Recent Fire Damage Posts

Fire Damage: What to do while help arrives

1/27/2022 (Permalink)

The first 48 hours after fire damage can make the difference between restoring versus replacing your property and belongings. SERVPRO Professionals are here to help prevent lasting problems with a timely response. Until help arrives, here are some ways to minimize damage caused by a fire. 

  • Limit movement in the house to prevent soot particles from spreading and causing additional damage.
  • Lay down towels or linens over high traffic areas in your house.
  • Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between furniture legs and we carpet.
  • Do not wash walls or painted surfaces.
  • Do not shampoo carpet or upholstery.
  • Do not clean electrical equipment.
  • Do not send clothing to a drycleaners, improper cleaning may set smoke odor. 

And remember, SERVPRO professionals are here to restore your property and possessions to their preloss condition. 

Fire Damage to Your Carpeting? SERVPRO Can Help

1/27/2022 (Permalink)

An image of a carpet that has ben damaged in a fire, half has been cleaned and is white, the other is stained with soot SERVPRO professionals can help restore carpet damaged by fire and soot.

If your carpet has been soiled and damaged by soot in a fire, don't hesitate to give your local SERVPRO a call. SERVPRO professionals use state-of-the-art cleaning equipment to remove soiling and odors from fire and soot from deep within your carpet's pile and backing. 

We offer many carpet care and cleaning options, from light Bonnet Cleaning, to deep restorative Hot Water Cleaning, to Deluxe Precondition and Rinse, but the most effective cleaning method for treating fire damaged carpet is Showcase Premier Cleaning. This cleaning method uses a two-step process - shampooing the carpet and then rinsing and extracting the carpet for deep cleaning - to thoroughly remove stains and odors the way other methods may not. It is the most thorough cleaning method and will restore your carpet to it's pre-damaged condition.  

Christmas Light Safety

12/9/2021 (Permalink)

It is the holiday season. Some of us love to decorate our home or business with lights. Decorations can be like Clark Griswold or just a Christmas tree with lights. Understanding some essential safety tips can keep you and your family safe this holiday season.

Turn off the lights. If you’re leaving your home to run errands or even going to bed, it’s a good idea to turn off your lights. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 40% of Christmas tree fires are caused by the lights. It is a good idea to use timers, remotes, and smart outlets to make turning off your lights easier.

Buy the proper lights. Check if the lights can be used indoors, outdoors, or both. One important tip is never to use indoor lights outside. Winter weather can cause damage and lead to an increased risk of fire. If you have lights older than five years, it is a good idea to buy new lights.

Extension Cord. Like your lights, extension cords are rated for indoor or outdoor use. Indoor cords should never be used outside. Please be sure to secure cords by using staples to keep cords in place. Inside make sure to tape them down, so they are not a tripping hazard. Another essential tip is to watch your pet around cords. Make sure they are not chewing the electrical cords.

Don’t be like Clark Griswold. Too many strings plugged into one outlet could cause them to overheat. Using a power strip with a circuit breaker is a good idea. The power strip’s circuit breaker can detect heat and will shut down. Plugging outdoor lights into a GFCI outlet is essential. The outlet can detect wet conditions and shut off to prevent electrical shock. Keep your outdoor lights dry as well with a protective plastic cover. GFCI outlets are also found inside your home, usually in a kitchen, laundry room, and bathroom.

Take them down. Usually, in January, we experience a slight increase in the temperate. Use this to your advantage and take down your lights. Lights left up for a significant period can be damaged by inclement weather.

Have Questions About Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage? Call SERVPRO of Jefferson County – (262) 542-0900 Fire Damage Emergency Tips - What you can do until help arrives

Keeping Outdoor Pets and Your Home Safe This Winter

11/16/2021 (Permalink)

an image of debris and a burnt side of a house. SERVPRO restored this damage caused by a fire that started in a chicken coop in winter.

As winter approaches, temperatures are dropping rapidly! As we all know, humans aren’t the only ones who need warmth. As we head into the holiday season, many homeowners throughout the area may need to be sure that their outdoor fluffy pals can live comfortably. This can include the use of heat lamps or other heating sources. Our production crew worked on a home fire this past spring which was caused by a chicken coop heat lamp that shorted out and eventually burned up a portion of a home. SERVPRO was called and on site ready to help restore their home to a living condition. Here are some tips to remember to keep your home and your animals safe and warm this winter. 

  • Ensure if extension cords are needed that any grounds are not disconnected, falling apart, or too old

  • Inspect all heating equipment for any frayed, kinked or worn out wires

  • If possible, make sure there is enough separation from the home to the heated area incase of a fire to avoid spreading of the fire to the home

  • If using a space heater or heat lamp, avoid placing dry wood, hay, straw, rope or any other flammable item directly in front of it. These heating machines must have at least 3 feet of space between it and anything that could potentially spark a fire

  • Do not leave the heated area without supervision for extended periods of time

  • Maintain and monitor your heated area to avoid any potential fire hazards as listed above 

Contact SERVPRO Jefferson County/Oconomowoc for all your fire and smoke damage clean up needs.  262-542-0900 or 920-674-3002.

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Fire Prevention Week Tips For Fire Safety

10/15/2021 (Permalink)

Black soot on white bedroom door Follow Fire Safety Tips To Prevent This Type of Damage

Every October the National Fire Protection Association recognizes the second week of the month as Fire Prevention Week. The goal of this week is to raise awareness for fire safety and educate families.

This is the perfect time to talk with your family about your fire escape plan. These escape plans should include how to get out of each room in the house and a meeting location in a safe area for the entire family, this should be at least 75 feet from the building. This plan should be practiced regularly, during both the day and at night with everyone in your household, including children and people with disabilities.

This is also a great time to also test your smoke alarms and ensure they are less than 10 years old.

Along with checking your smoke alarms, you should also check your fire extinguisher. These fire extinguishers should have an ABC rating, as this type can be used to put out most fires. It is also important to note that these types of extinguishers do have a lifespan and should be replaced every 6 years.

Hopefully, you take time this coming week to think about how you can improve your fire safety. Remember, every second counts in the event of a fire, so you and your family must always be prepared. 

If you have fire damage, call the certified fire and smoke restoration technicians at SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc at 920-674-3002 

Fire Prevention From ATV Riding During Droughts

7/16/2021 (Permalink)

Blue ATV on fire in a yard Tips To Prevent Fires Related to ATV's

Many of the people working at SERVPRO of SW Waukesha County and SERVPRO Jefferson County/Oconomowoc enjoy riding ATV's and UTV's on our free time.  What a great way to enjoy the outdoors of Wisconsin and spending quality time with family and friends.

The following is an article about protecting ourselves and the environment while riding ATV's and UTV's during a drought.

Riding during drought season. What to know.

Recent drought conditions across the country require us to sharpen our focus on challenges for off-roaders.

To protect yourself, the environment, and the trails we all share, we've gathered some important information we should all keep in mind as we seek out summer's great adventure.

KEEP THE FUEL CANS AT HOME AND PLAN YOUR FUEL STOPS

For your safety and the safety of the environment, do not carry reserves that could combust. This applies every time you ride throughout the year. Failure to follow this instruction could lead to serious injuries. 

PARK IT IN RED FLAG CONDITIONS

A red flag warning means conditions are ripe for a wildfire, so consider taking a break from riding until the risk has passed. Be sure to check conditions and flag warnings in your area by visiting your state's natural resources department or weather.gov

RIDE WITH A FIRE EXTINGUISHER  

Be prepared for the unexpected by keeping safety close at hand, even after the dry season by carrying a fire extinguisher in your vehicle. Use a fire extinguisher holder, mounted directly inside your cab frame to keep a fire extinguisher within reach.

KEEP IT CLEAN

Minimize fire risk by removing all grass, weeds and brush that may have collected on or around the exhaust system. Be sure to wait until the exhaust system cools down before removing brush to prevent burns and always keep family and friends away from the hot metal.

OUTDOOR TEMPERATURE

As a final reminder, when it's hot out, it’s best to ride early in the morning or late at night to avoid the worst of the conditions and always bring along extra water to stay hydrated. If you’d like more off-road safety tips, follow the link below.

***This article was found on Polaris.com

RIDER SAFETY TIPS

If you experience damage to your home or business or other personal property caused by a fire, please contact SERVPRO.  We are here to help.  

SERVPRO SW Waukesha County 262-542-0900

SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc 920-674-3002

Fireworks Safety Tips

7/15/2021 (Permalink)

Various colored ground fireworks Ground Fireworks Are Typically Legal in Wisconsin

Every year in the United States there are about 19,000 fires that are related to fireworks. Please plan accordingly and follow these safety tips to keep your property and your loved ones safe this upcoming Independence Day.

Most important, ALWAYS follow local law in regards to what fireworks are legal in your area


• Never allow young children to handle fireworks
• Older children should use them only under close adult supervision
• Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol
• Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear
• Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands
• Never light them indoors
• Only use them away from people, houses and flammable material
• Never point or throw fireworks at another person
• Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
• Never ignite devices in a container
• Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
• Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
• Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don't go off or in case of fire
• Never use illegal fireworks
• Verify that conditions in the environment are appropriate for fireworks use. Do not use during a drought.


In the event that your property should experience fire damage, please call SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc 920-674-3002 to assess the damage and help you get back to celebrating safely.

A Dry Start to the Spring Season

4/8/2021 (Permalink)

Fire Danger Map of Wisconsin Over 90% of the state are experiencing abnormally dry conditions.

After our abnormally snowy winter Wisconsin is currently experiencing a drought after a very dry March. According to WISN Channel 12 we saw over 10.1" more snow than normal from December to February; however, we have seen -1.43" less precipitation than normal in the month of March. This lack of precipitation in the month of March has left the state as a whole abnormally dry. According to Drought.gov 90% of Wisconsin is currently experiencing abnormally dry conditions. These conditions can lead to an increased chance of fires as well as a burn ban in areas experiencing extreme dryness. We recommend all remain cautious and while working with fires.

If you or anyone you know have been affected by a fire call SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc at (920) 541-1710

Burn Awareness Week

2/16/2021 (Permalink)

American Burn Association Logo The American Burn Association Offers Help and Prevention

The first full week in February is recognized as Burn Awareness Week.  This is an opportunity for organizations to mobilize burn, fire and life safety educators to unite in sharing a common burn awareness and prevention message in our communities.

Learn more about Burn Awareness Week by clicking on the following link provided by the American Burn Association.  

http://ameriburn.org/prevention/burn-awareness-week/

By visiting this website you can learn more about the following:

  • Opportunities for burn care organizations, burn survivor support groups, public safety, and injury prevention professionals to increase awareness among the general population of the frequency and causes of burn injury in America
  • Advances in and sources of burn care available today.  You can also learn about ways to prevent contact burns with safety fact sheets.

SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc is here to help.  We recognize that when fires occur and people get hurt, resources are needed to heal both the physical and the mental wounds.  

If you had a residential or commercial fire and help is needed to clean up the mess, please call SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc at 920-674-3002 and speak with a trained fire, smoke restoration technician.  We can and will help.

Exterior Electricity Causes Fire to Deck of Fort Atkinson Home

1/29/2021 (Permalink)

Black soot and charring on exterior wood framing Outdoor Electrical Wire Fire Lead to Home's Exterior Damage

This damaged Fort Atkinson, WI home was the result of a faulty electrical wire connected to the wood deck.  Notice the extent of the fire damage; the vinyl siding has melted away and soot and charring are present on the wood framing.  Even though the wiring was outside, it still caused damage to the home and lead to an interior fire.  The technicians at SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc used a very powerful air compressor and sodium bicarbonate to remove the black charring. 

This method of media blasting also helps in deodorization after the fire.  This process helped save thousands of dollars in repair on this claim because the materials were able to be salvaged.  SERVPRO has used this method on numerous fire jobs throughout the country so our expertise is helpful in restoring property.

For all your fire and smoke related issues, call on SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc to help make it "Like it never even happened."  Call us at 920-674-3002.

Emergency Board-Up Provided by SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc

1/28/2021 (Permalink)

Plywood hanging in exterior doorway Safely Hung Plywood Protects Contents and Structure From Outdoor Elements After a Fire

A recent fire started when a tenant in an apartment building was smoking on his second floor wood balcony.  The fire completely burned the exterior door and sections of the interior wall in the bedroom.  In order for the flames to be put out, the fire firefighters had to quickly tear down the door frame and header and remove sections of drywall to access the insulation. 

By the time the fire was out, the inside of this room was completely exposes to the outdoor elements.  An emergency board-up was needed in order to prevent moisture from outside (rain/snow) and animals from entering the building.  The property owner called on SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc to assist her.  The after photo shows the same door way with a sheet of playwood safely hung in place to help protect the building.  This is an important service to provide when your personal belongings are at risk.

For all your emergency board-up needs and fire mitgation cleanup services, call SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc and talk with fire and smoke trained professionals who have many years of experience dealing with fire and smoke damage.  920-674-3002

Local Post Office Calls on SERVPRO For Smoke Damage Mitigation

1/27/2021 (Permalink)

Black dirt on ceiling tiles Ceiling Tiles Affected From Neighboring Business Fire

A neighboring business that had a fire caused significant smoke damage to a local United States Post Office.  The roof-top furnace was on at the time of the fire and sucked in large amounts of smoke and fumes, leaving the post office dirty and smelly.  This before photo shows the ceiling register and the black soot surrounding it.

SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc was call in to clean up the mess.  This job required technicians to clean and deodorize the structure and contents.  Imagine cleaning every individual P.O. Box and each individual mail slot?  Significant time and labor was needed to accomplish this task.  The postal carriers were very happy with our services and impressed with how quickly the job was completed.  SERVPRO also provided ductwork/HVAC cleaning and deodorization to eliminate that smoke odor.

For all your fire and smoke damage mitigation needs, call SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc at 920-674-3002.  We will make it "Like it never even happened."

Are Sprinkler Systems As Complex As They Seem?

12/22/2020 (Permalink)

A classic sprinkler head with a red glass bulb SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc is certified for fire and water restoration. Don't hesitate to call!

SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc sees a lot of water damage and a lot of fire damage. Sometimes these two go hand in hand. The fire department using water to put out a house fire, or a sprinkler system being triggered by a fire. Obviously, the fire department shows up and uses firetrucks/fire hydrants for water. So, how do sprinkler systems work?

Most sprinkler heads feature a glass bulb filled with a glycerin-based liquid. This liquid expands when it meets air heated to between 135 and 165 degrees. When the liquid expands, it shatters its glass confines, and the sprinkler head activates.

Each sprinkler head is attached to a pipe that connects to a reliable water source outside the building. When heat activates a sprinkler head, a valve opens, allowing pressurized water from the pipe system to flow out and trigger the rest of the sprinkler heard on the building.

Call SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc with any fire, water, mold, or cleaning needs! 920-674-3002

Source: 

https://www.guardianfireprotection.com/blog/how-do-fire-sprinklers-work#:~:text=Fire%20sprinklers%20work%20because%20high,it%20triggers%20a%20chain%20reaction.

Menorah Safety During Hanukkah

12/10/2020 (Permalink)

A menorah with all 9 candles burning SERVPRO wishes your family a happy holiday season, no matter how you celebrate!

During this holiday season, SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc wants all families in all communities to stay safe. This blog will give tips on staying safe while using a menorah for your celebrations. If your family celebrates Christmas, Hanukkah, or anything in-between SERVPRO cares about your family and safety. Please keep the following tips in mind while you celebrate!

(The following information comes from https://www.cheshirefire.gov.uk.)

Menorah candle fire safety

  1. No matter how beautiful your child’s or grandchild’s “arts and crafts” menorah may be, please do not use it.  These menorahs are not suitable for lighting and may burn down when used.

  2. Never leave a lit menorah unattended.

  3. The menorah should be made of non-flammable material only.

  4. Never place the menorah near or under flammable material such as papers, curtains or books.

  5. Do not walk around while holding a lit candle.

  6. Put out candles before you leave a room and before you go to bed

  7. Keep matches and lighters away from children - out of reach.

  8. Supervise any child that lights a menorah. Place their menorah close to the child so they don't have to reach over another menorah.

SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc wants you to be as safe as possible, but in the event of a fire give us a call at 920-674-3002.

Best wishes this holiday season from the team here at SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc :)

Christmas Safety For you and Yours

12/10/2020 (Permalink)

A decorated Christmas tree has presents underneath it SERVPRO wishes you and yours a happy holiday season, no matter how you celebrate!

During the holidays, many people try to fit as many lights and other electrical devices to accommodate holiday lighting, decorations and cooking appliances, unknowingly increasing the potential for electrical fires and outages, says Joel Worthington, president of Mr. Electric, a Neighborly company which is one of the nation’s leading residential and commercial electrical service providers. Since 25 percent of Christmas tree fires are caused by electrical problems, always follow this checklist.

Inspect lights first. Before plugging in a strand of lights, examine the cord for damage. Throw away any frayed, kinked or worn light strands.

Turn off all lights and decorations before leaving the house or going to bed. To avoid braving the cold every night, install a timer to automatically turn on the lights at dusk and turn them back off at dawn (or earlier if you prefer).

Keep your tree hydrated. Just two or three days without water could be enough to dry out a Christmas tree, so water it every day. Once a tree is dry, it can catch fire easily so it should be discarded.

<h2endmarkEnabled">Candles may provide a festive ambiance and delightful fragrance, as well as providing a count down to Christmas with your Advent wreaths, but they’re also responsible for starting two out of every five home decoration structure fires each year. This is especially true during the holidays when the top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Christmas Eve.

Get flame without the fire. Consider replacing traditional candles with flameless, battery-operated types, but don't forget to turn them off when leaving the house as LED lights do get hot.

Don't leave the room. Never leave a candle burning unattended and, if you're going to be stepping away from the candle for several minutes, it's safer to blow it out rather than risk a potential hazard.

Use caution when decorating with candles. Always use a sturdy candle holder to keep it from tipping over or touching flammable surfaces. When decorating, keep candles at least 12 inches away from all flammable items.

According to a 2016 report from the National Fire Protection Association, a leading factor contributing to home heating fires was the failure to clean chimneys. Since this chore involves more than sweeping soot, it’s best to hire a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep, says Ashley Eldridge, education director for Chimney Safety Institute of America.

Fireplaces and chimneys should be inspected by a professional chimney sweep every year — and again halfway through the season for new wood-burning installations, such as fireplaces or wood-burning stoves.

Take great care as well with your decorations around the fireplace. Make sure that all decorations are clear of the fireplace in order to avoid your stockings or Christmas wreaths catching fire.

Finally, clear out the debris and ash from your fire pit to ensure for a safe and controlled fire.

(This information is from https://www.today.com/home/best-fire-safety-tips-holiday-season-t120303#anchor-strongChimneyandfireplacesafetystrong)

We wish everyone a safe and healthy Christmas season. Feel free to contact SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc at 920-674-3002.

Preventing A Fire, Especially During The Cold Wisconsin Winter

11/13/2020 (Permalink)

A home has been burned due to a space heater; everything is charred and in very poor condition Please remember to always use space heaters properly. Space heaters cause around 25,000 fires a year!

House fires are extremely dangerous and can cause expensive damages. The following are fire prevention tips.

  1. Install and regularly test and maintain smoke alarms.  Monthly tests should be performed and replace the smoke detector every 10 years.
  2. Clean the dryer.  Dryer lint is the perfect combustible material when combined with the heat from the dryer. The lint tray should be cleared after each load to avoid a build-up of lint.
  3. Watch open flames.  Candles, cooking, and fireplaces are just some of the reasons most people are exposed to open flames.  Never leave them unattended.
  4. Maintain wiring.  Household wires and cables can become a fire hazard if they are used when frayed or otherwise compromised. Check them often and replace once they become worn.
  5. Store household chemical in proper locations.  Keep these products protected from sunlight or heat to avoid combustion.
  6. Make sure to follow instructions on space heaters closely. Failing to follow proper care and operation instructions on space heaters can create very large scale fires.

Get in touch with SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc with any questions, or in the unfortunate circumstance of a fire. 920-674-3002

Frying a Turkey and Staying Safe this Thanksgiving

11/9/2020 (Permalink)

A turkey looks very delicious sitting on a platter with garnish SERVPRO is here to help you keep your home, and Thanksgiving turkey, in good condition.

The Holiday Season, in particular turkey frying season, is a time to think about fire safety.  SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc wants to remind everyone on the dangers of frying a turkey. Deep frying a turkey is very delicious, but it can be very dangerous for many reasons, including the high risk of fire. The oil used to fry the turkey is highly flammable and can lead to large fires, even with small amounts of oil. There is also a risk of tipping the fryer over, possibly causing fires and injuries.

Please follow proper safety procedures if you are planning on frying a turkey this Thanksgiving. 

TURKEY FRYING SAFETY TIPS 

  1. Do not fry your turkey in an enclosed area. 
  2. Keep a fire extinguisher near the fryer. Be sure it is an all-purpose extinguisher that can handle fires from the heat source and from the grease.
  3. Never leave the fryer unattended.  
  4. Don’t let children or pets near the fryer, even after you are done cooking as the oil could still be hot hours later. 
  5. Use proper safety equipment when frying, like potholders/oven mitts, wear long sleeves, and safety goggles to protect yourself from oil splatter. 

If a fire does start, call 911 right away. 

For all your fire damage questions call SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc.  920-674-3002

Toxins In The Air After A Fire: Hidden Hazards

9/28/2020 (Permalink)

The following comes directly from RandR

This also Includes RandRs references. 

After a structure fire, restoration contractors are often on scene within hours to perform emergency services.  This usually begins with boarding up windows and doors and covering holes in the roof cut by the fire department. This is intended to protect properties from further damage as well as prevent unauthorized entry, theft, or spoiling of evidence. However, what many restoration contractors may not realize is that boarding-up a fire damaged structure can create an extremely hazardous environment.

Although the flames have been extinguished, the smoke has cleared, and the fire department removed the yellow tape, the fire scene isn’t as safe as one might think. Toxic volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) created by the vast array of materials and products that, after being burned, are now in a state of off-gassing, saturating the indoor air with poisonous gases and particulates. The combination of the lack of ventilation after a board-up and the toxicity of the combustion byproducts created classifies this environment as immediately dangerous to life and health (IDLH). The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) states that a respiratory hazard exists when a toxic contaminant is present in the air at a sufficient concentration to cause harm when inhaled. The damage may occur immediately, or it may take days, weeks, months, or years for effects to surface.

The types and quantities of materials and products that combust, their chemical reactions, heat, time, and other factors, make each post-fire environment unique.  The vast array of toxic chemicals, VOC’s, and particulates are limitless and exposure to them can have immediate and/or long-term health effects.  Fire investigators know all too well the dangers of post-fire environments and many are sickened and die from exposure to fire toxins.

One example of this occurred when a fire chief in California walked through a residential fire to assess the damage. A short time later, as he was returning to the fire station, he became ill and his aide transported him to a local hospital. The hazardous material response team was called to the scene and located several glass containers of a substance later identified as liquid sodium cyanide. The chief was subsequently transported to a medical facility equipped with a hyperbaric chamber for treatment and fully recovered. Physicians and investigators eventually determined that he had inhaled near-lethal doses of sodium cyanide from a jewelry refinishing business that was operated from the home. (1)

Restoration contractors face similar dangers in structure fire settings, where they may spend days performing emergency services, mucking out debris, estimating, and inventorying personal property.

Smoke, Toxic Gasses, & Chemicals

Considering that cigarette smoke alone contains over 7,000 chemicals, with 70 identified as cancer-causing, the products and materials that burn in a structure fire produce innumerable toxins. These products may include plastics, fiberglass, fabrics, fire retardants, electronics, pesticides, cleaning solutions, automotive fluids, solvents, chemicals used to manufacture illicit drugs and a host of others.

Currently, the EPA has over 85,000 chemicals registered in its inventory of substances that fall under the Toxic Substances Control Act and approximately 2,000 new chemicals are introduced each year.(2) The Chemical Abstracts Service is the world’s authority on chemical information and it has over 100 million registered chemical substances in its registry.(3)  These chemicals are combined in more than 7 million mixtures formulations that are found in homes and buildings across the U.S.(4) The majority of the chemicals currently in commercial use haven’t been evaluated.(5)

Some of the most toxic chemicals and gases found in smoke include: hydrogen cyanide, phosgene, dioxins, furans, sulfur dioxide, PCB’s, hydrochloric and sulfuric acid, and arsenic. Other toxins may include benzene, lead, chromium, and other metals, toluene, acrolein, mercury, formaldehyde, phenol, styrene, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

To give you an idea of how toxic some of these chemicals are, phosgene and hydrogen cyanide were used in World War I as chemical warfare agents, resulting in thousands of casualties. Both hydrogen cyanide and phosgene are commonly found in structure fire smoke. 

Dioxins – The Worst of the Worst

Restorers are well aware of hazardous materials such as asbestos, lead, and mold, but few realize how toxic  smoke particulates and soot can be. The dioxin named 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) has been called the most toxic man-made compound on Earth.(6) Scientists say it is exceeded in toxicity only by radioactive waste.(7) Certain dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) with similar toxic properties are also included under the term dioxins.(8) A characterization by the National Institute of Standards and Technology of cancer causing potential evaluated dioxin as over 10,000 times more potent than the next highest chemical (diethanol amine), half a million times more than arsenic and a million or more times greater than all others. (9) TCDD has also been extensively studied for health effects linked to its presence as an ingredient in Agent Orange, which was used as a defoliant during the Vietnam War.(10)  Dioxins are formed when products containing carbon and chlorine are burned, such as plastics containing PVC. (11)

Even in picograms (parts per trillion), dioxins are associated with severe health damage that can shorten the lives of people exposed to it, and potentially that of their offspring and future generations. The genetic effects may skip a generation and reappear in subsequent generations. (12) Ingesting dioxin can also result in congenital malformations and a slow wasting syndrome followed by death similar to the AIDS. It is strongly suspected of contributing to pathology of the urinary and hematological systems, growths in the colon, gall bladder complications, multiple myeloma, and lung, larynx and prostate cancer. According to researcher Joe Thornton, “Dioxin’s health effects include endocrine disruption, reproductive impairment, infertility, birth defects, impaired neurological development, damage to the kidneys, and metabolic dysfunction...There is no evidence that there is a safe level of dioxin exposure below which none of these effects will occur.” Dioxin is tied to such a large number of diseases because it intensifies cancers which other toxins begin.

Particulate Exposure

Particle exposure leads to around 20,000 premature deaths in America each year. Inhaled particles that are less than 5 microns travel to the lower lung where the gas exchange occurs in the alveoli. The particle size of soot is approximately 2.5 microns or less and to offer some perspective on the size of these particles, a red blood cell is approximately 7 microns in size. 

Smoke particles--approx 2.5 microns (left); Red blood cells--approx 7 microns (right)

The smallest ultrafine particles are so minute they behave like gases, passing through the lungs and directly into the bloodstream. Ultrafine particles also travel up through the nose and, rather than passing down into the lungs, they are delivered directly into the brain and central nervous system via the olfactory nerve, bypassing the body’s protective blood/brain barrier. Once in the bloodstream, these particles carry toxins around the body where they promote inflammation, disease, and even death.

Safety Considerations

The importance of wearing proper protective equipment when working in or around fire debris or a fire damaged structure cannot be understated. Restorers should consider the following safety tips:

  1. Establish a safety and site assessment protocol to determine what type of PPE should be worn. The highest level of respiratory protection should be considered.
  2. Have all workers fit tested to ensure their respirators function properly.
  3. Conduct air, VOC, and surface sampling to determine what types and quantities of hazardous chemicals may be present. (See OSHA Regulation 1910.134(d)(1)(iii)
  4. Obtain a soot and particulate remediation protocol that details the proper steps of cleaning and/or decontamination.
  5. Ventilate enclosed areas unless doing so will expose others to health hazards.
  6. If workers experience any adverse health symptoms from exposure to smoke odors or soot, seek medical attention immediately. 

References

  1. FIRE SCENE INVESTIGATION: A “CAUSE” FOR CONCERN? http://www.fireengineering.com/articles/print/volume-157/issue-6/features/fire-scene-investigation-a-cause-for-concern.html
  2. It could take centuries for EPA to test all the unregulated chemicals under a new landmark bill By Mark Scialla: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/it-could-take-centuries-for-epa-to-test-all-the-unregulated-chemicals-under-a-new-landmark-bill
  3. http://support.cas.org/news/media-releases/100-millionth-substance
  4. Characterization of fire Investigators Exposure During Fire Scene Examination By: Dennis L. Rogers – DuPage County Arson Task Force (page 19)
  5. https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Education_Employment_and_Workplace_Relations/Completed_inquiries/2010-13/firefighters/report/c02 
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10794914
  7. Medical Effects: Dioxin and PCB’s From Wood Burning http://burningissues.org/carwww/medical_effects/dioxin.htm
  8. World Health Organization http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs225/en/
  9. A Guide to Living Plasticless http://plasticisrubbish.com/2008/06/03/dioxins-poisons-contamination/
  10. Dioxins and their Effects on Human Health http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs225/en/
  11. Dioxins Produced by Backyard Burning https://www.epa.gov/dioxin/dioxins-produced-backyardburning
  12. and http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs225/en/
  13. The Aspen institute https://www.aspeninstitute.org/programs/agent-orange-in-vietnamprogram/health-effects/

Please feel free to call SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc with any fire or water needs. 920-674-3002. 

Recognizing Hidden Hazards of Fire Soot on Electronics

9/23/2020 (Permalink)

The following blog comes directly from https://www.randrmagonline.com/articles/88660-recognizing-hidden-hazards-of-fire-soot-on-electronics?oly_enc_id=5235J0800912E7Y

Have you ever tried fixing your own electronics and appliances and ended up with extra parts? In the beginning of my career, I probably broke more electronic equipment than I ever repaired, but over the years I developed the skills needed to properly disassemble electronics and appliances as well as restore them to preloss condition. Also, along the way I learned a thing or two about the hidden hazards of fire soot.

According to the insurance industry, about one in 325 insured homes has a property damage claim related to fire and lightning, and on average, Americans own approximately 25 electronic products per home. Although most of the time electronics can be restored by a professional after a fire and returned to the home afterwards, there are a lot of hidden hazards of smoke and soot damage that are commonly misunderstood and pose certain health risks when not handled properly.

A typical structure (residential home or business) contains various materials such as plastics, elastomers, foams, polymers, adhesives, fabrics, wood products and asbestos containing materials. The incomplete combustion of these materials as a result of fire can produce an array of toxic organic compounds such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SOVCs), and polycyclic aromatic compounds (PAHs).

Exposure to these compounds during a fire may exhibit both acute and chronic toxicity. Some of the other chemicals and gases found in smoke are carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, water vapor, hydrogen cyanide, carbon particles, aldehydes, nitrogen oxide, benzene, toluene, styrene, metals, and dioxins. The size, quantity, character, and type of particles, gases, and chemicals in smoke varies depending on what is burning and whether it was complete or incomplete combustion.

When different types of items burn, various types of soot residue and smoke are produced including wet smoke, dry smoke, plastic or rubber smoke, protein smoke, furnace soot, and candle smoke. When restoring or cleaning electronics, it is important to be able to recognize the difference in various types of soot and smoke as they pose different risks and implications.

Wet smoke is thick, smeary, sticky, has a pungent odor, and is prone to discoloration. It is very difficult to clean and requires specialized products and techniques. Wet smoke must be addressed quickly.

Dry smoke typically involves smaller, non-smeary particles, and is usually a result of hot, fast burning fires. The odor is usually not as strong as wet smoke.

Burning Plastic, foam, rubber, and polymers produce plastic or rubber smoke and burn with high energy at low temperatures. The particles produced have a high degree of ionization, therefore are attracted to other materials and form smoke webs. The smoke produced can potentially be acidic, if it is not addressed soon enough or treated properly with specialized products, bare metal surfaces can corrode and pit.

Protein smoke residue is a result of slow burning food such as meat and poultry. The particles are usually invisible and have a particularly strong pungent odor. A slow burn allows the protein to disperse and attach to everything, tends to stain painted and varnished surfaces, and is typically very difficult to clean.

Furnace soot or puff-backs result from the misfiring in a furnace or when an older furnace is replaced with a newer, high efficiency furnace. The ventilation system will aid in the distribution of the soot and can send it throughout the entire home, covering drapes, bedding, furniture, cabinets, walls, and everything in between. It is possible that before the malfunction occurred, the furnace may have been emitting small quantities of soot over an extended length of time. When this occurs, the soot bonds to the surfaces making it more difficult to clean.

Candle soot residue AKA “dirty house syndrome” is visible residue without a recognizable fire source. Studies show that it is very possible to be a result of burning cheap scented decorative candles. Candle soot production normally begins when the particulate matter produced reaches .06 to 0.1 microns in size. Because the particles are so fine, they lodge in irregular surfaces and are held by electrostatic bonds requiring complete disassembly of the item.

Smoke aids in the distribution of soot and travels to cooler areas and continues until the fire is extinguished, thereby causing soot to be distributed everywhere in its path.

When it comes to restoration, electronics are very sensitive and when compromised by smoke and soot, become a safety hazard. Damage from smoke and soot primarily stems from increased resistance in circuits and connections by corrosive metal loss, short circuiting caused by current leakage, and overheating. Cleaning smoke and soot damage on electronics and appliances requires learned skill sets, professional cleaning products, and techniques. It is important to take the complexity of effective electronics restoration into consideration before letting your team disassemble a computer or flat screen TV and hope for the best. 

In the unfortuante event of a fire, do be sure to give SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc a call at 920-674-3002.

Source

  1. Copeland, James. “Recognizing Hidden Hazards of Fire Soot on Electronics.” Restoration Remediation Magazine RSS, Restoration & Remediation Magazine, 24 Oct. 2019, www.randrmagonline.com/articles/88660-recognizing-hidden-hazards-of-fire-soot-on-electronics?oly_enc_id=5235J0800912E7Y.

     

Hot Fireworks Shell Placed In Plastic Dumpster Ignites and Causes Fire

9/10/2020 (Permalink)

A damaged garbage can sits in another garbage can Sometimes fun can also be very dangerous!

A hot fireworks shell from a local home's July 4th Celebration, that the homeowner thought was cooled off, was placed into a plastic dumpster inside the garage.  Unknowing to the home owner, the shell was still hot enough and ignited rags and debris inside the plastic dumpster.  This photo shows the remaining portion of the dumpster and the melting that occurred during the fire.

SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc was called by the homeowner to help them clean up the mess this small fire caused in their garage.  The owner was happy that we could get the mess cleaned up quickly since she was having a party the following weekend.  This was to celebrate their brand new home, which they just moved into the previous month.

For all your emergency fire and smoke damage, call SERVPRO of Jefferson County?Oconomowoc.  920-674-3002

Commercial Fire In Jefferson County Causes Over Million Dollar Damage

9/4/2020 (Permalink)

Insulation and other debris hanging from ceiling after a fire in a commercial building Severe Fire Damage In Commercial Building

A hot glue gun at the end of the shift sparked a flame in this Jefferson County commercial building.  The heat was so intense that it actually bent some of the I-beams used to support the roof.  In this photo, that was taken two days after the fire, you can see how the ceiling insulation is damaged and all the sections where the roof had caved in and exposed the electrical wiring.  

SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc was called by the building owner and was onsite while the fire department was still present.  SERVPRO was not there to get in the way, but rather to answer questions that the owner had about what to do with filing an insurance claim and what to expect.  

SERVPRO was there for the clean-up and deodorization needs.  But we can also be there as a consultant to help guide you when you are so overwhelmed that you just don't know where to begin.

The fire & smoke restoration technicians are certified and experienced to help in situations like these.  Call SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc with your emergency fire damage needs.  920-674-3002

Spider Webs/Cob Webs or Soot Tags: What is the difference?

9/3/2020 (Permalink)

Soot Tags are in the corner of two walls and a ceiling very visible due to white paint Cob webs? Nope! Soot tags can look like cob webs but are very different.

As fire restoration specialists, we have seen a lot of fire damaged homes and businesses over the years in various parts of Wisconsin.  Sometimes the extent of the damage is very obvious especially when the damage is on the walls and ceilings of homes and personal contents. Other times the most damage is in the attics, or trapped between walls where it is unseen until we dig in with our inspection. 

One of the most common visible forms of fire damage are the black "spider webs" that seem to spring out of nowhere after a fire. These spider webs are actually called “Soot Tags” and actually don’t have anything to do with spider webs. Many times are customers are embarrassed because they feel these soot tags makes it look like spider webs and they feel like they did not keep their home clean.  So don't you worry because your house cleaning skills were not the cause.   

Soot Tags form in areas of low circulation when petroleum/synthetic based sources burn. In a fire, the heat of the fire moves into colder areas since the air seeks to create equilibrium. Since that soot is riding the air with that heat, soot particles follow the air into those colder areas with low circulation and are able to concentrate in certain areas. Since that soot is a product of combustion, the particles themselves are charged which makes it quite easy for them to create long chains of soot or soot tags. So while it looks like a lot of soot got stuck on pre-existing spider webs, it is actually a whole new structure. Spiders did not leave them.

Cob webs and spider webs are defined the same:  Noun. a web spun by a spider to entrap its prey. A single thread spun by a spider. Something resembling a cobweb; anything finespun, flimsy, or insubstantial.

Spider webs are called cobwebs because the old English word for spider was coppe. ... Spider webs do not all look the same, there are orb, sheet, tangle, funnel, lace, radial and purse.

If your home of business in Wisconsin is affected by smoke or fire damage give us a call so we can start making it “Like it never even happened.”  Our certified fire & smoke restoration technicians are here to help.  920-674-0900.

Experience a Fire? Thankfully the Majority of Your Electronics Can be Saved

8/28/2020 (Permalink)

An Xbox controller sits on an Xbox Expensive items such as an Xbox can be a scary thing to think about replacing. Thankfully you more than likely won't have to after a fire

Fire and smoke damage can obviously cause many problems for a structure, both inside and out.  However, smoke damage can also be an issue with electronic equipment, even if a fire did not physically reach the items.

Smoke carries soot, which is a fine powder carbon residue that is often sticky and can easily damage electronics. Even light soot has the capability to short out electronics by bridging circuits and providing an insulated covering on the heat producing components, eventually leading to premature failure. Fire and smoke restoration technicians certified in electronic equipment can clean and restore affected items, saving electronics that most agencies would deem a total loss.

The Process To Salvaging Electronics Removes:

  • Soot deposits
  • Aggressive deposits from smoke and chemical vapors (hydrochloric acid)
  • Deposits from water (lime, sludge, mud)
  • Residues of chemical extinguishing powders
  • Dust deposits
  • Other pollution (environmental, operational, etc.)

Most of our customers that experience a fire want all new stuff.  However, that usually is not approved by the insurance company because we can salvage so many things if the proper procedures and timing are followed.  These customers often ask why we attempt to salvage items and our answer is simple; the insurance carriers know that we can adequately and appropriately save the electronics while saving the insurance company with lower claim amounts.  Based on data provided by the insurance carriers, many times the restoration costs of electronics are a fraction of replacement, by as much of an average of 62%.

If you have recently experienced a fire and you need assistance in cleaning and disinfecting and trying to salvage your personal items, including electronics, please call the certified professionals at SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc.  920-674-3002

Fire Safety in the Workplace

8/28/2020 (Permalink)

A red fire extinguisher sits on a white background Fire extinguishers should be a last resort, keeping a workplace fire free should always be the goal.

A fire can wreak havoc on practically any building—including your workplace. And because fires can develop at such a rapid pace, failure to follow effective prevention and response techniques can further exacerbate the spread of the flames, resulting in employee injuries and—in some instances—death.

That’s why it’s vital for workers like you to play your part in promoting proper fire safety measures on the job. Be sure to utilize these tips to help prevent workplace fires and mitigate the damages in the event that one does occur:

  • Stay informed—Make sure you pay attention during any workplace fire safety training. This might include fire drills, instructions on when to pull the fire alarm or best practices for using a fire extinguisher. In addition, regularly review any written resources, such as the building’s emergency evacuation plan or the company smoking policy.
  • Keep it clean—Cluttered work areas create fire hazards for multiple reasons. First, workplace clutter (e.g., extra papers, empty containers or overflowing garbage cans) can easily add extra fuel to an existing fire. Second, excess clutter can restrict or block emergency exits, making it difficult for employees like you to escape in the event of a fire. With this in mind, try to keep your work area as clean and organized as possible. Encourage your co-workers to do the same.
  • Reduce electrical risks—Electrical issues are another common fire hazard, especially in workplaces that rely heavily on various forms of technology (e.g., computers, printers and copy machines). As such, make sure you avoid overloading electrical outlets in the workplace and report any damaged wiring or technology malfunction issues immediately. Doing so will allow electrical hazards to be fixed before they become severe.
  • Beware of equipment hazards—Equipment breakdown incidents are also key workplace fire hazards. To reduce the risk of equipment-related fires, follow inspection and maintenance requirements for all equipment, and inform your supervisor if you notice any concerns. Never use damaged equipment.
  • Know how to respond—In the event that a fire does occur in the workplace, be sure to follow the building’s emergency evacuation plan. Stay calm and listen to your supervisor for further instructions.

For more workplace fire safety guidance, talk to your supervisor.

For all your workplace (or residential) fire damage clean-up needs, call SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc.  Then you will speak with a trained and certified fire & smoke restoration technician who has the appropriate experience cleaning and deodorizing after a fire, plus experience dealing with your insurance company.

SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc at 920-674-3002.  "Like it never even happened."

Staying Safe While Grilling

8/28/2020 (Permalink)

A black grill sits with nothing else surrounding it Grilling can produce very delicious food as well as some serious safety hazards.

There’s nothing like outdoor grilling. It’s one of the most popular ways to cook food. But, a grill placed too close to anything that can burn is a fire hazard. They can be very hot, causing burn injuries. Follow these simple tips and you will be on the way to safe grilling.

Safety Tips:

  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.

Charcoal Grills:

  • There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
  • If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
  • When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing of in a metal container.

Propane Grills:

Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department. If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. This goes for gas stoves as well as outdoor grills. Smelling gas is never a good sign and action should be taken immediately. Do not move the grill.

Facts:

  • In 20014–20018 fire departments responded to an average of 7,700 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues, including 4,500 outside fires and 3,200 structure fires.
  • July was the peak month for grill fires in 20014–20018.
  • More than half of home grill structure fires begin on either a courtyard terrace or patio, or an exterior balcony or open porch.

Copyright 2020 IMT Insurance

For all your fire damage and clean-up needs, call SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc and speak with a certified fire and smoke restoration technician.  920-674-3002

Removing Candle Soot From Walls

8/19/2020 (Permalink)

A burning candle sits in the background of a single burning candle in the foreground Candle Flames Can Have Many Hazards And Consequences Associated With Them.

So, you’ve got some candle soot on your walls? The good news is that it's probably manageable. Any kind of candle can leave soot on a wall if it's too close, left burning for too long or in the direct line of a draft. The scented candles are the real culprits because the oil used to scent them can create an oilier soot, which can be a little more difficult to remove. In any case the following bulleted lists should help you remove, or get started on removing, candle soot.

Things to keep in mind about burning candles:

  1. If there is soot viable on surfaces, there’s probably soot in the duct work. Keep a high-quality filter in your HVAC system to minimize the amount of soot, among other things, getting into your ducts.  You may consider getting your air ducts cleaned and duct cleaning is a service that SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc offers.  
  2. Some people have sensitivities to candle scents so be careful when burning scented candles with guests over.
  3. Heat from candles can peel paint under the right circumstances. Make sure you’re keeping any flames far enough away from painted surfaces to avoid that.

Avoiding candle soot on walls:

  1. Don’t place candles too close to walls.
  2. Trim the wicks of candles before burning them. The wick should be about ¼ inch long. This is a good habit to be in anyway because candles with wicks that are too long are fire hazards.
  3. Don’t place candles near a draft.
  4. Try placing the candles in a fireplace if you have one.

Removing candle soot from walls

  1. Vacuum off the wall before applying anything to the area. Try vacuuming with an upholstery attachment to avoid causing further damage to the wall.
  2. Before you wet the paint, which can cause more damage, try using a dry sponge to remove as much of the soot as possible. Soot can be oily, which is another reason getting the area wet should be a last resort. Whenever applying anything wet to a wall you should be prepared for further damage to occur, in which case the wall will need to be repainted.
  3. If the dry sponge doesn’t work, you can try the following method:
    1. Dish soap and warm water can be used with a rag. Remember that getting certain paints wet can cause damage, so be careful using this method. Place many drops of dish soap in a quart of water. Don’t dip the dirty rag back into the clean water to clean it off, instead rinse it under a faucet. This helps keep the water clean and avoids spreading the mess further and should be done any time you’re using a bucket and rag to clean. Work in small areas to avoid spreading the soot further and rinse the rag often.

Hopefully you have a better idea of how to take care of soot on walls. It's not a perfect process and can cause further damage even if done properly. It's always recommended that soot be cleaned from a wall before it is repainted because the smell can seep through new paint. So, the damage you could potentially cause is more than likely worth it in the long run. 

Contact SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc for all your cleaning and duct cleaning needs.  920-674-3002.

Sources:

  1. Heloise, Helosie. “Cleaning Candle Soot.” Good Housekeeping, Good Housekeeping, 21 Mar. 2018, www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/cleaning/tips/a20727/candle-soot-cleaning-aug05/.

  2. Solos, Heather, et al. “Clean It.” Home Ec 101, Home Ec 101, 1 Oct. 2010, www.home-ec101.com/removing-candle-soot-from-paint/.

Structure Fire Causes Smoke Damage For The Neighbor

8/19/2020 (Permalink)

Soot That Settle on a TV Stand Neighboring TV Stand Affected From Smoke Originating From Fire Down the Block

Many times people think of a fire as only affecting the building owner or the tenants or people living or working in that structure.  People do not realize that fires can cause smoke damage to neighboring structures.

A recent commercial fire in Jefferson County caused smoke damage to the neighboring house.  This damage was created by the wind.  During the actual fire, the winds were quite significant and caused the smoke to flow directly at the neighbors house.  The soot then settled on all the horizontal surfaces within the structure.  This photo shows how the soot settled on their TV stand.  

SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc was called to clean and disinfect the entire structure.  This meant that all countertops, tables, chairs, desks, toilets, etc., had to be cleaned.  SERVPRO even cleaned all carpet and other flooring surfaces.  

If your neighbor experiences a structure fire, please keep an eye on your property because you may be directly impacted by the damage.

For all your emergency fire damage cleaning and deodorization needs, please call SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc at 920-674-3002.

SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc Responds To A Residential Fire in Watertown

8/17/2020 (Permalink)

Debris from residential fire Space Heater In The Basement Causes This Fire That Burned Away The Entire First Floor and One-Half of This Home

A space heater in a basement bedroom caused this fire in Watertown, WI.  This photo shows the mess left behind after the firefighters left the structure and the insurance adjuster gave us permission to access the building.  This photo was taken from the main level of the house looking down at the bedroom in the basement.  In order to photograph the basement bedroom from the first floor means that the entire floor had burned and no longer exists.

SERVPRO of Jefferson County was called in to help clean up the mess and deodorize the structure for repairs.  This house was currently part of a trust as the owner had recently past away.  SERVPRO had to work with the attorney and the family who will inherit the property to get all appropriate approvals and create a finalized action plan.

For all your fire damage and deodorization needs, call SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc and speak with an IICRC certified Fire and Smoke Restoration Technician.  920-674-3002

Additional Ways To Prevent Fires

5/13/2020 (Permalink)

Multiple extension cords plugged into a power strip Fire Hazard Just Waiting to Happen

Often we will see "how to prevent fire" information during the holiday season. Between deep frying a turkey for a holiday meal, to extra electricity being used to light holiday lights and trees, it is a popular time to remind people to be aware of fire hazards.

The same truth holds for the spring and summer seasons. During the time that homeowners are installing window air conditioners or using fans to circulate air in order to cool homes, there is a greater risk of electrical fire.

One precaution that is easy to make part of your regular routine is NEVER plug an extension cord into a power strip or surge protector strip. The misuse of extension cords and power strips cause more than 3,000 residential fires a year, according to US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Another good tip to remember: NEVER plug high capacity appliances (space heaters, air conditioners, etc) into power strips. Always plug them directly into a wall outlet.

These two simple steps can help protect you, your loved ones and your home all year around. 

For all your professional fire damage cleanup and deodorization needs, call SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc.  We are an emergency cleaning company near you.  920-674-3002.

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Reasons to Have Renters Insurance

5/6/2020 (Permalink)

Soot on couch Soot that has fallen on the back of a couch

If you are a renter, have you thought about what might happen if there is a fire or water damage at your residence? What will happen to all your belongings? Will they be able to be saved? If so, how will they get cleaned and deodorized to get rid of the fire odor? These are just a few of the questions you may have never thought about.  

SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc  recently got called to help at a farmhouse that had a kitchen fire. The landlord called us to help her clean and deodorize the house but the renters' belongings were affected as well. The soot was everywhere. The odor had permeated into all surfaces and rooms of the house including on the renter's clothes, bedding, dishes and furniture. Our customer (the landlord) needed her house cleaned but all the renter's personal belongings were in the house. The renters did not have renters insurance so that creates challenges for SERVPRO to get the building cleaned and deodorized while at the same time the renter needed to move the items out of the way.  

Unfortunately, we come across this way too often that the renter does not have renters insurance. People do not think to protect their belongings until AFTER something drastic happens. By then, it's too late.  The process for a company like SERVPRO to help with a structure fire is greatly dependent on what types of personal contents are inside that structure.   Most times, a landlord will not want dirty/contaminated/smelly items being brought back into a freshly cleaned and deodorized structure. If the affected items are brought into a clean structure without being properly cleaned and deodorized, those items can cause the structure to be re-contaminated with smoke odor.  

Below are just a few things that renter's insurance can help you with in the event of a disaster: 

1) Inventory of your personal belongings. This includes photographing, packing and transporting your affected items to a secure storage facility to get them out of the affected structure so the fire clean up and restoration can begin.  

2) Cleaning of you personal belongings. This is done with the proper care, chemicals and industry standard cleaning and disinfecting practices to ensure your items are clean and deodorized thoroughly.  

3) Storage of your items until you are ready to move back in. 

4) Help finding temporary housing if the damage does not allow you to stay in your residence.  

5) Possibly replace non-salvageable items at no expense to the insured other than your deductible. 

In order to get renter's insurance you will need to think about what you own. Remember to include EVERYTHING you own from your television to your last pair of socks. Then you add that up and decide how much coverage you need for your items.  Any local insurance agent or online insurance companies can answer questions about renter's insurance and can help you decide on what the best coverage is for you and your situation. A basic renter's insurance policy will likely include $10,000 coverage for your belongings and $100,000 of liability coverage. The average cost for a basic policy is $15.00 PER MONTH. For the cost of two trips to a fast food drive through, you can have piece of mind that your personal belongings will be covered should a disaster strike.  For a very small fee, renters insurance is the best and smartest money you will ever spend.    

For all your emergency fire residential needs or emergency fire commercial needs, call SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc and speak with a certified Fire & Smoke Restoration Technician.  920-674-3002 

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Burn Awareness Week - Observed The First Week Of February

2/4/2020 (Permalink)

Website Screenshot Of Burn Awareness Week Burn Awareness Week at SERVPRO

Burn Awareness Week, observed the first full week in February, is a window of opportunity for organizations to mobilize burn, fire and life safety educators to unite in sharing a common burn awareness and prevention message in our communities.

Learn more about Burn Awareness Week by clicking on the following link provided by the American Burn Association.  

http://ameriburn.org/prevention/burn-awareness-week/

When you visit this website, you can learn about opportunities for burn care organizations, burn survivor support groups, public safety, and injury prevention professionals to increase awareness among the general population of the frequency and causes of burn injury in America, and the advances in and sources of burn care available today.  You can also learn about ways to prevent contact burns with safety fact sheets.

SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc recognizes that when fires occur and people get hurt, resources are needed to heal both the physical and the mental wounds.  

If you had a residential or commercial fire and help is needed to clean up after the devastation, please call SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc at 920-674-3002 and we can help.

 

Tips to Prevent Chimney Fires

1/6/2020 (Permalink)

Flames Coming Out of the top of the chimney If This Happens At Your Home, Call SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc

Wisconsin winter weather is upon us. And with colder temps comes an obvious increase in the use of fireplaces. For many of us, our fireplaces/chimneys haven't been touched in months. However, chimneys account for 75% of home heating fires - meaning homeowners should actively maintain and follow the necessary upkeep.

Property Casualty 360 provides the following tips to prevent chimney fires in your home.

  1. Have your chimney inspected and cleaned at least once a year by a professional, and more than that if creosote builds up on the chimney walls more rapidly.
  2. Consider installing a stainless steel liner that will withstand even the highest temperatures and will keep the embers contained.
  3. Watch out for soot buildup. Soot is softer than creosote, but is also flammable and should be cleaned up regularly. 
  4. Between the professional inspections / cleanings, be sure to check and monitor your wood-burning fireplace for signs of buildup or other problems.
  5. Clean the interior of your fireplace, including the floor, regularly. Sweep or vacuum up ONLY COLD ashes.
  6. Your chimney has a cap on the top of it with open sides (usually covered in mesh to keep rain, birds, squirrels, and debris out). Make sure this cap is regularly inspected and replaced when necessary.
  7. Check the interior of your fireplace for creosote buildup. It is flammable, therefore too much buildup is a fire hazard and should be cleaned away with a creosote remover as soon as possible. 
  8. Anytime there is smoke indoors from your fireplace, troubleshoot and immediately correct any problems you find. Possible causes are a dirty chimney, soot or creosote buildup, other debris, a sample that isn't open or fully opened, or wood not building completely.
  9. To improve your fireplace's efficiency, you should also consider installing heat-proof glass doors to protect against heat loss and a fan or blower to direct heat into the room.
  10. If possible, burn hardwoods like oak, maple, ash, and birch. These woods burn hot and long, are cleaner to handle, and have less pitched sap. They also tend to leave less creosote buildup but can be more expensive.

In the event that you experience a fire in your home, call the certified fire and smoke restoration technicians at SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc at (920) 674-3002.  We are here to help make it "Like it never even happened."

Space Heater Safety Tips From SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc

1/2/2020 (Permalink)

Space Heater on fire resting next to a couch Use With Caution: Portable Space Heaters Can Cause Fires

Wisconsin winters are known to be cold, long and dreary.  Many of us will use portable space heaters to add additional warmth during those long, cold wintry months.  However, please use these devices very carefully as these pieces of household items are known to cause thousands of fires per year totaling millions of dollars worth of damage.  

SPACE HEATER SAFETY TIPS

  • Inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections before each use. If frayed, worn or damaged, do not use the heater.
  • Always keep away from children and pets.
  • Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when you're leaving a room or going to sleep, and don't let pets or children play too close to a space heater.
  • Space heaters are only meant to provide supplemental heat and should never be used to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothing or thaw pipes.
  • Proper placement of space heaters is critical. Heaters must be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including papers, clothing and rugs.
  • Locate space heaters out of high traffic areas and doorways where they may pose a tripping hazard.
  • Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord or power strip, which could overheat and result in a fire.
  • Do not plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater.
  • Place space heaters on level, flat surfaces. Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture, or carpet, which can overheat and start a fire.
  • Always allow heater to cool before safely storing it.
  • In the event that you experience fire, smoke or soot damage, call the certified fire and smoke restoration technicians at SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc. 

    (920) 674-3002.

    What To Do After the Fire Is Out

    12/13/2019 (Permalink)

    Room with drywall burned and fallen to floor and soot-filled insulation on walls.  Also black smoke damage on ceiling joists SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc Is Here to Help Clean and Deodorize and Restore This Structure

    Home fires can leave homeowners at a misfortune when trying to figure out what they should do after the fire is out. Despite its size, fire drastically affects your life and derails your sense of normalcy.  When disaster strikes, you settle on choices that effect your well-being and your finances. It is difficult to know whether you are settling on the correct decision. One of the first things to do is call your insurance agent and discuss the situation with that person. 

    Once it is determined that help is needed, an essential step is picking between complete replacement of your belonging or hiring a professional restoration company. As a rule, an expert restoration group will demonstrate to be more cost effective than replacing all your furniture, cabinets, flooring, etc. as well as your personal belongings.  Also, insurance carriers will usually recommend restoration over replacement.  Please keep in mind that many insurance policies have limits which means that a typical insurance carrier will only pay out a specific amount.  

    If this cautionary tale applies to your Jefferson County home, you are not the only one. SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc is your local, family owned resource to work with both you and the insurance carrier to restore and reestablish after the flames have been put out.

    Our goal, like yours, is to restore as much as possible before suggesting that you replace an item. This approach helps you save time and money in the aftermath of a fire. 

    At the point when you enroll the services of an expert group like SERVPRO Jefferson County/Oconomowoc, you can believe that we apply all of our years of experience and care in restoring your property. 

    Remember, when firefighters extinguish the last flame, take a deep breath, and consider your next step carefully. Leave your restoration needs to a caring and professional restoration company.  Call SERVPRO Jefferson County/Oconomowoc (920) 674-3002.

    Safe (Real) Christmas Tree Burning Tips from SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc

    12/13/2019 (Permalink)

    Two people around an outdoor fire pit burning a Christmas tree Proper Way to Burn Old Christmas Tree

    If you have a real Christmas tree and wanting to burn it for disposal, please follow these safety tips.

    • Check local ordinances and requirements for outdoor burning.
    • Burn only if significant rainfall has occurred in the last three or four days or there is snow on the ground.
    • Never burn on dry or windy days.  Winds should not exceed 10 mph.
    • Select a burn location that is at least 25 feet away from natural areas, 25 feet from your home, 150 feet from other occupied buildings and 50 feet from any paved public roadway.
    • Remove all decorations from the tree before you burn.
    • Cut the tree into manageable sections, as necessary.
    • Clear the burn area free of other flammable materials, such as leaf litter and pine straw.
    • Keep a shovel and water hose handy (with the water turned on) in case the fire starts to escape containment.  Consider having a fire extinguisher near by.
    • Never leave a fire unattended, and make sure it is COMPLETELY out before leaving.
    • Never burn a Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove.

    If you experience damage due to a fire in your home or business, call the certified fire and smoke restoration technicians at SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc and we can help with your clean-up and restoration needs.  (920) 674-3002.  

    Christmas Tree Safety Tips

    12/6/2019 (Permalink)

    Decorated Christmas tree with lights on resting near a fire place with flames and sitting next to candles Beautiful Christmas Tree and Decorations But Safety Is Still Important

    Christmas trees help enhance the beauty of the Holiday Season and we encourage you to celebrate with family and friends and continue the family traditions handed down from generation to generation.  However, we want you to celebrate and enjoy your Christmas tree safely. 

    Luckily, Christmas tree fires and not common, but they usually cause serious and costly damage.  Between 20014 and 2018, about 230 home fires per year were responded to by U.S. fire departments, killing an average of four people each year and injuring many more.  Eighteen percent of these fires were caused by a heat source too close to the tree.

    Tips To Prevent Christmas Tree Fires

    1. Choose a fresh tree over cheaper and drier trees. The fresher the tree, the less likely it will pose a fire hazard. Look for flexible needles that don't break, and a trunk with sap.
    2. Keep the water coming. The tree stand should contain a continuous source of water and be sturdy enough to resist toppling by kids or pets.
    3. Don't choke the cord. Attach only three maximum strings of lights to any one extension cord, then place cords along walls to prevent a tripping hazard. Never run them under rugs or carpets.
    4. Trees don't need warmth. Keep the tree away from heat sources such as fireplaces, candles and even a TV.
    5. Not any lights will do. Use low energy, safe lighting that's been certified by a safety testing lab. Don't use damaged or frayed cords.
    6. Shut off the lights. Never leave the lights on overnight. Same goes for any appliances not in use when you are home or away.
    7. Don't keep a dry tree around. Dispose of trees properly. Don't even keep it in the garage.
    8. Artificial tree safety awareness. Artificial trees should be flame resistant and have a seal for an approved safety testing laboratory if the tree contains a built-in lighting set.
    9. Death by artificial tree. If the tree is metal, never use electric lights, as they can charge the tree and lead to electrocution.
    10. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby. Make sure everyone knows its location and how to use it.

    In the event of a fire, immediately call 9-1-1.  If you decide that you need help with the fire damage clean-up, call SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc at (920) 674-3002 as we are here to help.  Call and speak with a certified Fire and Soot Restoration Technician.  

    Safety Tips When Deep Frying a Turkey

    11/15/2019 (Permalink)

    Turkey fryer on fire with the grease with contents near also on firespilled over also on fire Turkey Fryers Are Highly Dangerous

    Deep frying a turkey can be fun and delicious, but also extremely dangerous, especially because of the high risk of fire.  The oil used to cook the turkey is highly flammable and there is a risk of tipping the fryer over spreading causing the fire to spread and possibly cause injury.

    If you plan on deep frying a turkey, please follow the following safety tips.

    TURKEY FRYING SAFETY TIPS

    1. Be sure to dry the raw turkey thoroughly with a paper towel to remove all the water to prevent splashing when lowering in the bird into the hot oil.
    2. Do not fry your turkey in an enclosed area. 
    3. Keep a fire extinguisher near the fryer. Be sure it is an all-purpose extinguisher that can handle fires from the heat source and from the grease.
    4. Never leave the fryer unattended.  
    5. Do not allow children or pets near the fryer, even after you are done cooking as the oil could still be hot hours later.
    6. Do not play games (like catch with a football) near the fryer 
    7. Use proper safety equipment when frying, like potholders/oven mitts, wear long sleeves, and safety goggles to protect yourself from oil splatter. 

    If a fire does start, IMMEDIATELY call 911!

    If you have fire or smoke damage call the certified fire and smoke restoration technicians at SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc.  (920) 674-3002

    SE Wisconsin home suffers fire damage due to microwave

    11/13/2019 (Permalink)

    Kitchen cabinets next to a black, charred microwave and stove Kitchen fire #firedamage #SERVPROjeffersoncountyoconomowoc

    A home recently experienced fire, smoke and soot damage when the electrical wiring for the microwave oven started on fire.  The fire damage will require the kitchen to be completely gutted down to bare studs.  Smoke and soot traveled throughout the home and attic, leaving an intense smell.  The damage will also require that all insulation in the attic be removed and replaced.  SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc was called to handle the fire and smoke clean up.  This job will also require that all salvageable contents and the home be cleaned and deodorized to pre-fire damage condition.  All non-salvageable items were documented and photographed for reimbursement purposes and sent to the insurance carrier. 

    If you are dealing with fire damage in your home or place of business, the experienced team at SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc is ready to respond. We are locally owned and operated and able to respond quickly with trained employees who have experience mitigating after a fire. Immediate action and a fast response can limit damage, prevent further damage and reduce restoration costs. SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc has the specialized equipment and resources to handle the job, large or small, residential and commercial. 

    Fire Damage in Kitchen

    11/11/2019 (Permalink)

    A black, charred microwave A kitchen fire damage as a result of a microwave that started on fire. #SERVPROjeffersoncountyoconomowoc #kitchenfire #firedamage

    Kitchen fire leads to asbestos abatement

    A home located in Delafield, WI recently experienced fire, smoke and soot damage in the kitchen.  The training that the crews at SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc received instructs them that if a material is suspected to contain asbestos fibers, those items are to be tested before any demolition begins.  SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc follows their training because one of the items in the kitchen (joint compound) did test positive for asbestos.  The Production Manager knows to inform the home owner and the adjuster immediately so appropriate action can be taken to abate this problem.  Required permits will be obtained from the State of Wisconsin Department of Health and once approved, specially trained employees certified to do asbestos abatement in Wisconsin will build appropriate containment and follow all regulations in removing the damaged asbestos containing material from the structure. 

    If you are dealing with fire damage in your home or place of business, and there may possibly be asbestos containing material in the structure that needs to be abated, call SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc because we are ready to respond. Since we are locally owned and operated, we are able to respond quickly and obtain samples for asbestos testing. Our highly trained crews have the specialized equipment and resources to handle the job, large or small, residential and commercial. 

    Fire Damage in Jefferson County

    11/5/2019 (Permalink)

    A corner of a garage that is black from a fire Fire Damage to a garage in Fort Atkinson #SERVPROjeffersoncountyoconomowoc

    Jefferson Home Experiences Fire Damage

     This Fort Atkinson, WI home experienced a fire that damaged the garage while enjoying fire works on July 3rd. It affected the framing, drywall ceiling, contents in the garage, the overhead door, the exterior siding and there was plenty of smoke odor inside the living areas of this two-story home. They called SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc to handle the fire mitigation.  SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc are fire damage restoration specialists and are ready to restore your Jefferson County home or apartment building back to pre-fire damage condition. We quickly scope the extent of the damage and work withe the property owner and the adjuster to determine what is salvageable and what is not. SERVPRO will clean and deodorize your property using state-of-the-art equipment. SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc follows industry-approved procedures to effectively clean and deodorize the structure and contents to ensure your property is odor free and safe. We also utilize professional-strength cleaning, sanitizing, and deodorizing products to clean and deodorize the affected fire damage area for your comfort and safety.  Have fire or smoke damage?  Call Us Today – (920) 674-3002

    Wisconsin Home experiences fire damage

    10/28/2019 (Permalink)

    This Wisconsin home in SE Wisconsin experienced a kitchen fire when a grease fire started on the stove. The owner used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire but after smoke and soot traveled throughout the house. Each room of this two-story home was affected in various ways. Even the attic insulation had soot on it that required it all to be removed. They called SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc to handle the fire clean up and deodorization. 

    When your home or business suffers fire damage, it can be especially devastating. In addition to the fire and smoke damage, your property may have substantial water damage from firefighting efforts. You may feel stressed and confused after such a disaster, and you’ll need a compassionate and understanding expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc has the specialized fire and water damage equipment and expertise to help you through this difficult time. We understand that you may not have ever experienced a situation like this. So call on the professionals that deal with these situations all the time. If you have an insurance claim, we can help with that too. We have worked with most insurance carriers and are preferred vendors to many of them. If you have questions about fire or odor damage, Call Us Today – (920)674-3002

    Returning to College tips

    8/23/2019 (Permalink)

    Items that were damaged in a fire. These items are too burnt to description what the items are. Contents that were damaged in a fire.

    College can be an exciting time for families and their children. College is a stepping stone into adulthood and allows freedom to make decisions and pursue dreams of a career.

    With excitement of classes, moving into a dorm and meeting new people, very few people will think about fire safety. As a fire restoration company SERVPRO of Jefferson County/Oconomowoc think about fire safety a lot. We want to help you be safe this school year.

    According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), from 2011 – 2015, U.S. fire departments were called to an estimated annual average of 4,100 on-campus structure fires. These fires occurred in dormitories, fraternities, sororities, and other properties.

    The peak months for dorm fires are September and October. The peak times for these fires are between 5:00pm and 9:00pm. Here are some of the causes of those fires.

    • Cooking appliances, like single burner hot plate or hot pots
    • Smoking materials
    • Power cords that have too many items plugged into it
    • Space heaters
    • Candles

    Here are some tips to prevent accidents from happening:

    1. Understand all evacuation routes.Evacuating quickly is the key to survival. Have them review and become familiar with evacuation routes before an emergency. During a fire, one of their routes could be blocked. If this is the case, they’ll have to find another way out.
    2. Be aware of the closest fire alarm.Should a fire start in their dorm or apartment, make sure they’re familiar with where the closest fire alarm is located. The quicker they pull the alarm, the better. 
    3. Don’t tamper with smoke detectors.Working smoke detectors are key in alerting of a fire and starting the evacuation process. If they disable a smoke alarm due to a problem, they should contact their college’s safety or maintenance department promptly. 
    4. Don’t block fire exit doors.In many college dorms and apartments space is limited. They should never block entrances/exits with bikes, boxes, or furniture. In an emergency, they won’t have much time to move items.
    5. Report damaged fire equipment to the appropriate staff.Fire equipment may be damaged accidentally or by vandalism. If your students see damaged equipment, make sure they report it to resident hall staff or safety department.
    6. Be familiar with how to use a fire extinguisher.While a student’s priority should be to evacuate the building, there may be a time that a fire extinguisher could be helpful. Trying to read the instructions during a fire isn’t a good idea.
    7. Don’t be a practical joker.While pulling a fire alarm as a joke, may seem harmless, it can have serious consequences. When a real fire starts, students may not take it seriously.

    Here are some things your college students can do to prevent starting a fire.

    1. Keep an eye on small appliances.While most college students are enrolled in a meal plan, common appliances that can be kept in a dorm room include microwave, coffee maker, and toaster. When using these appliances, they should stay close by. Also, before rushing off to class, they should make sure they have turned it off or unplugged it. Don’t forget about the curling iron or hair straightener.
    2. Use candles with extreme care.Candles are prohibited in most college dorm rooms. However, if they’re living off campus, candles can provide some amazing scents and a way to relax. However, they should never leave candles unattended or near clutter. Fires can start and spread very quickly.
    3. Take it easy on power strips and surge protectors.With all of today’s devices, outlets are usually at a premium, so power strips and surge protectors come in handy. However, they should never connect multiple power strips together to increase the number of outlets available. In addition, they should never use power strips or surge protectors for high-power capacity items such as, space heaters, dehumidifiers, or other high capacity appliances. Have them plug those items directly into a wall outlet.
    4. Keep decorations to a minimum.If you’ve been in a college dorm, you probably noticed that dorm room decorations can be elaborate. While it’s fun to furnish and decorate the new room, keeping things to a minimum is much safer. Share these suggestions with them when it’s time to decorate. Never hang things from a smoke detector or sprinkler. Avoid running extension cords in front of a doorway or under a rug. Don’t block a doorway or window with furniture.
    5. Don’t smoke indoors.They should smoke outside or in designated smoking areas.

    For a fire safety checklist for your student click here.

    Insurance Coverage

    Parents and students alike may be under the misconception that their current homeowners policy provides protection for their property that’s kept at school. This may not be the case. A homeowners policy may have different deductibles, limits, and eligibility requirements or it may exclude certain claims.

    If they’re renting an apartment or home off campus, consider buying a renters policy.

    Before your student goes off to college, talk to your independent insurance agent to see how your policy provides coverage.

    Source:

    https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Staying-safe/Safety-in-living-and-entertainment-spaces/Campus-and-dorm-fires

    https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/college.html

    Our Fire Restoration Process

    12/2/2018 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson County / Oconomowoc provides service 24/7 so we can be Faster to Any Size Disaster. #fire #restoration #remediation

    SERVPRO of Jefferson County / Oconomowoc professionals are trained in fire remediation to help restore your home to pre-fire conditions “Like it never even happened.” Every fire is different but below are the steps for a “typical” fire remediation. 

    1. Calling an Emergency Contact
      • The fire restoration process begins as soon as you call us. You will first speak to our representative who will as a few questions regarding the fire to help us respond with the right equipment and resources.
    2. Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment
      • Our trained professionals will carefully inspect the damaged area and its surroundings to determine the extent of the damage. From the assessment, we will develop a plan for remediation. 
    3. Board-Up and Tarp 
      • Windows, walls, and roofs can all be compromised in a fire. We can board up missing windows or walls and tarp the roof for security and to prevent further. 
    4. Water Removal and Drying, if necessary 
      • Removing the water from your property will begin right away to remove most of the water. Dehumidifiers and air movers will help remove the rest of the water to dry quickly and prevent the growth of mold. For more about the water damage repair and restoration, click here.
    5. Smoke and Soot Removal
      • SERVPRO of Jefferson County / Oconomowoc uses specialized equipment to help remove smoke and soot from your home. 
    6. Cleaning/Sanitizing 
      • All restorable items and structures in your home will then be cleaned and sanitized. Our professionals are trained in a variety of techniques to help restore your belongings. 
    7. Restoration! 
      • Now that everything else is taken care of, restoration can start. This is the final step in the process to getting your home back to pre-fire conditions. This might include repairs from drywall replacement to reconstruction of certain areas.

    SERVPRO of Jefferson County / Oconomowoc will help restore your home start to finish back to pre-fire conditions “Like it never even happened.”

    Give us a call today if you are in need of fire or water damage restoration at (920) 674-3002.

    A Very Happy Customer

    1/5/2016 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc is always here 27/7/365 to help you out with your water and fire mitigation needs.

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc was very fortunate to be called on from local State Farm agent Eric Felth to help out one of his clients when they had a fire in their kitchen. Unfortunately smoke damage affected most of their home, so SERVPRO was called in to make it "like it never even happened". His client was so happy with our service that he took out an ad in a local newspaper to show his appreciation. Thank you Sherwood "Deadwood" Holmes for letting the community know that we helped you out in your time of need.

    Heating Preparedness Tips

    1/4/2016 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc would like for you and yours to stay warm and safe this winter.

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc knows turning on the stove for heat is a safety hazard. Stay warm and safe this winter with these preparedness tips.

    Holiday Safety Tip #11

    12/30/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc even knows how to dispose of your Christmas tree properly.

    Time to throw out your Christmas tree? SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc would like for you to remember to never put any part of a tree - especially dry ones - near the fireplace. To dispose of it properly, take it to a recycling location or make sure it's picked up by the appropriate service. #12DaysOfSafety

    Fireplace Safety

    12/10/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc wants you to be warm and safe during the winter months.

    Stay warm and stay safe this winter! If you are planning on using a fireplace, take a quick look at some tips SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc has put together for you. #HereToHelp

    Candle Fires

    12/9/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc wants you to not only enjoy candles, but be safe around them as well.

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc knows more than half of home candle fires occur when something flammable is too close to the candle. Please keep a one foot clear around any candle you have lit. 

    Space Heater Safety

    11/16/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc wants you and your family warm and safe this winter.

    Space heaters, though beloved for the warmth they provide, can be extremely dangerous if not used properly. SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc would like to make sure you are keeping your family safe.

    Candles

    10/23/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc wants you to enjoy using candles. Please be responsible when using them.

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc knows that candles look and smell nice. But if left unattended can have devastating effects that can result in fires that can change lives. Below are five facts about candles we think you should be made aware of.

    • During 2007-2011 candles caused 3% of home fires, 4% of home fire deaths, 7% of home fire injuries, and 6% of direct property damage from home fires.
    • On average, there are 29 home candle fires reported per day.
    • More than one-third of these fires (36%) started in the bedroom; however, the candle industry found that only 13% of candle users burn candles in the bedroom most often.
    • Nearly three in five candle fires start when things that can burn are too close to the candle.
    • Falling asleep was a factor in 11% of the home candle fires and 37% of the associated deaths.

    Electrical

    10/22/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc knows that proper education is the key to safety.

    Below are a couple facts about electrical fires that SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc believes you should be educated on.

    • About half (48%) of home electrical fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment. Other leading types of equipment were washer or dryer, fan, portable or stationary space heater, air conditioning equipment water heater and range.
    • Electrical failure or malfunctions caused an average of 47,800 home fires per year in 2007-2011, resulting in   an average of 450 deaths and $1.5 billion in direct property damage.

    Smoking Materials

    10/21/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc knows that some habits are hard to break, fire safety shouldn't be one of them.

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc knows that people still like to have a cigarette or cigar among other "smoky treats" from time to time and either forget to extinguish the butts or perhaps the matches as well. Below are 5 facts about smoking materials we think should be known.

    • Smoking materials started an average of 17,900 smoking-material home structure fires per year during 2007-2011. These fires caused an average of 580 deaths, 1,280 injuries and $509 million in direct property damage per year.
    • Most deaths in home smoking-material fires were caused by fires that started in bedrooms (40%) or living rooms, family rooms or dens (35%).
    • Sleep was a factor in roughly one-third of the home smoking material fire deaths.
    • Possible alcohol impairment was a factor in one in five (19%) of home smoking fire deaths.
    • One out of four fatal victims of smoking-material fires is not the smoker whose cigarettes started the fire.

    Heating

    10/20/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc wants you to be warm and safe when the temperature drops.

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc wants you to be nice and toasty warm when the temperature drops, but we want you to be safe as well. Below are 4 facts about heating we think are important that you should know.

    • The leading factor contributing to heating equipment fires was failure to clean. This usually involved creosote build-up in chimneys.
    • Portable or fixed space heaters, including wood stoves, were involved in one-third (33%) of home heating fires and four out of five (81%) home heating deaths.
    • Just over half of home heating fire deaths resulted from fires caused by heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses or bedding.
    • In most years, heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires, fire deaths, and fire injuries.

    Cooking

    10/19/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc would like you to be careful while cooking for yourself or your family.

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc knows that if not careful, cooking can be dangerous and is one of the leading source of home fires. Below are 10 important facts we think you should know.

    • U.S. Fire Departments responded to an estimated annual average of 156,600 cooking-related fires between 2007-2011, resulting in 400 civilian deaths, 5,080 civilian injuries and $853 million in direct damage.
    • Two of every five home fires started in the kitchen.
    • Unattended cooking was a factor in one-third of reported home cooking fires.
    • Two-thirds of home cooking fires started with ignition of food or other cooking materials.
    • Ranges accounted for almost three of every five (57%) of home cooking fire incidents. Ovens accounted for 16%.
    • Children under five face a higher risk of non-fire burns associated with cooking and hot food and drinks than of being hurt in a cooking fire.
    • Microwave ovens are one of the leading home products associated with scald burns. According to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, two out of five of the microwave oven injuries seen at emergency rooms in 2012 were scald burns.
    • Clothing was the item first ignited in less than 1% of home cooking fires, but these incidents accounted for 15% of the cooking fire deaths.
    • Fifty-five percent of people injured in home fires involving cooking equipment were hurt while attempting to fight the fire themselves.
    • Failure to clean was a factor contributing to ignition in 17% of reported home fires involving ovens or rotisseries.

    Escape Planning

    10/16/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc would like you to make and escape route and practice it as much as you can.

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc knows that planning and practicing an escape route before a fire disaster happens is very important. Below are some three facts about escape planning you should know.

    • According to an NFPA survey, only one-third of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.
    • Almost three-quarters of Americans do have an escape plan; however, more than half never practiced it.
    • One-third (32%) of survey respondents who made an estimate thought they would have at least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life threatening. The time available is often less. Only 8% said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out!

    Smoke Alarms

    10/15/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc wants to make sure you test and replace smoke alarm batteries regularly.

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc continues Fire Prevention Month with information on smoke alarms.

    • Three out of five home fire deaths in 2007-2011 were caused by fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
    • Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.
    • In fires considered large enough to activate the smoke alarm, hardwired alarms operated 93% of the time, while battery powered alarms operated only 79% of the time.
    • When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.
    • An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, or where extra time is needed, to awaken or assist others, both types of alarms, or combination ionization and photoelectric alarms are recommended.

    Home Fires

    10/14/2015 (Permalink)

    For National Fire Prevention Month SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc wants you to be well informed.

    For National Fire Prevention Month SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc has some important information on home fires we would like for you to know about.

    • Half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep. Only one in five home fires were reported during these hours.
    • One quarter of home fire deaths were caused by fires that started in the bedroom. Another quarter resulted from fires in the living room, family room or den.
    • Three out of five home fire deaths happen from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
    • In 2013, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 369,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 2,755 deaths, 12,200 civilian injuries, and $7.0 billion in direct damage
    • Home fires killed an average of eight people every day in 2013.
    • Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fire injuries, followed by heating equipment.
    • Smoking materials are the leading cause of home fire deaths.
    • Most fatal fires kill only one or two people. In 2013, 12 home fires killed five or more people resulting in a total of 67 deaths.
    • During 2007-2011, roughly one of every 320 households had a reported home fire per year.

    Test Your Fire Alarms

    10/12/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc knows being prepared is very important. Please test your fire alarms.

    Did you know only 79% of battery-operated smoke alarms operate effectively in home fires? SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc would like for you to please test your alarms, your life could depend on it.

    Halloween Fire Knowledge

    10/7/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc wants you to have fun and be safe during this festive season.

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc would like you to be aware that residential house fires increase around Halloween due to arson and decorative candles. Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper are also highly flammable.

    Fire Education

    10/5/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc knows that proper fire education is important for a safe and happy home.

    Hundreds of children ages nine years and younger die in house fires each year. SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc would like you to educate your children on the appropriate use of matches, and regularly practice your emergency exit route.

    Proper Fire Extinguisher Use

    9/21/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc would like you to follow these simple steps to make sure you know how to use a fire extinguisher if needed.

    Sure, you know WHEN to use a fire extinguisher, but do you know HOW? SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc would like you to follow these simple steps to ensure if/when the time arrives you are better prepared.

    Overloaded Outlets

    9/9/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc knows that understanding your property's electrical demands is a safety measure that shouldn't be ignored.

    Overloaded outlets can cause fires and other life threatening dangers. SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc suggests to keep your home or office safe by understanding your property's electrical demands.

    Lithium Powered Smoke Alarms

    8/21/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc wants you to stay safe, and continue to do so 10 years from now.

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc would like to know if you know this important piece of home safety trivia: How often are you supposed to replace your lithium-powered or "long-life" smoke alarm battery?

    If you said every 10 years, then you'd be correct!

    You Vs. Fire Damage

    7/31/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc will help you take back control of your life after the disaster.

    When fire damage takes control of your life, SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc will help you take it back.

    About Fireworks

    6/29/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson County / Oconomowoc would like you to be safe this 4th of July. If damage occurs, give us a call.

    SERVPRO of Jefferson County / Oconomowoc would like you to know that fireworks account for 2 out of 5 fires on Independence Day. With the 4th right around the corner, what's your plan to celebrate responsibly? To learn more what we can do for you, click HERE.

    Fire Sprinklers

    6/26/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson County / Oconomowoc knows that fire sprinklers are great at saving lives and property.

    SERVPRO of Jefferson County / Oconomowoc would like you to know that fire sprinklers have been saving lives for more than a century! Stopping a fire early may reduce the amount of property damage.

    Grilling Season

    6/16/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson County / Oconomowoc would like you to have fun and be safe while grilling.

    Warmer weather usually signals the start of grilling season. But did you know that grilling accidents starts each year almost 9,000 home fires? SERVPRO of Jefferson County / Oconomowoc would like for you to be safe out there folks! 

    After the Fire

    5/28/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson County / Oconomowoc wants to help make sure your fire loss was "Like it never even happened."

    After effects of fire, such as smoke odor and soot, can be hard to remove. Let SERVPRO of Jefferson County / Oconomowoc restore your home to pre-fire condition.

    The Burning Answer

    5/21/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson County / Oconomowoc would like you to check your smoke alarm batteries every month.

    Smoke alarms greatly reduce the risk of injury to those inside your home or business. SERVPRO of Jefferson County / Oconomowoc would like you to install them on every floor and check the batteries monthly.

    About Your Smoke Alarm

    5/20/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson County / Oconomowoc would like you to check back tomorrow for the answer.

    SERVPRO of Jefferson County / Oconomowoc has a question for you; how often should you check the batteries in your smoke alarm?

    We Appreciate Our Local Firefighters!

    5/5/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson County / Oconomowoc appreciates everything our local firefighters do for our community.

    From trainings to real emergencies, SERVPRO of Jefferson County / Oconomowoc are honored to work alongside the men and women who fight fires in our communities on International Firefighters' Day and every day.

    Cleaning Your Smoke Detectors

    4/21/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson County / Oconomowoc would like for your family and business to be safe at all times. Please keep your smoke detectors clean.

    SERVPRO of Jefferson County / Oconomowoc would like for you to know; like many appliances in the home, smoke detectors require regular cleaning and maintenance to function effectively. Paint, stickers, or other decorations could prevent alarms from working.

    Fireplace Safety

    4/16/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson County / Oconomowoc wants to remind you that ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container.

    SERVPRO of Jefferson County / Oconomowoc wants to remind you to make sure your fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container.

    Smoke Alarm Maintenance

    4/10/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson County / Oconomowoc would like you and your family to stay safe, please check and clean your smoke alarms regularly.

    Smoke alarms may look clean, but dust can accumulate inside the cover, especially in newly built homes. SERVPRO of Jefferson County / Oconomowoc suggests to keep your smoke alarms clean and to check on them regularly so if the situation arises, your smoke alarms will work in your time of need.

    Natural Gas Education

    4/9/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson County / Oconomowoc thinks it's important to educate your family and employees about natural gas leaks.

    Natural gas leaks and explosions can cause fires after a disaster; SERVPRO of Jefferson County / Oconomowoc would like you to take preventative measures by educating your family and employees in case of an emergency.

    Smoke Alarms

    2/26/2015 (Permalink)

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc has your safety in mind.

    SERVPRO of Jefferson Co./Oconomowoc would like for you to keep your home or office safe by installing smoke alarms on every level of the structure.