Christmas Decoration Hazards
A Christmas tree 17 seconds after catching on fire.
Now that the holidays are upon us, we will start getting ready by decorating the house! Some families go to the store and purchase a new, artificial tree, some take their artificial tree out of storage, and some run out and purchase a fresh, real tree. Whether the tree is real or artificial they both propose fire hazards. Before even bringing a tree home, there are steps to make sure the tree is going to be as safe as possible. If you have chosen an artificial tree, look for “fire resistant” or “flame retardant” on the labels. These phrases tell you the tree is less likely to catch on fire than artificial trees that are not advertising these phrases. While going out and searching for a live tree, you need to make sure the tree is not already dried-out. A dried-out tree will catch on fire much faster than any other kind of tree. To check if the tree is dried out give it a small shake and see how many needles fall out. A well-watered tree will have a few needles fall out, but a dried-out tree will have many needles fall out. Once you have chosen a real tree, you will need to keep the tree watered. There are stands that are made specifically to hold water. Experts say to check every day on the amount of water in the stand. A video has gone viral of a tree that isn’t watered catching fire and burning down within seconds. The watered tree takes a few minutes to fully catch aflame. So, remember when you are picking out a tree to do your research and keep your home as safe as possible this holiday season!
Stay safe this fall with these bonfire tips.
Before starting the fire make sure the weather is good for a bonfire. Weather conditions that are too windy could create risks such as blowing sparks around. Once the weather conditions are good you can light the fire. When lighting the fire, an accelerant should never be used. Using gas or lighter fluid could cause a loss of control of the fire. Start with lighting small crumbled paper pieces and small sticks. From there you can add larger pieces of wood. It never hurts to have a fire extinguisher nearby in case of any accidents. If you do not have a fire extinguisher, try keeping a hose handy or a bucket of sand. Sand will effectively put out a fire. Throughout the night there are a few things to keep an eye on. Look out for too much alcohol consumption, watch children trying to get too close, and monitor pets sneaking towards the fire. When the night is coming to an end and the fire has burned down, use a metal shovel to spread out the ashes so they can cool down faster. You can pour water or sand on the ashes to get rid of the remaining embers. Remove the ashes and place them in a designated metal can used for ash storage only.
10 Things Never to Do When You Grill
Grilling can be fun when done properly. Enjoy these great tips to keep your backyard BBQ safe and enjoyable.
10 Things Never to Do When You Grill
As temperatures rise, homeowners love firing up the grill and eating outdoors. Yet just as with indoor food prep, there are some important rules and guidelines to follow when you're cooking outside. Play it safe and check out these 10 things you should never …
- Never Leave the Grill Unattended
Never walk away from a lighted grill, because the open flames present a fire hazard. Also, for safety's sake, always have a fire extinguisher on hand.
- Never Use a Metal Brush
Avoid using metal-bristle brushes to clean your grill grates; the bristles can break off and become lodged in your food. Instead, rely on a wad of aluminum foil, dish scrubbies, or clean damp rags to wipe your grill—preferably while the grates are still warm.
- Don’t Run Out of Fuel
Make sure you have enough propane (or charcoal) to finish cooking your food before you start. Keep a spare full propane tank or bag of charcoal on hand, just in case.
- Don’t Use Lighter Fluid
Avoid using lighter fluid or lighter-fluid-infused charcoal briquettes, because the chemicals can impart a nasty flavor to your food. That’s also why you should never use gasoline, kerosene, or oil to start your grill!
- Banish Bacteria
Avoid food contamination both on and off the grill by following safe handling procedures: wash your hands, keep the food in the refrigerator until you’re ready to grill, and don't prepare raw meats and vegetables on the same surface. To be sure meats are sufficiently cooked, use a grill-safe thermometer to check that they've reached the proper internal temperature (165 degrees Fahrenheit for poultry, 160 degrees Fahrenheit for ground meat, and 145 degrees Fahrenheit for steaks or roasts).
- Skip the Sloppy Look
Don't wear loose clothing, scarves, or dangling jewelry while grilling; these items can potentially catch fire in open flames. If you have long hair, tie it back or tuck it under a hat to avoid singeing your lovely locks.
- Never Skip Resting Time
As tempting and mouthwatering as that just-cooked steak may appear, don’t cut into it immediately, or you'll end up with a dryer, tougher piece of meat. Rest your meat for a few minutes to give the internal juices time to redistribute through the muscle fibers. You'll be rewarded with juicy goodness in every bite.
- Don’t Char, Grill!!
Be careful not to overcook your meat. Not only does burned barbecue taste unappealing, but it also forms dangerous carcinogenic compounds, known as heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which have been linked to increased risks of pancreatic, colorectal, and prostate cancer.
- Stay Away From Smoke
Never stand directly over a smoky grill, and avoid inhaling the fumes. Grill smoke contains carbon monoxide as well as substances called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which have been linked to increased risk of certain cancers—especially lung cancer.
- Don’t Drink and Grill
Grilling under the influence of alcohol can be a recipe for disaster. Wait to pop open a cold one until the grilling and food preparation is complete, then help yourself to a recreational beverage while your meat is resting.
Kitchen Fire Prevention
Cooking fires are the most common house fire. They are also the most dangerous. Follow these tips to keep your family and home safe while in the kitchen.
Never leave the kitchen
While you are cooking or even while you are just preheating the oven, never leave a hot stove or oven unattended. The most common kitchen fires are caused by leaving cooking food unattended. If for some reason you have to leave the kitchen, be sure to remove all pots and pans from the hot stove top and from inside the oven.
Be aware of your surroundings
While you are cooking, try to avoid wearing long-sleeves or any clothing that might be too big for you. Also, if you have long hair try to keep it tied back while cooking. Be aware of where you place kitchen towels and oven mitts, make sure to keep them away from the hot stove top. Make sure there is not anything flammable near the stove top while it is on.
If there ever should be a fire in the kitchen, make sure you are prepared. Make sure to check and change the batteries in the smoke detector regularly. Make sure your fire extinguisher is up to date and not damaged. Also, if a fire was to occur in your home make sure to go over a fire escape plan with your family so that they know where to go and what to do.
If you ever experience a fire in your home call SERVPRO of Lombard/Addison (630)543-1700. We have a highly trained team and we are always here to help.
How to Prevent a Dryer Fire
According to the U.S Fire Administration 2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported a year and caused $35 million in property loss.
34% of these fires occurred because they were not cleaned. Dryer fires are more likely to happen during the fall and winter months.
- Make sure to clean your dryer's lint trap. Make sure to get all the lint, even the lint that is in the back of your dryer.
- Every three months be sure to clean out the vent pipe.
- Make sure the outside vent is opening when the dryer is on. Also make sure the went is not getting rained or snowed on.
- Keep dryer area free of any items that are flammable.
- Get your dryer cleaned by a professional regularly.
- Check the vent system behind the dryer to make sure it is not damaged.
- Don't use the dryer without a lint filter or use a lint filter that is broken.
- Don't dry anything that is foam, rubber, or plastic.
- Don't leave the dryer running while you aren't home or while you are sleeping.
If tragedy does strike in your home give SERVPRO of Lombard/Addison a call (630) 543-1700
What to do Until Help Arrives After a House Fire
The first 48 hours after a house fire a crucial. In those hours it can make the difference between restoring your belongings or having to replace them.
What to do Until Help Arrives
- Limit the movement in your home to help prevent soot from spreading in your home.
- Place clean towels on rugs and on high traffic areas.
- Put petroleum jelly or oil on any chrome faucets, trim, or appliances you may have.
- Put aluminum foil or wood under any furniture to separate the furniture from any wet carpet.
- Do not wash any walls or painted surfaces.
- Do not shampoo any rugs or carpet.
- Do not clean any Electrical equipment.
- Do not send clothes to a dry cleaner. Improper cleaning could make the smoke smell set into the clothes damaging them even more.
Here at SERVPRO we understand that after a house fire you are overwhelmed with different emotions. That is why we are here to help.
Call the fire damage and restoration cleanup professionals at (630)543-1700