Recent Fire Damage Posts

The Importance of Chimney Servicing

9/26/2022 (Permalink)

The seasons are finally changing. Summer is leaving us and the cool fall breeze is in the air. During this time of the year, homeowners start using their chimneys to heat their homes. Unfortunately, many homeowners in the Annapolis area forget to have their chimney inspected or serviced, leading to unforeseen challenges. 

With over 45 years of experience in the restoration industry, our SERVPRO franchise has seen its fair share of fire damage restoration work from chimney issues. The most common cause of chimney fires is ignited creosote inside your chimney flue or smoke chamber. Flammable creosote is produced by smoke during wood combustion, so it’s impossible to completely prevent it from getting into your chimney system. 

One way to effectively prevent fire, smoke or soot damage is by having a licensed chimney sweep clean your chimney once a year. Another is to burn only dry (seasoned) wood, which emits much less smoke than damp (unseasoned) wood. 

Smaller chimney fires, over time, can cause serious damage inside your flume and to the smoke chamber, which is the drafting portal that sits just above your fireplace. The most common types of damage include: 

  • Cracked or broken chimney liner that puts the bricks and mortar of your chimney’s masonry at risk 
  • Cracked smoke chamber bricks that allow intense heat to spread to vulnerable building materials of your home 
  • The escape of toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, which is known to be potentially fatal to people and pets 
  • Water damage that results from compromises in the masonry 

The worst part about a relatively small chimney fire is that it can be highly destructive, and most homeowners never even know when they happened. For this reason, the most efficient way to reduce the likelihood of chimney fires happening is by having your chimney cleaned and inspected on a regular basis. 

If you experience any fire, soot or smoke damage as a result of a chimney malfunction, call your experts over here at SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park at 410-647-8181.  

How Soot Affects Areas of Your Home or Business

3/1/2022 (Permalink)

A picture showing soot damage on walls and ceiling Soot can permanently damage walls and ceilings if not handled properly.

Fire can cause several issues that extend beyond the initial loss. When firefighters come to put out a fire, water can also damage areas of the home. In addition, soot affects several areas of the home beyond the location of the initial fire. How does soot, specifically, affect your home or business after a loss? Here’s how:  

Within minutes 

  • Plastic surfaces discolor and turn yellow 

Within hours  

  • Tile grout stains 
  • Fiberglass yellows 
  • Metals tarnish 
  • Appliances, countertops and furniture turn yellow  

Within days  

  • Walls can become yellow  
  • Materials corrode, pit and rust 
  • Clothing and upholstery can be permanently stained 
  • Electronics corrode and fail 
  • Vinyl floors MUST be replaced 

Within weeks 

  • Class, crystal and china etch and pit 
  • Audio and video tapes distort  
  • Carpet fibers are permanently discolored  

Acting swiftly after a fire can help save so many items in your home or business. At SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park, we offer content cleaning and restoration services to make any size disaster “Like it never even happened.”  

Overloaded Outlets

12/30/2021 (Permalink)

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.

Your Fire Safety Checklist - from, SERVPRO

12/8/2021 (Permalink)

A Christmas tree burning Don't let this be your tree this year!

Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree! Please do not be a fire hazard for my family!

Happy Holidays! We want to give you and your family the gift of fire safety during this holiday season. Even though most house fires are started by some form of cooking, the winter season introduces even more hazards. According to the American Red Cross, there are about 47,000 house fires in the United States annually, resulting in millions in damage.  

Many winter fires are caused by Christmas trees, candles, lights, space heaters and more. Luckily for homeowners in the greater Annapolis area, SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park has a holiday fire safety checklist for you. Here are just a few things you can do to ensure you are not one of the 47,000 this year! 

  • Test your smoke alarms monthly. Batteries should be replaced on Day Light Savings days. 
  • Create a fire escape plan and walk through it with your family. Always be prepared! 
  • Keep flammable or decorations away from heat sources. It is always a clever idea to move decorations away from fireplaces and space heaters.  
  • Do not use candles in bedrooms and remember to put them out, even try setting an alarm to remember. Candles are dangerous items in the winter and can be forgettable when going to bed.  
  • Never leave a space heater running unattended. We see this all the time! And do not use it for a prolonged period of time! 
  • Choose flame retardant decorations whenever possible. This limits the chances of faulty decorations starting fires in your home.  
  • Check all electrical cords and do not overload sockets! We know how tempting it can be to load up all your cords into one power strip.  
  • Stay in the kitchen and COOK whenever guests are over. We want everyone to mingle safely too but remember you have food on the stove or in the oven! 
  • Do not forget to move items like kitchen mitts away from your stove. These items can catch fire fast! 

We hope everyone enjoys their holiday season and time with family and friends. If you happen to experience a fire loss, or any type of loss, in your home or your business call SERVPRO of Annapolis at 410-647-8181.  

Grease Fire Safety

11/2/2021 (Permalink)

Did you know that October is Fire Prevention Month? With the holiday season approaching, it is extremely important to know how to handle a grease fire or any type of fire in the kitchen. Grease fires especially can get out of hand quickly. Here at SERVPRO of Annapolis, we have some fire safety tips to help you and your family during the holiday season: 

If an unexpected grease fire occurs in your home: 

  • Protect your skin – grab any nearby oven mitts to protect your skin from burns 
  • Turn off the heat source – if early enough, you can limit the fire by turning the heat source off quickly 
  • Cover the pot – use a metal lid, not glass, to cover the flame and prevent it from growing 
  • Extinguish the flame – of course, if possible, use a fire extinguisher to put out the flame. If you do not have access to one, substantial amounts of baking soda and salt can help extinguish the flame 

NEVER do any of the following in the event of a grease fire:  

  • Pour water on it – water and oil do not mix, adding water will only grow the flame  
  • Move the flame – never move a burning pot as you could risk injury to yourself 
  • Pour baking products on the fire – products like flour and sugar will only make the fire worse. Instead, use only baking soda and salt to smother the flame 

Remember to always stick in the kitchen to monitor your cooking items. It is easy to get distracted during the holiday season and forget about what you are doing. SERVPRO of Annapolis wants you and your family to stay safe during the holidays.  

Fire Prevention Week

10/6/2021 (Permalink)

Since 1922, the National Fire Prevention Association has sponsored the observance of Fire Prevention week. This public observance was made official by President Calvin Coolidge in 1925, making it the longest running public observance in the United States. This year, Fire Prevention Week begins on Sunday, October 3rd and runs until Saturday, October 9th. During this week, people of all ages learn about the measures they should take to both prevent and in case of a fire.  

This year’s campaign is “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety!” works to educate people about the different sounds smoke and carbon monoxide alarms make. The National Fire Prevention Association has a handful of articles on its website explaining what to do in case of emergency, what actions to take to prevent emergencies, and even what kinds of alarms you can get for family members who are deaf or hard of hearing.  

SERVPRO of Annapolis wants you and your family to stay safe and know what to do in case of emergency.  

Be Prepared!!

9/27/2021 (Permalink)

Do not forget that September is National Preparedness month! Whether it’s a flood, wildfire or extreme weather, be prepared and join your community in participating in National Preparedness month. If disaster strikes in your life, contact SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park and speak to local professionals who can help make it “Like it never even happened.”  

Home fires can be extremely dangerous and devastating if you are not prepared for this type of emergency. As per The American Red Cross, nearly 7 people die and 36 people are injured every day from home fires. An estimated $7 billion in property damage occurs every year as a result from home fires.  

Is your home prepared for an unexpected disaster? When was the last time you or someone in your family checked your smoke alarm? These are questions you should be asking yourself now in order to help prevent and avoid these emergencies.  

Electrical Fires and What you Need to Know

2/27/2021 (Permalink)

The majority of home fires are caused by electrical failures or malfunctions. These fires result in billions of dollars in property damage each year. Overloaded electrical circuits are a major cause of residential fires. Don’t become one of the statistics, know the warning signs of an overloaded electrical circuit:

  • Flickering, blinking, or dimming lights
  • Frequently tripped circuit breakers or blown fuses
  • Warm or discolored wall plates
  • Cracking, sizzling, or buzzing from receptacles
  • Burning odor coming from receptacles or wall switches
  • Mild shock or tingle from appliances, receptacles, or switches

Help lower your risk of electrical fires by not overloading your electrical system. If you do experience a fire in your home or business call the trained professionals at SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park to help. We have the training and specialized equipment necessary to clean effectively and quickly.

How to Prevent a Chimney Fire

12/31/2020 (Permalink)

Chimney with fire damage Chimney Fire

Many Annapolis homes suffer chimney fires every year. Chimney fires start for a variety of reasons: bird’s nest, creosote, or leaf debris. SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park wants you to know how prevent a chimney fire as well as know the signs of a chimney fire. 

Your chimney–and the flue that lines it–adds architectural interest to your home, but its’ real function is to carry dangerous flue gases from your fireplace, wood stove or furnace safely out of your home.  The best was to prevent a chimney fire is to get an annual inspection.  

Slow-burning chimney fires happen when the flammable substances on the sides of the chimney flue become hot enough to catch fire but don’t have enough oxygen or fuel to be visible or audible from outside. You can also help to reduce creosote buildup by: 

  • Burning smaller, hotter fires of appropriate size for your fireplace 
  • Burning only properly seasoned, untreated wood 
  • Making sure your chimney has sufficient draft while you burn 

Chimney fires can be fast-burning or slow-burning. Fast-burning chimney fires are obvious. These fires rapidly consume flammable residue on the inside of the chimney flue. You may detect: 

  • A loud, crackling or popping noise from the chimney flue. 
  • A lot of dense, thick smoke coming into the fireplace or chimney. 
  • Flames from the top of the chimney. 
  • A roaring sound often described as being like a freight train. 

Keep your Annapolis home safe from chimney fires, get your fireplace inspected annually. 

Types of Smoke

12/8/2020 (Permalink)

woman lighting a gas stove Kitchen Stove

In the restoration business, SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park gets called to building fires on a regular basis. Did you know that smoke damage is treated differently? There are 4 main types that we treat: 

  • Wet Smoke. (Plastic and Rubber) Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, and 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.  
  • Fuel Oil Soot. (Furnace puff backs) While “puff backs” can create havoc for homeowners, SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park can, in most cases, restore the contents and structure quickly.  
  • Other Types. (Tear gas, fingerprint powder, and fire extinguisher residue) Special loss situations require special care.  

SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park technicians are IICRC trained to handle even the toughest of losses. The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process, but trust professionals to make it “Like it never even happened.” 

Property Attic Fire

11/2/2020 (Permalink)

child's bedroom with ceiling damage Attic Fire

Recently, SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park worked with a Middle River homeowner whose property suffered an attic fire. What surprised the homeowner was the water damage that came with extinguishing the fire. For homeowners, putting out a fire can be worse than the fire itself.

After any fire, limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from spreading and additional damage from occurring. If you can, place clean towels or old linens on rugs and high traffic areas and upholstery.

With this particular fire, our IICRC certified fire restoration team was at the property 2 hours after the fire occurred. As a trusted leader in the fire restoration industry, our Crew Chief went to work on assessing the fire, soot, smoke, and water damage.

When fire and water damage strikes, a fast response is critical. SERVPRO OF Annapolis/Severna Park is dedicated to responding immediately, day or night, to your Annapolis home or business. A faster response helps to prevent secondary damage and to reduce cost.

Fire Prevention Week October 4-10, 2020

10/5/2020 (Permalink)

kitchen fire Kitchen Fire

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sets aside a designated week each October to focus on fire prevention. Fire Prevention Week is October 4-10, 2020. The 2020 theme is, “Serve Up Fire Safety in the Kitchen!” This topic works to educate everyone about the simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves, and those around them, safe in the kitchen. Does your family have a fire evacuation plan? 

To ensure the fastest emergency evacuation plan, consider the following:

  1. Start your fire evacuation plan with a map. This map should include locations of exits, assembly points, and equipment (such as fire extinguishers) that may be needed in an emergency. Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors. Also, mark the location of each smoke alarm.
  2. A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.
  3. When you walk through your plan, check to make sure the escape routes are clear and doors and windows can be opened easily.
  4. Choose an outside meeting place (i.e. neighbor's house, a light post, mailbox, or stop sign) a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they've escaped. Make sure to mark the location of the meeting place on your escape plan.
  5. Go outside to see if your street number is clearly visible from the road. If not, paint it on the curb or install house numbers to ensure that responding emergency personnel can find your home.
  6. Have everyone memorize the emergency phone number of the fire department. That way any member of the household can call from a neighbor's home or a cellular phone once safely outside.

Now that you have your plan in place, make sure you practice it every year.

How to Clean Up After a Fire at Your Business

9/22/2020 (Permalink)

fire damage on wall Fire Damage

When a fire occurs at your Annapolis business, the aftermath can be difficult to endure. Smoke damage, standing water from fire hoses, and charred building materials may make cleanup feel overwhelming. While the process can be daunting, there are a few actions you can take that may put you and your business on the path to recovery.

  • Limit movement in your office to prevent soot particles from spreading and additional damage occurring. 
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs and high traffic areas.
  • Coat chrome faucets, trim and appliances with oil.

Once you call SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park, we will assess the situation, damage from fire, soot, and water. We provide 24 hour emergency service and We are FASTER TO ANY SIZE DISASTER. This is important because a faster response is the key to help prevent additional damage and reduce the restoration cost.

Before you risk doing further damage to your Annapolis business, call the fire damage cleanup and restoration specialists at SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park. 

Did you Know That Smoke From Candles is Toxic?

2/20/2020 (Permalink)

small lit candles in jars Candles

The cheapest and most widely used candle is made of paraffin—which is derived from petroleum. When burned, it releases a toxin called toluene, which has been found to cause DNA strand breakdown, affecting the nervous system.

Smoke from candles is actually soot. Smoke is just soot and other particulates carried on the hot air rising off the flame. When you put the top on a jarred candle and trap the smoke, it cools. And, the particulates in the candle settle onto the candle and the inside walls of the jar.

If you notice your candle is burning lots of black smoke, cut the wick. It is recommended that cut your wicks down to no longer than 0.6 cm

Fireplaces, cigarettes and the burning of candles can all result in soot stains on walls. Though soot collects on other surfaces in the home, soot stains are easy to spot on light-colored walls. Aside from being unattractive, soot can create a health hazard.

In general, candles won’t set off your smoke alarm. However, they can cause a fire. SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park has provided fire damage remediation and reconstruction to several properties where candles were the cause of the fires.

Fire Ready

12/30/2019 (Permalink)

fireplace tile with one clean tile and one with soot 1 Clean Tile

The mission of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department is to stand ready as an all-hazards organization to assure the safety of our communities. We respond to calls for service, fires, medical and other emergencies as well as promote fire prevention strategies and life safety programs. The Anne Arundel County Fire Department enforces fire code compliance to ensure that buildings and properties are safe.

At SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park we are ready to respond after the fire department leaves. We work with your insurance company to resolve your fire damage needs. Here’s a look at what we do to help:

  • Reduce expenses by cleaning lighter soot from ceilings and walls.
  • Clean and protect all types of flooring using the experience, equipment and professional cleaning products available to our Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) certified technicians.
  • Clean and deodorize the HVAC and duct system.
  • Assist with filing insurance claim by providing a detailed, room-by-room inventory of contents, including digital photographs for each item.

SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park recently worked in a property that had extensive smoke and soot damage. This picture shows 1 fireplace tile cleaned.

Our staff is training to restore items to preloss condition. Whatever property can be restored to preloss condition saves the expense of costly replacement. When fire, soot, and water damage take control of your life, we help you take it back.

Fire Safety Tips for the Holidays

12/3/2019 (Permalink)

lady holding brochure Emergency Ready Profile

SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park is a leader in giving control back to homeowners, property managers, and even entire communities after the ravaging effects of a fire. A fire is always difficult and especially during the holiday season. Here’s a few holiday season tips to keep your property safe:

  • Before guests arrive for the holidays, check your smoke alarm batteries.
  • Get your chimney checked by a professional before lighting the fireplace.
  • Keep candles away from flammable materials, better yet use flameless candles.
  • Unattended cooking is the leading cause of house fires.
  • Keep an eye on what you fry! Most cooking fires start when frying food.
  • During the holidays, do not overload extension cords.
  • Keep space heaters on a single electrical cord and at least three feet away from flammable objects.
  • Always turn off holiday lights at night or when you leave your home or office.

Be fire smart as you deck the halls this season! Give the gift of emergency preparedness, develop a SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park Emergency Ready Profile (ERP).

How Does Smoke and Soot Damage my Property?

10/29/2019 (Permalink)

home with fire damage Fire Smoke and Soot Damage

SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park has the specialized fire restoration training needed to restore your home to pre-fire condition. Click here to review our complete fire damage restoration process. Every fire is different, and smoke and soot creates a unique type of damage.

Smoke and soot damage is created after a fire has been extinguished in a home or a business, soot residue settles into the property. Soot is a very fine, black powder substance (0.25 µm in size) which binds to walls and fabric.

Like soot, smoke damage can be problematic, and it can cause serious health damage. It will cause discoloration of walls and it will sink into all property contents, causing smoke odor to linger for long periods of time.

This is why it is extremely important to hire a professional fire mitigation company to restore the damage.

The type of smoke or soot damage will define how we clean and treat the affected areas, but our process has several steps. We are trained extensively on all types of soot or smoke damage and if you contact as quickly enough, we will be able to restore most items. We also use Personal Protective Equipment as per Health and Safety regulations.

Fires can happen at any time, day or night. The most important thing is quick response time that’s why SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

Smoke Alarm Law

10/7/2019 (Permalink)

Smoke Detector Smoke Detector

October 6 – 12, 2019 is National Fire Prevention Week. Are you aware of the Smoke Alarm Laws in Anne Arundel County?

Every home is now required to have a 10-year tamper-proof smoke alarm with a hush feature. Please check your smoke detectors and replace old models right away. Click here to view Maryland’s Smoke Alarm Laws.

The National Fire Protection Week 2019 Campaign is “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!” There are 4 planning tips to incorporate in your fire plan:

  1. Draw a map of your home and identify 2 ways to escape from every room.
  2. Test your fire alarms.
  3. Establish a safe meeting place outside.
  4. Post the plan in your home.

In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. For more information on Fire Prevention Week, visit

In a fire, mere seconds can mean the difference between a safe escape and a tragedy. Fire safety education isn’t just for children. Teenagers, adults, and the elderly are also at risk in fires, making it important for every member of the community to take some time during Fire Prevention Week to make sure they understand how to stay safe in case of a fire.

Fire Prevention Week

9/20/2019 (Permalink)

wall with fire alarm Fire Evacuation

October 6 – 12, 2019 is National Fire Prevention Week. SERVPRO of Annapolis/Severna Park performs fire damage remediation and, unfortunately, sees too many properties and lives go up in smoke. We urge you to take some time NOW to prepare.

The National Fire Protection Week 2019 Campaign is “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape. Plan and Practice Your Escape!” There are 4 planning tips to incorporate in your fire plan:

  1. Draw a map of your home and identify 2 ways to escape from every room.
  2. Test your fire alarms.
  3. Establish a safe meeting place outside.
  4. Post the plan in your home.

In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. For more information on Fire Prevention Week, visit

In a fire, mere seconds can mean the difference between a safe escape and a tragedy. Fire safety education isn’t just for children. Teenagers, adults, and the elderly are also at risk in fires, making it important for every member of the community to take some time during Fire Prevention Week to make sure they understand how to stay safe in case of a fire.

Why are Space Heaters so Dangerous?

2/21/2019 (Permalink)

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)

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

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 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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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

    Fire and Smoke Damage Restoration Specialists

    11/3/2015 (Permalink)

    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