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Top Causes of Kitchen Fires and How to Prevent Them

9/16/2019 (Permalink)

A cast iron skillet sits on a stove with a large fire burning in it. Knowing how to properly cook with oil can prevent causing a kitchen fire.

Every year there are thousands of house fires across America. Some of them claim lives, while others just do thousands of dollars of damage. Fires can usually be prevented, and many of them can be prevented in the kitchen. Here’s a few tips to help prevent kitchen fires.

The leading cause of kitchen fires is leaving cooking food unattended on the stove. Life has a way of keeping us busy, and as our lives progress, they get busier and busier. Finding the time to cook a meal in the kitchen is not always so easy to come by, and while we’re doing so, it’s easy to become distracted. It may be tempting to leave the stove unattended while you watch a video, but in a matter of minutes, your cooking could catch fire and cause a disaster. Protein fires can cause a horrid odor to linger, and it’s almost impossible to know when you’ve cleaned everything after one. Be alert, and don’t use the stove if you’re sleepy or have consumed alcohol.

Certain foods are combustible when they get hot. Some of these foods are things such as flour, oil, alcohol, sugar, garlic, and fatty meats. When cooking with oil, you should heat the oil slowly. If you see any smoke or the oil smells, it’s an indication that the oil is too hot. Immediately turn off the burner to let it cool down. Remove as much moisture as possible from the food going to be fried before putting it in hot oil. Do not put frozen foods into hot grease. Add food gently to prevent splatter. If oil should splatter, be sure to clean it up when safe to do so to prevent potential fire hazards for future cooking. Keep a lid near the pan you're cooking with so that it is accessible if a fire starts. In case of a grease fire, do not under any circumstances try to put it out with water or flour, and do not try to move the pan. Water and oil do not mix, and flour will explode in a violent fireball. Instead, if the fire is small and containable, smother it by placing a lid over the pan or extinguish it with a fire extinguisher. If the fire is uncontainable, immediately evacuate and call 911.

Some people may think wearing an apron is a faux pas, but they actually serve a very important safety role. Wearing loose clothing while cooking can be a fire and cooking hazard, and while aprons not only keep your clothes clean, they tie back your clothing to keep it out of the way. Tying back long hair is another good rule of kitchen and cooking safety. Not only does it keep it out of the way of catching fire, but it keeps your hair from getting in your food.

The final safety tip is to keep a clean kitchen. Having cluttered counters is a fire hazard in itself. Keep things like food packaging, paper products, fabric potholders and towels, and other flammable items away from the stove and properly put up. Keep the stove top clean and free of any food pieces from past meals or oil splatters and spills.

Kitchen safety while cooking is an important responsibility. In a matter of seconds, a fire can start, and if not contained, can become a blaze within minutes. Practicing good kitchen safety can save you thousands of dollars in fire damage and fire restoration costs, or in some cases, your life. Keep these tips in mind the next time you cook.

Tips to Improve Home Fire Safety

9/9/2019 (Permalink)

An adult man and woman stand holding each other while watching a white house burn. While you'll more than likely evacuate your home in case of a fire, a fire extinguisher can help extinguish flames possibly blocking your exit.

Did you know that many fires can be avoided by having active fire prevention methods in place? It may seem obvious, but not all preventative measures may be as obvious as you think. Here are some ways you can help keep you and your home safe from fires.

The first way that you can help to prevent home fires is to familiarize yourself with the different kinds of smoke detectors that are on the market. There are two kinds of smoke detectors on the market, ionization and photoelectric. Ionization smoke detectors are best used for detecting the smoke that is given off from flaming fires where the photoelectric smoke detector is best for detecting the smoke particles given off from smoldering fires. The National Fire Protection Association will tell you that most deaths in home fires are due to smoke inhalation. However, since each alarm is equipped to detect different types of fires, and there is no way to determine which kind of fire will break out in a home, it is best to purchase both. Smoke detectors should be installed on every floor of your home, inside bedrooms, and outside sleeping areas. Remember to test your smoke detectors monthly and change batteries as needed.

The second tip is to have a fire extinguisher. Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher. It’s a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, laundry room, nearby to water heaters and breaker boxes, and nearby to grills and other potential fire hazards. If a blaze were to break out in your home, you’re probably going to evacuate rather than attempt to fight the fire, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep a fire extinguisher in your home. It’s better to have one and not need it than to need it and not have it, and in a fire where flames block the exit, a fire extinguisher can make all the difference.

Another good fire tip is to have a fire escape plan. Every home should have a fire evacuation plan, and you need to practice it a few times a year, especially if you have children. There’s nothing more tragic than a family escaping a burning home only to have someone run back into the house because they think someone is still inside, when really, they were safe somewhere else. Make sure everyone in your family knows the evacuation plan and knows where the family is supposed to meet. Explain the value of staying at the meeting place and waiting there and practice the plan frequently.

These are just a few good tips to practicing fire safety, but there’s plenty more. Remember, if a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL FOR HELP.

What to Do After A Storm

9/9/2019 (Permalink)

Fallen trees lay around and on a brick house which has a dipping roof and broken window from the tree on it. Be careful of broken glass when inspecting home or business damage after a storm.

When storm damage is mentioned, the mind typically thinks hurricanes and tornadoes. For our area though, storm damage can range from tornadoes and heavy thunderstorms to heavy snowfall and ice storms. Storms can change everything in the blink of an eye. They can cause destruction to your home or office, and poor restoration can leave you with an unhealthy home for your family. As challenging as recovery can be, you can take comfort in the fact that many have gone through similar experiences. This makes finding the direction you need a little easier. If you know what to expect and learn all you can before a storm hits, you’ll be more prepared to restore things to normal as quickly as possible. But before you begin inspecting the damage to your home or business, there’s a few things you should keep in mind.

Watch out for hazards such as broken glass or exposed nails and screws. Keep a pair of shoes by your bed in case you should need to evacuate a damaged house in the middle of the night. Always assume that downed power lines are energized and dangerous. Stay at least 10 feet away and notify the police and electric company. If you should begin inspecting the damage to your house at night, always use a flashlight rather than a candle (or anything with an open flame). This will alleviate the risk of a fire or explosion from a damaged gas line. If you do smell gas—or suspect a leak—shut off the main gas line, open the windows, and immediately go outside. Notify the gas company and the proper authorities of the situation and don’t return until they’ve deemed your home to be safe.

Your roof is the most susceptible to costly damage. If a tree limb or other heavy debris fell on your roof during a storm, your home might have structural damage, so be cautious. Roof damage can cause water damage to your home and belongings and become a more costly problem over time. After a storm, you should check your roof for holes, split seams, missing shingles, bruised or dented asphalt shingles, and cracked or broken tile, slate, or concrete shingles. You should also check for granules collecting in gutters and downspouts, leaks in your roof or ceiling, and dents on vents, gutters, or flashing.

Windows and doors are vulnerable to wind damage and flying debris. Inspect your windows for cracks, holes, broken panes and damaged frames. Watch out for shards of glass and be sure to board up broken windows until they can be fixed. Look for damage to siding, paint, bricks and other exterior surfaces of your home. Also check outdoor appliances, like air conditioning units. You’re looking for dings, dents, cracks, splitting, holes, breaks chipping and discoloration. As safely as you can, secure yourself and remove debris from roof, gutters and make sure downspouts are intact to continue to divert water away from your property. If there was extended power outages and you have a sump pump, you may have standing water in your basement. Remember, do not step into standing water without first making sure power is turned off to avoid the risk of electrocution. Re-engage the sump pump to discharge water from the area or call a plumber if the pump is damaged.

After a storm of any kind, you may need a board up service to help prevent more damage and to secure your property. Don’t hesitate to call SERVPRO of Baxter, Boone, Fulton, & Marion Counties to board up your home or business when storm disaster strikes.

How to Spot Water Damage

9/3/2019 (Permalink)

A white wall with brown coloring of water damage and large spots of black colored mold. If you don't catch water damage quick enough, it can turn into a real, moldy, mess!

Houses are a large investment, and in order to protect that investment, you should be on the look out for potential problems and fix them before they worsen and cause a potential disaster. One of the potential problems to watch out for is water damage. But how does one go about finding water damage and potential problems related to water? It’s easier than you think!

The first step is to check your floors. No matter what kind of flooring you have, it will develop signs of water damage. For tile and wood, you want to look for cracking, buckling, and warping, and for carpet look for damp spots, gradual rises, soft spots, and the smell of mold and dampness.

Next, check for stains. Water stains on flooring around bathtubs, sinks, and toilets or water stains on ceilings or walls are an obvious sign of water damage; and unusual stains could indicate a leaky pipe or drain in the wall. Speaking of walls, cracked drywall or areas of drywall that look swollen and feel soft to the touch could also signify trouble. Peeling paint can also signify water damage, as paint loses adhesion when drywall gets wet.

Thirdly, you should check the outside of your home. Check for standing pools of water that could indicate poor drainage in your yard, gutters that aren’t carrying water far enough away from the house or leaking and clogged gutters. These could be a serious concern for your house’s foundation. Additionally, you should check for signs of water damage to your roof. Common signs of roof water damage are pools of water, cracked, curled, or missing shingles, or broken flashing.

Finally, watch out for rust and mold. Inspect your water heater for rust on the tank or water on the floor, as rust spots could indicate a slow leak. Corrosion around pipe connections could be caused by water seepage as well. Visual signs of active mold growth means there’s moisture in contact with microscopic mold spores; often in the tiny nooks and crannies of your home. But don’t rely solely on sight when looking for mold! When water stagnates, mold and bacteria can grow, and produces a musty, unpleasant smell.

If you should find yourself in need of water or storm damage restoration or mold remediation, call the professionals at SERVPRO of Baxter, Boone, Fulton, & Marion Counties today! And let us make it “Like it never even happened.”

How to Prevent Water Related Losses

9/3/2019 (Permalink)

A kitchen with its wood flooring taken up. A refrigerator sits to the left, and a large spot of wet subfloor is exposed. Water damage from a dishwasher.

Water losses and water damage can be the costliest type of damage that a property can experience. But through proper maintenance and precautions, water losses can be avoided. In this blog, we’ll highlight just a few ways that you can prevent your home or business from being a victim of water damage.

Many water losses happen when people go out of town for a while or leave a vacation home. This is because most people don’t think to turn the water off when they leave for an extended amount of time, which can lead to disaster! Burst pipes, ruptured washer hoses, and other water supply mishaps can wreak havoc on your home or vacation home. If you plan to travel out of town or leave an unoccupied vacation home, turn off the water and have someone you trust check the house every few days in case of water leaks. Catching it fast is always better than weeks or months down the road!

Having your plumbing system regularly maintained is a great way to avoid water loss. Having lower water pressure can prolong the life of your plumbing system by making it easier on pipe joints, faucets, and appliance valves. Avoid using chemical drain-clearing products and soften your water. Chemicals can erode cast-iron drainpipes and hard water creates mineral deposits than can clog pipes and cause them to break. You should also have a plumber come in and snake your sewer lines every few years. This will keep them clear of tree roots that eventually make their way into your sewer system that can cause nasty sewage backups.

The exterior of your home is just as important as the interior, however. Proper roof maintenance is important to prevent roof leaks that can cause damage to many parts of a home or business. You should also check gutters and make sure they’re clean and free of leaves and debris. Make sure that water is being carried far enough away from your house so that it doesn’t eat away at the foundation. A swampy yard can also cause problems and should be dealt with quickly to save your foundation from possible cracks and erosion. Bad foundations can lead to flooded basements and other problems.

These tips will help you avoid water losses in your home or business, but should you have one, you can always count on SERVPRO of Baxter, Boone, Fulton, & Marion Counties to help you make it “Like it never even happened.”

Why You Should Choose SERVPRO After A Fire Loss

7/30/2019 (Permalink)

Even if a fire didn't get too out of hand, attempting to clean it yourself can cause more damage than it helps.

After a small fire in the home or business that only generated smoke and soot damage, you may think it would be easy to take care of the cleanup yourself without ever getting the insurance agency involved. But it’s hard to know where all to check and clean after a fire for soot. Likewise, textiles can’t just be washed with your standard laundry detergent. Many people try to clean up after a small fire themselves, and often end up ruining their contents rather than fixing them.

At SERVPRO of Baxter, Boone, Fulton, & Marion Counties, our certified fire technicians are professionally trained to know just where to look for soot and smoke damage. Our cleaning process is extensive to make sure we get every speck of soot out of your house. We use our very own special chemicals to clean soot and smoke off your contents, specially made for fire restoration cleaning. SERVPRO of Baxter, Boone, Fulton, & Marion Counties is also able to clean textiles such as clothes, couches, and carpets.

While the temptation may be there to do the cleaning yourself, it’s worth it to hire a professional restoration and cleanup company such as SERVPRO of Baxter, Boone, Fulton, & Marion Counties to clean your contents and structure after a fire.

Rely on SERVPRO for Quick and Efficient Flood Damage Restoration Services

7/15/2019 (Permalink)

Severe rainstorms can leave significant damage to your home, call SERVPRO to properly and quickly remediate the damage.

It is more common than you might think for severe rainstorms to cause significant damage to your property. High-winds and massive amounts of water easily penetrate roofing materials, light fixtures, and make their way into lower levels of your home. 

Whether you have experienced flood damage in your home before or not, you can benefit from having a local restoration expert inspect your property. Our technicians are IICRC certified and provide you with solutions to help protect or restore your home.

SERVPRO has access to a variety of equipment that makes removing a large volume of water as quick and efficient as possible. With experience dealing with events like this in all shapes and sizes, our personnel can have your home water-free, safely returning water levels to normal sooner than you might think possible.

SERVPRO checks for immediate hazards and helps you locate hidden dangers. It is our job to help you avoid costly repairs, limiting your losses before tragedy strikes. However, if you find yourself in the middle of an emergency, needing immediate help, our technicians are available 24/7 to assist.

We can take control of existing damage, perform any necessary repairs, and get you on the road to recovery fast. With access to water extractors of all shapes and sizes, advanced drying equipment and professionals trained in cleaning and odor removal methods our cleaning and restoration services help you make the most of a dangerous situation.

SERVPRO of Baxter, Boone, Fulton & Marion Counties has qualified professionals ready to assist. Contact us for additional information or to schedule your home’s restoration, today. (870) 424-0296 – (866) 445-8457.

Storms can Bring Water Damage into Your Home through Open Windows or Worse

7/15/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage from an Open Window

Storm damage from an open window

Warm weather can make it tempting to leave windows open so that fresh breezes can pull pleasant scents inside from the great outdoors. Having blooming flowers nearby can perfume your home naturally and help raise oxygen levels in your home, also. Storms that replenish these plants can cause problems for homeowners, though, when windows stay open and rainwater leaks inside. Other situations can cause homes to sustain storm damage. These include strong winds or trees that fall onto the roof, letting rain collect in the upper area of your residence. Patio doors can also provide a way for rain to splash up and onto the floor. Water damage around and under windowsills can affect wooden frames and cause them to swell, making it difficult to open and close. Metal frames can rust and flake off paint. Cleaning these areas can make metal frames functional again, while wooden ones may require the installation of replacements. We perform this work according to accepted standards to ensure our customers that their home becomes safe again. Dangerous entryways make themselves known quickly, while similar areas under windows can permit easier access to outside pests. Keeping your home safe for you and unwelcoming to vermin and insects helps protect your family and guests. The technicians of SERVPRO of Baxter, Boone, Fulton & Marion Counties want to help your family live in a safe, dry home, free of the problems rainwater can cause when it enters your home. Residents with such dilemmas can get these issues resolved quickly by calling us at (866) 445-8457. Our number is always available, every day of the year, and we perform water extraction and clean-up services for all types of water damage, regardless of the source.

Have you found Mold in Your Business, Learn Your Options?

6/21/2019 (Permalink)

Mold is something you don't want to tackle on your own. Our team is available 24/7 to assist with mold remediation services.

Nothing is standard when it comes to mold damage remediation since different areas have different contamination levels. If it is a small section of your business premises that have contamination, we must contain the area to ensure the spores do not disperse to uncontaminated areas. If air vents are supplying and returning from the site, we must block them. Putting the site under negative pressure can also limit the movement of spores in your business. 

The type of material or surface the mold is growing on determines the remediation technique we use to remove the mold contamination from your business. If our SERVPRO technicians notice there is active mold on porous items such as insulation, carpeting, fabrics, and drywall, we have to remove the material from the site. If carpets and some of your upholstered furniture are not extremely contaminated, we may perform steam cleaning with the aim of cleaning them. We do not perform wet vacuuming on porous items since some mold fragments can remain within the item. The type of material or surface the mold is growing on determines the mold damage remediation technique we use to remove the contamination. We can damp-wipe nonporous materials such as metals, glass, and plastics using a disinfectant. If the mold is not firmly attached to such items, we can clean them using HEPA vacuuming. Our SERVPRO team can scrub wooden floors and use a wood floor cleaner when cleaning wooden floors. Some of the methods we use when cleaning semi-porous materials such as concrete and wood include wire brushing, damp wiping, and sanding. Wood that has undergone rotting weakens and should be removed and replaced. Once we complete cleaning, we give the mold spores time to settle before we can repeat the cleaning process. Also, cleaning takes place from the upper parts of a structure towards its bottom parts.

Locally Owned Company with National Resources

SERVPRO of Baxter, Boone, Fulton & Marion Counties located in Mountain Home, AR. We are always available to respond to your concerns, call us at (866)445-8457 to know your options.

Approaches That Help Save Important Items during Water Removal in your Home.

6/21/2019 (Permalink)

When water damage affects electronics and other items in your home, it is time to contact SERVPRO for effective remediation efforts

When water overflows into a property, it does not discriminate, and any item within reach is submerged. However, the damage it causes in different items within the affected area varies. There are items ruined within just a few minutes of exposure to the water. Others can only be ruined if left submerged for extended periods. Finally, some items might not exhibit any signs of damage after the exposure but develop problems later on. It is necessary to follow the right procedures to save valuable items in your home after a water loss incident.   You should pay serious attention to electronics during water removal. If they end up submerged, you might incur huge losses. The issue with most electronics is that even a few minutes underwater can ruin them. In addition to this, the items might continue functioning normally then exhibit signs of damage long after the loss. Our SERVPRO technicians can help you save electronics exposed to water. We remove the items from the affected areas or cover them with plastic sheets if it is not possible to move them. Such actions limit further exposure.   Another prized item in many households is clothes. Property flooding can ruin clothes in different ways. The most straightforward way is the transfer of stains from the dark to the bright colored clothes. You can prevent this by separating the clothes immediately after you detect flooding in the closet. Contaminants in the water and the surfaces where you place the clothes can also stain them.

The water might also affect documents and important books within the home. It is possible to limit the extent of damage by choosing the right removal procedure. Our SERVPRO technicians rely on sublimation methods to save the documents. The method works by changing solids to vapor directly without passing through liquid stages. For this to work, we have to find the damaged documents within 24 hours and freeze them within 48 hours.   You can save your items from unnecessary damages in case of water loss. Call SERVPRO of Baxter, Boone, Fulton & Marion Counties in Mountain Home, AR. We are available 24/7 toll free at (866) 445-8457.