Recent Fire Damage Posts

Office Escape Procedures

8/17/2020 (Permalink)

fire escape sign SERVPRO of Lake Charles is Southwest Louisiana's premiere Fire and Water Restoration Company!

How To Create a Fire Escape Plan for Your Building

Fires can be destructive and deadly. The speed at which a fire takes a facility varies based on the materials and causes of the blaze. Every emergency and fire restoration service in Lake Charles, LA., likely understands and encourages every commercial property owner to create a fire escape plan. Unfortunately, too many people do not know what that entails. Escape plans need not be complicated and should require at least three components.

Two exit minimum
Clear pathways
Implementation and practice

Two Exit Minimum
The basic emergency escape plan requires a two exit minimum out of every room in your facility. While plans can have more options, two is the minimum because it improves the odds of survival. If a room only has one exit, then people may become trapped if the fire overtakes that exit. Most offices will have a window and a door, these can stand as your exit points, but make sure that there is a feasible way to get to safety from those points.

Clear Pathways
The key to an effective fire escape plan is clear pathways. Make sure that hallways are free of clutter and that exit points are not blocked by shelving. While warehouses and packaging facilities can become overwhelmed with boxes and random items, it is crucial to have processes in effect to maintain order and cleanliness.

Implementation and Practice
It is not enough to create exit strategies. The only way to test the effectiveness of a plan is to implement it and put it into action. Routine practices should take place throughout the year to ensure that every employee makes it safely outside without incident. These scheduled run-throughs will help you tweak the escape strategy if you find there are hiccups.
A fire escape plan is not necessarily complicated to create, but the practice is vital to avoid complacency. If you need help creating a plan for your building, then contact the fire department or a restoration expert for help.

Fire Tips for your Children

2/5/2020 (Permalink)

fire damage bathroom Fire damage can be an ongoing problem if you do not mitigate it properly.

Teaching kids safety is an important factor when making an emergency fire plan for your Lake Charles, LA., home. One way you can help protect them is by instructing them in what to do if a fire does occur. Many firemen and fire damage restoration professionals agree that learning the following tips can help.

5 Lessons About Fire Safety


1. What Fire Hazards Are

One step toward preventing a home fire is to tell your children what a fire hazard is. This way they will know what items not to play with, and to tell you immediately if they see something amiss.

2. How To Stay Low

During a fire smoke and heat rise, meaning the cooler air is closer to the floor. Teaching your child to stay low can help them avoid the smoke and find fresher air.

3. How To Check a Door

One important step for kids safety during a fire is to know how to check a door before opening it. They should know to use the back of their hand to test the door’s surface for heat, and to open it only if it doesn’t seem hot.

4. What Safe Routes Are

Safe exit routes are an important part of a fire escape plan. Explain to your child where the closest exits are and how to use them safely.

5. Where to Meet Up

Instruct your child to go to a pre-selected location to meet up with you once they’re safely out of the house. This should be an easily identifiable location such as a neighbor’s porch or a fire hydrant.

In the event of a fire, kids safety is important, and by teaching your child these things, you can feel more secure knowing they understand what to do in a fire. Telling them what a fire hazard is can help prevent a fire before it starts. They should also learn to stay low, check doors before they enter a room, follow safe routes out of the house, and where to meet up with everyone else.

Steps Toward Fire Damage Recovery In Your Southwest Louisiana Home

12/30/2019 (Permalink)

Steps Toward Fire Damage Recovery For Lake Charles Residents

Waking up to the sound of your fire alarm, then having to quickly evacuate the property while calling the fire department is every homeowner's worst nightmare. It is after the fire has been contained that anxieties over your possessions, valuable documents, and financial costs arise. There are measures you can do to make the process of getting your home back to its preloss condition runs smoothly after the initial shock.

The first thing is to contact a restoration service to carry out repairs on the fire damage in your Lake Charles home. SERVPRO operates an emergency line day and night for homeowners in need of assistance and reassurance. You might want to contact your insurance company to get a better picture of the task at hand as well as any utilities or lending companies. Fire situations are recognized as a debilitating situation, and many companies can put in place holds on bills or payments in exceptional circumstances, while you prioritize the restoration of your home.

A fire marshall can inspect the property after the fire and clear you for entry. Now's a good time to gather any necessary documents:

    •        Passport
    •        Driver's License
    •        Certificates
    •        Social Security
    •        Financial Documents
    •        Tax Records
    •        School Records
    •        Vehicle Registration

Some or all of these documents may show signs of damage from soots or smokes as well as water damage from firefighting procedure. Do not discard documents. SERVPRO operates specialized document recovery that can mitigate losses through a vacuum or freeze-drying procedure for waterlogged documents. Although we cannot reverse existing damages, there is a strong chance we can restore documents to a usable condition using these special procedures.

While you wait for a SERVPRO fire and smoke damage restoration technician (FRST) you can begin mitigating losses by covering floors and furnishings with sheets or tarpaulin which can prevent falling soots from causing further harm. Open the windows to allow air circulation throughout the property, which aids drying and replaces polluted air with cleaner outdoor air. For now, it is essential to leave walls, ceilings, appliances, and electrics until a qualified technician arrives.

SERVPRO trains technicians to the highest standards. On arrival, they can direct the restoration effort, as well as conducting crucial tests on materials, soot deposits, and smoke residues. These tests keep procedures efficient and ensure soots are not spread around, causing further issues to unaffected areas. Where necessary, our team can bring in odor control technicians to restore your indoor air quality.

We have extensive experience in handling fire restorations from start to finish. Using a combination of testing, cleaning, deodorizing, and drying, we can help you to get your property back to its preloss condition. Contact SERVPRO of Lake Charles at (337) 478-1133.

For more about Lake Charles click here.

Holiday Fire Preparedness Tips

11/15/2019 (Permalink)

stove fire Fire damage occurs most often during the winter months.

SERVPRO of Lake Charles is here to educate the Lake Charles community of proper ways to protect your home or business against fire damage.

  • Place Christmas trees, candles, and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles.
  • Purchase flame retardant metallic or artificial trees. If you purchase a real tree, make sure that it has fresh, green needles that aren’t easily broken. Keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water.
  • Make sure that light strings and other holiday decorations are in good condition. Do not use anything with frayed electrical cords and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Always unplug tree and holiday lights before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Use only sturdy tree stands designed not to tip over. Keep curious pets and children away from Christmas trees.
  • Keep anything that can catch on fire—pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels or curtains—away from your stove top.
  • Designate one person to walk around your home to make sure that all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.
  • Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed. Use the test button to check it each month. Replace all batteries at least once a year.

Visit www.redcross.org/homefires for more information on how to keep your home fire safe during the holidays.

Thanksgiving fire safety tips

11/4/2019 (Permalink)

fire safety image Fire damage can ruin your holiday cheer.

SERVPRO of Lake Charles wants you to a safe holiday experience.

Top 10 safety tips
  • Stay in the kitchen when you are cooking on the stove top so you can keep an eye on the food.
  • Stay in the home when cooking your turkey, and check on it frequently.
  • Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay three feet away.
  • Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
  • Keep knives out of the reach of children.
  • Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
  • Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
Thanksgiving fire facts
  • Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, and the day before Thanksgiving.
  • In 2016, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,570 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving, the peak day for such fires.
  • Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths.
  • Cooking equipment was involved in almost half of all reported home fires and home fire injuries, and it is the second leading cause of home fire deaths.  

Fire Damage: Duct cleaning and odor control

10/15/2019 (Permalink)

duct cleaning results Duct cleaning can help with odor issues after you have experienced a fire in your home or business.

If you have experienced a fire in your home or business then you are well aware that odor issues can be quite persistent afterwards if it's not treated correctly. SERVPRO of Lake Charles understands this as well, which is why we make sure to find out if your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system was running during the fire.

If it was then you may qualify for a duct cleaning as part of the insurance claim that you will inevitably file. SERVPRO of Lake Charles uses state of the art duct cleaning equipment to dislodge and remove any particulates from within your duct runs. This includes carbon buildup that may have been the result of the fire damage. We also can use either ozone or hydroxyl systems to remove any lingering odors and finally deodorize the duct system with something to your liking.

If you need our help please do not hesitate to call.

Duct Cleaning after Fire Damage

8/13/2019 (Permalink)

After you experience a fire in your home or business it is important to follow the necessary steps in order to properly restore the duct work in your building. After you have contacted a restoration company make sure to get in touch with your insurance company. If your HVAC system was running during the fire it is important that all parties are aware. This is a very important component to your home or business and needs to be considered when the restoration process begins.

Make sure to go in every room to observe whether or not soot traveled throughout via the duct runs. Take lots of pictures and tell you restoration contractor. 

SERVPRO of Lake Charles uses the latest duct cleaning equipment to insure that not only are your ducts free of soot but that they no longer retain the odor from the fire.

Call us if you have any questions!

Fireplace Safety Tips

1/22/2019 (Permalink)

  • Fireplaces should not be used as furnaces. Use a fireplace for a short-duration fire — no longer than five hours.
  • Keep the glass open to allow air to be drawn up to cool the chimney, but keep the screen closed to prevent sparks from jumping onto the carpeting.
  • Never leave a fire unattended when children are in the house. Adults, even if near, should not allow children to play near or with fire tools and equipment.
  • Open a window when using the fireplace to prevent the room from becoming smoky. The air coming in from the window will go up the chimney.
  • Before making a fire, open the glass doors, pull aside the screen curtains, and place the kindling, newspaper and logs inside. Next, open the damper and a window. The window needs to be open only a few inches. You can check to make sure the smoke will go up the chimney properly by lighting a match, quickly blowing it out and watching the smoke to see whether it's going up and out.
  • Keep a nonflammable rug (available at fireplace-supply stores) in front of the fireplace so that sparks won't melt or otherwise damage your carpeting.
  • Use fireplace tools to handle burning logs. Never use your hands.
  • Use a chimney cap to prevent water damage, to keep animals from nesting and to keep debris from blocking the chimney and causing carbon monoxide to flow into the house. Use a spark arrester to help prevent sparks from flying out, which could start a fire on the roof or lawn.
  • Glass doors may develop tough stains from flames and heat. To clean them, make sure the glass doors are cool, then scrape off any thick gunk deposits with a razor blade. Add a squirt of liquid dishwashing detergent to a bucket of warm water, or add a cup of vinegar to a gallon of water. Spray or sponge the cleaner on, and then wipe it away with newspaper (which is lint-free). Another option is to buy glass cleaner at a fireplace store.
  • Fireplace coals can remain hot enough to start a fire for up to three days, so always wait at least that long before removing the ashes. At that point, close the damper to prevent cold air in the flue from stirring up excess dust while you're removing the ashes. Be sure to wear a dust mask and open a window in the same room as the fireplace to prevent negative air pressure. Use a shovel to scoop the ashes into a metal container. Store the container far from combustible materials and surfaces and wood floors.
  • Never use a vacuum to clean up ashes, because live coals may remain in those ashes.
  • Have a certified chimney sweep inspect and clean the chimney when necessary. Have him show you how to check it yourself, too. The chimney should be checked at least once a year or after about 80 fires.
  • Shine brass fireplace utensils with Worcestershire sauce and a toothbrush.
  • Clean the firebox (the area where the logs burn) at least once a week during the months you use it, when ash builds up. Leave about an inch of ash because it acts as insulation, allowing the coals to heat faster and retain the heat easier. Keep the firebox completely clean during the months when the fireplace is not in use.
  • To clean an exterior slate hearth, wash, dry and coat it with lemon oil every six weeks to make it shine. For cleaning exterior brick hearths, buy a brick cleaner at a fireplace shop.

 via HGTV.com 

What Should I Do After A Fire

12/18/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Lake Charles has you covered when you have a fire or smoke damage in your home or office.Here is a list of what to do and not do while you wait for help to arrive.

DO:

  • Limit movement in the building to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet.
  • Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls, and woodwork.
  • Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor.
  • Wipe soot from chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets. trim and appliances, them protect these surfaces with a light coating of lubricant.
  • If heat is off during winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures.
  • Wash both sides of leaves on house plants.
  • Change HVAC filter, but leave system off until a trained professional can check the system.
  • Tape double layers of cheese cloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.

Do NOT:

  • Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting SERVPRO of Lake Charles
  • Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting SERVPRO of Lake Charles
  • Attempt to clean any electrical appliances (TV sets, radios, etc.) that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.
  • Consume any food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water. (They may be contaminated.)
  • Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock, and air movement may cause secondary damage.
  • Send garments to the dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set in smoke odor. SERVPRO of Lake Charles has the facilities to clean your garments.

SERVPRO of Lake Charles provides 24-hour emergency service and is dedicated to being faster to any-sized disaster in Lake Charles and surrounding areas. We can respond immediately to your emergency and have the expertise to handle your restoration or cleaning needs.

If your home or business has suffered from fire/smoke damage call SERVPRO of Lake Charles (337)478-1133. 

What do you do when you find fire/smoke damage in your home or office?

10/8/2018 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Lake Charles has you covered should you experience fire/smoke damage. We have made a list of what to do and not do while you wait for help to arrive.

DO:

  • Limit movement in the building to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet.
  • Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls, and woodwork.
  • Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor.
  • Wipe soot from chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets. trim and appliances, them protect these surfaces with a light coating of lubricant.
  • If heat is off during winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures.
  • Wash both sides of leaves on house plants.
  • Change HVAC filter, but leave system off until a trained professional can check the system.
  • Tape double layers of cheese cloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.

Do NOT:

  • Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting SERVPRO of Lake Charles
  • Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting SERVPRO of Lake Charles
  • Attempt to clean any electrical appliances (TV sets, radios, etc.) that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.
  • Consume any food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water. (They may be contaminated.)
  • Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock, and air movement may cause secondary damage.
  • Send garments to the dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set in smoke odor. SERVPRO of Lake Charles has the facilities to clean your garments.

If your home or business has suffered from fire/smoke damage call SERVPRO of Lake Charles (337)478-1133

FIRES CAUSED BY WASHERS AND DRYERS

8/7/2018 (Permalink)

Home Fires Caused by Dryers and Washing Machines

 Clothes dryer fires happen more often than one might think, accounting for 16,800 home structure fires in 2010 and doing more than $236 million in property damage according to the National Fire Protection Association. The most frequent causes of fires in dryers are lint/dust (29%) and clothing (28%). In washers, they are wire or cable insulation (26%), the appliance housing (21%) or the drive belt (15%).

Dryers were involved in 92% of the Washer/Dryer fires; the risk of fire was basically the same for both gas and electric-powered dryers.

Safety tips:

  • Clean the lint screen frequently and don’t run the dryer without it.
  • For gas and propane dryers, make sure there aren’t any leaks in the lines.
  • Vent the dryer to the outside of the house and ensure nothing blocks the vent pipe.
  • Clean the vent pipe and the area where the screen is housed.
  • Keep the area around the dryer free of combustible materials.

Source: National Fire Protection Association and http://www.propertycasualty360.com

House Fires Resulting From Lighting

8/7/2018 (Permalink)

Lightning During Storms and House Fires Resulting

Unlike other types of house fires, which occur more frequently in the winter months, fires in the home caused by lightning are more likely to happen in June, July and August in the late afternoon or early evening. From 2007-2011, NFPA says there were an average of 22,600 fires per year caused by lightning strikes.  Lightning is responsible for a number of wildfires as well.

Lightning during storms poses the greatest risk outdoors and frequently strikes the highest point on a structure.

Safety tips During Lightning Storms: 

  • When possible, stay away from doors and windows during an electrical storm.
  • Do not use corded phones, computers, TVs or other electrical equipment during storms.
  • Unplug major electronics – TVs, stereo equipment, computers and microwaves to minimize damage if there is a lightning strike close by.
  • Avoid plumbing such as sinks, baths and faucets during a thunderstorm as metal plumbing is an excellent conductor of electricity.

SERVPRO of Lake Charles is faster to any disaster and cleans-up after fire and smoke damage.

Source: http://www.propertycasualty360.com and National Fire Protection Association

What to do after a fire

12/1/2017 (Permalink)

After the smoke clears and the soot settles in your home, you’re left with some critical questions. To help you overcome the devastation of a fire, here are the answers to some common questions about fire damage restoration:

  • What is the first thing I should do after a fire? Call your insurance agent and submit your claim. He or she will provide you with information on securing your home.
  • Can I inspect my house after the fire? Legally, only a licensed inspector like a structural engineer or industrial hygienist can determine the safety of a building. Besides, the risk of checking the fire damage yourself is too great. Call a professional.
  • Do I really need professional clean-up if the fire was small? In most losses, cleaning the soot and smoke is the toughest part. Moreover, even small fires can cause major damage within minutes and leave lingering odors if not cleaned up properly. If you don’t act within a day or two of the fire, soot and smoke can leave permanent damage. Professionals have the tools and know-how to restore your home as fast as possible and mitigate the loss.
  • What should I do with all the water that was used to put out the fire? Water can lead to more damage such as mold growth. Reputable restoration companies also extract the water from the damaged area as part of the fire restoration job.
  • Can I stay in my home during the fire damage restoration process? This depends on the degree of the damage, your home’s layout, and your comfort level. As an alternate plan, talk with your insurance agent about off-site housing and staying at a hotel – these might be covered by your policy.
  • How long will the restoration process take? The length of time varies on the extent of the damage. Additionally, local authorities and your insurance agent will also want to investigate the damage before the restoration company can start the clean-up.
  • Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage? Call Us Today – SERVPRO of Lake Charles 337-478-1133