10 Tips for Preventing Home Fires Before They Start

Are you at risk for a house fire?

According to the National Fire Protection, over 1,000 house fires occur every day in the United States. Heating equipment, kitchen appliances, and tobacco products trigger the majority of residential blazes. In light of that harrowing statistic, it’s crucial to thoroughly inspect your home for fire hazards and learn techniques that help minimize the risk.

Cooking

1. Watch your kitchen appliances closely and be sure to remain in the kitchen while using broilers or grills. Finish cooking and shut off all appliances before you depart.

2. When you turn on a stove or oven, always use the timer. This ensures that you’ll remember to remove the food when it’s done. If possible, set the appliance to automatically turn itself off.

3. Don’t forget to switch off cooking equipment when an electrical outage occurs. If the utility restores power after you leave home or fall asleep, an appliance could cook the food until it ignites.

Electrical

4. Consider installing an arc-fault circuit interrupter. This device often prevents dangerous electrical fires. Indiana is the only state that doesn’t require it in new homes.

5. Exercise caution when using outlet splitters or power strips. Don’t connect more than one high-wattage machine to the same outlet. Such devices include heaters, air conditioners, and cooking appliances.

Tobacco

6. Avoid smoking indoors, especially when you drink alcoholic beverages or feel drowsy. The NFPA warns that tobacco products trigger almost 3,600 U.S. home fires in an average year.

Exhaust

7. If you own a clothes dryer, take the time to regularly clean its vent. A fire may occur after lint accumulates and the vent becomes clogged.

8. Hire a professional to examine and sweep your chimney. It’s best to inspect pipe seams, flue pipes, and other components every year, according to the city of New Castle, Ind.

Heating

9. Keep all flammable objects at least 36 inches away from space heaters, and avoid using this equipment while you sleep. These devices cause one out of three heating-related blazes.

10. If your home has a furnace or boiler, confirm that the emergency shut-off switch works correctly. Your entire family should know how to find this switch and when to use it.

These safety precautions could prevent thousands of house fires each year. At the same time, it’s impossible to stop every blaze from happening. Homeowners can expedite the recovery process by contacting Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling. Our experienced technicians in northeast Indiana know how to fully recondition homes with fire damage.

For more details or a free quote, visit our website or contact us today.

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5 Steps: Remodeling After a House Fire

Unfortunately, fire damage and smoke damage go hand in hand

House fires are serious business, and if you’ve just lived through one for the first time, you know how hard the road to remodeling looks. From smoke damage to structural ruin to financing, there are a lot of things to cover in the days after the embers die out. The good news is that with a lot of hard work and a little help from professionals, it’s possible to fully recover from disaster and even turn it into an opportunity to build your dream home. Here are the five tips you need to know to get started:

1. Get Your Insurance Agent on the Line

The majority of home insurance plans cover house fires, but because of the complex nature of assessing disaster damage, financial help can be slow. The sooner you call, the faster you can begin the restoration process.

In the meantime, be careful when talking to public adjusters and anyone else who offers you unsolicited deals on remodeling. After your insurance agent gives you a rundown of your options, you’ll have a much better idea of where to look for help.

2. Separate the Saved From the Lost

Your insurance agent will need to get an inventory of items that were damaged beyond repair. Plus, organizing everything involved in the fire into two simple lists will make it easier to plan restoration and prioritize replacements.

3. Make Time for Your Insurer’s Investigation

While filling out paperwork, meeting for appointments and returning frequent calls can feel overwhelming when you already have so much on your plate, communicating with your insurance company throughout the investigation process will help you maximize and speed up reimbursement.

4. Find the Right Temporary Housing

If your home was severely damaged, chances are that you’ll need to stay someplace else, at least in the beginning stages of restoration. Hotel rooms, the traditional go-to for displaced homeowners, can be expensive and not very convenient. Staying with friends or family would likely be the most affordable option, but if you want all the comforts of home while you wait, consider use an online booking service such as HomeAway or Airbnb to find a short-term vacation rental instead.

5. Hire Experienced Contractors

There’s so much more to house fires than lost property. The first sparks start a chain reaction that affects everything from plumbing to electrics. Working with a professional crew is the best way to get damaged home systems back up quickly and safely. To take stress and extra expenses out of the equation, screen your team for licensing, experience and reputation.

Are you looking for contractors you can trust? Contact us at Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling or visit us online for more information about our services in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

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After the Disaster: How to Deal With Insurance Claims

After a fire or other life-altering event, you may be thankful just to be in one piece. Nonetheless, it’s important to start rebuilding, and the quicker you begin, the sooner you’ll be able to resume life as normal.

While additional responsibilities are probably the last things you want to deal with at this point, restoration and reconstruction usually go better when you handle them proactively. If you’re like most homeowners in such dire straits, this probably means you’re going to have to negotiate your way through an insurance claim. Here are some key steps that might help you file for the damages and still keep your cool.

Document Everything Under the Sun

Successful insurance claims depend on accurate, extensive documentation. Remember that there’s never such a thing as submitting too much paperwork.

At some point, you may disagree with how your policy provider is handling your case. For this reason, experts say it’s vital to maintain records of all communications, including emails and calls. You’ll also want to document your new living expenses so that you can claim various unusual hardships, like the cost of having to lodge in a hotel or travel further to and from work.

Note that this is all in addition to photos of damaged property and professional restoration estimates. Make things easier on yourself by being as organized as possible.

Learn Your Policy’s Boundaries

You can save yourself a lot of heartache by finding out what your policy covers early on. For instance, if a fire damages your roof, your terms may only compensate you for an amount equal to the value of the damaged roofing prior to the blaze, and this figure might include depreciation. Understanding these differences can stop you from having to pay out of pocket for restoration work that exceeded your limits.

File Your Claim Sooner Rather Than Later

Filing early is by far the most important part of the claims process. Most policies only permit payments for those who submit claims without delay. Letting too much time elapse between the event and when you file might even cause your provider to earmark your claim for potential fraud.

If you plan on reoccupying your existing property someday, this is also the time to obtain estimates on repairs and restoration. For example, letting flood-ruined building materials sit around may allow damage to spread and result in you requiring more extensive corrective work. Since insurers are less likely to pay higher claims, controlling costs by staying on the ball could give your request better chances.

Wondering how you’ll fare during the insurance claim process? Chart out a restoration plan that eases the burden by getting in touch with Paul Davis online.

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After The Fire, Smoke Leaves Its Mark

Smoke from a house fire can cause as much damage as the fire itself. Soot, foul odors and ash residue can be everywhere, even in parts of the house that were not damaged. The longer this residue remains in your home, the harder it is to get rid of. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can fix the problem yourself; cleaning up after a fire is always best left to professionals.

Calling A Pro Is The Only Way To Go

After a fire has been extinguished, you might think the damage has been contained. This is not the case. Smoke can cause serious and ongoing damage in a home even though you can’t see it. Until and unless the home is professionally treated, it will never return to its former state. Restoring a building after a fire is not complicated, but it does require special equipment, proper cleaning methods and significant manpower.

What Kind Of Damage Is Caused By Smoke?

Fire byproducts such as odors, soot, smoke and ash residue cause ongoing corrosion, etching and discoloration the longer they remain untreated. Ash residue quickly discolors plastic, fiberglass and appliance finishes. As the days pass, metal surfaces tarnish and corrode. Wood surfaces deteriorate. Carpeting, walls, rugs, draperies, upholstery, curtains and clothing become discolored. Glass surfaces and windows can suffer such severe etching that they must be replaced.

The Sooner The Job Is Done, The Less Damage There Will Be

Smoke damage restoration companies have the resources and the know-how to treat smoke damage, but only when they are called to the scene immediately. The longer you wait, the more damage there will be, and the more expensive and difficult the restoration process will become. A professional restoration company can also help you to secure your property and will work with your insurance agent to help you get a speedy settlement.

A professional restoration team can assess the degree of smoke damage and give you an estimate of the work to be done. This process must be completed without causing the ash residue to spread throughout the home. The team will then clean up the ash residue and inventory the damages. Household goods and personal possessions are removed for cleaning and restoration.

Using industrial-strength water extractors, fans, dehumidifiers and other powerful equipment, your team can remove the water and moisture used to extinguish the fire. Meanwhile, disinfectants and other chemicals are used to treat odors, prevent mold and mildew, purify the air and sanitize your home’s interior. Upholstery, draperies, carpeting and clothing may require dry cleaning and additional deodorizing.

The smoke damage professionals at Paul Davis believe in eco-friendly solutions for fire, smoke, ash and soot damage. We have been helping homeowners to recover from fire and smoke damage for almost 50 years. To learn more, visit our website today.

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Chimney Cleaning for Fire Safety

It’s not fireplace season yet, but soon enough you’ll be ready to fire up the chimney and enjoy the beautiful glow and smell of fresh burning firewood with your family. Before you light up the first log, you need a thorough chimney cleaning to prevent possible home fire hazards, especially if you have prior damage from water, fire or smoke. Chimney cleaning can be complicated business, so don’t take any chances by trying to do it yourself. Do yourself a favor and schedule an inspection by a professional before the temperature drops so that you can start using your fireplace as soon as winter sets in.

How Often Should You Have Your Chimney Checked?

Fireplaces and chimneys become hot commodities during the winter, but they need special attention during the rest of the year to keep them working safely. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, chimneys should be inspected once a year at minimum to ensure structural soundness and to remove any deposits or obstructions. Any necessary chimney cleaning, repairs and restoration should be performed before using your fireplace for the first time during the cold season. Even if you don’t regularly use your chimney, you should still have it inspected for animal nesting or deterioration.

Why Should You Schedule An Annual Chimney Cleaning?

In addition to routine maintenance by a professional, you should regularly sweep your fireplace as soon as you notice sooty buildup. Acidic soot deposits can drastically shorten the lifespan of your chimney and serve as fuel in the event of a home fire. Chimneys in areas that are prone to a lot of snow and ice such as Indiana need special attention because cracks can form in the mortar as water freezes and expands. Wear and tear from water and smoke can add up over the course of a year, and it can affect the durability and efficiency of your unit. Structural repairs can take time, so you should have your chimney inspected and cleaned during the warm months before you’re tempted to light up your fireplace.

Paul Davis Provides Restoration Services in Indiana

Don’t wait for disaster to ignite. However, you can’t always prepare for unexpected disasters. If your home has suffered fire damage, contact Paul Davis today for restoration and reconstruction services.

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Don’t Plug In Your Electric Blanket Until You Read This

There is no better ritual for beating the winter blues than wrapping yourself in a warm electric blanket and sipping hot cocoa. However, like many good things in life, the comfort of your electric blanket comes with risks. Here are the most common hazards associated with electric blankets and what you can do to stay safe and warm this season.

Electric Blanket Burns and Fires

Every electrical appliance carries a risk of starting fires, and electric blankets are no exception. For example, in 2013, an overheated electric blanket was responsible for $90,000 worth of destruction to a California home. People getting burned by electric blankets is less common, but it still happens, which is why you should never fall asleep with your blanket plugged in. The best way to limit opportunities for burns and fires is to follow the safety instructions that come with your blanket and to turn it off when not in use. The majority of fires are started by blankets that are old and overused, so replace your electric blanket at least every ten years or sooner if you notice any tears or frayed wires peeking through the cloth.

What to do in the Event of an Electric Blanket Fire

– Remove the blanket’s plug from the outlet if you can safely do so.
– Have everyone evacuate your home before trying to extinguish the fire.
– Call 9-1-1 immediately.
– Never use water on an electrical fire as it will only make the situation worse.
– Use a “C” fire extinguisher if you have one to put out the flame.
– Baking soda can smother small fires if dumped directly onto the flames.

When Accidents Happen, Paul Davis Helps Indiana Rebuild

Has your home or business been damaged due to fire, flooding or other mishaps? If you live in Northern Indiana, help is right around the corner: Paul Davis has been the Hoosier State’s leader in property damage mitigation, reconstruction and remodeling for decades. Visit our webpage for our full list of services to see how we can restore order to your home.

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Extreme Weather Damage

When winter weather gets more extreme, so do the consequences of not preparing for the worst. Small issues like an overhanging tree can turn into a tree in the living room after a cold-snap and strong winds. Foundation cracks can turn into foundation failures when exposed to freezing ground-water. Pipes can burst in winter, leaving you without hot water, or causing damaging flooding, which can be incredibly dangerous in cold weather. Regardless what kinds of catastrophes you face, a disaster restoration plan are something that no homeowner should be without. Here are some of the risks that you could encounter and ways to cope effectively.

Flooding
Don’t believe that Indiana homeowners are at risk of high-water events in the midst of cold weather? Just look back to 2005, when severe winter storms and flooding in the state prompted the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to declare a major disaster that lasted for the entirety of January and much of February. Or consider the fact that the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program says that floods are the number one natural disaster in the country.

With dangers like ice jams that cause rivers to spill over and snow-melt that can overwhelm normal drainage channels, flooding hazards are real. Even if you follow FEMA’s advice by purchasing flood insurance, you’ll need to consult with restoration experts right after your disaster to get the most out of your policy.

Fires
Indiana winters can make you think of moving somewhere much warmer, but the frigid cold doesn’t protect your property from blazes. For a variety of reasons, such as increased cooking and heating activities, house fires are more common in winter than at any other time of year.

Fires can be worse in inclement weather because they eradicate your property’s barriers against the outside world. For instance, flames that burn through roofing or exterior walls subsequently allow moisture to get inside and cause additional damage by freezing. Without expert disaster management assistance, repairs may also take longer.

Ice and Snow
Ice storms don’t just cause water to freeze uncomfortably close to your home. While these events can indeed result in the formation of ice dams that tear roof shingles apart or make gutters fall, they can also impact the trees and power lines around your property. When these features collapse, the aftermath may be even more catastrophic.

In some cases, snow buildup itself damages homes. This is especially concerning with older properties that may not be quite as structurally sound as they once were. Heavy snow that causes your roof plane to bend or warp can create weaknesses that worsen with every passing season. No matter how minor the problem seems now, failing to take immediate action is almost certain to cost you down the line.

In winter, rapid emergency restoration needs to be one of your primary concerns. The risks of waiting around after an incident are undeniable, and your real estate’s equity will suffer for every second you delay. To learn more about extreme weather disaster restoration, contact a Paul Davis expert now.

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Fire Aftermath: Will Insurance Cover Smoke Damage?

Even a small fire may yield considerable amounts of smoke. This results in unsightly stains and strong odors. Prolonged exposure could seriously harm your health. Soot is difficult to remove, so professional cleaning often proves necessary. Fortunately, insurance companies pay for cleaning and repairs in most situations.

Renters

If you rent a house or apartment, your landlord probably insures the building. The insurance company will pay for repairs to items and structures that the landlord owns. It may cover walls, ceilings, carpets and appliances. However, you’ll be responsible for replacing or fixing all personal possessions.

People with renters insurance usually qualify for compensation when smoke damages their belongings. It covers furniture, electronics, clothing, rugs and similar items. The insurer may also reimburse you for restaurant meals and a motel room if you can’t safely stay in your home.

Homeowners

Nearly all Indiana home insurance policies cover smoke damage. Mobile home insurance usually pays for restoration services as well. However, many insurers subtract deductibles which may be as high as several hundred dollars. This means that you may have to pay for a portion of the costs of professional cleaning and repairs.

Most home insurance policies don’t cover soot removal in unoccupied dwellings. Depending on the specific company, a house is considered vacant after all residents leave for one or two months. So, homeowners need to notify their insurers and pay for vacant home coverage. Insurance companies require special policies because unoccupied buildings are more likely to suffer damage.

Commercial

Business owners with property insurance normally qualify for compensation when smoke damage occurs. These policies pay for repairs to furniture, uniforms, equipment, supplies, and other assets. If you own a building, the insurer will also cover structural components like ceilings and walls.

Many Indiana business owners rent their stores or offices. In this situation, the landlord’s insurer is responsible for fixing most damage to the building. A business operator still needs to insure his or her equipment. If a landlord fails to repair a commercial building, tenants generally have the right to cancel their leases and move elsewhere.

Exclusions

Most home, renters and business policies exclude certain kinds of smoke damage. Many insurers reject such claims when industrial facilities or agricultural smudging produce soot. There’s a chance this could happen if you live near an orchard or factory. Furthermore, these policies typically don’t cover damage triggered by arson.

After a fire occurs, remember to board up any broken windows and document all related expenses. File an insurance claim as soon as possible for the best results. The smoke damage remediation experts at Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling can help. We thoroughly remove all traces of soot and work with insurers to maximize compensation. To learn more about our services, visit our website today.

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How to Negotiate With Your Insurer After a Fire

Contacting your insurance company is the first major step in fire restoration.

Learning how to negotiate with your insurance company can help you make the fire restoration process a little less stressful.

It may be the last thing you want to do after going through a traumatic house fire, but the sooner you open the lines of communication with your insurer, the faster you’ll get the home you love back in shape. Despite their reputation of being tough and unemotional, most insurance agents are more than happy to help their clients collect the benefits they deserve. They just need your help to do their job quickly and correctly. Here’s how to get the ball rolling in the right direction:

Take a Closer Look at Your Contract

If you’re like most homeowners who suddenly find themselves dealing with unexpected fire damage, chances are that you haven’t reviewed your insurance policy since the day you bought it. Going through it in detail before you call is the best way to up your confidence and put yourself in control of the negotiation process.

Remember to keep a copy in front of you whenever you speak with insurance agents to make sure they’re holding up their end of the deal and that you’re asking for compensation that fits within your contract’s conditions. When emotions are running high, it’s easy to forget that what your insurance agent can do is limited by the terms of your agreement.

Hang on to Damaged Items

In addition to structural fire restoration, insurance policies usually cover the majority of the items that were lost in the flames. Even if they’re beyond repair, holding on to damaged possessions can instantly give you the upper hand throughout the negotiation process.

In general, have a master list of all perished goods ready before the adjuster pulls into your driveway to make sure you don’t leave anything out later on.

Ask for Living Expenses

Depending on your policy, you may be able to get coverage for temporary housing while your home is being repaired. Since reimbursement is usually provided after you make upfront payments, get proof of coverage in advance if your insurance carrier agrees to foot the final bill.

Don’t Give Them a Reason to Say No

Remember that insurance companies have to be selective about which claims they approve to stay in business. Incomplete claims, lack of proof, and coverage limits are a few common reasons why claims get denied. To streamline the process, create a complete file that covers everything related to your claim, including receipts, pictures, records, and damage estimates. For more tips on filling out fire claims, read this report from ABC News.

Need more information about fire restoration in Northeast Indiana? Contact Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling or head to our homepage for expert advice and local recovery services.

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Step by Step: After the Fire

A house fire causes emotional and physical damage, and the effects can last for years. After the fire, Paul Davis steps in and eases the strain, implementing careful procedures to secure your property and prevent complications in the future. House fires and the process of starting over or rebuilding may seem overwhelming. We’re here to ensure a smooth transition and outline our steps to make everything okay again.

5 Key Steps for Efficient Fire Restoration

  1. Cleaning Visual Damage

A fire leaves its mark and creates widespread damage in a short time. We use environmentally friendly methods to clean up the soot and any residue that is left after a fire. We make sure to remove all traces of damage without using products or methods that could pose a threat to your belongings or family.

  1. Purifying the Air

Smoke sticks to fibers and penetrates porous surfaces long after the fire has been extinguished. We specialize in smoke odor removal and air purification, making sure to extract and remove the smoke from affected areas and locations where the smoke has traveled and settled.

  1. Restoring Personal Items

We take careful inventory of your belongings and household goods before removing them from your home. Once removed, we take care in cleaning and restoring the items before returning them to you.

  1. Removing Water Damage

Firefighters use abundant water to douse the flames. Unfortunately, the water not only causes damage to the fire area but also to unaffected areas. We use industrial-grade water extractors, air movers, dehumidifiers and more to remove standing water and prevent additional damage.

  1. Protecting Against Mold and Mildew

If water steps into wood or fabric, it can promote mold and mildew growth. We use strong disinfectants to clean the water-soaked areas and apply antimicrobial solutions to combat mold and mildew before they sprout and spread throughout your home.

Paul Davis Secures and Restores Your Home

No matter how severe, a house fire doesn’t have to put an end to your happy home. You can start over. Contact Paul Davis to learn more about our fire restoration services. Our experienced and qualified team is here to help you recover, restore and rebuild after a fire.

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Summer Fire Safety For Your Home

Summer is finally here. It’s time to play outside, barbecue in the backyard and chill under warm evening skies. The season comes with its share of routine chores around the house too. As you gear up for lawn mowing and tree trimming, put these home fire safety tips on your must-do list, too.

1. Baby Your Grill – Without regular maintenance, your outdoor cooking station can cause serious fire damage. Keep drip pans and grates free of grease build-up that can turn open flames into dangerous flares. If your setup uses a gas tank, check lines for wear, and make sure connections are tight. Always keep kids and pets a safe distance away from the grilling action.

2. Keep Things Wet – Shrubs that shrivel under the hot summer sun are potential fire hazards. A stray spark from the grill or a carelessly tossed match can ignite flames in a dry backyard. Keep the lawn watered, replant dead areas, and cut back dry brush. Keep an eye on tree branches over your grill too. A flare-up that scorches burgers can also ignite that shady canopy overhead.

3. Keep Extinguishers Handy – When you’re cooking outdoors, always have an extinguisher within reach, and keep another one handy in the kitchen. Check the pressure gauge every month. Replace any extinguisher that shows wear on its hose or nozzle. If your extinguisher is older than 10 years, invest in a new model. It costs far less than addressing water damage and smoke damage to your home after a fire.

4. Play Safely With Fireworks – Fireworks are fun, but they can also be dangerous. Always light them a safe distance from the house, and keep them away from the kids. Don’t try to light up the sky all at once. Proceed with caution, and keep a bucket of water nearby for duds and spent fireworks.

5. Develop a Plan Now – Every home needs a solid fire evacuation plan. Get the family together, and determine multiple escape routes out of the house. Go over evacuation basics that include staying low to the floor to avoid smoke, testing door knobs for heat and using windows for exits if necessary. Identify safe routes out of the backyard too.

We want you to stay safe this summer and enjoy the season. If you’d like more ideas for home fire safety tips, contact Paul Davis today. We offer more than 20 years of professional reconstruction and restoration experience, and we’re here for you 24/7.

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The Fire Damage Restoration Process: An Overview

Fire damage restoration is a detailed and complicated process. Not only are homeowners dealing with the emotional shock of a fire, but the damage from the fire, smoke, soot and water (from firefighting efforts) can be equally as devastating. Top that off with the necessity of restoring the home immediately, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed.

To understand why restoration needs to begin right away, let’s take a quick look at how fire damage affects your home and belongings.

• Within minutes – Immediately after a fire, the soot settles on everything and causes discoloration. Appliances, plastic items and other porous materials such as grout, marble and granite are affected right away.

• Within hours – If the soot remains on furniture or appliances for several hours, the initial discoloration begins to turn into dark stains.

• Within days – Fire damage sets in deeper if not handled immediately. At this point, stains can become permanent on walls, furniture and appliances.

• Long-term damage – With every passing day, fire damage restoration will cost more because the finish on floors and furniture will be so damaged they may need to be replaced altogether.

With time ticking away, it’s vital that you take care of any damage from fire, smoke and soot as soon as possible. You may attempt to take care of the restoration process yourself, but hiring a professional is the only way to make sure the proper steps are performed as best as possible.

1. Protection – Once the fire marshal has cleared individuals to enter your home, restoration professionals will wear protective clothing and gloves. For extra protection from breathing in fumes and chemicals, they may use an oxygen tank.

2. Ventilation – Opening up all the windows and doors will help get any residual smoke out of your home. Fans may also be brought in to help circulate the air.

3. Cleaning – This is the tough part. To get all the soot and smoke out of your home, professionals use a high-efficiency vacuum to get the soot out of your carpets and upholstery. Then they thoroughly clean the interior of your house including the windows, doors, floors, walls and fixtures. For fire damage outside your home, you can pressure wash the exterior completely.

4. Aftermath – To get rid of the unpleasant odor caused from fire damage, you can use disinfectant and deodorizing sprays. While sprays can help temporarily, the best solution is to deep clean your home as soon as you can.

When restoring your home after fire damage, contacting expert fire damage specialists immediately is a smart decision. Paul Davis has trained experts ready to assess the damage and help you get your home back to normal. For more information, visit our website today.

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The Top 7 Ways House Fires Start

Your home is the place that keeps you safe and sheltered, so it can be frightening to think about a fire starting in your comfortable haven. However, the National Fire Protection Association reported that there were almost 500,000 building fires in 2014, and a fire was called in every 86 seconds. Find out the most common causes of house fires, and learn what you can do to prevent them.

Smoking

Smoking is the primary cause of deaths from fires. The embers from a burning cigarette may come into contact with sheets, curtains, furniture and clothing, sending them up in flames. Smoke outside if you can’t kick the habit, and make sure that you completely extinguish your cigarettes, cigars and pipes.

Cooking

Cooking is the most common source of house fires in the country. Cooking fires are usually a result of something being placed too close to a heat source on the stove and catching fire. Keep dishrags and pot holders away from your stove and oven, and store a fire extinguisher in the kitchen to prevent cooking fires from making your home a statistic.

Heating

The second most common cause of house fires and fire-related deaths, heating fires are usually caused by portable heaters. Don’t use a space heater near combustible materials, while you’re sleeping or when you’re not home.

Electrical

Electrical fires can be generated when light bulbs are installed in lamps that cannot withstand the bulb wattage. Faulty wiring or plugs can also lead to electrical fires. Never tamper with a plug or electrical socket, and don’t use extension cords as a permanent solution. If you need additional outlets, have them installed by a professional.

Fireplace

Although fireplaces can be cozy, they can also be dangerous. Most fireplace blazes start because the chimney is not properly cleaned and maintained. Make sure that you open the flue before lighting the logs in your fireplace and have your chimney serviced regularly. Don’t use your fireplace for cooking, and don’t leave a fire unattended.

Dryer

Your dryer could catch fire if it malfunctions, is not properly cleaned or is subject to an electrical problem. Keep your appliances safe by having them installed by an expert. Clean out your lint filter with each use and your vent pipe at least once a year. Make sure that lint doesn’t collect behind, under or around your dryer.

Candles

You’ve probably heard it before; candles are a major contributor to house fires. After you have set the mood, blow out the candles. Never place a candle on an unstable surface or near flammable materials.

If you’ve been unfortunate enough to experience a house fire, dealing with the aftermath can be stressful. Let Paul Davis restore your home to the sanctuary that it once was.

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The Ultimate Guide to Fire Restoration Services

Fires can ignite without a moment’s notice and send your home and belongings up in flames. Though it’s a devastating experience, you don’t have to deal with the aftermath on your own. Cleaning up the fire and smoke damage takes a long time and involved more effort than you may expect. By using a professional fire restoration service, you can avoid the headache and devote more time for putting your life back on track.

The Problem With DIY Fire Restora

If you look online, you can find a do-it-yourself solution for almost anything. However, cleaning up after a house fire requires more than a few DIY techniques. Many people don’t realize that you have more to deal with than the actual fire itself. Where there’s fire, there’s also smoke, and it causes air pollution and stains in the affected area. In addition, firefighters have to put out the flames with water, causing further potential water damage throughout your house.

To make matters worse, not all of the items in your home react the same to fire, smoke and water, so you can’t use the same cleaning techniques to treat everything. Furthermore, if you fail to clean the affected items immediately, it could lead to permanent soot residue and yellowing on the walls, your appliances and more. The shock from a house fire takes a while to wear off, leaving many homeowners baffled about the best ways to get the cleanup started. Hiring a restoration professional ensures the damage is repaired without hassle.

Should You Hire an Individual Contractor?

Individual contractors might only specialize in one area of restoration. For example, they may have the equipment and the knowledge to clean up smoke damage but fail to provide efficient services for mold and water damage or reconstruction. Many of these contractors may not have sufficient staff on hand to assist with the cleanup, which prolongs the entire restoration process.

It’s always wise to seek professional assistance after a fire, but you should choose a company with comprehensive experience, tools, staff and knowledge to handle the job with care and urgency.

Professional Fire Damage Restoration

Contact Paul Davis for more information on how our professional restoration services can help minimize further damage and repair your property. With 24/7 emergency support, smoke odor removal, structural stabilization and more, we’ll help you get back the home you love and return your life to normalcy.

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Top 14 Tips for Preventing House Fires

Living through a house fire isn’t something you want to mark off your list of memorable life experiences. Even small home fires can progress quickly, and the damage from flames, smoke and toxic gases can destroy everything you own and threaten the lives of everyone in your household. For everyone involved, avoiding fire damage is much better than repairing the destruction it wreaks. The following tips can help you reduce your risk of experiencing a house fire. To make your home a safer place, share them with all of your household members.

Essential Home Fire Prevention Tips

  1. Install smoke alarms on each level of your home. Test them every month to ensure that they’re working properly and their batteries are still good.
  1. Develop a fire escape plan with your family, and conduct a fire drill at least twice a year.
  1. Place space heaters at least three feet away from walls and any flammable materials. Always supervise children and pets when heaters are in operation.
  1. If you store gasoline or other flammable liquids, be sure that they’re out of reach and in a childproof container.
  1. Avoid plugging multiple electric appliances into the same electrical outlet.
  1. Never leave a hot oven or stove top unattended. Remain in the kitchen while stove burners, ovens and other cooking appliances are in operation.
  1. Keep dish towels, wooden or plastic utensils and any other flammable items away from your stove top.
  1. Don’t wear long sleeves or loose clothing while cooking.
  1. Keep a working fire extinguisher in your kitchen.
  1. Never leave lit candles or fireplaces unattended. Remain awake while they’re in use, and keep pets and children away from them.
  1. Have all electrical repairs and installations completed by a qualified electrician.
  1. If electrical outlets become warm or discolored or you notice a burning smell, cut off power to the area. Seek advice from emergency services immediately.
  1. Never smoke in bed or leave lit cigarettes unattended.
  1. If a fire occurs, get out of the house immediately. Call for help, and don’t reenter your home until it’s safe to do so.

If It’s Too Late to Prevent Fire, Call Paul Davis

Unfortunately, no prevention plan is foolproof. Thousands of homes suffer fire, smoke and soot damage every year. At Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling, fire damage restoration is one of our specialties. We’ve helped homeowners salvage their possessions and reclaim their lives after home fires for more than 40 years. Our prompt and comprehensive services include soot clean-up, odor removal, water extraction, mold prevention, reconstruction, assistance with insurance claims and much more, and it all comes with the expertise and understanding you need during a major disaster. If you’ve recently experienced a home fire, visit us online to learn how we can help.

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Water Damage from a House Fire? Find Out How

When firefighters are called to the scene of a building fire, everyone is on high alert. First and foremost, these brave men and women need to ensure that nobody is still inside the burning structure. Once everyone is safe, firefighters diligently work to distinguish the damaging flames. Unfortunately, the extreme amount of water required to put out a fire can actually cause damage to the interior of your home, your furniture and personal items. In most cases, water damage is the unexpected destroyer in a house fire.

What Can You Do?

Even if you have been cleared to re-enter your home, you need to extremely careful around weakened support structures from the fire and water damage. According to the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration (IICRC), your best bet is to immediately seek professional help with the restoration process.

In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to minimize the extent of the fire, water and smoke damage.

1. Protect yourself – Only enter your home if you have been authorized to do so by professionals. You need to ensure that you are fully protected from dangerous fumes and chemicals when re-entering your home. Start with thick clothing, protective gloves and a face mask. In extreme cases, you may have to use an oxygen tank.

2. Ventilate the house – It’s important to get fresh air moving through your home to clear out any residual smoke and begin to dry out your house. If you’re lucky, a windy day can really help as you open all your doors and windows. Otherwise, use strategically-placed fans to clear away any remaining smoke and standing water.

3. Preliminary cleaning – This is where expert fire damage restoration professionals can help you out the most. From removing soot, smoke and excess water with a high-efficiency vacuum and industrial equipment to scrubbing the inside and outside of your house, a professional service understands how to properly clean your house.

4. Restoring your home – Water damage can lead to mold, mildew and fungus problems if not handled immediately. While setting up dehumidifiers can help dry out your house temporarily, professional restoration companies have the best equipment and drying techniques to protect your home from any further damage. The last thing you need to deal with is mold remediation on top of everything else.

Who Can You Call?

With the emotional trauma of experiencing a house fire and the overwhelming task of restoring and reconstructing your home, contacting trained professionals is the smartest thing to do. At Paul Davis, we know how to properly assess the extent of the fire, water and smoke damage. In addition, our skilled team understands that fire and water damage restoration needs to be completed right away. If you have questions or want additional information on our restoration and reconstruction procedures, visit our website today.

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Where There’s Fire, There’s Smoke

The importance of timely restoration for fire damage

Unfortunately, fire damage and smoke damage go hand in hand

It’s natural for people to be initially more concerned about the physical damage that’s caused by a fire, but it’s also important to pay close attention to any smoke damage that your property sustains. In fact, the national average for fire damage costs is $10,560, and a significant portion of this figure can be caused by soot and smoke.

What Type of Damage Does Smoke and Soot Cause?

Smoke can get trapped inside your ducts and walls, and in some cases its odor will linger for quite a while. This is one of the most important reasons to consult with a professional when it comes to taking care of smoke damage. To make matters worse, if left untreated, the odor can permeate your whole house and get into your personal belongings.

Soot damage is often even more insidious than smoke because it’s oily and will stain your draperies, carpet, and other household items. Soot will also accumulate on your walls, and it typically takes a special chemical mixture in order to remove all of it. Keep in mind that soot must be completely removed from all of the items that you’re attempting to save before you have them deodorized or cleaned. Failure to take this step will make it virtually impossible for your items to become completely clean.

What If There’s Only a Minor Fire?

Some people believe that a minor fire that doesn’t cause any structural damage will leave them in the clear for issues with smoke and soot, but this isn’t necessarily the case. The reality is that even a fire that’s confined to one room can still cause smoke damage to spread into other areas of the house. This is also critical when you consider the fact that your insurance company isn’t likely to assist you if you find smoke damage after you’ve already settled your claim.

If you’ve sustained fire and smoke damage in your Northeast Indiana home, we’re here to help. Don’t wait! Get professional assistance handling fire, smoke, and other kinds of damage from Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling. Call today or fill out the contact form on our website to get started.

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Your 5-Step Recovery Plan for Severe Smoke Damage

After a house fire, you want life to go back to normal as quickly as possible. Before you can return to your daily routine, you need to assess the damage and clean up the mess. Damage from smoke alone may include soot stains, charring, bubbling, blistering, and unpleasant odors. Follow these steps to remove damage from your home and return it to its former state.

Get Started Right Away

The longer you wait to start cleaning up, the harder it will be to correct smoke damage. As soon as you get the all clear from the fire department that it’s safe to re-enter your home, get in there and start opening windows to ventilate. Take a look at the damage as you go from room to room so you understand what the cleaning process is going to involve.

Use the Right Equipment

To address smoke damage, you’ll need rubber gloves, a face mask, protective eyewear, cleaning cloths, and an outfit you don’t mind getting dirty. You should also have a vacuum cleaner, deodorizing spray, dish detergent, and a trisodium phosphate cleaner on hand. TSP can be found at your local hardware store.

Clear Out the Soot

Soot accumulates in more than just the places you can see. To thoroughly clean, you need to:

• Change the filters in your furnace and air conditioner

• Wash the walls with a mixture of TSP and warm water

• Individually clean copper and brass items

• Vacuum loose soot by holding the hose slightly above the surface to avoid driving dirt into rugs and upholstery

Items that are extensively damaged may need to be thrown away if they can’t be professionally cleaned.

Do the Laundry

Gather up all the clothing, bedding, and other loose linens that have been exposed to smoke and soak them overnight in a mixture of one cup dish detergent and one gallon warm water. Pop them in the washing machine the next day. Alternatively, you can take linens to a professional cleaner.

Call a Professional

If you encounter troublesome stains or smells, let someone else come in and clean up for you. Furniture will likely need a professional treatment, as will carpets and some other fabrics. You have enough to deal with in the aftermath of a fire without having to worry about dealing with smoke damage. Contact us at Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling to take care of this dirty problem. Our professional staff is fully prepared to handle cleanup, restoration and reconstruction to return your home to its former beauty. With Paul Davis on the job, you can relax knowing that your home is in good hands.

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