Fire Damage Prevention

This image is called the Fire Triangle.  It gives the most basic and accurate depiction of what is needed for a fire to start and continue to burn.  If any one element is removed from the situation, the fire will die.  Introducing more of any element will cause the fire to grow.  The most widely used extinguishers will remove at least one of the elements from the triangle.

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In the case of fire damage, the best defense is a good offense.  Being informed as to the dangers inside and outside your structure is the best way to prevent a fire.  However, not all fires can be prevented.  Accidents happen all the time and we at Empire Roofing and Restoration will be here to help you through the hard times and assist you in picking up the pieces and getting back to normal in your life.  There are several things you should know about fires and what to do after disaster strikes and many of those things will be outlined in this section.

FIRE PREVENTION AND PREPARATION

The first step to mitigating any danger is being educated.  There are a few things to know about fires and fire prevention that don’t take very long to become familiar with.

  1. The most common type of fire in the U.S. is the kitchen fire.  It can be caused by a number of different things like: hot grease, the combination of electricity and water, and high heat.  Grease fires are the most dangerous in the kitchen due to the fact that they can get out of control very quickly spreading to other items in the kitchen and even other rooms.  Electrical fires can be started when a kitchen appliance comes in contact with water.
  2. Electrical fires are another very common fire within any structure.  Faulty or old wiring are 2 causes that contribute to most electrical fires in the U.S.
  3. Another common cause for fire through the winter months is stand-alone heaters.  Weather it be electric or gas operated, they can both be very dangerous due to the high heat they produce at their surface.  Keeping your heater too close to flammable items can cause them to ignite and burn.  Keeping your heater too close to things that are plastic can cause the material to melt and eventually catch fire.
  4. Cigarettes are another very common cause of house fires.  These fires can be deadly in that the person smoking usually falls asleep with the cigarette in their hand and by the time they realize it, it may be too late to escape.  These fires count for a large number of deaths in the U.S. every year.

Knowing the dangers listed above is very important.  Ask yourself this…

“Do I have a fire escape plan?”
“Do I store too many flammable items near my stove?”
“Do I have a serviceable fire extinguisher within reach in my kitchen?”
“Is there a clean path to a door just in case a cooking pan catches fire?”
“Do I know the different classes of fire and how to extinguish each of them?”

If your answer was “NO” to any or all of these, take some time to gain the knowledge you are lacking.  Buy yourself a fire extinguisher for the kitchen at a minimum.  It is recommended that you have one on each floor of your home and one additional in the kitchen.

The classes of fires and what is involved in the fire are as follows:

Class “A”—are fires that contain ordinary combustibles like wood, paper, plastic, cloth and trash.

Class “B”—are fires that contain flammable liquid such as gasoline, petroleum oil, paint, and can also contain propane, and butane.  This does not include cooking oil or grease.

Class “C”—are fires that involve energized electrical items such as motors, transformers and appliances.  If you take away the power element then the fire will fall under a different class.

Class “D”—are fires that involve combustible metals such as sodium, potassium, aluminum, and magnesium.

Class “K”—are fires that contain proteins, cooking oils and grease such as animal fats and vegetable oils.  This is the most common fire in a home.

Knowing what class of fire you are dealing with is important so you choose the right extinguisher for the job.  The following are the most common types of fire extinguishers:

Class “A”—extinguishers is used to address class A fires.  The numerical rating on the tank indicates the amount of water it holds and the amount of fire it can extinguish.  Geometrical symbol is a green tiangle.

Class “B”—extinguishers is used to address class B fires.  The numerical rating on the tank indicates the approximate number of square feet of fire it can extinguish.  Geometrical symbol is a red square.

Class “C”—extinguishers is used to address class C fires.  The C on the tank indicates that the extinguishing agent is non-conductive.  Geometrical symbol is a blue circle.

Class “D”—extinguishers is used to address class D fires only.   There is no multipurpose rating for this extinguisher.  Geometrical symbol is a yellow decagon.

Class “K”—extinguishers is used to address class K fires only.  There is no multipurpose rating for this extinguisher.  Geometrical symbol is a
black hexagon.

The most common extinguishers are APW (air-pressurized water), BC, and ABC.  The most versatile unit is the ABC and is a good one to have for most fires as it is a dry chemical spray.  The APW is only safe on standard combustible materials, NO OILS OR GREASE!  When you spray water on oil or grease it will spread the flames and may be life threatening.  Specific extinguishers are sold to address class K fires and should be maintained in the kitchen for potential grease and oil fires.

Like any other disaster, there is a very detailed process to the way we handle a fire job should catastrophe ever strike.  The following is just a small look at the way things are handled when you call Empire Roofing and Restoration to address your fire claim.

  1. Prior to beginning work for you at the fire damaged property, we will verify that the fire inspection has been completed by the handling fire department and the site has been released back to you and has been deemed safe to work in.
  2. If the claim comes to us as an assignment then we will get an initial work authorization signed and make contact with the insurance company and see if there are any special circumstances that need to be addressed before we begin work i.e. an emergency board up is needed.
  3. We will photograph and document to great extent the damages to your property and personal belongings along with a detailed inventory listing of everything that is salvageable and what is not.  A good inventory is the key to getting the value of your personal items returned to you via payout by the insurance company or purchase of a new item.
  4. If things can be cleaned on-site then we will take care of that but if they need to be cleaned off site we will arrange for storage of personal property to be cleaned.  Once the fire clean and rebuild is complete on your property then we will clean your personal items and return them to your home.