Recent Fire Damage Posts
Frying the Thanksgiving Turkey
Frying the Thanksgiving Turkey
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and the most popular traditional entrée is the turkey. There are two common types of cooking: roasting and deep-frying. According to FEMA, between 2014 and 2016 there were an estimated 2,400 residential building fires reported to fire departments in the U.S. on Thanksgiving Day. These caused an estimated 5 deaths, 25 injuries, and $19 million in property loss.
Deep-frying a turkey makes a delicious bird, but can be very dangerous. Here are a few tips on how to fry a turkey safely.
- Keep outdoor fryers off of decks, out of garages, and a safe distance away from trees and other structures.
- Make sure the turkey is fully-thawed and dry before cooking. Ice or water that mixes into the hot oil can cause flare-ups.
- Watch the weather. Never operate an outdoor fryer in the rain or snow.
- Place the fryer on a level surface, and avoid moving it once it is in use.
- Leave 2 feet between the tank and the burner when using a propane-powered fryer.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid overfilling. Oil can ignite when it makes contact with the burner.
- Choose a smaller turkey for frying. A bird that is 8 to 10 pounds is best. Avoid turkeys over 12 pounds.
- Never leave fryers unattended.
- Purchase a fryer with temperature controls and watch the oil temperature carefully. Cooking oil that is heated beyond its smoke point can catch fire. If you notice the oil is smoking, turn the fryer off.
- Turn off the burner before lowering the turkey into the oil. Once the turkey is submerged, turn the burner back on.
- Wear goggles to shield your eyes. Use oven mitts to protect your hands and arms, and keep an “ABC” or grease-rated fire extinguisher close by. Do not use water or a garden hose on a fryer oil fire.
- Skip the stuffing when frying turkey, and avoid water-based marinades.
- Keep children and pets away from the fryer at all times.
- Once finished, carefully remove the pot from the burner, place it on a level surface, and cover to let the oil cool overnight before disposing of it.
- Opt for an oil-less fryer. This uses infrared heat, rather than oil to cook the turkey
We hope these tips help so you have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.
Wild Fire Zones
We have had a really wet spring this year, and that can mean two different things. On one hand, the trees, grass and shrubs are growing lush and green. But unfortunately in Casper, it does turn brown later in the season, and makes fuel for fire. There are many things that can start a wildland fire, anywhere from human irresponsibility to naturally-occurring events, such as lightning strikes. There are steps you can take to protect your home, whether you reside in the city, up in the mountains, or out on the Wyoming prairies. There are 3 types of defensive zones to help protect your home:
- Prune and maintain any plants to prevent excessive growth. Also, remove all dead branches, stems and leaves within and below the plant.
- Do not store firewood or other combustible materials anywhere in this zone. Keep firewood at least 30 feet away from structures, and uphill if possible.
- Remove any branches that overhang or touch the roof, and remove all fuelswithin 10 feet of the chimney.
- Remove all pine needles and other debris from the roof, deck and gutters.
- Rake pine needles and other organic debris at least 10 feet away from all decks and structures.
- Limit the number of dead trees (snags) to one or two per acre. Be sure snags cannot fall onto the house, power lines, roads or driveways.
- Small groups of two or three trees may be left in some areas of Zone 2, but leave a minimum of 30 feet between the crowns of these clumps and surrounding trees.
- Remove all ladder fuels from under remaining trees. Prune tree branches off the trunk to a height of 10 feet from the ground or 1/3 the height of the tree, whichever is less.
- Locate propane tanks and natural gas meters at least 30 feet from any structures, preferably on the same elevation as the house.
- The tank should not be located below your house because if it ignites, the fire would tend to burn uphill. Conversely, if the tank or meter is located above your house and it develops a leak, gas will flow downhill into your home.
- Do not visibly screen propane tanks or natural gas meters with shrubs, vegetation or flammable fencing. Instead, install 5 feet of nonflammable ground cover around the tank or meter.
- While tree pruning generally is not necessary, it may be a good idea from the standpoint of personal safety to prune trees along trails and firefighter access roads. Or, if you prefer the aesthetics of a well-manicured forest, you might prune the entire area. In any case, pruning helps reduce ladder fuels within tree stands, thus reducing the risk of crown fire.
- Remember to consider the hazards associated with ladder fuels. A forest with a higher canopy reduces the chance of a surface fire climbing into the tops of the trees, and might be a priority if this zone has steep slopes.
After Fire Tips
Fire/Smoke damage kitchen.
The aftermath of a fire can be chaotic and emotionally devastating. You may be concerned with the damage done to your property, and the business you’re likely to lose as a result of it. Although it can be difficult, it’s important to stop, take a deep breath, and prioritize what needs to be done. Follow these steps to help make sure your loss goes smoothly as possible.
- Contact Your Insurance Provider
It’s important to contact your insurance provider first, so that you can begin the process of filing a claim. Your provider will want to send a claims adjuster to assess the damage, and the sooner this can be scheduled, the sooner you will receive payment to pay for restoration services.
2. Secure Your Property
Fire can leave your building with large holes in the walls and ceilings, leaving the contents exposed to further damage. Your insurance will cover damages from the fire, but it won’t cover damage from rain and snow entering the building after the fire, or theft resulting from the building being easily accessible.
- Document the Damage
Your insurance company will require evidence of your losses. Take photographs or videos of as much damage as you can without putting yourself in danger. It’s also good to compile a list of everything lost in the fire. If you have receipts or other documentation, start pulling these together.
4. Resist the Temptation To Clean Up
Although you may feel tempted to begin throwing things away or making repairs, don’t. It’s important that the claims adjuster has a chance to assess the original damage. It’s also better to let a fire restoration specialist assess your property before throwing it out. Items you believe to be destroyed by smoke damage may actually be salvageable through smoke cleaning.
If you experience a loss, give us a call. We will come out and discuss the process, on what we can and cannot do, and how to get started in the restoration process.
Safety grilling tips
Grilling Season is here!!!!
The weather is getting nicer, and the urge to grill is getting stronger. To make sure you have a safe grilling season, we will provide a list of safety precautions, such as how to check you gas lines before you start grilling and where to place your grill. Grilling is supposed to be fun and relaxing. Don't let one grilling mistake ruin your summer!
General grilling 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.
Before you use your grill:
Check the major connection points between the gas (propane) tank hose and the regulator and cylinder, and where the hose connects to the burners. Tighten if loose.
- Check the gas (propane) tank hose for potential gas leaks. To do that:
- Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose using a brush or spray bottle.
- Turn the propane tank on. If there is a gas leak, the propane will release bubbles around the hose (big enough to see).
- If there are no bubbles, your grill is safe to use.
- If there are bubbles, turn off the tank and check connections If the leaks continue, then have your grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
- If the leak doesn’t stop, call the fire department immediately.
When the grill is on:
- As you are cooking, if you smell gas, turn off the gas tank and burners.
- If the leak stops immediately, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
- If the smell continues, move away from the grill and call the fire department immediately. Do not move the grill.
- 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 once it starts burning.
- Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
- There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use an open flame. Be sure to use an extension cord rated for outdoor use.
- When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.
By following these steps this will help you have a safe and happy grilling season.
Smoke detectors will help save lives.
Whether you’re at home, a hotel, or on a cruise ship, smoke detectors are important to you and your loved ones. They give residents peace of mind, and it helps get people out safely in the event of a fire or smoke emergency.
If they aren’t properly maintained, they can become a nuisance, beeping when the batteries are low. The constant beeping can drive you and others crazy. And they become unreliable in this low-power state.
Here are some quick tips to help keep your smoke detectors in good working order, and your family protected:
- At least one smoke detector should be installed on every level of your home, but it’s best to have one in each bedroom.
- Change the batteries once a year. Changing your batteries in the spring when you do your spring cleaning or on New Year’s Day is easy to remember.
- If you replaced the batteries (and you're sure the batteries are fresh) and your alarm is receiving power but it still won't stop chirping, the detector probably needs to be reset. Disconnect it from the ceiling, remove the battery, and press and hold the test button for 15-20 seconds. The unit should beep several times, and stop. Put the battery back in and reconnect the detector to your ceiling or wall.
- Test your smoke detectors once a month.
- If the alarm doesn't sound when you press the test button, try pressing and holding for 10-20 seconds. If it still doesn't work, the battery could be loose, or your AC or power may not be on (check that the red or green light is continuously lit).
- Make note of your smoke detector install and/or expiration date.
- Alarms don't last forever: the average lifespan of a smoke detector is 10 years. If you aren't sure when it was installed, replace it immediately.
If you end up with smoke damage in your home, SERVPRO of Casper is always here to help.
Holiday Decoration Safety Tips In Casper, WY
With the holiday season, we all get excited about the cooking, baking, and setting up Christmas decorations. But unfortunately, with all the excitement we become complacent, and we don’t think of safety first.
According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission there were 15,000 injuries related to holiday decorations in 2012. Mishaps send about 250 people to the emergency room daily, with falls, cuts and back strains topping the list of injuries. To ensure you have a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season with your friends and family, here are 12 tips to keep in mind as you deck out your home:
- Keep live trees away from heated sources – Keep your tree from heated sources such as fireplaces and heaters. It’s a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher near your tree. Live trees are highly flammable because of the needles and sap.
- Hydrate your tree - When picking your tree you want to pick the greenest one. It’s one way to keep your tree from drying out so quickly. Make sure you check it every other day to make sure the water does not run out. A dried out tree is more flammable then a hydrated one.
- Artificial tree - When purchasing an artificial tree you want to make sure that it’s labeled “fire resistant.” Artificial trees that are fire resistant have a low chance of catching on fire.
- Burning wrapping paper in the fireplace - Paper can catch fire very quickly and cause a flash fire.
- Work as a team - When stringing lights and decorations higher than you can reach, make sure you use a proper ladder and someone supporting the base.
- Double check your lights - Check and replace any lights that may have frayed wires, broken sockets, and loose connections. Make sure you don’t put indoor-rated lights outside; you want to check the label to see if they are designed to be hung outdoors. You want to make sure that you don’t string too many lights together so you don’t over strain the cords and cause a fire.
- Power down at the end of the night – Turn off all your lights before going to bed. It’s also a good idea to do that before you leave your home. In case of an electrical short, you can avoid significant damage when caught in time.
- Prevent electrical cord damage – Don’t mount electrical cords in areas that are at a high risk of crimping or damaging the cord. When hanging them, make sure you use hooks or insulated staples instead of nails or tacks.
- Secure candles – When buying candles, it is best to buy them in a glass container with a lid. Make sure candles are placed on a sturdy platform to help prevent tipping. Always snuff out the candles before leaving your home or going to bed.
- Use unbreakable ornaments – If you have fragile ornaments, place them out of reach of pets and kids.
- Fake food – It’s best to avoid artificial candy or food around pets and children.
- Poisonous plants – Poinsettias are poisonous when eaten, so it’s a good idea to keep them out of reach of kids and pets.
Happy Holidays from all of us at SERVPRO of Casper!
Smoke Damage in Casper, WY
Smoke has many interesting characteristics, such as where it travels and how easily it is able to penetrate materials. It’s fascinating to learn the different types of smoke and what materials cause it, and the different kinds of cleaning methods necessary for each type. SERVPRO has many different tools, cleaning products, and deodorization methods that are specifically designed to target each type of smoke. Our technicians know which type of product to use, and how to address the little particles of smoke that hide in cracks, corners, and crevices.
SERVPRO of Casper’s trained technicians are experienced in identifying what type of smoke is present, what cleaning method is best for the situation, and what needs to be cleaned. Through the years we have had calls from many customers that have attempted to do the cleaning themselves, They found that smoke cleanup is very challenging, and best left to the professionals for effective restoration. Customers don’t realize all the little stuff that needs cleaned and the areas that are easily missed. They don’t have access to professional smoke removal products, and the deodorization tools to make sure the problem is fully and properly corrected.
The different types of smoke:
Wet Smoke: (Plastics and Rubber materials)
Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Wet smoke has become more common, as we have ever-increasing amounts of plastic items in our homes. These residues are best cleaned up using “wet” methods, such as liquid cleaners. Pre-deodorizing this type of smoke damage with thermal fogging can aid greatly in the cleaning.
Dry Smoke: (Paper and Wood materials)
Fast burning, high temperatures, fine, dry particles. “Dry” cleanup methods, such as dry-clean sponges, are typically used to remove most of this smoke. Sometimes, additional wet cleaning needs to be done if the smoke is heavily-concentrated.
Protein Fire Residue: (Protein Foods Meats and Beans)
Discolors paints, and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. This is the most difficult type of smoke to effectively deodorize. Wet-cleaning with grease-cutting additives is necessary. Multiple methods of deodorization, including activated oxygen (ozone) are also necessary.
Fuel Oil Soot: (Furnace Puff Backs)
Fuel-oil furnaces are rare in Wyoming, so puff-backs do not occur often. Cleanup of this type of smoke requires special products to break down the oily residue. In most cases, we can restore the contents and structure quickly.
Other Types: Tear Gas, Fingerprint Powder, Fire Extinguisher Dust)
Each particular loss requires special care. SERVPRO technicians understand how to identify these specialty residues, and remediate them on a case-by-case basis.
If you should have smoke damage in your home or business, call SERVPRO of Casper today. We will assess the damage, and develop a plan to restore your property quickly and effectively.
Casper, Wyoming Smoke and Soot Cleanup
Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Casper Home.
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 Casper 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 – 307-235-6558