Recent Fire Damage Posts
The Dangers of Lithium-Ion Batteries in Southern Maryland
The Dangers of Lithium Batteries
Lithium Batteries are a power source for many day to day devices such as cell phones, laptops, toys, vapes, smoke alarms, and my other items. These batteries are known to store a lot of energy and if damaged or used improperly can cause them to catch fire.
Some safety tips when dealing with Lithium Batteries
- Make sure they are listed by a qualified testing laboratory.
- Read and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
- Don't leave batteries charging overnight.
- Use proper charging cord.
- Do not charge on a flammable source such as furniture.
If you are using the battery and notice any problems with it such as odor, change of shape, fluid coming out if it, smoking, increase of heat, and odd noises. Stop using the battery and device and move if to a safe place away from anything flammable and call 911.
If you experience a fire on your home or property in St. Mary's or Calvert Counties give us a call today to make it "Like It Never Even Happened."
Do you sleep with the door open at night?
Closing the door can save your life.
When you go to bed at night, do you sleep with the door open? If you do you might want to think twice. Years of research conducted by UL's Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI) have shown that simply closing your door at night could save your life if a fire is to occur.
The research shows that a closed door is a safety barrier to buy you more time and protection from fire and smoke. The reasoning behind this is when you open a door during a fire it is giving that fire oxygen which will feed the fire and in return will cause that fire to expand. If you close the doors and windows to your home it will cut off the oxygen and contain the fire improving your chances of survival. Another benefit of closing your doors is if a fire does happen it creates a safer environment inside that room by greatly reducing entry of smoke, poisonous gasses, and temperature.
It's extremely important for you and your family to have a plan if an emergency is to happen. Talk with your family come up with an exit plan and where to meet if a fire is to happen in your home. If you experience a fire remember SERVPRO of St. Mary's and Calvert Counties is always here to help.
Dirty Ducts can lead to fires in Southern Maryland
Before and After of Duct Cleaning
When thinking about fire prevention tactics, duct cleaning to prevent a fire from starting is probably not the first thing you would think about. Not to mention, ducts are typically hidden above the ceiling, so they are always out of sight. But there is more than just ducts above a facility’s ceiling. There are mechanical systems, structural elements, wires and anything else that would be hidden above the ceiling. And with work from insulation, fire-stopping as well as construction, dust can easily build up quick.
Accumulated dust can pose as a fire hazard. Dust is flammable and a fire can start from a spark of energy, or an extremely hot surface. The more dust build up there is, the more chances there are for a fire to happen. According to NFPA 654, annex D states that cleaning is needed immediately “whenever a dust layer of 1/32- inch thickness accumulates over a surface area of at least 5% of the floor area of the facility or any given room.” The same rule applies when it comes to cleaning a facility’s ductwork.
Although duct cleaning may not be the first thing you think about in fire prevention, it is important to clean your facility’s ducts. Not only does cleaning ducts help reduce the risk of a fire from starting, but it improves airflow in your facility’s HVAC system. All dust can be a fire hazard, and by cleaning your facility’s ducts, you are preventing dust from accumulating. By preventing dust from accumulating, you are ultimately helping to reduce the chances of a fire from starting.
If you have dirty ducts or experience a fire/smoke loss at your Southern Maryland property give us a call today at 301-862-9500.
St. Mary's County and Calvert County Smoke and Soot Cleanup
Cleaning of Soot
Smoke and soot are very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and soot facts:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Different Types of Smoke
There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of St. Mary's and Calvert Counties will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:
Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
- Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
- Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
- Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 301-862-9500 for St. Mary's County or 410-535-4733 for Calvert County.
Holiday Season Fire Prevention
Stove top fires are very common during the holiday season.
The Holidays are here and you know what that means? Large Family gatherings with lots of food! With all this cooking it should come to no surprise that there is a clear increase of fires. According to the National Fire protection Association from 2014 to 2018 fire departments nationwide responded to approximately 172,900 cooking related fires, that averages out to 470 fires per day.
here are some tips to prevent cooking related fires,
- Never leave a cooktop unattended when in use.
- Use a timer to remind you when the food is done cooking.
- Don't Cook if you are sleepy or intoxicated.
- Keep Flammables away from stove tops.
- If you leave the kitchen shut off the stove top.
Here at SERVPRO of St. Mary's and Calvert Counties we hope you have a wonderful holiday season.
Outdoor Bon Fire Safety for Southern Maryland
Bon Fire Season
This time of year in St. Mary's and Calvert county we are starting to experience cool fall weather that many in our area love! These dropping temperatures are brining out an outdoor activity that is loved by most...Bon Fires! They are a great way to sit back, relax, and enjoy some time with family and friends. While bon fires are fun to be around they can also be extremely hazards and pose a threat to your home. Here are some tips to keep you and your home safe while enjoying a fire.
First is to have the right location. Never have an fire with overhead structure such as roofing from your home or overhang from tree branches . Keep your fire pit at least 15-20 feet from any structure. It is important to make sure you rake away any dead leaves and twigs from your fire pit. Also make sure your fire pit is lined with a barrier such as rocks.
Second is to check the wind. You don't want to have a fire on a windy day due to the fact it can blow embers and sparks towards flammable material such as the woods (Dry leaves and sticks) or your home which can result unintentional fires. When you have a good wind advise your guest and family to sit upwind of the fire so they don't have smoke blowing on them.
Third, make sure you have a way to extinguish the fire. It would be good to have a bucket of water or even a fire extinguisher nearby so if something happens you are prepared. Lastly, never leave the fire unattended and make sure somebody is there to keep an eye on it.
We here at SERVPRO of St. Mary's and Calvert hope these tips will be useful for you this fall season. If you have any questions about fire safety give your local fire department a call and they will be glad to help.
Prepare For The Worst, Always Have A Plan
Have a plan!
Have you and your family members established a plan in the case of a fire? While we hope you never have to use your plan but it is always important to plan for the worst.
SERVPRO of St. Mary's and Calvert Counties would like to help you establish an emergency plan for you and your family.
Step 1: Have a family meeting and walk through all exits of your home including windows.
Step 2: Choose an outside meeting place. one that is a safe distance from your house and easily to remember and access.
Step 3: Make sure all members of the family know the household number and know how to call the fire department
Step 4: if there are infants or older adults that need assistance assign one person to be responsible for them
Step 5: test your plan!
Once you have successfully exited your home make sure you do not return inside until you have been given the all clear from the fire department! Be sure to give us a call for all your clean-up and restoration needs.
Red Flag Warning For Southern Maryland
Red Flag Warning
A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures are all contributing factors in a red flag warning. A Red Flag Warning means the current or future weather conditions are favorable for critical fires.
SERVPRO of St. Mary's County and Calvert County wants to educate you on what NOT to do during a Red Flag Warning here in Southern Maryland as temperatures continue to rise.
During a Red Flag Warning you should avoid all outdoor burnings including bonfires, fireworks, smoking and more, especially near wildland. If you are grilling or other equipment be cautious of your area.
Brush fires can spread quickly cause widespread damage and evicting thousands of animals from their homes. If you see a Red Flag Warning, do you part and avoid any potential factors that could increase the risk of a fire.
Check out the link below to read an article on a local Brush Fire that happened this past March 2021.
Kitchen Cooking Fire Facts
Prevent a kitchen fire!
It is important to keep your family safe while cooking them one of your delicious meals.
Here are some fire statistics according to the National Fire Prevention Association:
- Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and fire injuries. 49% of home fires resulted in 21% of the fire deaths and 44% of the injuries.
- 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.
- Stovetops account for 61% of home cooking fire incidents.
- Leaving your cooking unattended is a factor in 31% of cooking fires and 53% of the associated deaths.
- Frying is the number one cooking fire problem.
- Thanksgiving is the number one day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day, the day before Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas Eve.
To keep yourself and other safe while cooking SERVPRO of St. Mary's and Calvert Counties wants to remind you of these simple cooking safety tips:
- Never leave your cooking unattended
- Always double check that you have turned everything off before exiting area including leaving the house and going to bed
- Keep anything that can catch fire away from the stovetop
- Use a timer to be reminded when you food is done
Fireplace & Wood Stove Safety
Heat your home safely!
During these chilly, snowy winter days it is important to keep your home heated well to help from the freezing of your pipes as we have mentioned before but it is also very important to keep your home safe from a fire while doing so.
SERVPRO of St. Mary's County and SERVPRO of Calvert County would like to highlight a couple key points to keep in mind while you are lighting up your fireplace or wood stove to help protect your home from a fire damage.
- Keep object and anything flammable at least 3 feet way from your fire place
- Never burn paper
- Never leave the fire unattended
- Have a professional check and clean your fireplace once a year
- Ashes should be place in a metal tin with a lid and set outside at least 10 feet from your home
- Keep glass or metal in front of your fire to prevent embers or sparks from flying out
More tips for fireplace and wood stove safety can be found on the USFA page.
Dirty Air Ducts Leading To Fire
Check Your ~Air~ Ducts!
Dirty air ducts can be not only a health hazard but also a fire hazard. It is important to routinely get your air ducts professionally cleaned every 3-5 years.
Overtime, dust, dirt and lint will build up within your air ducts which can cause an ignition automatically leading to a fire. Cleaning your air ducts is comparable to cleaning the lent out of your dryer, except unlike the dryer you do not need to do it every use.
Unfortunately, SERVPRO of St. Mary's and Calvert Counties in the past has received calls for fire damage clean up where the fire started from dirty vents in their bathroom. We want to help you prevent that from happening, so if you have not had you air ducts looked at in a while, give SERVPRO of St. Mary's and Calvert Counties a call! We can get you scheduled quickly and have the best technicians around to ensure that your home and family will be taken care of.
Halloween Fire Safety For Your Leonardtown, MD Family
That time of the year again where you are able to bring out your spooky, creative and characteristic side. Have you decided what you are going to be for Halloween this year?
Halloween is the stable for the year coming to an end and a start for many for the countdown of Thanksgiving and Christmas. The best part about Halloween is that it is a time for kids to show off their favorite character and adults to bring out their inner child.
Unfortunantely, it seems that with every Holiday there is always a risk and here today we want to highlight some of the most common Halloween fire risk that the National Fire Protection Association has documented. We want to ensure that you and your families can be cautious and safe this Halloween season.
The tradition way to light up your Jack-0-Lanter is to put an open flame candle but to eliminate the fire hazard that comes along with that, it is wiser to put a battery-operated candle or a glow stick.
Staying away from costumes that have long pieces are fabric will help keep from your costume accidentally landing in an open flame.
Decorations such as dried flowers, hay or cornstalks catch fire easily. It is highly recommended to keep all open flames a good distance away from decorations.
Lastly, always have a defined, clear exit route in case of an emergency and a fire extinguisher nearby.
Grilling Season In Charolette Hall, MD
As the weather is getting warmer, people have started to uncover their outdoor grills and putting them back into use. As the usage of outdoor grills increase, so does the increase of accidentally grill fires. According to National Fire Protection Association, Gas grills were involved in an average of 8,700 home fires per year, including 3,600 structure fires and 5,100 outdoor fires annually. Leaks or breaks were primarily a problem with gas grills. Eleven percent of gas grill structure fires and 23% of outside gas grill fires were caused by leaks or breaks.
While using your grill on these warmer days and as we head into summer use these safety tips provide by Nationwide on how to keep you safe as you whip up your delicious meal.
1. Grill outside and away from any structures
2. Make sure you grill is level and stable
3. Clean your grill before and after use
4. Check for leaks in your propane tank
5. If the flame goes out, turn your grill off and gas off and wait a couple minutes before re-lighting
6. Never leave the grill unattended and keep children and pets away
7. Be precautionary with charcoal started fluid
8. Be properly dressed
9. Always have a fire extinguisher nearby if things go south
SAFETY Burning Candles In Mechanicsville, MD
Candles can really make or break your home. They put out amazing smells that capature an entire room, they add as decoration to empty areas in your home, they have the power to make a room feel istantly cozy and they add just that little bit of light needed but if the proper safety measures are not taken, they can tear down your home in minutes.
According to "U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests that 85 percent of candle fires could be avoided if consumers followed three basic safety rules:
- Never leave a burning candle unattended.
- Never burn a candle on or near anything that might catch fire.
- Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets."
Let's talk about a couple safety burning measure to be taken:
- Never leave a candle unattended
- Never burn the candle around anything that can catch on fire
- Keep candles at a safe distance, away from children or pets
- Never leave a candle on while you are sleeping
Why Should You Sleep With Your Bedroom Doors Shut In Prince Frederick?
Close Your Doors!
As a kid, did you prefer your bedroom door shut or closed when you were sleeping? As you got older, did those habits change. And now maybe as a parent, do you shut your kids door or shut yours?
While I am sure there are some pros and cons of sleeping with your bedroom door shut, today I would like to highlight a key reasons why you should sleep with your bedroom door shut, that being in case of a fire.
According to, UL's Firefighters Safety Research Institution (FSRI), only 29% of people close their door while they are sleeping. Having a closed door can be the difference between 1000 degree temperatures and 100. A door closed is critical to ones survival when it comes to a fire. Most people see that there is smoke and they want to get the smoke out so they open a door or a window but really what they are doing is feeding the fire. Fires need oxygen to survive, the second you open the door or window you may be letting the smoke out but you are letting the air in, giving the fire exactly what it needs to grow larger and move faster. A closed door can give you those extra seconds you need to get yourself out of the house.
The FSRI has continued to promote the Close Your Door public fire safety campaign which give real life examples of how closing your doors can make all the difference when it comes to a fire. For more information check out their site, https://closeyourdoor.org/.
Have You Cleaned Your Dunkirk Home's Exhaust Fans?
Exhaust Fan Fire
When you are doing your daily, weekly, monthly or even seasonal cleaning, does cleaning your bathroom exhaust fans ever cross your mind?
If it has been over 6 months or you never have clean your exhaust fans at all, you should get to it right away. Exhaust fans present great fire hazards. An exhaust fan is used to eliminate steam from the bathroom that cause fogged mirrors, windows and damp walls as well as remove odors. You can imagine what is passing through those fans and over time the lint that is building up. Build-up of lint can cause the fan to become over-heated igniting the lint, plastic fan blades and the combustible wood structure.
Some newer exhaust fans have a sensor that will automatically turn off the fan if it starts to over-heat but with that being said you should not always rely on it. It is important that you clean and maintain your exhaust fans twice a year. If you can see lint building up on the outside of the fan, it is time for a deep cleaning! If you start to notice a bad smell or hear a notice, it may be time to replace the fan.
Don't let the small things go unnoticed!
Give Thanks & Use Our Turkey Safety Tips
How do you cook your turkey?
Did you know that according to the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments responded to about 1,570 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving in 2016, the peak day for such fires? And that the number 1 reason was because of unattended cooking.
It seems so simple to not let should disaster happen but as simple as it is to think that way, is as simple it is for those flames to sparks. You may believe that this will never happen to you, but here at SERVPRO of St. Mary's and Calvert Counties we want to help ensure that your holiday doesn't turn into flames.
Planning on frying your turkey?
- Don't use fryer inside! Keep fryers off decks, out of garages and a safe distance away from trees and other structures.
- Make sure the turkey is thawed and dry before cooking. Extra ice or water mixing into the hot oil can cause the oil to overflow leading to flare-ups.
- Place the fryer on a level surface, and do not move it once it's in use.
- Keep a safe distance between the tank and the burner (when using a propane-powered fryer).
- Choose a smaller turkey for frying. A bird that's 8 to 10 pounds is best.
- Never leave fryers unattended.
- Watch the oil temperature carefully. If you notice the oil is smoking, turn the fryer off.
- Turn off the burner before lowering the turkey into the oil. Once the turkey is submerged, turn the burner on.
- Wear protective eye-wear, use oven mitts and keep a fire extinguisher close by.
- Keep children and pets away from the fryer at all times.
- Once finished, carefully remove the pot from the burner, place it on a level surface and cover to let the oil cool overnight before disposing.
- Make sure bird is completely thawed and dried
- Ensure the appropriate time for cooking the turkey. Use a meat thermometer to check if the bird is cooked.
- Clean the oven and areas around
- Use pot mittens
Thanksgiving is a time for family and holiday traditions! Don't let a simple mistake turn into huge disaster.
SERVPRO of St. Mary's and Calvert Counties would like to wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Important! Good Smoke Detector
Having a reliable and efficient smoke detector in your home is crucial in protecting your home from extreme fire damage, your loved ones and your prized possessions. There is never a bad time to update your smoke detector and huge variety of options to pick from on the market.
Although a fire detector will not stop a fire from starting in your home, a good fire detector will help minimize the damage and can make all the difference.
Listed below are a couple of great options that may be suitable for your lifestyle (2019).
The Best Smoke Detector Overall:
- First Alert and Carbon Monoxide Alarm - This detector has an electrochemical CO sensor and will alert the other connected alarms when there are dangerous conditions. You can also program up to 11 locations and the detector will tell you where hazards exist.
The Best Hardwired Smoke Detector:
- Kidde Smoke Alarm Dual Sensor Detector - The dual portion of this detector is that it has both photoelectric (smoldering fires) and ionization (flaming fires) sensors. This device can be hardwired into your homes electrical system but also has a 9V battery backup in case of a power outage.
The Best Smoke Detector:
- Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm: If you are not home a lot, this detector might be the right fit for you. This detector will send notification to your phone when problems are sensed, including internal systems issues.
July Fireworks In Southern Maryland!
The Fourth of July is such a great time of the year. So many families and friends coming together to celebrate our country and honor those troops who have found for the country we live in. Watching the fireworks crackle all over the dark sky is something that everyone looks for to every year and we want to make sure you are being responsible and safe with them!
Fireworks can be extremely dangerous; they can cause injuries such as burns, blindness and even death. By following a few simple rules, you can help prevent unwanted injuries.
- Never allows children play and ignite fireworks.
- Always have an adult present to supervise.
- Never place any part of your body directly over the firework while igniting. Maintain a good distance while lightening and immediately back up when lit.
- Have a clear open area to light the fireworks off. Never inside a building or in an area where the sparks can fall on objects creating a fire.
- Never try to relight a firework.
- Do not point or throw fireworks at each other.
- Have a water supply nearby in case of an emergency.
- Never carry fireworks in pockets or light them off in glass or metal.
- Once fireworks have completed their burnings, drench them in plenty of water and then dispose of them properly.
- Allows make sure your fireworks are legal.
Hand held sparklers can also be very dangerous. The above steps can be used to help prevent the chance of injuries.
Education On Fire
Every 24 seconds a fire department respond to a fire and approximately 80% of all fire death happen in a home, with an average of 7 deaths daily.
In just two minutes a fire can become deadly and it only takes five minutes for your residents to become engulfed in flames.
Fires are fast; a small flame can turn into a major fire with 30 seconds. In minutes, the house can be filled with thick black smoke.
Fires are hot; the heat of the flame is more threatening than the flame itself. At floor level, the temperature of the room can be 100 degree and rise to 600 degrees at eye level. These temperatures will melt your skin and scorch your lungs.
Fires turn dark; at first the fire is a bright orange, red, yellow and blue colored but will quickly turn into complete darkness with the black smoke.
Fires kill; fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. The smoke and gases kill more people than the flame does itself.
Thousands of deaths are caused by fires, burns and other fire related injuries a year and cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires and fire injuries. We all love a good home cooked meal, but it is important to keep fire safety as a priority so it will not be your homes last meal.
- Be alert; make sure if you are going to bed the oven or stove is turned off
- Do not leave the fryer, grill, boiling or broiling unattended
- Remain in the kitchen while cooking and check regularly
- Use a timer
- Keep items that can catch on fire away from the stovetop
In the event of a cooking fire, have a fire extinguisher in reach. Only use if you are confident in your ability to active and use it. While using the fire extinguisher, remember the acronym P.A.S.S.
- Pull the pin
- Aim low at the base of the fire
- Squeeze the handle slowly
- Sweep the nozzle side to side
Your safety is one of our priorities!
What Should You Do If A Fire Has Happened?
Fires are devastating. They leave a hopeless feeling and worry of what you should do after the flames are extinguished. All you can see is the soot and smoke damage that is left behind on your ceilings, walls, carpet and floors. SERVPRO of St. Mary's and Calvert Counties see your property restored to back to pre-fire.
If your home or business has suffered a fire it is important that appropriate steps are taken in order to prevent further damage. SERVPRO of St. Mary's and Calvert Counties wants to make sure that your property has a successful restoration, therefore, we would like to provide you with some helpful tips.
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets
- Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpets.
- Keep hands clean to not further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
- If electricity is off, empty refrigerator/freezer and prop doors open
- Clean soot off of appliances and protect them by applying a light coat of petroleum jelly or oil
- Change HVAC filter and tape doubles layers of cheesecloth over air registers to prevent foot from entering
It is also important to know what NOT to do after a fire to ensure you are not further damaging your property.
- Do NOT attempt to wash walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery
- Do NOT attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water
- Do NOT use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water
- Do NOT turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet
- Do NOT send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning could set smoke odor.
In an event of a fire call, SERVPRO of St. Mary's and Calvert Counties, to ensure that your property is in great hands and follow our tips for a successful restoration.
Clothes Dryer Safety
Over 2,900 house fires are reported each year with the cause being a clothes dryer. Leading to an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries and $35 million in property damage.
It is important to know how to keep yourself safe from fire. Regular cleaning and maintenance can be the simple solution to protecting your family and home. Knowing when and how often is a key step.
First - you want to have your dryer is properly installed. Have a professional make sure the correct plug and outlet are being used and that it is connected correctly.
Before Each Load - make sure that you clean the lint filter out before each load. Cleaning the lint filter is simple; all you have to do is pull the screen out a wipe the lint out. If it seems that the filter is clogged, submerge it into hot water and use a bristle brush to remove any excess lint. Check areas around the dryer to make sure there is no lint being built up.
Every Three Months - remove the lint from the lint pipe which is usually located behind the dryer and can be removed. Taking a damp wash cloth can help make sure any remaining lint is cleaned out.
If your clothes seem to be taking longer to dry call a professional to come inspect your dryer.
- Use without a lint filter or one that is damage or lose
- Leave dryer on when you are not home or going to bed
- Dry foam, rubber or plastic