Recent Fire Damage Posts
Cigarette Fires can Smolder for 18 Hours!
If you experience any fire damage, please call SERVPRO of Ottumwa & Grinnell at 641-672-0872.
It’s Jacob, Digital Marketing Support Coordinator, and I wanted to talk about a trend I’ve noticed while going to fire-damaged properties. Cigarette fires have become a culprit for a noticeable amount of house fires in our franchise area. This isn’t casting shade on the cigarette smokers, as I once occasionally enjoyed a cigarette here and there.
The problem we are seeing is with the record temperatures we have faced this summer; planters are drying out faster. When you think the cigarette is extinguished, you will be surprised by the amount of heat still being produced. If the cigarette is ignited, it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 18 hours for the soil to reach the perfect temperatures to ignite into flames.
The CBS Minnesota location took the blog image after they tested how fast a cigarette can cause a planter to ignite into flames. One of the easiest ways to prevent this is by filling the container with water which will fully extinguish the cigarette while eliminating the heat it can produce.
Fires caused by Household Appliances
SERVPRO of Ottumwa and Grinnell has the expertise to restore properties following fire.
Although convenient, many household appliances can often malfunction and lead to home or apartment fires. Whether it be a washer and dryer, stove, dishwasher, refrigerator, or other cooking appliances, these items are used routinely and help our lives, but can also have detrimental effects if used carelessly, left unattended or malfunctioned. SERVPRO of Ottumwa and Grinnell can be there to restore a commercial or residential property following fire and smoke damage and is always Here to help. To prevent a possible fire due to a household appliance and protect your property, here are three things you can do.
- Never leave heated cookware on overnight such as crockpots. Use of these appliances should be supervised in case of a heating element or wiring malfunction.
- Never leave an appliance running while away. Coming home to clean dishes from the dishwasher may sound nice after being away, but electrical issues may stem from heating elements which can cause fire.
- Do not overload your washer or dryer, and always make sure to clean out the lint trap.
How to Use 101: Mastering the Fire Extinguisher
We hope that you never have to use the PASS Method, if you do please call us at SERVPRO of Ottumwa & Grinnell at 641-682-0782.
It’s Digital Marketing Support Coordinator Jacob; I recently had the fire safety talk with two of my nieces. The topic was “Stop. Drop. Roll.” and what to do if your clothes catch fire. Of course, they thought it was funny when they saw their 6’6” uncle get on the ground and fiercely roll around like my dog Ollie. As adults, we know the jingle, so we know what to do if it happens. But, would you know what to do if you had to use the fire extinguisher?
By following the simple P.A.S.S. Method you can ensure the flames don’t have a second more to spread.
Pulling the pin will break the tamper seal.
Aiming low is CRITICAL! The base of the fire is the source; focus your attention on this area.
Squeezing the handle will send the extinguishing agent onto the flame. When the agent is in the flame, it will deprive the blaze of its source, oxygen.
Sweeping from side to side is critical to eliminating the flame. Just keep a firm squeeze on the handle; it only takes seconds for the flame to grow out of control.
Grilling Season Safety Tips
If you accidentally create an uh-oh moment, please call SERVPRO of Ottumwa & Grinnell at 641-682-0782.
It’s Jacob, Digital Marketing Support Coordinator, and I wanted to write this blog about the importance of fire safety during these warm summer months. Growing up, I developed this passion for food, and when I was old enough, I would grill dinner for my family. I will never forget my mom opening the door and saying, “Jacob John Michael Daniel Stallman stop making that flame so tall.”
It wasn’t until I started working here at SERVPRO of Ottumwa & Grinnell that I understood the dangers of letting the fire grow. On average, 1,300 house fires a year are created from charcoal or other solid-fueled grills. Follow these tips, and you will ensure that your property doesn’t fall victim to fire damage.
- Place grill outside and on a flat surface. This will prevent the likelihood of the grill tipping over, causing a bigger problem than an overcooked steak.
- Do not leave the grill unattended.
- Wear appropriate clothing to ensure there isn’t a chance for it to get in the blaze.
- Finally, you will want to clean the grill BEFORE and AFTER every use. This is to prevent the fire from burning the burnt remains on the rack.
Complete Your Winter Checklist
By completing the winter checklist, you ensure that your family will be safe and ready for this winter.
Temperatures are creeping lower and lower as we move into the winter months. We suggest that you follow this winter checklist to ensure that you and your family are safe during this wintertime. Let this list prepare you to step into the winter season without any stress.
Turning off the space heater
Utility bills are projected to rise this year due to the increase in gas prices. This means that many people will be investing in heating alternatives. If you want to read about our tips for using a space heater properly, feel free to read our blog, “Proper ways to use a space heater.” To ensure you are keeping your family safe, we suggest turning off space heaters when you leave the room.
Cutting the bottom of the Christmas tree’s trunk
As many families prepare to head to their local Christmas Tree Farm, we like to reiterate the importance of cutting off about 4 inches of the trunk. Once you bring in a tree inside, it will start to dry out, making the pine needles just as flammable as a cotton drape. The sap of the tree will harden, which will make it impossible for the tree to absorb any moisture from the stand, which will make the pine needles from drying out.
Blowing out candles
We get it; the seasonal candles will transport your space into your own little safe haven when it gets blustery outside. When you mix in how the nights are longer, people burn their candles longer than during our summer months. Forgetting to blow out candles creates a higher chance of having an unwanted situation. Pets are the most prominent suspects as they often can bump into them, sending the candle on the floor. The biggest tip we can offer you is that you will want to ensure that nothing in a 3-foot radius is a flammable material when lighting a candle.
Getting your chimney cleaned
When was the last time you thought about cleaning your chimney? If it has taken you longer than a minute to think about you might want to schedule a cleaning. When people don’t clean out the chimney, they are letting the possibility of having toxic gases enter your home. Another factor to keep in mind is if there are animals that have made your chimney their home. By having someone come professionally clean your chimney, you are ensuring your chimney is free of animals.
By implementing these tips, you ensure that you are winter-ready and know the steps to take to keep your home free of fire.
The space heater turned off waiting to be used.
Mid-American Energy Co has released a statement that heating bills for natural gas could rise by 46% to 96% over last year due to increased gas costs. The trend also continues for propane users as their heating source as projections show the prices to go over 69% over the previous year. With that being said, it’s understandable that families might look into alternative heating sources, such as electric heaters.
Dangers of Space Heaters
The Consumer Product Safety Commission stated that space heaters are the leading cause of over a thousand house fires each year. Space heaters are a great alternative to heating when used safely and correctly. Here are a few things to remember when using space heaters in your home.
- Keep space heater on the ground:
We understand that it takes some time to totally heat up your living space. You might feel tempted to place it right next to you as you snuggle up during a snowstorm. We advise you to not do this as you should put it on the ground away from any flammable material.
This might be news to you, but water and electricity do not go together. When placing your space heater in a good location, you will want to keep in mind the room you have it in. It’s best to keep it out of the kitchen and the bathroom to ensure no chance of water getting near the space heater.
- Plug the heater directly into the wall:
The number one thing I hope you take away from this article is the importance of plugging the space heater directly into the wall. When you insert the plug into a surge protector, extension cord, or anything that isn’t the wall plug, you add extra electrical connections. This is dangerous because the more electrical connections you add, the greater chance of creating resistance which creates a hazardous build-up of heat. When plugging the heater into the wall, you have to be mindful of the 3-foot rule to ensure you aren’t heating up the plug and/or the wall.
We understand you might invest in some space heaters with the projected increase in propane and natural gas heating options. We ask that you think about the placement of these heaters thoughtfully and strategically that ensures that you keep your home and property safe!
Restoring Versus Replacing After a Fire
Our team of professionals has the specialized fire restoration training needed to restore your home to pre-fire condition.
Disasters tend to occur when we least expect them. Especially when a fire ravages your home or business. You can be left confused, overwhelmed, and emotional. Here at SERVPRO, we act as a resource throughout the whole mitigation and restoration process. The team aims to salvage as much as possible versus replacing materials, getting your home or business to preloss conditions.
Step 1: Emergency Contact
The restoration process begins when you call us. No matter the time of day, we can be onsite within hours of the initial call. Our Job File Coordinator and Project Manager will ask questions regarding the fire damage event that will help us respond immediately with the appropriate equipment and resources in a timely manner, so we have a better chance of restoring more of the property.
Step 2: Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment
We carefully inspect and test adjoining rooms of your property to determine the extent of the fire, smoke, and soot damage. We provide the necessary equipment to properly test for the extent of water, mold, and fire damage. This step is crucial to developing a plan of action.
Step 3: Immediate Board-Up and Roof-Tarp Service
Fire damage can often compromise windows, walls, and roofs. To maintain security and to protect against further damage, we can board up missing windows and walls and place tarps on damaged roofs. A natural disaster can leave your home or facility vulnerable to problems such as vandalism, theft, and unwanted entry.
Step 4: Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present)
The water removal process begins almost immediately and removes the majority of the water. We then use dehumidifiers and air movers to remove the remaining water and complete the drying process. We aim to be onsite as soon as possible to minimize potential microbial growth from the water damage.
Step 5: Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces
We use specialized equipment and techniques to remove smoke and soot from ceilings, walls, and other surfaces.
Step 6: Cleaning and Sanitizing
We clean, sanitize, and disinfect all of the restorable items and structures that were damaged by the fire. We use a variety of cleaning techniques to restore your belongings to pre-fire condition. We’re also trained to remove odors using industrial air scrubbers and fogging equipment.
Step 7: Restoration
Restoration is the final step—getting your home or business to its pre-fire condition. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet; or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business.
Getting Back On Track After A Fire
After a fire strikes your home or business, you need to have a trusted company clean up the damage properly. Our team's goal is to provide exceptional customer service and remain a trusted leader in restoration. We are a preferred vendor for many insurance companies, making the process that much easier for you. With timely communication and documentation, we strive for providing our clients a good customer service experience during difficult times.
Our focus is to restore your structures back to their former condition. Your business, home, or structure does not need to be in the exact way as it was before the fire. Our goal is to make your structure look as good as it was before the fire occurred. We are here to help!
Method of Cleaning: Ultrasonic
A fire can prove to be an emotional and overwhelming situation to handle. Our team of trained professionals comes into your home and helps get your sentimental items and property back to you. We hold a "restore first" mentality to ensure you get your normal life back.
With our improved technology, we are able to clean more materials and items for a higher rate of restoration. One of these methods is our Ultrasonic cleaner. The ultrasonic machine works by producing high-frequency sound waves with a liquid. These sound waves that are produced work to clean the crevices of intricate items. This machine works best for delicate items such as crystal and china. It can also clean electrical tools and appliances. Our machine can hold larger items to help get more items restored.
Fire Restoration 24/7
SERVPRO of Ottumwa & Grinnell is here to help when a fire affects your home or business. We know that you don’t experience this every day. We specialize in fire restoration cleaning and mitigation. We are here to help when a fire affects the structure and/or contents of your home as we are a full-service restoration company. We maintain a "restore first" mentality. You can depend on us to help you make advised decisions as you work through the process. We clean structure and contents. We provide demolition services. We will media blast and seal structure. We work with dependable subcontractors to help in the rebuilding process. We work with and communicate all documentation with insurance programs and the insured to make sure all know the status and progress of the job. We are here to help when a fire occurs.
Structure Cleaning Post Fire Damage
We are here to help when you need us most. If you have had a fire in your home or business give our team of professionals a call.
When fire damage affects your home or business SERVPRO of Ottumwa and Grinnell is here to help. We have IICRC trained professional technicians that specialize in structure and content cleaning. One of the first processes in structure cleaning is to remove soot residue. We use dry sponges to remove the soot from the affected materials. In order to reach the high areas in the home, we will attach the dry sponge to an extendable pole to reach all spots. Then the sponge can be used to wipe down ceilings and walls of any soot that might be on the structure. Soot residue has to be removed in order for the structure seal coat to stick. You can depend on SERVPRO to have the right training and tools to get the job done.
The Different Types of Smoke
Fire damage to a home or business can bring about a world of emotions but our team is HERE TO HELP.
When concerning fire damage restoration, there are several types of smoke that could be dealt with. We have the equipment and products available to help with these types of smoke:
- Wet Smoke. (Plastic and Rubber) Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, and 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.
- Fuel Oil Soot. (Furnace puff backs) While “puff backs” can create havoc for homeowners, SERVPRO® franchise professionals can, in most cases, restore the contents and structure quickly.
- Other Types. (Tear gas, fingerprint powder, and fire extinguisher residue) Special loss situations require special care.
Fire Residue Types
No matter the size of your job, we are able to get the staff and equipment to help you get back to preloss conditions.
When cleaning up after a fire, SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Grinnell cleaning specialists have to pay close attention to what kind of residue they are cleaning. There are 3 main residue classifications and SERVPRO cleaning specialists are highly trained to handle each one. The 3 classifications are:
Protein Residue: Results from burning meat, fish or beans. This type of residue is very greasy and sticks to most surfaces. Water based solutions are used to clean this type of residue.
Natural Substance Residue: This type of residue results from burning paper or wood. These residues have a dry, powder-like texture. They are the easiest to clean and are removed with vacuums and other dry preconditioning techniques.
Synthetic Residue: This type results when the burned material is oil based. Ex: carpets, upholstery, window shades, furniture and toys. These materials produce a thick, heavy, black residue that is easily smeared. If the residue is untouched, it is easily vacuumed away. If the residue is touched, other steps have to be taken to effectively remove.
After a fire, it is best to vacate the building without touching anything and leave the clean up process to SERVPRO trained franchise professionals. We are "Here to Help" and will work to help get your property to preloss conditions.
The Do's and Do Not's for Fire Damage
We offer several options for cleaning smoke and soot to help you get back to preloss conditions. We want you to know that we are "Here to help."
If you have fire and smoke damage to your property, home or business, it is hard to not start cleaning yourself. If this situation arises, please let our SERVPRO franchise professionals assist you. Here are some tips for those who experience fire and smoke damage in their home or business. The Do's are meant to help you minimize damage. Please keep movement in the building at a minimum. Minimal movement helps keep particles from becoming embedded in carpet and fabrics. Make sure to wash your hands a lot and be cautious not to transfer or wipe soot onto something. It can make it damage the item more. If electricity is off, then empty fridges and freezers and prop doors open to prevent odors. It is beneficial to change your furnace/air conditioner filter, but don't let the system continue to run. Be certain to turn it off. The Don'ts that are stated should be left to professionals to help you get back to preloss conditions. Do not try washing anything yourself. You could further rub the soot into the item. Don't shampoo your carpet. We recommend that you take the time to talk to a professional first. Don't clean any electronics without contacting a professional. Do not consume any food or beverages that may have been affected by the fire, soot, or smoke. Additionally, do not use toiletries as they can also be affected by fire, soot, or smoke. Do not turn ceiling fans on, because this will stir up the soot residue. Our SERVPRO team is available for 24-hour emergency services.
We can make fire damage "Like it never even happened"
Fire are often unexpected, and we want to create peace of mind as we are able to get the property back to preloss conditions.
The first 24 hours after fire damage make the difference between restoring versus replacing the property. SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Grinnell provides a timely response with mitigation services ranging from smoke and soot removal to contents claim inventory and document restoration. We offer a large amount of options in the case of fire damage. We can either utilize a dry or wet technique to completely remove soot off of surfaces like the walls and ceiling. Additionally, media blasting is used soot, mold, or paint removal. It is done by forcibly propelling a stream of abrasive material to smooth the surface. Lastly, thermal fogging recreates the act of penetrations and follows the same path of the smoke from a fire to deodorize. It is estimated that up to 50% of businesses that close due to a disaster, such as a fire, never reopen. Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them have a preparedness plan in place. Whether it’s a home or business, SERVPRO is a lead in fire damage response and can help you quickly get the property back.
What ultrasonic cleaning can do for you!
This ultrasonic tank can be used on a wide variety of products in almost any size.
Our Ultrasonic Machine system is utilized to clean many different items including items damaged by mold or soot, mainly being used with fire damage. An ultrasonic tank and dryer are paired together to help create a complete drying process. Contents are cleaned in our ultrasonic tank and then they are placed in the dryer to complete the system. This dual system allows for contents to be cleaned efficiently and thoroughly, expanding our range of restorable contents. We can clean some electronics, jewelry, guns, family heirlooms, light fixtures, porcelain dolls, etc. All this is done quickly and efficiently. We can clean a whole assortment of contents as it offers a deep and even clean for even the most delicate items. This system utilizes minimal chemicals and high speed and energy efficient cleaning. Ultrasonic works with high-frequency ultrasonic vibrations, along with the special cleaning solutions to create the effect of millions of tiny bubbles which break down contaminants off the target surface without the need for scrubbing. Even if you don't have fire and water damage in your home and you just need an item deep cleaned, feel free to bring it in and we will be happy to clean the item quickly and thoroughly for you. With our ultrasonic dryer, contents are cleaned in our ultrasonic tank and then placed in this dryer to complete the process.
Why Have a Live Burn?
This is a broken CSST flexible gas line that ignited gas and released a jet of fire.
Four large boxes were constructed this month by our SERVPRO team with drywall to simulate an actual room. Recently, the Ankeny Fire Department, EFI Global and our SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Oskaloosa franchise helped set up a live burn for insurance adjusters and risk managers to help them gain knowledge to make informed decisions when processing claims. Adjustors learned the details of how fires erupt from separate structural materials, analyzing the speed of fire scenarios. Donated furniture was used to show how different fire scenarios can alter a home. A broken CSST flexible gas line which is utilized to run gas to appliances helped create one of the potential house fires. The situation brought about a non-grounded line that developed a pin hole from an electricity arc and leaked out gas, hence, igniting the gas and creating a stream of fire. The fire department also demonstrated how quickly fires with pieces of furniture close in proximity in a corner erupt. Overall, Live burns are essential for adjustors so they know the effects of soot and smoke throughout the environment. To learn more, read our blog on the top 10 causes of house fires to learn how to protect your home.
Halloween Fire Safety Tips for Safe Decorating
Halloween fire safety is very important and SERVPRO of Ottumwa / Oskaloosa is here with these safety tips. If you have an accidental fire in your home or business you can depend on SERVPRO of Ottumwa / Oskaloosa to help with your clean up needs. We believe though that knowledge and prethinking helps to reduce fire damage.
- Use a battery-operated candle or glow-stick in jack-o-lanterns. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside jack-o-lanterns, use long, fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of the way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways, and yards.
- Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper catch fire easily. Keep all decorations away from open flames and other heat sources like light bulbs and heaters.
- Tell children to stay away from open flames including jack-o-lanterns with candles in them. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire.
Halloween fire facts
- From 2009-2013, decorations were the item first ignited in an estimated average of 860 reported home structure fires per year.
- Nearly half of decoration fires in homes occurred because the decorations were too close to a heat source.
- These fires caused an estimated average of one civilian death, 41 civilian injuries, and $13 million in direct property damage per year.
- Forty-one percent of these incidents were started by candles; one-fifth began in the living room, family room, or den.
Source: NFPA Applied Research
Content Cleaning Services
When a fire occurs in your home or business, not only does it leave the structure a mess but your contents as well. At SERVPRO of Ottumwa / Oskaloosa we have specifically trained content cleaning personnel that will help to restore your personal belongings back to pre-fire condition.
We start by taking a detailed inventory of your belongings and carefully packing them into boxes. This would include any item that SERVPRO cleaning personnel and you deem salvageable including: clothing, shoes, rugs, drapes, linens, décor items, electronics, dishes, books, and other miscellaneous items around the home. They are then taken back to our facilities where SERVPRO uses different methods of restoration to carefully bring life back to your belongings as quickly as possible.
After the cleaning process has taken place, your personal contents are stored for safe keeping until your home/ business is ready to be moved back into.
Fire Cleaning - Knowing How To Clean
These items all were inside of a fire and cleaned by SERVPRO staff.
When cleaning up after a fire, SERVPRO of Ottumwa / Oskaloosa cleaning specialists have to pay close attention to what kind of residue they are cleaning. There are 3 main residue classifications and SERVPRO cleaning specialists are highly trained to handle each one. The 3 classifications are:
Protein Residue: Results from burning meat, fish or beans. The residue is very greasy and sticks to most surfaces. Water based solutions are used to clean this type of residue.
Natural Substance Residue: Results from burning paper or wood. These residues have a dry, powder-like texture. They are the easiest to clean and are removed with vacuums and other dry preconditioning techniques.
Synthetic Residue: Results when the burned material is oil based. Ex: carpets, upholstery, window shades, furniture and toys. These materials produce a thick, heavy, black residue that is easily smeared. If the residue is untouched, it is easily vacuumed away. If the residue is touched, other steps have to be taken to effectively remove.
After a fire, it is best to vacate the building without touching anything and leave the clean up process to SERVPRO trained staff.
Close Before You Dose
The idea that you want to leave your door open when you sleep so you can smell the smoke is a dated and dangerous one. Studies have shown that during sleep, your senses become weak. Olfaction (sense of smell) is reduced the maximum, making it the weakest among all senses. Chances are that the smoke from a fire will reach your room long before the actual flames of the fire. Smoke contains many gasses such as carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide that reduce the oxygen in the air and cause disorientation. Assuming you have properly placed and working smoke detectors to alert you of the fire, closing the door to your bedroom will keep these harmful gasses at bay long enough for you to make life saving decisions. SERVPRO of Ottumwa / Oskaloosa has seen several occasions where the doors were shut to rooms and they have minimal fire damage while other areas not shut off have extensive. For more information on home fire safety and smoke alarm installation, please visit redcross.org/sound-the-alarm.
I smell smoke, dinner must be done! - Trust SERVPRO When Needing Fire Cleaning
Hopefully for most people they will never have to experience a house fire and the related cleanup and restoration that follows but if you do SERVPRO of Ottumwa / Oskaloosa is ready to help.
The leading cause of a residential structure fire is cooking.
I want you to think for a second to a time where you were sitting at a campfire. Now, regardless of how long you sat there you will likely have an odor on you now. Some more than others know exactly what I mean. That absolutely unmistakable smell of wood smoke, burning leaves, or a grass fire. It’s not exactly pleasant the next day if you wear the same coat, hat, and your shoes. This is a simple fix is to wash the items.
Now what do you do if you have a fire inside the house? It may not look bad or maybe half the house is gone, no matter. Your next steps may be critical in saving irreplaceable personal items and salvaging the remaining structure.
SERVPRO of Ottumwa / Oskaloosa is ready to help. We do this with our trained staff who has had IICRC fire restoration training, certifications, and continuing education for our team. We use the newest technology that is exclusive to SERVPRO. We take our technical training, technology, experience, and willingness to help people and make an otherwise devastating disaster "Like it never even happened."
  https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Data-research-and-tools/Building-and-Life-Safety/Home-Structure-Fires
Structure Cleaning After A Fire
When fire damage affects your home or business SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Oskaloosa is here to help. We have IICRC trained technicians that specialize in structure and content cleaning. One of the first processes in structure cleaning is to remove soot residue. We use dry sponges to remove the soot from the affected materials. In order to reach the high areas in the home we will attach the dry sponge to an extendable pole to reach. Then the sponge can be used to wipe down ceilings and walls of any soot that might be on the structure. Soot residue has to be removed in order for the structure seal coat to stick. You can depend on SERVPRO to have the right training and tools to get the job done.
Wet Washing After A Fire
When fire damage occurs there are different techniques of cleaning depending on the type of fire that occurred. You can depend on SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Oskaloosa to help your business or home after the fire has occurred. We will scope the situation and determine the best plan of action. There are different techniques. One of those techniques and processes is wet washing. This process is not to be used for every fire as it can smear the soot verses remove it. The picture shows our team wet washing a section of soot damaged area and the improvement it has made on this particular fire. We are here to help when you need us most. If you have had a fire in your home or business give our team of professionals a call.
Specializing in Fire Cleanup
SERVPRO of Ottumwa/Oskaloosa is here to help when fire affects your home or business. We know that you don’t experience this everyday. We specialize in fire restoration cleaning and mitigation. We are here to help when a fire affects the structure and/or contents. We are a full service restoration company. You can depend on us to help you make advised decisions as you work through the process. We clean structure and contents. We provide demolition services. We will media blast and seal structure. We work with dependable subcontractors to help in the rebuilding process. We work with and communicate all documentation with insurance programs and the insured to make sure all know the status and progress of the job. We are here to help when a fire occurs.
Cleaning After A Fire Damage
When cleaning after a fire don’t use water initially. Soot should not be cleaned up with water first. Soot should initially be removed with dry sponges. Dry soot cleaning sponges are used to remove soot and dirt where you don’t want the surface to get wet. It is made of a natural rubber and is used like an eraser. Once the surface of the sponge is dirty it has to be thrown out. They can not be reused. The sponges hold a remarkable amount of soot in the pours of the sponge. After wiping the fine particles of soot off the surface the surface can be wet washed. This process needs to be done by a professional. If not done properly surface damage can occur. There is a science to fire cleaning and you should trust and hire a professional if you have fire clean up that needs to occur. We work hard and have trained professionals ready to make it “Like it never even happened."
Home Contents Inventory-Why it’s Needed in Case of a Fire
Imagine having a total loss of your home due to a fire and having to recall every item that was damaged… could you do it? Would you trust yourself to remember each individual item that was in your home, especially the rarely used ones? Without a photographic memory most of us would find some difficulty with this task in an already stressful time. In the event of a fire, your insurance company will expect you to provide a list of all your personal property that was damaged. By having a pre-assembled Home Contents Inventory you can have piece-of-mind knowing that all of your contents are documented and can then be properly replaced according to your insurance policy. There are several methods to complete your Home Contents Inventory whether on paper or digitally (you can contact your local SERVPRO for a blank copy of either). You will want to make sure to list each item, its value, and include any receipts and photographs along with it. It’s a good idea to update your Home Contents Inventory list annually to include any new items you have added to the home and remove items you no longer have. Make sure to keep a copy safe in a fireproof container or safe deposit box and you can always file a copy with your insurance agent as well.
Emergency Fire Tips
In 2015 there were 1,345,500 fires reported in the United States. A structure fire was reported every 63 seconds and caused an estimated $14.3 billion in property damage. In order to ensure you and your family’s safety make sure to have an escape route in place so if a fire is discovered, you can move quickly to evacuate to your designated meeting place. The aftermath of a fire can be just as devastating as the initial event. Your local SERVPRO is here to help minimize damage and save your contents. Do not attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to a fire without consulting a repair service and make sure your restoration company is IICRC certified (all SERVPRO techs are!) There is a science behind effective cleaning. Proper methods and products must be used depending on the materials being cleaned to avoid further damage. When you choose SERVPRO, you can take comfort knowing your home and contents are in the hands of trained and caring professionals.
Smoke Alarms and Fire Emergency Plans
Smoke alarms save lives. They are the tool most valuable in saving peoples lives. Smoke alarms should be near every bedroom. It is very important to check them often and make sure the batteries are in good working condition. Test the alarm beep every month. Change the batteries every year and the unit may need replaced every 10 years. If you need help with your smoke detectors, installing, servicing, or testing contact your local fire department.
Be sure also that your home has a Fire Emergency Plan in place. Make sure everyone knows where to go and how to conduct themselves in the event of a fire. Show children how to open windows and how to test doors to see if they are hot. Make sure everyone knows where the safe place to meet outside the home is. A practice fire drill with your family is always a good practice once a year.
Principles of Deodorization following a Fire
There are four principles of deodorization that we follow when restoring an affected area after a fire. The first step is to remove the source. The charred material all needs to be removed first to start the process.
We then clean contaminated surfaces to remove soot residue. This needs to happen as soon as we are able to. This will help minimize damage.
After removing the residue we then use different methods to remove odor. This principle is called recreate the conditions of penetration. We use many different methods to remove odor form objects. We use ozone machines, hydroxyl machines as well as thermal foggers to remove odor.
When necessary we seal and encapsulate the odor using special sealing materials so that the odor does not penetrate the sealer and continue to produce an odor.
List of items to be maintained by the customer following a fire
In the event of a fire and it is decided by the customer, insurance adjuster, and SERVPRO that SERVPRO is going to do a content pack out of the affected belongings while the home/business is restored there are a few items that the customer should maintain. These items SERVPRO prefers are sorted out of the belongings before we come to pack up the others for cleaning and storage.
-licenses, birth certificates, passports, tax documents
-school and medical records
-checkbooks, credit cards, ID cards
-irreplaceable videos, media, or pictures
-few special toys; baby items
-pet foods and inside pets
Our pack out process if very organized and recorded for easy access of any items that are needed while in our hands but these are a few items that are usually needed very quickly.
Fire & Smoke Do's and Don'ts
If you have fire and smoke damage to your property it is hard to not start cleaning yourself. Please let the professionals help you.
-Keep movement in the building at a minimum. This helps keep particles from being embedded in carpet and fabrics.
-Wash your hands a lot and be careful not to transfer or wipe soot onto something. It can make it damage the item more.
-If electricity is off empty fridges and freezers and prop doors open to prevent odors.
-Change your furnace/air conditioner filter but don't let the system continue to run. Turn it off.
-Do not try washing any thing yourself. You could further rub the soot into the item.
-Don't shampoo your carpet. Talk to a professional first.
-Don't clean any electronics without contacting a professional.
-Do not consume any food or beverages that may have been effected by the fire, soot, or smoke.
-Do not turn ceiling fans on. This will stir up the soot residue.
FSRT & OCT Certifications
Last week we had a new group of employees go through the FSRT and OCT (Fire, Smoke, and Odor) Certification Classes. I cannot wait to announce that all of our employees passed and add their certifications to our resume. We train to make sure you get the best service we can provide!