Recent Fire Damage Posts

How To File an Insurance Claim After a Fire

7/7/2020 (Permalink)

Visible damage to a commercial building following a structure fire Commercial fire damage in Estero, FL

Six Steps To Guide You Through the Claim Process

Dealing with the aftermath of a fire that damaged your business in Estero, FL, can be overwhelming. One of the first things to do is file a fire claim with your insurance company. Here are six steps to guide you through the claim process:

Talk to your insurance company as soon as you can. You’re not limited to calling your agent on the phone. Many insurance companies let customers submit claims through their website or mobile app. Have your policy number and the address where the fire happened.
Document any losses. Make a list of anything with fire damage. Take the inventory as soon as you can so you remember everything to include in your fire claim. Gather records regarding income, inventory, contracts, and taxes so you can work with your insurer to calculate any lost income accurately.
Secure the building and make any short-term fixes. If it’s safe to go back to your building, you can take proactive measures such as boarding up holes in windows and roofs. Insurance companies call this “mitigating damage.”
Keep records of what you spend while you’re repairing your business. Track expenses such as using a fire restoration company, renting office space, and hiring contractors. Include vehicle rentals if any of your vans or trucks were damaged in the fire.
Ask your insurance company if you can get rid of debris. Don’t clear anything in your building until a claims adjuster has come to document the fire damage. If you need to get rid of something, let your insurance company know and take photos of the damage before you throw anything away.
Monitor the progress of your claim. Stay organized and keep track of your claim number, adjuster contact information, and receipts. Follow up with your insurer to see how your claim is progressing.

Getting back to business after a fire is stressful, but working with your insurance company on your fire claim can take some of the worries out of the process.

What Are the 3 Types of Smoke Alarms — and Which Do You Need?

5/28/2020 (Permalink)

Ionization smoke detector The ionization type is the most common and can be considered the “default” type

Buying a smoke alarm doesn’t have to be complicated. At its simplest, for the average house you can usually get with just five basic smoke detectors, placing one inside each bedroom and one on each level.
If you do nothing else, you’ve still dramatically increased your family’s chances of surviving a fire. However, with just a little more thought and time, you can almost eliminate the risk of serious injury or death from a fire.

What’s the Difference Between One Smoke Alarm and Another?

The three basic types of detectors are

  1. Ionization alarm
  2. Photoelectric alarm
  3. Air sampling alarm

The ionization type is the most common and can be considered the “default” type. It uses a tiny piece of a radioactive element that creates an electric current deep inside the unit. If smoke enters, it cuts off the current and activates the alarm. This type is best at detecting the smallest smoke particles.
The photoelectric type has a strobe light inside. When smoke enters the unit, it refracts the light, setting off the alarm. Photoelectric smoke detectors are better at detecting large particles and smoldering fires.
An air sampling detector circulates room air through the unit. Its principle is basically the same as an ionization alarm, but it’s more sensitive and designed for areas needing extremely precise detection.

Which Type Is Best for a Home?
Most experts recommend using both ionizing and photoelectric alarms for the average house. For instance, use ionizing alarms inside the bedrooms and have at least one on each level. Then put a photoelectric alarm outside the bedrooms in each sleeping area. These alarms are also perfect for kitchens, since they tend to have fewer false alarms and will pick up larger particles but not a small amount of smoke from cooking. There are also dual smoke alarms with both ionization and photoelectric elements for ideal fire safety, and some alarms have a built-in carbon monoxide detector as well.
Smoke alarms can help prevent most disasters, but not all. If you do have smoke damage in Coconut, FL, you’ll need a licensed fire restoration company to clean up the oily residue.

What Should You Do if You Smell Natural Gas in Your Home?

5/21/2020 (Permalink)

fire damage to exterior Give us a call today for your fire restoration clean up.

Natural gas is statistically a very safe form of energy delivery. Incidents are rare, although about every decade there is usually a relatively spectacular gas explosion in the news. However, anywhere there is flammable gas, there is some potential for a leak, and knowing what to do in Bonita Springs, FL can easily save your life and prevent a gas fire.
Where Is the Gas Meter?
There are three common places to find a residential gas meter:

Immediately around the perimeter of the home
Near the street for homes well off the road
Inside the building is also common for multi-family buildings

The meter is often on a gray container about the size of a typical desktop computer. If you can’t find your meter, call the gas company; they will usually help a resident find it. The shutoff valve is most typically right on or very near the meter. A set of channel lock or vice grip pliers will often suffice to turn off the gas. How Can You Recognize the Smell of Natural Gas?
Natural gas is odorless in nature. However, the gas company adds a harmless chemical to it that has a sulfurous smell, like a rotten egg. If you stand close to a meter on a sunny day, you may eventually get a slight whiff of it, which, if brief, isn’t a problem. If you are inside and can smell it, that is a problem – an immediate one.
What If You Smell It?
When you do smell it inside, unless you see a very quick and simple solution (such as a gas stove burner that is on with no flame), you need to get outside with haste. Don’t turn on or off any lights – it can cause a tiny spark. If you have time, open windows and doors, especially on your way out. Call 911 as soon as you are safe.
Quick thinking can save you from a serious gas fire in Bonita Springs, FL. If you’ve had a fire due to natural gas, contact an experienced fire damage restoration company to clean up the damage and return your home to normal.

How to Handle a Smoke Detector That Won't Stop Chirping

5/21/2020 (Permalink)

replace smoke detector battery Keep your home safe, replace your smoke detector batteries often.

A fire alarm can save your life in the event of a fire, but that does not mean it is foolproof. If the device has a problem, the result is an irritating chirping sound that goes on until you do something about it. This high-pitch noise goes off in equal intervals and is characteristic of smoke detectors that use the electricity and battery combo.

Common causes of fire alarm failure in Bonita Springs, FL include:

Wrong settings
Dead batteries
Dirty smoke detectors

Reset the Smoke Detector

Sometimes, smoke detectors can make chirping sounds for seemingly no reason at all. If you recently changed the batteries and cleaned the device, you might be looking at a settings problem. First, switch off the power at the circuit breaker, then release the detector from its bracket and disconnect it from the system. Remove the batteries and hold the test button for 15 – 20 seconds. After that, reassemble and test if the issue is resolved.

Replace Batteries

Replacing the battery in a detector will most likely fix the chirping sound and avoid fire damage. Use the removal procedure mentioned above to retrieve the sensor and be sure to check the terminals carefully. While you are here, scrape off any corrosion or dirt that might be blocking the terminals. Then reinstall the device back to its bracket and enjoy full-time protection from fire and smoke damage.

Clean the Smoke Detector

A blocked smoke detector can produce a chirping sound as a sign of protest. This blockage could also be the reason why your device might fail to raise the alarm if a fire breaks out. Consider cleaning it with a blower to remove any debris that might be in its vents.

That said, it is worth noting that a fire alarm is a lifesaver and should be in every bedroom and common area in your home. However, these devices can be of no use if they are not in working condition. The idea is to create a regular maintenance schedule to make sure every detector works as intended.

How Does an Emergency Board Up Protect Your Home

2/19/2020 (Permalink)

Board up window A board up can protect your home from worse damage

The prospect of a fire in your home in Bonita Springs, FL  is not something that you want to think about, but it is a potential disaster that every homeowner should understand. Fire damage can be devastating on its own but water damage goes hand in hand with it and can cause further damage. Sometimes, such as in the case of a fire burning through the roof or an exterior wall, firefighters needing access, or a fire caused by a lightning strike a board up may be necessary to protect the home and its contents.

What Does It Mean to Board up and Why Is It Necessary?

An emergency board up is when sheets of plywood and/or planks of wood are used to cover and protect areas of the home where weather or pests may get inside. Tarps may likewise be used where appropriate. Consider the following reasons a board up may be necessary.

  • Loss prevention due to looters coming in and stealing or damaging property
  • Helps prevent the loss of coverage by your insurance due to neglect
  • Can prevent further damage by wind, rain or hail
  • Reduce your risk of liability from someone becoming injured when entering your home, even if illegally
  • Keep birds, squirrels, raccoons and other pests from entering the home and wreaking havoc

Get Experienced Help
In the event of fire damage to the roof, a professional home fire and water restoration service in Bonita Springs, FL,
can come and evaluate the situation for the best method for boarding up any holes or gaps in the roof or walls or even any damaged doorways or windows. Any combination of boards, plywood, or tarps can be applied with minimal damage in order to ensure that your home is reasonably protected against the threats listed above.

A board up is temporary, but an essential measure that can protect your home from worse damage. That should provide some comfort if ever you find yourself in the middle of a fire disaster.

5 Steps for Cleaning the Gas Range

11/27/2019 (Permalink)

gas stove top Keep your gas stove clean to prevent fire damage.

The best way to make sure your gas range stays clean and safe is to clean up as you make messes. Unfortunately, this isn't always convenient or likely to happen. When you do notice that your range is looking a bit worse for wear, it is possible to remove that stuck-on dirt and grime. Start by gathering supplies:

Soft, clean rags or paper towels
A scrub brush or toothbrush
Dish soap
Vinegar and water
A sink of hot, soapy water

With your tools at the ready, it's time to get started.

Remove the Grates

After carefully lifting and removing the grates, set them in the sink to soak while you tackle the rest of the range cleaning work. This soak may reduce some of the work it takes to clean the grates and get rid of any lingering smoke smell.

Wipe Off Loose Crumbs

Get your paper towel slightly damp and wipe up any loose crumbs. This is especially important as those crumbs could cause unwanted fire damage on your gas range.

Wipe Down the Stove Top

Mix together equal parts of water and vinegar. Wipe the stovetop with this mixture and let it sit for a couple of minutes. This allows the mixture to soak into the stuck-on food and break down grease spots. After it soaks, wipe everything off with your paper towel or rag.

Tackle Tough Spots With a Brush

An old toothbrush is a great tool for getting into the small spaces around the knobs on the front of the stove or for getting rid of really tough patches on top of the range.

Clean the Grates

Hopefully, the grates are pretty clean after their soak in the sink. If not, finish this part of your range cleaning efforts, dry them off, and then put them back in place.

Thoroughly cleaning your gas range is a great way to avoid a visit from fire damage and restoration professionals. If you do have fire damage, contact Bonita Springs, FL, professionals right away to keep damages at a minimum.

3 Tips to Avoid Cigarette Fires

10/8/2019 (Permalink)

The hand of someone putting out a cigarette Put out your cigarette completely

How To Avoid A Cigarette Fire In Your Home

It’s a sobering statistic that between 2012 and 2016 smoking materials, such as cigarettes, caused an estimated 18,000 reported home structure fires. The National Fire Protection Association or NFPA, also states that during this time these types of fires cost an estimated $476 million in property damage. Following these tips may help you to avoid a cigarette fire in your home.

1. Smoke outside. Take your cigarette outside. But even smoking on the exterior balcony or porch is not far enough away from the house to prevent a fire. These places are the leading areas of origin for cigarette fires. Make yourself a small area in the backyard with a couple of chairs and a table. Use an outdoor ashtray, such as a cigarette receptacle. It is fire retardant and restricts oxygen, so cigarettes extinguish quickly. It will also keep your yard free of butts.
2. Put out your cigarette completely. Don’t leave any part of the cigarette burning. Totally snuff it out. Use an ashtray or cigarette receptacle when you are ready to throw the cigarette away. Use an ashtray made of glass or stainless steel, as an ashtray fire is possible if you use a cheaper product. If an ashtray isn’t handy, run the butt under water or smother it in sand.
3. Do not smoke in bed. Mattresses and bedding can catch fire easily. Between 2008 and 2010, cigarettes caused 86% of all smoking-related fires. The fires which happened during the late evening or early morning hours tended to be the worst. It’s best to never smoke in the bedroom as you might unknowingly drop a lit cigarette on the bed after falling asleep.
Like any fire, one caused by a cigarette fire can leave a lifetime of damage. Medical costs, fire cleanup and the possibility of having to find a new home, take not only a physical but also an emotional toll on the family. Speaking with a fire damage restoration specialist in Coconut, FL, about the best way to prevent a cigarette fire may put your mind at ease.

We Can Help Restore Your Property Following a Disaster | SERVPRO® of Bonita Springs/Estero

9/5/2019 (Permalink)

Fire damage to walls and exterior windows leaving significant damage. Fire Damage in Bonita Springs Florida

We pride ourselves on the fact that when disaster strikes, we offer a swift response, but let’s take a look at another reason why we can help if the worst should occur.

As part of our restoration process, our technicians have been trained to have a “restore first” mentality, using specialized equipment and cleaning techniques. This helps reduce interruptions to your life—and helps us get you back in your home or business more quickly and efficiently.  Just call SERVPRO of Bonita Springs/Estero at 239-334-8700 for immediate assistance.

<h2following-fire-damage">Restoring Following Fire Damage

It can be stressful knowing what to do first once a fire has damaged your property, but that’s where we can help. When we receive your call for help, our team is quickly sent to your location.

Every single fire is different—and so we offer a unique solution that’s personalized to your individual needs and situation.

But there are some basic components of our strategy in every situation.

1. Initial outreach. When you first call our team, you’ll be asked questions about the fire event and the resulting damage. This information will help us make sure we’re prepared with the right equipment and resources needed for your situation.

2. Inspection and assessment of damage. Our team will inspect and test the fire-affected room as well as surrounding rooms on the property to determine how much damage there is. This helps us determine our next steps and plan of action.

3. Boarding up and roof tarping. Fire damage often impacts a home’s windows, walls and roofs. Because of this, one of our first steps will be to make sure that your property is secure and protected from further damage.

4. Removal of water and drying of property. Water damage is often a byproduct when firefighting is involved. The removal process will start right away. Dehumidifiers and air movers are brought in to remove any water that’s hanging around and finish up the drying process.

5. Removal of smoke and soot. We will use specialized equipment and techniques to remove smoke and soot from your home’s ceilings, walls and other surfaces.

6. Cleaning and sanitizing. We will clean restorable items and structures whenever possible. Not only will these items be cleaned, but we will also use industrial air scrubbers and fogging equipment to remove lingering odors.

7. Restoration. This is the last step in resetting your home to pre-fire condition. Restoration may include minor repairs like replacing drywall, painting and installing new carpet. But it’s also possible that severe fire damage will require extensive renovations and repair.

Remember, if you need us, we’ll be there—no matter the time or day. The team of highly trained restoration experts at SERVPRO® of Bonita Springs/Estero is available for emergency cleanup and restoration services 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 239-334-8700.