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ServiceMaster Grand Rapids Tips & News

Tags: Fire Damage

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Preventing Winter House Fires

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According to FEMA, home fires occur more in winter than in any other season. In fact, heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires, deaths and injuries in the United States each year. Winter home fires account for hundreds of deaths, and over 2 billion dollars in damage every year.



Here are some tips to prevent winter fires



Be careful with your space heaters

  • 2 out of every 5 winter fires are caused by space heaters.
  • Make sure the ones you use in your home have automatic shut-offs if they tip over
  • Always place your space heaters away from everything else. Typically a 3 foot space is recommended around any space heater.

Keep an eye on your candles and other decorations

  • keep candles at least 12 inches from anything flammable
  • and three feet from your live Christmas tree
  • and don't leave candles unattended if there are pets or small children in your home. The flickering flame is very attractive to them!

Keep an eye out for overloading electrical circuits

  • particularly around Christmas, there is a tendency to plug too many light strings into one socket
  • don't connect more than three strands of lights together
  • Don't leave your holiday lights running all day or all night unattended

Practice fireplace and wood stove safety

  • if you own a fireplace, use a screen, and keep the door closed at all times on your wood stove. The only time these should be open, is when you are adding wood, or stoking the fire
  • have your chimney inspected regularly. A buildup of creosote can quickly lead to a deadly fire.

Don't become a statistic. Too many house fires happen in West Michigan because one of these simple practices is not followed. Be safe this winter!

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How to Get Rid of Smoke Smell After A Fire

Even the smallest fires can leave a lingering smoke smell in the most remote rooms of a house or business. 

Fire Damage

Smoke from fires, infiltrates all areas. It can seep into carpeting, furniture, clothing, draperies, books and even woodwork. Removing the smoke smell from a home or business is a process best left to the professionals with the expertise, specialized equipment, and ability to work safely within your home without causing further damage. People often attempt to dissipate smoke smell with spray deodorizers and scented candles. These tactics only mask the odor of smoke and won't remove it. Smoke particles bury themselves into fabrics, fibers, and other porous surfaces. In order to remove smoke smell completely, items need to be deeply cleaned.

First, any water and soot needs to be taken care of. Permanent smoke odor removal can only be successful if the initial source of the odor is completely removed. Essentially everything affected by fire smoke needs to be cleaned. Some items may only require thorough airing to remove smoke smell, but most items like carpeting, rugs, curtains, upholstery, and clothing will need a thorough cleaning and possible sanitization. If the items also are soot-covered, we recommend to handle the item as little as possible and trust it’s cleaning to a professional to prevent further damage

All hard surfaces must be washed down  with a mild detergent and water — this includes painted surfaces, baseboards, doors, window frames/sills and the outside and interiors of all cabinets and drawers.

Fire smoke removal from a home or building also requires a thorough inspection and cleaning of the HVAC system. Fire smoke can permeate ductwork and linger in the ventilation system long after the fire has passed. The HVAC filter(s) need to be changed and the system should be inspected by a HVAC professional to ensure there has been no damage incurred during the fire.

ServiceMaster Grand Rapids has the expertise and know-how to get rid of the smoke smell in your building, quickly and effectively. Call us today, (616) 988-4357

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