Recent Fire Damage Posts

Why are Space Heaters so Dangerous?

2/21/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Why are Space Heaters so Dangerous? Prevent Space Heater Fire

When the cold winter weather hits, many people turn on space heaters. Generally speaking, space heaters are safe to use.  Fires occur mostly when space heaters are used improperly.  According to the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters account for 43% of home heating fires.  Here are some tips to ensure you use your space heater properly:

Use an electric space heater.  Iowa State University Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering warns that space heaters that use kerosene, propane, and natural gas pose an additional risk of releasing carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and nitrogen dioxide into the air if they aren't properly vented, which can lead to serious health problems and even death.  Electric space heaters (when used properly) are always a safer device for indoor heating.

Plug your space heater directly into the wall outlet.  Never plug your electric space heater into an extension cord or power strip.  Space heaters are often the cause of electrical fires because they overload a circuit.

Move your space heater away from clutter.  Always keep your space heater at least 3 feet away from any furniture or combustible items (including bedding and curtains). Remember to instruct children to remain 3 feet away from the heater too.

Turn your space heater off.  Whenever you leave the room or go to sleep, it is important to turn your space heater off.  Unplug the heater when it’s not in use by pulling the plug straight from the outlet. Check the cord for damage periodically, and don’t use it if it’s frayed or worn.

Space heaters are not dangerous if they are properly used.  Keep these safety tips in mind to prevent fire in your property.

How to Train Employees for Fire Safety

12/28/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage How to Train Employees for Fire Safety Practice Fire Safety

At SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park we restore buildings after fires have taken place.  We encourage you to train your employees on some basic fire safety techniques on an annual basis.

Here’s a quick list of some techniques you should use.

Fire extinguisher training should be done on an annual basis, at least, and should also be part of the initial training for new employees.

The P.A.S.S Technique

If employees aren't confident they can safely put out a fire, they should evacuate instead. The acronym P.A.S.S. helps employees remember each step of using an extinguisher to reduce fire damage.

  1. Pull the pin. Find the pin at the top of the canister and pull it out to break the tamper seal.
  2. Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire. When the source of water is doused, the flames should die down.
  3. Squeeze the handle to release the pressurized chemicals inside the canister.
  4. Sweep the spray from side to side, maintaining your focus at the base of the fire. 

After working through the steps, keep your eye on the area. If flames reappear, repeat steps 2 to 4.

Annual Fire Response Drills

Use the following steps in case of a fire (and during yearly drills.)

Pull the fire alarm and alert the fire department.

Protect the designated evacuation path. If fire, heat, or smoke threatens to come between employees and the exit, personnel should evacuate instead of fighting the fire.

Choose an appropriate extinguisher.

Complete the P.A.S.S. technique.

Observe the location of the fire to catch any flames that may reignite. 

Evacuate immediately if the fire is too big, if the air isn't safe to breathe, if the room is too hot or smoky, and/or if the evacuation path is compromised.

Once the ability to use the fire extinguisher has been mastered and employees have been trained in the fire response routine, schedule opportunities for employees to practice their responses to a fire.

Practice Safety

It doesn't take long for a kitchen fire to pop up in a restaurant or flames to appear in an industrial setting. Protect your employees with training on how to use a fire extinguisher and regular drills in fire safety techniques.

Christmas Tree Safety

12/3/2018 (Permalink)

Annapolis and Anne Arundel County has seen it’s share of tragedies caused by Christmas tree fires.  As your family decks the halls this holiday season, SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park encourages you to consider the following Christmas tree safety tips.

Selecting your Christmas Tree. Pick a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.

Setting up the tree.  Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2” from the base of the trunk.  Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.  Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.  Add water to the tree stand and be sure to add water daily.

Lighting the tree.  Use lights that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.  Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of light strands to connect.  Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.  Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed. 

Additionally, after Christmas, get rid of your tree! Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home.  Christmas trees must be free from all lights, ornamentation and tree bags in order to be picked up by Anne Arundel County Waste Management. Only natural trees will be collected and tall trees should be cut in half in order to fit into the collection truck.  Click here for more information on Anne Arundel County Yard Waste.

Does Your Insurance Cover You in the Event of a Fire?

10/27/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Does Your Insurance Cover You in the Event of a Fire? Fire Damage

Hopefully, you’ve never been through a home or office fire in Annapolis, Maryland. However, as part of being prepared for the unexpected, it’s important to make sure your insurance (home or renters), can protect your family and business in care of a fire.

You probably know someone who has been through a home fire.  They are eager to share lessons learned the hard way. One of those lessons is that insurance can help protect your family financially if a fire should affect your home.

Here are a few ways renter’s insurance can help protect you from fire damage:

  1. Protect personal property. Your landlord’s insurance will cover the building and items that belong to the landlord, but your items are not included in that coverage. As a renter, you need a policy to provide replacement value of personal property lost from fire damage.
  2. Prevent financial destruction from liability. Most renter’s insurance policies include protection in case you accidentally start the fire. Of course, this doesn’t cover intentional or criminal conduct.
  3. Provide money for accommodations. Make sure your policy includes this coverage, which provides for hotel fees or the expense of relocation. A loss of use can help pay for you to live somewhere else if your current space becomes uninhabitable from a disaster, like fire.

Renters insurance is affordable, costing around $30 per month. It provides coverage of your belongings no matter where they are damaged or stolen, and it covers a variety of different types of disasters. Be sure to remember that flood damage still requires separate coverage, but fire and other disasters, such as wind, lightning, theft and vandalism, are usually covered. Coverage may have some limits, so consider getting a rider for special items that may be very valuable. It’s up to the landlord to have adequate coverage for the building and any furnishings that are included. Fire restoration can encompass many different types of damage including water, smoke and soot. A good restoration company will be able to handle all types of damage, working with you to minimize loss and clean your belongings when it is possible to do so.

Fire Prevention Week (October 7 – October 13, 2018)

10/5/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Fire Prevention Week (October 7 – October 13, 2018) Fire Prevention Week

SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park often receives calls to help when a fire occurs in Anne Arundel County Maryland. So, we thought we should take the time to talk about Fire Prevention Week. The purpose of Fire Prevention Week is to bring awareness to the risk of death in case of a fire and provide educational resources to people of all ages, races and socioeconomic status in order to keep everyone safe. This year’s campaign, “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere,” works to educate people about three basic but essential steps to take to reduce the likelihood of having a fire––and how to escape safely in the event of one:

  • LOOK for places fire could start. Take a good look around your home. Identify potential fire hazards and take care of them.
  • LISTEN for the sound of the smoke alarm. You could only have minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds. Go to your outside meeting place, which should be a safe distance from the home and where everyone should go to meet up.
  • LEARN two ways out of every room and make sure all doors and windows leading outside open easily and are free of clutter.

We hope your home and/or business never suffers from a fire, but if you do, we are here to help. Contact SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park at (410) 647-8181.

Pasadena Home Fire

9/19/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Pasadena Home Fire Pasadena Home Fire

On August 18, 2018, a homeowner in a Pasadena neighborhood contacted SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park about a house fire. The source of was caused by a grease fire that started in the kitchen.

The homeowner mistakenly attempted to extinguish the fire with water rather than with a kitchen rated fire extinguisher or baking soda. Once the fire department saved the day, further clean-up was required because the product and water used to put the fire out.  The home was severely damaged and required boarding up the door and windows. 

Our SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park team immediately began working on both the fire and water damage. Itemizing each affected item or structural damage, we removed all unsalvageable items from the property and the items that could be salvaged were packed and moved to our warehouse in Arnold. 

Our crew at the warehouse has been working on cleaning the items that were salvaged utilizing ultrasonic machine cleaning methods. Using both wet and dry-cleaning techniques to clean contents, upholstery and furniture, we have been able to restore most materials to their preloss condition. 

Creosote can cause chimney fires in Severna Park and area homes

2/16/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Creosote can cause chimney fires in Severna Park and area homes The black and white flaky soot is creosote. This was taken in an employees chimney right before a cleaning.

The groundhog saw his shadow calling for six more weeks of winter and it might even snow this weekend.  Keeping warm is on many local’s minds, so heating up that fire place is on the top of the list. Do you know the last time you had your chimney cleaned?  If it is too long to remember or over 2 years, call a chimney sweep now. 

After burning wood on a regular basis, the byproduct of it all can form in to a residue called creosote.  It is the blackish crusty, flaky tar- like soot that is seen in the picture.  This material is flammable and can catch fire inside the chimney.  These fires can be small and go unnoticed until they break through the wall or surrounding area.  Most importantly these fires are preventable with proper chimney maintenance and inspections.

If you find you have smoke or soot damage from a fire our IICRC trained technicians are available 24/7/365 to assist.

Heating Safety Reminders for February

2/6/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Heating Safety Reminders for February FEMA is a great resource for safety tips for everyone in the Annapolis/Severna Park area.

Temperatures in the Annapolis and surrounding area still hover around freezing throughout February.  For many of us we are just about done with the cold and snow.  I am done with my electric bill being so expensive, due to increased gas use to heat the house.   Weather your heating unit has failed, you are tired of paying the expensive bill or you have spaces in the home that do not heat well, here are some winter heating safety tips to prevent fires.

  • Never use an oven or stove top to heat your home
  • Always use a metal or heat tempered glass screen when using a fireplace
  • All heater should have 3 feet on each side

Our IICRC certified technicians are available now to help with frozen pipes, water or fire damage at 410.647.8181.

Overloaded Outlets Can lead to Fires

12/20/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Overloaded Outlets Can lead to Fires ESFI has great tips for Millersville residents about outlet safety this holiday season.

December is the season of lights, candles and food.  Driving around Millersville, Ben Oaks, Shipley’s Choice, and Chartwell neighborhoods; looking at all the holiday lights and seeing all the extension cords gave us pause.  Are those cords rated for outside use, are they all hooked to the same outlet? 

There are some safety tips to follow when using lights outside:

  1. Purchase certified and lab tested cords
  2. Make sure they are rated for outdoor use
  3. Do not use multiple plug outlets chained together

Inside the home you may add some lights, your tree and maybe even some cooking appliances.  Using certified and lab tested cords inside is important as well.  Overloading outlets is the biggest issues that can lead to a fire.  Checking connections for fraying wires, limiting the number of units per outlet and unplugging items when not in use are best practices we should all follow.

The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) has other great safety tips that will help limit your holiday fire risk.  SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park will have crews working throughout the holiday if you find yourself in need of smoke, soot or fire damage repair.

Tips to avoid Christmas Tree Fires in Annapolis

12/4/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Tips to avoid Christmas Tree Fires in Annapolis Water your Annapolis Christmas tree everyday.

Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday have all come and gone. It is now December and officially the holiday season.  Many people are out shopping for Christmas trees and putting up holiday lights.  This is a festive time of year, but also a time to remember some safety tips.

At SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park we rely on the National Fire Protection Association for key fire safety tips. They recommend the following:

  1. Keep tree at least 3 feet from a heat source
  2. Be sure to add water to tree daily
  3. Make sure lights are not broken or have frayed cords
  4. Turn off holiday lights before bed or when leaving the home

Most importantly is to get rid of the Christmas tree once it is dried out.  Removing the dead tree from the home and garage is the best prevention for accidental holiday fires.

SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park will be available all holiday season to assist with any smoke, fire or water damage needs.  Call 410-647-8181 anytime!

Cooking Fires are the #1 Cause of Home Fires

11/7/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Cooking Fires are the #1 Cause of Home Fires Crews are in Millersville, Arnold, Davidsonville 24/7/365.

The holiday season is upon us and that means an increase in kitchen fires.  Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.  Leaving items unattended, or forgetting items in the oven are the top causes of these incidents.

Top Safety Tips Include:

  • Stay in kitchen when cooking on stove top
  • Set timer on phone and kitchen to alert before completion
  • Keep kitchen towels and oven mitts away from fire source
  • Never leave lit candles unattended

SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park wants you to have a happy and healthy holiday.  Our neighbor’s safety is important to us.  If you find yourself or a friend in need of fire or water remediation we are available 24/7/365 to assist.  Call 410.647.8181 anytime.

Gobble Gobble!

Fire Prevention Week

10/10/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Fire Prevention Week Emergency Fire Planning saves lives.

National Fire Protection Association has offered these tips during Fire Prevention Week, October 8-14,2017. Fire moves very fast, estimates say you have less than 2 minutes to get out safely.

  1. Draw a map of your home including all windows and doors
  2. Find two ways out of every room
  3. Clear path from all windows and doors
  4. Choose an outdoor meeting place away from the structure & Call 911
  5. Test your smoke alarm
  6. Practice your drill with the whole family
  7. Fine tune the plan based on the practice run

Remember that people cannot be replaced, nothing is as important as getting out safely. Once you can safely return to the home you can then think about calling for assistance with smoke, fire or water damage. The sooner you have SERVPRO professionals on site, the sooner they can begin the restoration process.

Annapolis/Severna Park Smoke and Soot Cleanup

9/6/2016 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Annapolis/Severna Park Smoke and Soot Cleanup Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Annapolis/Severna Park 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 Annapolis/Severna Park 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 –  410-647-8181

Christmas Tree Fires

11/30/2015 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Christmas Tree Fires Christmas Tree Fires

Statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) show the holidays are a high-risk time for home fires. Christmas trees are responsible for 240 home fires each year, and other holiday decorations are the cause of another 1,170 fires.

Here are some tips to keep your home safe this holiday season: 

•Check the stand daily to make sure that the level of water does not go below the base of the tree.

•Keep trees at least three feet away from major sources of heat (fireplaces, heaters, heat vents, and direct sunlight). Lowering the room temperature will slow the drying process.

•Use lights that produce low heat, such as miniature lights, to reduce drying of the tree.

•Always inspect light sets before placing them on the tree. If worn, replace with a new set.

•Do not overload electrical circuits.

•Always turn off the tree lights when leaving the house or when going to bed.

•Monitor the tree for freshness. After Christmas or if the tree is dry, remove it from the house.

•Install and ensure smoke alarms work inside and outside each bedroom and sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home, including the basement.

If you have a fire, call SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park. We make it like it never even happened.

Preventing Holiday Fires

11/23/2015 (Permalink)

The approaching holiday season brings traditions, parties, shopping, entertaining – and potential danger.

The latest statistics available from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) show the holidays are a high-risk time for home fires. Thanksgiving Day sees almost a threefold increase in cooking-related fires.

“No one wants to think about the possibility of losing their home, and even more tragically, lives because of a fire during the holidays,” said Rick Isaacson, Executive Vice President of SERVPRO Industries, Inc. “But statistics show, it’s important to be aware of the increased risk seasonal decorating, entertaining and cooking can cause during the holidays.”

Isaacson reminds homeowners that prevention and common sense can help keep homes and families safe during the holidays and throughout the year.  Here are some sobering facts about holiday fires and tips to help keep your home, friends and family safe throughout the holiday season.

Holiday Decoration Fire Facts

  • 45% of all holiday fires involve candles; that number rises to 56% in December. Use flameless candles. If you do use traditional candles, burn them in sturdy candleholders, well 
  • Cooking Fire Facts

  • Cooking fires on Thanksgiving Day exceed the daily average by 272%. Supervise items on the stovetop. 58% of kitchen fires involve ranges; homes with electric cooktops have a higher risk of fire than homes with gas cooktops.
  • Keep flammable items – potholders, packaging, wrapping, wooden utensils, loose clothing – away from the stovetop. And, don’t let lack of sleep or alcohol consumption affect your ability to concentrate on preparing the meal.
  • “It only takes a moment’s distraction or carelessness to turn a holiday celebration into a catastrophe,” said Isaacson. “We hope these tips will be a reminder to families everywhere to make fire prevention a priority in their holiday preparations, so they can spend the season enjoying family and friends, not dealing with the aftermath of a fire.”

    For more information and tips, visit http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/seasonal/thanksgiving-safety

    Fire and Smoke Damage Restoration Specialists

    11/3/2015 (Permalink)

    Fire Damage Fire and Smoke Damage Restoration Specialists We are experts in fire and smoke restoration.

    Why choose SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park?

    We are Faster to any Size Disaster

    SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park is dedicated to responding immediately when you need help with a fire or water damage event. A fast response lessens the damage, limits further damage, and reduces cost. We are available 24 hours and day, 7 days a week.  

    We are Fire and Water Damage Specialists

    SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park specializes in fire and water damage restoration. Our technicians have extensive training and equipment to get you back to pre-fire condition. Our technicians are experts in fire & smoke restoration, odor identification and removal, upholstery & fabric cleaning, and water damage restoration. 

    SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park Offers:

    ·         Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment

    ·         Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present)

    ·         Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces

    ·         Cleaning and Repair

    ·         Restoration 

    We know how devastating a fire can be. Fire and water damage can leave your home unsafe and unlivable. We clean and restore your property using specialized equipment and cleaning techniques so you can get back to your life. 

    Call us today at 410-647-8181
    “Like it never even happened.”

    Fire Prevention Week

    10/7/2015 (Permalink)

    Fires can be especially devastating to your home or business. After the fire trucks leave, your property will likely suffer from not only fire and smoke damage, but also widespread water damage and flooding from firefighting efforts. SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park has specialized fire and water damage restoration training and experience to quickly clean up and restore your home to pre-fire condition. They also can remove the pervasive smoke odor and deep-clean soot from upholstery and carpet. 

    Statistics show that home fires claim the life of one child every day and approximately 16 children are injured from fires or burns every hour. Over 85% of all fire-related deaths are due to home fires, which spread quickly and often leave as little as 2 minutes to escape.

    Fire safety tips:

  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and in every sleeping area.
  • Teach kids to never play with matches and lighters and store these up and away from children.
  • Create and practice a home fire escape plan with 2 ways out of your house. 
  • Teach your children to get low and get out when they hear the smoke alarm.
  • Use common sense in the kitchen. Pay attention when cooking and never leave a hot oven or cooktop unattended.
  • Helpful Links:

    Check out the Red Cross fire safety checklist on their website.

    National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

    Safety Tip Sheets

    Do You Have Smoke or Fire Damage?
    Call Us Today – (410) 647-8181