Fires and fire damage: Answering eleven frequently asked questions
Blog Summary: SERVPRO® of Palo Alto answers the common questions that Cupertino, CA, homeowners are asking about fire and fire damage.
The fire damage and water damage restoration experts at SERVPRO of Palo Alto are answering frequently asked questions about house fires and fire damage. Ignorance about the common causes of house fires puts the occupants of a home at great risk. A cooking fire on the stove can erupt into a full-fledged blaze that has the potential to engulf the entire structure in a couple of minutes or less. A healthy realization of how fast a fire can spread can save lives. When people realize they have little time to gather belongings and even less time to escape with their lives, no time will be wasted in evacuating the structure and ensuring everyone is not only out of the home but also at a safe distance. Here are some common questions frequently asked about house fires and fire damage.
How significant of a problem are home fires in the United States?
House fires pose a significant safety hazard in the US. According to recent statistics from the Red Cross, teams from the organization responded to nearly 75,000 disasters around the US. More than nine out of ten (93%) were related to a fire event. The tragedy is that many of these fire-related disasters could have been prevented.
Do home fires seem to be on the increase?
Regrettably, the answer to this FAQ is yes. Across the country, residential fires have seen an uptick of 8% in recent years. The typical cost to clean up and restore a fire-damaged home is approaching $20,000. The Red Cross disaster response rate has increased by at least 10% over the last two decades.
Are house fires more frequent during certain times of the year?
No time of the year is totally immune to fire risks. The fall and winter experience a greater frequency of house fires. Understandably, December and January are peak months for house fires. The weekends see an increase in fire outbreaks, with a peak between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm.
Where in the home do most fires have their origin?
The kitchen is the “hot spot” where most house fires originate, followed by wherever the wood stove or fireplace is located. The majority of house fire fatalities result from fires caused by smoking.
Who is at the greatest risk of dying in a house fire?
When a house fire erupts, the most vulnerable occupants in the home are adults over 65 and children under five.
What is the best way to prepare for a potential house fire?
Once a fire erupts, occupants have a window of about two minutes to escape the blaze safely. The key to survival is an early warning with smoke detectors. Delayed notification significantly reduces the time window for a safe escape. Install high-quality smoke detectors outside each bedroom and on each level of the home or apartment. The best safety practice is installing smoke alarms in the bedrooms if someone decides to sleep with the door closed.
Are smoke detectors enough to keep everyone safe?
Faulty smoke alarms are worthless. Test the devices at least once a month to ensure they are working. Change the batteries at least once a year. For optimal safety, replace smoke detectors every ten years.
Is a fire extinguisher complicated to operate?
While fire extinguishers require some training and practice to be effective, the device can buy precious time to escape a house fire safely. Proper training can be obtained from a local fire department.
Should multi-story dwellings have escape ladders?
A fire escape ladder can save lives when a fire suddenly erupts, cuts off avenues of escape, and leaves little or no time to evacuate the home. The escape ladder is worth the risk when all avenues of escape are blocked except a window.
Can a homeowner create an effective fire escape plan?
The typical homeowner is capable of formulating a lifesaving fire escape plan.
Step #1: Designate two avenues of escape from every room.
Step #2: Store escape ladders near each window where the distance to the ground requires the assistance of an escape ladder.
Step #3: Assign a meeting place that is a safe distance from the home.
Step #4: Explain the plan and solicit helpful feedback—follow-up instruction with actual drills.
Never re-enter a burning home. The smoke and flames can overwhelm a person in seconds.
Is it possible to pre-qualify a damage restoration company before a fire, smoke, or water damage disaster has occurred?
The best time to reach out to a fire and water damage restoration company is before disaster strikes. SERVPRO strongly recommends homeowners and businesses begin this relationship before fire and smoke billow out of the roof and windows. The team of experienced, IICRC-certified technicians responds 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays, with a response time of about an hour or so. A specially trained technician will prepare a detailed, well-documented estimate with images and video. SERVPRO of Palo Alto can handle the insurance claims process from beginning to end. The rapid response and quick cleanup get life back to normal as soon as possible.