Recent Fire Damage Posts

Mitigate Damage While Waiting for Roof Repairs

4/26/2021 (Permalink)

The effects of a fire in your Reston and Herndon business can be far-reaching. If the damage has made it to the roof, you may have more than just fire cleanup on your hands. Any areas of the roof exposed to the elements may also mean securing the services of a water damage and mold professional. After contacting your insurance to start the claim process, the next call to be for tarp services to protect against secondary damage.

Why Mitigation Is Important

Whether the damage requires a roof repair or replacement, time isn’t always on your side. Along with waiting for the adjuster, getting the fix scheduled will likely require a wait. Below are reasons it is important to secure your exposed property.

Another weather event could cause more damage, increase repair costs.
If excess moisture begins to build up, mold only needs less than 48 hours to start forming.
Exposed areas may provide an opening for vandals or thieves to gain access to your property.
Even a small hole is enough for unwanted rodents and bugs to find a new home.

Tips for an Easier Claim
While waiting for fire clean up to happen, most insurers have a stipulation that requires mitigation. If windows aren’t boarded and tarps aren’t temporarily installed to keep the elements out, any additional damage incurred may not be covered. Taking the necessary steps can help ensure you get the most out of your claim.
Although you should never make repairs until after the adjuster gives the go-ahead, documenting the damage is a good way to verify the need for the claim, as well as make the process easier for the adjuster. Photographs and videos should be taken of all areas and items damage. If possible, gather any documentation that lists the value of items.
When it comes to fire cleanup, it is often not just the area the flames burned that need repaired. If there is roof or window damage, take steps to minimize damage.

What Renters Can Expect From Their Coverage

4/15/2021 (Permalink)

What Renters Can Expect From Their Coverage

Many tenants buy renter’s insurance to cover the cost of replacing their personal belongings if they are damaged or destroyed by an accident in the building where they live. Your coverage, however, may pay for much more than just item replacement. It’s important to talk to your agent, so you know just how much you can expect your insurance company to pay if the place you are renting in Reston or Herndon catches fire.

Belongings

Part of the fire restoration process is determining which items can be cleaned and saved and which must be thrown away. Your insurance coverage should pay for:

  •  Assessment
  •  Cleaning costs
  •  Replacement costs

Make sure your policy states that it pays replacement cost rather than the actual cash value of your items. The purpose of insurance is to make you whole again, and replacing lost belongings is a good start.

Liability

If the fire was caused by your negligence, you might be liable for any damages you cause to other people or to the structure itself. Your renter’s insurance probably has a clause that protects you from legal costs. Your policy may cover damage to your neighbor’s belongings or the property itself, as well as cover medical bills of anyone injured in the fire if you bear some responsibility for its starting.

Shelter

Fire restoration experts may work quickly, but there are probably going to be some nights that you are unable to stay in your rented space. Finding a temporary place to live can be expensive. Your insurance policy is likely to cover this as well. You can include your shelter needs as part of the fallout of the fire damage to your home when you file your claim.

Your renter’s insurance does cover the loss of your belongings, but it can also cover other losses. Your insurance agent can help you build a solid policy that takes all potential expenses of the fire into consideration.

What Kind of Smoke Detector Do I need?

4/6/2021 (Permalink)

There are 3 types of smoke detector alarms on the market today. They are Ionization, Photoelectric and Combination.

An ionization smoke alarm contains a small amount of radioactive material. The radiation passes through an ionization chamber which is an air-filled space between two electrodes and permits a small, constant current between the electrodes. 

When smoke that enters the chamber absorbs the alpha particles, it reduces the ionization and interrupts the current, setting off the alarm. 

This type of alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires.

The Photoelectric smoke alarms operate using a light source.

A light beam collimating system and a photoelectric sensor. When smoke enters the optical chamber and crosses the path of the light beam, some light is scattered by the smoke particles, directing it at the sensor and thus activating the alarm. 

This type of alarm is generally more responsive to fires that begin with a long period of smoldering.

Combination smoke alarms feature both ionization and photoelectric technologies. Ionization smoke alarms respond faster to high energy fires, whereas photoelectric detectors respond better to low energy smoldering fires. The best overall protection is provided by using combination smoke alarms.

How to prepare for a fire incident in your workplace

9/14/2020 (Permalink)

Nobody ever thinks or likes to prepare for a dangerous terrifying fire situation but in order to be safe in the office, you should know these simple strategies to safely confront a fire situation in your office.  Have your peers know these strategies since it can make a huge difference when a fire hazard arises.

  • Have an evacuation plan and make sure to share it with the staff. Make sure this evacuation plan meets legal requirements. This plan should be customized to the unique size of your office workplace.
  • Make sure all employees know how to properly use a fire extinguisher. Have proper training sessions on how to do so.
  • Fire drills are very important. Have at least 2 a year with all the staff participating. This will help in planning out where all of you will meet in case of an actual fire situation. It’s important that everyone has an easy route to an escape exit; this drill will help establish this route.
  • Keep smoke detectors up to date and make sure they are functional. Have a few around the office so the staff can hear them clearly in case of a fire. Make sure everyone knows what the fire alarm sounds like.
  • In order to reduce potential hazards frequently check the conditions of electrical cables and replace them if they seem old or wear out. Take a look to see if they are overloaded.

Remember these strategies and practice them in your work place to keep everyone safe.  Have the plan somewhere visible such as the office break room or the office kitchen. Keep the plan and employees update in order to work in a safely planed office and in the case of a fire incident SERVPRO of Reston/Herndon is a phone call away.

Five ways to prevent a dryer fire

1/29/2020 (Permalink)

A home dryer fire.

Did you know that dryer fires are the cause of over 15,000 home fires each year? They are also the cause of about 190 million dollars worth of damage and 29 deaths every year. Laundry is an essential household task, but every homeowner must be made aware of the potential dangers that using dryers can create if not used properly. In this article, you will find a few best practices for safe dryer use.

  1. Always remember to clean the lint trap. Do this every time you use the dryer! Not only will this help extend the efficiency of the dryer, but it's vital in preventing dryer fires.
  2. Make sure that your dryer and the surrounding areas are free of any combustible materials. Make sure to constantly sweep and dust around the outside of the dryer to prevent lint and dust build-up. 
  3. Make sure your outside dryer vent is clean. Make sure the flap is open and no snow or debris is blocking the opening of the vent.
  4. Check your clothes. If your clothes aren’t dry or they are extra hot after a normal dry cycle it may be a sign that something is wrong with your dryer. Before you put in your next load make sure that your vents aren’t clogged and that your lint trap is clean.
  5. Read the tags. Make sure you carefully look at the tags on your clothes and wash them accordingly. For example, if the tag says to wash on low don’t put the machine on high. 
  6. Use a metal dryer duct. Plastic and other kinds of ducts can sag and collect lint and cause a fire hazard. Metal ducts don’t sag and they are more likely to contain a fire if one should start. 

Reston/Herndon Fire, Smoke, and Soot Cleanup

7/31/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Reston/ Herndon will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 703-471-6040

Fire Pit Safety

7/26/2019 (Permalink)

One of the newest “items to have” for both summer and winter months is a Fire Pit.  Fire pits come in various shapes and materials, brick, metal, concrete and more.  Many individuals are even constructing their own fire pits based on pictures that they see, or out of sheer desire and creativity.  Fire pits can be propane or wood burning or natural gas.  Please note Propane and Natural Gas are NOT  the same.

 While a fire pit may be the new “must-have” item in home and garden, users must remember to implement detailed safety practices for users to maintain. This may include using a poker, log grabber, or shovel when adjusting burning logs or assuring that enough space exists between seats and the pit so that pedestrians may easily walk by.

Please remember: do not leave a lit or burning fire pit unattended. Wind may blow fumes and embers into surrounding areas which may create a significant fire hazard.  Please also note that embers can remain a fire hazard for days if not adequately dealt with, so double check before leaving the fire pit that there is no residual heat present.

Electrical Safety Counterfeit Products Portable Heaters

1/4/2018 (Permalink)

  • More than 3,000 electrical fires are caused by extension cords each year, resulting in 50 deaths and 270 injuries.
  • Large appliances cause nearly 20 percent of consumer-product electrocutions annually.
  • U.S. Customs confiscates more than $3 million in consumer electrical products each year, and explains that products with counterfeit certification marks, including CSA, UL and ETL, have not been tested for shock and fire hazards.

Sales of electrical products increase during the winter months.  Sales of Counterfeit Electrical products is on the rise, these items have not met the testing and safety standards and can result in injury, death and property damage.  Purchase your products from reputable dealers and check for certification marks.

PORTABLE HEATER SAFETY:

  • Keep all furniture, draperies, and other household objects at least three feet from the in-wall fan heaters and 12 inches from baseboard heaters.
  • Keep portable space heaters at least three feet away from all flammable materials, such as furniture and draperies. ? Plug portable space heaters directly into the outlet; do not use an extension cord.
  • If an in-wall or baseboard heater is shut off at the circuit breaker, be sure to lock or tag the circuit breaker to prevent someone from inadvertently turning it back on.
  • Some portable space heaters, electric in-wall fan heaters and baseboard heaters have been subject to product recalls. Check your brand and model number and visit www.cpsc.gov for possible information about your heater.

Hoarding and Fire Safety

12/22/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Departments are finding that hoarding causes issues with evacuating the residence and higher risks for adjoining properties.

NFPA - Hoarding and fire safety

The excessive accumulation of materials in homes poses a significant threat to firefighters fighting fires and responding to other emergencies in these homes and to residents and neighbors. Often, the local fire department will be contacted to help deal with this serious issue. Since studies suggest that between three and five percent of the population are compulsive hoarders, fire departments must become familiar with this issue and how to effectively handle it.

NFPA - Hoarding and fire safety

  • Hoarding can be a fire hazard. Many occupants die in fires in these homes. Often, blocked exits prevent escape from the home. In addition, many people who are hoarding are injured when they trip over things or when materials fall on them.
  • Responding firefighters can be put at risk due to obstructed exits, falling objects, and excessive fire loading that can lead to collapse. Hoarding makes fighting fires and searching for occupants far more difficult.
  • Those living adjacent to an occupied structure can be quickly affected when a fire occurs, due to excessive smoke and fire conditions.

Holiday Fires are twice as likely

12/21/2017 (Permalink)

The Holiday Season is the most deadly and costly time of the year with regard to fires.

The  U.S. Fire Administration reports more than double the  number of open flame fires on Christmas Day than the average day.  Property loss in a Holiday Fire is about 34% greater than in a regular fire, and loss of life is and fatalities is about 70% higher if the cause is a Christmas Tree. 

*One if every four Christmas Tree fires is due to Electrical problems. 

*A heat source too close to the tree causes 1 in every four Christmas Tree fires.

*The top 3 days for Candle Fires are Christmas, New Year's Day and Christmas Eve.

*Candles start 2 out of 5 Home Decoration fires.

Mak and effort nto get Holiday, candle and "Christmas tree fire" Safety outreach materials.

Source: National Fire Protection Association

Stop, Drop, and Call SERVPRO: Fire Damage DOs and DON’Ts for Virginia Homeowners

10/4/2017 (Permalink)

Are you a homeowner or property manager in Reston/ Herndon, VA? In the case of a fire, do you know what to do before help arrives? Regardless of your fire cleanup and restoration knowledge, allow us to help you minimize the damage to your home as you await the arrival of emergency service professionals.

The first 48 hours after a fire disaster can make all the difference between fire cleanup and restoration versus complete replacement of your property and belongings.

Check out these tips for fire damage prevention to your Virginia home:

DO:

  • Limit movement of persons and furniture to prevent soot particles from settling into your home.
  • Prevent soiled furniture by covering upholstered belongings with clean towels or old linens.
  • Remove soot from chrome faucets, trim, and appliances.

DO NOT:

  • Attempt to clean walls or painted surfaces without contacting SERVPRO.
  • Shampoo carpet or upholstery without consulting fire cleanup professionals.
  • Clean or repair electrical equipment.
  • Clean clothes- improper cleaning may permanently stain clothes with soot and smoke odor.

In the case of a house fire, remove yourself from the property as quickly as possible, call 911, then call SERVPRO of Reston/ Herndon-- your trusted Fire and Water Cleanup and Restoration experts. Our professional staff can help prevent fire damage from creating long-term problems in your home. We provide fast response to any size disaster, with services ranging from fire cleanup to contents claim inventory and document restoration.

Call us with your fire restoration needs - (703) 471-6040. We offer our 24-hour emergency cleanup services 365 days a year.