Archived Fire Damage Blog Posts
How to Properly Inspect Your Fire Extinguisher
Home Safety: How to Inspect a Fire Extinguisher
When was the last time you took time to check the fire extinguisher that sits under your kitchen sink? Or the one hanging from a dusty hook in your garage? If you’re struggling to remember, it’s time to check it. Like any other piece of safety equipment, a home fire extinguisher should be inspected regularly to ensure it’s in proper working condition. A fire extinguisher in good working condition is your first line of defense when a home fire erupts.
Ideally, you should inspect your portable home fire extinguishers every month.
Tips for Performing a Monthly Fire Extinguisher Check
Check the label or tag.
Every fire extinguisher, whether disposable or rechargeable, has a manufacturer’s label or tag. Read the tag and follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance suggestions.
Check the tamper seal.
If the tamper seal has been broken or is cracked, a disposable fire extinguisher needs to be replaced. If it’s rechargeable, it needs to be serviced professionally. Check the locking or pull pin as well to make sure it’s in the correct position. If the pin is missing, the fire extinguisher needs to be inspected or serviced by a professional.
Inspect for physical damage.
Physically inspect the fire extinguisher for obvious damage. This may include but is not limited to dents, corrosion, cracks and obvious leakage. If a fire extinguisher has leakage, it’s no longer under full pressure and may not work properly when you need it most. Check the fire extinguisher nozzle as well, to ensure it’s not clogged by grime, dust, bugs or leakage from the unit itself.
Check the pressure gauge.
Check that the pressure gauge needle indicates the fire extinguisher pressure is in the optimum operating range. Often the correct pressure range will be designated by green on the gauge.
Is the fire extinguisher full?
During your monthly check, lift the fire extinguisher and determine if it still feels full. If there has been a leak, it will feel light, and it won’t have the right amount of pressure to work correctly.
If you have a dry chemical fire extinguisher, it should be shaken once a month during your inspection. This helps prevent the chemical dousing agent from solidifying at the bottom of the unit.
Write inspection date on tag.
Keep track of every inspection date by writing it on the fire extinguisher tag.
Ensure easy access to your fire extinguisher.
Fire extinguishers should always be easy to access if there is an emergency. You don’t want to have to search for it once a fire breaks out. Don’t block fire extinguishers with furniture, boxes or any other items. Everyone who lives in the household should know where the closest fire extinguisher is located and how to use it in case of an emergency.
In the event of a fire emergency, first make sure to get people safely away, then call 911. A home fire extinguisher can be used to put out or control small fires, but it’s still safest to call professional firefighters before you attempt to control a fire on your own. If you need professional fire, smoke and water damage cleanup and remediation after a fire, call the experts at SERVPRO of North Elmwood Park.
Putting Out A Fire Can Be Worse Than The Fire Itself
Call SERVPRO of North Elmwood Park for all you fire mitigation needs.
The first 48 hours after a fire damage can make the difference between restoring versus replacing your belongings. SERVPRO of North Elmwood Park can help you mitigate your fire damage and prevent further problems. SERVPRO of North Elmwood Park provides a quick response time, and services ranging from fire, smoke and soot removal to contents claims inventory and document restoration.
Here is what you can do until SERVPRO arrives:
*Limit movement in the house to prevent soot from spreading.
*Place clean towels or old linens on rugs and traffic areas.
*Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpet.
*Do not wash any walls or painted surfaces.
*Do not shampoo carpet or upholstery.
*Don not clean any electrical equipment.
*Do not send clothing to a dry cleaner.
Call SERVPRO of North Elmwood Park at 708/483-8636 for all your fire needs.
Smoke and Soot Damage
Do not let smoke damage your property.
Smoke and Soot: The Damaging After effects of a Fire
The smallest of fires, even if it isn’t at your Chicago, IL business or home, can lead to smoke damage and soot damage. Although the flames may be gone, the high acidic levels of smoke and soot can penetrate into materials and leave long-lasting effects.
Within minutes of a fire, smoke and soot are already beginning to damage your property. As soon as the fire is out and everyone is safe, making preparations for smoke cleaning and restoration are keys to getting your business back to normal. If left unchecked, the damage timeline can be extensive.
- During the first few minutes, walls, plastics and porous materials will become stained.
- Within hours, the acidic properties of soot and smoke can begin to affect metals, grout and other materials.
- After a few days, stains can become permanent, as corrosion and rust can begin forming. Porous materials, such as flooring and upholstery, will likely need to be replaced.
- As weeks go by, without proper cleaning, it can result in the loss of furniture, electronics and other supplies, as well as require more extensive repairs to walls, flooring, ceilings and other structural materials.
Tips for Fire Safety
Smoke alarms are the early warning system that reduce your risk of personal injury during a fire.
No one is ever prepared for a fire to happen in their home. The financial, physical, and emotional toll they leave behind can last longer than it takes to repair the home. Here are some best practices for fire prevention and safety:
Minimize the Risk
Having safe practices for cooking and heating can greatly reduce your chance of having a house fire. While cooking on a stove top or grilling, be mindful of what is near the heat source and never leave it unattended. Keep flammable things, such as paper, curtains, blankets, holiday decorations away from fireplaces and space heaters. Many homes are also making the switch to candle warmers and flame-less candles to keep open flames out of the reach of children.
Install Smoke Alarms
Did you know three out of five fire related deaths happen in homes without working smoke alarms? They are a crucial part in fire safety. You should have one on every level of your home, outside sleeping spaces, and inside bedrooms. If you or someone in your home is hearing impaired, look into getting smoke detectors that use strobe lights or bed shakers. Make sure to test them monthly and change the batteries once a year.
Create an Escape Plan
Once the smoke alarm goes off, you have one to two minutes to get out of the home so it is important to have a plan and that everyone knows what that plan is. Make sure you know all exit points of you home and try to have two ways to get out of a room. Make sure windows and door open easily and are not blocked. Designate a location away from the home to use as a meeting place in case you get separated. The most important thing is to practice this plan!
Fires are a frightening experience but there are things you can do to lower the chance of one happening and steps you can take to keep you and your family safe in case one does.
Best Practices For Candle Use
Being safe while using candles with reduce your risk of house fire.
Candles are a popular way to embellish a room. They look and smell amazing. Unfortunately, they are also a leading cause of house fires. We would like to give you few tips for minimizing your risk of starting a candle fire in your home.
Candles Should Not Be Left Unattended
A good first rule when using candles is to not leave them unattended. If you are leaving the house or going to sleep, you should put the candle out. If you are leaving one room to spend time in another, you can bring the candle with you or put it out. Keep an eye on children and pets around candles as they can knock them over or injure themselves.
Keep Candles in Safe Locations
When finding a new spot to place a candle, keep in mind what is near it. If there are flammable liquids, curtains, or bedding near the candle, the flame or a spark has potential of igniting these materials.
Get Proper Candle Holders
It is safer to place a candle in a holder than directly onto a surface. Many candles already come in a safe glass but some require you to place them in a different container. Just be mindful that if a container not designed for the purpose of holding candles becomes too hot, it can break or melt.
Find an Alternative
The best way to prevent a candle fire is to not use a candle. There are so many alternatives for lighting to create a similar atmosphere and alternatives for creating scents. There are even flameless candles if you really love the look of a candle.
These are good tips to keep in mind when using candles to help keep your family and your home safe.
Prevent a Clothes Dryer Fire
This appliance is very important in every day life but can also be very dangerous if not inspected regularly.
The following are ways to prevent a clothes dryer fire in your home:
- Inspect your outdoor vent. Check to make sure that your outdoor vent flap is not covered by snow or debris.
- Do not dry items that have been stained with volatile chemicals. Wash clothing stained with flammable chemicals more than once and do not use the dryer to dry these items, opting for a clothes line dryer.
- Don’t leave your dryer unattended. If you need to leave your home, turn off the dryer during the laundry cycle.
- Install with care. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing the vent pipe. Use a short, straight pipe that is an adequate distance from the wall. Reducing the bends in the dryer vent pipe creates fewer opportunities for lint to gather. Invest in a dryer vent fan if you have to vent your dryer over a long distance. Dryer vent fans increase the airflow through the duct every time you turn on your dryer forcing debris out.
- Remove combustibles. Cleaning supplies and other flammable liquids should not be kept near the dryer. In addition, sweep out dust in the areas around and underneath your dryer regularly.
- Use a metal dryer duct. Metal ducts are better than foil or plastic ducts for two key reasons. First, unlike foil or plastic ducts, metal ducts do not sag. This is important because sagging ducts contributes to lint build up at low points. Second, metal ducts are more likely to contain any fires that would start.
- Read clothing tags and labels. Always use caution when you are drying bath mats, padded bras, and bibs because they may contain rubber that should not be exposed to hot temperatures. Also, if the label instructs you to tumble dry an item, follow the advice and do not dry at hotter temperatures.
- After each dryer use, check your clothes. If your clothes do not feel dry or are extra hot after a normal drying cycle, then this may indicate that something is wrong. Before using the dryer again, check for a plugged vent and clean out any lint.
- Clean out the lint. Clean out the lint trap after each use and once a year hire a professional to clean out the vent pipes.
Dryers are the cause of many home fires. Be sure to check you dryer routinely in order to prevent possible fire.