate a good track record.

Before signing anything, make sure your rights are protected:

  • Determine how long you have to cancel any contract you sign. New Jersey protects consumers with a 72-hour cancellation provision under the Consumer Fraud Act.
  • Verify that the Public Adjuster will remove any lien once the contract is terminated.
  • Limit the contract to no more than six months.

Once you’ve identified your Public Adjuster, you will sign a contract between you and them, which obligates your relationship with them until the claim is settled. The Public Adjuster will likely place a lien on your insurance claim, naming them as an additional payee on all payments from your insurance company.

What role with the Public Adjuster play in the process?

So now you’ve hired a Public Adjuster. Here’s what you can count on him doing and what you should not expect.

You will still be very involved in helping the Public Adjuster document the loss. He will need details of the event and information about content damage and their value.

A public adjuster will assess your losses and help you get every penny you deserve, but don't expect miracles. Understand the insurance company may not agree to everything you want just because you hired a public adjuster.

The Public Adjuster will be your representative and negotiate every aspect of the loss with your insurance company until a final agreement is made.  Once the negotiations are completed, your Public Adjuster’s job is done. They do not perform or manage the restoration portion of this project.

The next and final step is to begin the restoration process by hiring the various contractors needed to perform the cleaning and repairing of your home.  This could start during negotiations between your Public Adjuster and your insurance company, depending on the urgency and what may have been agreed to. 

Remember, the Public Adjuster may provide you contractor referrals to do the work, however, you are under no obligation to use them, after all, this is your home and you have every right to decide who performs the work. 

Always consider using SERVPRO of Hamilton & South Trenton for your cleaning and restoration needs, regardless of any contractors your Public Adjuster may insist on using. SERVPRO of Hamilton & South Trenton is a full-service restoration company, providing everything from board-up and drying, to cleaning and rebuilding.

Summary

I hope this has helped you in understanding the role and costs surrounding using a Public Adjuster. There is always risk in any decision.  Minimize your risk by doing your research first by working with your insurance company.  It will be well worth it to go down this path first.

Always feel free to contact SERVPRO of Hamilton & South Trenton at (609) 256-8890 to discuss this before making your decision. We’re always glad to help.

The Public Adjuster

7/1/2022 (Permalink)

If you have ever filed an insurance claim, whether it be for your home, auto or health, you know it can be a very stressful process fraught with uncertainty and questions. Will I be covered?  How much will I be covered for? How will it impact my premiums?

Because of this confusion and uncertainty, many turn towards a Public Adjuster to get them through their ordeal. But, before engaging a Public Adjuster, there are a few things you need to be aware of.

What happens first?

After you’ve taken care of your loved ones, you will need to get your home back in order. When you have a damaging event to your home, for which you wish to submit a claim, one of the first things you should do is to contact your agent or your insurance company directly.

Your insurance company will record your loss and issue you a claim number.  They will also assign an internal or independent adjuster to review your claim. This adjuster works on behalf of the insurance company. This adjuster will schedule a visit to your home to inspect and assess the loss to determine coverage. This is a benefit to you as a policyholder and does not cost you anything. 

Once coverage is determined, the insurance company’s adjuster will then discuss actions that need to be taken immediately, such as getting the home dried out or possibly boarded up if needed.  They’ll then provide you with their assessed value of the loss.

So now comes the question of whether or not to use a Public Adjuster.  Let’s go through this.

Exactly what is a public adjuster?

A public adjuster is someone that you pay to help you with your insurance claim. They are an insurance claims specialist who interprets the homeowner's policy, assesses the damage and how much it will cost to repair, and negotiate with the insurance company on behalf of the homeowner until the claim is settled.

The Public Adjuster does not represent your insurance company nor is he/she assigned by your insurance company.  Public Adjusters are sought and hired by you to be your representative and deal with your insurance company. For their services, they will charge you a fee, typically a percentage of the total award amount that they negotiate with your insurance company.

Remember, a Public Adjuster can assist with the claims process, but cannot get you more money than you are entitled to under your insurance policy and will not be able to get your claim settled any faster. You are simply paying them for a service.

OK, so when should I use a Public Adjuster?

Many will hire a Public Adjuster simply because they don’t have the time to deal with the claim.  Remember, though, you are paying a fee for this convenience. 

Typically, the Public Adjuster will charge a fee of 10%-15% of the final claim awarded.  This can be a sizable fee, so be sure before you sign any paperwork. It’s also important to know that this fee can be negotiated depending on the size of the loss.

If you chose to deal with the claim personally, there are steps you can take before bringing a Public Adjuster in. Your insurance company is a reputable business and they want you to continue to be a policyholder.

If you feel you can justify additional damages, speak with your insurance company’s assigned adjuster and present your case. If you are not getting anywhere, ask to speak with a more senior representative.  You may find that these steps yield good results.

If you still feel that you need more representation, this is when you may consider working with a Public Adjuster. It’s really a judgment call as to whether or not you believe your loss, and the associated damages you claim, are fairly reflected in your insurance company’s assessment.

Before you proceed, do some simple math. 

Let’s say you had a fire loss, for which your insurance company has assessed a $200,000 payment to cover the loss, but you feel you are entitled to $20,000 more and you have not been successful with your discussions with your adjuster.  So, you hire a Public Adjuster with a fee of 10%. At the end of it, he argues and wins $10,000 more from your insurance company for a total payment of $210,000. The fee will be $21,000 to the Public Adjuster, netting you $189,000.  You would have been better off accepting the initial payment offered by the insurance company.

How can I find a good Public Adjuster?

As with anything else, a Public Adjuster can be found by doing some internet searches. Another place to start would be going to the NAPIA website. They have a vetting process and require their members to be licensed and to have been in business for at least 2 years.

Some steps you should think about:

  • Always avoid any Public Adjuster who tries to pressure you into signing a contract. Remember this is a business transaction.
  • Interview several.
  • Get reference lists and check with their prior clients.
  • Check their company websites.
  • You can also ask friends and colleagues who they might recommend.
  • Avoid single practitioners or small firms unless they demonstrate a good track record.

Before signing anything, make sure your rights are protected:

  • Determine how long you have to cancel any contract you sign. New Jersey protects consumers with a 72-hour cancellation provision under the Consumer Fraud Act.
  • Verify that the Public Adjuster will remove any lien once the contract is terminated.
  • Limit the contract to no more than six months.

Once you’ve identified your Public Adjuster, you will sign a contract between you and them, which obligates your relationship with them until the claim is settled. The Public Adjuster will likely place a lien on your insurance claim, naming them as an additional payee on all payments from your insurance company.

What role with the Public Adjuster play in the process?

So now you’ve hired a Public Adjuster. Here’s what you can count on him doing and what you should not expect.

You will still be very involved in helping the Public Adjuster document the loss. He will need details of the event and information about content damage and their value.

A public adjuster will assess your losses and help you get every penny you deserve, but don't expect miracles. Understand the insurance company may not agree to everything you want just because you hired a public adjuster.

The Public Adjuster will be your representative and negotiate every aspect of the loss with your insurance company until a final agreement is made.  Once the negotiations are completed, your Public Adjuster’s job is done. They do not perform or manage the restoration portion of this project.

The next and final step is to begin the restoration process by hiring the various contractors needed to perform the cleaning and repairing of your home. This could start during negotiations between your Public Adjuster and your insurance company, depending on the urgency and what may have been agreed to. 

Remember, the Public Adjuster may provide you contractor referrals to do the work, however, you are under no obligation to use them, after all, this is your home and you have every right to decide who performs the work. 

Always consider using SERVPRO of Hamilton & South Trenton for your cleaning and restoration needs, regardless of any contractors your Public Adjuster may insist on using. SERVPRO of Greater Sussex County is a full-service restoration company, providing everything from board-up and drying, to cleaning and rebuilding.

Summary

I hope this has helped you in understanding the role and costs surrounding using a Public Adjuster. There is always risk in any decision.  Minimize your risk by doing your research first by working with your insurance company. It will be well worth it to go down this path first.

Always feel free to contact SERVPRO of Hamilton & South Trenton at (609) 256-8890 to discuss this before making your decision. We’re always glad to help.

Outdoor Entertaining

6/3/2022 (Permalink)

Backyard Tiki Torch Open flame tiki torch in a backyard.

Summer outdoor parties are some of the best events of the year and one of the safest ways to enjoy summer in the midst of our ongoing pandemic.

The warm nights, food cooking on the grill, and friends and family spending quality time together in the backyard or around the pool create wonderful memories that last a lifetime. But, hosting outdoor events also means there’s an increased risk of home fires.

Fortunately, following some simple safety tips and guidelines can help ensure you and your guests stay safe. Consider the following as you host your next outdoor event: 

  • Have an adult present at all times when a portable fireplace is burning
  • Use sturdy candle holders that won’t tip over easily
  • Keep anything that can burn, as well as children and pets, at least three feet away from open flames
  • Use battery-operated flameless candles and solar-powered patio (tiki) torches in place of an open flame. Flameless candles come in all colors, shapes, and sizes, and many are scented. Flameless candles look and feel like the real ones, and add a beautiful soft glow to any outdoor event.

Outdoor entertaining by the numbers

  • Outside fireplaces or fire pits caused nearly 3,700 grass and brush fires
  • Outdoor patio heater or fire pit injuries have grown each year
  • More than half of all candle fires start when things that can burn are too close to the candle
  • An average of over 8,800 home fires involved grilling activities each year
  • Annually, sparklers, fountains, and novelties account for up to 25% of emergency room fireworks-related injuries.

Contact us at 908-650-8611 if you have a service need or click here to visit our website to learn more about SERVPRO of Hamilton, South Trenton System Services. 

Learn More About Our “Restore First” Mentality

10/7/2021 (Permalink)

house with a window boarded up Our team of highly trained restoration experts are available for emergency cleanup and restoration services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

When disaster strikes, we get there fast, but that is not the only reason why we need to be first on your list of calls if the worst should occur.

What sets us apart—our team of technicians have a “restore first” mentality, complemented by specialized equipment and cleaning techniques. By making this our mission, we are able to minimize potential disruptions to your home and life and get you back into your home as quickly as feasible.

How It Works

When a fire has damaged your property, it’s a scary time, but once you reach out to our team, we’ll take some of the weight off your shoulders.

No two fires act the same, so it’s logical that the damage they inflict would also be different. That’s why we believe in starting with a standardized process, but adding onto it and enhancing it to meet your individual needs.

1. You call us. When you reach out via our 247 Emergency Line, we will spring into action. Our first step is to ask you questions about the fire and your home’s unique space and needs. That set of questions helps inform our strategy.

2. We inspect and assess the fire damage. Our next step is to visit your home. During this visit, we will inspect and test adjoining rooms of the property to determine the extent of fire, smoke and soot damage. Based on what we see and determine, we will take immediate next steps.

3. We board up windows and tarp the roof. Because fire damage often compromises windows, walls and roofs, we will make sure that your property is secured and protected from further damage. This will involve boarding up missing windows and walls and placing a tarp over the top of damaged roofs.

4. We remove water and begin the drying out process. When we think of fire, we don’t think of water damage. But we should, because water is a necessary component of fighting fires. So our next step is to remove any standing water and start drying out objects and spaces when possible.

5. We remove smoke and soot from all surfaces. We use specialized equipment and techniques to remove smoke and soot from ceilings, walls and other surfaces in your home.

6. We clean and sanitize your home. This is another place where the “restore first” mentality comes into play. We will attempt to clean objects and surfaces whenever possible, rather than removing and replacing them. We also use industrial air scrubbers and fogging equipment to help remove odors.

7. We complete the restoration. This is our final step, bringing your property back to the condition it was in before the fire. Restoration may involve minor repairs like replacing drywall, painting and installing new carpet. It could also involve major repairs like reconstruction of damaged areas.

Remember, if you need us, we’ll be there—no matter the time or day. Our team of highly trained restoration experts are available for emergency cleanup and restoration services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

How to Protect Your Home from a Fire When Electricity Returns| SERVPRO® of Hamilton/South Trenton

8/18/2021 (Permalink)

Window looking into a room that has been consumed by fire. Having a team on your side after a disaster can help relieve stress. SERVPRO® of Hamilton, South Trenton is here to help 24/7.

Did you know that when your power comes back on, the initial surge can cause damages to your appliances or possibly a fire if they are still plugged in.

In the United States, it is reported that a home fire is put on record every 24 seconds according the NFPA. That works out to be nearly 8,600 house fires a day.

Though the vast majority of house fires are cooking related, surges, malfunctioning appliances and frayed wires or cords are also often to blame. Because fire can spread rapidly and can quickly consume an entire house, it is essential to be vigilant in prevention for the safety of your household (even during a disaster).

Prevention Tips When The Power Goes Out

  • Walk around an unplug bigger power users, television, computers, appliances, and turn off smaller ones like lamps and radios.
  • Turn off the main supply of power to the house or remove the fuses.
  • During summer months, turn the air conditioner off.

By following these tips, you can mitigate the risk of frying your electronics or overloading your house’s circuits.

When The Power Comes Back On

Once the power returns, wait a few minutes before turning on the main supply switch. To give the electrical system a chance to stabilize, turn on essential appliances first, then gradually turn on other electronics.

Restarting appliances all at once can almost double the amount of electricity that they use when running normally. When the main switches are re-energized, this demand can cause breakers to trip. It helps if you don't have all your appliances waiting to draw power the instant it is restored.

Fire and smoke damage can be devastating to your home, and in many circumstances, can be accompanied by water damage. If your home is damaged by fire or smoke, we are here to help restore your home to pre-fire condition. Contact us at (908) 650-8611.

We are available for cleanup and restoration services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

How to Prevent House Fires | SERVPRO® of Hamilton, South Trenton

8/3/2021 (Permalink)

House on fire If your home has suffered damage from a house fire, give us a call. We are certified in fire and soot remediation, and here to help 24/7.

Smoke alarms are a great tool for house fire prevention, but they are not the only way to lessen your risk.

The causality of house fires is varied, but one thing that is consistent is how frequently they occur. By learning about the statistics and proven prevention methods, homeowners can keep their families safe.

The Numbers Behind House Fires

In the United States, it is reported that a home fire is put on record every 24 seconds according to the NFPA. That works out to nearly 8,600 house fires a day.

Though the vast majority of house fires are cooking-related, malfunctioning appliances, frayed wiring or cords, and carelessness with open flames are also often to blame. Because fires spread rapidly and can quickly consume an entire home, it is essential to be vigilant in prevention for the safety of your household.

House Fires Prevention Tips

Being proactive is the best defense against house fires. By keeping these fire prevention tips in mind, you can minimize your risk and keep your home safer:

Maintain smoke detectors. Maintain your smoke detectors by testing them each month and replacing them every 10 years.

Clean the dryer. After each load of laundry is dried, make a point to clear lint from the tray. Lint can build up and become a fire hazard when the dryer gets warm.

Keep an eye on open flames. Fires can start and spread faster than you think, which is why it is never wise to leave the room when there is an open flame. Whether it is a candle, cooking flame or fireplace, always keep an eye on them.

Maintain electrical cords. Cords and electrical wires should be checked often for frayed spots and immediately replaced if they are present. Never run electrical cords under rugs or behind furniture, as they can produce heat.

Read product labels. Chemicals in household products can be highly flammable, and so can products that come in aerosol cans. Keep these away from sunlight or heat sources.

Avoiding Fire Hazards While Cooking | SERVPRO® of Hamilton, South Trenton

8/3/2021 (Permalink)

man extinguishing a fire in his home If your home has experienced damage from a cooking fire, know that we are here to make it “Like it never even happened."

Even though the kitchen can be a wonderfully versatile place for family and friends to gather to enjoy a fresh-cooked meal or to spend quality time together, danger can lurk. Unfortunately, home fires can often begin in the kitchen.

Fires resulting from cooking are the No. 1 cause of home fires and injuries and, often, the leading cause of these kitchen fires is unattended cooking.

Over $130 million in homeowners insurance claims that were related to grease and other cooking fires were paid out in 2017 by State Farm Insurance. According to the insurance company, these are the worst states for kitchen fires:

  • North Carolina
  • Texas
  • Pennsylvania
  • California
  • Ohio
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • New York
  • Alabama
  • Georgia

Staying Safe in the Kitchen

There are other safety tips to look into, as well as the well-known tip of remaining in the kitchen while cooking. Here are some other helpful tips to observe while cooking:

1. Be careful of your clothing. If you are wearing long, flowing sleeves or loose fitting clothing, it is best to change into a short or close-fitting sleeved shirt or make sure any loose shirts are tucked in or tied back away from the stove. Loose clothing could catch fire if you aren’t careful and get too close while cooking over the stove.

2. Be aware of what you are placing on or near the stovetop. Make sure there are no kitchen towels, oven mitts, appliance cords or even curtains too close to the stovetop when cooking. Ideally, it is best to move anything flammable away from the stove.

3. Place a fire extinguisher in or close to the kitchen. It is best to have at least one fire extinguisher located in your home and, ideally, one that is near your kitchen. Make sure you know how to properly use the extinguisher, just in case it is ever needed.

4. Wait before throwing hot grease in the garbage can. Even if the grease may not be on fire, it could still be hot enough to cause something in the trash to burn. Letting the grease cool a bit and then disposing of it in an old coffee can is safest. Also, know the smoke points of the oils you cook with. Be sure to never subject a low-smoke point oil to high heat when cooking, as it could catch fire.

5. Be sure there is a fire escape plan established. Thinking about the worst that can happen is not fun, but it’s better if you are over-prepared rather than unprepared if an emergency were to occur. Go over exit routes and designated meeting points with your family, making sure that everyone knows what to do.

Fire safety in the kitchen is an absolute necessity, as it can help prevent dangerous and destructive cooking fires. If your home has experienced damage from a cooking fire, know that SERVPRO of Hamilton, South Trenton is here to make it “Like it never even happened.”

Fire Safety Basics to Help Protect your Family | SERVPRO® of Hamilton & South Trenton

7/9/2021 (Permalink)

flame on a stove A quick response time with an alert team will assure that your restoration needs are professionally completed.

Every year in the United States, more than 350,000 house fires happen, adding up to more than $5.5 billion in property damage. Beyond the financial loss, these fires also lead to nearly 3,000 deaths and another 10,000 injuries.

The best defense for your family against a fire is to prepare in advance. That’s why it’s important for every person to know how to prevent fires and how to respond if one occurs.

Start teaching your kids basic fire safety guidelines when they’re young. Let’s also take a look at three other fire safety practices you can practice as a family:

Watch Out for Fire Hazards

Go through your home. You might be surprised how many fire hazards you spot! Take some time and go through every room and your outdoor space to uncover any hazards.

  • Ensure your appliances are in good shape.
  • Check that electrical cords are in workable condition.
  • Do not overload outlets and/or extension cords.
  • Check to make sure you are using the correct wattage of lightbulbs.
  • Double-check that electrical wiring is not covered up by rugs or carpet.

Creating Your Fire Plan

In the event of a fire, every person in the family needs to know what to do—including how to get out of the house and where to go once they’re out.

But don’t just create a plan and not have practice drills. After all, as the saying goes, “practice makes perfect.” Regular practice of what to do makes you more likely to remember the steps if an actual fire occurs.

Practice Kitchen Fire Safety

Cooking is the biggest single cause of home fires. That’s why it’s important to be especially careful in the kitchen.

Anyone who’s cooking needs to familiarize themselves with basic cooking safety:

  • Never cook when tired or unable to pay attention.
  • Do not leave kids and teens alone when they cook.
  • Always keep a lid at hand when cooking on the stove in case of a grease fire. If a small grease fire occurs, use the lid to smother the fire.
  • If a fire occurs in the oven, turn it off and keep the door closed.
  • Leave the room and close the door if a kitchen fire occurs and begins to spread.

If your family has experienced a fire and needs help restoring your home, SERVPRO® of Hamilton & South Trenton can help! Give us call to learn about our fire restoration services and what we can do for you.

Can You Identify Common Fire Hazards in Your Home? | SERVPRO of Hamilton/South Trenton

6/4/2021 (Permalink)

red christmas candle with holly If your home is damaged by fire or smoke, we are here to help restore your home to pre-fire condition.

Nobody wants to think about the possibility of their home being damaged by fire, but it’s an unfortunate, harsh reality for a multitude of Americans.

One way you can help protect your home is to understand fire hazards and know how to identify them. In this blog, let’s dive into two of the most common causes of household fires.

Candles are a common fire hazard.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, over a five-year period from 2011 to 2015, fire departments across the United States answered an estimated 8,700 house fires a year that were caused by candles.

In total, these fires caused 82 deaths, 800 injuries and $295 million in property damage. Candles were the cause of 2 percent of reported house fires, of which 3 percent resulted in death and 7 percent resulted in injuries.

An average of 24 home candle fires per day were reported during those five years, with December having the highest month of incidents. Out of all the candle fires during this time period, 37 percent started in the bedroom and were responsible for 36 percent of the associated deaths and 51 percent were associated with injuries.

When using a candle, be sure it’s kept at least one foot away from anything that could possibly ignite and that it is in a sturdy holder that will not easily tip over. It is never wise to use a candle where oxygen is in use in a home. And you always want to ensure that all candles are properly extinguished before leaving a room or going to sleep.

House fires from smoking can be lethal.

While cooking is the leading cause of house fires, smoking is the main cause of home fire deaths. Approximately 17,200 house fires were reported in 2014 due to smoking, which includes cigarettes, pipes and cigars. Those fires resulted in 570 deaths, 1,140 injuries and $426 million in property damage, according to the Coalition for Fire-Safe Cigarettes.

If you’re a smoker, it is smart to smoke outside, as most deaths result from fires that started in living rooms, family rooms or bedrooms. Fire-safe cigarettes are the best option, and using a deep, sturdy ashtray is advised.

Drop all lit cigarettes and ashes in water or sand prior to throwing them out—and remember that one out of four fatal victims of smoking fires is not the smoker whose cigarette started the fire.

Dust bunnies as fire hazards?

While candles and smoking are well-known causes of home structure fires, were you aware that some glassware in your home could be a fire risk? When sunlight passes through them, the concentrated ray may ignite flammable materials. It’s best to keep glass accessories away from windows and out of direct sunlight.

Dust bunnies can also pose a fire risk when they collect near electrical sockets and floor heaters. Regular sweeping or vacuuming regularly and cleaning hard-to-reach areas like behind entertainment systems can help prevent buildup.

Also, look for loose outlets in your home. The movement of these outlets loosens the wires connected to the outlet and could create dangerous arcing.