Holiday Fire Safety Tips
Residential fires during the holiday season are more frequent, more costly, and more deadly than at any other time of the year. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) reports more than double the number of open-flame fires on Christmas Day than on an average day, and about twice as many on New Year’s Day. And when those fires occur, they do more damage: Property loss during a holiday fire is 34% greater than in an average fire, and the number of fatalities per thousand fires is nearly 70% higher. When the source of the fire is a highly flammable Christmas tree, the toll in property and lives is even greater.
To keep your household from becoming a holiday fire statistic, here are some safety tips to follow.
Cooking is the top cause of holiday fires, according to the USFA. The most common culprit is food that’s left unattended. It’s easy to get distracted; take a pot holder with you when you leave the kitchen as a reminder that you have something on the stove. Make sure to keep a kitchen fire extinguisher that’s rated for all types of fires, and check that smoke detectors are working.
If you’re planning to deep-fry your holiday turkey, do it outside, on a flat, level surface at least 10 feet from the house.
The incidence of candle fires is four times higher during December than during other months. According to the National Fire Protection Association, four of the five most dangerous days of the year for residential candle fires are Christmas/Christmas Eve and New Year’s/New Year’s Eve. (The fifth is Halloween.)
To reduce the danger, maintain about a foot of space between the candle and anything that can burn. Set candles on sturdy bases or cover with hurricane globes. Never leave flames unattended. Before bed, walk through each room to make sure candles are blown out. For atmosphere without worry, consider flameless LED candles.
It takes less than 30 seconds for a dry tree to engulf a room in flames, according to the Building and Fire Research Laboratory of the National Institute for Standards and Technology. “They make turpentine out of pine trees,” notes Tom Olshanski, spokesman for the USFA. “A Christmas tree is almost explosive when it goes.”
To minimize risk, buy a fresh tree with intact needles, get a fresh cut on the trunk, and water it every day. A well-watered tree is almost impossible to ignite. Keep the tree away from heat sources, such as a fireplace or radiator, and out of traffic patterns. If you’re using live garlands and other greenery, keep them at least three feet away from heating sources.
No matter how well the tree is watered, it will start to dry out after about four weeks, Olshanski says, so take it down after the holidays. Artificial trees don’t pose much of a fire hazard; just make sure yours is flame-retardant.
Inspect light strings, and throw out any with frayed or cracked wires or broken sockets. When decorating, don’t run more than three strings of lights end to end. “Stacking the plugs is much safer when you’re using a large quantity of lights,” explains Brian L. Vogt, director of education for holiday lighting firm Christmas Décor. Extension cords should be in good condition and UL-rated for indoor or outdoor use. Check outdoor receptacles to make sure the ground fault interrupters don’t trip. If they trip repeatedly, Vogt says, that’s a sign that they need to be replaced.
When hanging lights outside, avoid using nails or staples, which can damage the wiring and increase the risk of a fire. Instead, use UL-rated clips or hangers. And take lights down within 90 days, says John Drengenberg, director of consumer safety for Underwriters Laboratories. “If you leave them up all year round, squirrels chew on them and they get damaged by weather.”
Soot can harden on chimney walls as flammable creosote, so before the fireplace season begins, have your chimney inspected to see if it needs cleaning. Screen the fireplace to prevent embers from popping out onto the floor or carpet, and never use flammable liquids to start a fire in the fireplace. Only burn seasoned wood — no wrapping paper.
When cleaning out the fireplace, put embers in a metal container and set them outside to cool for 24 hours before disposal.
Should you have a fire emergency, no matter how big or how small, we here at SERVPRO are ready to help 24 hours a day! Call us today at (217)935-2992.
Your companies important documents are safe with us
Vacuum Freeze Drying Chamber
If your company is like most, paper copies of important documents are stored in filing cabinets. Those cabinets may be kept in a basement or back room of the building, or even in the main room of the office. Either way, those documents could be in harms way if there were a fire. After the fire is out, your documents will more than likely be wet from the fire being put out. Luckily SERVPRO of South Champaign, Clark, Douglas, and Moultrie Counties are able to come to the rescue.
Document Restoration Services
SERVPRO is able to offer restoration of documents so that your business is able to preserve that important information. We offer the following services:
- Certified Destruction
- Vacuum Freeze Drying
- Gamma Irradiation
SERVPRO will handle all of the hassle of inventory, packing, and shipping. SERVPRO uses a Drying Chamber. The Drying Chamber inventories and barcodes all inventory that arrives.
Understanding secondary growth
The most common types of mold include aspergillus, cladosporium and stachybotrys atra (also known as black mold).
Aspergillus is a fairly allergenic mold that is commonly found on foods and in home air conditioning systems. Cladosporium is typically a black or green "pepper like" substance that grows on the back of toilets, painted surfaces and fiberglass air ducts. Mold that appears to be orange or red in color is typically found outdoors, given its nature to thrive on decaying plants or moist wood. This type of mold, which can appear slimy, is harmless and should only be removed for aesthetic purposes.
White mold is not technically a type of mold, but the good news is that this typically indicates the mold is only in the early stages of growth and can easily be treated.
The highly trained technicians at SERVPRO of South Champaign, Clark, Douglas, Edgar, & Moultrie Counties are ready 24/7 to remediate your mold.
Storms are no stranger to Central Illinois
Tree fell on a roof causing structural damage
Strong winds, tornadoes, and torrential rains are never pleasant to go through. As a central Illinois resident or business holder, the aftermath of these storms can be even more unpleasant. Whether its a fallen tree on your roof causing a leak, or backed up storm drains causing a flooded basement, SERVPRO of Vermilion County is ready to respond.
After protecting and securing the structure, professionals at SERVPRO of Vermilion County can begin the restoration process. Your home or business may need reconstruction work to get your property back to its preloss condition.
The professionals at SERVPRO of Vermilion County can simplify the restoration process by handling both the initial damage mitigation and rebuilding the affected areas. Having one qualified company for the entire process can save time and keeps costs low.
SERVPRO of Vermilion County can provide this continuity by supervising a full range of restoration services that will bring a building back to full functionality.
Remediation of mold is one of our specialties
Mold remediation needed after major water damage in home.
Country living sure definitely has it's share of pros and cons. In this particular case, a wipe coming from the well burst casing quite a mess. Flooded rooms, damaged contents, and rusty sediment were just the beginning. Mold can quickly take hold in a dwelling that has a high moisture content and if the issue is not addressed in a timely manner.
The mold remediation process depends on the amount of mold growth and the types of surfaces on which the mold appears. We’ll use antifungal and antimicrobial treatments to eliminate mold colonies and to help prevent new colonies from forming. It may be necessary to remove and dispose of mold-infested porous materials, like drywall and carpeting, to remediate heavy mold growth.
Depending on the level of mold damage, drywall, subfloors, and other building materials may have been removed. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet; or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business. The restoration step gets your home or business back to normal.
Lightning Causes Power Surge, Leads to Fire
This picture shows the view of a basement stairwell. The fire impacted three levels of the home. A lighting strike to a tree in their backyard created a surge to the direct power line going into the home. With three floors affected by fire there was significant amount of water in the basement. The water that the fight fighters use to save your home and most of the belongings ends up saturating most of your home, especially the impacted area. This leads to other problems that can arise like mold, structural damage, and other foundation problems. When the drywall in your house becomes saturated and no drying process is started, and this goes for everything in the house, you can compound your problem to find secondary grown beginning to grow. This can take days, to weeks, to months depending on the conditions. SERVPRO's number one goal is to put the victims of such a tragedy back into their homes as quickly as possible, and this homeowner called the right people to get the job done. From our fully staffed construction team, to our staple in water mitigation, SERVPRO is capable of handling ANY size loss
You really can never be too prepared. Fires can happen anywhere, at any time...under the right conditions. The preventative measures you take prior to a potential fire loss could save your home, or more importantly your life! Replacing the batteries in your smoke detectors twice a year is a must. A good rule of thumb is when you change the clocks change the batteries in the smoke alarms, this will provide consistent battery life in your detectors. This gives you a chance to check your smoke detectors to make sure they working properly. Put an evacuation plan together. Make sure your loved ones and those living with you know what to do in the event of a fire. Having a central location to meet once everyone is outside is a great plan. After you and your loved ones are safe, call SERVPRO to make it "Like it never even happened."
Hand trails from the fireman that saved this family's home.
Since SERVPRO is usually some of the first people to see the structure directly after their fire damage, we are lucky enough to be able to analyze the fireman's techniques from marks and trails left behind from the soot. To anyone who has taken a couple minutes to speak to a fireman about their job, or done a little research, knows that firefighting isn't just spraying water until the fire goes away. When there are victims trapped inside, when you can't see two inches in front of your face, when you feel like a hot potato wrapped in aluminum foil with 50lbs of gear strapped to your back...you have to rely on teamwork, trust, and the training you have been given to protect that victims life and even your own. What you see pictured here is the trails left behind from a method called "Left hand/Right hand." When you cannot see, you have to rely on your other senses to maneuver through the collapsing structure. Fireman will keep their left hand on the wall, while searching with their right hand or visa versa. This helps them understand the layout of the structure and lead them through the building without using their eyes. Take a second to appreciate a firefight you know today, they could be saving YOUR house one day...
It's The Water You Don't See
Water has soaked through carpeting to the sub-floor of this residence and has potential for secondary damage.
Experiencing water in unwanted area of your home or business after a storm is never a pleasurable event. In some cases, water can be easily extracted from flooring or carpet. Although, depending on the type of flooring, taking a look past the surface can uncover some hidden damage that requires more clean up than you bargained for. If water has soaked through to the sub-floor, there is a potential for mold, rotting wood, etc.
Our highly trained storm damage specialists are ready to respond to your call when the weather has plagued your home or business.
A fast response is crucial to flooding and storm damage, because it reduces secondary damage and restoration costs. Storms don’t wait for regular business hours and neither do we. Our technicians will respond immediately, day or night, to help business owners and residents.
Call us at (217) 359-0077
Did April Showers Bring You May Mold?
Mold forming on ceiling from roof leak
If you have a mold problem in your home or business, consider the following facts:
- Significant mold growth can occur in 48-72 hours.
- Mold may present a greater risk to children, the elderly, and anyone with respiratory problems.
- A strong, musty odor may indicate hidden mold behind drywall or under carpeting.
What to Do:
- Stay out of affected areas.
- Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
- Contact SERVPRO of South Champaign, Clark, Douglas, Edgar & Moultrie Counties for mold remediation services.
What Not to Do:
- Don’t touch or disturb the mold.
- Don’t blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
- Don’t attempt to dry the area yourself.
- Don’t spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.
Have a Mold Problem?
Call Us Today – (217) 359-0077