Top 10 Causes of House Fires
These winter fire hazards are all preventable.
Fires can happen year-round, but they are statistically more likely to occur in the winter.
According to the National Fire Protection Association or NFPA, these are the top causes of residential fires:
- Cooking: This is the number one cause of home fires. And the leading cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking.
- Heaters: Half of the residential fires are reported in December, January, and February. The culprits are space heaters, fireplaces, woodstoves, and chimney fires.
- Smoking: Smoking materials, such as cigarettes, pipes, and cigars cause 5% of reported home fires, and 21% of home fire deaths.
- Dryer Vent fires: See our blog post about this common and very preventable hazard.
- Flammable chemicals: Combustible liquids are all over the house; In the kitchen, bathrooms, garage, and shed.
- Grills: Greasy grills, propane leaks, and connector hose breaks are fire hazards.
- Candles: The most common days for fires started by candles are on Christmas day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.
- Electrical: Avoid overloading electrical outlets and power boards; Replace damaged electrical cords.
- Christmas trees: Dry trees are extremely combustible and a fire disaster when near a heat source. Just for fun, check out the 9 Ways to Know that You’re a Holiday Decorating Disaster.
10.) Computer Charging Accidents: This is a relatively new fire hazard; Heat generated from charging laptops and phones on flammable materials (cloth, paper, wood) can build up and quickly lead to a fire.
These fire hazards are ALL preventable.
For our Fire Damage Emergency Tips, click here.
For information about our Fire Damage Restoration Process, click here.
Have Questions about Fire Damage Restoration? SERVPRO of Charlottesville is locally owned and operated. We are available for Emergency Service 24/7. Call Us Today at 434-977-5850
Equipment Spotlight: Commercial Disinfecting for COVID-19 with our new Electrostatic Backpack Sprayer
The backpack electrostatic sprayer covers the application area faster.
Since March 2020, SERVPRO of Charlottesville has been disinfecting area business for COVID-19 confirmed cases, and precautionary disinfecting.
Our Electrostatic Backpack Sprayer, combined with all of our CDC and EPA approved disinfectants, are a win-win solution that allows businesses to reopen safely after a confirmed COVID-19 case.
Why is this important?
- Our electrostatic sprayer system places a positive charge on the solution before it passes through the nozzle.
- Most surfaces are either negatively or neutrally charged.
- Since oppositely charged particles are attracted to each other, the positively-charged disinfectant covers the negative or neutrally-charged surface more completely than traditional application methods.
- The result is that the dispersed droplets can be applied faster, using less chemical and providing a more uniform coverage of the surface.
- More complete coverage of a surface
- 70% faster application; Without a cord to drag around, the backpack electrostatic sprayer covers the application area faster.
For a variety of videos on our cordless backpack electrostatic sprayer, click here.
For more information about our backpack electrostatic sprayer, click here.
Commercial facilities that can benefit from our disinfecting service:
- Nursing homes/Retirement communities
- Offices and Warehouses
- Sports facilities/Fitness centers
- Airport/ General Aviation/FBO
- Government Facilities
- Apartment complexes
- Grocery stores
- Brick and mortar stores
- Hair salons/ Barber shops
- Fire Stations /Police station
- City/County offices
- Post offices
- Country Clubs/Resorts
- Day care centers
- Auto repair shops/Auto dealerships
- Visitor’s Center
- Historic sites
Does your business need disinfecting? Call the cleaning experts, SERVPRO of Charlottesville today at 434-977-5858. We are always ‘Here to Help’.
When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors: Lightning Safety
When thunderstorms are in the area, no place outside is safe.
Even though lightning strikes are associated with summer storms, people can still be struck at any time of year. According to the National Weather Service, ‘lightning kills 20 or more people in the United States each year, and hundreds more are severely injured.’
There are a lot of myths associated with lightning:
- Myth: If it is not raining or there aren’t clouds overhead, you are safe from lightning.
Fact: Lightning often strikes more than three miles from the center of the thunderstorm; 10-15 miles from the rain or thunderstorm cloud.
- Myth: Lightning never strikes the same place twice.
Fact: Lightning often strikes the same place repeatedly, especially if it is a tall, pointy, isolated object, such as the Empire State Building, which is hit an average of 23 times a year!
Lightning safety tips:
- No place outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area
- If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you.
- When you hear thunder, immediately move to safe shelter: A substantial building with electricity/or plumbing, or an enclosed metal-topped vehicle with the windows up.
- Stay in safe shelter at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.
Indoor Lightning Safety Tips:
- Stay off of corded landline phones, unplug computers, TV sets and other electrical equipment (these electrical devices put you in direct contact with electricity).
- Avoid being near any plumbing such as baths, faucets and sinks.
- Stay off porches, and away from windows and doors.
For more lightning safety tips, click here.
The bottom line in lightning safety is no place outside is safe. Seek shelter inside a substantial building.
Need help from a Storm Damage Event? Call SERVPRO of Charlottesville at 434-977-5850 for cleaning and restoration in Albemarle County, Wintergreen, Schuyler, Lake Monticello, Troy, and Palmyra. We’re “Here to Help”!
Participating in the Charlottesville Community
Our Project Rebound behind-the-scenes photo shoot, with director, Ty Cooper, owner of Lifeview Marketing & Visuals.
In June 2020, SERVPRO of Charlottesville took part in the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce program, “Project Rebound”.
Why is this important?
The 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic unleashed havoc on our local community, not to mention the entire world. Per usual, the Charlottesville community pulled together to come up with solutions for our own economic recovery. Project Rebound was led by the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce “in collaboration with economic partners at the University of Virginia, Albemarle County, and the City of Charlottesville and supported by volunteers and funding from the City, County and GO Virginia.”
We, along with other local businesses, donated our time and talents to create reopening demonstration videos of real-world solutions for practicing COVID-19 safety measures and offer them to the community.
This volunteerism reflects our core values in leadership, teamwork, integrity, growth, and a whole lot of hustle.
Some of our favorite community involvement actives over the past few years have been:
- “Trunk or Treating” with Melicca Dunn State Farm, October 2020
- “Drive at Five” Game on Z95.1 Radio, July 2020
- Salvation Army and their Angel Tree donations, 2019
- Boys and Girls Club/Cops 4 Kids day Montessori Truck Touch Event, May 2019
- Hurricane Florence Relief Supply Collection, September 2018
- AHIP Build Day (Albemarle Housing Improvement Program, a home repair nonprofit)
Photos for many of these events can be seen on our website and Facebook.
For our Project Rebound video, click here.
For all of the Project Rebound videos, click here.
Call SERVPRO of Charlottesville for your COVID-19 Disinfecting, water and fire damage restoration, and Biohazard cleanup. We are locally owned and operated, and available for 24/7 Emergency Service. 434-977-5850
“Stay” and “Go” Kits for Emergency Preparedness
It doesn’t take long to build a kit from items found around the house.
As a former flight attendant, I was accustomed to packing at a moment’s notice, and was used to carrying items I would need for up to four days, or more.
Assembling basic disaster supplies “Stay” and “Go” Kits is very similar to preparing for a trip. Collect essential items, then switch out expired items for fresh ones. You can tailor the kits to your family’s requirements, making special allowances for pets, babies and the elderly. Update them as your family grows. Many of these provisions you can find around your home. However, you can also buy ready-made emergency kits. Also, gather items recommended in Financial Preparedness Tips.
“Stay” Kit: Place in waterproof plastic Bins
- Have a print-out of recommended Emergency Supply List
- Food; Rotate non-perishable food
- Manual can opener
- Water; one gallon per person, per day, for three days
- First Aid Kit
- Flashlight and extra Batteries
- Shelter (Plastic sheeting, duct-tape, Tent, Sleeping bag/ Blanket)
- Phone Chargers
- Emergency Weather Radio
“Go” Kit: Place in Duffle bag or backpack
Walking or Driving? Make a Car Kit.
- Print-out of recommended Emergency Supply List
- Food; Three-day supply
- Manual can opener
- Mess kit
- Matches in plastic slide-lock bag
- Water; one gallon per person, per day for three days
- First Aid Kit
- Sewing Kit
- Swiss Army knife or folding pocket tools
- Work gloves/Tools
- Flashlight and extra Batteries
- Shelter (Plastic sheeting, duct-tape, tent, sleeping bag/ blanket)
- Phone Chargers
- Emergency Weather Radio
- Maps, sealed in slide-lock plastic bags
- Masks, gloves, hand sanitizer for whole family
For ready-made kits, Or for Ideas to make your own:
- Emergency Supplies Review
- American Red Cross Store
- Uncharted Supply Company
SERVPRO of Charlottesville is “Here to Help” with your water and storm damage restoration. Call us today at 434-977-5850 for 24-Hour Emergency service. We are locally owned and operated.
Equipment Spotlight: Moisture Meters and Water Damage Restoration
We have the technology to detect, measure and monitor the moisture levels in your property.
SERVPRO of Charlottesville knows a water intrusion in your home is a stressful and traumatic event. In addition to the visible, standing water, there could be more water damage that you can’t see. The water could be behind walls, collecting in hidden pockets, or under floors. It is important to find, extract, and dry out all of the water before it causes more damage, such as weakened drywall or mold.
We use advanced technology equipment to detect, measure and monitor the structure and contents of a property.
- Moisture sensors can detect moisture in carpets and padding, and in the wood subfloor.
- Moisture Meters measure the moisture content of various materials. It has a probe end and a surface detector.
- Thermo-hygrometers or hygrometers measure the relative humidity and temperature of air masses. This is important during the monitoring process to check that materials are drying at the rate they are supposed to be drying.
As an IICRC Certified Firm, we are highly trained restoration specialists.
For a video on our moisture meters click here.
For more information about our water damage restoration process, for your Nellysford or Palmyra property, click here.
Have Commercial or Residential Water Damage? Call SERVPRO of Charlottesville today at 434-977-5850 for 24/7 for Emergency services. We are locally owned and operated.
Steps to Take When You Find Mold in Your House
We can remediate visible mold, but an industrial hygienist should be called to test it first.
Here in Central Virginia, we often get the remnants of hurricanes and other weather systems that cause considerable rains and flooding. The results are extensive water damage to homes in the Charlottesville area. Within 24 to 78 hours after a flood event, it’s a race to prevent mold. Mold is everywhere and needs a source of moisture, food, and time to grow and flourish.
What to do when you find mold in your house:
- Don’t panic
- Stop the source of moisture; Fix any leaks from appliance lines, pipes, roof, and foundation.
- Call an Industrial Hygienist, who can do mold and indoor air quality testing.
- The industrial hygienist will create a report called a protocol, and will send it to you.
- This protocol can be emailed to us, and will give us a scope of the work needed to help you in the remediation process.
What NOT to do:
- Don’t blow fans on the mold (thinking that it will help dry things out); Fans will spread the mold spores, thereby creating more of a problem.
If you are a Renter:
- Report any growth to the property owner, property manager or landlord.
- Have them call us
- If there are any health issues, call an Industrial Hygienist.
While you are waiting for action:
- Get a De-humidifier
- Get an Air-purifier
- We can remediate mold, but not test for it.
- The mold has to be visible for us to remediate.
- We don’t remediate mold in HVAC systems and duct-work.
For Before and After photos of our work click here.
For more information on our mold process click here.
To learn more about mold click here.
Call SERVPRO of Charlottesville at 434-977-5850 for water damage and mold remediation. We are locally owned and operated, and available for 24/7 Emergency Service.
Fire Do’s and Don’ts: Emergency Tips
Let us help you with your fire damage cleanup.
The unthinkable has happened. Your business or home had a fire. Now what?
You want to get started right away cleaning and sorting, but where to start? Fire damage is tricky to clean, and you can actually make things worse, without professional help.
Here are some helpful tips to get you through, until help arrives:
- Do keep your hands clean. Soot on your hands can spread and embed into everything, causing more damage.
- Do limit your movement in the house to prevent soot particles from stirring up and spreading.
- Do place dry, old towels and old linens on the carpet traffic areas and upholstered furniture to prevent further damage.
- Do empty the refrigerator and freezer completely, if electricity is off. Prop the doors open, to air out any odors.
- Do clean and protect chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim, and appliances with a light coating of oil.
- Do wash house plants with water on both sides of the leaves.
- Do change the furnace filter, and tape double layers of cheesecloth over air vents to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.
- Don’t attempt to wash any walls.
- Don’t attempt to clean carpet or upholstered furniture without first consulting SERVPRO of Charlottesville.
- Don’t operate or clean any electrical appliances or equipment until they have been cleaned and checked by an authorized repair service. Smoke residues can be corrosive and conductive.
- Don’t send clothing with smoke residues to dry cleaners, who are inexperienced in cleaning fire-damaged garments. If it is not treated by an experienced professional, the residues and smoke odors may set in the clothing.
- Don’t use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water. This also applies to any cosmetics and medications that could be contaminated.
- Don’t turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock, and air movement may create secondary damage.
For information on our fire damage restoration process, click here.
For Before and After photos of fire-damage, click here.
For a local video testimonial on our soot clean-up, click here.
Need professional help with your fire damage clean-up?
SERVPRO of Charlottesville is locally owned and operated, and is “a trusted leader in the restoration industry.” Call us for 24/7 Emergency Service at 434-977-5850
Fire Restoration Cleaning Basics
There’s a lot of chemistry behind determining the best way to clean a fire damage residue.
Wash. Rinse. Dry. Repeat. This is how we clean things, right? Scrub a little, let it soak, then use some ‘elbow grease’.
Fire damage presents a great variety of cleaning challenges. Smoke and soot residues from a fire can wreak havoc on all the contents, whether the contents are made of wood, ceramic, metal, paper, or natural fibers. Fire residues can literally be baked on a surface.
Different types of soot residues can exist in the same environment, making it tricky to determine the best way to clean items. In addition, the type of surface also determines the best cleaning method and products to use, in order to remove the residue. Combining the principles and elements of cleaning requires a great deal of science.
- On what kind of surface is the residue? Soot and smoke residues are acidic and can be very corrosive, not to mention carcinogenic.
- Is the soil water-soluble? Oil-residue requires an oil-based solvent.
- Will the surface be damaged by water or a solvent?
- For an oily soot, would you wipe it? If you do, it will smear, making it worse to clean.
Chemical actions involved in determining the best way to remove a soil:
- The pH of a residue and cleaning solution: The goal of water-based products is to return a material to a neutral pH; Most soils are slightly acidic, so test the residue pH
- Like dissolves Like: solvents for oil-based soils; water-based solution for water-based residue.
- Emulsions bridge oil-based soils with water
- Bleaching: chemical reactions from either adding or removing oxygen from the soil structure, that breaks the bond between residues and surfaces
- Enzymes digest protein soils
This is just some of the science behind identifying types of soot residues and types of surfaces from fire damage help to determine the best way to remove a soil.
Need Fire damage remediation? Call us today at 434-977-5850 for 24/7 Emergency Service.
September is National Preparedness Month; Step 1: Make a Plan
Planning for the event of any emergency is not time wasted.
September is National Preparedness Month, with a different preparedness theme each week. The overall theme is: “Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today.” The first week is about making a plan, which makes sense, since you need to know what to do before you do it.
For a wealth of information on creating a plan and tailoring it for your family, click here.
- Emergency alerts and weather alerts can easily be set up on mobile phones.
- Shelter- can include Shelter-in-place (wherever you happen to be). Shelter-at-home and have the necessary supplies on hand in your ‘Stay-Kit’. If you need to evacuate to a designated Mass Care Shelter, bring the necessary supplies in your ‘To-Go-Kit’.
- Evacuation- If you have to evacuate, what are the possible evacuation routes? It’s always a good idea to know alternate ways to get somewhere, in case the first route is blocked. Have a real paper road map on hand in case there is no internet available. Also, keep in mind any special family medical, or pet needs.
- Family Communication Plan- If electricity is interrupted, communication networks such as computers and mobile phones could be unreliable. Note that a text message may get through when a phone call may not. Everyone in the family should have important contact information written down on paper and carry it with them at all times. Have family meetings to predetermine where to meet in an emergency. For more communication planning tips, click here.
- Preparedness Kit : You can tailor this to suit your family’s individual needs. Make a checklist so you don’t forget any items.
Planning for the event of any emergency is not time wasted. The more familiar your family is with what needs to be and can be done, the less panic will ensue. Time is of the essence in an emergency situation.
Need help with water damage? Call SERVPRO of Charlottesville Today 434-977-5850 for 24/7 Emergency Service