Archived Fire Damage Blog Posts
Fire Restoration Steps
A home fire can be damaging.
A fire can destroy your home in West Valley City, UT, in a matter of minutes. Even if the house is not a total loss, a lot of damage can still happen quickly, and professional fire restoration is necessary to get your home back to the way it was before the incident. Before technicians can rebuild, they must first clean up the mess left behind.
5 Steps for Fire Restoration
The first thing that fire damage mitigation specialists do when they arrive is assess your home. The walkthrough will give them the information they need to plan mitigation:
- Extent of the damage
- Effect on structural integrity of home
- Places of egress that need boarding up
Once the assessment is complete, the technicians provide an itemized list of the steps involved as well as a cost estimate for their services. This information helps you understand the process and timeline and can also assist with your insurance claim.
It takes a lot of water to put out a fire. Therefore, before fire restoration can really begin, technicians must extract all standing water and dry the space. Removing the water also makes it easier to determine which parts of the structure must be removed.
If your walls, ceiling or floors sustain significant water or smoke damage, the materials must be torn out. Any porous material is particularly susceptible to damage that cannot be fixed. If it can't be salvaged, it has to be removed.
The next step is removing soot from remaining surface. The damage cleaning process may involve techniques that mimic the factors involved in the fire so that cleaning agents can get into cracks and crevices.
After the remaining structure is thoroughly disinfected, technicians rebuild the structure. The restoration team matches the new walls, floors and ceiling with the remaining ones so that no one can tell where the damage occurred.
The fire restoration starts with assessment and mitigation. The final step isn't finished until your home is back to normal.
Protect Your Family From a Gas Fire
Gas may be used for cooking.
In many communities, natural gas is the go-to source of energy for home and water heating. In addition to these conveniences, this gas may also be used for cooking, powering air conditioning units, running the clothes dryer, and powering a gas fire in your fireplace. While this cost-effective source of energy is generally safe, there are some precautions you should take if you smell that "rotten egg" odor, hear a hissing sound, or suspect a gas leak for any other reason:
5 Precautions to Take if You Suspect a Gas Leak
- Don't turn any lights on. Don't plug anything into your outlets. Any spark or flame could cause collected gas to ignite. If you need a source of light, choose a flashlight.
- Check your gas appliances. If you have a gas stove, for example, make sure the burners have been turned off. It's fairly easy for the knobs to get bumped into an "on" position.
- Open windows and doors. This is the best way to provide the ventilation necessary to get gas out of your home.
- Evacuate everyone from your home. After moving across the street, call 911 or the gas company. The best way to avoid a gas fire is to alert professionals to the problem. They may also ask you to warn your neighbors to evacuate.
- Locate the gas meter. When you aren't worried about a potential leak and resulting gas explosion, find out where your gas meter is installed. With this information, you can turn off the meter if you smell gas.
Remember that your top priorities are the safety of your family, your loved ones, and the people around you. Don't take risks when dealing with gas.
Natural gas is an affordable option when it comes to powering your house. With the right information, you can avoid a gas fire. If your West Valley City, UT, home is affected by fire, contact property damage cleanup and repair professionals for help.
5 Tips for Home Fire Prevention and Preparation
Fire preparation and prevention it's important.
Witnessing your West Valley City, UT, home ablaze is one one the most devastating things you and your family could endure. Nothing is guaranteed. However, there are fire safety measures that can help you prevent a home fire. There are also fire preparation tips you can practice just in case.
5 Fire Preparation Tips
1. Inspect Smoke Alarms
Smoke alarms must be maintained to keep them operating properly. Dust or vacuum each unit at least once a year when you replace the batteries. Smoke alarm units themselves should be replaced every 10 years.
2. Use Electricity Safely
Avoid overloading electrical circuits. Make sure that your light bulbs don't go above the suggested wattage on each light fixture. If plugs don’t fit the outlets snugly, you may need to replace the outlets. If you frequently have tripped circuit breakers or blown fuses in your home, have a licensed electrician examine your electrical system.
3. Cook Safely
Stay in the kitchen while cooking on the stove or broiling. Keeping a pot lid or baking sheet within reach in the kitchen is an excellent fire preparation plan. If a pan fire begins, cover it and turn off the burner. Always keep pot handles turned toward the back of the stove to avoid them being knocked off.
4. Monitor Open Flames
When burning candles, make sure that they’re in sturdy, non-flammable candle holders away from flammable materials (e.g., curtains, magazines). Also, place them out of the reach of children and pets. Never keep candles burning unattended. Never present an open flame in an area where medical oxygen is used, even if the machine is turned off.
5. Use Heaters Safely
Keep flammable materials at least three feet from space heaters, fireplaces, woodstoves, radiators and furnaces. Turn off and unplug heaters when you’re leaving home or going to bed. Only use space heaters with overheat or tip over automatic shutoff features.
Fire preparation and prevention are essential fire safety tools that you must practice. If a fire occurs at your home, fire restoration professionals can return it to its preloss condition.
Reducing Fire Hazards While Cooking
Many homes succumb to a grease fire.
The kitchen may be the heart of the home, but it is also the most at risk of fire. To help ensure you and your family's safety, adhere to the following safety tips that any fire restoration company in West Valle City, UT would provide.
- Never leave the kitchen unattended
- Do not overuse oil or grease
- Keep appliances serviced and clean
- Unplug appliances when not in use
- Install smoke and fire detectors
Safety Tips To Reduce Fire Hazards While Cooking
Never Leave the Kitchen Unattended
Many accidental kitchen fires occur because items are left in the oven or on the stove unattended. Staying in the kitchen is the best advice for avoiding residential fire damage. You do not have to wait at the cooktop, but remaining in the room keeps you mindful and watchful.
Do Not Overuse Oil and Grease
Many homes succumb to a grease fire. Grease is a dangerous accelerant, and while the substance is useful in cooking, you should use it with an abundance of caution. The best cooking tips often suggest that a little oil or grease goes a long way, so avoid overuse in your recipes.
Keep Appliances Serviced and Clean
Many appliances can last years when well-maintained, but they can become a fire hazard if they are not. Old food crumbs, leftover grease, or other contaminants can add to an appliance fire's susceptibility, but faulty mechanics may also lead to a problem. All machinery, including kitchen appliances, require upkeep and maintenance; keep up with manufacturer recommendations.
Install Smoke and Fire Detectors
While installing a smoke or fire detector directly above a cooktop is likely problematic because it may produce many false alarms, you should place a sensor in or near the kitchen. These devices are essential early warning systems, and they may save you and your family, possibly even your home.
The above tips are universal suggestions for protecting your home and family. If you would like more specific recommendations, contact a local fire restoration company to assess your house.
3 Fire Prevention Tips for Your Business
Keep your commercial property safe by having a fire extinguisher.
Knowledge is power when it comes to fire prevention. While it’s impossible to completely eradicate the potential for a business fire, there are several steps you can take to keep your commercial property in West Valley City, UT, safe.
Three Steps You Can Take To Keep Your Commercial Property Safe
1. Schedule a Building Assessment
Fire assessments aren’t reserved solely for your local fire damage restoration company, and they don’t always have to take place after a fire. Contact the fire marshal and inquire about a fire hazard assessment for your building. Identifying and resolving risks up front is your first line of defense.
2. Equip Your Building With Fire Suppression and Prevention Tools
It’s standard procedure to have fire extinguishers and smoke detectors on every floor of your commercial property. Test smoke detectors monthly to ensure that they’re working properly and be sure to change their batteries promptly when needed.
Depending on the size of your business, you may also want to invest in a sprinkler system as part of your fire prevention plan.
3. Draft and Distribute a Fire Safety Plan
Your employees need to know what to do if there’s a fire during business hours. Those fire extinguishers mentioned above? Your staff needs to know how to operate them. They should also be aware of multiple evacuation routes in the event of a business fire. Run regularly scheduled practice evacuations and post the routes at various intervals through the building.
For larger companies, instituting a chain of command for fires and other emergencies is an easy way to streamline the process. By appointing fire safety officers and assigning responsibilities, you can lessen confusion in the unlikely event of a fire. All of your employees should know where to locate a first-aid kit as well.
Carve a few hours out of next week’s schedule to make sure your fire prevention procedures are up to snuff. It only takes a few hours of planning to significantly decrease the odds of a dangerous fire erupting at your commercial property.
What To Do Immediately After a House Fire
Fire damage can be scary
Even a small kitchen fire can be scary. Larger fires raise even more questions and concerns. If a blaze breaks out at your West Valley City, UT, home, it’s important to keep a cool, calm head. Once everyone is safe and sound, the fire restoration process can begin.
3 Steps For the Fire Remediaton Process
1. Call a Fire Damage Mitigation Company
This first thing you should do after a fire is call your local fire damage mitigation company to initiate the recovery process. Be prepared to describe the damage over the phone so the recovery service knows who to dispatch and with what equipment.
Once the recovery team arrives, they’ll perform an assessment to determine the extent of the damage and how to best proceed. They’ll board up any compromised windows and doors, and if the roof is damaged, they’ll cover it with a tarp. Next, the team will remove water left behind by sprinkler systems and fire hoses; after that, smoke and soot will be eradicated as well. The last step before restoration is fire and smoke cleaning. All affected areas will be thoroughly sanitized.
After the damage is dealt with, the actual fire restoration begins. Repairs such as new drywall, fresh paint or replacing rugs all take place during this final step.
2. Don’t Touch Anything
While you wait for the fire damage mitigation team to arrive, don’t touch any of the areas affected by the fire. If the destruction is extensive, leave your home altogether and make arrangements to stay elsewhere until the restoration process is complete. Parts of your home that look safe may be weakened due to fire or even water use by the fire department.
3. Call Your Insurance Company
Whether you added fire insurance to your homeowners policy or not, your next step is to call your insurance company. It may cover various parts of your restoration.
It may be difficult, but it’s in your best interests to remain calm after a fire. Acting quickly and rationally to expedite the fire restoration process will help return your home to normal as fast as possible.
How Do You Create a Fire Escape Plan?
One of the best ways to keep your family safe during a home fire in West Valley City, Utah, is to have a strategic fire escape plan. This can help ensure everyone gets out of the house as quickly as possible without injury.
Following these next steps may save the life of someone in your family.
4 Steps To Create a Fire Escape Plan
1. Know Where the Exits Are
While the doors may be obvious exit points, it is best to have at least two possible exits from each room. That way you have a backup option in case the doors are unsafe. Consider all usable windows, and make sure you have an easily accessible ladder tall enough to reach them. It is also critical to ensure no exits are blocked by furniture.
2. Draw a Map
Developing exit routes from each sleeping room in your home is an essential part of a good fire escape plan. It is helpful to talk about all the escape routes with your family members and to also draw a map. The map should include a basic floorplan of the house and the escape route from each room. Keep a copy of the map handy in all rooms.
3. Have Home Fire Drills
Especially in households with children, it is crucial to practice the emergency escape plan routinely so everyone is prepared in the event of a fire. Have everyone practice using both exit points from their room as well as main exit points from the home.
4. Have an External Rendezvous Point
Choose a secure location a safe distance away from your home to use as a meetup point for your family members. That way you can do a head count and make sure everyone is out safely. Anyone with limited mobility, such as infants or elderly adults, should be assigned a helper so they don’t get left behind or forgotten.
Protect your family from a home fire in West Valley City, Utah, by being prepared with a fire escape plan. Keep the phone numbers to the local fire department and fire restoration company handy, and never ignore your smoke alarms.
Securing Your Building Post-Fire
Protect your commercial property after suffering fire damage.
Is your West Valley City, UT, commercial property suffering after a fire? If you are planning on seeking help from a local fire damage restoration company, you are already on the right track. But you also need to keep your building safe in the meantime.
Three steps to make sure looting does not affect your business in the aftermath of a commercial fire.
- Identify and Secure Open Spaces
Survey your building very carefully when beginning your fire cleanup efforts. Ensure that all windows, doors and other open spaces are securely locked. Next, make sure that you purchase some sturdy boards that will be sufficiently protective for the type of opening that you are securing. The length of time you expect the boards to be in place should also influence what type of covering you buy.
- Research Further Options
While waiting to repair fire damage to your building, you may want to invest in some fencing for added security. This really depends on whether or not you feel that your building is in an area prone to heavy looting, as well as the amount of time you expect your business to be shut down for.
- Consider Advanced Security Options
If you feel that your company’s geographical area is highly unsafe or expect you will be closed for a very long time, security services or a high-tech alarm may be the way to go. These options allow your building to be secured when you are not physically available to keep a close watch.
Don’t Get Intimidated
Fire damage is stressful enough without worrying about highly customizable security options. You need to focus on fixing any destruction first and foremost, so if you think complicated security measures are out of the question logistically or financially, stick with basic, reliable boards that will keep your West Valley City, UT, business protected not only from criminal activity, but also the unpredictable natural elements.
Why You Need Interruption Coverage
Fire damage can be devastating for your business.
No business is completely disaster proof. Even if you have a strong bottom line and a great deal of financial security, a fire that causes extensive damage can put you out of commission for a long period of time. If that happens, you are going to need interruption insurance to bear some of the financial burden. Interruption coverage can compensate for lost income as well as other expenses.
2 Reasons Why You Need Interruption Coverage
Even the most basic business interruption policy takes care of lost revenue. There are several factors that can contribute to an income hit after a major disaster:
- Damaged production equipment
- Loss of retail store front
- Destroyed inventory
The fire restoration company you hire to repair your building doesn't just provide an estimate for the cost of the repairs. The assessment team can also provide an expected timeline for completing them. You can use this information to calculate how much income you expect to lose in that time frame due to the damage to your building.
If you expand your interruption insurance coverage to include expenses, you can be even more protected after a fire ravages your building in West Valley City, UT. This extra coverage can pay the cost of relocating your business while your building is under reconstruction. It may cover monthly expenses such as rent or mortgage payments as well as employee wages. The policy may also help you make your tax and loan payments until you can get back on your feet. In addition to replacing your lost revenue, your insurance may cover some of the things your income usually pays.
Purchasing some kind of interruption insurance is a good idea for any business that has a physical location. If your building catches fire or is damaged by a natural disaster, the cost of repairs is not your only concern. Replacing the money you would have made if the accident had not occurred is an important consideration.
Insurance Coverage and Residential Fires
It's important to know what your insurance will cover in case of a residential fire in West Valley City, UT.
If you experience a home fire, will your insurance policy cover the damage? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is not straightforward. Every insurance policy is different, and the variables to determine coverage depend on the specific insurer. However, you can break most policies down into three categories for fire coverage: one often results in coverage, and the other two lead to questions and investigations.
If you speak to any fire damage expert in West Valley City, UT, they can tell you that accidental fires receive insurance coverage. However, the extent of coverage often ties back to the cause of the fire. For example, if a natural disaster causes the fire, your insurer may not pay, depending on your coverage.
As a homeowner, insurers expect you to perform routine maintenance of your property, which includes inspections of wiring and appliances. If a home fire stems from faulty wiring, especially if the homeowner was aware of the issue from previous inspections, your insurer is unlikely to provide coverage for the damage or property loss. If you were unaware of the problem because of a lapse or avoidance of inspections, your insurer is also unlikely to cover the losses.
When a fire stems from criminal activity, like arson, coverage is unlikely. While arson does not automatically negate coverage, an investigation will need to clear the owner of any wrongdoing before a claim is considered. Insurance fraud is a serious crime with significant fines and jail time if a person is convicted.
Only your insurer can speak to the specific fire causes that limit or prohibit coverage for a home fire. If you have questions, it is best to contact your insurer. You can also discuss fire risks, prevention and property assessments with a fire mitigation company, possibly helping you reduce the risks of property loss from fire loss.
What Does Rental Insurance Cover After a Fire?
SERVPRO can take care of your belongings and documents after suffering fire damage.
Homeowners aren't the only people who need insurance on the place they live. Whether you live in an apartment, town home or house in West Valley City, UT, you need renters insurance if you don't own your own place. For a relatively small monthly fee, you can protect yourself in the event of a fire or other disaster.
While the property owners are responsible for coverage that pays for the fire restoration services of the building itself, they are not required to cover your personal belongings. You need a renter's policy to protect certain items:
Most policies cover replacement cost rather than the actual cost of the items. That way, even when items depreciate, you are still able to afford to replace them if they are damaged in a fire.
It's likely that your home will become uninhabitable while undergoing repairs. Your renters insurance policy may cover the short-term costs of temporary relocation. If, for example, you need to get a hotel for a few nights while a burned wall is replaced and repainted, you can make a claim on your policy. That way, you don't have to worry about extra out-of-pocket expenses.
Damage to Third Parties
Sometimes, an event in your apartment can cause fire damage to someone else's property or person. If this happens, your policy may cover some of their expenses. An upstairs neighbor who is injured exiting the building as a result of the fire in your home may need help with medical bills. When you live in close quarters, your neighbors' personal belongings can also get smoke damage. While they're not specifically covered on your policy, the event that caused the damage is, so they may be entitled to compensation.
Property owners aren't the only people who need insurance. It's important to have renters insurance to protect you, your belongings and others who are affected in case of a fire.
Who's Responsible For What After an Apartment Fire
Fire damage in West Valley City, UT.
An apartment fire can raise a lot of questions: Did we lose any family heirlooms? Why didn't we ever replace that ancient, sparking coffeemaker in the kitchen? Are we on the hook for fire damage repairs, or is that the landlord's job? Here's a brief guide to who's responsible for what after a fire at a rental property in West Valley City, UT.
Guide of Responsabilities After an Apartment Fire
What the Property Owner Is Responsible For
In the simplest terms, a landlord is generally culpable for the apartment itself — more specifically its structure and fixtures. This typically includes components such as the following:
- Kitchen and bathroom counters
- Built-in cabinetry
- Windows and doors
If fire damage to any of these structural elements requires repairs, it's usually up to the landlord to fix them or, depending on the severity of the loss, enlist the help of an experienced fire restoration company. A landlord has a responsibility to bring the residence back up to habitable conditions ASAP.
The main exception to this provision is a fire caused by the renter. If a tenant's carelessness results in an apartment fire, and the landlord can prove that negligence, then the renter may be liable for the cost of structural and fixture-related repairs instead. For this reason, it's imperative that all parties involved take photos and videos of any fire damage after the event.
What the Renter Is Responsible For
The renter is culpable for whatever he or she brought into the apartment. These personal items can be large or small: everything from furniture and electronics to clothing and media. In short, if it wasn't there already when the renter moved in, then he or she is likely liable for any repairs or replacement that may be required.
If, however, the renter can prove that the landlord was responsible for the fire through negligence or failure to comply with building codes, then the landlord may be held liable for damage to the tenant's personal items.
The aftermath of an apartment fire can be chaotic. Knowing what you're responsible for — and what you don't have to worry about — is one way to begin regaining control of the situation and your sanity.
Fire Damage: Remediation Services Offer Support and Hope Throughout the Restoration Process
Fire extinguisher residue left after a fire in West Valley City, UT.
Thankfully, after experiencing a fire in your commercial property, you are not alone in the cleanup process. Most insurance companies will even require the use of fire remediation specialists in the West Valley City, UT, area before providing coverage. Many of these services offer both content cleaning and content storage and some even facilitate dry-cleaning. While it is a relief to know that your property will be restored, it is beneficial to understand the fire damage restoration process.
What is the fire damage restoration process?
1. Initial Contact and Assessment
Dependable restoration services offer immediate response times, meaning that after a disaster they will respond without notice. This initial point of contact will also allow project managers to assess the extent of the damage, which will help them understand the best way to move forward.
2. Board Up Services
Once the property has been assessed, the restoration crews will board up and tarp any necessary areas to mitigate further loss. This mitigation process also provides property owners with the assurance that they are safe from any other liability issues, like looting and vandalism.
3. Cleaning Up and Drying Out
During the cleanup phase, the mediation companies will remove excess water, scrub away surface damage, sanitize any problem areas and remove orders. In addition to the extensive cleaning process, these companies may help you find dry-cleaning specialists to help remove smoke odors from porous materials.
4. Repair and Restoration
After the cleaning, comes the fun part. This is the point when you begin to see your property take on new life. Damaged walls will be replaced. Roof lines will be repaired. Flooring and other surfaces will be changed out or restored. When all is finished, your building can return to full operation.
While a fire is a devastating thing to experience for any business owner, there is security in knowing that fire remediation specialists exist. These companies ensure that there is hope for restoration, and by performing the necessary task of securing property, cleaning out the property, and even facilitating dry-cleaning, the services ensure reduced stress and anxiety.