Common Causes of House Fires
A grease fire caused this damage to a Huntsville home.
If a fire starts in your home you may have as little as two minutes to escape. House fires can be devastating and the road to recovery is long and hard. Educating yourself on the leading causes for house fires and prevention is a step in the right direction to ensure that your family and home are safe.
Many electrical fires in homes or businesses are caused by faulty electrical outlets, old wiring, outdated appliances or electrical cords that are frayed.
- If you live in an older home have an electrician complete an inspection. Standards and codes are constantly being revised and updated to ensure safety.
- Do not overload your circuits.
- Understand the difference between surge protectors and power strips. Both devices allow you to plug in multiple electronics, but only the surge protector will help protect your electronics from a power surge.
Accidents in the kitchen can lead to devastating house fires. The leading cause of kitchen fires is due to unattended cooking. It’s important to be alert to prevent cooking fires.
- Never leave pots or pans unattended on your stove.
- Keeping your stove an oven clean will prevent buildup of food splatter and grease that could later ignite when the stove or oven is turned on for cooking.
- Keep any items that could ignite away from your stove top
- Ensure that you have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen in case of emergency.
Dryer vents are becoming a much bigger and more common safety problem. Over time, your dryer vent fills with lint that sneaks by your dryers filter. Fires can occur when the excess lint builds up in the dryer or exhaust duct.
- Clean out the dryer vent regularly.
- Clean the lint filter after EACH load of laundry that is dried.
- Clean underneath and behind your dryer to eliminate any lint that collects.
Commercial Kitchen Fire Safety
Proper fire safety equipment and regular maintenance can decrease your risk of costly fire damage.
Statistics Restaurant Owners Should Know
During 2006-2010, an estimated average of 7,640 structure fires in eating and drinking establishments were reported to U.S. fire departments per year, with associated annual losses of:
- Two civilian deaths
- 115 civilian injuries
- $246 million in property damage
In eating and drinking establishments, direct property damage per fire was 75% lower when a wet pipe sprinkler system was present, compared to fires with no automatic extinguishing equipment present.
Fires are less common during the overnight hours (from Midnight to 6 a.m.) but cause more property damage.
Structure Fires in Eating and Drinking Establishments by Major Cause (2006 - 2010)
- Cooking equipment 57%
- Heating equipment 10%
- Electrical/Lighting equipment 7%
- Smoking material 7%
- Intentional 5%
- Cooking equipment 40%
- Electrical/Lighting equipment 13%
- Intentional 10%
- Heating equipment 7%
- Smoking Material 5%
Total annual property damage for eating and drinking establishments = $246 million
If your commercial kitchen is affected by a fire, or in need of a deep clean, call SERVPRO of South Madison County at 256-533-5335.
We’re Fire and Water Damage Specialists
As fire and water restoration specialists, we have the training, experience and specialized equipment necessary to restore your home or business. We are committed to providing superior service while restoring your property back to pre-fire condition.
- Fire & Smoke Restoration Technician
- Odor Control Technician
- Upholstery & Fabric Cleaning Technician
- Water Damage Restoration Technician
Lightning Safety Tips
Lightning from thunderstorms injures hundreds of people in the U.S. every year and kills dozens. These accidents are easily preventable if you follow these simple safety tips.
1) Listen to the radio and television for severe thunderstorm warnings. The National Weather Service issues warnings for counties and even sends out text messages now to our mobile phones when storms are on their way. Pay attention and heed their warnings for safety.
2) Remember the 30 second rule. If there is not 30 seconds in between the time you see lightning and hear thunder, it’s time to go indoors.
3) Lightning typically strikes the tallest object around so if there is a storm, move indoors if at all possible or into a hard top car if there are no buildings around.
4) Once inside, stay away from windows, plumbing and electrical. If lightning strikes outside, it can carry inside via land lines.
5) Get out of boats and away from bodies of water. If you can hear thunder than you are close enough to get struck by lightning.
6) If you are caught outside, avoid standing by tall isolated objects such as trees. Find a grouping of small trees surrounded by taller ones, avoid bodies of water, and if there is only open spaces, look for a dry low-lying area and try to make yourself the smallest target possible. Do not lay flat on the ground, rather crouch with your head between your knees. Sheds, outhouses and tents provide no safety so keep this in mind when you are hiking or camping. Always think ahead and be prepared in the event that you are caught in a thunderstorm and if possible, turn around on your trip and head home.
Restoring Your Belongings After A Water Leak
Water damage in your home can be devastating, whether it comes from leaking pipes or backed-up drains or toilets. While there may be nothing you can do to prevent your items from becoming waterlogged in the event of an unexpected water leak, there are some things you can do to restore your belongings after water damage occurs. Here are a few ways you can clean up various items in your Huntsville/Madison County home.
1. Separate Items
Before you officially begin the cleanup process, separate your items into those that are porous and nonporous. Porous materials may include wood, paper, rugs and other types of fabric. Generally, these are more likely to harbor mold and bacteria from broken pipe water, so it’s important to clean them quickly. Nonporous items are usually much easier to clean, since they don’t absorb water and are less likely to harbor bacteria and mold.
2. Dry-Clean Non-Porous Items
Dry cleaning may be appropriate when removing light water residue from non-porous items in your home. Items can also be dry cleaned before floor restoration professionals come in and thoroughly clean your items.
3. Air-Dry When Appropriate
If you’re not dealing with hazardous water, such as sewage, it may be appropriate to gently air-dry most of your belongings. If possible, do so indoors unless the weather outdoors is ideal. You can increase the air flow inside your home with the use of open windows, air conditioners and fans.
4. Toss Dangerous Items
Depending on the nature of floodwater in home settings, it may be dangerous to keep saturated items. If there is a high likelihood of the floodwater containing harmful bacteria, it may be best to throw away contaminated objects. In other cases, professionals may be able to safely clean and salvage some of your valuables.
While you may be able to clean some of your belongings that water has damaged in your home, safety should always be your top priority whether you’re dealing with a broken pipe or a sewer backup. For help with dry-cleaning or salvaging contaminated items, it’s best to wait for professional help to arrive. Visit SERVPRO of South Madison County for more information on water damage.
Prepare for a thunderstorm
All thunderstorms are dangerous and produce lightning. On average, lightning kills 51 people and injures hundreds more in the US each year. Dangers associated with thunderstorms include strong winds, flash flooding, hail, and even tornadoes.
To prepare for a thunderstorm:
- Trim or remove tree limbs near your home. Remove any dead or rotting trees.
- Secure outdoor items.
- Postpone or cancel outdoor activities.
- Go inside - if you can't reach a building, get in a hard-top vehicle.
- Secure doors and windows. Close blinds, curtains, or shutters.
- Unplug electronics.
When a thunderstorm occurs:
- Remember this phrase: "When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors". Go inside during thunderstorms.
- Listen to a battery-operated radio such as a NOAA Weather Radio for updates and information.
- Unplug electronics and appliances to prevent damage from lightning-caused power surges.
- Water conducts electricity. Water-based activities and chores should be avoided during a thunderstorm.
- Windows, porches, and doorways can be dangerous in storms - stay inside.
- If you can't get inside, try to avoid natural lightning rods - like a large tree in an open field, and try not to be the tallest thing on a hill, open field, or beach.
- Try not to touch metal - including your car - metal conducts electricity.
- Stay in your car if you're driving. Pull over and turn on your hazard lights until heavy rain ends.
After the storm passes:
- Never drive through a flooded roadway. Turn around, don't drown!
- Stay away from storm-damaged areas.
- Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or local radio and television stations for updated information or instructions.
- Help people who may require special assistance, such as infants, children and the elderly or those with access or functional needs.
- Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately.
- Keep a close eye on your pets to keep them safe.
The professionals at SERVPRO of South Madison County are highly trained and certified. Our Professionals are equipped with the knowledge they need to help with any water or fire loss.
SERVPRO of South Madison County
We are here to help 24/7!
Top Reasons Toilets Leak When Flushed
Leaking water is never ideal. It can waste your money and even cause damage to your Huntsville home. If you have a leaking toilet, you may be at your wits end. Why is it happening and how can you stop it?
Knowing the why can help you better understand how to fix the problem. As you try to investigate your bathroom leak, consider these possibilities:
Damaged Wax Ring: The wax ring at the base of the toilet may dry out or get damaged in another way. This makes the seal imperfect and can lead to leaks. If this is the culprit, you'll notice the water coming from the base of the toilet.
Loose Tank: Over time, the tank of your toilet may loosen due to use. Tanks have to fit tightly onto the seat to stop leaks from taking place. If the tank is the issue, you may notice water seeping out at the base of the tank.
Broken Closet Flange: The closet flange provides a mount for the toilet on the floor. If this part is bent or damaged, it could lead to a leaking toilet. Fixing this piece requires you to either replace the whole flange or fill in the missing piece.
Loose Closet Bolts: The closet bolts work to hold the toilet to the ground. If they get loosened over time, you may notice water pooling at the base of the toilet every time you flush. You may be able to fix this problem by simply tightening the bolts. However, you need to be careful not to over-tighten, as this can lead to cracks.
Poor Installation: Finally, if the toilet was not installed correctly to begin with, you may have leaking problems from day one. The only way to fix this issue is to try to reinstall the toilet. You may need a new wax seal and flange anyway.
Because a leaking toilet can lead to major water damage, you may not want to try to fix the problem on your own. Turning to a professional water damage specialist can help you fix the problem quickly.
Lunch & Learn With Us
Do you work for a real estate office or insurance agency? Are you part of a company that could benefit from having a quick knowledge of restoration and commercial cleaning options for your clients?
We can offer you and your coworkers a great opportunity for to learn all of SERVPRO's services that are relevant to you and your industry.
But wait...why not do it over coffee and donuts? Or maybe lunch? Or fresh, homemade cookies?
Are we getting your attention yet?
Our SERVPRO marketing representatives would love to chat with you and your coworkers and let you know about all that SERVPRO of South Madison County has to offer you. Whether you find yourself dealing with a disaster situation or you just need to have some general cleaning or mold testing done, we want you to know that SERVPRO is here to help.
There is no cost for a Lunch & Learn, just give us a call and make an appointment and our marketing representatives will come to you! It is only approximately 15-30 minutes in duration, and participants are free to ask questions and chat as long as is needed.
If you are interested in setting up a SERVPRO Lunch & Learn for you and your coworkers, call us and we will schedule a date and time that works best for you! All you'll have to do is be present and hungry to eat good food and learn a little more about how SERVPRO of South Madison County can help with your cleaning and restoration needs.
Clogged Gutters Can Worsen Potential Flood Damage
Gutters should not overflow and all surface water should be directed away from your home.
Does your home have a basement or crawl space? If so, you should take some time to inspect how heavy rains flow from your roof. An clogged gutter will overflow and dump water right next to your foundation which could lead to a water damage in the basement or crawl space.
Inspect and clean your home’s gutters and downspouts at least once a year. It may seem that all storm damage results from rising waters, but the reality is that the rainfall cascading off your home’s roof could contribute quite a bit to that. If your home’s gutters and downspouts are not properly directing this runoff, you could end up with a damaged foundation, roof damage and more flooding than you would have had otherwise.
Also, make sure your downspout extensions direct water away from your home's foundation. They should extend out at least 3 feet to an area where the water will drain away from your home.
Next time the Huntsville/Madison County area is hit with heavy rains, take a minute to inspect around your home for these issues. If despite your best efforts to prevent flood damage, you do experience flooding in your home, it is important to get help from a professional storm damage company as quickly as possible. SERVPRO of South Madison County can respond immediately to storm and flooding conditions.
Handling A Sewage Backup After Heavy Rains
Spring storms can be really stressful for residential and commercial building owners in Huntsville. You have to worry about hail, wind and water damage whenever a storm is predicted for your area. Even when a storm is forecasted, you never know exactly what's going to happen. Sometimes, the storms may leave your building unaffected, and other times, you're left dealing with lots of damage. For example, your area could be under threat of heavy rains, but did you know that could put you at risk for a sewer backup?
Overwhelming Amounts of Water
Heavy rainfall can leave systems waterlogged, and the city sewer system is no different. During heavy downpours, sewer systems can take on too much water. This causes the sewer water to back up into commercial buildings and sometimes homes.
Downpours aren't the only potential cause of a sewer backup. This issue can also be caused by the following situations:
* Tree roots grow into pipes.
* Broken pipes don't allow sewage to leave.
* Grease or other waste creates a plug.
* Vandals drop large items into manhole covers.
No matter why sewage is coming into your building, you need to react quickly.
Creating Black Water
When flooding is combined with sewage, your building is now full of contaminated water. This particular variety of contaminated water is often referred to as black water because it could contain fecal matter, microbes and harsh chemicals. Because this water can be highly unsanitary, you need to get the flooding taken care of as quickly as possible. Not only could you be dealing with normal flooding issues, but you may add other problems to the mix as well.
If you ever have to deal with black water, it's a good idea to bring in trained water damage restoration experts as soon as possible. When there is a sewer backup in your building, it's nice to know who you can turn to for fast, reliable help.
Call SERVPRO Today – We’re Ready To Help 256-533-5335
Signs of Mold After Water Damage
SERVPRO® of South Madison County handles water damages every day and we know prompt action is required to prevent mold growth. Mold is more likely to spread when an environment has been subject to moisture for a long period of time. If your property has sustained a recent water damage, it is important to be alert for:
- The presence of visible mold
-Strong musty odors which may indicate mold is present
- Any evidence of past moisture problems that might have caused undetected mold growth
- Excessive humidity
These conditions may require the expertise of a qualified Indoor Air Quality Environmental Professional to inspect the building for mold growth.
Some amount of mold spores are normally present in most environments. If the humidity and moisture levels in a water damaged environment are not promptly returned to normal, mold spores may grow and multiply. Organic materials found inside a building, such as wood, paper, drywall and insulation, provide food sources for mold to flourish. Excessive mold growth can lead to indoor environmental conditions that pose a heath threat.
If you suspect you have a mold problem in your Huntsville home or business, give SERVPRO a call to find out how we can help you!