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How to Prepare Your Plumbing for Cooler Weather

10/9/2019 (Permalink)

A water pipe with frozen icicles hanging from it. Insulating pipes can help prevent them from freezing.

As we move into the cooler months of the year, water losses become an even larger threat. Temperatures will start dropping soon, but the threat of pipes freezing and bursting become higher. But there’s a few things you can do to prepare your plumbing for winter and colder temperatures.

One thing you can do to prepare your home is to turn off outside faucets. This can be done at their shutoff valve. Open the faucet then open the bleeder cap on the shutoff valve to drain any water out of the pipe. If you don’t drain the pipe, it can still freeze and crack. Leave the bleeder cap open with a bucket underneath to catch any drips. If the dripping continues, your shutoff valve needs to be replaced. Installing frost-free sill cocks also help to prevent frozen pipes. Unlike a typical faucet, the working parts of a frost-free sill cock— valve, seat and washer—are located up to 18 in. inside the wall instead of right at the faucet. When the sill cock is properly installed, with a slight downward pitch, water drains from the pipe every time you turn off the knob at the faucet. You should also remove any hoses that are connected to faucets. Leaving hoses connected to a faucet in winter can allow water to freeze that’s left inside the hose and back up into the pipe and cause it to crack. Disconnect all hoses from their faucets, drain them and store them for the winter. Covering hose bibs with insulated covers help to slow the heat loss from a pipe as it travels through the wall out into the cold.

The next step is to insulate any vulnerable pipes to keep them from getting too cold. One way you can contribute to their insulation is to install a heat cable. Heat cables are a perfect solution for vulnerable pipes. They have an integral thermostat that senses pipe temperature, turning the heat on and off as needed to keep the pipe from freezing. You’ll need an accessible outlet to plug in the cable.  If you have pipes in an unheated area, such as a crawl space, an attic or a garage, use heat cable and cover it with pipe insulation. Pipe insulation alone does little, as it’s only a matter of time before cold air can reach the frozen pipes. In fact, insulating pipes without also using heat cable can prevent warm air from getting to them. You should also be sure to seal around rim joists to stop cold air intrusion. Seal cracks or holes using expandable foam and then insulate between the floor joists. Be sure that you don’t insulate a pipe from the heat in the rest of the house. Also, inspect around holes where cables, wires or pipes pass through an exterior wall. Insulate where you can, and seal drafts with caulk or expandable foam. After insulating, be sure you have combustion air for the furnace coming in through a makeup air pipe.

There’s a few other tips to discuss for helping your home for winter and preventing water losses as well. If you go out of town for the holidays, be sure to turn off your water while you’re away. As a general rule, if you’re leaving town for a few days or more, turn the water off at the main shutoff. That way, if frozen pipes do crack, you’ll have far less damage. Shut off your automatic ice maker so it doesn’t continually try to make ice, burning out the motor. Even if the ice bin is full, the ice will evaporate, and the ice maker will try to make more. If you have water lines in the garage, insulate the garage door, if not the whole garage. Consider a combination of heat cable and insulation as well. If it’s really cold, put a portable heater in the garage, but be careful to follow instructions and place it in a safe place with no fire or safety hazards. During a sudden cold snap, you should remember to leave your indoor faucets running just a little bit to prevent the pipes from freezing. A trickling faucet acts as a relief valve for the pressure that builds up if frozen pipes do occur. That pressure relief can prevent frozen pipes from cracking. A slow trickle is all you need. It’ll bump up your next water bill a bit, but compared with major home repairs, that’s an easy price to pay. Don’t leave a faucet running if the drain is on an exterior wall, though; the drain can freeze, causing the sink to overflow. Opening cabinet doors also allows heat to get to pipes under sinks and helps prevent them from freezing. Being behind closed doors, kitchen plumbing frozen pipes are vulnerable, as the heat from the rest of the house can’t reach them. Open the cabinet doors to allow heat to circulate into the cabinets. A fan or portable heater pointed inside the cabinet also helps circulate warm air. Just be sure to avoid fire and safety hazards by moving your household chemicals somewhere away from the heat. Keeping the temperature inside your home steady is also a good idea. What constitutes a cold snap depends on your climate and your home’s insulation. A temperature of 32 degrees F isn’t cause for alarm in Minnesota, but it might be in Mississippi. So during extreme cold, bypass your thermostat’s program and leave the temperature steady. You may even want to turn it up a couple of degrees.

Keep these tips in mind as the colder months grow closer. Making habit of these practices can help to save you tons of money on a water loss in the future. And if disaster should happen to strike, you can always count on SERVPRO of Baxter, Boone, Fulton, & Marion Counties to make it “Like it never even happened.”

How to Lower Fire Risks in Your Business

10/9/2019 (Permalink)

A business burns in the background. Firefighters stand in the foreground and another firefighter sprays water on the fire. Sprinkler systems can help stop fires from spreading and getting out of hand.

As a business owner, you never want to think about what would happen if a fire or flood should strike. A fire can cause severe damage to business equipment, materials, and structures. As a business owner, focusing on fire risk assessment, fire prevention, and staff education can help reduce your chance of fire and smoke damage. Here are some tips to help prevent fires in your business.

The first thing is to look around your business and find potential fire hazards. The National Fire Protection Association offers handbooks and other publications on the fire safety code in place for businesses. If your local government offers it, a visit from a fire marshal is a great step for your fire prevention plan. If a marshal visit isn't available, ask for workplace fire risk assessment guidance from your building's property manager.

Having the proper fire protection equipment in your business is essential to prevent fires. Automatic sprinkler systems are a great way to prevent fires from causing too much damage and will provide primary fire protection. Standard fire safety practices call for smoke detectors and fire extinguishers on every floor. There’s more than one type of smoke detector, so be sure and do your research to know what type is best for your business. All employees should be aware of the locations of fire extinguishers on each floor in case they should need access to one. The most recommended type of extinguisher is a multipurpose extinguisher, which will douse most small fires with ease without shorting out your electronics. It is also recommended you equip your employees with an emergency kit stocked with items like bottled water, a flashlight, and an escape mask to fight against smoke inhalation in case of a fire.

Not only are your employees part of your team, they’re also essential assets to your business. You want to ensure their safety as best as you can, and that includes in the event of a fire. Make sure your employees know what to do if there's a fire, including calling 911 immediately. Conduct a fire drill at least once a year to keep employees aware of your workplace fire safety protocol. Designate a person as your office’s fire prevention officer. Their duties will include composing escape routes and meeting points for employees, as well as keeping all your safety plans, equipment, and information updated. If your office doesn’t have one, installing a sprinkler system is cost effective and the best way to fight the spread of a fire in a business. Properly installed and maintained systems are 95% effective according to the National Fire Protection Association in stopping and preventing fires. Be sure to leave some room behind appliances that heat up, like coffee machines and computers, to allow them to cool down. Keep all your business appliances away from combustible materials, like paper or cloth. If possible, unplug these appliances at the end of the day as most business fires occur after typical operating hours. Make sure to check cords on appliances and other electronic devices and replace them as needed. Use one extension cord per outlet and follow manufacturer recommendations for maximum wattage when using power strips. Avoid “octopus wiring,” when wires and plugs clutter around one outlet, as it could lead to an overload. In larger buildings, post a fire evacuation plan in several spots around the workplace. Never include elevators in an evacuation plan; always use the stairs. Businesses with disabled employees should develop a detailed evacuation for those employees needing additional assistance in an emergency. In case of fire injuries, your employees should be familiar with the location of the first-aid kit, which should be kept where possible hazards can occur most, such as in the kitchen.

While fire prevention can help cut down your risk of fire, it doesn’t mean they still can’t strike any time. If your business should have a fire strike, trust the restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Baxter, Boone, Fulton, & Marion Counties. We’ll make it “Like it never even happened.”

How to Prevent Water Losses in Your Business

10/8/2019 (Permalink)

A brick wall in a basement leaking water. A few inches of standing water is seen at the bottom of the picture. Properly extended downspouts can help prevent water from seeping through and damaging foundations.

Water losses in a business can be a devastating blow. Not only can it be costly, but it can slow or even shut down your business while mitigation and repairs are in progress. Whether it's sending employees home for the cleanup or losing equipment and records, water damage will inevitably cause your business to take a hit. So how do you keep your business from being a target of water damage?

For starters, determining where water damage might come from can really help to prevent water damage in the workplace. Check any appliances in your business. Dishwashers, refrigerators, washing machines, and air conditioning units should be checked often. Appliances that produce condensation often rust, increasing the chances of a leak. Water supply hoses may also develop leaks and should be checked as well. Pipes and drains should be kept clear of clogs and stoppages to prevent overflowing appliances and sewage backups. Kitchen sinks can become stopped up by grease and roots can grow into pipelines and sewage lines, creating stoppages and clogs. In the winter, pipes can freeze, burst, and cause damage to the building and any contents inside. Roofing should be checked for any missing, damaged, or deteriorating roofing materials. Inadequate attic insulation and ventilation can also speed up the process of a roof’s decay and contribute to the formation of ice dams. Ice dams can cause water damage to ceilings, walls, and floors through a leaky roof.

So now that you know the usual suspects of water damage, how can you help to prevent a water loss? For interior problems, examine your equipment and appliances. If you see something that worries you, it’s time to do something about it. There are many things you can do to prevent water losses. Making sure water supply hose connections are secure to things like dishwashers, ice makers, refrigerators, washing machines, and other appliances can save money and prevent water losses related to leaks or faulty connections. Check and replace washing machine hoses every 3-5 years or sooner if they’re bulging, cracking, or show signs of other deterioration. Consider replacing rubber hoses with stainless-steel braided hoses for increased durability and longevity. For additional peace of mind, consider a stainless-steel braided hose with a built-in auto-shutoff mechanism. Re-caulking and re-grouting sinks, showers, and tubs and replacing leaking shower pans and loose or missing tiles can help prevent water from seeping into places it shouldn’t. Follow the recommended maintenance procedures for all appliances and equipment. This includes periodically draining a portion of the water out of the water heater to flush out the sediment in the bottom of the tank. Regular maintenance should also be performed on your HVAC system to prevent deposit clogs in the air conditioner pan drain lines. When the weather turns cold, a trickle of water from both hot and cold faucets may help prevent frozen pipes. Another good idea is to open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls. It’s also highly recommended you insulate pipes that are exposed to freezing temperatures or drafts, such as those located in garages and basements to help reduce the chance of leaks from frozen pipes.

There are some things you can do to the exterior of your business as well to prevent water damage. If your roof has sustained damage, hire a professional roofing contractor to repair deteriorating or damaged roofing materials promptly.  Keep your gutters, downspouts, and eaves clear of debris. Downspouts should extend away from the building to carry water away from the foundation and prevent flooding of areas close to the house that can erode and leak into the foundation and basements. Adding insulation and ventilation to the attic can extend the life of a roof and reduce the chances of ice dams that can cause water to back up under roofing. The insulation should be in good shape and attic vents should be clear. Most insulation materials can last more than 50 years if they’re installed and maintained well. The thickness and material type can impact their effectiveness as well. Adding or replacing insulation may be needed to gain a higher efficiency, especially in colder climates. Improper installation, moisture, UV rays, and disturbance can all negatively impact the effectiveness of insulation. If your business has outdoor hose connections, remove hoses from hose bibs in the fall and turn off the water supply to hose bib connections to help minimize the chance of a burst pipe due to freezing. To help keep an eye on these or other trouble spots, you may want to consider installing a commercial water leak detection system.

How to Be Prepared for Disasters

10/4/2019 (Permalink)

A plastic bin with emergency supplies. A blue backpack and fire extinguisher sit next to the bin. It may seem impossible to plan for the unpredictable, but you can in fact be prepared.

Disaster can strike at any time. It may seem impossible to plan for the unpredictable, but you CAN be prepared for emergencies. In the Ozarks, our most common emergency disasters are flash flooding and tornadoes. So how can you be prepared for these disasters? One of the best ways is by building a disaster preparation kit.

To make a basic disaster kit, you’ll need the following:

  • Water. One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food. At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

In addition to the basic items, you’ll want to also take these items into consideration when making your kit:

  • Prescription medications
  • Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
  • Glasses and contact lens solution
  • Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler's checks
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
  • Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children

Once your kit is made up, you’ll need to maintain it so that it’s ready when needed. Keep canned food in a cool, dry place and store boxed foods in tightly closed plastic or metal containers. Replace goods as they expire and re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.

You can also store kits in multiple places so you’re ready anytime, anywhere. The best places to keep kits are home, work, and in your car. For your home kit, you should keep it in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept. For your work kit, be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water, and other necessities like medicines, as well as comfortable walking shoes, stored in a “grab and go” case. The kit in your car should contain emergency supplies for in case you become stranded.

What’s the Difference Between Grey Water and Black Water?

10/4/2019 (Permalink)

A sink overflowing with black water. Category three is the most dangerous type of water.

Have you had a water loss? Do you know what category it’s classified as? At SERVPRO of Baxter, Boone, Fulton & Marion Counties, we have three different categories that we put water losses under. These range from a category one to a category three.

What’s a category one water loss? Category one is classified as clean water, or water that doesn’t pose a health threat to humans. Water losses of this nature are typically described as sinks and bathtubs overflowing or broken appliances. This is the most harmless category of water that we can take care of at SERVPRO of Baxter, Boone, Fulton & Marion Counties.

Category two is classified as grey water. This means that the water is contaminated and may cause illness if ingested. This kind of water contains microorganisms and poses a moderate health threat to humans. This kind of water category is typically from broken toilets, broken sump pumps, and seepage from outside sources such as after storm damage. This category needs a little extra precaution when being dealt with to keep from exposure to the microorganisms and illness.

Category three is the dreaded black water. Black water is unsanitary and contains bacteria, parasites, and other microorganisms that cause sickness. This is the category that sewage is classified as, and is mostly caused by sewer problems, sewer backups, or contamination of standing water. This category requires special restoration techniques that we at SERVPRO of Baxter, Boone, Fulton & Marion Counties are trained to perform.

Let SERVPRO of Baxter, Boone, Fulton & Marion Counties take care of your water loss today, regardless of the category! We’ll make it “Like it never even happened.”

Fire Damage and the Restoration Process

10/3/2019 (Permalink)

A ceiling after a heavy soot fire in the process of being cleaned. SERVPRO of Baxter, Boone, Fulton, & Marion Counties can take your home back to preloss condition.

A fire can be the cause of serious property damage and a multitude of problems that will cost you a lot of money. Many people don’t realize the full extent or nature of fire damage until it happens to them.

When a fire strikes, the first thing that’s typically noticed is what has been burned and destroyed. Aside from your personal belongings and contents, this can include walls, cabinets, counter tops, and much more. After fires, these pieces are left looking dilapidated and not fit for purpose. This is the most obvious type of fire damage, but there’s more to fire damage than what’s easily seen.

Fire damage doesn’t just destroy your property, though. It can also cause a lot of malodor and can cause staining to various surfaces. When there’s a fire, there’s usually smoke. Smoke can travel throughout the property, staining your walls and carpets and leaving dust, dirt, and soot all over everything. This can be quite extensive and will cover not only the room affected by the fire, but adjacent rooms and can even sometimes travel throughout the entire structure. For these reasons, the home needs to be cleaned and sanitized. This will make your belongings usable again and will prevent health issues that may be caused by these foreign contaminants. The process of soot removal also helps to get rid of bad odors that can otherwise linger for a long time. This process involves the use of many different cleaning appliances and industrial equipment and can even extend to carpet cleaning services which can help to remove small amounts of smoke, soot, and other issues from in between the carpet fibers that can’t be reached by vacuums.

While fire damage and water damage may seem like they’re at opposite ends of the spectrum, they often actually occur together. This is the case if a fire damage leads to a burst pipe or tank, or the fire results in damage to the home that lets rain and other weather inside. Most homeowners also don’t realize that water damage can and usually does occur from the fire department putting the fire out.

Other damages can also occur after a fire, such as damage to your electrical wiring, plumbing, and electrical appliances. Because of this, it may be necessary to have several different services help in your time of need to ensure your home doesn’t just look repaired, but that it’s also able to function normally without hazards.

If a fire loss should strike your home or business, don’t hesitate to call the fire restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Baxter, Boone, Fulton, & Marion Counties. We’re only one call away 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Why Call SERVPRO After Water Loss

9/24/2019 (Permalink)

The back side of a wall is exposed after demolition and shows half the wall covered in mold and dark spots of water damage. If not taken care of quickly, mold can grow and spread rapidly.

When a water related disaster strikes, water mitigation is time sensitive. Water damage can cause thousands of dollars of damage within minutes and only get worse as the hours go by. Calling a company like SERVPRO of Baxter, Boone, Fulton, & Marion Counties immediately after a water loss can help lessen the damage done by a water loss. Whether it be a burst pipe, flooded basement, or a roof leak, don’t hesitate to call.

Just within minutes of a water loss, water is absorbed into walls, floors, upholstery, and belongings. This alone can cause thousands of dollars of damage, especially if allowed to soak into electronics, books, and papers. Within minutes, irreversible damage can be done to wood furniture and wood floors.

In one to two hours, drywall swells, metal surfaces tarnish, and furniture begins to warp and/or mold. At this point, drywall and ceilings can become a major hazard. Swollen ceilings can begin falling and become an overhead hazard, and walls can begin to crumble and fall. Any metal surfaces become tarnished, and furniture begins to warp and or mold. If the conditions are right, mold can grow quickly, and can thrive and spread even faster.

In just forty-eight hours to one week, mold grows, doors and furniture warp, and metal begins to rust. Mold grows on upholstery and other contents. Furniture becomes water stained and wood furniture becomes swollen and begins to disintegrate. Furniture with metal parts rust and become hard to function, if functional at all.

After just a week, structural safety becomes an issue, and mold growth and bio-hazard contaminants pose serious risks. If a structure fails to have water damage mitigated, the safety of the structure can become seriously questionable. As pieces of the framework, floors, and ceiling rot out or disintegrate, it becomes a hazard to even be inside the structure.

Calling on the professionals at SERVPRO of Baxter, Boone, Fulton, & Marion Counties quickly can help prevent such damage to a structure and contents. We can help to mitigate and dry a structure and can help to save water damaged contents. When water damage strikes, you need a company that works quickly to help mitigate the amount of damage done. Call on us, and we’ll make it “Like it never even happened.”

Why SERVPRO for Mold?

9/19/2019 (Permalink)

A white wall and a wood panel wall is covered with dark green and grey splotches of fuzzy mold. Calling the professionals at SERVPRO of Baxter, Boone, Fulton, & Marion Counties can get rid of mold and keep it away!

Mold is an inevitable part of the world around us. Every household has a small amount of mold in them by nature. But when you find large amounts of mold, especially in one place, then there’s a much larger problem afoot. Understanding where mold comes from and how it works can help you to further prevent a mold problem.

So how does mold start? Mold is a living organism that can be found anywhere in the right conditions and can grow on just about any substance. If mold spores should find their way to a moist environment, the potential for mold is there. Mold spores are the byproduct of mold and moves through the air both inside and outside your home. This means that you could have mold in one area of your home, but the air currents could move mold spores to other rooms.

Now that you know how mold starts, we’ll look at how it grows. Once mold spores have found the perfect environment, they begin to grow. Many of the materials in your home are the perfect environment for mold. Carpeting, the padding beneath it, drywall, plywood, and other surfaces are likely places for mold to reside. Dust, cellulose, and other organic materials are their food source. Leaking pipes, roofing issues, too much moisture in bathrooms, and additional moisture sources contribute to mold growth. Getting rid of the food source or the moisture will get rid of it, right? Wrong. Mold will become dormant instead, putting itself into a state of hibernation. When there’s no food, the mold “sleeps” until the food source is back to being plentiful. Mold will wait until the right conditions reappear to reactivate itself. Mold may not have an apparent source of moisture, but even just the humidity in a home can be enough for it to thrive. This moisture-laden air allows water vapor to collect on the surface the mod is living upon as it condenses. You may find that you don’t have the proper vapor barriers in your home, that mold can thrive in crawl spaces and basements.

How does one get rid of mold then? It’s plain to see that mold is not easy to eliminate. Although there are plenty of DIY sprays that claim to kill mold, some may in fact worsen the problem. Mold remediation is also more than just spraying the mold and forgetting about the problem. Special mold procedures must be taken to ensure you get all the mold out of your home, or you’ll find that in a short time, you’re back to square one with hidden mold spreading back to where you just cleared it.

Do I really need to worry about mold? The short answer is, yes. Certain types of mold can make you very sick, such as toxic black mold. Mold can cause respiratory and other issues in people who visit or live in your home. Someone that already has immune issues can be impacted by encountering mold in your home, but even healthy individuals can develop health problems when exposed to it. Though most mold is harmless and simply unsightly, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

What do I do when I find mold? Call SERVPRO of Baxter, Boone, Fulton, & Marion Counties to take care of the mold for you! Mold isn’t one of the most straightforward problems to get rid of in your home. It can be very easy to miss a spot here or there and allow it to retake a substantial foothold after a short time. SERVPRO of Baxter, Boone, Fulton, & Marion Counties has a thorough mold process to ensure the mold doesn’t come back. We are familiar with how mold grows and behaves, so we have a better chance of removing it all the right way, the first time. Call us today! And we’ll make it “Like it never even happened.”

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.