Category Archives: Fire Damage Restoration

It’s Personal…

What’s More Personal Than a Person’s Home?

HomeWe all hope that we’ll never need the services of a professional restoration company. The reality is that you or someone you know will have a situation that requires them. Why should Whalen Restoration Services be the first choice for Cape Cod, MA property owners? Most people want to work with an established company that has a great reputation. They want the company to be licensed and insured, the workers to be experienced and trained, and the best tools available to be used with up-to-date techniques. There isn’t a restoration company that won’t claim to have all of these positive attributes. Our special difference: Whether the project involves a residential property or a commercial property, our President, Bill Whalen, is tuned in to the needs of the owner.

Bill ensures that all of us at Whalen Restoration Services realize that there is nothing more personal than someone’s home. If put in the same situation we would want to be back in our own homes as soon as possible, and we work diligently to be sure that our clients are. Business owners have additional concerns, specifically the expense of being unable to operate the business while the restoration is ongoing. We helped one restaurant owner who had a fire just before a major holiday, and another restaurant owner whose building was hit by a car at the height of the summer season. Anyone who is familiar with Cape Cod knows that being closed during those times would be devastating for business! We also saved business for a hotel where, had we not responded in the fashion that we did, a wedding would have been forfeited. Our timely restorations also saved the insurance companies significantly in all of these cases. Bill’s empathy and understanding for the business owner contributes immensely to the successful completion of their restoration projects.

Many of us here at Whalen Restoration Services have homes and families of our own, so we completely understand that it is personal to have us in yours. This business is even family owned and operated. These are huge reasons why we’re committed to restoring every residential and commercial property to its pre-loss condition in a timely fashion with quality and courtesy.

Want to learn more about Bill and our office staff? Read on!

December Home Maintenance

Decorations, strolls, carols, parties, football and the start of winter weather – December sure has a lot going on! We’ve simplified this month’s maintenance to-do list so that you can focus on the beauty of this special time of year. From our big Whalen Restoration Services family to yours, Happy Holidays!

Bulb

  1. Test all of your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
  2. Unpack and test all electrical holiday decorations. Repair or discard any that do not function properly.
  3. Review the family fire escape and emergency plans with every household member.
  4. Check your fire extinguisher’s expiration date and the gauge to ensure that it is fully charged.
  5. Check that there is still insulation around all exterior pipes and make sure that water cannot seep under the insulation.
  6. Detail clean your dishwasher, trash compactor and countertop appliances.
  7. Clean your range hood and either clean or replace the filter.

Printable version: December Home Maintenance Checklist

Holiday Safety

With all of the decorating, cooking, company and busy schedules it’s no secret that the holiday season brings a large increase in property damages and injuries.  We’re here to help those numbers go down! Before you deck the halls, light the menorah or ring in the New Year with a crowd read this refresher on holiday safety.

Holiday Cooking Safety Tips

Cooking

  • Think twice before frying your turkey. Yes, fried turkey is delicious, but it’s one of the most dangerous methods you could ever try. If you do plan on frying up the main course don’t overfill the pot, turn off the flame when you lower the turkey into the pot, fry outside far away from the house and shed on a flat, level surface that is not wood, make sure the turkey is properly thawed before dropping it, and keep a grease-fire-approved extinguisher (Class B Dry) close by just in case! See what can happen.
  • Don’t leave cooking food unattended. Cooking a turkey in the oven takes hours but please resist the urge to leave, even for just a few minutes. If baking, simmering, roasting, or broiling make sure to check on the food often and stay in the kitchen. If you need to step away even for a short period of time, turn it off.
  • If you have pots and pans on the stove make sure you turn the handles away from you, and keep kids and pets away from the stove and oven.
  • Make sure your fire extinguisher is not expired, that it’s fully charged, and remember the PASS instructions (Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep).
  • Keep knives, matches, lighters, and hot things out of reach of children.
  • Keep your floors clear of tripping hazards.
  • If you end up with a fire in your oven turn the heat off and keep the door CLOSED.  

Holiday Decorating Safety Tips

Decorating

  • Location, location, location – Make sure decorations and candles are kept at least 3’ away from the reach of kids and pets. Keep your tree at least 3’ away from any heat source or electrical.
  • Keep your tree hydrated – A dry tree is a major fire danger. Preventing a fire starts with selecting a fresh tree that keeps its needles when touched. Lowe’s helps us select the perfect one! After you cut the tree to size you need to check it daily and add water as needed. Set yourself an alert on your phone to remind you, or purchase a Tree Nanny!
  • When the tree starts to lose needles and dry out make sure to quickly dispose of it away from your house, garage, or shed.
  • Before plugging them in inspect every inch of each string light to make sure there are no breaks or tears in the wiring. Discard damaged ones. Every string has a limit set by the manufacturer of how many can be connected together before you’re risking electrical shock or fire. Mark each set with a tag indicating that limit and connect no more than recommended.
  • The fire is so delightful but putting anything near it can end up frightful! Just as we said with the kids and candles you want to keep things clear of your fireplace as well. If you light fires under your mantle then hang your stockings elsewhere. Consider purchasing flameless candles instead of lighting real ones.
  • The Ooohs and Ahhhs for your outdoor display are not worth the risk of an overloaded electrical outlet. This coincides with only connecting the maximum amount of strings that the manufacturer recommends. Refrain from using extensions or outlet splitters.
  • If your string lights have loose connections toss them out.
  • Indoor or outdoor? – Pay close attention to the type of lights you’re buying and where they should be hung. If you’re not storing them in their original boxes make sure to label them for next year. Here are some great decoration storage ideas!
  • Before you leave the room or fall asleep make sure to turn off all lights and extinguish all flames first!
  • Use clips, not nails, to hang lights, like these Command Clear Decorating Clips.

 

Fire Prevention Week: Commemorating the Great Chicago Fire

Every year we come upon the week of October 9th, and amongst pictures of pumpkins and foliage, we find daily campaigns of fire safety and prevention. You may be familiar with the week itself, and even recognize its faithful mascot, Sparky the Fire Dog, but it wasn’t always just about education and public awareness. The reason for designating this week actually goes back to the tragedy of a particular day.

Fire Prevention Week

                        www.firepreventionweek.org

On the evening of October 8th, 1871 a fire started around a small barn in the city of Chicago. With wood and highly flammable roofing materials being the predominant building supplies of the city, strong southwest winds, and a few errors in the emergency response, the small barn fire turned devastating for the city. Adding to the perfect recipe for disaster, the fire was preceded by drought conditions that had been plaguing the region since July.

What started the fire is still left up for debate, but when all was said and done, the fire took out more than 2,000 acres. More than 17,400 structures were affected, roughly 300 people killed, and 100,000 residents were left homeless. Much of the city’s central business district had been completely destroyed. In the 40 years after the terrible event, people continued to think about what could have been done differently, and it was decided that each anniversary to follow would be observed in a way to promote fire safety awareness, and to teach the importance of fire prevention. This definition quickly blossomed into what is now our annually observed Fire Prevention Week.

Although Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, there was a series of fires that very same day, and the country suffered the worst forest fire in American history. The Peshtigo Fire was a fire storm that was said to have been started by smaller fires intentionally set to clear land for the growing railroad. Although the specifics couldn’t be accurately determined, the blaze took down around 16 towns, and killed over 1,100 people. When the blaze reached the small town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin, it was completely destroyed within just an hour. It even skipped over the Menominee River destroyed several Upper Michigan towns. Separate from the Peshtigo Fire, Michigan originated its own fire, known as the Great Michigan Fire. The logging business was booming in the state at that time, and the raw wooden materials and bark remnants simply fueled the firestorm’s appetite.

From the collective ashes of these fires, survivors rose to mourn lost loved ones, and share their tales of bravery and heroism. People started to think differently about fire safety and awareness. Rather than the anniversary being a solemn day, the 40th anniversary decision to make it a campaign for public safety has been amazingly uplifting and beneficial to the cause. In today’s world, we trust in building codes, flame retardant materials, and regularly practice evacuation routes. We are more aware of how to properly store things, and what to check often to prevent hazards. Fire Prevention Week reminds us yearly about the importance of fire safety awareness, and of course reminds us to test those smoke detectors, but it all originated from that fateful day of October 9th, 1871.

Soot – What, Where, Why, and How

firedamage

What exactly is soot?
On a chemical level, soot is impure carbon particles created by partial combustion of hydrocarbons. It is usually the flaky or powdery remains of burned matter after a fire. Soot also has a gas phase in which it contains a known human carcinogen. Carcinogens are agents directly involved in causing cancer.

What are common sources of soot?
When most people think of soot a live flame in a fireplace and a chimney come to mind. Soot can also derive from furnaces, coal burning stoves, boilers, incinerating waste, forest fires, and internal combustion engines. More locally, other sources include candles, cooking, oil lamps, and settled dust on halogen bulbs. The source of the soot and the level of oxygen present when burning directly impacts the type of soot created, whether it be dry and dusty or even greasy. You’ll notice soot created when oxygen is reduced around the flame of a candle if you hold heat-safe glass over it for a moment.

Why is soot harmful?
Aside from the carcinogen contained in the gas phase as mentioned above, many different types of soot can pose a number of hazards. Soot such as the type caused by diesel exhaust is harmful to the environment and eyed as a prime subject to air pollution and global warming. Air pollution is hazardous to the environment and the health of humans. Prolonged exposure to soot ridden air pollution can contribute to heart disease.

It’s the incomplete combustion that serves the formation of toxic compounds such as dioxins. You see the negative effects of this during the Industrial Revolution when factories were causing major pollution.

Soot is dangerous when it is not properly maintained in a chimney or other source of ventilation. When it is allowed to build up, it can cause chimney fires, stove hood ventilation issues, or even cause the particles from a fireplace to backdraft into your home. If that happens you may be looking at a large soot cleaning that will require professional services.

Is any soot beneficial?
Soot has been used for pigment in inks and dyes for centuries. Modern day utensils include fountain pens, toner for laser printers, and crayons. To treat rubber, a vulcanization process is used with a soot material called carbon black. In small quantities, dry dusty soot from clean organic material can be beneficial to vegetation when mixed in with the soil. Oil soot is never good for this purpose.
So there’s the good, the bad, and the ugly on soot. What it is, what causes it, and what it can do. If you have any other questions, feel free to write me and I’ll include it in a new segment.

Photo credit to isthatart on stock.xchng