Recent Fire Damage Posts

Every Fire Has These 4 Things in Common | SERVPRO® of West Milwaukee

1/30/2022 (Permalink)

a small paper house burning If your home or business has any damage, SERVPRO of West Milwaukee is ready around the clock to help you recover.

All kinds of scenarios result in fires, and of course, all kinds of materials catch fire—homes, forests, even the occasional tire factory. And while all these fires may start under varying circumstances, they all have the same origins.

It’s a little confusing, but that’s where the fire tetrahedron comes in.

See, the study of fire by the scientific community led to the realization that all fires have the same four elements present, and without all four of these happening simultaneously, no fire can start or survive. Ready to learn? Great.

<h34-things-a-fire-needs-to-live">The 4 Things a Fire Needs to Live

Fuel. This is the thing a fire devours. It may start out as one thing—a leaf, a napkin, etc.—but the fuel source can change as a fire spreads and finds new things to destroy.

Heat. Whatever burns has to first combust, and anything that combusts has to reach a certain temperature. That temperature varies from object to object and material to material, but anything that catches fire has a flash point.

Oxygen. Fires not only consume fuel, they consume oxygen—or more accurately, they convert it to carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide.

Chemical Chain Reaction. The chain reaction among the other three elements is a crucial component of the fire tetrahedron, because in order for a fire to live, these things don’t only have to *happen*—they have to happen repeatedly.

The 4 Ways to Stop a Fire

Cool it. Fires can be stopped using the inverse principles of their building blocks—so, for example, cooling off a fire’s fuel source brings thermal balance, which causes the fuel to fall below its combustion threshold. This is why dumping water on fires is so effective.

Smother it. The oxygen a fire consumes is crucial to the combustion cycle, so covering a fire with something that keeps it from gaining access to more oxygen keeps a fire from growing and kills it quickly.

Starve it. In order for fire to continue, it has to either spread from its original fuel source or be able to dig deeper into its fuel source, to consume more of it. For this reason, if a fire runs out of fuel for any reason, it dies.

Interrupt the chain reaction. Class C fires—ones which involve electricity—need a different kind of solution than water. That’s where halon gases and other chemicals can come into play, because they can chemically trip up the continual reaction that has to occur for fires to live. These gases can stop any fire, but they’re particularly useful where electricity is involved.

If the fire tetrahedron makes a wreck of your home or business, we’re ready around the clock to help you recover. Contact SERVPRO anytime for fast, thorough cleanup and recovery after a fire.

A Quarter of All Fires Start *Where?* | SERVPRO® of West Milwaukee

1/9/2022 (Permalink)

Fire is a nightmare (sometimes literally). The threat of losing one’s home to the mouth of an angry flame should be enough to cause any homeowner to take every conceivable precaution to stop it from happening—or so it would seem.

But the facts show us that a quarter of all reported fires still happen at home, and a large portion of them are highly preventable.

So let’s dig in and look at the most common causes of home fires, to reveal just what we’re letting slip. Getting a grip on these safety needs could save you a regrettable, fiery mishap.

Cooking. Cooking stands head and shoulders above all other causes of home fires, and the top cause of cooking fires is actually unattended cooking. You read that correctly—the top cause of all 350,000 annual home fires in the United States could be prevented by paying more attention in the kitchen.

Heating equipment. Heaters are an inherent fire risk, because what they do is built on combustion. This creates problems, of course, especially when objects are left close to heat sources. And portable space heaters are notorious for starting fires as they tip over or overload circuits.

Electrical fires. This category has the most appearances of non-preventable occurrences, but still a great deal of electrical fires are within your power (pardon the pun) to prevent. Overusing extension cords, overloading circuits, neglecting needed maintenance and upgrades and even putting high-wattage bulbs into lower-wattage light sockets all contribute to these sparky fires.

Intentional fires. It’s almost inconceivable, but the U.S. sees 28,000 intentional home fires every year. These aren’t, for example, fires originally set on purpose in order to cook something—these are intentional uses of combustibles to set some piece of property on fire.

Smoking materials. While it ranks lowest on the list for number of occurrences, fire caused by cigarettes and smoking materials actually causes more civilian casualties than any other type of home fire. If you smoke, do it safely, and never do it while you’re drowsy.

Regardless of the cause, SERVPRO is here for you if your home is affected by fire. Contact your local team today to see how we can help.

 

Fireproof Your Autumn Activities | SERVPRO® of West Milwaukee

10/11/2021 (Permalink)

a small campfire burning bright in the dark night Be mindful about fall fire safety. Always remember that SERVPRO of West Milwaukee is the trusted leader in the restoration industry.

It’s delightfully mild outside, there’s football available on TV constantly and seemingly everything carries the aroma of pumpkin spice. That can only mean that it’s fall in Milwaukee again, and you’ve probably got big plans to hit the trail or host Halloween parties on the horizon.

As with any season, fall has a few particular needs of note regarding fire safety, so as you plan, do keep these in mind.

Campfire Safety

The proper and safe ignition of a campfire is as important as proper and safe extinguishment.

Start simply, with kindling and a lighter or match. Resist the temptation to use potentially dangerous accelerants like kerosene or lighter fluid, and always keep your fire 25 feet clear of any structures or tents.

When you’re leaving or finished with the fire, use water to repeatedly snuff the flames and ash, until the pile is cool to the touch and no live embers remain to cause trouble.

Leaf Burning

The beautiful autumn leaves are, or will soon be, falling—if you don’t want to compost them or have them hauled away, you may choose to burn them, provided you acquire a permit first.

Only include organic material like leaves and sticks in your pile or burn barrel. Never burn anything manmade, as it’s both unsafe and against the law. Keep your activities 50 feet from the home, and follow all local guidelines regarding burn times and other factors.

Space Heaters

Portable space heaters may be your go-to appliances for keeping extra toasty without heating the whole house, but they’re also a major source of home fires.

Plug them straight into the wall, with no extension cords. Update to a new model with sensors for tipping over or overheating, and keep them at least three feet from anything that could catch fire with intense heat—that includes your clothes!

Halloween

We’ll likely come back to this in detail, but be mindful that any Halloween and fall decorations bear a degree of risk for fire safety, particularly candles, hanging decor and string lights. Celebrate safely!

If a fire hazard should turn from potential to reality in your home, remember the trusted leader in the recovery industry and contact SERVPRO to get your property fully restored right down to the smell of smoke.

Copyright © 2021 SERVPRO of West Milwaukee

Wildfire Protection by Smart Landscaping | SERVPRO® of West Milwaukee

7/29/2021 (Permalink)

a gated long brown pebble driveway tucked next to a large brick home If your home is damaged by fire or any other reason, SERVPRO of West Milwaukee is ready and able to repair any damage.

One of the scariest notions for any homeowner is the thought that their home might be threatened or even destroyed by a spreading wildfire. Wildfires are incredibly difficult to quench, and with so much of our everyday surroundings being made of flammable material, it’s a wonder that we can find ways to contain them at all.

But there are a few things homeowners can do, aside from the simplest and most impactful act of being more careful, to make homes less susceptible to wildfires.

Let’s look at a technique called “defensible space.”

What Is Defensible Space?

It’s not a new sci-fi movie—“defensible space” is a series of buffer zones you can create around your home to slow the spread of fire before it reaches the building. Your home can be less likely to catch fire if you prune and plant with fire safety in mind, use hardscaping to create a protective moat around your perimeter, and regularly remove flammable brush and dead trees.

Think of defensible space as putting a protective barrier in place that deprives a fire of fuel sources as it comes near. If a fire has no fuel, it can’t continue forward.

Defensible space also gives firefighters their best chance of stopping a wildfire before it breaches your home’s outer wall.

Defensible space isn’t required by law in Wisconsin, but it’s a helpful fire safety practice to consider all the same.

Why Defensible Space Matters

Fires out West get most of the media coverage, but they happen all over the country, year-round. There were over 59,000 wildfires across the United States in 2020.

Even if we statistically throw out California’s 10,000+ fires, the average number of wildfires per state in 2020 was almost 1,000, and every state experienced at least some of them. Wisconsin suffered 781 wildfires last year, destroying almost 1,800 acres of land.

And 2021 has seen an increase in the number of fires, with the country experiencing 25% more so far this year than last.

We should do anything we can to make it harder for wildfires to reach our property, and defensible space is a reasonable step to take that could yield home-saving results.

If your home is damaged by fire of any sort, wild or not, SERVPRO is ready and able to repair the damage caused. Get in touch today to get the pros on your team.

 

Fire Safety Tips for Spring and Summer | SERVPRO® of West Milwaukee

6/25/2021 (Permalink)

flames and smoke from a bonfire Restoring fire and smoke damage is one of our specialties. Contact SERVPRO of West Milwaukee to learn more.

Spring is a favorite season for a number of people. The weather is warming and winter is left behind, kids have the excitement that comes with the end of school, and everything just feels fresh and new. Leaves and flowers bloom, and the outdoors calls like an old friend.

We often have lots of opportunities to attend outdoor gatherings—cookouts, barbecues and the like. We get together for family reunions and gender reveals, and whatever excuse we can come up with to grill.

The downside of the increase in outdoor activities, however, is that it brings with it an increase in fire activity across the United States. In fact, spring sees more daily fires on average than any other time of year.

But there are some common sense steps you can take to ensure all your activities are fire-safe.

The grill. This is probably what comes to mind first when you think of outdoor fire risks and rightly so. Grills, beloved though they may be, create perfect opportunities for out-of-control fire, with the close combination of heat, grease and flames. Ensure that any grill has no leaks, is stable and in good working order, keep it away from anything flammable (including the house), and clean it well between uses. Almost 20% of grill fires are due to poor cleaning.

The fire pit. Many homeowners love their fire pits, especially in mild seasons like spring and fall, when you can gather on cool evenings with friends. But fire pits must be carefully maintained and operated in order to have a safe gathering. Never use accelerants like lighter fluid to increase the flames, and always keep a bucket of water within arm’s reach, both for emergencies and to cool the fire at evening’s end. When you do put out the fire, pour the water slowly so as not to spread potentially hazardous ash and embers. Use a grill grate to cover your fire, and never let kids near the fire pit unattended.

Chimneys and dryer vent. While you’re thinking about fire safety, go ahead and check your dryer vent for built-up, flammable lint, and clean your chimney so you don’t have to deal with a buildup of soot and ash when you fire it up again in the fall.

Your local SERVPRO technicians are on hand 247 for emergencies. If you encounter fire damage at your home or business, no matter the cause, we will be there faster and have it cleaned up sooner. Call or click today and experience the SERVPRO difference.

 

We're Here When Milwaukee County Residents Need Help With Fire Damage | SERVPRO® West Milwaukee

12/19/2020 (Permalink)

firefighter with water hose trying to put out large flames engulfing brick home If you have fire damage due to a heating malfunction or other issue, count on SERVPRO of West Milwaukee to fully restore your home.

We're Here When Waukesha County Residents Need Help With Fire Damage | SERVPRO® West Milwaukee

Milwaukee County residents know that when they need us most we’re here to help remediate and repair fire damage.

No one likes to think about fire damage, but it’s a common problem in the United States—something millions of Americans will deal with over the next year. That could include some families and neighbors in our community.

Want to know why so many families trust us in the community? Here’s what makes us different:

We believe in restoration. Our team helps families recover from a fire in a way that’s both logical and economical. Experts are there at every step. We’ll help you save money on repairs and insurance premiums.

We can do the entire process for you. House fires can damage upholstery, walls and more. Issues resulting from water and smoke are common problems, too. We have the tools and resources to remediate these issues. We’ll make the damage like it never happened.

We are a locally owned business. SERVPRO locations are everywhere—all across the United States. This location is locally owned. It’s staffed by team members who live in Milwaukee County and the surrounding communities. But since we are a SERVPRO location, we can use the resources, equipment and training you would find at a leading-edge company. Our team brings the advantages of that partnership to the jobs we do for our neighbors here.

We’re here 247. Beginning the restoration process quickly is an important step in getting your home back to its original state. When it’s an emergency, we’re available 247. We make sure our team is here when it matters most.

<h2fire-damage-during-winter">Increased Fire Damage During Winter

Fires aren’t a seasonal hazard, but more of them happen during the winter months. The season’s unique conditions create additional fire hazards homeowners should know about.

Space heaters without automatic shutoff functions can topple over. Candles left burning can fall over when someone bumps a table.

Kitchen fires happen more often, as many people are cooking and baking for the holidays. Christmas tree accidents are a leading cause of fires.

Other threats have little to do with holiday parties and more to do with the home malfunctioning items. Broken furnaces and issues with appliances happen sometimes.

If you have fire damage in your home due to a kitchen, heating or other fire, you can count on us for restoration assistance. Our team is always ready to meet your needs and help you restore your home. Contact us at any time to learn more about our restoration services.

Fire Season

11/1/2019 (Permalink)

According the to U.S. Fire Administration, there have been 45 deaths so far this year in Wisconsin. This has become the second highest recorded number of deaths in Wisconsin due to fires in the last 5 years. While fires can occur any time of the year, the chances increased during the winter months. Having said that, here are some things to keep in mind as winter approaches.

  1. Now is a good time to change the batteries in your smoke alarms if you haven’t already done so. The life span of a smoke alarm is also 10 years, so make sure to check the dates on your alarms and replace if necessary.
  2. Use caution in the kitchen as the Holidays are approaching. This is one of leading causes of home fires.
  3. If you choose to use a space heater, make sure to use the proper precautions.
    • Never plug a space heater into a power strip or extension cord, always plug directly into an outlet
    • Place the heater on a flat surface, never on cabinets, tables, furniture or carpet
    • Always unplug and store it when not in use and never leave unattended when it’s running

Finally, it is so important to have an evacuation plan in place that you and your family practice. The more you practice it, the more it will become second nature if a fire does occur. A fire can be emotional and devastating, but we can help point you in the right direction and walk you through every step of the process so you always know what is going on. You spend years building the memories in your home and understand how important that is. Give SERVPRO of West Milwaukee a call today and we will make your fire “Like it never even happened.”