Property Damage & Disaster Restoration Blog: Long Island & New York City

Time to Light Your Fireplace

Posted on Fri, Dec 18, 2009 @ 09:28 AM


The holidays are just around the corner, and that means families will be entertaining around their fireplaces.fireplace, fire tips,fire damage

Fire safety is a primary ingredient to enjoying the holiday season.  Some firepalce tips include: 

Installation & Use

  • Check the fireplace to make sure it complies with the local building codes.
  • Use protective devices like glass doors or a screen which stops sparks.
  • Install a removable cap on the chimney.
  • Avoid using flammable liquids or garbage to start a fire.
  • Clean out all flammable materials near the fireplace.
  • Use only seasoned hardwood and approved fire tools.
Cleaning
  • Make sure the previous ashes are cleaned out before starting a fire.
  • Use non-combustible containers to remove ashes and remove immediately from the home.
  • Fireplaces require annual inspections and cleaning by a certified chimney sweep.
  • Regular maintenance is needed to remove obstructions and creosote.
Safety

  • Only close the damper when the fire has completely gone out.
  • Never leave a fire burning unattended.

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Common Origins of Fire Damage

Posted on Fri, Dec 18, 2009 @ 09:11 AM
Fire Startersfire,smoke damage,water damage
Fires have their origins and are classified accordingly.  Like any other kind of manmade disaster they have a starting point. The following are the most common starting points of fire along with some description of how they generally start:

Electrical - fires that originate from this source are due to overblown fuses and short circuits that throw spark.  Frayed wires which overheat in time make combustion possible.  Improper wire connections within the house structure must be promptly corrected.  Many fires that come from an electrical source do not emit any flame at first to show that fire is present.  But a smoke coming from any electrical source should not be taken lightly because of the fact that electrically originated fires are not known to cause a full blown flame.

Candles - candles are normally used when electric power is out and during special occasions.  To be on the safe side, trim the candle's wick once it gets too long making the flame too large. Remove any flammable material like paper, linen, etc that may be caught by the flame.  Always position the candle at a safe distance from wind blown curtains, and use appropriate candle holders that will hold the candle upright to prevent it from toppling and causing a fire.  Be sure to put off any lighted candles before going to sleep.

Smoking - it is better not to smoke inside the house, but if you do then make sure to use ashtrays and to put out the cigarette before you retire to sleep or rest.  Also make it a habit to throw your unlit cigarette butts into proper waste receptacles to avoid littering.

Cleanup and Restoration
In case of a fire disaster, most residential owners due to the lack of any financial resources may want to do the cleaning and restoration procedures by themselves along with the other family members.  While this may sound practical and cost saving, the truth is you are facing a very daunting task of cleaning up the mess and restoring the house to its pre-fire disaster condition, consequently spending more money than expected. 

It would also entail an unnecessary length of time to accomplish the task because you do not have the appropriate tools, equipment and gear necessary to do the job efficiently and properly.  It is commonly suggested that an expert or professional fire damage cleaner is hired to do the job.  For at least they have the experience, the knowledge, correct equipment and adequate manpower to engage with the after effects of the fire.  Just make sure that the professional fire damage cleaner you hire has all the legal documents and certificates to prove that they can do the task of proper cleaning and restoration.

Fire may be inevitable but with the steps and tips above, it can be prevented or at least, damages may be mitigated.

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Tis The Season: Christmas Tree Fires

Posted on Thu, Dec 04, 2008 @ 04:18 PM

Every year around the holidays, tragic stories hit the news media in New York related to Christmas trees that caught fire in a home or business. Taking simple precautions will help to prevent an unforeseen situation from occurring.

Preventing Christmas Tree Fires

Selecting a Tree
Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needle should not break if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.

Caring for Your Tree
Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.

Disposing of Your Tree
Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or woodburning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by a community pick-up service.

Holiday Lights
Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory.

Do Not Overload Electrical Outlets
Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires - they should not be warm to the touch. Do not leave holiday lights on unattended.

Holiday Decorations
Use only nonflammable decorations. All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents.

Never Put Wrapping Paper in a fireplace. It can result in a very large fire, throwing off dangerous sparks and embers and may result in a chimney fire.

Click here to view a Christmas Tree catch fire

Ensure working smoke alarms are installed on every level of your home, test them monthly and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times. Know when and how to call for help. And remember to practice your home escape plan.

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