Recent Fire Damage Posts
How to use a Fire Extinguisher
It may seem like a simple thing, but, when you are under the pressure of a situation which requires the use of a fire extinguisher it may be harder then you think. Read these simple instructions so that you know how to use a fire extinguisher and can respond quickly in case of a fire.
Always remember PASS
Pull the pin in the handle
Aim at the base of the fire
Squeeze the lever slowly
Sweep side to side
Know the different types of fire extinguishers
Fire extinguishers come in different types, and each of these types are used for putting out different types of fires.
Class A - Ordinary solid combustibles like wood, cloth and paper products.
Class B – Flammable liquids and gasses
Class C – Electrical fires (Do not use water to put out these fires as there is a risk of electrocution)
Class D – Flammable metals
Class K – Oils and grease fires
If the time comes to use a fire extinguisher, follow these guidelines:
- Only use a fire extinguisher if you are taller then the fire. Extinguishers are meant for the early stages of a fire, if the fire is taller then you the extinguisher won’t be enough, get out of the house and call 911.
- Make sure the extinguisher you have is for the right type of fire. And ABC extinguisher will work on kitchen grease fires, but an A extinguisher could make the problem worse as it is essentially only pressurized water.
- Make sure the fire extinguisher is still pressurized. Check the gauge, if the needle is in the green you are good, but if not, you won’t have enough pressure to put out the fire, so get out and call 911.
- Position yourself with your back to an unobstructed exit so that you can get out quickly if you need to. Make sure you know your fire extinguishers range before hand, and position yourself accordingly, you want to be far enough that you aren’t in danger of being burned, but close enough that the discharge will be effective.
- Use PASS (see above)
- Never turn your back on the fire even after it’s been extinguished. There may be hot spots of hidden flames that could ignite again at any moment.
How to build a safe campfire
Summers in Ontario call for cottage and campfires. In any weather, dry and wet, campfires can lead to hazardous situations. That is why it is a good idea to brush up on safety tips to know exactly how to go about creating and maintaining a campfire. The following are some safety tips created by the Ontario government.
- Choose a site
- Pick a site close to a water source and sheltered from the wind
- Build your fire on a rock surface or bare dirt
- Build your fire at least 3 metres away from logs, stumps, trees and overhanging branches
- Build your fire 15 metres away from buildings or tents
- Prepare the site
- Clear a space (about 2 metres wide) for the fire
- Remove pine needles, grass, leaves and twigs
- Scrape the area right down to the soil
- Ensure you have a pail of water and a shovel to control the fire
- Build your campfire
- Keep your fire small – it shouldn’t be bigger than one metre high and one metre wide
- Small fires are safer, easier to control, and easier to put out
- A small fire will also keep cooking tools from blackening and let you get close enough to cook
- Stay nearby
- Never leave a campfire unattended
- If you start a campfire, you are responsible for tending it, ensuring it is kept under control, and putting it out
- Put the fire out
- Pour lots of water on the campfire
- Stir the ashes with a stick
- Pour more water over top of it
- Repeat the 3 steps until the ashes don’t hiss, everything looks wet and there’s no more smoke coming from the ashes
Family Fire Plan
When it comes to the safety of your family, it is never a bad idea to be prepared for the worst possible scenarios. When a fire occurs, for example, there is no time to waste. That is why it is essential that you and your family are prepared and have a step-by-step plan for escaping a fire.
Drawing out a floor plan of your home will help your family understand exactly what to do in case of fire. Mark two ways out of every room – especially sleeping areas. Make sure every member of your household knows these escape routes. Set a meeting place outside your home to meet at when you have safely evacuated. Practice this plan at least twice a year to refresh all household members. Have a fire drill. Remember, a fire drill is not a race. It is good to be quick, but while doing this safely and carefully. It is also a good idea to make these drills realistic – block some exits like they are blocked by fire.
If you live in a two-storey house and it is necessary to escape from the second floor, assure there is a safe way to get down. A good way to do this is to supply all closets with roped ladders and assure all members know how to use them accurately and safely. If you live in an apartment building use the stairways, not the elevators.
Test doors before opening them. Touch the door, the knob and the space between the door and the frame with the back of your hand. If it is hot, use another escape route. If not, open it using caution.
If you find yourself trapped, close all doors between you and the fire. Stuff the cracks around the door with towels/blankets to prevent smoke from getting in. Wait at a window and signal for help. Call 911 if you have access to a phone and let them know your exact location.
When leaving, do not stop for anything. Though it’s tough, do not attempt to rescue possessions or pets. Go directly to your meeting place and then call the fire department. Crawl low under smoke, and if possible wet a towel and put it over your head to prevent smoke inhalation.
Once you are safely out of your home, do not go back for any reason. If people are trapped, firefighters have the best ability to rescue them.
Make sure all fire alarms are working. Replace the batteries at least once a year. If your fire alarm is more than 10 years old, replace it. The more fire alarms you have, the better chance you have of being alerted early and safely exiting so install smoke alarms outside every sleeping area and on every level of your home.
Fire is deadly but knowing the proper precautions to take will likely save your life if a fire does occur.
- Before lighting a fire always open the damper, and don’t close it until the ashes have cooled completely. Once ashes are cooled keep the damper closed so that indoor air doesn’t escape, this will help your heating and air conditioning bill.
- Wait until ashes are completely cool always place them in a metal bucket; never place the ashes in a plastic or cardboard container. There could still be embers remaining that could catch the bucket on fire, even a day later.
- Position logs near the back of the fireplace to prevent fire and ashes from finding a way out of the hearth and into your home.
- Store paper, wood and other flammable materials well away from the fireplace. Make sure furniture and Christmas trees are placed far enough away that if sparks escape they won’t catch fire. Clear mantels of decorative items such as Christmas cards and garlands.
- Use a screen to keep embers contained. Glass doors are meant to keep drafts out and should be opened during a fire as they can get to hot and shatter.
- Only use small amounts of dry, well-seasoned wood. Resist the temptation to overload your fireplace. Burning too much wood at once can cause tar and creosote to build up in your chimney or stove pipes, which creates a fire hazard.
- Never use starter fluids, gasoline or other fuel. Log starters are fine for getting your wood fireplace going, but they burn very hot; only use one at a time.
- Never burn crates, lumber, construction scraps, wrapping paper, painted wood, or other treated wood as it can release chemicals into your home, compromising air quality.
- Have chimneys professionally cleaned and serviced every year to prevent tar and creosote buildup. Chimneys may require more frequent servicing in instances of high use. Gas fireplaces should also be serviced annually by a qualified service technician.
- Have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed and functioning properly before starting a fire in your woodstove or fireplace. Place them near your wood fireplace as well as in bedroom areas.
- Avoid running your fireplace at the same time as other appliances that vent to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide buildup. This includes clothes dryers or central vacuum systems, or when you have your kitchen range hood or bathroom vents switched on. Running all these appliances at once overtaxes the venting system so that some carbon monoxide stays trapped in the home.
- Keep a fire extinguisher near the fireplace, and make sure you know how to use it- just in case. It’s also a good idea to have a fire escape plan for your house and regularly review it with your family.
Putting out a grease fire
A kitchen grease fire is pretty much the worst-case scenario in a kitchen environment, it’s caused when cooking oil, animal or vegetable, becomes to hot and catches fire. It only takes minutes for oil to catch fire, so never leave it unattended. A grease fire isn't like a regular fire and trying to put it out the same way can make it worse. In short, if a grease fire suddenly erupts, turn off your stove right away and put a tight-fitting lid or cookie sheet over the fire, only use a fire extinguisher as a last resort, and NEVER throw water on a grease fire. Be sure to read the following steps for more details of putting out and preventing grease fires. And remember, if the fire gets out of hand, get you and your family out of the house as fast as possible and call 911. No kitchen is worth your life.
Putting out a grease fire
Evaluate – If the fire is small and contained, it is safe to try and extinguish by yourself, but if it’s spreading, put yourself and your family first and get everyone out, then dial 911.
Turn off the heat - This is the first priority, turning off the heat source will make the following recommendation more likely to succeed, an may even put the fire out.
Cover the flames with a metal lid – Fire needs oxygen to thrive, so cutting off the air supply with a metal lid will smother the flame, a cookie sheet will also work for this. Place either on top of the fire, and leave for at least 10 minutes, but preferably until the pot is not to hot to touch. Do not use glass lids as this may shatter when they are to hot, which can be dangerous and create an even bigger mess.
Dump baking soda or salt on small flames – Both baking soda and salt will work well on small grease fires, though are less effective on larger fires because people often don’t have enough on hand. It takes a lot to get the job done so make sure you grab the whole box and dump it generously on the flames. Make sure not to use baking powder, flour, or any other kitchen ingredients as it could make the situation worse.
Chemical fire extinguisher – The use of a chemical fire extinguisher should be the last resort. Only class B or K fire extinguishers can put out grease fires, so ensure that is the one kept in your kitchen. Extinguishers will contaminate your kitchen and make for a huge mess, but if it’s a choice between a tough cleanup job and your house burning down, go for it!
Make sure to avoid the following:
- Putting water on a grease fire – This can cause the fire to spread
- Swatting at the fire with a towel or oven mitt -This will fan the flames, which could cause the fire to spread, it could also catch the fabric on fire.
- Do not move the pot - The risk of the oil spilling out onto yourself or the rest of your home is to great.
Grease Fire Prevention Tips
- Never leave a stove unattended when cooking with oil
- Heat oil in a heavy pot with a metal lid
- Keep baking soda, salt and a cookie sheet nearby
- Clip a thermometer on the side of the pan to monitor oil temperature, find out the smoking point of the oil you are using and turn off the heat if it gets to close
- Watch for smoke and beware of acid smells, these are warning signs before a fire
How to prevent a house fire
House fires kill and injure thousands yearly and cost many more their valued possessions and memories. After a fire SERVPRO® of Ajax can get your home back in shape in no time, but it’s best to take the preventative measures to ensure a house fire doesn’t happen in the first place. Here are 10 simple steps to follow to protect yourself from a house fire.
- Test your smoke alarms
- Properly maintain your smoke alarms by testing the batteries once a month. If they’re not working, replace them immediately.
- Inspect heating sources
- Regardless of what kind of primary heating you have in your home, an annual inspection will reduce risk of fire.
- Change filters regularly to avoid build-up of dust and lint that can easily catch fire.
- If you use space heaters, carefully inspect them before and after every use and place them at least 3 feet away from anything combustible
- Keep the stove and oven clear
- Don’t leave anything flammable near the stove or oven. Make sure curtains don’t hang over the stove, and never rest towels or things such as a cookbook on the stove, even when it’s not in use.
- Stay in the kitchen
- Don’t leave a hot cooking surface unattended. Whether it’s a pot on the stove or an electric griddle, you need to be close by.
- Check the dryers
- If you have a gas-powered dryer, have it inspected once a year to make sure all connections are secure. It’s also important to get into the habit of cleaning out the lint trap after a load is finished, no matter what kind of dryer you have. Regularly check behind and around the dryer for lint or items of laundry that may have fullen under or behind.
- Maintain cords
- Regularly check the condition of cords and watch out for frayed wires. If they are frayed, replace immediately. Electric cords produce heat, so don’t keep them under a rug or between furniture and the wall.
- Store flammable products properly
- Many household products and cosmetic products are flammable. Keep flammable products away from heat, including exposure to sunlight.
- Be careful with candles
- Never leave candles unattended and always keep them away from flammable things like curtains or blankets. Place candles in secure, tip-proof holders and blow them out before leaving or going to sleep.
- Use the fireplace responsibly
- To ensure sparks do not escape, install a durable metal fire screen in front of your fireplace. Don’t leave a fire unattended and give ashes ample time to cool down before disposing of them.
- Keep fire extinguishers handy
- Stock key areas of your home with fire extinguishers. At the very least, keep one in the kitchen and others near high-risk areas like a fireplace. Regularly review the instructions and make sure all members of the home know how to properly use the extinguisher.
Ajax Smoke and Soot Cleanup
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 Ajax 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 – 1(289)460-5124