Recent Fire Damage Posts

Safety First before the Feast in Eudora, KS

2/12/2021 (Permalink)

Each November, families gather to celebrate Thanksgiving by preparing a delicious feast, but if you don’t practice safe cooking habits, your happy holiday could quickly become hazardous in a blink of an eye. According to the NFPA, cooking is the main cause of home fires and injuries, with the Thanksgiving holiday being the peak day for cooking-related fire emergencies. Review the following safety tips to help ensure you can enjoy a safe holiday.

  • Never leave cooking food unattended- stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling, or boiling food. If someone must leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, they should turn off the stove.
  • Check food regularly while cooking and remain in the home while kitchen equipment is in use. Use a timer as a reminder that the stove or oven is on.
  • Keep small children away from the cooking area. Enforce a “kid-free zone” and make them stay at least three feet away from the stove and oven.
  • Keep anything flammable like pot holders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, and towels away from the stove, oven, or other appliances in the kitchen that generate heat.
  • Do not wear loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking.
  • Clean cooking surfaces on a regular basis to prevent grease build-up.
  • Purchase a fire extinguisher to keep in the kitchen year round. Contact the local fire department for training on the proper use of fire extinguishers if you are unsure.
  • Always check the kitchen before going to bed or leaving the home to make sure all kitchen appliances like the stove, ovens, and toasters are turned off.
  • Install a smoke alarm near the kitchen, on each level of the home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside of bedrooms. Use the test button to check it is working properly every month. Replace the batteries at least once a year.

Using a Portable Fire Extinguisher in East Topeka, KS

2/5/2021 (Permalink)

A portable fire extinguisher can be a life and property saving tool when used correctly. In order to operate a fire extinguisher, the NFPA suggests remembering the word PASS.

  • Pull the pin. Hold the nozzle pointing away from you and release the locking mechanism.
  • Aim low. Point the fire extinguisher at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
  • Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

Read the instructions on the fire extinguisher and become familiar with them before a fire breaks out. Encourage your family members and co-workers to do the same.

Remember, extinguishers do have their limitations! It is also important to ensure you have the correct type of extinguisher for your home or facility.

  • Class A- This is the most common extinguisher and can be used to put out fires in ordinary combustibles such as cloth, wood, rubber, paper, and many plastics.
  • Class B- Used on fires involving flammable liquids, such as grease, gasoline, and oil.
  • Class C- Designed for fires involving appliances, tools, or other equipment electronically energized or plugged in.
  • Class D- For use on flammable metals; often specific for the type of metal in question. These are typically found in factories.
  • Class K- Intended for use on fires that involve vegetable oils, animal oils, or fats in cooking appliances. Generally found in commercial kitchens.

The Behavior of Smoke in Topeka, KS

1/15/2021 (Permalink)

The damage to your property following a fire can often be complicated due to the unique behavior 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.

SERVPRO of Lawrence/Ottawa and East Topeka professionals are thoroughly trained in fire cleanup and restoration and know the different types of smoke and their behavior patterns. Knowing this information is vital to proper restoration. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Lawrence/Ottawa and East Topeka will survey the loss to determine the extent of impact from fire, smoke, heat, and moisture on the building materials and its contents. The soot will then be tested to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. Pretesting determines the proper cleaning method and allows SERVPRO of Lawrence/Ottawa and East Topeka to focus on saving your precious items.

SERVPRO of Lawrence/Ottawa and East Topeka knows smoke can penetrate various cavities within the structure, causing hidden damage and odor. Our knowledge of building systems helps us investigate how far smoke damage may have spread. The following Points are additional facts you may not know about smoke.

  • 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.

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 of Lawrence/Ottawa and East Topeka 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.

SERVPRO of Lawrence/Ottawa and East Topeka is trained to handle even the toughest of losses. If your home or business suffers fire or smoke damage, contact SERVPRO of Lawrence/Ottawa and East Topeka to help make it "Like it never even happened."

Fires in the Kitchen in Ottawa, KS

1/8/2021 (Permalink)

Did you know cooking equipment is the leading cause of residential fires? As the holiday season begins and you find yourself in the kitchen more often while hosting friends and family, fire precautions should be top of mind.

A property owner experiences a flood of emotions when a fire ravages their business or home. Fear, uncertainty, stress, and doubt about the future of the property and their livelihood can be overwhelming to the property owner long after the flames have been extinguished and the smoke has cleared.

After the first wave of heroes have rescued the property, let SERVPRO of Lawrence/Ottawa and East Topeka help you restore it to its preloss condition. Combining rapid response, the utmost professionalism, and open communication through the entire job process, we strive to restore not only the Lawrence and East Topeka home or business structure, but the customer’s peace of mind as well.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) offers the following eye-opening statistics on structure fires:

  • 482,030 structure fires were reported in the U.S. in 2018.
  • These fires caused $9.9 billion in property damages.
  • One structure fire was reported every 48 seconds.

If the unthinkable happens and a fire strikes your business or home, give the experts at SERVPRO of Lawrence/Ottawa and East Topeka a call, 785-690-7373.

Preventing Electrical Fires in Lawrence, KS

11/6/2020 (Permalink)

Preventing Electrical Fires with Nine Easy Tips

In today’s society, people are working overtime to meet the pressures of daily life. With technology and electronic accessories being an inescapable part of day-to-day activities, it means that electricity is in high-demand, and it is working around the clock in the home setting.   

Children need their cell phones charges at all times to keep in touch with their parents, and adults use their computers late into the night to complete work assignments. When work and school are done, dinner needs to be cooked with the appliances in the kitchen and the family likes to unwind with television, video games, music, and a multitude of various electronic devices. In addition, electricity is needed to heat and cool the home and run light fixtures.

Undoubtedly, homes today are generating a tremendous amount of electricity, and the greater the electric load, the greater the risk of electrical-related fires. It should be noted that, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), electrical fires cause approximately 51,000 fires in the home that result in close to 500 deaths and more than 1,400 injuries, and approximately $1.3 billion in property damage per year. Following are nine safety measures one can adhere to in order to reduce the risk of electrical fires in one’s home:

  1. On a regular basis, have the home inspected for loose wires, shorts, and faulty wiring that increase the risk of potential electrical fires, as electrical wiring eventually needs to be replaced. This is especially pertinent if one lives in an older home. Signs that faulty wiring is a pressing issue and can include flickering lamps, buzzing outlets, or outlets that spark when an electronic device is plugged in. If one of these indications occurs, do not delay in hiring a certified electrician to give the home an inspection to determine if the wiring is safe or if it is in need of rewiring.
  2. Install a smoke detector on every level of the home and inside each bedroom. It is vital to make sure the smoke detectors are working properly by testing them every month. Test the detectors to ensure that all members of the home knows the sound of the smoke detector. Also, create a plan so that the entire family knows what to do in case of an actual fire. Once a plan is in place, practice each aspect of fire-escape strategy to guarantee its success.
  3. Utilize safety measures with electric cords. This includes replacing cords that are loose, frayed, or contain cracks.  Never place cords in areas that receive a large volume of foot traffic, such as under mates or carpeting. Avoid tacking cords to surfaces with nails or staples. If an extension cord is being used on a long-term basis, consider having outlets installed by a certified electrician nearer to your electronic devices.
  4. Only use the correct wattage light bulbs in all fixtures. If the wattage is higher than the requirement noted on the lamp or appliance, replace the bulbs immediately. Firmly secure light bulbs in the socket to safeguard them from overheating.
  5. Use surge protectors to guard appliances and other electronics in your home. ESFI says it is important that homeowners use a surge protector that is equivalent to the equipment one has while keeping in mind that they only protect the items that are directly plugged into them. Note that there are two basic types of surge protectors: the power strip accompanied by a surge protector and the wall-mount surge protector. When buying a surge protector, locate one that has the Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) mark of approval and always avoid overloading it. As with wiring, surge protectors will eventually need to be replaced, especially if the home experiences a large surge or frequent power surges.
  6. Store flammables away from electrical appliances. It is helpful to establish a safe, designated area for flammable chemicals in your home.
  7. As the average daily temperature declines, portable space heaters run a high risk of electrical fires. Other risks include lamps, blow dryers, hair straighteners, and clothing irons.  Any object made of fabric, such as towels and bath mats, can quickly ignite and spread fire rapidly.
  8. Place a fire extinguisher is all major rooms of the home, such as kitchen, bedrooms, and laundry room. The National Fire Protection Association suggests a multi-purpose extinguishers that carry an “A, B, C” combination classification while also carrying the label of an independent testing laboratory. Have all family members read the instructions on how to use the fire extinguisher. Extinguishers are useful in containing small fires until the fire department arrives, but the first priority should be getting one’s family out of the home safely.
  9. Arcs cause numerous electrical fires every year, but this can be combated by installing Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) breaker in the home. Arcs in the home’s electrical system occur when an electrical current flows through an inadvertent path generating a sudden, high temperature in electrical wires.  When this happens, the extreme temperatures can easily ignite other combustible materials surrounding it, such as wood or insulation. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association says having an AFCI breaker offers greater fire protection for homeowners than a standard circuit breaker. An AFCI monitors the circuits in your home for the presence of hazardous arcing conditions and instantly disconnects the damaged circuit before the arc has time to build enough heat to cause a fire. As of 2008, the National Electrical Code has required new homes to have AFCI protection, but the code varies from state to state, and older homes are at a greater risk due to aging electrical wiring. As always, have a qualified electrician install the AFCI

Reducing the risk of electrical fires in one’s home is relatively simple, but the safety benefits are worth a great deal of peace-of-mind.

Having a Plan During a House Fire in Wellsville, KS

10/12/2020 (Permalink)

Kids safety tips- stop, drop and roll, don't hide from the fire, stay low and crawl Teach your kids these tips about fire.

Does your family have a plan during a house fire?

   Your kids’ safety is of utmost importance. You teach your children to look both ways before crossing the street and to stay away from strangers. But, as a parent and homeowner in Lawrence/ Ottawa and East Topeka, do you educate your children on what to do in a home fire? When a fire emergency occurs, every second counts. Have a fire escape plan and practice it with your children. Review the tips below to educate your family. 

Practice a Fire Escape Plan

   Teach and practice the following techniques with your children during a non-emergency, so your family knows what to do in the case of a home fire:

• If the smoke alarm sounds at night, roll to the edge of the bed face down, place the closest hand to the floor and slide off the bed. 


• Crawl to avoid smoke in the air on knees and forearms with head down, or crawl like a snake. 


• Check doors before opening by feeling for heat. If hot, find another way out of the room. If warm or cool, open slowly and check for fire. Close doors as you go. 


• Create and practice an escape route and agree on an outdoor meeting place. If trapped, go to the window, open it, climb out if possible or yell for help. Once out of the house, do not return inside for any reason. 

Preventative Measures for Kids
    Aside from teaching and practicing the above techniques, follow these kids’ safety tips:

• Maintain at least one functioning smoke detector at each level of your home. Teach your children that the alarm sound means there is fire and smoke in the house. 


• Keep lighters and matches out of the reach of young children. Instruct older children not to play with these or other flammable objects, such as candles. 

   By teaching and practicing the above tips with your children in Lawrence/Ottawa and East Topeka, your family is prepared for a home fire. Once your kids’ safety is secured and the fire is out, contact a fire restoration specialist and your homeowner’s insurance agent to begin the process of returning your home to pre loss condition.