Recent Fire Damage Posts

3 Ways To Prevent Cigarette Fires in Your Home

8/1/2022 (Permalink)

cigarette on ashtray Cigarette butts and ashes should be disposed of in a deep ashtray set on a sturdy surface.

Prevent Cigarette Fires in Your Home

One of the biggest causes of residential fires is cigarettes. Smokers and nonsmokers alike can be put at risk of a cigarette fire if proper precaution is not taken. Here are three ways you can prevent one of these fires from sparking in your Steiner Ranch, TX, home.

1. Smoke Outside
The easiest way to keep a cigarette fire from starting inside the home is to always smoke outdoors. Doing so not only keeps your home's contents safe from the ignited cigarette but also eliminates the buildup of smoke and its odor indoors, which often requires home odor removal professionals to strip the home of its stench.

2. Be Mindful of What Could Cause an Ashtray Fire
Ashtray fires are always a possibility if you smoke inside your home. Cigarette butts and ashes should be disposed of in a deep ashtray set on a sturdy surface. Keep ashtrays off of beds or couches, as they can catch on fire easily if the tray were to tip over with burning material in it. When it comes time to empty your ashtray, practice proper smoking and fire cleanup. Always make sure the materials are cooled, then wet with water before throwing the butts and ash in the trash.

3. Use ”Fire-safe” Cigarettes
Cigarettes that have been produced with two to three bands of less porous paper have been dubbed "fire-safe," as the bands act to slow down and then extinguish the burning of a cigarette. This option provides a better sense of safety if a lit cigarette were left unattended, though it should always be put out and placed in a proper receptacle to fully prevent a cigarette fire.

While cigarette fires are common, they are also easily preventable. Smoking outside, using a sturdy ashtray and knowing how to safely discard its contents as well as using "fire-safe" cigarettes can greatly reduce the chances of a fire starting in your home.

Steps to Putting Out a Grease Fire

7/14/2022 (Permalink)

Burned kitchen Kitchen fire in Steiner Ranch, TX.

How to Extinguish a Grease Fire in Steps

A fire in your Steiner Ranch, TX, home could result in terrible consequences. Fires can start in many ways. often, they start in the kitchen, where they can quickly spread from there. A grease fire is a common culprit. But putting out this type of fire requires a different approach than other fires. If you take the wrong steps, you could end up doing more harm than good. 

1. Cover the Flames and Turn Off the Heat
Unlike other fires, you don't want to throw water on a grease fire. Your first reaction should be to cover it up. Find a metal lid or a cookie sheet and cover the pan or burner on which the fire is burning. Doing this should smother the flames successfully. Also, remove the heat source, such as turning off the burner or gas. 

2. Use a non-Water Agent to Put Out the Fire
If covering the fire doesn't work, another option is to put salt or baking soda on it. The chemical makeup of these substances can effectively extinguish the fire. However, don't use other household products such as flour or baking powder. You will not get the same result; in fact, these may only spread the fire. 

3. Use a Fire Extinguisher
If you have one handy, use a Class B dry chemical fire extinguisher to put out the fire. Make sure you know how to use this device. Only use it if other methods have been unsuccessful. 

4. Call the Authorities for Fire Extinguishing and Fire Cleanup
In some cases with grease fires, you may not be able to put it out by covering or using a fire extinguisher or baking soda. If the fire spreads beyond your control, leave the room, shut the door, if applicable, and call 911. 
Following these steps should be able to eliminate a grease fire. You can also rely on fire restoration professionals to do any cleanup or rebuilding in your home. 

3 Ways Lightning Can Damage Your Home

6/13/2022 (Permalink)

Lightning thunderstorm flash over the sky. The risk of a home lightning fire is real.

Three Ways Lightning Can Damage Your Home

The risk of a home lightning fire is real. In the United States, this type of severe weather frequently occurs during the summer months in the late afternoon and evening. And although you cannot prevent these natural incidents, understanding how they could affect your home will help you prepare for the worst-case scenario. Here are three ways that lightning can damage houses.

1. Electrical Surge
Home electrical systems are vulnerable to bolts seeking to ground. For instance, as uncontrolled electrical currents move through your home, they may damage or destroy electronic devices plugged into an outlet, such as computers and televisions. Wild voltage may even affect wireless gadgets. So, unplug your phone or tablet if you need to connect to the internet during a storm.

2. Blast Wave
Better known as thunder, the blast wave from an electrical flash can rip through external brick walls and windows and continue inside to destroy drywall and plumbing. This opening in the home can then let rain in, further damaging your house. Moreover, blast waves are so powerful that they can carve deep furrows in your yard and rupture your home’s foundation. Sometimes this type of damage is irreparable.

3. Lightning Fire
A house fire is the scariest possible result of a strike. Wooden homes and roofs are more susceptible to fire than those made of brick or stone. But, fire can damage any modern home with electrical wires that can channel flames through the building. In addition to the risk electrical surges impose on structures, surrounding landscaping such as trees and mulch can also be set alight. Then these fires might spread to your home. If your home is damaged, hire fire restoration experts in Great Hills, TX.
A lightning fire can seriously damage your home. However, knowing how these fires behave will keep you and your family safe.

Fire Damage Restoration Guide: Tips to Prevent Electrical Fires

10/27/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: The experts at SERVPRO go over tips to avoid electrical fires to help property owners stay safe.

Electrical malfunctions are the fourth most common cause of structure fires in the US, accounting for around 7% of all incidents or roughly 24,000 fires per year. Texas ranks second in the US for fire-related fatalities.

Thankfully, while not all fires are preventable, there are steps home and business owners can take to prevent electrical fires. The experts at SERVPRO, a professional water cleanup and fire damage restoration company serving Lago Vista, TX, and the surrounding areas, are here to share how.

Tips to Prevent Electrical Fires in Texas

Complete Regular Wiring Inspections

Electrical wiring can wear out over time, eventually leading to an increased fire risk. Having a professional electrician inspect wiring, outlets, and breaker or fuse boxes is one of the best ways to prevent electrical fires, especially in properties over ten years old. Considering replacing wiring that appears:

  •       Frayed
  •       Worn out
  •       Tattered

It’s also best to schedule repairs if there are any signs of wiring damage, such as blinking lights, frequently tripped breakers, sparking, or melting plastic smells.

Assess Plugs for Appliances

The plugs on appliances can also become damaged over time. Broken plugs present a shock hazard and may overheat, leading to a fire. When examining plugs, assess the number of devices plugged into each outlet.

Outlet overload via the use of extension cords or power strips can lead to sparking and appliance malfunction. Ensure that the total load of all plugged-in electronics doesn't exceed 80% of the amperage of the circuit.

Consider Surge Protectors

Power surges are another common cause of circuit overload that can lead to an electrical fire. Property owners can take steps to reduce the dangers associated with power surges by using surge protectors. These devices not only decrease the risk of an electrical fire but also protect electronics from damage.

Watch the Placement of Flammable Items

Sometimes, all an electrical fire needs to start is the presence of a flammable object—like a pillow—too close to an electrical outlet, appliance, or plugged-in device, such as a charging cell phone. Take steps to avoid a fire by keeping rugs, blankets, and even cleaning supplies away from sources of electricity.

What to Do in the Event of an Electrical Fire

First, start by putting out the fire or evacuating the building, depending on the current size of the blaze. Having an extinguisher or fire blanket in an easily accessible location is a vital step in minimizing fire damage.

Once the fire is out, file an insurance claim. Electrical fires can lead to extensive damage, including:

  •       Structural damage
  •       Smoke, ash, and soot damage
  •       Water damage from sprinkler systems

Given this, to make repairs, you may need a fire damage restoration company that can also handle residential and commercial water damage and mold removal.

Get Help Handling Fire Damage Restoration in Texas

The steps above can help reduce the probability of an electrical fire, but some common causes of structure fires are unavoidable.

In the unfortunate event a fire does occur, fire restoration companies, as well as specialists in secondary damage, like emergency water restoration companies and mold remediation companies, can be an invaluable resource. Some contractors, like SERVPRO, can handle all the above.

The professionals at SERVPRO offer reliable fire damage restoration, water removal, mold cleanup, and residential and commercial cleaning services. Their crews have access to professional-grade equipment and are on-call around the clock. For more information, call (512) 318-2202.

SERVPRO: All About Carbon Monoxide Poisoning and Ways to Prevent It

7/21/2021 (Permalink)

Blog summary: The SERVPRO article gives insight into carbon monoxide poisoning and the preventive measures homeowners can take to prevent it.

Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning 

As per statistics, at least 430 people die in the US every year due to accidental carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Approximately 50,000 people in the US land up in the emergency department every year due to accidental CO poisoning. SERVPRO explains below what is carbon monoxide poisoning, its impact on health, its causes, and the ways to prevent it.

What is carbon monoxide (CO)?

CO is an odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas that can cause severe health problems and even death. This deadly gas builds up in enclosed or partially closed spaces by burning fuel (gas, wood, propane, etc.) in various appliances and machines. These appliances include stoves, fireplaces, gas ranges, lawnmowers, electric generators, cars, and more.

How does CO affect health?

Human senses are generally unable to detect the presence of CO. Red blood cells pick up CO quicker than they pick up oxygen. Once the air is saturated with CO, the body starts replacing oxygen in blood with CO, resulting in damage to tissues and eventual death.

CO poisoning is a risk for all human beings and animals, but unborn babies, infants, and people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or respiratory problems are at maximum risk.

Symptoms of CO poisoning

Unless suspected, CO poisoning can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms mimic other illnesses. Two factors determine the severity of carbon monoxide poisoning - concentration of carbon monoxide and the duration of exposure. 

Low to moderate CO poisoning symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea and dizziness

High levels of CO inhalation can cause:

  • Mental confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of muscular coordination
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Death

If CO poisoning is suspected, everyone must immediately move outside for fresh air and call 911.  

What are the usual suspects for CO poisoning? 

This toxic gas can originate from the most innocent and ordinary of sources.

Generally, any home appliance or piece of equipment that burns wood, propane, natural gas, oil, charcoal, or coal is potentially a source of carbon monoxide in the house. Some of these appliances and pieces of equipment are:

  • Boilers
  • Furnaces
  • Fireplaces
  • Water heaters
  • Ovens and ranges
  • Space heaters
  • Wood-burning stoves
  • Backup generators
  • Propane and charcoal grills
  • Cars and other automobiles
  • Gas-powered lawn mowers

Preventive tips

  1. Get a CO detector: Install a CO detector and check and/or change the batteries in the CO detector every six months. Purchase a battery-powered or battery backup CO detector.
  2. Regular inspection: Get a certified professional to inspect and/or service the heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal-burning appliances.
  3. Keep outdoor appliances out: Never use gas ranges or ovens to heat the house. Do not use gas camp stoves, hibachis, lanterns, or charcoal grills indoors.
  4. Avoid flameless heaters: Don’t use portable flameless chemical heaters (catalytic) indoors. They burn gas and can cause CO to build up.
  5. Check for seals: While purchasing gas equipment, look for the seal of a national testing agency like Underwriter’s Laboratories.
  6. Vent properly: Gas appliances must be vented properly.
    • Indoor vent pipes should go up slightly as they go toward the outdoors.
    • Never patch a vent pipe with tape, gum, or anything else.
    • Keep the vents for the stove, fireplace, dryer, and furnace clear of debris and other blockages.
  7. Clean the chimney: Check the chimney for soot, debris, and corrosion at least once a year. Hire a chimney sweep to clean.
  8. Open the flue: When the fireplace is in use, open the flue. Put out the fire completely before closing the fireplace or damper.
  9. Inspect car exhaust: Never idle a vehicle inside a garage that’s attached to the house or living space. Get a mechanic to inspect the vehicle’s exhaust system once a year to prevent CO build-up.
  10. Maintain distance: Run a motor vehicle, generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine at least 20 feet away from an open window, door, or vent where exhaust can’t vent into an enclosed area.

These preventive tips must be followed carefully to protect lives and homes. Homeowners can reach out to a professional team like SERVPRO that is experienced in fire damage restoration as well as soot and smoke removal.  

Why SERVPRO?

  • SERVPRO uses state-of-the-art equipment to bring the damaged property back to its original state. SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin is always updating its fleet and equipment so clients in Lake Travis/NW Austin, or anywhere else can quickly access the services. 
  • With over 1,700 US and Canadian Franchise locations, SERVPRO is strategically positioned to respond faster to an emergency of any magnitude.
  • The SERVPRO staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. They receive initial in-house training and constant skill up-gradation at the corporate training facility and also acquire the regular IICRC-industry certification.



For fire damage restoration services in Spicewood and surrounding areas, call SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin today at (512) 318-2202.

SERVPRO: 6 fire safety tips commercial kitchens can follow

6/29/2021 (Permalink)

Blog summary: The SERVPRO article talks of 6 fire safety tips that can help commercial kitchens prevent fires.

6 fire safety tips for commercial kitchen

Statistically maximum fires start in kitchens every year. Therefore it is crucial to understand and implement best practices for fire safety in kitchens, primarily in three areas: preventative maintenance, good housekeeping, and employee training. According to SERVPRO, following these tips can significantly reduce the risk of fire damage in kitchens.

  • Maintenance of kitchen appliances and exhaust systems
  1. Regular inspection and maintenance

Look out for fire hazards as mentioned below to prevent electrical fires

  • Frayed cords or wiring that can spark and cause an electrical fire.
  • Cracked or broken switch plates on outlets.
  • Cords running behind appliances, which should be checked and moved to a more visible location. 
  1. Professional repairing 

It is advisable to get commercial kitchen appliances maintained and repaired by professionals due to the complexity of modern equipment.

  1. Deep fat fryers and open flame cooking
  • The fryers should be kept at least 16 inches away from any source of an open flame. Alternatively, a vertical divider that extends at least 8 inches above the top of the fryer can be installed. These measures prevent the hot oils in the fryer from splashing onto an open flame and igniting. 
  • All deep fat fryers should also be equipped with a high-temperature limiting device.
  1. Inspect and clean exhaust system 

Required by fire safety codes, exhaust systems require different inspections and cleaning schedules depending upon the type of cooking operations.

  • Maintenance of kitchen fire suppression systems and equipment

Complying with fire safety regulations regarding the inspection, testing, and maintenance of the kitchen fire suppression system, including fire alarms and emergency lighting, is crucial for a prevention plan.

  1. Portable fire extinguishers as a backup

While Class K fire extinguishers are necessary for commercial kitchens for fires involving grease, fats, and oils that burn at high temperatures, it’s also advised to keep Class ABC extinguishers on hand for other types of fires (paper, wood, plastic, electrical, etc.). All fire extinguishers should be checked monthly and inspected and recertified annually.

  1. Test kitchen fire suppression system

Kitchen suppression systems, generally very effective, can fail due to a lack of maintenance. 

  1. Regularly test fire alarms

Fire alarms are the first line of defense against fire as they alert occupants instantly, enabling quick escape. They must be inspected regularly to ensure efficiency.

  1. Test emergency and exit lighting

Electrical power may be lost during a fire emergency. Properly functioning emergency lighting will ensure the occupants can find their way to safety if the power goes out during an emergency. Regular inspection and annual testing of all emergency and exit lighting systems must be done.

  • Good housekeeping

According to the data from NFPA, National Fire Protection Association, 22 percent of the commercial kitchen fires each year were a result of a failure to clean.

  1. Clean the kitchen regularly

Built-up grease can be ignited with a single spark and is a fire hazard that can be prevented with good housekeeping. Grease traps as well as grease on walls, work surfaces, ranges, fryers, broilers, grills, and convection ovens, and all vents and filters must be cleaned regularly.

  1. Remove trash and shipping materials

Trash and shipping materials are flammable items that must be kept in a dumpster far from the restaurant.

  • Prioritize fire safety and prevention training

Trained staff can control a fire situation and lead everyone to safety. Regular training can provide a strong first line of defense against fire emergencies.

  1. Staff must have proper training in equipment handling and cooking techniques, especially ones involving open flames.
  2. It is advised to follow the manufacturer’s instructions while using equipment and appliances.
  3. The swift extinguishing of grease fires on cooktops and grills must be taught to employees.
  4. Every employee should know how to properly use fire extinguishers. 
  5. Workers should be trained in how to shut off the gas and/or the electrical power in case of emergency.
  6. Emergency training should be provided regularly and made mandatory.  
  • Post smoking restrictions

“No Smoking” signs should be posted outside the restaurant, particularly in areas where discarded cigarettes can end up on top of mulch, wood chips, or any other flammable objects.

  • Create a fire safety plan

A commercial kitchen should have an evacuation plan that is easily understood and posted at every egress point. 

In case of fire emergencies and fire damage, commercial kitchens can contact SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin for a professional and swift restoration of property.

Why SERVPRO?

  • SERVPRO uses state-of-the-art equipment to bring the damaged property back to its original state. SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin is always updating its fleet and equipment so clients in Lake Travis/NW Austin, or anywhere else can quickly access the services. 
  • With over 1,700 US and Canadian Franchise locations, SERVPRO is strategically positioned to respond faster to an emergency of any magnitude.
  • The SERVPRO staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. They receive initial in-house training and constant skill up-gradation at the corporate training facility and also acquire the regular IICRC-industry certification.



For fire damage restoration services in Spicewood and surrounding areas, call SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin today at (512) 318-2200.

Fire Damage Restoration Tips: What to Do During and After Grease Fires

4/27/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: The experts at SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin cover what to do during and after a grease fire step by step, including fire restoration tips.  

According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking fires are the number one cause of residential structure fires in the US. Understanding what to do during and after a grease fire is crucial to minimize damage.

The experts at SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin are here to go over what steps to take during and after a grease fire, as well as offer tips for the fire restoration process. SERVPRO has served the Austin area for over 23 years and is a leading fire restoration company.

Fire Damage Restoration Tips: What to Do During and After Grease Fires

Dealing with a cooking fire is always a stressful experience. Above all, try to keep calm and remember these dos and don’ts for dealing with a grease fire:

1.      Don’t Use Water on a Grease Fire

Unlike most fires, pouring water on a grease fire will make things worse. Instead of extinguishing the flame, the water will scatter the burning oil, spreading the fire.

2.      Don’t Pour Flour or Sugar on Grease Fires

Flour and sugar are flammable, and pouring either on a grease fire only fuels the flames.

3.      Don’t Use a Water-Based Extinguisher

Every kitchen needs a fire extinguisher, but not just any extinguisher. A water-based fire extinguisher will have the same effect as pouring water on a grease fire.

4.      Don’t Carry the Fire Outside

Carrying a pan with a grease fire outside is extremely dangerous. The burning grease may spill, injuring the carrier or spreading the fire to other areas of the home.

How to Correctly Deal with a Grease Fire

1.      Switch Off the Stove

Immediately turn off the stove. If the controls are inaccessible due to the flames, turn off your main gas or power supply.

2.      Use a Metal Lid

Putting a lid over a flaming pan will starve it of oxygen and extinguish the fire. If a metal lid isn’t available, a metal baking sheet will suffice. The lid must completely cover the flames, or they may still have access to oxygen.

Make sure to leave the lid on for at least a couple of minutes to ensure the flames are out. Glass or plastic lids are not suitable substitutes for putting out a cooking fire.

3.      Douse the Flames with Salt or Baking Soda

Pouring salt or baking soda on a flame will smother it. The amount of baking soda or salt needed will depend on the size of the flame. Do not use baking powder or flour in place of baking soda.

4.      Grab a Class B Flame Extinguisher

An Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) extinguisher that shoots foam or a class B dry fire extinguisher is best for putting out a grease fire. When using the extinguisher, stand back to prevent being hit by hot grease or flames.

When Do You Need a Professional?

If baking soda or a class B chemical fire extinguisher fails to fire, immediately go outside and call the fire department. Once the fire is out and the fire department grants permission to enter the building, call a water and fire damage restoration company to begin the clean-up process. 

The fire restoration process generally has a few stages: 

  • Inspection and damage assessment
  • Steps to prevent further damage (tarping any exterior holes, for example)
  • Addressing any water left behind by suppression efforts
  • Removal of any smoke or soot from walls and surfaces
  • Cleaning, repair, and restoration

While waiting for the fire restoration company to arrive, avoid the area of the fire as that may spread soot to other areas. Don’t eat any food from the kitchen and leave the power off. Remember to call your insurance company to begin the claims process. 

How to Prevent Grease Fires

While it’s crucial to know how to handle a grease fire, knowing how to prevent them is also helpful. 

  • Cook with appropriate utensils
  • Never leaving the stove unattended
  • Fry with cooking oils that have a high smoke point, such as canola, peanut, sesame, or sunflower oil
  • Remove moisture from food before placing it in hot oil
  • Have an easily accessible class B fire extinguisher in the kitchen

About SERVPRO

For clean-up after a grease fire in Lago Vista, Texas, contact SERVPRO. SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin is a leading provider of fire, water, and storm restoration services, as well as mold remediation and commercial cleaning.

SERVPRO can also assist with filing insurance paperwork for stress-free claims. Their team is available 24/7 and handles fire damage restoration jobs of all sizes. Request help online or dial (512) 318-2202 today for help cleaning up after a grease fire. You can also follow them on Facebook for more helpful fire and water restoration tips.

Contact Information:

SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin

6500 River Place Boulevard
Building 7 – Suite 250
Austin, TX 78730

www.SERVPROlaketravisnwaustin.com/

4 Reasons to Begin Fire Restoration Immediately After a Fire

3/11/2021 (Permalink)

Fire Damaged Home - Lake Travis We were called to a Lake Travis home to help with their fire damage - always here to help!

Blog Summary: The experts at SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin explain why it is important to begin fire restoration immediately after a property is damaged by fire, from preventing further damage to reducing the chances of smoke damage. 

A house fire can be traumatic, and the aftermath can be overwhelming. Many homeowners find themselves so overwhelmed, in fact, that they put off starting the fire damage restoration process. However, that can be a bigger mistake than many people realize.

The experts at SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin are committed to minimizing the losses Austin homeowners suffer as a result of house fires. SERVPRO is a leading locally owned fire restoration company with the resources of a major national franchise. Here are five reasons they encourage homeowners not to delay the fire restoration process. 

4 Reasons to Begin Fire Damage Restoration Immediately

 #1: Smoke Damage

Smoke from a fire quickly travels beyond the fire’s origin—and the hotter the fire, the faster the smoke will spread. No matter how far from the fire itself, any room that smoke enters can end up with smoke residue. Smoke residue can settle behind curtains and in spaces around furniture and cupboards. 

Smoke can also enter a building’s ductwork. After that, each time the HVAC system runs, harmful particles will be spread throughout the home. They may even damage the HVAC system itself. The sooner smoke residue is cleaned up, the less damage it will do.

# 2: Acidic Soot Damage

Immediately after extinguishing the fire, residual soot starts falling and settling on surfaces. Soot is high in acidity and very destructive. Without quick mitigation, soot can cause big problems, including destroying natural surfaces, discoloring materials, and degrading metals. 

The magnetic charges in soot particles can even cause electrical short circuits, destroying electronics and posing the risk of causing a second fire.

#3: Health Implications of Smoke, Soot, and Mold

Inhaling smoke and soot residues is dangerous. Water used to extinguish the fire also must also be cleaned up quickly to prevent mold growth. Mold poses health effects and can be very difficult to get rid of once it’s established. 

Starting the fire restoration process right away will not only restore air quality in the structure but will get things dry and the humidity back to a safe level.

#4 Smoke Odors

Without quick fire damage restoration efforts, smoke odors can absorb into porous materials, where they are very hard to remove. In cases, they can’t be removed, and things like couches and sheetrock may need to be replaced. Dealing with set-in smoke odors can add significant cost and time to the fire damage restoration process as a result.

About SERVPRO

For over three decades, SERVPRO has provided home and business owners in the Lake Travis and Lago Vista, TX, area with the highest quality fire damage restoration services possible, striving to make the overwhelming aftermath of a house fire just a little less stressful. They also offer water removal, storm damage repair, mold remediation, and commercial cleaning services. 

For more information about fire damage or the fire damage restoration process, reach out to SERVPRO at (512) 318-2202.

Contact Information:

SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin

6500 River Place Boulevard

Building 7 – Suite 250 

Austin, TX 78730

www.SERVPROlaketravisnwaustin.com/

Debunking the Biggest Myths on Smoke and Fire Damage Restoration

2/24/2021 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: Smoke and fire damage restoration is a vital service, but few people understand what the process entails. Here, the professionals at SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin debunk myths about the restoration process.



Fires can cause devastating damage to residential, commercial, or industrial buildings. When the flames go out, a charred, soggy mess with soot residue from the smoke is often left behind, and homeowners are left overwhelmed, facing the restoration process for the first time.

Worse, many people have misconceptions about the types of fire damage and how fire restoration can help. The experts at SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin hope to debunk several myths about the topic.

Top 5 Myths About Smoke and Fire Damage Restoration Debunked

1. Only Areas Burned by the Fire Need Restoration

Flames can undoubtedly do significant damage, but smoke and suppression efforts do their fair share too. 

The fire restoration process typically includes water or fire suppression chemical clean-up, soot removal and clean-up, smoke damage restoration, textile and furniture deodorization, and ventilation and air duct cleaning. If water clean-up is delayed, mold remediation may also be necessary. 

In short, fire damage goes far beyond just dealing with areas the flames actually burned, often encompassing the entire building. 

2. Fire Damage Restoration Takes a Long Time

Fire damage is often extensive and requires substantial work using specialized tools and safety equipment to resolve. Even so, the time it takes a fire restoration company to complete a job depends on the extent of the damage—it doesn’t always take a long time. 

As fire restoration efforts should begin as soon as possible after the building is deemed safe to enter by the fire department, it often goes much faster than homeowners expect. If the fire was small and contained, the entire process can happen in as little as a day. 

3. There's No Need to Address Smoke Damage Quickly

While many homeowners understand the urgency of water removal after a fire, smoke damage is often less of a concern for them—but it should be. 

Smoke and the soot it leaves behind can be corrosive. The longer it remains on surfaces, the more damage it can cause. It's best not to exceed 48 hours before beginning the fire damage restoration process. Otherwise, damage to metals and electronics can be permanent or create a lingering, unpleasant odor.

This point also holds true for permeable surfaces saturated by smoke—the longer deodorization is delayed, the more likely efforts are to fail. 

5. Restoration Costs More Than Replacement

It’s a common misconception that things like furniture and textiles are cheaper to replace than restore, leading many homeowners to unnecessarily throw out items. 

On average, clean-up and deodorization of fabric surfaces range between $200 - $1,000 for an entire home. Considering it costs between $2,000 - $3,000 to purchase basic living room furniture alone, in many cases, restoration is far more cost-effective. Even better, if done properly, fire restoration can restore items to their original state "Like it never even happened."

Why SERVPRO?

The professionals at SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin provide professional fire, water, and storm restoration services as well as mold remediation services to quickly restore both commercial and residential buildings to their original condition. 

To see why SERVPRO is one of the best fire restoration companies in Austin, Texas, call (512) 318-2202 to schedule a consultation or follow them on Facebook to stay updated on the latest company news. 

Contact Information:

SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin

6500 River Place Boulevard

Building 7 - Suite 250

Austin, Tx, 78730

https://www.SERVPROlaketravisnwaustin.com/

4 Reasons to Hire Professional Fire Restoration Companies

1/25/2021 (Permalink)

Here to Help advertisement with SERVPRO information Home on fire - we are here to help after firefighters have extinguished your property.

Blog Summary: Fires can be devastating, and dealing with the aftermath is often overwhelming. The experts at SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin explain why it’s best to hire professional fire restoration companies to restore your home or business after a fire.

Four Reasons to Hire Fire Restoration Companies

A structure fire can be traumatic. You lose a sense of comfort and safety watching your residence and personal belongings or business go up in flames. Once firefighters have extinguished the last ember on the property, it’s time to clean up the mess and start the restoration process. That’s not a process you should do yourself.

Fire restoration companies like SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin specialize in mitigating disasters of all sizes. Here are a few reasons you need a professional fire restoration company's assistance to restore your home or business to its pre-fire condition.

1. Fast, Safe, and Efficient Work

The last thing you should do is enter a building after a fire. You could subject yourself to unhealthy smoke and ash, which worsens the longer it sits. A fire restoration company will work quickly to remove all traces of smoke and ash from your property safely using professional-grade face masks, boots, gloves, and other protective gear.

Purchasing the necessary equipment is very expensive, and if you don’t have the right tools for the job, it will take you longer to complete the restoration. You could even accidentally inhale toxic fumes.

2. Experience

If you’ve never cleaned up after a fire, you probably don't know all the nuances that come with restoring a room. However, workers for professional fire restoration companies have ample experience dealing with the aftermath of a blaze. 

They know how to handle both residential and commercial fire damage. They also understand how to deal with residential and commercial water damage, a common side effect of extinguishing a structural fire. 

Some fire restoration companies offer the same water cleanup and emergency water restoration services as water restoration companies to prevent residential and commercial water damage. If traces of moisture remain from putting out the fire, mold can set in, which would require mold removal services from a mold remediation company—extra cost and hassle. 

Fire restoration professionals have the proper water vacuums, heaters, blowers, and know-how to quickly eliminate water from the flooring, walls, and upholstery.

3. Knowledge

Though you may want to save all of your belongings after a fire for emotional reasons, fire restoration companies know which items they can salvage and which ones need total replacement. For instance, they might need to throw out and replace porous materials like carpeting, but they have the tools and expertise to clean non-porous materials like concrete and brick. 

4. Insurance Company Partnership

Dealing with an insurance company after a fire can be as stressful as cleaning up the mess. Fire restoration companies work closely with these insurers and know what to expect during the claims process. Their team will provide you with the necessary estimates, pictures, and documentation to guarantee a smooth claim process with your insurer.

Why SERVPRO?

SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin serves clients throughout Austin, Texas, and provides them with superior fire restoration services to restore their properties to their original state. They offer 24-hour emergency services and respond quickly to disasters of any size. 

As one of the area’s leading fire restoration companies, SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin has the staff, equipment, and expertise to successfully assess, plan, and complete fire damage restorations. For more details about their services, follow SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin on Facebook or call (512) 318-2202 today.

Contact Information:

SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin

P: (512) 318-2202

6500 River Place Boulevard

Building 7 – Suite 250

Austin, TX 78730

Christmas Tree Fire Prevention

12/1/2020 (Permalink)

Preventing Christmas Tree Fires

The NFPA says an average of 230 fires are attributed to Christmas trees each year.  Christmas tree fires are more likely to be serious due to the following contributing factors: 

  • a dry tree 
  • electrical lights
  • abundant fuel supply (gifts) under the tree 

The most common causes are:

  • electrical failures (32%)
  • having the tree too close to a heat source like a fireplace or wood stove (17%)
  • being too close to candles (7%).

Christmas tree fires cause an average of $18.3 million in property damage each year. Like candle fires (the number one cause of fires in the home), Christmas tree fires are more common during the holidays, with 43% occurring in December and 39% in January.

Safety tips:

  • Keep live trees well watered and dispose of them before they become dry.
  • Turn off tree lights before leaving the house or going to bed.
  • Check lights for any shorts or other electrical issues before putting them on the tree.

If the unthinkable happens, SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin has specialized fire and water damage restoration training, personnel, and equipment to handle fire and water damage and can quickly restore your home to pre-fire condition.

Source: National Fire Protection Association and http://www.propertycasualty360.com

Fire Safety While Cooking

11/24/2020 (Permalink)

According to NFPA, cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day, the day before Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas Eve.

Follow these tips to help prevent a fire while cooking:

  • Be on alert!- If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food.
  • Check it Regularly- If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food remain in the kitchen while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  • Keep flammable items away from the stovetop — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains 

If you have a cooking fire:

  • Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
  • After you leave- Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number 
  • If you try to fight the fire-  be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
  • Grease Fires-  Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
  • Oven fire-  turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

Cooking fire facts

Based on 2014-2018 annual averages:

  • Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fires and fire injuries, causing 49% of home fires that resulted in 21% of the home fire deaths and 44% of the injuries.
  • Two-thirds (66%) of home cooking fires start with the ignition of food or other cooking materials.
  • Clothing is the item first ignited in less than 1% of these fires, but clothing ignitions lead to 8% of the home cooking equipment fire deaths.
  • Ranges or cooktops account for three-fifths (61%) of home cooking fire incidents.
  • Unattended equipment is a factor in one-third (31%) of reported home cooking fires and over half (53%) of the associated deaths.
  • Frying dominates the cooking fire problem.


Damage caused by a fire is devastating for your family and your home. It’s a stressful and confusing time, so you’ll need a caring expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin has the water and fire damage training and expertise to help you through this tough time. Our professionals will always treat you with respect and empathy, and we’ll always treat your home and belongings with great care.

Reasons Why Fire Damage Restoration Service Providers Are Important

11/17/2020 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: Fire restoration companies have the professionals and equipment to help restore your home to its pre-fire condition. Due to the job’s delicate nature, you must ensure that the fire restoration company you choose has all the right certifications and credentials.

Fires are one of the most devastating events that can happen to your home. The damage they cause can leave you and your family stressed, confused, and unsure of the next steps to take. Fire restoration companies are there to guide you through this unfortunate crisis. 

Considerations When Choosing a Fire Restoration Company

Fire restoration companies have the professionals and equipment to help restore your home to its pre-fire condition. Due to the job’s delicate nature, you must ensure that the fire restoration company you choose has all the right certifications and credentials.

Here’s what to consider when making your choice:

Certification

A company with up-to-date certification from the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration, also known as the IICRC, has met all industry-standard regulations and has well-trained fire and water damage specialists. Because the damage a fire causes greatly varies, the IICRC further includes sub-certifications that denote a company’s additional specialization areas, like structural drying and mold removal.

Sometimes, the fire damage your home sustains might call for reconstruction. Because IICRC certifications only deal with restoration services, check to see whether the fire company has the additional certifications and licenses required to reconstruct your home.

Experience

Every fire disaster is different. Ensure that the fire company you pick has the requisite experience to deal with your situation. A company’s experience is also vital in determining how the restoration project turns out.

Response and Recovery Schedule

A few minutes can be the difference between a recoverable and unrecoverable item. Ensure that the company has rapid response times. It helps if the company can advise you on the steps to take immediately after a fire breaks out. Some of these steps include:

  • Placing old linens or clean towels on upholstery, carpet traffic areas, and rugs
  • Limiting movement to prevent embedding soot particles into carpets and upholstery
  • Changing the HVAC filter
  • Emptying your refrigerator and freezer if the electricity is off

The company should also give you an estimated completion date and a full detailed schedule of the steps it will need to take to recover the damaged items.

Referrals

Asking for referrals helps you determine the kind of reputation the company has. Go through customer reviews and ask for advice from your leaseholder or insurance company for additional recommendations. Weigh a company’s reputation against the proficiency it demonstrates when implementing new restoration technologies.

It might help to keep in mind that the damage some items experience might make them unrestorable, creating disappointment and causing certain customers to write negative reviews or give displeasing referrals. An imperfect referral shouldn’t be the sole reason to discount a fire restoration company.

Why Choose SERVPRO

SERVPRO has all the requirements and qualifications you need in a fire restoration company, treating your home and possessions with great care and you with empathy and respect. Here are some reasons why you should choose SERVPRO as your desired fire restoration company:

They are Fire Damage Specialists

From fire and smoke restoration to odor control, upholstery and fabric cleaning technicians, SERVPRO ensures that it extensively trains its staff in the fire damage cleanup and restoration techniques your damaged property. 

They Can Also Handle Water Damage

SERVPRO has the expertise to handle the possible water damage your Austin, Texas, home might suffer. They also handle mold remediation for those who need it.

They Have a “Restore First” Mentality

Their priority is to implement their specialized equipment and extensive training in restoring your property, limiting the need for replacements and helping to get your property back much sooner.

Regardless of your fire damage situation, SERVPRO has the experience and expertise needed to offer the right solution to anyone in the 78730 area. Call SERVPRO at (512) 318-2202 and find out how they can help restore your Austin, TX, home.

Prevent a Turkey Fryer Fire

11/14/2020 (Permalink)

Did you know Thanksgiving Day is the peak day for home cooking fires?

Frying food increases the risk of accidental fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association, deep fryer fires cause an average of 5 deaths, 60 injuries and more than $15 million in property damage each year.

When deep-frying a turkey keep safety in mind and follow these tips for safe cooking: 

  • Choose the correct location and surface: Turkey fryers can easily tip over spilling hot oil across a large area. Use your turkey fryer only outdoors on a sturdy, level surface well away from things that can burn, and never in the garage. 
  • Create a Safety Zone: Make sure to have a “3-foot kid- and pet-free zone” around your turkey fryer to protect against burn injuries. 
  • Thaw the Turkey First: A partially frozen turkey will cause hot oil to splatter. Make sure your turkey is completely thawed before you fry it. This can take days so prepare accordingly.
  • Don’t use too much oil: Determine the correct amount of oil needed by first placing the turkey in the pot with water. An overfilled cooking pot will cause oil to spill over when the turkey is placed inside. 
  • Monitor the Temperature: Turkey fryers can easily overheat and start a fire. Check the temperature often with a cooking thermometer so the oil won’t overheat. Never leave the cooking turkey unattended.
  • Use Protective Gear: The pot, lid and handles of a turkey fryer can get dangerously hot and cause burn injuries. Use long cooking gloves that protect hands and arms when you handle these items. 

Fire damage is especially devastating for all involved. If the unthinkable happens, SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin has the water and fire damage training and expertise to help you through this tough time. Our professionals will always treat you with respect and empathy, and we’ll always treat your home and belongings with great care.

Sources: www.usfa.fema.gov, NFPA

Home Fires Caused by Dryers and Washing Machines

11/3/2020 (Permalink)

Home Fires Caused by Dryers and Washing Machines

Clothes dryer fires happen more often than one might think, accounting for 16,800 home structure fires in 2010 and doing more than $236 million in property damage according to the National Fire Protection Association. The most frequent causes of fires in dryers are lint/dust (29%) and clothing (28%). In washers, they are wire or cable insulation (26%), the appliance housing (21%) or the drive belt (15%).

Dryers were involved in 92% of the Washer/Dryer fires; the risk of fire was basically the same for both gas and electric-powered dryers.

Safety tips:

  • Clean the lint screen frequently and don’t run the dryer without it.
  • For gas and propane dryers, make sure there aren’t any leaks in the lines.
  • Vent the dryer to the outside of the house and ensure nothing blocks the vent pipe.
  • Clean the vent pipe and the area where the screen is housed.
  • Keep the area around the dryer free of combustible materials.

SERVPRO of Lake Travis / NW Austin has specialized fire and water damage restoration training, personnel, and equipment to handle fire and water damage and can quickly restore your home to pre-fire condition. Our professionals will always treat you with respect and empathy, and we’ll always treat your home and belongings with great care. 

Source: National Fire Protection Association and http://www.propertycasualty360.com

Lake Travis/NW Austin Fire and Water Damage Restoration Company Promotes Fireworks Safety

6/30/2020 (Permalink)

Here to Help Here to Help

Summary: SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin urges people to be careful when using fireworks.

Fourth of July celebrations and fireworks displays are an American tradition. Residents of NW Austin, Lake Travis, and the surrounding areas enjoy this tradition. SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin, a fire and water damage restoration specialist, urges people to be careful when shooting off fireworks on Independence Day. The first use of fireworks in a July 4th celebration was in Boston, MA, in 1777. Founding father, John Adams said he wanted the anniversary of independence to be remembered for years with such things as “bonfires” and “illuminations.” Since the first July 4th fireworks display occurred during the Revolutionary War, some historians think the fireworks were intended as a “morale booster.” These early celebrations would have also included the firing of guns and cannons, adding to the explosive nature of the festivities.

Fireworks Can Be Dangerous

The National Fire Protection Association provides these fireworks fire and injury statistics to drive home the potential danger that can arise from improperly handling fireworks. “Fireworks started an estimated 19,500 fires in 2018, including 1,900 structure fires, 500 vehicle fires, and 17,100 outside and other fires. These fires caused five deaths, 46 civilian injuries, and $105 million in direct property damage. In 2018, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 9,100 people for fireworks-related injuries; half of those injuries were to the extremities and 34% were to the eye or other parts of the head. Children younger than 15 years of age accounted for more than one-third (36%) of the estimated 2018 injuries. These injury estimates were obtained or derived from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s 2018 Fireworks Annual Report by Yongling Tu and Jason Ng.”

How to Stay Safe When Using Fireworks

Fireworks are fun, but they also can be dangerous. The Texas Department of Insurance offers these fireworks safety tips to know how to have fun with fireworks and stay safe. 1. Know and follow local laws. Understand the local law and contact the local fire officials if there are any questions. Some places allow only certain types of fireworks, but most areas do not allow fireworks within city limits or during burn bans. 2. Find out if a permit is required. Organizers will need a permit from the local fire department if they are holding a fireworks event for a group of fifty or greater. 3. Hire licensed professionals. Make sure that the people hired to put on a group fireworks display have a pyrotechnic operator’s license that is valid in Texas. Contact the State Fire Marshal’s Office by phone at 1-800-578-4677 or by email at Fire.Marshal@tdi.texas.gov to find out if the individual or individuals have a Texas license. 4. Confirm that fireworks are legal in the area in question. Anyone can use fireworks any day of the year as long as the fireworks are not banned in the area where they are being used. However, fireworks can only be sold at certain times of the year. This sales period typically falls during the week or so leading up to a major holiday. Besides the Fourth of July and the New Year’s season, Texas counties can also choose to include Texas Independence Day (March 2nd), San Jacinto Day (April 21st), Cinco de Mayo (May 5th), and Memorial Day. 5. Be safe! It is essential to follow safety practices whenever fireworks are used. Children should not play with fireworks, and an adult or adults should always be vigilant whenever children are near fireworks. In addition, never consume alcohol when setting off fireworks. Follow the instructions on the firework, and only use the explosive in the way it is intended to be used. The fireworks set up should not be near brush, dry grass, flammable materials, or flammable substances. Never aim fireworks at a house, structure, person, or animal. In case of emergencies, keep a bucket of water, garden hose, or other water sources nearby. SERVPRO provides these fireworks safety tips as a public service to the residents of Lake Travis/NW Austin in the hopes that everyone will have an enjoyable, safe, and patriotic Fourth of July.

Fire and Water Damage Restoration Process

When a home or business is dealing with the aftermath of a fire, the damage that it can cause to the property structure and valuable possessions can be extremely devastating. Here at SERVPRO, the team understands the stress, confusion, and emotions that are present when dealing with this kind of ordeal. The SERVPRO technicians are highly skilled and certified, as well as equipped with fire damage restoration equipment to take special care of the client’s property and possessions. The SERVPRO team will be there with the customer every step along the way to explain the process to help get them through this stressful time. After the fire trucks leave, the home or business likely suffers from fire and smoke damage and extensive water damage from firefighting efforts. SERVPRO has the specialized fire restoration training needed to restore a home to its pre-fire condition. Every fire damage event is a little different and requires a unique solution, but the general process stays the same. The steps listed below illustrate the process for the typical fire damage emergency. Step 1: Emergency Contact. The restoration process begins when a customer calls SERVPRO. A representative will ask questions regarding the fire damage event that will help SERVPRO respond immediately with the appropriate equipment and resources. Step 2: Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment. SERVPRO technicians carefully inspect and test adjoining rooms of the property to determine the extent of the fire, smoke, and soot damage. This step is crucial to developing a plan of action. Step 3: Immediate Board-Up and Roof-Tarp Service. Fire damage can often compromise windows, walls, and roofs. To maintain security and to protect against further damage, the team can board up missing windows and walls and place tarps on damaged roofs. Step 4: Water Removal and Drying (If Water Damage Is Present). The water removal process begins almost immediately and removes the majority of the water. SERVPRO technicians then use dehumidifiers and air movers to remove the remaining water and complete the drying process. Step 5: Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces. Specialized equipment and techniques are used to remove smoke and soot from ceilings, walls, and other surfaces. Step 6: Cleaning and Sanitizing. Skilled technicians clean, sanitize, and disinfect all of the restorable items and structures that were damaged by the fire. SERVPRO employs a variety of cleaning techniques to restore belongings to pre-fire conditions. The SERVPRO specialists are also trained to remove odors using industrial air scrubbers and fogging equipment. Step 7: Restoration. Restoration is the final step—getting a home or business to its pre-fire condition. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet, or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business. Conclusion. SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin hopes that everyone’s Fourth of July celebration will be safe, enjoyable, and fire-free. The team of fire and water damage experts is proud to serve Lake Travis, Briarcliff, and NW Austin. To learn more about fire and water damage restoration, visit the SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin at https://www.SERVPROlaketravisnwaustin.com. Contact a SERVPRO representative by phone at (512) 318-2202.