Archived Fire Damage Blog Posts
Creating a Home Escape Plan: Your Guide to Household Safety
Have a fire evacuation plan in place to ensure your prepared to handle an emergency.
Having a home escape plan is crucial for the safety of you and your loved ones in the event of a fire or any other emergency. A well-designed and practiced escape plan can save valuable time and potentially save lives. In this blog, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to create a comprehensive home escape plan.
Identify Exit Routes
Start by identifying all possible exit routes from each room in your home. These routes should include doors, windows, and any other accessible exits. Make sure that everyone in the household is familiar with these routes.
Create a floor plan of your home and mark the identified exit routes on the map. Include important details such as the location of smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and emergency contact numbers. Keep a copy of this floor plan in a common area and individual copies in each room.
Determine a Meeting Point
Choose a safe location outside your home where everyone can gather after evacuating. This could be a neighbor's house, a designated spot in your yard, or a nearby landmark. Make sure everyone in your household knows the meeting point and understands the importance of going there immediately.
Regularly practice evacuation drills with your household members. Start with simple scenarios and gradually increase the complexity of the drills. Emphasize the importance of staying low to avoid smoke, checking doorknobs for heat before opening doors, and crawling to safety if necessary.
Assign specific roles and responsibilities to each household member during an evacuation. For example, one person may be responsible for helping young children or elderly family members, while another may be in charge of grabbing essential items like a flashlight or a phone on the way out. Clearly communicate and practice these roles to ensure efficiency during an emergency.
Educate everyone in your household about fire safety measures. Teach them how to safely use fire extinguishers, when to call emergency services, and how to react when the smoke alarm sounds. Encourage regular maintenance and testing of smoke detectors to ensure they are functioning properly.
Consider Special Needs
If anyone in your household has special needs, such as young children, the elderly, or individuals with disabilities, take their specific requirements into account when creating your home escape plan. Ensure that exit routes and evacuation methods are suitable for their needs, and develop contingency plans if necessary.
Take part in community efforts and initiatives related to home safety, such as fire safety seminars or neighborhood watch programs. Share your home escape plan with trusted neighbors and offer to assist them with creating their own plans. Encourage open communication and support within your community.
Review and Update Regularly
Periodically review and update your home escape plan to account for any changes in your household or your home's layout. This could include renovations, new furniture arrangements, or changes in family dynamics. Regularly practicing and reviewing your plan will help ensure its effectiveness.
In the event of an emergency, remaining calm is essential. Remind everyone in your household to stay calm, follow the established escape plan, and communicate clearly. Having a well-prepared and practiced home escape plan will provide peace of mind and increase your chances of a safe evacuation.
By following these steps and regularly practicing your home escape plan, you will be better prepared to handle emergencies and protect yourself and your loved ones. Prioritizing safety and taking the time to create a comprehensive plan will ultimately contribute to a safer and more secure home environment.
Why SERVPRO is the Best Choice for Rebuilding After a Fire
Call SERVPRO for your fire and water restoration emergency.
Fire and water damage are two of the most common types of damage that a home can suffer. While they can be completely different, they often occur together as well. When this happens, it's important to understand how each type of damage works so you can find the best way to handle both issues.
A fire is an uncontrolled chemical reaction that releases heat and light energy in addition to smoke and gases such as carbon monoxide (CO). The heat causes materials in your home such as wood or carpeting; plastics like PVC pipes; fabrics like curtains or clothing; paper products like books or magazines--anything flammable will burn if it touches flames long enough! This means anything from furniture pieces up through entire buildings could potentially be damaged by fire if left unattended for too long without proper cleanup procedures being followed afterwards.
Effects of Fire Damage
If you have been affected by a fire, SERVPRO of Portland can help. We are the leading provider of fire and water damage restoration services in the region. Our teams are highly trained and experienced in restoring your home or business back to normal after it has been damaged by fire, smoke and soot damage, structural damage and fire suppression systems.
We understand that this is an overwhelming time for you as a homeowner or business owner. You may not know where to start or who will be able to help you with these repairs but don't worry!
Fire Damage and Water Damage Combined
Fire and water damage combined can be a particularly difficult situation. Structural repairs are more costly when they're combined with water damage, and the cleanup process can take longer than usual due to the need for drying out your home's structure.
If you have experienced this kind of combination, SERVPRO is here to help! We have a team of experts who understand both fire and water damage restoration so that you don't have to worry about it anymore!
Preventing Fire Damage
The first step to preventing fire damage is to install a fire alarm system. This can be as simple as a smoke detector and/or carbon monoxide detector in your home, but it's important to have one installed in every room of your house. If you're renting, ask the landlord if they have an existing system or if they will install one for you.
Next up, Fire extinguishers! You should have at least one on hand at all times, preferably more than one so that it's easy for everyone in the house who uses them (such as children) to access them quickly when needed. They should be located near exits or other areas where fires are likely to start.
Preventing Water Damage
Check for leaks. If you have a water heater, check and make sure that it's not leaking.
Use waterproofing products. You can also use waterproofing products to protect the areas around your home that are susceptible to water damage, such as basements or crawlspaces.
Install sump pumps in the event of flooding or high rainfall amounts so that any excess water can be pumped out of your property before it has time to seep into walls and floors through cracks in foundations or foundation walls (which is what causes mold growth).
If you're like most people, you have a homeowners or renters insurance policy. If your home is damaged by fire, this will pay for the cost of repairing the damage. However, there are limitations on what types of losses are covered and how much money can be claimed from your policy.
Risks of Poor Fire Clean Up Job
After facing a fire, SERVPRO of Portland is available 24/7
When you have a fire, you want it cleaned up quickly and efficiently. However, depending on the cause of the fire and its extent, professional help may be needed to ensure that smoke damage is minimized as much as possible. If you choose to clean up after your own fire damage or hire someone who doesn't know what they're doing, then you could end up making things worse than they already are!
Damages are not always visible
It's possible that the damage to your home may not be visible to the naked eye.
Smoke damage can leave your structure of your home damaged. Structure damage includes walls, ceilings and floors. It can cause odor problems from mold growth caused by moisture trapped in porous materials like drywall or wood paneling and furniture.
Smoke contains many harmful chemicals. Some of these chemicals are toxic and require professional experience and equipment for adequate cleanup. A small amount of smoke can be dangerous. If you don't know how to clean up after a fire yourself, hire a professional who does know how to do so safely.
If the smoke is not cleaned up correctly, it can become permanent. Smoke odor damages property value by devaluing homes on the market or even reducing their resale value after moving out of them due to poor air quality caused by fire cleanup jobs gone wrong.
Done right the first time
It is important to hire a professional fire damage clean up company to ensurer the job is done right the first time. If you don't, your home could be at risk of further damage and secondary damages. A good company like SERVPRO of Portland will have the experience and expertise in this type of work to ensure a job well done.
Poor fire damage clean up jobs can result in long-lasting damage
The first step in restoring your home after a fire is removing the smoke odor. The second step is removing any fire damage that may have occurred to your property, including drywall and other building materials. The third step involves making sure there's no mold growth on or around anything that was damaged by water or smoke during cleanup efforts. Finally, you need to make sure all of your belongings are safe and secure while they're being cleaned up by professional contractors who know what they're doing!
If these steps aren't taken properly, then long-lasting damage could result - which means more money down the line when it comes time for repairs or replacement costs because everything needs fixing again after being exposed so long without proper care being taken previously.
If you are facing the aftermath of a fire, it is important to remember that there are lasting risks involved. Poor fire damage clean up jobs can result in long-lasting damage if not handled by professionals. The best way to avoid these problems is by hiring experts like SERVPRO of Portland who know how to handle this type of job and ensure all areas are clean before leaving your home or business premises.
Smoke & Soot Cleanup
Soot buildup on these light fixtures after a fire occurred in a local business in Portland.
Smoke & Soot Cleanup
Smoke and soot are very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your Portland, ME home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allow us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and Soot Facts:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Different Types of Smoke
There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Portland will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:
Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
- Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
- Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
- Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
How To Eliminate Smoke Odor From Your Home
An unpleasant smoke odor may linger in your Portland, ME, home even after the fire has been controlled and the damage repaired.
How to Get Rid of Smoke Odors in Your Home
A fire at your Portland, ME, home may cause many problems. Lingering smoke smell is likely to be one of the most stubborn. Fortunately, there are several smoke cleaning methods available.
Understanding Smoke Damage
The temperature and speed of the fire, as well as the items, burned, determine the type of smoke. There may be more than one type. Wet, dry, and protein smokes are common in house fires.
The types of smoke present are important factors when choosing a cleaning method. Fortunately, a fire restoration service can tell you which type of smoke you are dealing with and the best way to remove it.
Eliminating Smoke Odor
Although it may be tempting to cover the smell of smoke with air fresheners, this won’t take care of the problem permanently. The only way to keep the odor from returning is to remove the smoke particles from the air and surfaces. The following are some of the most effective tools available for smoke cleaning:
- Air filters
- Ozone machines
- Thermal foggers
Filtration devices work by circulating air and trapping the smoke particles in a HEPA or carbon filter. Ozone machines generate a compound, ozone, that binds with the smoke particles to create a new compound that does not smell. These two methods are ideal for eliminating smoke particles that are present in the air.
However, there may also be particles located inside porous surfaces. When the fire raised the temperature of the affected area, porous surfaces expanded. When the area cooled, the surfaces contracted, and the smoke odor became trapped inside. A thermal fogger works by heating the area again, causing porous surfaces to expand, allowing the deodorizing fog to reach the trapped particles.
Even after the fire has been extinguished and the damage repaired, an unpleasant smoke smell may linger in your Portland, ME, home. Thorough smoke cleaning is the only way to permanently remove the odor.
How To Handle a House Fire
Our Disaster Recovery Team is available 24/7, 365 days a year to help with any size fire or water loss. Even if you just have a question, call us.
What To Do If Your House Is On Fire
House fires are common occurrences that affect and devastate many families every year. Residential blazes are scary, unpredictable, and alarming, so ensuring you and your family have a specific fire escape plan in place is crucial to your safety. Follow these simple steps, and be prepared during and after a potential emergency.
1. Be Alert and Take Action
If you experience a house fire in Casco Bay Islands, ME, promptly perform the following measures:
- Enact your emergency escape plan
- Dial 911 and alert emergency personnel to your situation
- Secure medical care for any people or pets with severe burns or injuries
- Call worried family and friends to let them know you are safe
- Do not reenter your home until a proper fire damage assessment is complete
2. Put Safety First
Following a fire, confirm with firefighters that it is safe to reenter your home. Dress in boots, long pants, sleeves, helmets, protective eyewear, and masks as you inspect your damaged residence. Consider consulting a professional smoke and soot removal team to clean your house and restore it to a safe and livable status.
It is crucial to remove any smoke-damaged paraphernalia from your home. Specifically, dispose of any food that might have soiled due to heat or smoke. Physical damage is only a portion of the devastation fires create. Despite devising even the most detailed fire escape plan, many survivors experience feelings of guilt and angst in the months following the disaster. Make it a point to check-in with your family members regularly. Ensure they appropriately deal with their stress and get professional help for anyone struggling mentally or financially. Further, watch your household pets, making sure they don't exhibit any long-term symptoms from the fire or smoke.
As ravaging as fires can be, remind yourself that your successful fire escape plan saved your family's lives. Remember that everything else is replaceable, and all that matters is the safety of your loved ones.
3 Steps to Emergency Preparedness at Home
Basic safety equipment like a fire extinguisher and first aid kit are essential, but you should also prepare an emergency kit for your family.
Three Steps to Home Emergency Preparedness
Keeping your family safe in your home in Westbrook, ME, is surely a priority. There are a lot of hazards that can affect your family and being prepared goes beyond just having a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Here are three steps to getting your home prepared for an emergency.
1. Make a Plan
Think about the different emergencies that might arise and create a plan for each. In case of a home fire, you should have a plan for how to get out of the house and a meeting spot outside in case your family gets separated. Depending on where you live, consider other disasters that could affect you:
- public health emergencies
The more you think ahead about what you should do in these situations, the easier it will be to act under pressure if the need arises.
2. Build an Emergency Kit
Having basic safety equipment such as a fire extinguisher and first aid kit is great, but you should also put together a complete emergency kit for your family. You should include ready-to-eat food, water, phone chargers, an emergency radio, flashlights, batteries, essential medication, toiletry items, cash, extra clothing, a whistle, spare masks and extra clothing. Make sure that your kit has at least enough supplies to last three to four days.
3. Communicate With Your Family
Discuss all of your plans with your family so that every member knows what to do. Make sure to talk about basic fire preparedness and safety even with young children in case you are unable to reach them immediately. The knowledge that your spouse and children are informed will help keep you calm when disaster strikes.
Your whole family should be prepared when an emergency arises. Whether it's knowing the location of the fire extinguisher or where to meet up if you are separated in a disaster, following these steps will help you get the household ready. If your family remains safe in an emergency the worst work you'll have afterward is contacting emergency restoration specialists to get your home back in order.
Is Smoke Damage Covered By Insurance?
In most cases, smoke damage will be covered by your commercial insurance policy.
Is Insurance Coverage For Smoke Damage?
If your commercial building or one adjacent to yours recently sustained a fire, and you are left dealing with smoke-related damage, you may be worried about making a claim with your insurance company. Is smoke damage a covered loss? Read on to learn everything you need to know about smoke claims to put your mind at ease.
Soot Damage and Insurance
In most cases, damage from smoke will be covered by your commercial insurance policy. This is even the case if the fire occurred at a company right next to yours. However, there are some steps you need to take to properly file your claim and increase the chances of it being accepted. They are as follows:
- Contact your insurance company to report the smoke damage and file a claim.
- Assess your loss and prepare a smoke cleanup plan with the help of professionals.
- Record proof of any damage and repairs through photographs, receipts and other documents.
- Prepare for the insurance adjuster to arrive for surveying purposes.
Following the steps above will increase the chances of restoring your property as best as you can. Having a solid plan in place will also make it more likely that your insurance company will approve your claim.
Smoke Cleaning Assistance
As you can see above, creating an action plan for cleanup is one of the most important parts of this entire claims and restoration process. A reliable Westbrook, ME, fire damage restoration company should be able to arrive on an emergency basis, assess the situation and help you build a cleanup plan that will likely include reducing odors and eliminating smoke from your building.
Smoke damage isn’t always easy to deal with, and communication with your insurance provider can be even more frustrating. Following the steps above and knowing where to turn for cleanup help can make your business’s post-fire future more positive.