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How to Protect Your Home from Kitchen Fires

How to Protect Your Home from Kitchen Fires

The kitchen is the heart of the home where meals are lovingly prepared. But, did you know that the kitchen is also the most likely place that home fires begin? Read on to learn how to protect your family from the dangers associated with kitchen fires.

How to Protect Your Home from Kitchen Fires

Most common causes of kitchen fires

The most common causes of kitchen fires are frying food and leaving cooking food unattended. Frying is a particularly dangerous way to cook because oil is highly flammable, and heating the oil too much or having splattering oil will quickly cause a kitchen fire. Be aware that walking away from any cooking food is dangerous even if you think you will be gone for a short amount of time.

Take preventative actions

Prevent fires by keeping flammable items like oven mitts, dish towels, and utensils away from the stove-top, and keep at least one small fire extinguisher in your home and make sure it is accessible in the kitchen.

Also make sure that your cooking tools are appropriate for what you are trying to prepare. This includes making sure your stove-top is in good working order as well as your pots and pans being the correct size. You may want to consider investing in an outdoor fryer if you do a lot of frying.

Stop a fire in progress

If you notice that your oil starts smoking, immediately turn your cooking temperature down. Smoking oil is a sign that it is too hot and will catch on fire soon. The only way to put out a grease fire is to smother it, so keep a lid near your cooking area.  If you can’t put it out, shut the door and get everyone out of the house.

Damage to your home

Depending on how large the fire was, you may see significant damage to your kitchen. Besides the obvious damage to stove top and melted appliances there may also be unseen damage to gas lines and electrical lines. It is always best to call the fire department to make sure that your home is safe before you re-enter after a fire.

Another big issue with kitchen fires is the fumes and soot caused by burning plastic and other items. You will need to wash down your walls, clean out drawers and cabinets, and be sure to change your air filter. Soot from the kitchen fire will travel to your entire home through your air ducts.

That’s the luckier side of things. Kitchen fires can easily become full-fledged house fires, and you could end up without a home. Unless put out extremely quickly, a fire will likely require the assistance of either an electrician, a disaster specialist or both to get the home back to safe and comfortable conditions.

How To Protect Your Documents In Case of Emergencies

How To Protect Your Documents In Case of Emergencies

Most of us have family photos and one-of-a-kind paper and digital documents that we’d be lost without. It is wise to be aware of what natural disasters and other emergencies damage your irreplaceable documents and how you can protect your documents from emergencies. Keep reading and find out.

How To Protect Your Documents In Case of Emergencies

Natural Disasters Can Damage Your Documents

What natural disasters and emergency situations can damage your priceless documents? Here’s just a few unforeseen circumstances you could find yourself up again:

  • Fire (from nature or from an electrical failure in your home)
  • Flooding
  • Severe Weather (thunderstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.)
  • Mold Damage
  • Termites (they like to eat paper as much as they do wood)
  • Theft

So, what can you do to make sure you don’t lose all your documents during an emergency?

Protecting Your Documents During Emergencies

Don’t get caught off-guard. Follow these emergency document protection tips:

  • Have an emergency plan. Being unprepared will cost you. Consider having a “go-bag” with photo copies of your important documents, cash, clothes and other necessities. Know what documents you need to protect (birth certificate, marriage license, etc) and have them in multiple safe places.
  • Keep multiple backups. Always backup your digital and print files. Have photocopies of important documents stored in more than one location – like one at your home, one at your work and another at your parent’s house. Back up digital documents on an external hard drive and to the cloud.
  • Store priceless documents in a fireproof, flood-proof safe. This is a great safeguard for your home and office. Be sure your safe is installed in the wall or bolted to the floor, so it can’t be easily stolen.
  • Keep files in elevated places. Never store paper files or photos on the floor – this is inviting water damage. Place your documents in waterproof containers and at the top of shelves or in your attic.
  • Get mold, crawlspace and critter inspections. Problems sneak up on you when you’re not actively looking out for them. Regularly look for mold in potential trouble areas. Have your crawlspace checked for critters, termites and mold. Wherever you store your documents, keep the area clean, so you don’t invite any unsavory conditions.

 

 

Tips To Protect Your Home From Disasters

Tips To Protect Your Home From Disasters

There’s never a good time for a disaster to strike your home. You can, however, be prepared for when the unexpected happens. Here are action steps you can take now to better protect your home from disasters.

Routine Maintenance

When it comes to fire damage, most fires are caused by electrical malfunctions. Prevent fires from ever happening by making sure all electrical cords are in excellent condition. This is one thing duct tape can’t fix.  If you have exposed wires, call an electrician to take care of the problem. Additionally, check to make sure all major appliances are plugged directly into wall outlets and not power strips or extension cords. For smaller electronics, invest in power strips that have surge protection.

Get your roof inspected regularly to insure that your roof is in excellent condition before bad weather hits. Keep your trees properly trimmed. Make sure branches are not hanging precariously over your roof.  Keep your gutters clean as they help prevent foundation issues caused by oversaturation.

Regularly check for leaks in your pipes. If there’s a leak, call a plumber to take care of it. A little leak can cause a lot of damage over time. If you will be away from your home for an extended period of time, consider shutting your water off altogether and draining the water present in the pipes. You can also invest in covers for outdoor faucets and tube pipe insulation for exposed pipes inside of the home. Both are handy for preventing pipes from bursting due to frigid conditions.

Be Prepared

No matter how well you maintain your home, disaster can strike. Here are a few supplies and strategies to have on hand when those happen:

  1. Have a water and fire-proof safe for important documents.
  2. Know where the main water valve is for your home and how to properly shut it off.  There’s nothing like coming home to water flowing from a burst pipe. It would be even worse if you didn’t know how to take care of it.
  3. Invest in a wet/dry vacuum. Having one of these on hand in the event of flooding decreases the chance of damage and mold. You’ll want to get to work right away pulling the water out of your home.

No one wants a disaster but there are ways to lessen the effects. If you keep your home properly maintained and have a few tools on hand when disaster comes knocking on your door, you’ll be prepared.

The Unknown Damage From Fire

The Unknown Damage From Fire And How RCS Can Help

Few, if any of us, contemplate what steps should be taken if the unfortunate circumstances arise of a fire. It could be our home, place of business, or a storage building. We purchase fire insurance in the hopes it will not be used. Perhaps you are reading this as a result of a fire, or it could be that you are interested in knowing what steps can be taken if this occurs to you. Let’s dive into some of the basics of fire damage and what can be done to rebuild to the way the structure was before the fire damage occurred. 

One of the biggest threats that occurs is, surprisingly, smoke and ash damage. Most people assume it is the flames themselves. Ash damage is not widely spoken of, but it is corrosive and emits powerful odors. In addition to these characteristics, ash discolors surfaces quickly. If the ash is left untreated for even a few days, it will permanently discolor walls, upholstery, and wood furnishings. Of equal concern is any metal in the home, as it will begin corroding within a few days as well.  

Anytime a significant fire occurs, the inevitable water damage as a result of the fire department extinguishing the blaze needs prompt attention. Equally important will be a proper inspection to see if there is any significant roof and structure damage. It will have to be inspected promptly to investigate whether the home or business is structurally sound. 

The good news is that nobody has to shoulder this burden alone. RCS will assist with all aspects of the cleanup and restoration of your fire damaged building; be it a home, place of business, or storage building. In fact, it is suggested that before you open an insurance claim that RCS is contacted as we work closely with the insurance companies to assist the customer with the urgency of the restoration. RCS works with, not for, insurance companies.

 

Fire and Water Damage -- At the Same Time?

Fire and Water Damage — At the Same Time?

As a homeowner, you’re probably more than aware of the dangers that can threaten your home. The thought of a flood, electrical fire, or damage from a storm can be enough to keep many people up at night, and it’s even worse when you have to deal with more than one problem at once. While it might seem a little absurd at first, one combination of damage that actually occurs quite frequently–and with perfectly good reason–is fire and water.

So, how does this happen? There are a number of scenarios where such a seemingly unlikely situation can occur. Regardless of how it happens, as a homeowner you should know that when water or fire damage occurs, time is of the essence. The longer you wait to assess the damage and begin repairs, the more of your house will succumb to damage, whether it be structural damage, mold, or something else. So, how can such a scenario occur?

Chain Reaction

When you think about it, it’s very likely that one event can cause another. If you live in an older house, for example, there’s a good chance that some of your home’s systems are in need of maintenance. If this includes plumbing, then water damage from leaking or burst pipes is only a matter of time. If your house also has older wiring in its walls, then these leaking pipes can cause your faulty and exposed wiring to get wet, which can spark a fire. This is why it’s important (even if you’re house is newer) to make sure your house is being properly maintained.

Putting Out The Fire

While the above scenario makes perfect sense, here’s one that’s probably even more likely: suppose your house catches fire. In this scenario, the reason doesn’t matter. Electrical, ashes from the fireplace — for whatever reason, your house is on fire. When firefighters arrive to put out the fire, there’s a good chance that they’re going to be spraying water (as well as other substances) to put out that fire. So, when it’s all over, the water used to end the fire caused just as much damage as the fire that they were trying to put out.

So, as you can see, what seems like an unlikely combination of events is one that actually makes sense, and could happen to anyone. And while you can’t prevent everything from happening, you can try to do your part to make it less possible: get your electrical systems checked out. Have your plumbing inspected. Take precautions to prevent a fire from starting in your house. And if something does happen, don’t wait before getting the damage assessed and fixed.

Top 10 Causes Of House Fires

Top 10 Causes of House Fires: Poker Night At The Burns’

**A humorous representation of the top 10 causes of house fires**

Well, tonight is Poker Night. Poker Night is a bit of a ritual for me and my buddies. Once a month, on a Saturday night, we all get together. We take turns hosting, and this Saturday night means that we converge over at Billy Burns’ house. That is if he hasn’t managed to burn it down yet. You see, he’s not the most careful guy in the world.

Surely, we’ve all had that one friend who has cheated fate. Well, Billy Burns has constantly cheated fate because he and his family pay no attention to fire safety rules. In fact, they absolutely stomp all over fire safety guidelines. I’ll point out a few house fire causes as I try to enjoy Poker Night at the Burns’.

Using a charcoal grill indoors – We arrive right around 8:00, to the sight of Billy trying to start his charcoal grill; in his garage; with A LOT of lighter fluid. The ensuing fireball scorches the garage ceiling, but amazingly, doesn’t start a fire. We shake our heads in wonder. Feeling more than a little light-headed (carbon monoxide can do that to you), we proceed into the house.

Power cords and unattended cooking – Billy’s garage door opens into his family room. After walking across a rug that covers a couple of overloaded extension cords, we walk into the dimly lit kitchen to store our beer in the refrigerator. Apparently, Billy wanted to wow his poker buddies with an extravagant spread of food, because he is cooking, correction, burning, hamburgers on his unattended stove. As we open the fridge, the hamburger grease in the pan catches fire. Luckily, there is a lid for the fry pan in the sink. Someone quickly sets the lid on the burning fry pan and the fire dies out. Now we’re really getting nervous.

Kids playing with lighters and smoking in bed – Eventually, things calm down, beer flows, and we get down to some serious poker. Of course, when beer flows, bathroom breaks ensue. When it was my turn to make a bathroom run, up the hall I went. The first thing I happened to see was in the living room. Billy’s two little kids were sitting around the coffee table, lighting little pieces of paper on fire, and laughing hysterically. Shaking my head, I moved up the hall towards the bathroom. In one of the bedrooms I could see Mrs. Burns, sitting on her bed (about to doze off), watching TV, and smoking a cigarette.

Overloaded electrical circuits – Finally, I made it to the bathroom, amazed that I made it that far. I flipped on the light, and was greeted by a shower of sparks from the outlet above the sink. They must have had five or six different things plugged into that one socket with a multi-outlet converter. Then the lights went out completely. Then I smelled smoke. It wasn’t charcoaled hamburger smoke either.

We didn’t even have time to grab the beer from the refrigerator. At least everyone managed to escape the fire. Not much was left by the time the fire department put out the flames. Poor Billy, his wife, and kids, all huddled together on the sidewalk looking at the charred remains of their house. In the quiet I heard Billy mumble, “I can’t believe our house burned down.”

I guess Poker Night won’t be at the Burns’ house for a while.