Recent Fire Damage Posts
July 4th Fireworks Safety!
Happy Independence Day!
July 4th Safety!
The summer holiday brings an assortment of fun, outdoor activities, but the last thing you want to experience this 4th of July is a fire at or on your home due the use of fireworks! Please read the following for some firework safety tips, provided by the National Council on Firework Safety.
Recommended Firework Safety Tips
The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals. You should stay at least 500 feet away from the show.
- Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
- Know your fireworks; read the cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting.
- A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities. Never give fireworks to children.
- Alcohol and fireworks do not mix. Save your alcohol for after the show.
- Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
- Light one firework at a time and then quickly move away.
- Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area; away from buildings and vehicles.
- Never relight a “dud” firework. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Always have a bucket of water and charged water hose nearby.
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket or shoot them into METAL or GLASS containers.
- Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
- Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and placing them in a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations PROHIBIT the possession and transportation of fireworks in your checked baggage or carry-on luggage.
- Report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department.
And let’s not forget the safety of our pets!
- Don’t bring your pets to a fireworks display, even a small one.
- If fireworks are being used near your home, put your pet in a safe, interior room to avoid exposure to the sound.
- Make sure your pet has an identification tag, in case it runs off during a fireworks display.
- Never shoot fireworks of any kind (consumer fireworks, sparklers, fountains, etc.) near pets.
- For more information on pet safety, visit our blog and get a free Pet Passport download.
SERVPRO’s Fire and Water Restoration
If you are dealing with fire damage from a house fire, our experienced team is ready to respond. Since we are locally owned and operated, we are prepared for damage to your home or business, and are able to respond quickly. Immediate action and a fast response can limit damage, prevent further damage and reduce restoration costs. Our highly trained crews have the specialized equipment and resources to handle the job, large or small, residential and commercial.
Locally Owned Company with National Resources
We live and work in this community too; we might even be neighbors. As a locally owned and operated business, SERVPRO of Central St. Petersburg / Pinellas Park is close by and ready to respond to your cleaning or restoration needs. We are proud to be an active member of the community and want to do our part to make our community the best it can be. Call (727) 521-2562 for 24 hour emergency service.
Do You Have a Back-to-School Family Emergency Plan?
No one ever likes to think that an emergency could happen to them, but the reality is that disasters can strike anytime, anywhere, including while your child is at school.
Even if you never end up needing your family emergency plan, it's best to be prepared just in case. Having a solid plan in place will give you everyday peace of mind and, in the event of an emergency, could save lives.
Make a list of 1-3 trusted emergency contacts who can pick up your child from school in the event that you are unable. Be sure to notify these people and get their permission. Review the list with your child to ensure they're comfortable with these people, know how to contact them by phone, and know what their vehicle looks like. Including an emergency card in your child’s backpack could prove useful for ensuring your child has the correct, pertinent information.
Communicate with the School
Ensure your child's school is kept up to date about who is allowed to pick them up. They'll need correct contact information and sometimes require a form of identification for their records. Many schools have materials they distribute to indicate designated pick up areas and other important information.
Drop Off Location
It’s scary, but it could happen. If none of the emergency contacts can be reached by phone or they're unable to pick your child up in a timely manner, alternative transportation may have to be arranged. Be sure to have a designated alternative drop-off spot. This could be a friend or relative's house, or another trusted location. Be sure your child knows the location, their current address, and phone number so that they can accurately tell authorities how to get there safely.
Reevaluate Each Year
As your child ages, changes schools, or your family moves, it's smart to update your plan.
Although we hope your family never experiences an unexpected disaster, if you do, SERVPRO is available 24/7/365 for emergency service. Learn more here.
SERVPRO of Central St. Petersburg / Pinellas Park Lesser-Known Cleaning Categories
SERVPRO of Central St. Petersburg / Pinellas Park has the means to help your commercial property—whether a main service or a lesser-known cleanup
So...What Does SERVPRO Do?
With so many restoration companies out there, it’s hard to know which company is the right fit. And in the midst of a crisis, calling for emergency service, that decision can seem impossible and overwhelming. We are a restoration company defined by quality. While we have built a reputation for our top tier fire and water restoration services, (seriously, see our 5-star reviews), we also service many other cleanup categories.
SERVPRO’s Lesser-Known Cleanup Categories
On top of water damage cleanup, fire restoration, mold remediation, commercial and residential cleaning, contents cleaning—which includes drapes, blinds, walls, floors ceilings, upholstery and carpets—SERVPRO of Central St. Petersburg / Pinellas Park also does:
- General cleaning and graffiti removal
- Air ducts and HVAC cleaning, not repair
- Brick, stone, and concrete cleaning
- Odor removal and deodorization
- Debris removal
- Vandalism and graffiti removal
- Trauma and Crime Scene cleanup
- Biohazard cleaning
- Sewage cleanup
Wow, what a list, right? That’s not all we do. We also professionally sanitize your home or business with our Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned process. We have a proprietary blend of disinfectants to deal with biological contaminants.
Specialized Training — Certified: SERVPRO Clean
The Center for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) set forth protocols, and we are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business to high standards. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants. We go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff performs daily.
The CDC encourages cleaning high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC's guidance for commercial spaces include:
- Kitchen/Food Areas
- Retail Spaces
- Water Fountains
- Sales Counters
- Carpets and Rugs
- Stair Handrails
- Elevator Cars
- Playground Equipment
- Fitness Equipment
- Specialized Products
The CDC recommends the usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line, available on Amazon, carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. Do you need proactive cleaning of your commercial property or any of our lesser-known cleaning services? Call SERVPRO of Central St. Petersburg / Pinellas Park today at 727-521-2562.
Is Your Business Prepared for a Fire?
Fire Preparedness Means More Than Simply Owning a Fire Extinguisher
A fire is every business owner’s nightmare. Your insurance policy will ensure you can rebuild in the event of a fire. But what about protecting your most important assets: your life and the lives of your employees? To avoid the unspeakable tragedy of losing employees in a fire, it’s necessary to build a fire escape plan.
Tips for Your Business’ Emergency Fire Plan
- Ensure your business has the proper number of smoke alarms. In newer homes, the National Fire Alarm Code (NFPA 72) requires hard-wired, interconnected smoke alarms with battery backup on every building level, outside each work area, and inside each office. If your building is older and smoke alarms are not already in place, install them on every level and outside each work area at a minimum. Test your alarms once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year.
- Teach employees what smoke alarms look and sound like. If your smoke alarm has a test feature, set aside time for a training in which you or a professional teach your employees the fire escape plan and include a smoke alarm test. If it does not have a test feature, there are videos online which provide demonstrations of what smoke alarms sound and look like. Teaching employees to recognize an alarm and know the plan of action ahead of time will give employees more confidence to remain calm during the emergency.
- Ensure everyone in the building knows two ways to escape from every room. It may not be an ideal route, but knowing a second exit from a room is advisable. It is also essential to establish a meeting spot outside the building to ensure everyone's arrival to safety. Depending on the size of the building, this may require a customized escape diagram.
- Establish an emergency communications plan. As part of your building’s fire escape plan, make sure everyone knows who and how to contact in the event of an emergency.
- Practice escaping from your building at least twice a year. This may seem excessive, but fire drills can save lives in the event of a real fire. Employees come and go, so frequently performing this drill makes sure all employees know what to do.
Call SERVPRO of Central St. Petersburg / Pinellas Park if your business suffers commercial fire damage at (727) 521-2562.
Yes, Your Open-Concept House Design is More Flammable
SERVPRO Eliminates Soot and Smoke Residues After a House Fire
Your home was not intended to stop fires before they spread to other areas of the house. Most of the materials used for constructing your home are flammable and actually fuel the spread throughout the structure. Further, the “open-concept” design that has become popularized thanks to HGTV personalities is a fire-spreading hazard. Flames and smoke can quickly move throughout the home because there is less fuel to burn, i.e. less walls, doors, etc. Building designs that have individual rooms with doors are more likely to have a slower spread since the fire can be temporarily isolated by the closing of doors. In any case, if your property catches on fire, it can incur extensive damage—and fast!
Working to clean up the mess after the incident is over is no easy task. Most often, the substantial effects that stand out are smoke and soot damages. These are common versions of fire damage in homes, and they can often prove to be challenging to remove without the right equipment.
Fortunately, our SERVPRO fire restoration professionals have the tools and expertise to help you through often widespread soot damages throughout your household. While the most concentrated of this effect can be found around the fire's originating point, where it burned the longest, this is not always the case. This matted debris and film from the combustion leave a dark, often black residue on surfaces, furniture, flooring, and other materials.
Removing this residue requires multiple approaches.
Soot is most concentrated where it burned longest, but matted debris and film from the combustion leave a dark or black residue on surfaces, furniture, flooring, and other materials, too. Removing this residue requires multiple approaches. For wall surfaces, scrubbing with wet and dry sponges can often remove the bulk of the film. Confined spaces like ductwork require high powered vacuums.
Smoke damage often presents itself in the form of a harsh odor lingering in fabrics, carpeting, and open spaces throughout affected areas of your house. Removal of this odor typically requires thermal fogging, a process that releases an unscented chemical compound into the environment and contents of the room to break apart odor molecules and leave no discernible scent behind.
The Right Solution
Unfortunately, this causes a bigger mess than most people are equipped to handle. Fire damage proves to be challenging to remove without the right equipment. We always suggest hiring a professional fire cleanup and restoration expert. We may be biased, but SERVPRO is just that. We have the experience, tools, and techniques to help you through widespread fire, smoke, and soot damages.
When you face the effects after a house fire, SERVPRO of Central St. Petersburg / Pinellas Park responds quickly to get your home back to preloss conditions, as soon as possible. Give us a call at (727) 521-2562.
Charcoal Grill Fire Safety
Follow These Tips to Avoid a Barbecue Fire
Spring is upon us! The arrival of nice weather calls for grilling out with friends and family. Unfortunately, a grill fire is a real safety hazard in the right combination of circumstances. A fun get-together can turn into a disaster in a hurry. You can avoid a barbecue fire by following these tips:
- Keep the Grill in a Safe Location
Keep the grill outside on a level surface at least 10 feet from buildings and other flammable objects. Never grill under an overhang or in an enclosed area. Be sure to monitor it closely until it cools.
- Keep Children and Pets at a Distance
Children and pets should stay at least three feet away from the grill. Ensure that pets on tie-downs cannot reach the grill; they can wrap their line around the grill and pull it over. It will keep them at a safe distance if a grill fire occurs.
- Be Mindful of Loose Clothing
Make sure that you wear appropriate attire when you grill. You can tie back everything with an apron. For added safety, use long tongs and spatulas and wear heat resistant grill gloves.
- Use a Chimney Starter
A chimney starter is a much safer option than lighter fluid. It will also light the coals more evenly.
- Practice the Two-Zone Method
This simple, versatile method creates a much safer grilling experience. Put the hot charcoal on one side of the grill and leave the other side empty. If a flare-up occurs, move the food to the other side until the flame subsides, then move it back to continue cooking. The two-zone method can improve your food quality because it creates a searing side and another side for flame-free slow cooking.
Keep a fire extinguisher near. Do NOT use water; it can make a grease fire flare-up. Instead, close the grill lid until the outbreak subsides. If your house sustains fire damage or smoke damage from a grill fire, SERVPRO of Central St. Petersburg / Pinellas Park can return it to its original state.
New Year Cleaning and Decluttering For a Fresh Start
Regularly scheduled home-maintenance and cleaning can curb hazardous, pricey problems in the future like fires and mold growth.
Regularly scheduled home-maintenance and cleaning can curb hazardous, pricey problems in the future like fires and mold growth. Since we are entering the new year, decluttering is a great way to improve the usability of your space—so you can freely undertake your big plans for the year.
More than a tidy environment
One of the easiest ways to declutter your mind is to declutter your home. If untidy environments are stressing you out, we suggest starting small. Pick up the general items around your most used spaces. Wash the dishes, fold the laundry, and make the beds. After the basics are cleaned, tackle the details.
Deep clean the kitchen:
- Check for expiration and toss old food and condiments
- Wipe out refrigerator drawers, cabinets, the microwave, and oven
- Get rid of cupboard items you don’t use
- Empty the junk drawer
Main area cleaning:
- Dust ceiling fan blades
- Wash baseboards and walls—especially if you have children!
- Vacuum underneath furniture
- Wash curtains and linens
- Rotate and flip mattress
- Turn all hangers backwards, then when you wear an item, replace the hanger normally—this indicates which items you wear. Toss or donate backwards hanging items after 1 year.
- Scrub the bathtub walls and don’t forget the shower head
- Use a drain snake tool or drain liquid to break up stuck hair and scum in sinks and shower
- For every gift received, get rid of one item
- Sell or donate decor you didn’t use this season
- Replace air filters every 3 months
- Check and replace smoke alarm batteries
If you need more in-depth mold, fire, or water damage cleaning, SERVPRO of Central St. Petersburg / Pinellas Park is Here To Help®. We understand not every clean up is quick, easy, or preventable. To inquire about our services, call us today at (727) 521-2562.
Inspecting Your Home For Damages After A Fire
When it comes to lose incidents, fire in your Florida home can prove challenging to overcome. Even without crippling structural damage, the effects of a recent fire can often be too far-reaching for the average homeowner to face independently. Conventional cleaning efforts and general deodorization, for example, pale in comparison to the effectiveness of professional restoration services.
Reacting to the fire damage in your Florida home can seem almost impossible. Once the extinguishment completes, you can get your first look at the effects of the fire and what you have to overcome to get your house back to the way it was. Fortunately, this is not a battle that you have to fight on your own. Our SERVPRO team gets trained to handle all manner of fire restoration, from soot clean up to deodorization, to help make the steps towards getting your house to its original condition more effective.
Our estimator and project manager work to identify the full scope of the damage from when we arrive at your home. We survey every area, whether directly connected to the fire in your home or not. This thorough inspection ensures that all of the damage gets cataloged and that our SERVPRO professionals have the right equipment and strategies to contend with what they face.
This assessment of your damage gets delivered to the insurance company that covers your home. Most claims cannot get pushed through without a detailed itinerary of the work that needs to be done and a general estimated cost for materials and labor to restore the home to preloss conditions.
Whether the damage in your home was widespread or not, this process remains the same. Our professionals take great care in assessing the scope of the damage that your home faces so that no stone gets left unturned in the restoration process. You can trust our SERVPRO of Central St. Petersburg / Pinellas Park fire restoration specialists to work quickly to bring your home back to how it should be. Call anytime at (727) 521-2562.
Overcoming Soot Damage
Had a fire in your Florida home? SERVPRO is here to help!
SERVPRO Has the Experience to Eliminate Different Types of Soot Residues Remaining in Your Home After a Fire
Your Florida home wasn't intended to stop fires before they spread to other areas of the house. The materials used to construct your home can catch fire and help it to spread throughout the structure. Unfortunately, this can spread the blaze throughout your property and cause a lot of work for the professional restoration team you choose for restoration.
Working to clean up the mess after the incident is over is no easy task, either. The substantial effects that stand out are smoke and soot damages. These are common versions of fire damage in Florida homes, and they can prove challenging to remove without the right equipment.
Fortunately, our SERVPRO professionals have the tools and expertise to help you through often widespread soot damages throughout your household. Soot damage is predominately at the fire's originating point, where it burned the longest. This isn't always the case. This matted debris and film from the combustion leave a dark, black residue on surfaces, furniture, flooring, and other materials.
Removing this residue requires multiple approaches. For wall surfaces, scrubbing with wet and dry sponges can often remove the present film's bulk. Confined spaces like ductwork require high-powered vacuums to get used instead.
Smoke damage presents itself in the form of odor lingering in fabrics, carpeting, and open spaces throughout areas of your house. Removal of this odor requires thermal fogging, a process that releases an unscented chemical compound into the environment and contents of the room to break apart odor molecules and leaves no discernable scent behind.
There is very little that most homeowners can do alone to bring their homes back from the harmful effects of a fire. When you face these kinds of damages, seek out the professionals we employ at SERVPRO of Central St. Petersburg / Pinellas Park. We can respond quickly and get your home back to preloss conditions as soon as possible. Give us a call 24/7 at (727) 521-2562.
5 Ways to Avoid Kitchen Hazards
Many people in Central St. Petersburg / Pinellas Park love to cook. But even seasoned chefs sometimes make costly mistakes. Here are five helpful ways to avoid kitchen hazards, such as a drain clog or grease fire.
1. Keep Your Vents Clean
It's essential to keep the vent screens above your stove clean. Otherwise, grease can build up on the screen and inhibit ventilation, becoming a contributing factor in a kitchen fire. The grease buildup could even make a fire worse.
2. Don't Leave Pans Unattended
Most cooks know never to lean a pan unattended on the stove. The pan could be knocked over, grease can splatter, or the food can be allowed to cook too long. Each of these things can be a fire hazard.
3. Don't Put Grease Down the Drain
When you're done cooking, it may be tempting to pour the hot grease down the drain. Built-up grease in a drain can lead to a drain clog and sink overflow. Instead, pour the grease into a container, allow it to cool, and then place it in the trash.
4. Wipe Out Greasy Pans Before Washing
Wipe out any remaining grease and food particles before washing your pans. This can help prevent buildup that may lead to a sink clog.
5. Call a Professional to Service Appliances
If you're having problems with your stove or drain, it may be time to call a professional. They will know how to fix the problem without causing a potential electrical fire. These can come from attempting to fix a broken stove or clogged dish disposal without the correct tools. If fire or flooding does occur, then a fire and water damage restoration service may help.
Following these tips can help you prevent problems like a drain clog or grease fire. Never leave your stove unattended when it's on, don't put grease down the drain, and call a professional if your kitchen appliances need maintenance. If a fire or flooding does happen in your kitchen, then a restoration professional may be able to help.
Smoke Detectors Are Important
We've learned fire safety and what to do when you hear a smoke detector first in school – and it's repeated to us every year until we go to middle school. And – we've been in the home when the batteries run out of the smoke alarm or every time we cook, it sets off the alarm because it's a little too close to the stove, so we take down the smoke alarm.
We know this is bad, and we should think twice before taking out the batteries. Why? Because fire detectors work. According to The National Fire Protection Association, three out of five home fire deaths come from homes without a smoke alarm.
So, be sure to check your smoke detectors once a year, replace the batteries and make sure each fire detector is working in your home – they save lives after all!
For all your fire damage cleaning needs, give us a call today at (727) 521-2562!
Kitchen Fire Tips
Between 2012-2016 the NFPA found that cooking was the leading cause of fires within the United States. It’s important to remember safety when cooking in our homes. Don’t leave stove tops or ovens unattended, and if you have to leave the room to host guests or for another reason, be sure to take an oven mitt with you to remind you that something is cooking on the stove or in the oven.
If you happen to have a grease fire in your home, do not pour water on it! It may seem elementary, but sometimes, you can do silly things when you’re panicked by a fire in your kitchen. Instead, cover the fire with a cookie sheet to suffocate it. If it’s a small fire, you can also use salt to put it out as well. Make sure to always have a fire extinguisher on hand just if a fire breaks out in your kitchen.
For all your fire damage cleaning needs, give us a call today at (727) 521-2562.
The Nature of Smoke and Soot Dictate Clean Up Practices After St. Petersburg Fire Damage
Professionals Who Mitigate Fire Damage in St. Petersburg Describe the Different Types of Smoke
Suppose you ever suffer from a structural blaze inside your St. Petersburg / Pinellas Park home. In that case, it is always smart to contact a professional restoration company such as SERVPRO of Central St. Petersburg / Pinellas Park immediately. Our fire damage restoration crews know the best techniques to refinish and restore burnt and soiled items to prevent replacement. When dealing with burnt materials, smoke, which consists of partially combusted particles, can add to the extent of your problems.
When mitigating any fire damage in St. Petersburg, our SERVPRO technicians know to use different chemicals and techniques when removing residues left behind by various smoke types. In most situations, smoke, and the soils it leaves behind can be classified into one of the following four categories or a combination. Knowing what type of smoke was present, we can pick the best method to remove soot residues on the various surfaces of your building materials and contents.
1. Dry Smoke
Most fires go through stages of creating both wet and dry smoke. However, usually, fires will have more of one type than the other. Dry smoke gets created by fast-burning, oxygen-rich burns. Dry smoke is also usually created when organic materials like wood, paper, or natural fabrics burn.
2. Wet Smoke
Whether a fire produces a majority of wet or dry smoke depends on the amount of oxygen present, the combustion rate, and the type of substance that is burning. When the fire is starved by oxygen and burns at a lower temperature, it produces wet smoke. Wet smoke is also created when synthetic materials such as rubber or plastic burn. Wet smoke usually adheres stronger to most surfaces and is difficult to remove and clean.
3. Protein Residues
Protein residues can be found any time products such as meat, poultry, or fish burn. When a fire starts inside your kitchen, there is a good chance that protein residues can exist. These residues leave behind a yellow or amber discoloration, but they can sometimes be clear and hard to see on a surface. Protein residues leave behind strong odors making deodorization the biggest issue when dealing with them.
4. Fuel Oil Soots
Furnace puff-backs can create fuel oil residues that consist of dust particles from the ventilation system and fuel oils that did not burn all the way. This type of soot usually has a gray or black color and can consist of large or small particles. Often, the electrically charged ions form spiderweb-like formations in corners that can smear readily if not vacuumed and sponged off correctly.
If a fire ever ignites inside your St. Petersburg home, it is wise to contact SERVPRO of Central St. Petersburg / Pinellas Park at (727) 521-2562.