Recent Fire Damage Posts
Holiday Prep Profile: Christmas Trees
Photo of a decorated tree courtesy of the American Christmas Tree Association.
As we reflect on our Thanksgiving and look forward to the rest of the holiday season, for many of us, this time of year would not be the same without a Christmas tree.
It’s likely you’ve already started to see lots full of trees popping up all over town, maybe noticing the well-lit evergreens appearing in your neighbors’ windows, or, possibly, you’ve even set up your own tree! These festive firs bring back fond memories for many of Christmases past.
And while the tree if often the centerpiece of the Christmas decorations in many homes, the holiday symbol does come with dangers. We do hate always being the bearers of bad news here, but according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Christmas trees are responsible for about 210 home fires each year in the United States, leaving behind about $13 million in damage.
So, what can you do to ensure your Christmas tree is safe for the season?
First, the NFPA, advises using a modern, artificial tree from a reputable company. These artificial trees are less likely than live trees to start a fire (although you should still make sure to use proper lights on artificial trees and to turn off the lights when you go to bed or leave your home).
However, if you cannot imagine an artificial tree in your home and a real, live tree is the only one for you, there are precautions you can take to lessen your fire risk. The NFPA advises the following:
- Choose a very fresh, green tree with needles that do not fall off when touched.
- Make sure the tree is at least three feet from any heat source like fireplaces, candles or heat vents.
- Make sure to water the tree daily.
- Make sure the tree is not blocking any exits.
- Use only lights from reputable companies that have been independently tested.
- Replace any lights with damaged bulbs or cords.
- NEVER use lit candles to decorate the tree.
- Do not overload electrical outlets.
- Turn off lights when you go to bed or leave the house.
- Get rid of the tree after Christmas, or as soon as it starts to lose its needles.
Please keep these safety measures in mind as you get into the holiday spirit this year.
Enjoy the holidays, be safe and, remember, you can call us any day of the year, at any time of the day at 920-434-8224.
Holiday Prep Profile: Deep Frying a Turkey
Turkey photo courtesy of NFPA.
We’re less than a week away from one of the most delicious holidays of the year. That’s right, Thanksgiving is almost upon us.
Most people who plan to host family and friends this year already have a plan in place for what they’re going to cook: what sides they’ll make, what dessert they’ll serve and how they’ll prepare the main dish, the turkey.
And while most home chefs will probably put old Tom Turkey in the oven for the traditional roasting, some cooks will likely try something more adventurous: deep frying.
Deep frying a turkey can certainly create something delicious, but it is one of the most dangerous activities of the holiday.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, there are five major concerns when it comes to turkey frying:
- Turkey fryers can easily tip over spilling hot cooking oil over a large area.
- An overfilled cooking pot will cause cooking oil to spill when the turkey is put in, and a frozen turkey will cause cooking oil to splatter when you put it in the pot.
- Even a small amount of cooking oil spilling on a hot burner can cause a large fire.
- Without thermostat controls, deep fryers can overheat oil to the point of starting a fire.
- The sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles can get dangerously hot.
So, if you’re planning to try out deep frying a turkey this year, you need to be prepared and take serious precautions to avoid any of those above concerns.
State Farm Insurance Company has a long list of safety steps you should take:
- Keep outdoor fryers off decks, out of garages and away from trees and bushes.
- Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and dry before frying to keep oil from splattering.
- Do NOT operate a fryer outdoors in the rain or snow.
- Place the fryer on a level surface and don’t move it once it’s in use.
- Follower the manufacturer’s directions to avoid overfilling the oil.
- Choose a smaller turkey, between 8 and 10 pounds for frying.
- Never leave fryer unattended.
- Use a fryer with temperature controls. Watch the controls to make sure the oil does not get too hot. If the oil starts smoking, turn off the fryer.
- Turn off the burner before putting the turkey in the fryer. Once the turkey is in the fryer, turn the burner back on.
- Wear goggles and over mitts to protect your eyes and arms.
- Keep an ABC-rated fire extinguisher (one that can be used on grease fires) on hand. Never try to put out a grease fire with water.
- Keep children and pets away from fryers at all times.
- Once finished, carefully remove the pot from the burner. Allow the oil to cool overnight before disposing of it.
Keep in mind that, even if you follow all the safety tips, frying a turkey still comes with risks. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association and State Farm recommend using an oil-less fryer, one that uses infrared heat instead of oil, to fry your turkey. Both organizations say that is the safest option.
Whatever you decide for your Thanksgiving celebration, we wish you a very happy one!
And if you should even need our help with fire damage restoration in the Green Bay area, we’re just a phone call away at 920-434-8224.
Holiday Prep Profile: Fire Extinguishers
Fire extinguisher photo, courtesy of OSHA.
It is officially November!
Halloween is behind us, Thanksgiving and Christmas are still ahead, and while it might be too early for some to hear Christmas carols on the radio and in the stores, it’s NEVER to early to do some safety prep for the holiday season.
On Fridays this month we will take a look at some different safety considerations you might want to take before your celebrations begin.
For our first Holiday Prep Profile, we’re going to talk about fire extinguishers.
Why fire extinguishers? Well, according to the National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA (one of our favorite sources, don’tcha know!), cooking fires peak during the holiday season. The NFPA says the most cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving, then Christmas Day, then Christmas Eve. Oh, and cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires.
So, all those statistics are certainly reason enough to consider getting a fire extinguisher for your home before the holidays AND learn how to use it properly.
First and foremost, you’re going to want to choose the right fire extinguisher. There are several classes of them, which the NFPA describes:
- Class A – this is the most common extinguisher and can be used to put out fires on cloth, wood, rubber, paper and many plastics.
- Class B – this is used on fires involving flammable liquids like gasoline, grease and oil.
- Class C – this is used for fires that involved electrical appliances and tools that are plugged in.
- Class D – this is used on flammable metals and is typically only found in factories that work with those metals.
- Class K – this is used on fires that involve oils and animal fats INSIDE cooking appliances. These are typically only found in commercial kitchens; however, they are on the market for use in homes.
The NFPA advises choosing a fire extinguisher for your home that is multi-purpose and large enough to put out a small fire, but not so large that it is difficult to handle.
The association also recommends reading all of the fire extinguisher’s directions and becoming familiar with it as soon as you buy it. This way you’ll know how to use it if you need it.
And when it comes to using it, remember the acronym PASS:
- P – Pull the pin. Hold the nozzle away from you and release the locking mechanism.
- A – Aim Low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
- S – Squeeze. Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
- S – Sweep. Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
The NFPA WARNS a fire extinguisher should ONLY be used if the fire is contained to a SMALL area, is NOT growing and the room is NOT filled with smoke. Otherwise, it is far too dangerous to try to put out a fire using an extinguisher and you should leave the home immediately. And, the NFPA says, you should always call the fire department.
A fire extinguisher is certainly a good tool to have in your home, particularly around the holiday season. However, it is not the be-all or end-all for fire safety. Take care of yourself and always put your safety first.
Fire Prevention Profile: What to Do Until Help Arrives
Damage from a fire in the Green Bay area.
October has come to an end and, with it, so has Fire Prevention Month. However, you are in luck, as we have one more, bonus prevention profile to share! (And, let’s be honest, it’s never a bad time to talk about fire prevention.)
Aside from the obvious dangers house fires present, even the smallest blazes can bring big headaches. Meaning, even fires that are put out quickly without injury can leave soot, smoke damage and other nasty problems.
That’s where SERVPRO of West Brown County comes into the picture. After the you or firefighters have done the heavy lifting of putting out the flames, our technicians come in to clean up the damage left behind. We have the expertise and equipment to make a fire “like it never even happened.”
There are some things you can do to make that recovery process go smoothly and ensure the damage doesn’t get any worse before our team arrives.
SERVPRO advises these DOs:
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet.
- Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can cause further damage to upholstery, walls and woodwork.
- Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpeting.
- Wipe soot from chrome kitchen/bathroom faucets, trim and appliances. Then 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.
- Change HVAC filters; leave system off until a trained professional can check the system.
- Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop soot particles from getting in or out of the HVAC system.
And along with those DOs, there are a list of DON’Ts:
- Don’t attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting your SERVPRO professionals.
- Don’t attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstery without first contacting your SERVPRO professionals.
- Do not attempt to clean nay electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first contacting an authorized repair service.
- Do not consume any food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water, as they may be contaminated.
- If ceiling is wet, do not turn on any ceiling fans. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock, and air movement may cause secondary damage.
- Don’t send garments to dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set in odor smoke.
Hopefully you never need this advice, but if you do, the steps are simple ones to take to ensure your property can be restored as easily as possible.
At SERVPRO of West Brown County we know a fire of any size can be a traumatic event and we know the damage left behind, the sights and smells of soot and smoke, can amplify and prolong that trauma. It is our goal to take care of that damage quickly and efficiently to help minimize the trauma and get your life back in order.
We are always just a phone call away at 920-434-8224.
Fire Prevention Profile: Home Heating Safety
House fire photo, courtesy of FEMA.
As October comes to an end, we can all start to feel that chill in the air.
Fall is a time known for “sweater weather,” a time of year to get cozy. And as we get deeper into autumn, we know old man winter is not far behind.
When winter arrives, the sweaters are no longer enough to keep us warm and snug and we all start to rely on home heating to get us through the bitter months (honestly, some of us have already turned on our thermostats!).
However, when it comes to home heating, the threat of fire is never far behind. In fact, according to FEMA, heating is the second leading cause of home fires after cooking.
Furnaces, space heaters, fireplaces and woodstoves all have the potential to cause a blaze. So, it’s important to follow some safety rules when using any of these.
FEMA has a list of advice for each piece of equipment we listed:
- Have your furnace inspected each year by an HVAC professional.
- Keep anything flammable at least three feet from your furnace.
- Keep anything flammable away from implements like heat registers too.
- Have your chimney inspected and cleaned once a year.
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet from your fireplace or woodstove.
- Do not burn paper in your fireplace or woodstove.
- Put the fire out before you go to sleep or leave the house.
- Put ashes in a metal container with a lid, outside, at least three feet away from your house.
- Keep a glass or metal screen in front of your fireplace to keep sparks and embers from jumping out.
- Space Heaters:
- Again, keep anything flammable or that can burn, at least three feet away from the space heater.
- Make sure the heater has an automatic shut off on the event it falls over.
- Turn heaters off when you leave the room or go to bed.
- Plug portable heaters directly into wall outlets, never into extension cords or power strips.
- Only use space heaters from a recognized testing laboratory.
These are some easy tips to follow and they’re also very important. According to FEMA, 75% of home heating fires are “confined,” meaning they are confined to chimneys, flues or fuel burners (so get those chimneys cleaned!) and 29% of heating fires that are not confined are caused when something flammable is left too close to a heat source.
It’s also important to note that, as FEMA reports, home heating fires peak in January (that’s the month when 21% of those blazes occur) and those fires peak between the hours of 5:00 and 9:00 p.m.
So, be sure to stay warm and cozy and SAFE during the cold months ahead!
Fire Prevention Profile: Electrical Fires
Picture courtesy of FEMA.
As the days grow shorter and the nights grow longer, we all start to rely more heavily on our lights and other electronic devices to keep our homes bright and warm. But, along with the increased use of electricity comes a greater risk of electrical fires.
And since October is fire prevention month, now is a great time to ensure your home is safe from this risk before we get into the bitter winter months.
According to FEMA there are more than 45,000 home electrical fires each year in the United States. Half of those are caused by lighting equipment or home electrical wiring. FEMA says the peak months for these fires are December through March and deaths caused by these blazes peak between the hours of midnight and 6:00 in the morning (a very good reason to have working smoke detectors in your home!).
There are some very easy steps you can take immediately to prevent electrical fires. FEMA has an easy to follow checklist for you:
- Always plug appliances (especially major appliances like washers, dryers and refrigerators) directly into wall outlets.
- Never use an extension cord with those major appliances, as the cords can overheat quickly and cause a fire.
- Unplug small appliances when not in use.
- Plug only one heat-producing appliance (like a coffee maker or microwave) into an outlet at a time.
- Never use an extension cord with a heat-producing appliance.
- Keep light fixtures and lightbulbs away from anything flammable.
- Use lightbulbs that match the recommended wattage of the light fixture.
- Check the cords on appliances often. Replace any cracked, damaged or loose cords.
- Do not overload wall outlets.
- Insert plugs fully into sockets.
- Never force a three-prong plug into a two-prong outlet.
- If you have young children, be sure to install tamper resistant outlets.
- Replace old, worn or damaged extension cords right away.
- Use extension cords for temporary purposes only.
- Avoid putting cords where they can be damaged or pinched (like in heavy traffic areas where they might be stepped on).
- Do not overload power strips.
- Only use power strips with internal overload protection.
Now that you have this list, we recommend you go through your home and check off every bullet point on there (What are you waiting for? Do it now!). Doing so can help protect you, your family and your property, while keeping things bright this winter.
Fire Prevention Profile: Kitchen Fires
A stove that caught fire in the Green Bay area
Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires in the United States and the dangers only rise as we get into the holiday season. So, (since October is Fire Prevention Month) now is a good time to learn more about these incidents and what you can do to prevent them.
The statistics when it comes to kitchen fires are stark. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking accounts for about 47% of home fires, 20% of fire-related deaths and 45% of the fire-related injuries reported across the country each year. The NFPA says Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and then Christmas Eve.
Luckily, there are many simple steps home chefs can take to avoid these fires. One big step? Always watch what you’re cooking. The NFPA tells us one third of kitchen fires happen when a person leaves the equipment they’re using unattended. So, particularly if you’re using the stove top, stay in the kitchen and watch closely. If you’re using the oven, experts advise checking in regularly.
It’s important to remember, kitchen fires don’t just happen when food burns, anything flammable can catch fire if it’s too close to the heat. So, keep anything like oven mitts, dish cloths and paper towels AWAY from heat sources.
We have saved the BIGGEST culprit of cooking fires for last: frying. The NFPA says frying dominates the cooking fire problem. So, the Association has some advice you’ll want to follow this holiday season (and, of course, all year long):
- Always stay in the kitchen when frying.
- If you see smoke coming off the food you’re frying, turn off the burner or safely remove the pan from the burner. Smoke it a sign the oil is too hot.
- Slowly heat the oil to the temperature you need.
- Add food to the oil gently so that it does not splatter.
- Always keep a lid beside your pan. If the pan does catch fire, cover it with the lid and turn off the banner. Let the oil cool before removing the lid again.
- NEVER put water on a grease fire. If a fire starts to spread, leave the house immediately and call 911.
Now you know a little bit more about how to stand the heat and stay in the kitchen SAFELY. Team SERVPRO of West Brown County wishes everyone in the Green Bay area and beyond a very safe and happy holiday season!
Fire Prevention Profile: October is Fire Prevention Month
October is Fire Prevention Month
October is National Fire Prevention Month and we at SERVPRO of West Brown County want to ensure you are staying safe this month and all year long.
And in that spirit, we will be posting Fire Prevention Profiles each Friday in October.
For this first profile, we will provide some general prevention tips. The second week we will talk about preventing kitchen fires, the third week we’ll cover electrical fire prevention and the final fire prevention profile will discuss home heating safety and how that relates to fire prevention.
So, diving in to this week, the National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA, provides a theme each year for fire prevention and 2018’s theme is “Look. Listen. Learn. Be Aware. Fire can happen anywhere.”
So here is what the NFPA advises:
- LOOK – look for places in your home fires could start. Identify any possible hazards and take care of them.
- LISTEN – listen for the sound of your smoke alarm. If you hear the smoke alarm, leave the building immediately. You only have minutes, sometimes seconds to escape the smoke and flames safely once you hear the alarm.
- LEARN – learn (and teach your family) two ways out of every room and make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily and are free of clutter.
This is also a great time of year to PREPARE for emergencies! In case you didn’t see our Preparedness Profiles from last month, they are all still in our blog archives, which you can find easily on our website and our social media pages. You can find out more about preparing for evacuations, pet safety in emergencies and proper use of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
And always remember, if a fire should damage your home or business, SERVPRO of West Brown County is always here for you. You can reach us, day or night, at 920-434-8224.
What's that Smell? Talking Odor Removal
Photo of Smoke courtesy of the NFPA
While a fire can happen in the blink of an eye, the damage it leaves behind can go on for ages.
This is true when it comes to the severe, physical damage flames cause. It’s also true when it comes to something unseen, but no less tangible: the smell. Odors from smoke can and will linger for years, especially if they’re not dealt with quickly.
Smoke, soot and ash are made up of tiny particles that move around easily and get into hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. Those little particles are very clingy and stick to surfaces of all kinds, the more porous the better.
The good new is, SERVPRO of West Brown County can destroy those odors left behind by a fire.
And when we say “destroy,” we mean it.
Many people think that getting rid of bad smells simply means covering them up with some sort of perfumed product. That will NOT do the trick. The odors must be completely eradicated.
That’s where trained SERVPRO technicians come into the picture. They will seek out and remove the SOURCES of the smells. The techs are trained to remove those sources using deodorization techniques and equipment like ozone machines and hot thermal fog.
We understand that fires are traumatic events that can have a long-lasting effect on a person’s emotional and mental state. Having the smell around only serves as a reminder of what happened and can make that trauma even worse for a person.
We’re here to help you make things better.
And we can help you in other situations where unpleasant smells are making your home or office miserable.
These are just a few of the other odors we can clean up:
- Cigarette Smoke
- Pet Odors
If you need to breathe a little easier, we’re here to help clear the air. Give us a call at 920-434-8224.
Fireworks: Play it Safe this 4th of July
Fireworks photo from the CDC
As we celebrate our country’s birth and Independence Day, we know a lot of fun comes with that celebration. However, sometimes that fun comes with dangers.
We’re talking about fireworks. The explosions in the sky are synonymous with the 4th of July, but, if not used properly, they can cause fires and severe injuries.
The best advice to remember is that fire officials, both locally and nationally, advise you leave any exploding fireworks displays to the professionals. They say you should go see your local community’s fireworks show and enjoy it!
When it comes to trying out your own, personal pyrotechnics, however, there’s a lot more you need to know.
First of all, fireworks that leave the ground and/or explode may not be legal, depending on the community you live in. You must check in with your local municipality to see what is or is not legal, or else face punishments like heavy fines.
When it comes to the fireworks that ARE legal, if you want to put on your own show, the National Council on Fireworks Safety has a list of reminders for you to avoid any mishaps:
- Read all cautionary labels before lighting fireworks.
- A responsible adult should supervise all activities.
- Do NOT drink alcohol while using fireworks.
- Light one firework at a time and walk away from it.
- Use fireworks outdoors in an area clear of buildings and trees.
- Always have a water source nearby.
- Never relight a “dud.”
- Soak any used or dud fireworks in water and throw them away in a metal trash can.
- Remember, even sparklers get EXTREMELY hot.
- Veterans groups ask that you consider your neighbors. If you know your neighbor is a combat veteran, check with them before putting on any pyrotechnics.
According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission, an average of 280 people go to the emergency room with fireworks-related injuries each 4th of July. Of those injuries, 53% are burns and 14% come from sparklers. The commission says the age group reporting the most injuries includes people between the ages of 25-44-years-old.
Fire officials say it’s important to remember your pets this time of year too. According to the Wisconsin Humane Society, more pets are lost on July 4th than any other day of the year. Experts say this is because pets can become frightened by the loud noise of fireworks and run off. They advise keeping your pets inside and safe during any displays.
And if something should go awry because of fireworks this holiday, remember, SERVPRO of West Brown County is here for you to help recover from any fire damage. You can call us at 920-434-8224.
Fire Safety for Four-Legged Family Members
Boo, the SERVPRO of West Brown County office dog
We at SERVPRO of West Brown County consider our pets to be part of our families. We suspect most pet owners feel the same way. So, it’s important to consider your four-legged friends when planning for emergency situations. Top among those emergencies are house fires.
According to the United States Fire Administration, about 500,000 pets are affected by fires each year.
The Red Cross says the easiest and most important way you can protect your pets is by including them in your fire plans. That means practicing your escape routes with your pets and training them to come when you call.
As important as our furry friends are, however, you should NEVER waste time during a fire to go looking for your pets. Do NOT put your life or your families lives at risk.
Luckily, there is more you can do to ensure your pets’ safety. You can help firefighters find them by putting a pet alert cling in your front window with the accurate number and types of pets you have written on it. Your local fire department likely has these clings available.
You can also make sure to keep any crated pets close to the door to help firefighters find them right away. In addition, keeping leashes or carriers near the door can help too.
Aside from planning for your pets, the Red Cross says you should also make sure to keep your four-legged friends from STARTING fires.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, about 1,000 pets are responsible for starting house fires each year.
The Red Cross recommends you follow these steps to help prevent a similar situation in your home:
- Keep pets away from open flames like candles or fireplaces. Cats and dog tails can easily knock over lit candles.
- Invest in flameless candles or air fresheners.
- Take knobs off the stove when you’re out of the home.
- Block pets, particularly young pets, from any possible fire-starting materials with crates or baby gates.
We know how much you love your pets. So never underestimate how important it is to make family plans for emergencies and include the furballs in those plans.
And should fire damage ever strike your home, we are here to help you recover. You can call us, day or night, at 920-434-8224.
Clean Your Dryer Vents!
Photo of a dryer lint filter courtesy of FEMA.
A clothes dryer is one of those household conveniences most of us can’t imagine living without. But, if you’re not taking a few simple steps to ensure your dryer is safer, the machine could become a veritable tinder box.
Dryer lint is extremely flammable and if you’re not keeping your dryer clean and well-ventilated, you’re putting your home and yourself at risk.
According to FEMA 2,900 home dryer fires are reported yearly. Those fires cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries and $35 million in property damage each year.
FEMA says 34% of those fires are caused by failure to properly clean the dryer.
Luckily there are a few simple steps you can take to prevent dryer fires.
- Have the dryer installed by a professional in the first place.
- Clean the lint filter before and after each load of laundry and in between cycles, if it needs to run more than once.
- Clean the back of the dryer where lint can build up.
- Clean lint out of the vent pipe once every three months.
- If it’s taking longer than normal for clothes to dry, have a professional inspect it.
- Ensure the venting system behind the dryer is connected and un-damaged.
- Check regularly to make sure things like animal nests are not blocking the outside vent.
- Keep anything flammable away from the dryer.
- Do not leave the dryer running when you leave home or go to bed.
Something as small as a little bit of lint can be easy to overlook, but it can also have big consequences if you do.
So please keep your dryer clean and your home safe!
And should you experience a fire of any kind, remember, we are here to help with cleaning, recovery and reconstruction. Simply give SERVPRO of West Brown County a call at 920-434-8224.
Wildfires: Watches and Warnings
National Weather Service photo of a wildfire
In our last blog post we discussed wildfires. We took a look at how you can help prevent wildfires and how you can protect your property against them.
Now let’s take a look at what you need to know when it comes to the National Weather Service’s (NWS) Watches and warnings for wildfires. Do you know the difference between a red flag warning and a fire weather watch? If not, it’s an important distinction.
Let us break it down for you:
- Fire Weather Watch: According to the NWS, a Fire Weather Watch is when you need to PREPARE, because weather conditions over the next 12 to 48 hours are expected to create a critical risk for wildfires.
- Red Flag Warning: According to the NWS, a Red Flag Warning is when you need to TAKE ACTION, because this is the alert that is sent out when fire conditions are ongoing or are expected to occur within the next 24 hours.
- Extreme Fire Behavior: This is the alert the NWS will put out when an already ongoing wildfire is likely to rage out of control. To send out this alert, one of the following conditions must be met:
- The fire is moving fast.
- There is prolific crowning, meaning the tree canopy is catching on fire, or spotting, which means embers from the main fire are blowing to new areas, starting new fires.
- Presence of fire whirls, which are like tornadoes of flame.
- A strong convection column, which is a column of gases, smoke and ash that is rising out of the wildfire.
Don’t forget, the Wisconsin DNR is another resource you can turn to in order to find out more about the risk of wildfires in your area and how you can work to keep yourself safe.
And if a wildfire leaves its mark on your property, SERVPRO of West Brown County is here to help you recover and rebuild from any flame, smoke or soot damage. Just give us a call at 920-434-8224.
Photo of a wildfire from the Wisconsin DNR
As Smokey Bear says, ‘only you can prevent wildfires.’
And, according to the Wisconsin DNR, spring is the riskiest time of year for wildfires across the state. Summer is a close second in that department.
The DNR says spring is especially dangerous once the snow melts, because even a few days without rain can lead to dry grasses, pine needles, and leaves. Combine those dry fuels with lower humidity, warmer temperatures and blustery winds and you have conditions that can easily create fast moving wildfires.
What Smokey says is certainly true too, because, according to the DNR, 98% of wildfires in Wisconsin are caused by people.
Here are some of the most common causes:
- Burning debris
- Using equipment and vehicles like lawnmowers and ATVs
- Power lines
There are some precautions you, personally, can take to prevent these fires:
- Have water on hand any time you burn or build a campfire.
- Fully put out a burn or campfire by drowning it with water, stirring it, drowning it again and feeling the area with the back of your hand to ensure it’s no longer warm. If it is warm, drown and stir it again!
- Do not use equipment like lawnmowers on especially dry days as they can spark, leading to fires.
- If you see smoke along the railroad tracks, call 911 and report it.
- Do not throw lit cigarettes away outside.
Now, depending on where you live and play, your home or other property could be at risk from wildfires. The DNR says your property is especially vulnerable if it’s in a rural or wooded area surrounded by tall grasses or trees like pines and oaks.
The National Fire Protection Association has named May 5th, 2018 Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. So, now is a good time to know the risk at your own property and take some precautions.
The DNR recommends:
- Rake leaves away from your house and from under your deck.
- Remove leaves and pine needles from your gutters.
- Clear a five-foot zone around your building of any flammable materials.
- Move firewood at least 30 feet from your home.
If you see a Smokey Bear sign in your community, take note of what it says. If Smokey says there’s a risk for fire danger, believe him and take precautions.
And if a wildfire should ever affect your Green Bay area property, SERVPRO of West Brown County is always here for you. We can help clean, restore and rebuild following any damage. Just pick up the phone and call us any time, day or night at 920-434-8224.
What You Need to Know: Generator Safety
Photo of a generator from the Wisconsin Red Cross.
As we’ve been writing recently about severe weather season and preparing for any possible flooding or storms, we thought it might be a good idea to tackle generators.
Generators are always great to have as a backup if your home or business loses power during a storm, but they can pose serious dangers if you’re not careful.
According to the American Red Cross the biggest dangers generators can pose are fires, electrocution and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
The Red Cross has a long list of safety measures to take if you need to use a generator personally.
- Turn the generator off and let it cool before refueling. Hot fuel can spark a fire.
- Keep the generator dry. Do not use in wet conditions.
- NEVER plug a generator into a wall outlet. That puts you and your neighbors at risk of electrocution.
- Read instructions thoroughly to avoid overloading the generator. Also, stagger use to avoid overloads. Overloads can lead to over-heating, which can lead to fires.
- NEVER use a generator inside your home or inside ANY partially enclosed space.
- Don’t put your generator close to windows or vents to avoid letting CO inside your home.
- Put CO detectors up in your home.
- If the CO alarm goes off, leave the building, go outside into fresh air and call 911 for help. Stay outside until help arrives.
Hopefully you won’t need the help of a generator this spring or summer, but if you do, please remember this advice.
And, also remember that if you do experience any fire, storm or water damage issues, West Brown County. Call anytime at 920-434-8224.
Spring into the Season Safely
A photo of a smoke alarm from the CDC.
At SERVPRO of West Brown County we know fires can strike at any time of the day or night. We also know how devastating, even deadly those fires can be.
One great way to protect yourself and your family is to make sure you have working smoke alarms in your home. The key word here is WORKING.
The National Safety Council (NSC) has a spring safety checklist for you to check off when doing your annual spring cleaning. Number one on the list? Check those smoke alarms.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) goes a step further saying smoke alarms SAVE LIVES.
An NFPA study shows:
- A smoke alarm sounds in about half of U.S. home fires on average.
- Three of every five home fire deaths occur in houses where there are no smoke alarms, or no working smoke alarms.
- About 70% of the incidents in which the alarms do NOT sound the batteries are missing, disconnected or dead.
There are simple steps you can and should take this spring to make sure your smoke alarms are ready to go. The NSC advises:
- Test your alarms at least once a month.
- Change you alarm batteries at least once a year.
- If an alarm is making a chirping sound, replace the battery immediately.
- Put alarms up in each bedroom and common room on each floor of your home.
Going hand in hand with smoke alarms are carbon monoxide detectors. The NSC describes carbon monoxide (CO) as an “invisible, odorless gas, and it can kill you.”
The NSC has advice about protecting yourself from CO gas:
- Anything that burns fuel can produce CO.
- Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed outside each bedroom and on every level of your house.
- You should test the batteries monthly and change them yearly.
As we get deeper into spring it’s a good idea to go through this checklist to ensure your family is as safe as possible when it comes to fire and carbon monoxide.
Please protect yourself and if a fire should affect your property, we are here for you. Our SERVPRO team is well-prepared to clean up and provide any necessary reconstruction services. You can reach us at 920-434-8224.
Major Fire Restoration
Major fire damage to a home in the Green Bay area.
A fire can be a devastating event for anyone to experience. The team at SERVPRO of West Brown County understands that and we have seen just how bad that devastation can be.
This photo shows the damage to a home we helped to completely rebuild following a fire in the Green Bay area.
Just about everything was destroyed from the fireplace to the staircase, the dishes in the kitchen to the toilets in the bathrooms. Beautiful antiques were lost in the flames. Ash and soot even reached the parts of the home that were the farthest from the source of the blaze.
Early after the fire happened the homeowner debated whether to have the house demolished or to rebuild instead. They decided to rebuild and called SERVPRO in to do the job.
This was a large-scale residential fire project that required expertise in mitigation, restoration and reconstruction services. The home was completely gutted of all drywall and plaster, flooring materials, cabinetry and all burned or charred structural materials. We also dried out remaining structural components that suffered water damage when the fire department put out the flames with lots of water. Then we replaced the burned and charred structural components, including part of the roof rafters. The electrical and HVAC systems were redone followed by new drywall, paint, flooring, cabinetry, lighting and plumbing fixtures. We even added a new, stone fireplace. On the exterior, we installed new doors, hung new siding and put new shingles in place.
It took team members working tirelessly for several months to complete the restoration. In the end, the home is like brand new
We would never hope for a tragedy like this to affect you and your family, but we do hope if it does, that you’ll call on us to help on the mitigation, restoration and the rebuild. We understand what is lost when something like this happens and we’ll be there for you to lean on.
If you ever need us, please call us at 920-434-8224.
Saumico Smoke and Soot Cleanup
Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Suamico Home.
Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Suamico Home.
Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows 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 West Brown Countywill 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.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 920-434-8224