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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Fire Damage Blog Posts

The Importance of Grill Safety During Fire Season in Southern California

7/8/2024 (Permalink)

The Importance of Grill Safety During Fire Season in Southern California

As the warm months roll in and Southern California's fire season reaches its peak, many Lake Elsinore residents find joy in the age-old tradition of grilling. Whether it's in backyards, parks, or campgrounds, the enticing aroma of barbecued meals becomes a staple of summer life. However, amidst the fun and flavor, it's crucial to remember that grill safety is paramount. The region's dry conditions and high temperatures create a perfect storm for potential fire hazards. Here’s why grill safety is essential and how you can ensure your outdoor cooking activities remain safe and enjoyable.

Understanding the Risk

Southern California is notorious for its prolonged fire season, which is exacerbated by dry Santa Ana winds, low humidity, and an abundance of dry vegetation. These conditions make the Lake Elsinore area particularly susceptible to wildfires, which can ignite and spread rapidly. A single spark or stray ember from an unattended grill can lead to devastating consequences, endangering lives, residential and commercial property, and the natural landscape.

Grills can cause house fires in several ways:

Grease Buildup: Over time, grease and fat accumulate on grills, particularly in the drip trays. This buildup can easily ignite, causing dangerous flare-ups.

Gas Leaks: Faulty connections or cracked hoses on gas grills can lead to gas leaks, which are a serious fire hazard.

Improper Disposal of Coals: Hot coals from charcoal grills can stay ignited long after cooking is finished, posing a risk if not disposed of properly.

Proximity to Flammable Materials: Placing grills too close to flammable structures like wooden decks or overhanging branches can quickly turn a small flame into a large fire.

Key Safety Tips

Location, Location, Location: Always position your grill in an open area, away from structures, trees, and flammable materials. Ensure it's on a stable, non-combustible surface like concrete or gravel. Avoid placing it on wooden decks or near dry grass.

Check for Restrictions: Before you fire up the grill, check local regulations and fire danger levels. During periods of high fire risk, authorities may impose bans on outdoor cooking to prevent accidental ignitions.

Maintain a Safe Zone: Create a safety zone of at least three feet around the grill. Keep children, pets, and unnecessary items out of this area to prevent accidents and reduce fire risk.

Stay Attentive: Never leave a lit grill unattended. A momentary distraction is all it takes for a small flame to become uncontrollable. Keep a close eye on the grill and have a fire extinguisher or a bucket of sand or water nearby.

Proper Disposal of Coals: If you’re using a charcoal grill, ensure the coals are completely extinguished before disposal. Let them cool down entirely and soak them in water before placing them in a metal container. Never dispose of hot coals in plastic or paper containers.

Use Approved Fuels: Use only charcoal starter fluid designed for grills, and never add lighter fluid to an already lit fire. For gas grills, regularly inspect the propane tank and hoses for leaks.

Be Weather-Wise: Avoid grilling on extremely windy days. Wind can blow embers or flames into surrounding areas, increasing the risk of a fire.

Grills, if not properly maintained, can be a significant fire hazard. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), grills are responsible for an average of 10,600 home fires annually in the United States. Ensuring your grill is well-maintained is not just a matter of enhancing your culinary skills but also a critical aspect of home safety.

Essential Maintenance Tips

Regular maintenance is the best defense against grill-related fires. Here’s how you can keep your grill in safe, working order:

Routine Cleaning: After each use, clean the grill grates to remove food particles and grease. Periodically, give your grill a thorough cleaning by removing and scrubbing all removable parts. For gas grills, clean the burners to ensure there are no blockages.

Inspect for Leaks: For gas grills, check for gas leaks regularly. A simple way to do this is by applying a soapy water solution to the gas hose and connections. If bubbles form, it indicates a leak, which needs immediate repair.

Check the Grease Trap: Empty and clean the grease trap regularly. Accumulated grease is a common cause of flare-ups.

Examine Hoses and Connections: Inspect all hoses and connections for cracks, holes, or signs of wear. Replace any damaged parts to prevent gas leaks.

Secure the Lid: Ensure the grill lid closes properly. This helps control flare-ups and keeps the heat contained.

Proper Storage: When the grill is not in use, cover it with a grill cover to protect it from the elements and prevent rusting. Store propane tanks outside and away from living areas.

Ventilation: Make sure your grill is well-ventilated to prevent the buildup of dangerous gases.

The Consequences of Neglect

Neglecting grill maintenance can lead to severe consequences. According to the NFPA, nearly half of the grill-related home fires involve structures such as patios, terraces, and porches. The peak months for these incidents are July and August, aligning with the height of grilling season. Fires can cause extensive property damage, injuries, and even fatalities. Taking proactive steps in grill maintenance not only protects your home but also ensures the safety of your family and neighbors.

What to Do in Case of a Fire

Despite all precautions, accidents can happen. If a fire does start:

Stay Calm: Panic can lead to poor decision-making. Take a deep breath and assess the situation.

Extinguish the Fire: Use your fire extinguisher, sand, or water to put out the flames. For gas grills, turn off the gas supply if it’s safe to do so.

Call for Help: If the fire is beyond your control, call 911 immediately and evacuate the area.

How SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore / Perris / Menifee Northwest Can Help

Despite all precautions, accidents can still happen. In the unfortunate event of a grill-related fire, the aftermath can be overwhelming. This is where SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore / Perris / Menifee Northwest steps in to help. SERVPRO of Woodcrest / El Cerrito / Lake Mathews specializes in fire damage restoration, providing comprehensive services to restore your home to its pre-fire condition.

Assessment and Inspection: SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore / Perris / Menifee Northwest professionals conduct a thorough assessment of the fire damage, creating a detailed plan for restoration.

Board-Up and Roof-Tarp Services: To prevent further damage, SERVPRO offers immediate board-up and roof-tarp services.

Water Removal and Drying: Firefighting efforts often involve water, leading to water damage. SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore / Perris / Menifee Northwest uses advanced equipment to remove water and thoroughly dry the affected areas.

Smoke and Soot Removal: SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore / Perris / Menifee Northwest utilizes specialized techniques and equipment to remove smoke and soot from all surfaces, ensuring thorough cleaning.

Cleaning and Sanitizing: SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore / Perris / Menifee Northwest provides deep cleaning and sanitizing of all restorable items and structures affected by the fire, using various cleaning methods.

Restoration: The final step involves restoring your home to its pre-fire condition, which may include minor repairs, painting, and installing new carpets, or major reconstructions.

Conclusion

Grill maintenance is a crucial component of safe grilling practices. By investing time in regular cleaning and inspections, you significantly reduce the risk of grill-related fires. Remember, a well-maintained grill not only operates more efficiently but also provides peace of mind, allowing you to focus on enjoying your outdoor cooking experience wherever you go in Lake Elsinore. As you prepare for your next barbecue, keep these maintenance tips in mind to ensure a safe and enjoyable grilling season. Safe grilling is not just about following proper cooking techniques but also about maintaining your equipment in top condition. Prioritize maintenance, and you’ll contribute to reducing the alarming statistics of grill-related house fires. Stay safe and grill on!

If you ever need assistance, call SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore / Perris / Menifee Northwest at 951-674-4006!

Ready, Set, Grill!

5/9/2024 (Permalink)

Ready, Set, Grill!

Local SERVPRO fire remediation specialist advises Lake Elsinore / Perris / Menifee Northwest, CA area grill masters to prepare now for a safe, savory outdoor cooking season

Lake Elsinore / Perris / Menifee Northwest, CA May 27, 2024— For many, the Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of the summer season. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) warns families that the onset of the summer season also marks a rise in home fires started by outdoor grilling activities. According to the NFPA, on average, 10,600 home fires are started by grills each year. July is the peak month for grill fires, followed by June, May, and August.1

“Sixty-one percent of U.S. households own a gas grill,” says fire remediation specialist George Lingurar of SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore / Perris / Menifee Northwest. “A total of sixty-four percent own at least one outdoor BBQ, grill, or smoker. The popularity of this outdoor cooking equipment combined with longer, warmer days creates a unique fire hazard that should be taken seriously.”

The time to take precautions is now, adds Lingurar, before the outdoor cooking season is in full swing. The NFPA offers these basic tips for fire-safe grilling:2

For gas/propane grills:

  • Check the gas tank for leaks before using.
  • Open the lid on all gas grills before lighting the grill.

For charcoal grills:

  • Use only charcoal starter fluid to start the fire but never add it or any flammable liquids to a fire that is burning.
  • Cool coals completely before you dispose of them in a metal container.

For all grills:

  • Place grill well away from house and deck railings. Don’t place under eaves or branches.
  • Remove grease and fat buildup from grills and trays after each use.
  • Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill.
  • Never leave the grill unattended when in use.

“Basic precautions set the stage for a safe and enjoyable outdoor cooking season,” says Lingurar. “Life is unpredictable, but you can take steps to control the risk of house and property fires caused by outdoor cooking. Whether you are strictly a summer grilling warrior or you use your grill year-round, simple, common-sense actions can help ensure that the only smoke you smell this summer is the sweet aroma of steaks and vegetables grilling.”

SERVPRO specializes in fire and water cleanup and restoration services and repair services, helping to remediate damage for both commercial and residential customers. For more information on SERVPRO® of Lake Elsinore / Perris / Menifee Northwest, please contact Nichole Mowrey at 951-476-5419 or nichole@SERVPRO10100.com. For more information on SERVPRO, please visit https://www.SERVPROlakeelsinoreperris.com/.

1 https://www.nfpa.org//-/media/Images/Infographics/Grilling-Infographic2020BIG.png 

2 https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Publications-and-media/Press-Room/News-releases/2021/NFPA-offers-safe-grilling-tips-and-recommendations-to-prevent-fires-and-injuries 

SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore / Perris / Menifee Northwest 951-674-4006

Tips for Preventing A Home Fire

1/12/2024 (Permalink)

Home fires are preventable! The following are simple steps that each of us can take to prevent a tragedy.

Cooking

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
  • Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a "kid-free zone" of 3 feet around the stove.
  • Position barbecue grills at least 10 feet away from siding and deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.

Smoking

  • Smoke outside and completely stub out butts in an ashtray or a can filled with sand.
  • Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away. Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash can.
  • Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used, even if it is turned off. Oxygen can be explosive and makes fire burn hotter and faster.
  • Be alert - don’t smoke in bed! If you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy, put your cigarette out first.

Electrical and Appliance Safety

  • Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately and do not run cords under rugs or furniture.
  • If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord.
  • Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker.

Portable Space Heaters

  • Keep combustible objects at least three feet away from portable heating devices.
  • Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • Check to make the portable heater has a thermostat control mechanism and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over.
  • Only use crystal clear K-1 kerosene in kerosene heaters. Never overfill it. Use the heater in a well-ventilated room.

Fireplaces and Woodstoves

  • Inspect and clean woodstove pipes and chimneys annually and check monthly for damage or obstructions.
  • Use a fireplace screen heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying sparks.
  • Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.

Children

  • Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching children that fire is a tool, not a toy.
  • Store matches and lighters out of children's reach and sight, preferably in a locked cabinet.
  • Never leave children unattended near operating stoves or burning candles, even for a short time.

More Prevention Tips

  • Never use stove range or oven to heat your home.
  • Keep combustible and flammable liquids away from heat sources.
  • Portable generators should NEVER be used indoors and should only be refueled outdoors or in well ventilated areas.

Call SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore / Perris / Menifee Northwest today if you have any questions! (951) 674-4006

An Evergreen Debate: Real or Fake Christmas Tree

11/27/2023 (Permalink)

As we’re still feeling the effects of the Thanksgiving food coma, we begin to shift our attention to one of the next major holidays of the year, Christmas!

With Christmas underway, we look towards one of its most debatable topics.

Are we using a real or fake Christmas tree this year?

While both options have their merits, one critical consideration is often overlooked: fire safety.

It's essential to make an informed choice. We’ll explore the differences between the two regarding fire safety.

Real Christmas Tree Fire Safety Concerns

When purchasing a real tree, choose a freshly cut one. To check the freshness of the tree, perform a pull test. First, gently pull on a shoot (any above-ground portion of a tree directly bearing leaves) with your thumb and fingers; if the tree is fresh, you should not have any needles come off in your hand.

If you are not displaying your tree right away, keep it in a cool area to prevent as much drying as possible since brittle and dry trees ignite more easily.

You must water your Christmas tree and check its water level daily to keep it from drying out. Make sure your tree is inside a sturdy stand.

If not done, and a fire was to occur on your tree, a dried-out tree will burn entirely within seconds versus a well-hydrated tree that will still have a fire, but there will be more time to react.

Remember to keep your real tree safely away from heat sources, such as fireplaces, radiators, and heating vents. Doing so will help prevent the tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard.

When decorating your tree, use UL-listed lights. Ensure to check them for damage or exposed wires. Turn off the lights when you're not at home or before going to bed.

Finally, when the holiday is over, discard your tree promptly. Just because the holiday is over does not mean the tree is no longer a fire hazard.

Fake Christmas Tree Fire Safety Concerns

Fake Christmas trees, typically made from materials such as PVC, metal, or polyethylene, are generally considered safer in terms of fire risk. These materials are less flammable and do not dry out over time, reducing the potential for ignition.

Just know that as time goes by, certain materials may need replacing as they get worn out.

While fake Christmas trees are inherently safer in terms of fire risk, it's essential to ensure you maintain proper fire safety measures when decorating and lighting them.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when decorating your tree.

Use UL-Listed Lights: When decorating your fake tree, use lights that are UL-listed for safety. Check lights for damage, exposed wires, or fraying.

Safe Electrical Connections: Ensure all electrical connections are secure and avoid overloading circuits. Unplug the lights when you leave home or go to bed.

No Open Flames: Avoid using real candles on or near your fake tree to prevent the risk of ignition.

Proper Placement: Keep your fake tree away from heat sources, just as you would with a real tree. Doing so prevents any potential heat damage to the materials and ensures safety.

When choosing between a real or fake Christmas tree, it's important to weigh the fire safety considerations along with other factors.

Whichever you choose, celebrating safely and responsibly should be the top priority during this festive time of year.

Ensure that your decorations, lights, and electrical connections are in good condition, and follow safety guidelines to keep your home and loved ones protected.

Have a wonderful holiday!

P.S – If your home suffers fire damages over the holiday, know that SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore / Perris / Menifee Northwest has 24/7/365 emergency fire restoration services for the aftermath. Our team is always ready and nearby to help! Keep our number on file at 951-674-4006. 

Why You Should Get Fire Damage Estimates

11/9/2023 (Permalink)

After a house fire, getting fire damage estimates is critical. Without knowing the full extent of the damage, you may end up overspending on repairs or restoration. Either your homeowners’ insurance company or a third-party restoration company can provide the fire damage estimates for you. After a devastating event like a house fire, it is helpful to know just how much money you have to repair or restore your home to its former state. Since you should hire a restoration company anyway, fire damage estimates make the task of doing so much easier.

Discrepancies in Fire Damage Estimates

If your insurance company and third-party restoration company have a discrepancy in their fire damage estimates, one of two things are likely to happen: they can agree to a middle ground or begin arbitration. Choosing the middle ground option is a compromise of sorts and may include any number of outcomes, which are all dependent on the specifics of your situation. The other option involves including a third party, having them inspect and formulate an appraisal of the damage, and present that as an acceptable value. All of this depends heavily on your insurance company, the restoration company, applicable state laws, and the circumstances surrounding the fire.

What Fire Damage Estimates Do

Fire damage estimates allow you and your hired full-service restoration company to plan the restoration of your home. By having an effective budget, the company can do their best for you and make sure that they can return your home to its former. Most importantly, fire damage estimates include services that restoration companies do that you are unable to, such as removing smoke odors from your home or rebuilding any structures that the fire has damaged. Other costs that require professional help, such as special dry-cleaning of your garments and fabrics, may also be included. Additionally, if you attempt the repairs and accidentally cause more damage, chances are that the insurance does not cover the extra damage, whereas with a restoration company, it is covered.

Fire damage estimates allow a professional full-service restoration company to restore your home to its former state in the most effective manner possible. With a clear plan on which services you need, how much they cost, and how the company implements them, they can cater to your individual needs. After a devastating event such as a fire, money should not be your primary concern. A full-service restoration company can take care of all aspects regarding the remediation of the fire damage so you can concentrate on other things. For more information about fire damage estimates for your home, contact your insurance company.

If you have damage from a fire or smoke from a fire. Call SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore, we will work directly with you and your insurance directly "Like it never even happened." 951-674-4006

Why You Should Leave Smoke Damage Restoration to a Professional

10/30/2023 (Permalink)

Smoke damage removal is one of the most difficult aspects of a house fire. It is also one of the most important tasks you need to tackle after a fire has damaged your home, and it is essential that you begin smoke damage removal immediately after a house fire to restore your home to its former state. However, entering your home to begin smoke damage removal after a house fire is usually unsafe, as it is likely your home’s structure has sustained fire and water damage. Therefore, you should always leave smoke damage removal to a professional restoration company, as they have the proper equipment, expertise, and experience to handle this task. To understand why it is necessary to leave this task to a professional, it can be helpful to know some information about the equipment and expertise required to implement smoke damage removal successfully.

Smoke Damage Removal Requires Special Equipment

One of the biggest reasons that smoke damage removal is not something you should do yourself is that it usually requires special, industrial-grade equipment to remove it from your home effectively. Smoke often seeps into the walls of your home and can cause future health effects if not removed properly. The best method for removing smoke odor from your home is with thermal fogging, a technique professionals use that works by opening the pores in your walls and neutralizing the smoke odor hidden within them. This combined with dehumidifiers to dry any water damage and ozone generators to help get the smoky smell out of your home is an effective method professionals use to make your home smoke-free. Depending on the extent of the damage to your home, it is likely the restoration company may need to repaint the walls and ceilings in your home after the smoke damage removal process is complete.

Smoke Damage Removal Requires Certain Expertise

In addition to requiring special equipment to remove smoke from your home thoroughly, smoke damage removal also requires a professional to have certain expertise about the different types of smoke and the necessary chemicals to remove them. For example, the smoke odor from wood can react differently to certain cleaning products than smoke odor from plastics, which means you could damage your home further if you do not know which type of smoke residue and odor you are dealing with. Professional fire restoration companies know details about the different types of smoke and how to deal with them properly, which means they are your best resource for cleaning, repairing, and restoring your home to its original state.

Smoke damage removal is one of the most frustrating and difficult tasks homeowners must deal with after a house fire. It requires much time, effort, and expertise, and is something you should always leave to a professional restoration company. For more information about smoke damage removal or finding the best professional to handle it for you, it is a good idea to contact a fire damage contractor.

Call us today SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore / Perris / Menifee Northwest 951-674-4006

SERVPRO Lake Elsinore /Perris / Menifee Northwest Smoke and Soot Cleanup

10/28/2023 (Permalink)

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore / Perris / Menifee Northwest will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today!  (951) 674-4006

SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore / Perris / Menifee Northwest Uses Specialized Equipment Like The Hydroxyl Generator To Make It "Like it never even happened.

10/24/2023 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore / Perris / Menifee Northwest uses a variety of equipment when restoring your home. During a fire damage or mold remediation the crew may find it necessary to use a Hydroxyl Generator.

What Is A Hydroxyl Generator?

A hydroxyl generator uses 365mm to 385mm UVA rays emitted from the titanium dioxide photocatalytic lamps pass through a permanent anatase coated super reactor screen forming electron hole pairs that react with water and oxygen in the air to form free electrons and hydroxyl radicals that decompose and eliminate organic and inorganic gases and air pollutants.

What Is A Hydroxyl Generator Used For?

A hydroxyl generator is used to remove odors, organic pollutants, eliminate gases and to clean the air. They are used in the case of fire damage to your home or a mold remediation. They are very good at getting out the bad smells so we can help make it “Like it never even happened.”

The hydroxyl generator is 100% safe to use around plants, animals and people during its operation. Before the use of the machine is recommended we make sure to remove the cause of the smell so the process moves smoothly and quickly to clean the air.

To ask questions about all of our specialized equipment or training or know someone who has a fire loss or mold rememdiation, call us at SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore / Perris / Menifee Northwest so we can make it “Like it never even happened.”

SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore / Perris / Menifee Northwest

951-674-4006

Why Immediate Fire Restoration Is Important

10/20/2023 (Permalink)

When a fire occurs in a home, the aftermath can seem overwhelming, and if fire restoration is postponed, the destruction from smoke damage can become even worse. The longer you wait to address the damage, the more repairs you'll have to fix - which means you'll most likely have a larger bill for damages when all is said and done. You can avoid costly repairs and long-term issues if you make fire damage restoration a priority and follow the steps you'll need to get your home back to normal as soon as possible.

Contact a Fire Damage Restoration Service

First, and foremost - and this is the most important step - find a fire restoration contractor who can assess the damage, give you an estimate on costs and start the cleanup process. Contact your home insurance company to make them aware of the fire and ask them for referrals for reliable businesses in your area. It's essential that you enlist the help of a licensed and insured fire damage restoration company to reduce the risk of further damage to your home. They are trained to handle this type of damage and many will perform some of the following steps to help get you through the initial fire cleanup:

  • Smoke and fire damage restoration services will try to save as many of your home and personal belongings (such as appliances, furniture and clothing) as they can.
  • Document everything they remove from your home by taking pictures and/or keeping written records.
  • Return any salvageable furniture and appliances back to your home, after the fire restoration is complete.
  • Work quickly and carefully to get you back in your home as soon as possible, and stay in contact with you to make sure the repairs were done correctly and your home isn't experiencing any other problems.

Be sure to go through your home insurance company when hiring a fire damage restoration service, or do a thorough background check if you choose one on your own to make sure they are licensed and insured. Be wary of “fire chasing” contractors who target victims of house fires and pressure them into signing expensive repair contracts, perform extremely low-quality repair work and might not be licensed or insured.

Start Fire Cleanup Right Away

While it's best to have a qualified fire restoration company like SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore / Perris / Menifee Northwest handle the smoke damage restoration, there are some small tasks you can do to help minimize the initial damage before the professionals come in to do the major cleanup. Remember that safety comes first, so if there’s no way to safely gain access into your home, then stay out until the professionals arrive. If it is possible to enter your house, make sure you’re wearing work gloves, long sleeves/pants, and proper respiratory protection, such as a mask because exposure to soot can cause respiratory problems and other medical issues.

  • VENTILATION- Open all the windows and air out the house as much (and as often) as possible. Use box fans to force out dust and contaminated air. Fire damage restoration professionals will use industrial-strength fans and other air-moving equipment to help reduce the smoke damage your home has been subjected to, but in the meantime, proper ventilation is key to helping remove a lot of the polluted (and unsafe) air.
  • CLEANING- Scrub all surfaces (and inside cabinets and drawers) with soap and water. You can also use an alkaline cleaner, which neutralizes the acid that’s found in soot to help cut down on the smoky smell. Counteractants—chemicals used to break up smoke molecules to eliminate odors—may be used, but it’s best left to the professionals to handle such products.
  • LAUNDRY - Wash all bedding, clothing, curtains and items that can be machine washed with an alkaline cleaner (you may have to wash items more than once). Delicate fabrics will need to be professionally dry cleaned by someone who is familiar with articles that have smoke damage. Only use washers and dryers that haven’t been exposed to smoke or experienced significant fire damage.

Professional smoke removal and restoration companies will perform a thorough cleanup using industrial-grade products and equipment, such as dry cleaning soot sponges to remove loose soot and specialized vacuum filters to clean carpet and upholstery.

Prolonged Smoke Damage

Fire damage is tricky because some signs are apparent—such as discoloration on walls and ceilings and dark stains from smoke on surfaces—but others are not, such as odors trapped in hidden places. Air conditioner vents, the space behind walls and the outside walls of your home are all areas where ash and soot can be deposited and continue to cause damage if they aren't taken care of in a timely manner.

Make sure to have the HVAC system, attic/roof, and exterior walls inspected and properly cleaned, too, because your home will continue to suffer from smoke damage until the soot is completely removed by a fire damage restoration service, like SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore / Perris / Menifee Northwest. Don't hesitate to call us to handle your fire or smoke damage! 

Call us today SERVPRO of Lake Elsinore / Perris / Menifee Northwest 951-674-4006