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Do’s and Don’ts for Clean Up After a Fire

As we move into the colder months, fire safety can be much more of an issue. We’ve got the fall candles lit, making the house smell good, we’ve got burn piles in the yard, getting rid of leaves, space heaters, fireplaces, campfires and extra time cooking in the kitchen… the list goes on.

It can be the perfect combination to cause an accident. You and your family should always be aware of fire safety tips and have a fire escape plan in place just in case. However, if the day comes where you become one of the 1.3 million residential fires averaging in the United States each year, MitiServe Restoration will be there for you.

While there are lots of things you can do to prevent a fire, there are also some things that you should be aware of AFTER the fire as well. Touching items in your home that were damaged by fire, covered in soot and dirty water can put you at risk. 

Cover carpets and floors to protect from additional soot and foot traffic damage
Open all windows of the house to let air out to prevent more damage from smoke and pollutants
Contact your insurance agent and arrange for a specialist like MitiServe Restoration to come and assess the damage
Make a list of damaged possessions and their value to report to your insurance company
After being okayed by a professional, carefully clean any surviving items that you’re trying to preserve

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Do NOT touch anything that has been contaminated by soot or dirty water. You may have the urge to try to save your possessions, but your chances of saving them are much higher if you allow a professional to handle it for you.
Don’t try to clean upholstery or furniture. It is very easy to further damage the area without the proper equipment. 
Do not use any electrical appliances unless allowed and tested by a professional. 
Don’t turn on gas or water until approved by a professional.

As you can see, it is always best to stay away and safe from your house and belongings after there has been a fire. Without the proper training and equipment, clean up after a fire can be very dangerous, and even deadly for a person. The best thing to do is contact your insurance company and have a professional restoration company like MitiServe Restoration come and protect your belongings and your family’s safety as well.

To understand the process of what we do to keep your family safe after a fire, here is the step by step framework for what will happen when we come to help you.

First, we board up the area.
Then we perform Emergency Corrosion Mitigation to prevent further damage.
A partial or complete packout of contents will then be performed.
Next, we will begin the structural cleaning/restoration process and/or perform a demolition if needed.
Personal items will be processed via our state of the art Contents Processing Facility featuring an Esporta Wash System and a Fireline Ultrasonics Systems.
If reconstruction is necessary, we will begin the process.
And finally, we will store the salvageable contents of the house in a climate controlled storage until the site is move-in ready.

MitiServe Restoration also provides other restoration services, such as water damage, contents cleaning and restoration, mold remediation, and fast-track reconstruction. When you choose us, you choose experience, the latest technology, and technicians who truly care. We have locations in Harrison, AR and Springdale, AR. Give us a call today at 844-845-7314 for your restorations needs.


Fire Safety, Fire Damage, Fire Restoration: Part Two

This is part two of three in a series of posts. This series covers the main causes of house fires, how to best prepare and what to do after a fire occurs in your home, and what the fire restoration process consists of. If you have further questions, please contact Jeremy Grigg at Jeremy.grigg@mitiserve.com.

In the last post, we covered the top five causes of residential fires and some key ways in preventing them. A lot of times, taking the necessary steps in prevention is enough to keep fires from happening. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. This makes it critical to be adequately prepared in case you and your family become involved in a fire. Proper preparation could end up saving your life!

What does preparation consist of?

• Have fire escape plan and practice it twice each year. When creating this plan, look for two ways out of each room. Also, identify potential ignition sources and try to avoid these.
• Teach your family how to stay low to the ground while performing escape plan
• Install smoke alarms on every level of the home and in each bedroom.
• Test smoke alarm batteries monthly and replace yearly
• Become trained and have appropriate rated fire extinguishers throughout home (kitchen, garage, etc.)
• Check all windows to ensure they are free from obstructions and neither nailed or painted.
• Consider safety ladders in multi-level rooms
• Check with your insurance agent to see if your structure and belongings are fully covered in case of fire damage.
• Document/inventory sentimental and high value items. This will speed up the insurance claim process if a fire were to occur.

After a fire:

• Do not reenter the home until it is safe to do so (according to the fire department) but be very aware of structural hazards and falling debris. These have the potential to cause severe bodily harm.
• If food, water, or housing is needed, contact your local Red Cross Chapter.
• Contact your insurance company and let them know of the incident.
• Contact the fire restoration contractor of YOUR choice.

A reputable fire damage restoration contractor should arrive onsite immediately after your call is placed. This is where the initial mitigation work begins. While the next blog post will cover this in more detail, there are three common remnants we often see from house fires: soot damage, smoke damage, and water damage. These can have devastating effects on your home and personal items if proper steps aren’t taken promptly and correctly. This makes it extremely important to find the right contractor with the right tools and technology.  

In the case of an unfortunate event such as a fire at your home or business, MitiServe Restoration is one phone call away. Our priority is not only to restore your home but your peace of mind. Whether it’s Northwest Arkansas, Branson Missouri, or Harrison Arkansas, put your problem in MitiServe’s hands.


Fire Safety, Fire Damage, Fire Restoration: Part One

House fires are an occurrence each of us hopes we never have to face. Unfortunately, they are a very real threat. It is something we see rather frequently here in Northwest Arkansas and Southern Missouri. 

This is part one of three in a series of posts. In this series, I am going to touch on the following: the top causes of house fires, how to best prepare and what to do in the event of a house fire, and what the fire restoration process looks like. 

In this post, I am going to keep the discussion limited to the top 5 causes of house fires according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

1. Cooking Equipment: This may come as a no brainer but most fires occur in the kitchen.  According to the NFPA, 45% of all house fires last year started this way.

Safety Tips
Do not leave food or the kitchen unattended while cooking
Move all flammable items away from the stove
Do not pour water on grease fires
Have an appropriate rated fire extinguisher nearby

2. Heating Equipment: This includes furnaces, portable heaters, fireplaces and chimneys.

Safety Tips
Keep the area around your furnace clean 
Maintain a safe space between portable heaters and combustible items
Avoid placing combustible items near fire place
Do not put trash items in fire place
Have chimney swept and inspected by certified professional yearly

3. Electrical and Lighting Equipment: This category is a much broader than the previous two. This can be anything from a faulty plug-in to a circuits overloading on heavy duty appliances.

Safety Tips
Avoid overloading outlets and circuits
Ensure you have the appropriate size extension cord (use indoor cords inside only)
Leave third prong (ground wire) on all plug ins
Unplug Christmas lights and unnecessary electronics when not in use

4. Smoking: Though smoking is toward the bottom of our list, it actually had the highest fatality rate over the five year period NFPA conducted the study. It also a category in steep decline.

Safety Tips
Avoid smoking in the bedroom, especially in bed
Use an ashtray that is deep enough to avoid cigarette butts from falling out
Make an attempt to smoke outside

5. Clothes Dryers and Washers: A common cause of household fires homeowners often forget about is the dryer and washer. The main cause with the dryer is the lint dust and the actual clothing. With the washing machine, it is the wiring and the machine itself. These two unsuspecting machines can wreak havoc on a home.

Safety Tips
Clean lint screen/filter before each use
Clean dryer vent periodically
Do not place combustible items in dryer
Clean behind both washer and dryer regularly 

We hope this helped you understand some of the major causes of household fires. More importantly, we hope you were able to grab some useful information on fire prevention.

If you have fire damage or water damage, call the MitiServe Restoration Emergency Response Team @ 870-743-6607 or toll free @ 844-845-7314. Whether it's Harrison, Branson, or Mountain Home, our IICRC certified technicians are standing by 24 hours a day.