Information On Fire Prevention, Fire Safety & Fire Clean Up
Fire damage to your property can happen instantly and without much warning. To create a safe environment from a fire hazard, you first need to know a little bit about the Fire Triangle above.
To produce a fire, four things must be present at the same time:
- There must be enough oxygen to sustain combustion,
- Enough heat to raise the material to its ignition temperature,
- Some fuel or combustible material, and
- The chemical, exothermic reaction that is fire.
The Fire Triangle gives the most basic and accurate depiction of what is needed for a fire to start and continue to burn. If any one element is removed from the situation, the fire will die. Introducing more of any element will cause the fire to grow. The most widely used extinguishers will remove at least one of the elements from the triangle.
In the case of fire damage, the best defense is a good offense. Being informed about the dangers inside and outside your structure is the best way to prevent a fire. However, not all fires can be prevented. Accidents happen all the time, and Harris Claims Services Fire Disaster Restoration will be here to help you through the hard times and assist you in picking up the pieces and getting back to normal in your life. There are several things you should know about fires and what to do after disaster strikes.
Fire Prevention and Preparation
The first step to mitigating any danger is to educate yourself about fires and fire prevention. These don’t take very long to become familiar with.
The most common type of fire in the U.S. is the kitchen fire. It can be caused by some different things like hot grease, the combination of electricity and water, and high heat. Grease fires are the most dangerous in the kitchen because they can get out of control very quickly spreading to other items in the kitchen and even other rooms. Electrical fires can start when a kitchen appliance comes in contact with water.
Electrical fires are another widespread fire within any structure. Faulty or old wiring are two causes that contribute to most electrical fires in the U.S.
Another common cause of fire during the winter months is stand-alone heaters. Whether it be electric or gas operated, they can both be very dangerous due to the high heat they produce at their surface. Keeping your heater too close to flammable items can cause them to ignite and burn. Keeping your heater too close to things that are plastic can also cause the material to melt and eventually catch fire.
Fires Caused By Cigarettes
Cigarettes are another prevalent cause of house fires. These fires can be deadly in that the person smoking usually falls asleep with the cigarette in their hand and by the time they realize it, it may be too late to escape. These fires count for a large number of deaths in the U.S. every year.
Knowing the dangers listed above is very important. We invite you to ask yourself the following questions:
- “Do I have a fire escape plan?”
- “Do I store too many flammable items near my stove?”
- “Do I have a serviceable fire extinguisher within reach in my kitchen?”
- “Is there a clean path to a door just in case a cooking pan catches fire?”
- “Do I know the different classes of fire and how to extinguish each of them?”
If your answer was “NO” to any or all of these, take some time to gain the knowledge you are lacking. At a minimum, buy yourself a fire extinguisher for the kitchen. We recommended that you have one on each floor of your home and one additional in the kitchen.
Classes of Fires
The classes of fires and what is involved in the fire are as follows:
- Class “A” are fires that contain ordinary combustibles like wood, paper, plastic, cloth, and trash.
- Class “B” are fires that contain a flammable liquid such as gasoline, petroleum oil, paint, and can also contain propane, and butane. This does not include cooking oil or grease.
- Class “C” are fires that involve energized electrical items such as motors, transformers, and appliances. If you take away the power element, then the fire will fall under a different class.
- Class “D” are fires that involve combustible metals such as sodium, potassium, aluminum, and magnesium.
- Class “K” are fires that contain proteins, cooking oils and grease such as animal fats and vegetable oils. This is the most common fire in a home.
Fire Extinguishers for Each Class of Fire
Knowing what class of fire you are dealing with is important when choosing the right extinguisher for the job. The following are the most common types of fire extinguishers:
- Class “A” extinguishers are used to address class A fires. The numerical rating on the tank indicates the amount of water it holds and the amount of fire it can extinguish. The geometrical symbol is a green triangle.
- Class “B” extinguishers are used to address class B fires. The numerical rating on the tank indicates the approximate number of square feet of fire it can extinguish. The geometrical symbol is a red square.
- Class “C” extinguishers are used to address class C fires. The C on the tank indicates that the extinguishing agent is non-conductive. The geometrical symbol is a blue circle.
- Class “D” extinguishers are used to address class D fires only. There is no multipurpose rating for this extinguisher. The geometrical symbol is a yellow decagon.
- Class “K” extinguishers are used to address class K fires only. There is no multipurpose rating for this extinguisher. The geometrical symbol is a black hexagon.
The most common extinguishers are APW (air-pressurized water), BC, and ABC. The most versatile unit is the ABC and is a good one to have for most fires as it is a dry chemical spray. The APW is only safe on standard combustible materials, NOT OILS OR GREASE! When you spray water on oil or grease, it will spread the flames and may be life-threatening. Specific extinguishers are sold to address Class K fires and should be maintained in the kitchen for potential grease and oil fires.
Cleaning Up After a Fire Disaster with Harris Claims Services
Like any other disaster, there is a very detailed process to the way we handle a fire clean up should catastrophe ever strike. The following is just a small look at the way things are handled when you call Harris Claims Services to address your fire claim.
Before beginning work at the fire-damaged property, we will verify that the fire inspection has been completed by the handling fire department and the site has been released back to you and has been deemed safe to work in.
If the claim comes to us as an assignment, then we will get in contact with the insurance company and see if there are any special circumstances that need to be addressed before we begin work, such as an emergency board up being needed, etc. Once everything is approved, we will sign an initial work authorization and get started with your property.
We will photograph and document the damages to your property and personal belongings along with a detailed inventory listing of everything that is salvageable and what is not. A good inventory is key to getting the value of your items returned to you via payout by the insurance company or purchase of a new item.
If things can be cleaned on-site, then we will take care of that, but if they need to be cleaned off-site, we will arrange for storage of personal property to be cleaned. Once the fire clean-up and rebuild is complete on your property, then we will clean your personal items and return them to your home.
Harris Claims Services experts have more than 30 years’ experience in disaster restoration, including handling fire damaged property. No matter what the situation, we’ll plan a course of action based on your property’s needs including safety and clean up, and then begin the restoration process. All backed by the industry’s most comprehensive guarantee. Call HCS for all your disaster restoration needs at (847) 329-8444. You’re never too far from the help you need, located in Chicago, IL and Lincolnwood Illinois.