Recent Fire Damage Posts

Summertime Fireworks Safety Tips

7/1/2019 (Permalink)

Practice Fireworks Safety

Fireworks… a summertime staple…

Many of our summer events and holidays would just not be the same without being able to enjoy a great fireworks display.

Moreover, many states, including the great state of Maine, purchasing fireworks is legal.  This helps to increase our enjoyment, especially as we include them into our outdoor plans.

But for as much fun as they can give, they are also a potential source of injury or even fatalities.

Estimates are that around 11,000 to 13,000 people are injured due to fireworks every year and an average of 8 people are killed every year due to fireworks related incidents.

These numbers become even more depressing when you realize that about 1/3 of the people injured by fireworks every year are children.  This includes injuries from fireworks such as fire crackers and sparklers. 

Sparklers are commonly enjoyed by adults and children of all ages.  Unfortunately, most parents forget that these sparklers are extremely hot until it’s too late.  Sparklers burn hot enough to cause serious burns to the skin and even ignite clothing.

Fireworks Fire Hazards

As if the injury related statistics weren’t bad enough, fireworks also have a rather obvious track record when it comes to fire hazards.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates that fireworks are responsible for between 20,000 to 50,000 fires per year, including fires inside the home, inside or around vehicles, as well as outdoors.  

These fires not only destroy property, they cause thousands of injuries as well as at least 2-3 deaths per year.

Fireworks Fire Prevention

The key to preventing fires caused by fireworks is recognizing the fire hazards posed by fireworks and preventing them before they occur.  To that end, here are some safety tips:

Create an Open and Clear Space

Prepare a clear, open space that is away from buildings, trees and anything that might be flammable.  Your open space should have a fire extinguisher and a source of water on hand.  If you are in an area surrounded by foliage or brush, you can reduce the fire risk by watering them with a hose before you begin your fireworks display.

Respect Fireworks Restrictions

Even though fireworks are legal in the state, there may be a ban in your community.  Furthermore, there could be temporary restrictions due to drought or other conditions which make fires more likely.

Dispose of Fireworks Safely

Dispose of any 'duds' and spent fireworks properly.  Duds in particular can become serious fire hazards if they dry out, so dispose of it in a way that mitigates the risk of fire.  A good rule of thumb is to wait 20 minutes after attempting to light it.  Then soak it in a bucket of water for as long as possible.  Finally, double bag the soaked dud and dispose of it.

Wear Eye Protection

Fireworks have the potential to cause eye injuries.  These injuries are not only from the projectile sticking your eye, but the sparks and debris when the go off.  Though wearing safety goggles when using fireworks may seem a bit over the top, you’ll be glad you did. 

Use Fireworks Properly

Be sure to point fireworks away from people, animals, buildings and other objects.

When you’re lighting fireworks pay careful attention to their intended direction of travel.  Ensure that even fireworks that shoot into the air don’t land in areas dense in foliage such as trees, bushes and other vegetation.

Transport Fireworks Safely

It’s a good practice to never carry fireworks shoved in your pocket or purse/bag.  The friction from your pants or purse/bag can cause the fireworks to ignite and cause serious injury.  Carry fireworks in proper boxes or bags in which they were originally purchased from your local retailer.

Practice Fireworks Safety

Fireworks can be fun to see and enjoy if they are used properly.  By using common sense safety practices you can mitigate the risks of fire and serious injuries.

While we hope all of your summertime plans go off without a hitch, if disaster strikes, your friends and neighbors at SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland are here to help. 

Our highly trained staff stands ready to assist you after damage from a fire.

We’re available 24/7at 207-338-1850.

Belfast 10 Safety Tips To Keep The Fire Inside The Grill

6/3/2019 (Permalink)

Keep The Flames Inside Your Grill

We’ve all seen the videos on YouTube… some guy trying to fire up the grill and all of a sudden… POOF… no more eyebrows…

Even though laughs may have ensued because of that guy’s likely stupidity with his technique for lighting the grill, FEMA estimates that this initial step in the process is the leading category of grilling related fires.

While that may be an interested statistic, FEMA also estimates that every year when the grills get fired up at homes across the U.S., 10 people die, 100 people get injured and over $37 million in property is damaged. 

Oh, by the way, FEMA also estimates that the majority of this mayhem happens between 5-8 pm in the months of May, June, July and August.

These estimates are low compared to those from the NFPA

Read the NFPA Grill Fires Report here.

This is crazy… all anybody really wants is something delicious off the grill right?

Grilling Safety

Chowing down on delicious food cooked on the grill is an important part of most outdoor plans.  It doesn’t matter if it’s an afternoon spent with family and friends in the back yard, a day at the park or even the beach… enjoying food on the grill makes the day complete.

Following some simple safety tips can keep this a part of your perfect outdoor plans.  

Here are 10 tips to keep you and your home safe while you prepare your favorite food on the grill:

1. Keep Grills Off Patios & Away From Structures

It seems like a no-brainer, but FEMA estimates that 32% of all grilling related fires are on patios, terraces and screened-in porches.  Another 24% are on exterior balconies and unenclosed porches. 

So, start the grilling season off on the right foot, keep your grill off and out of these structures.

When deciding on the location for your grill, keep a lookout for anything nearby that could catch fire if exposed to flame or extreme heat, such as hanging tree branches or bushes.

A general rule of thumb, you'll want about 15 feet of clearance space around the grill.

2. Grill On A Level Surface

Many grill fires occur because the grill gets knocked over, which is usually a result of an unstable surface underneath the grill.  By setting your grill up on a level surface, you make your grill is as stable as possible, mitigating the risk of tipping over.

3. Always Remove Grease Build Up

It can be tempting, especially during a lazy summer, to put off cleaning your grill. But the grease and fat that build up on your grill can pose a serious fire hazard when it's left unchecked. 

Oh, remember those videos we talked about… excess grease can help increase the risk of becoming one of those.

So routinely remove build up by cleaning out your grill tray before you start it up for another round of outdoor cooking.

4. Wait To Relight The Grill

We’ve all had it happen… for one reason or another, the flame on the grill goes out.  This can create a hazardous situation and you may want to consider a precaution before relighting.

Wait at least 5 minutes to turn the grill back on and relight the flame.  This gives ample time for any remaining propane to clear the lighting area.

5. Keep People & Pets Away From The Grill

It can be hard to keep everyone away from the grill at a busy backyard BBQ, but keeping the kids and pets away from the hot grill is the best way to avoid injuries.  

Obviously a hot grill can cause serious burns.  Needless to say, as bad as that is it can be compounded by a fire if the grill happens to get knocked over.

Though most of us don’t usually give it a second thought, a grill remains hot for at least an hour after use, so it’s a good idea to keep the children and pets from playing around the grill even when the food is done cooking.

6. Keep Your Clothes Short & Simple

Sometimes what you’re wearing can be the last thing on your mind when you cooking, no matter if it’s on the grill or in the kitchen. 

It’s a good idea to avoid wearing anything that might dangle over the flames like long sleeves and apron strings. 

7. Clean The Tubes

One of the most overlooked aspects of cleaning your grill is the tubes which feed your grill burners.  It is very easy for grease and debris to build-up in these tubes, which can cause a fire when it becomes blocked enough.

8. Open Your Grill Lid When Lighting

It’s a good practice to have the lid of your grill open before you turn on any gas source and attempt to light it up.

Obviously with the lid closed the gas will build up inside the grill and once you light the grill, it can cause a fireball effect that could seriously injure you.

9. Never Leave A Grill Unattended

Fires and flare-ups can happen in seconds.  So leaving a grill unattended is a recipe for disaster. 

If you have to leave for a minute, have someone who knows what they’re doing (and can handle situations if they happen) take over while you get a break.

10. Have A Fire Extinguisher

Sometimes a fire will happen no matter how safe you are.  Having a fire extinguisher nearby when you’re grilling can save you precious seconds if a fire does start.

When selecting a fire extinguisher ensure it can be used on fires that include grease.  Just check the label on the extinguisher.

Should An Accident Happen

Grilling is a great way to enjoy the summer, but keeping you, your family and your home safe makes it even more so.  Practicing these essential safety tips will help keep your grilling moving in the right direction… from the grill to the plate.

However, should the unforeseen happen, SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland can help you recover from a fire. 

Want to understand the process of fire and soot removal? 

Check out our video outlining the process here.

We are available 24/7 and we’re only a phone call away.  You can reach us at 207-338-1850.

Fire Safety Tips For Your Home

10/12/2018 (Permalink)

Planning Can Help Eliminate Home Fires

When you think about preventing a fire in your home, the first thing that probably comes to mind is... "that would never happen."

Honestly, we hope it never does.

But statistics from the Nation Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), between 2011-2015 recorded that there were over 385,000 home fires in the United States. Those fires resulted in over 2,500 deaths, 12,300 injuries and more than $6.7 billion in damage.

The truth of the matter is, you never know where and when a fire will happen.

But, with a "ounce of prevention" you can hopefully put yourself and your family in a position to not be one of the statistics.

Home Fire Prevention - Where Do You Begin?

Though the risks for fires varies from home to home, there are some basic preventative steps you and your family can take to position yourselves to remain safe.

Smoke Detectors

---> If you don't have them already, install smoke detectors in your home

---> Be sure that smoke detectors are located on each level of your home

---> Be sure that you have smoke detectors in each bedroom and outside of sleeping areas

---> Check your smoke detectors monthly

---> Change the batteries in your smoke detectors at least twice per year

Having working smoke detectors in your home can reduce your risk of dying in a fire by almost 50%. The bottom line regarding smoke detectors is, having working smoke detectors in your home is not an option, it's a necessity... it can save your life.

Home Preparedness

If the unexpected should happen, preparing your home in advance and keeping it in a general "level" of readiness can be the difference between getting out during an emergency vs. being stuck inside... or worst. Consider these preparations for your home:

---> Keep a fire extinguisher in as many rooms of your home as possible, especially the kitchen, work shop and near fireplaces and wood stoves

---> If you have small children, some fire departments supply stickers for you to place on their bedroom windows to alert firefighters who will respond during an emergency

---> Teach young children never to play with lighters or matches

---> Store lighters and matches out of reach of small children

---> Keep any space heaters at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn

---> Be sure to shut space heaters off before you leave the room

---> Be sure to use a sturdy screen around any fireplaces or wood stoves

---> Inspect fireplaces and wood stoves monthly and get them cleaned annually

---> Keep lighted candles on a non-flammable surface and at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn

---> Never leave a lighted candle or any other fire unattended

---> Never leave anything you're cooking unattended on the stove

---> Keep the surface and areas immediately around your stove clear of clutter, grease and any flammable items

---> Ensure that all the electrical products in your home have been evaluated by a recognized laboratory such as UL

---> Don't run extension cords under carpets or rugs

---> Don't plug several appliances into one electrical outlet or power extension cord

---> Don't use appliances and power cords that are frayed

---> Be sure to clean out the lint trap on your dryer after each use and periodically clean the venting tube

---> Store combustible items such as gasoline and kerosine in approved containers and in areas which are not near any heat source or accessible by children

Have An Evacuation Plan

The NFPA states that in the event of a fire, you and your family will have an average of 2 minutes to escape. So creating an evacuation plan for home is critical.

This one step can ensure not only that you make it out of your home within 2 minutes, but that each member of your family, young and old, can make it out alive. Consider these home evacuation strategies:

---> Teach your children what a smoke detector sounds like when it activates

---> Practice checking doors & door knobs before opening them during a fire emergency

---> Create an Emergency Home Evacuation Plan

---. Designate one person to get any infants or disabled relatives out of your home

---> Ensure that every member of your family knows at least 2 ways to get out of your home

---> Practice evacuating your home at least twice a year - making it fun will keep your kids engaged and help them to remember what to do during a stressful situation

---> Ensure every member of the family knows where to meet after an emergency evacuation

---> Teach children to GET LOW & GO

---> Teach everyone in your family how to STOP, DROP & ROLL

---> Establish and emergency communication plan for the family in advance

---> Be sure to call 911 from outside of your home

This may seem like a lot of things to do and remember, but if you use this guide as a "checklist" you'll be well on your way to making your home and family safer.

Should the unthinkable happen and you suffer a loss from a fire, you can reach your neighborhood professionals at SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland at 207-338-1850.

Stay Safe While Keeping Warm This Winter

2/14/2018 (Permalink)

As any Maine resident would know, our winters tend to be on the colder end of the spectrum. Although this winter has been fairly mild so far, you never know when the next cold snap will strike. Every time we crank the heat, its important to remember the hazards involved.

Unfortunately, heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fires in the United States. During the period of 2009-2013, heating equipment was the cause of 16% of all reported home fires, which is roughly 56,000 fires; these fires led to 470 deaths, 1,490 injuries and $1 billion in property damage. Half of all home fires caused by heating equipment occur in December, January and February.

Here are some easy steps to help prevent heating-related fires from occurring: 

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
  • Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  • Keep an eye on your pets when they're within proximity of all space heaters and open fires, as well.
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month.

Heating your home is extremely important during the cold winter months, but it's equally as important to do so safely.

Should you suffer fire damage, contact SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland at (207)338-1850!  Let us help you make it "Like it never even happened."

Furnace Puff Back: What Is It?

2/7/2018 (Permalink)

Despite the increasing number of viable alternative heating methods available on the market, a large number of people in Maine and New England still rely on oil furnaces to heat their homes and businesses. Modern heating systems are very reliable and dependable; most issues can be readily addressed by a qualified professional. Unfortunately, the malfunction commonly known as the "puff back" is not so easily dealt with.

A puffback is an explosion inside the burner chamber of the furnace, similar to the backfiring of a car. While there are a number of causes - such as excessive debris or a buildup of oil fumes prior to burner ignition - the resulting explosion can shoot soot and debris through the furnace's exhaust system...and into your home.

This soot is not just a powder-like substance; instead, it is black, sticky and will include a mixture of oil that is difficult to clean. Walls, ceilings, carpets, furniture and curtains are coated with a fine film of soot and smoky streaks. Typically, the damage is worse with a forced-air heating system or central air-conditioning, because the duct work provides a path through the house, even into closets. In addition to the soot, a puff back causes a foul odor to permeate your home. Oil-based soot is extremely difficult to remove and needs to be cleaned as soon as possible.

Fortunately, SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland has the knowledge and experience to take care of difficult problems such as this. Since each puffback 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 home or business, while also treating your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

In the event of a puffback - or any fire, smoke or water emergency - SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland is just a phone call away.

Call us today at (207)338-1850!

Smoke Odor: Removal Can Be Difficult

1/24/2018 (Permalink)

Cooktops and ovens account for over 166,000 home fires in the US each and every year. The reasons behind these fires vary and they may not always cause extensive damage to the home, but there are still plenty of related issues.

Although many smaller fires don't result in major damage to the home, they can still create a mess through smoke, ash and fire extinguisher residue. Small fires, especially in the kitchen, can coat an entire room in smoke and ash even if they only burn for a few minutes. As a result, multiple treatment techniques and avenues must be considered and used. SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland has the experience to assess the situation and develop a restoration plan, as well as the equipment and expertise to ensure the odor is properly taken care of. 
Even “contained” fires often require a sizable cleanup job. Ash and smoke tend to coat nearby surfaces and common household cleaning supplies typically are not capable of removing this residue. Protein fires – caused by meat that catches fire – can be extremely problematic; the odors from these sorts of fires tend to be especially strong and difficult to remove. Fortunately, SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland has access to effective, specialized cleaning supplies that make short work of visible staining, streaking, and odors caused by cooking-related fires.
Once the visible damage and been cleaned, the scent of smoke can still linger in a room. Unfortunately, odor particles become embedded in ceilings, walls, and objects; it can be extremely difficult for a homeowner to remove the smell. Without the proper tools and equipment, eliminating the smell of smoke is virtually impossible. Just cleaning the carpet is not enough. We will often utilize use a thermal fogging machine to flush out the odors from a room, removing even the deepest smoke smells. 
Smoke damage isn’t simply limited to the room; objects and belongings typically suffer fire damage, as well. Carpets, rugs and other fabrics are excellent traps for ash and smoke particles. Important documents, electronics, furniture and other valuables may need restoration, as well.

Should you suffer fire damage this Summer, contact SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland at (207)338-1850!  Let us help you make it "Like it never even happened."

After the Fire: Smoke and Soot Damage

1/10/2018 (Permalink)

Fire damage can extend well beyond what was burned; smoke and soot can easily spread throughout a house.

moke 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 Bangor/Ellsworth 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 – (207) 338-1850

5 Holiday Candle Safety Tips

12/15/2016 (Permalink)

Candles Enhance Your Holiday Decor

The holidays are here again.

It's time to enjoy the season with family and friends, decorate the house, the yard... go all out!

Those decorations we use include candles. Candles can create great ambiance and add the perfect highlights to our other holiday decor.

But, as nice as candle may be, they can also create risk when we use them.

So, let us help you mitigate that risk so you can focus on what's important... family & friends.

Candle Safety Tips

The U.S. Fire Administration tells us that home fires started by candles peak in December. But by following these candle safety tips you will reduce the chances this will happen to you.

1. Trim the Wick - Keep the wick on your candle trimmed to 1/4 inch. If the wick on your candle is too long the candle will not burn or drip evenly.

2. Don't Leave Candles Unattended - So what exactly does this mean?

Simply put, make sure that there is a responsible adult in the room when you have a candle burning.  You want to make sure that any small children or your pets don't get too inquisitive and hurt themselves or accidentally start a fire.

3. Use The Right Candle Holder - Make sure that the candle holder you are using is designed for the candle you are burning. Be sure that the containers you are using are resistant to heat, placed on a level surface and are big enough to hold any melting wax safely.

4. Give Your Candle Enough Space - Keeping your candles well spaced from each other can help prevent a problem. You should keep burning candles at least 3 inches apart.

5. Candles & Water Don't Mix - Using water to put our a burning candle can cause wax to splatter and a hot candle jar to crack. Snuff out a candle to extinguish it safely.

By following these tips we can help keep our families safe this holiday season. But if disaster does strike, we are only a call away!

You can reach the professionals of SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland at 338-1850.

Christmas Tree Safety Tips For Your Holiday Season

11/29/2016 (Permalink)

Christmas tree fire test (NIST)

Christmas is quickly approaching. The closer it gets, the more we turn to thoughts of family, friends, gift giving and decorating our homes.

Let's face it, it is a magical time of year which stirs feelings of peace and glad tidings.

But did you know that it can unfortunately also a time for tragedy for some families?

There is good news though... with just a little work, the holidays can be free from tragedy and full of joy and warmth.

Christmas Tree Safety

While Christmas tree fires are not as common place as they were years ago, they do still occur. It is reported that 1 in every 31 Christmas tree fires results in death.

This is a staggering statistic. The National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST) performed a test to learn how these tragedies occur and how fast it can turn deadly.

Check out the NIST video here.

So to help reduce the chances that this happens to you, follow these safety tips when decorating this holiday season.

1. Choose a freshly cut tree. You can find one by running your hand on the branches. The needles of a fresh cut tree will not fall off easily.

2. Make sure you set up your tree away from heat sources such as radiators or fireplaces and keep it clear from any exits.

3. Make a fresh cut on the trunk of your tree when placing it into the tree stand.

4. Decorate your tree with lights that have been tested by an independent testing lab such as UL Labs.

5. Replace any lights which have worn or broken cords.

6. Turn of the lights before you go to bed

7. Be sure to keep your tree watered daily.

Remember, the time has come to say goodbye to your Christmas tree when it starts to shed it's needles. Many communities in our area have recycling programs for Christmas trees to ensure their safe disposal.

These simple tips can help to keep you and your family safe this holiday season. But should you suffer the tragedy of a fire, let us help make it "Like it Never Even Happened."

You can reach the professionals at SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland at 338-1850.

Tips For Recovering After A Fire

10/18/2016 (Permalink)

SERVPRO can help after a fire

It is all to easy to think that it can't happen to you, there is no way you could be the victim of a devastating fire.

The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) reports that there were 365,500 home fires in the United States in 2015.

That's an average of over 30,000 fires per month. These fires resulted in over 2,000 deaths, 11,000 injuries and over $7 billion in damage.

If you have suffered the unthinkable, here are some tips to help you put the pieces back together.

Get Medical Treatment - Getting everyone out of the house during a fire or other emergency can be a harrowing experience. During your evacuation, you may suffer injuries.

No matter how minor you injuries may seem, be sure to have them checked.  This will help reduce any chances of infection.

Get Emotional Help - This is something that is equally as important as the physical healing you may need. A disaster such as a fire can effect people differently.

Some of the emotions you and your family may experience include fear, shock, disbelief, grief, anger, guilt, anxiety and/or depression.

Remember, children also process traumatic events differently than adults, so be prepared to provide them with additional support if necessary. Your local Red Cross can help find you the help you need.

Rebuilding Your Home - It is extremely important to never enter your home after a disaster until inspectors have determined that it is safe to do so.

Get in touch with your insurance agent to help determine the extent of the damage and get a claim open immediately so you can begin to put the wheels in motion for rebuilding or replacing your home.

Finding Professional Contractors - No matter what repairs are needed for your home, always be sure to use reputable contractors to complete the work. Any contractors you choose should have extensive experience repairing homes after a fire or disaster.

Your local chamber of commerce is a good place to start locating the professionals best suited for your needs.

If you have suffered a fire in you home, the professionals at SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland are only a phone call away. We will jump into action immediately to help you and your family back on track.

The Importance of a Fire Evacuation Plan For Your Home

10/10/2016 (Permalink)

Red Cross Home Fire Evacuation Plan

It's National Fire Prevention Week and one of the few times each year when we are asked to think about making our homes safer for our family. We all feel safe in our homes...and quite frankly, we should.

But, even in the safest of homes, in the safest of neighborhoods, emergencies happen.

Consider that in 2015, the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) reported that there were over 300,000 home fires in the US. So it makes sense to have a plan to help keep you and your family safe.

Consider this, what is you are sleeping in the middle of the night and the smoke alarms in your home go off. You are being woken from a sound sleep, you smell smoke and you start to panic.

Fire experts tell us that we have less than 2 minutes to get out of our house safely.

Can you and your family get out?  Do you have a plan?  Have you practiced your plan?

SERVPRO has teamed up with the American Red Cross and their nationwide campaign to reduce the number of deaths and injuries from home fires by as much as 25% over the next 5 years.

How are they going to accomplish this?

By asking people to do two things that can help to save lives – check their smoke detectors and develop an evacuation plan and once you have it, practice fire drills at home.

So how do you make a plan?  What should it include?

Put It In Writing - Get the family together, draw out a picture of your house. (You can use the one attached to this article)

Have everyone know at least 2 ways they can get out of the house in an emergency. Make sure you have a plan no matter where you are in the house, but especially from bedrooms, just in case you are jarred from a sound sleep.

Be sure to post it where everyone knows what it is.

Pick A Meeting Place - You need to know if everyone got out safely. You can do this by having a predetermined location to meet after you safely get out of the house.

Make sure every member of your family knows where it is and how to get there.

Practice, Practice Practice - Like with most things in life, practice makes perfect.

You and your family should practice your evacuation plan several times during the year. The more you practice, the easier it will be if you wake up to a smoke alarm in the middle of the night.

When you practice make it fun, see who can get out of the house the safest & quickest, don't just walk, but low crawl to simulate smoke conditions.

Don't forget to practice "Stop, Drop & Roll." Keep practicing until everyone can get out of the house within 2 minutes.

Call 911 - Once everyone is safely out of the house, be sure to call 911. You may not have a cell phone with you when you are evacuating, so get to a neighbor's house and make the call.

There is nothing more important than the safety of you and your family. So be sure to create a plan and practice the plan.

Once it has been determined that it is safe to return to your home and the time has come to begin the cleanup, remember we are here to help.

With just one phone call to SERVPRO of Belfast/Camden/Rockland you will be well on you way to making it "like if never even happened."

Emergency Tips - Fire and Smoke Damage

10/9/2013 (Permalink)

Always have plumbing and electrical checked by professionals to avoid causing more damage to your home or office, even if they visibly appear unharmed

We are approaching the time of year where house fires tend to be more frequent. According to the NFPA cooking is the leading cause of house fires in the U.S. and 42% of house fires started in the Kitchen. Use timers and keep an eye on food when you are cooking! 


  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet.

  • Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.

  • Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.

  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor.

  • Wipe soot from chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim and appliances, then protect these surfaces with a light coating of lubricant.

  • If heat is off during winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilets bowls, holding tanks, and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures.

  • Wash both sides of leaves on houseplants.

  • Change HVAC filter, but leave system off until a trained professional can check the system.

  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of sott from getting in or out of the HVAC system.

  • Don't:

  • Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without first contacting your local SERVPRO.

  • Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting your local SERVPRO.

  • Attempt to clean any electrical appliances (TV's, radios, etc.) that may have been close to fire, heat or water without first consulting an authorized repair service.

  • Consume any food or beverages that may have been stored close to fire, heat or water. (They may be contaminated.)

  • Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock, and air movement may create secondary damage.

  • Send garments to the dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set in smoke odor. (You may send them to one who regularly deals with restoration, ask us for names.)