Archived Fire Damage Blog Posts
Handling the Aftermath: A Guide to Hazardous Chemicals after a Fire and Proper Disposal Methods
Experiencing a fire in your home or business is a devastating event. Aside from the visible damage caused by the flames, there are also hazardous chemicals that can pose a serious threat. After a fire, it's crucial to understand which chemicals are hazardous and how to properly dispose of them. In this blog, we will explore some common hazardous chemicals found after a fire and provide guidelines for their safe disposal.
Soot and Ash
Soot and ash may contain various toxic chemicals, such as carbon monoxide, lead, and asbestos. It's important to avoid direct contact with soot and ash and use protective gear when handling them. To dispose of soot and ash, double-bag them in heavy-duty trash bags and seal them tightly. Dispose of them in a designated hazardous waste disposal facility or follow the local regulations for disposal.
Fire Extinguisher Residue
Fire extinguishers contain different types of chemicals depending on the type of fire they are designed to combat. Some extinguishers contain dry chemicals such as monoammonium phosphate or sodium bicarbonate. After using a fire extinguisher, contact your local fire department or hazardous waste disposal facility to find out how to safely dispose of the residue.
Cleaning Agents and Fire Suppressants
During the firefighting and restoration process, various cleaning agents and fire suppressants are used. These can include chemicals like ammonia, chlorine, or petroleum-based solvents. Proper handling and disposal of these chemicals are crucial. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for any cleaning agents used and contact your local hazardous waste facility for guidance on proper disposal.
Electronic devices, such as computers, laptops, and TVs, can release hazardous chemicals when burned. This includes heavy metals like lead, mercury, and cadmium. It is recommended to contact a certified electronic waste recycling center to properly dispose of burnt electronics. These facilities can safely handle and recycle electronic components while minimizing the environmental impact.
Propane Tanks and Flammable Liquids
Propane tanks and flammable liquids, such as gasoline or paint thinners, can be extremely dangerous after a fire. Do not attempt to handle or dispose of these yourself. Contact your local hazardous waste disposal facility or fire department for assistance. They will have the necessary equipment and expertise to handle and safely dispose of these hazardous materials.
Remember, safety should always be the top priority when dealing with hazardous chemicals after a fire. Wear protective gear, such as gloves and masks, when handling any potentially hazardous materials. If you are unsure about the proper handling or disposal methods for specific chemicals, it's recommended to seek guidance from professionals or contact your local environmental agency.
In conclusion, understanding the hazardous chemicals that can be present after a fire and knowing how to properly dispose of them is crucial for the safety of both individuals and the environment. By following proper disposal procedures and seeking guidance when needed, you can help minimize the risks associated with hazardous chemicals and contribute to a safer and cleaner recovery from a fire incident.
The Commercial Fire Cleanup Process: Restoring Your Business After a Devastating Fire
Experiencing a fire in your commercial property can be a devastating event. The aftermath not only brings physical damage but also disrupts your business operations. In order to resume normalcy as quickly as possible, it is crucial to have a thorough understanding of the commercial fire cleanup process. In this blog post, we will walk you through the essential steps involved in restoring your business after a fire.
The first and most important step in the commercial fire cleanup process is ensuring the safety of everyone involved. Before entering the property, make sure that the fire department has deemed it safe to do so. Be aware of any structural damage, weakened floors or walls, and potential hazards like electrical or gas issues. If there are any concerns about safety, do not attempt to enter the property without professional assistance.
As soon as possible after the fire has been extinguished, contact your insurance provider to report the incident and begin the insurance claim process. Provide them with all the necessary details and documentation, including photos, videos, and an inventory of the damage. Your insurance provider will guide you through the next steps and provide assistance in covering the cost of the cleanup and restoration.
Secure the Property
Next, it is important to secure the property to prevent further damage or unauthorized access. This may involve boarding up windows, covering openings in the roof, or installing temporary fencing around the perimeter. By securing the property, you can protect it from weather elements, vandalism, and theft during the cleanup and restoration process.
Before the actual cleanup begins, it is essential to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the damage. Work with a professional fire restoration company to assess the structural damage, as well as the extent of damage to equipment, inventory, and other assets. Take detailed photographs, videos, and written notes to document the damage for insurance purposes.
Remove Debris and Clean the Property
The next step in the commercial fire cleanup process is the removal of debris and the cleaning of the property. This includes removing charred materials, furniture, equipment, and any unsalvageable items. A professional fire restoration company will have the necessary equipment and expertise to safely remove debris and clean the affected areas. They will also address issues such as smoke damage, soot removal, and odor elimination.
If water was used to extinguish the fire, your property may also have water damage. Water damage restoration is an important step in the commercial fire cleanup process. It involves removing excess water, drying out the affected areas, and addressing any mold or mildew growth that may have occurred as a result of the fire-fighting efforts. Water damage restoration should be performed by professionals to ensure thorough and effective restoration.
Repair and Reconstruction
Once the property has been cleaned and dried, the repair and reconstruction phase can begin. This step involves repairing or replacing damaged structural elements, electrical systems, plumbing, and HVAC systems. It may also involve repainting, re-flooring, and replacing fixtures and furniture. Work closely with your insurance provider and a reputable contractor to ensure that the repairs are done correctly and efficiently.
Before reopening your business, it is important to have the property reinspected to ensure that it is safe for occupancy. Engage the services of a licensed inspector or fire marshal to conduct a thorough inspection. In some cases, you may also need to obtain a certification of occupancy before resuming business operations.
Commercial fire cleanup is a complex and multi-step process that requires careful planning and execution. By following these essential steps, and working with professionals, such as SERVPRO of Fort Collins, you can successfully restore your business after a fire and begin the journey of rebuilding and moving forward. Remember to prioritize safety, document the damage, and engage reputable professionals to ensure a successful cleanup and restoration process.
What Are Soot Webs?
If your in need of fire restoration, give SERVPRO a call today.
After a fire, your home or business might be left with clusters of black webs. They look similar to spider webs but are black or dark grey. These webs are not spider webs, in fact, they are clusters of soot strands. Soot is a fine, black powder created as fire consumes oxygen. Its presence in your home indicates fire and/or smoke damage.
What is soot?
So, what exactly is soot? Soot is a byproduct of combustion. It's also known as a black powdery substance and is made up of carbon and ash. When a fire breaks out in your home or workplace, using an oven, grill, or fireplace; or when a vehicle catches on fire; soot can be found everywhere.
What are soot webs?
Soot webs are a cluster of soot strands that occurs when soot particles clump together during a fire. The resulting webs can be a telltale sign of a fire. While these webs are not spider webs, they do look similar and have the same effect on your home as spider webs would. They can be removed by a professional company like us at SERVPRO of Fort Collins.
Soot web formations are often found in corners, around light fixtures, and in HVAC systems. If you see any signs of soot or smoke damage in your house, don't wait to schedule an inspection with us!
How can you remove soot webs?
Soot webs are a serious problem, and they can be difficult to remove without professional help. Since the presence of soot webs is usually a result of a fire on your property, the best course of action is always to call a fire cleanup expert to assist you with all your fire, soot, and smoke cleanup needs.
- You wear protective gear like gloves and eye protection
- You have someone else with you to help lift the heavy items (like furniture)
- You take all necessary safety precautions when using chemicals
You use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter to remove the dust from your home You thoroughly clean any surfaces that are covered in soot webs
If you see soot webs, they need to be removed by a professional company.
If you see soot webs, they should to be removed by a professional company. Soot can cause significant damage to your home or business. The only way to properly remove the soot is to use a combination of vacuuming, cleaning, and deodorizing. Since it's difficult to get all the soot out of your ceiling or walls when it settles on them, it's important that you call in a professional restoration company. They'll have the experience, equipment, and cleaning solutions to handle the job properly and efficiently.
With all of the information we have provided, you should be able to identify soot webs and know how to remove them. If you are in need of soot cleanup in your home or business, don't hesitate and contact our SERVPRO of Fort Collins team today!
Fire Recovery From Assessment to Restoration
Fort Collins fire cleanup
Here Are The Steps You Can Expect The Restoration Specialists To Take
Flames in your building in Fort Collins, CO, can cause a lot of fire damage. Whether the fire guts most of your building or only affects a certain area, you will need fire mitigation services to repair and restore what is lost, and it's a good idea to have the same company handle the whole process from start to finish. Here are the steps you can expect the restoration specialists to take.
The first thing the mitigation team does when it arrives is assess the damage to your property. Technicians survey not only the area where there is obvious trouble but also the surrounding spaces to investigate for smoke or soot damage. It's a good idea to have a mitigation expert present when your insurance adjuster arrives so that every task needed to restore your building is accounted for in the claim.
In addition to the fire damage caused by the event, your building is also vulnerable to further issues if there are spaces left open that allow vandals, thieves or vermin to enter. Therefore, the team should board up broken windows and any holes left by the fire until those areas can be fully repaired.
It takes a lot of water to put out a fire. Before cleanup can begin, the excess water must be pumped out of the building, and the surfaces need to be dried.
There will be parts of the structure that cannot be salvaged. The first step of the cleanup process is tearing out walls, flooring and ceiling tiles that are too badly damaged to be saved. Then all remaining parts of the structure need to be cleaned and sanitized.
The last thing the team must do is rebuild the structure and restore the affected space to its previous condition. This involves not only replacing everything that was torn out but also painting and matching wallpaper or flooring to what remains.
Fire damage must be mitigated before your building can be restored. A team that does both helps the process go smoothly.
How To Avoid a Home Fire When Grilling
A grill fire that spreads to a home in Fort Collins, CO, can be a devastating event.
Avoid a Disaster When Cooking Outdoors
Grilling at home is something that nearly everyone enjoys and that can be done safely with a few precautions. Now and then a grill fire breaks out and more often than not the only casualty is the food on the grill. However, if a person is not careful or does something unwise, the fire can get out of control and involve the home. Keeping the following things in mind should avoid a disaster when cooking outdoors:
- Do not cook too close to the home
- Do not operate the grill near flammable items such as a gas can
- Never operate a faulty grill
- Secure the connections from the gas tank to the grill
- Never leave the grill unattended
It is a good idea to clean the grill on a regular basis. This keeps oils and fats to a minimum and avoids the flaring up of flames.
What To Do During a Barbeque Fire
It is important to keep calm. Panic only makes things worse. So long as you are not too close to your home and there is nothing combustible nearby, the grill fire should stay contained. If it is not too hot, turn off the burners and then turn off the line from the gas tank. In a short time, the fire will simply go out. It is a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case the fire gets serious. You might ruin your food, but you could save your home.
What To Do After a Home Fire
A grill fire that spreads to a home in Fort Collins, CO, can be a devastating event. Calling a professional fire remediation company can help you recover quickly. A trained team will have the experience and the resources to put your home back together again. Fire, soot, and smoke damage will soon be a thing of the past. The repair and restoration process is completed with as little disruption as possible to your family.
3 Tips on Pet Fire Safety
In case of a fire remember to include a 72-hour kit for each pet.
Pet Fire Safety
Emergency personnel worldwide agree that a carefully devised fire escape plan is necessary for all homeowners. Not only is it critical to account for your human family members, but preparing a plan for your animals is important as well. Follow these simple steps to keep your household pets safe in the event of a fire emergency.
When practicing your fire escape plan, make sure to include your pets. Pet preparation is essential, so ensure you have the proper precautions in place for your furry friends:
- Emergency supply kit
- Collar with name and contact information
- A place to stay if evacuation is required
Make it a routine to grab your pets when you gather your family and head out the door during a fire drill. Repeating actions help make your escape feel second nature when panic ensues.
2. Pet-Proof Your Home
Family pets are often responsible for igniting house fires. Pet-proofing your house in Fort Collins, CO, ensures both pet safety and fire prevention.
Many animals possess incredibly inquisitive natures. As such, they curiously investigate any open flame, stove knob, or culinary appliance. Avoid a fire emergency or the need for fire damage assessment by pet-proofing your kitchen and smothering any candles or open flames before leaving the house.
If you are the proud owner of a puppy or another young pet, keep it secure in a gated room or crate when you are away. Baby animals' mischief knows no bounds, so ensure both of your safety by keeping them enclosed and away from fire hazards.
3. Cooperate With Firefighters
Make firefighters' jobs uncomplicated by providing them easy access to your pets. Keeping your animals close to an entrance ensures their safe recovery in the event of a fire. Furthermore, place leashes and collars in locations that are simple to find. Entry closets or garages are handy places where emergency workers may look to locate pet paraphernalia.
With practice and preparation, you can avoid the catastrophes created by a housefire. Always include pets in your fire emergency plan to keep your entire household safe and secure.
How To Create a Fire Evacuation Plan for Your Business
Make sure that your employees are aware of all the exits in the building.
Fire Escape Plan for Your Business
In the event of a fire, having a reliable plan in place that everyone in your business is a part of is crucial. Be sure to communicate the plan explicitly and have all of your employees practice it to ensure that everyone knows what to do in case of a real fire. To help you get started, here are some essential components of an effective fire escape plan for your business in Fort Collins, CO.
To establish order in your business in the event of a fire, there needs to be a clear list of responsibilities that must be taken care of. Some of the fundamental roles that you should assign to your employees include:
- Chief supervisor
- Assistant supervisor
- Floor monitor
- Route guide
The supervisors can help alert the other employees and call the fire department, and the floor monitor and route guide can take on the job of making sure everyone is out of the building. Giving these roles to the employees you believe are the best fit can keep things running as smoothly as possible.
A critical requirement of a good fire escape plan is mapping out clearly defined evacuation routes throughout your building. Make sure that your employees are aware of all the exits in the building so they can turn to the closest one in the event of a fire. It is also a good idea to designate an area outdoors where everyone can meet after evacuating, as this can help confirm that everyone is out of the building.
Inspect Fire Equipment
Your emergency escape plan will be futile if your fire equipment isn’t functioning properly. Check all of the emergency tools in your building and confirm that they are up-to-date. Be sure to cover everything, including fire alarms, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting and fire doors. Having effective equipment can alert everyone promptly and help to facilitate your evacuation plan.
A fire escape plan is important, but a real incident can leave you with devastating damage. A fire restoration professional can help your business be up and running again “Like it never even happened.”
A Guide to Buying Home Fire Extinguishers
Types of fires you can put out.
Fire Preparedness Plan
A fire extinguisher in your Fort Collins, CO, home could mean the difference between a cautionary tale you tell for years and a tragedy. Your fire preparedness plan should include placing an extinguisher in an easy-to-reach spot, especially in the kitchen where many home fires start.
A:B:C on the Label
All extinguishers are classified, and home devices have an A, B, or C designation. Many have a combination of the designations. The labels indicate the types of fires you can put out.
• Class A: appropriate for paper, trash, and wood
• Class B: grease and flammable liquids
• Class C: Electrical appliances and equipment, including live electricity
Other designations are appropriate for warehouses and commercial kitchens.
Strength in the Numbers
Each letter on the label is paired with a number. For example, on a multipurpose extinguisher, you may see: 3-A:40-B:C. The numbers are assigned by the Underwriters Laboratories and describe how effective the fire extinguisher is against specific fires. A 4-A rating indicates a stronger impact against ordinary combustibles than a 3-A. It's normal for the C designation to appear without a number. The designation means that the chemicals within the canister won't conduct electricity. Keep in mind that as these numbers increase, so will the prices.
Weight and Size Matters
After choosing appropriate class designations and strengths, turn your focus to the size of the devices. A portable 2-pound extinguisher is perfect for your car and often comes with hardware to secure it in place. For a home fire, you may want to consider a 5-pound canister for the kitchen or laundry room. A larger model may be best for your garage or workshop. You may even want to consider a stove-top version that pops open to shower baking soda over fires that happen while you're cooking. Before jumping directly to the biggest device, don't forget to factor in your ability to maneuver it during an emergency.
The National Fire Protection Association experts recommend a fire extinguisher for each floor of your home. Turn to home fire remediation professionals to identify each area of the home where fires could happen, and which appropriate device will protect against a fire in your home.