Fire Damage: The Behavior of Smoke
The damage to your property following a fire can often be complicated due to the unique behavior of smoke.
There are two different types of smoke--wet and dry. As a result, there are different typed of soot residue after a fire.
SERVPRO of Northwest Bergen County Service Technicians are thoroughly trained in fire cleanup and restoration. They are trained to know about the different types of smoke and its behavior patterns. Knowing this information is vital to proper restoration. Before restoration begins, the technicians will survey the loss to determine the extent of impact from fire, smoke, heat, and moisture on the building materials and contents. The soot will then be tested to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. Pretesting determines the proper cleaning method and allows us to focus on your precious items.
Smoke can penetrate various cavities within the structure, causing hidden damage and odor. Our knowledge of building systems helps us to investigate how far smoke damage may have spread. The following are additional facts you may not know about smoke.
- 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.
Types of Smoke:
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 dries.
Protein Fire Residue (Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire) Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Fuel Oil Soot (Furnace Puff Backs) While "puff backs" can create havoc for homeowners, SERVPRO of Northwest Bergen Service Technicians can, in most cases restore the contents and structure quickly.
Other Types (Tear gas, fingerprint powder, and fire extinguisher residue) Special loss situations require special care.
Our technicians are trained to handle even the toughest losses. And make any smoke disaster "Like it never even happened."
Storm Damage: Cold Winter Weather
Winter weather can bring about more issues than just slippery roads and a sidewalk to shovel. If you live where temperatures sink below freezing level, you are also at risk for frozen pipes, which can create a major disaster at your home or business property. Frozen pipes are often those exposed to the cold weather, such as those outside your house, or in cold ares such as basements, attics, garages, or kitchen cabinets. A frozen pipe can burst at the point where the ice blockage inside the pipe is located, but typically the rupture is caused by the back-flow pressure between the water source and the blockage. A burst pipe can cause considerable damage to your property if not addressed quickly. to prevent pipes from freezing, here are a few steps you can take, according to The American Red Cross:
- Be sure to completely drain water from swimming pool and sprinkler lines, as well as outside hoses.
- Open kitchen cabinets to let warm air circulate near the plumbing.
- When weather is extremely cold, let water drip from faucets that may come from exposed pipes.
- Keep your heat set to the same temperature both day and night. If you have any water damage caused by a burst pipe call SERVPRO of Northwest Bergen County at 1-800-497-7179. To learn more about storm damage and our services visit our Storm Damage web page.
Did You Know? Water Damage Events Can Lead to Mold Damage
Water damages can often cause mold growth in your home or business; therefore, it is important to have your water damage cleaned properly and professionally. Our SERVPRO of Northwest Bergen service technicians handle water damages every day and know prompt action is required to prevent mold growth. Mold is more likely to spread when an environment has been subject to moisture for a long period of time. If your property has sustained recent water damage for example from leaking pipes, it is vital to remove excess water and dry the structure quickly. Our commercial grade equipment and DryBook monitoring system will leave no doubt that the structure is clean and dry.
If there is an ongoing moisture problem in the building, it is important to be alert for:
- Visible Mold
- Strong, musty odors
- Excessive humidity
- Any evidence of past moisture problems that might have caused undetected mold growth
These conditions may require the expertise of a qualified Indoor Quality/Environmental Professional to inspect the building for mold growth and chronic water damage problems. We can help recommend companies that provide that service. To learn more about mold visit our mold information page.
You can be ruined or you can be READY! And SERVPRO of Northwest Bergen County can help
With the Help of Technology
Technology can be a vital tool in preparing for emergencies or disasters. The following are tips to help you be ready and use technology in the event of any flood or storm disaster.
Store Information Online
There are many places to store information securely online. Services like Google Drive, and Dropbox offer a free way to store different types of files, from a Word document to images of important documents. Ready.gov suggests saving an electronic version of insurance policies, identification documents, medical records and information on your pets if necessary.
Follow the News
Stay informed by following agencies such as FEMA, local news channels, and your local government on Twitter for the most up-to-date information in a disaster situation. You can also alert first responders if a rescue is needed through Twitter.
Mark Yourself Safe
The American Red Cross offers a Safe & Well Check-in site to list yourself as safe or find family and friends in situations where communication is difficult to establish.
Facebook also has a feature called Safety Check that is activated after natural disasters or a crisis. You will receive a notification from Facebook if you're located in the affected area at that time.
Get in Touch
Make sure your contact information is up-to-date in your phone and e-mail for communication with family, friends, business contacts and others whom you may need to contact before, during and after a disaster. SERVPRO has the READY Plan APP, download the APP and be READY for any fire, water or mold disaster.
Keep a portable charger in your car and home in case of an emergency. You may need to recharge this from time to time, but you can also buy solar-powered chargers as well.
Get an Emergency READY Profile
SERVPRO of Northwest Bergen offers an Emergency READY Profile (ERP) for free to help prepare you, your property or your business for an emergency. By having an ERP done in advance you minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action. Knowing what to do and what to expect in advance is the key to timely and cost effective mitigation. Call our office for more information regarding your ERP Profile for your property or business.
source: Restoration Newsline Vol 29, Issue 2
If Disaster Strikes Will Your Business Be Ready?
SERVPRO of Northwest Bergen is ready to help after a fire or water damage event strikes, but we can also help you prepare your business before disaster strikes. It is important to prepare before a water or fire disaster occurs to keep your employees, and customers safe. Consider the following steps to help your business better prepare for an emergency situation.
- Sign up for local alerts and warnings, download apps, and/or check access for wireless emergency alerts.
- Develop and test emergency communication plans with all employees.
- Assemble or update emergency supplies.
- Learn about local hazards and conduct a drill to practice emergency response actions.
- Have employees participate in a preparedness discussion, training, or class.
- Collect and safeguard critical documents.
- Plan with work neighbors to help each other and share resources.
- Document property and obtain appropriate insurance for relevant hazards.
- Make property improvements to reduce potential injury and property damage.
- Hold a scenario-based continuity of operations tabletop exercise for your organization.
Contact SERVPRO of Northwest Bergen to establish a Emergency Ready Profile of your commercial property. Then download the READY Plan APP on your digital device to quickly access important information about your property.
Emergencies can happen anytime to anyone. Take action now to protect your customers, staff, yourself and your property.
Each Holiday Season, families gather to celebrate, which includes cooking large dinners, but if you don't practice safe cooking habits your holiday could become hazardous very quickly. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires is unattended cooking. Here are some useful tips to avoid cooking fires:
- Be on ALERT! If you are sleepy or consumed alcohol don't use the stove.
- Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food.
- If you are simmering, baking or roasting food, check it regularly, and remain in the kitchen while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
- Keep anything that can catch fire (oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, and towels) away from the stovetop.
If you have a cooking fire, consider the following safety protocols to help keep your family safe.
- Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
- Call 911 or the local fire department after you leave.
- For an oven fire turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
- If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
- Keep a lid nearby when you're cooking to smother small grease fire. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stove-top. Leave the pan covered until it is cooled completely.
SERVPRO of Northwest Bergen wants you to keep your Bergen County home safe this holiday season! We have 24/7 emergency service--even during the holidays 201-236-2400.
Cleaning Your Dryer Vents Is Very Important
Clothes Dryer with fire damage on the back vent.
As a premier fire restoration company in Bergen County, SERVPRO of Northwest Bergen Service Technicians often deal with many home fire cleanups that are caused by a clogged dryer vent.
According to FEMA , failure to clean home dryers causes 34% of home dryer fires. Home dryer fires cause $35 million in property loss and can even cause injury or death.
To reduce the risk of these fires happening in your home or business, clean your dryer vents on a regular/monthy basis.
Other tips for keeping your dryer vents clean from the National Fire Protection Agency include cleaning the lint filter before and after each load. Also, make sure the outdoor vent flap will open and is not restricted by snow, a bird's nest, or other potential obstacles.
For more information visit https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/clothes_dryers.html
SERVPRO of Northwest Bergen will treat your family with empathy and respect and your Bergen County property with care. If you suffer a fire damage event, please refer to our Fire Damage Tips—Until Help Arrives Guide and follow these tips to protect yourself and your property.
Destroy Odors with Deodorization
Fire, smoke and soot damages in your home or business can create unpleasant and potentially permanent problems. Even small fires can cause odors for years to come if the affected areas are not properly cleaned and deodorized. SERVPRO of Northwest Bergen County specializes in restoring, cleaning and deodorizing after the fire and possible water damage has caused odor issues at your property.
Other odors that may require deodorization:
- Cigarette Smoke
- Pet Odors
As various material burn, or other problems like mold growth go untreated, the odorous residues and deposits on surfaces are left behind. Unless fast, professional action is taken, these residues and deposits can cause permanent damage to contents and may result in resurfacing odors.
We have technicians certified by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration (IICRC), to handle specialized services that can rid your home or business of offensive odors left by fire or smoke damage.
Our services don't cover up the odor with fragrance; we seek out and remove the sources of the odor. Once the source is found, SERVPRO's own proprietary line of cleaning products is used to treat and prevent the odor from returning. Any restorable item in affected areas will also be professionally cleaned and deodorized, including furniture, draperies, upholstery, electronics, art, flooring, walls, ceilings, HVAC ducts and more.
Whether it's fire, water, mold damage, or just a stubborn odor that refuses to go away, SERVPRO of Northwest Bergen County will make it "Like it never even happened."
Light the Night Safely this Holiday Season
Pretty lights, candles, and decorations are just a few of the items bringing charm and cheer to the holiday season-however, if they are not used carefully your holidays may go from festive to frightening.
The American Red Cross offers the following safety tips to help greatly reduce the fire risk in your home or business this holiday season.
- Place Christmas trees, candles and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators and heat vents.
- Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good working condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacture's instructions.
- Always unplug your tree and holiday lights before leaving the property or going to bed.
- Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.
The entire team at SERVPRO of Northwest Bergen County is wishing you and your family a Merry and Safe Holiday Season!
How to prevent home fires
Sometimes accidents happen, but when it comes to your Bergen County home or business property, there are certain safety precautions that can be taken to help prevent fires.
Electrical and Appliance Safety
- Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately ad do not run cords under rugs of furniture.
- If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never try to force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
- Immediately shut-off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker.
- Space Heaters-should never be left running unattended.
Fireplace and Woodstoves
- Inspect and clean woodstove pipes and chimneys annually and check monthly for damage or obstructions
- Use a fireplace screen heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying sparks.
- Make sure the fire is completely out before going to bed or leaving the house.
During the cold weather months in Bergen and Rockland County it is especially important to keep these tips in mind. SERVPRO is a premier fire damage restoration company, that has a fully trained staff, professional equipment and products, and many years of experience in fire restoration and cleanup. Call 201-236-2400.