Recent Fire Damage Posts

Why are Fire Alarms so Loud Anyway?

12/31/2020 (Permalink)

Loud Alarm Keeping everyone protected and aware will keep everyone safe.

What is the Reason that Fire Alarms are so Loud?

If loud sounds damage hearing—why are fire alarms so loud? And is there anything you can do to protect your ears from the noise?

How Loud Are Fire Alarms, Truly?

NFPA 72 lists requirements for fire alarm notification appliances, which take two primary forms:

Audible and Visual

Horns and sirens provide the audible alerts. Sounding off at 65 to 120 decibels (dB) when standing 10 feet from the device. Strobe lights provide the visible alert. Flashing once per second at 15 to 1,000 candelas, depending on the setting.

Prolonged and repeated exposure to loud noises can damage your hearing-That’s a fact.

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) states that 85 dB and higher is the danger zone for hearing loss. However-being able to get everyone to safety becomes the task.

Why Do Fire Alarm Volumes Vary?

The goal of a fire alarm is to make sure everyone in the building knows to evacuate. That’s why the NFPA requires fire alarm horns and sirens to sound louder than typical noises.

The precise requirement is 15 dB above the average noise level or 5 dB above the maximum ambient sound-or whichever is greater. This means it may be appropriate to program fire alarm horns to 75 dB for a restaurant or office setting, but an industrial facility with loud equipment may need to sound off closer to the maximum 120 dB level to ensure the sound stands out from other ambient noises.

The high volume requirement for fire alarms accounts for the fact that distance from the horn decreases its perceived volume, and building materials absorb noise, especially if the doors are closed between rooms.

Due to these factors, the decibel level must be high at the source to ensure the sound travels to every corner of the building.

How Can You Protect Your Ears from Loud Fire Alarms?

When you hear the shrill noise of a fire alarm, your first instinct is to cover your ears. This is actually an effective way to defend against hearing loss while you walk calmly toward the exit and make your way out of the building.

More importantly, however, is to create a fire evacuation plan and hold fire drills regularly.

This way, your staff and/or family is confident about what steps to take and where to evacuate in case of an emergency. By planning ahead, you can limit confusion and reduce the time you’re exposed to loud volumes.

Finally, if you think the decibel level of your fire alarm is too high, hire a fire protection company to examine your equipment and make a determination. Your technician will make sure the volume is just right for safety and compliance with NFPA 72. Even though fire alarms can be loud, it’s imperative not to tamper with them. The NFPA has established fire codes that provide maximum safety for buildings in all industries. Disconnecting or adjusting the volume of your fire alarm sirens could result in noncompliance penalties and increased liability or decrease effectiveness.

Firework Safety

6/28/2020 (Permalink)

Celebrations! Enjoy Fireworks safely and with your families!

Basic Firework Safety

Fireworks are dangerous.

This is nothing new. This is a fact. However-there is an entertainment value in fireworks as well. Use fireworks properly, safely and observing all appropriate safety precautions. Injuries related to fireworks can range from minor to life threatening. Property damage occurs every year with improper use of these devices.

 We promote proper firework safety in our community and want our customers, neighbors and friends to follow some simple precautions during their celebrations.

Follow these safety tips when using fireworks: 

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
  • Make sure they are purchased from a repeatable store.

Be safe and enjoy your celebrations!!

Garage Safety

6/23/2020 (Permalink)

Garage Fire A small issue in the Garage can turn into a large issue to your home quickly.

Keep your Garage Safe!

Fire can start just about anywhere in your home. Many homeowners overlook the Garage area for fire prevention. We all do it. -“Just put it in the Garaged”. That phrase is uttered more often then we realize. There are a few key things you can watch out for.

1: Electrical Issues

Electrical fires are so common. They can be from malfunctions in the equipment, faulty devices using an outlet, etc. Keep track of all of your wiring-keep it used safely. Don’t leave things plugged in that don’t need to be plugged in. Avoid long term use of extension cords. And if you have pets or who knows what gets into garages, make sure cords are not chewed on.

2: Flammable Liquids

Garages tend to be the catch all. All the paint, finishers and other flammable liquids are potential fire hazards. Storing these liquids properly is going to prevent them from becoming a dangerous situation. Follow manufacturer guidelines for storage and keep them in a shed if possible. This goes for your propane tanks as well-keep them stored as a flammable liquid.  

3: Clutter

Clutter can be harmful anywhere. It can cause small fires to turn into larger quickly when there is clutter around. This is also true for a garage. Keep your storage areas including your garage properly maintained and clean to avoid any additional fire issues.

 The Key is Prevention

Garage fires tend to get out of hand very quickly. To avoid a disastrous fire, there are a few things that can be done to fireproof your garage or at least help a fire from getting out of hand. Keep a fire extinguisher in or near your garage. Install a fire alarm in your garage.

Get a shed on your property where you can keep propane tanks and other flammable materials. If you cannot have a shed, find metal storage for the garage. Keeping your garage clean, organized, and free of frayed and exposed wires will help you avoid fire and keep any potential fires from getting out of hand.

Take some simple measures to avoid having a disaster in your garage and your house.

If you experience fire damage, call the fire restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Bloomington/Pontiac309-827-7500

Dryer Vent Fire

6/22/2020 (Permalink)

Lint in Vent Keep your pipes clean!

How do we prevent laundry room fires?

The most common cause of dryer fires is failure to clean the vent regularly. The lent trap will typically get most of the fuzzy lent. The pieces that get through are what will cause a large amount of damage.  There is typically a buildup in the line or around a heating element that will cause a fire.

Follow these tips to prevent Dryer vent fires

  1. Clean out the lint and the vent pipe to reduce the chance of fire and to maintain the efficiency of the dryer.
  1. Install with care. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing the vent pipe. A dryer vent fan should be installed by a licensed electrician.
  1. Clear out combustibles. You want to keep anything flammable material away from your dryer. If it does start to overheat or smaller fire-it can escalate much quicker.
  1. Be sure to use solid metal as your duct work.
  1. Read tags. Follow care label reads tumble dry low, don’t turn the dryer up to high.
  1. Use extra caution with flammable liquids. Wash clothing stained with volatile chemicals more than once—and definitely opt to line dry over machine dry.
  1. Use your clothes to diagnose problems. Clothes that no longer feel dry or that are extra hot to the touch after a normal dry cycle are a telltale sign that something’s wrong. Before doing the next load, check for a plugged vent and clean out any lint.
  1. Don’t leave your dryer running when you leave the house. Issues can be quickly resolved if there is someone there.
  1. Give the outdoor vent a regular inspection. Make sure it isn’t clogged with lent or blocked by weeds, snow or even a nest.

SERVPRO of Bloomington/Pontiac is here to help your laundry room get back to where you want it if something should occur. Large or small-we are here to do it all!

Until Help Arrives

6/19/2020 (Permalink)

Back to normal Certified Clean

What does SERVPRO do for a Fire Damage?

Fires are devastating for homes and/or businesses. When they break-they can move fast and without mercy. Home and Business owners are helpless to stop what is coming. We wait on our fantastic Fire Departments to arrive and work quickly to extinguish and keep people safe. Once the trucks leave, where do you start? Now there is fire damage, smoke damage and water damage-possible flooding.

Professionals that specialize in this type of cleanup work efficiently and quickly to get life back to normal. Your local SERVPRO of Bloomington/Pontiac has the experience, the professionals and the equipment to clean and restore almost anything. Our professionals have specialized fire and water damage restoration training and are able to remove smoke order and deep clean your upholstery/carpets of soot.

First thing is to always stay safe.

If you can still get into the building safely and want to start the process:

  • Limit movement and keep hands clean: this prevents soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
  • If electricity is off and it’s a situation where you are safely able to get into the building, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.
  • Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves and remove them from the home
  • Change HVAC filter.

Do Not….

  • Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting a Professional. It may actually do more harm. Also, if you don’t have to correct supplies-the long-term issues will mount up.
  • Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
  • Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water.
  • Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
  • Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor or damage clothing.

The largest thing to keep in mind is to contact a professional. SERVPRO has the knowledge and know how to help you get back to pre-Fire condition.

Electrical Fire Prevention

6/18/2020 (Permalink)

Fire Background Electrical Fire

Electrical Fire Prevention

Electrical fires are frequently caused by overloading equipment and their circuits.

This can cause insulation to burn, create sparks and leave wires exposed…. dangerous.  Do not overload electrical equipment by attempting to do heavier jobs than your equipment can handle. Keep areas around electrical equipment clear of combustibles such as sawdust, paper, cardboard and flammable liquids.

Oil and dirt buildup on electrical appliances can cause electrical equipment to overheat and short-circuit. When buildup does occur, quickly shut off electrical equipment and unplug its power supply. Use only clean, dry rags and brushes and follow manufacturer's instructions.

Shut off all electrical equipment that produces unusual sounds, unusual smells or sparks. (If it doesn’t seem “normal”, it probably isn’t)

Have the equipment checked by a qualified technician. Tag and remove hard-wired equipment from service so that it cannot be accidentally energized while it is being repaired or replaced.

Know locations of all emergency exits and fire escapes and know the escape routes from your work area and your home. Fire escape plans should be posted with exits clearly marked and practiced.

Know where the nearest fire extinguishers are and how to use them. Only Class C extinguishers are safe to use on energized electrical equipment.

Using simple common sense approaches can protect your work or home and everyone will stay safe.  

Most Common Fire Safety Tips for Senior Citizens

1/15/2020 (Permalink)

Senior Fire Safety Working together is the best way to keep our Senior Citizens safe.

We all have Senior Citizen family, friends or neighbors-that we all keep an eye on. These individuals are special to us and to our families and we like to do what we can to ensure that they stay safe. Doesn’t matter if it is clearing their sidewalk for them or setting up pills for them, everything little thing is important.

Something many don’t think of is going over fire safety. Many enjoy the comforts of home and we do everything in our power to keep them in their home. Part of that includes their wellbeing. Again, we add rails to the bathroom and grips to rugs. However, have you made sure their smoke detectors work? Do you know that they are safe cooking? What else needs to be done to keep them safe and give you peace of mind?

Test Smoke Alarms Regularly and Have Proper Alarms

Smoke can be a silent killer, especially for Senior citizens.  Individuals with hearing problems who tend to sleep without a hearing aid could be a victim.  Having a working smoke alarm in every room and hallway is a great start, but they should be effective for the individuals. Strobe alarms are a great option. Seniors also can install alarms that shake the bed to rouse them in the event of a fire. Most importantly of all, make sure to test smoke alarms every month. This keeps them in compliance and makes sure the alarms they have are proper so they are always in compliance.

If They Smoke, Please Remind Them the Proper Place to Do So

Smoking is the number one cause of fire deaths in the country. Please remind senior citizens never to attempt smoking in bed. Falling asleep with a cigarette lit or dropping ashes onto carpet, covers or even clothing can cause an instant problem. Another hazard is to smoke near flammable oxygen tanks. Seniors should be using deeper or heavier ashtrays and avoid ashes flipping or falling onto a rug. The best way to put butts out is with sand, water or dirt. Take great care to make sure our friends, family and neighbors are safe.

Create a Fire Escape Plan

Seniors tend to have less than three minutes to escape in the event of a fire. Everyone should have a fire escape plan and practice it, knowing all the accessible exits and meeting areas. For seniors, especially those suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s who have escape proof doors, it is important they have a prearranged escort in the event of a fire. Making sure neighbors and family are aware of the plan and know where the escape routes are is to minimize injury.

Kitchen Safety

Seniors need to be willing and able to respond to an emergency in the kitchen while cooking. There are so many things that can cause injury in the Kitchen-Fire being one.  Most kitchen fires begin because food is left unattended.  If they must leave the kitchen while cooking, they should always turn the burner off. The kitchen should never be left unattended while there is food cooking-even if it is intended to be a short period of time. If for some reason they need to leave the kitchen-have a plan to always take a pot holder, spoon, towel or anything to remind them that they have something in the kitchen. A great reminder for seniors is to never cook with loose or dangling clothing that can easily ignite and potentially start a major fire.

Have a Whistle

Have their phone and whistle at bedside. The whistle lets people know where you are and gives you a way to warn others of the fire. Escape is always the top priority. Call the fire department when you are out. If trapped- use the phone to call for help. Seniors with wheelchairs or walkers should check exit routes ahead of time to be sure they are accessible or plan an alternate route.  If impairment makes it impossible to escape in the event of a fire, discuss this concern with the landlord, family, neighbors or check with the fire department.

Don’t Overload Outlets or Extension Cords

This is a major fire concern. Having too many extension cords and too many items plugged in can easily spark a fire. Make sure no more than one major appliance is plugged into an outlet at a time and all outlets are kept responsibly used. If more outlets are required for a particular area, hire an electrician to install proper outlets.

If you have questions about fire, smoke or soot damage, contact SERVPRO of Bloomington/Pontiac. 309-827-7500

Kitchen Fire Prevention

6/26/2019 (Permalink)

More home fires start in the kitchen than anywhere else in the home. Cooking is involved in over 100,000 home fires every year. This number could be greatly reduced if people paid more attention when they cooked and practiced simple fire safety behaviors.

Dress to cook

While you may look good wearing a suit or a long dress, you’ll be safer if you wear clothing that’s more kitchen-appropriate while you’re cooking. Loose and long clothing can accidentally catch on fire. If you ever noticed a cooking apron, it has cut-off or shortened sleeves, and it has string that is meant to keep the apron and your clothes tight to your body.

Use appliances carefully

Kitchen appliances can cause fires if not used and maintained correctly. Keeps your cords away from oil and liquids. Remove food debris and oil from the appliances. Replace your power cords if they are damaged in some way. If an appliance is malfunctioning, stop using it and get it fixed or replaced.

Keep a fire extinguisher nearby

In the event of a fire, an extinguisher can quickly stop it from spreading. Don’t have the extinguisher stored too close too the stove, as that can make it hard to reach during a stove fire. Ensure that you know how to use it, too.

Be prepared

In addition to having, and knowing how to use, a fire extinguisher, you need to know how to react in case of a fire. Don’t use water to put out the fire, and don’t attempt to transfer a burning pot or pan to the sink—doing so can unwittingly cause the fire to spread. Quickly use an extinguisher if you have one. If the fire is getting out of control, quickly leave the home and call the authorities.

Don’t leave the kitchen

The main culprit of kitchen fires is an unattended stove. If you have things cooking, don’t leave the kitchen. If you must leave, turn off the stove or oven, and remove your pots and pans from the heat. If your eyes are on the stove, you will vastly reduce the chances of a fire occurring in the kitchen.

Keep the stove top clean and clear

A cluttered stove area can cause a fire. Kitchen towels, paper, appliance cords, uncovered oil, and other flammable items need to be kept away from the stove top. Be sure to clean the stove top regularly. Food debris and leftover grease can easily ignite with enough heat. Also, before you begin cooking, remove excess oil and grease from the exterior of your pots and pans.

Be careful with cooking oils

Avoid using an oil with a low smoke point for high heat cooking, as it can catch fire. Also, don’t carelessly discard hot cooking oil. Many fires have been caused by putting hot oil in a garbage can with other flammable items.

Kitchen fires can occur for a variety of reasons. However, if you apply these kitchen fire prevention tips, you will greatly reduce the chance of your kitchen catching on fire.

If you have questions about fire, smoke or soot damage, contact SERVPRO of Bloomington/Pontiac. 309-827-7500

Basement Fire Prevention

6/23/2019 (Permalink)

While flooding, water damage and mold are always a concern in the basement of your home or business, preventing a fire is just as important. Here are some tips to help keep your basement safe from a possible fire.

A smoke alarm should be installed in the basement.

Basement smoke alarms should be cleaned once a month to remove dust build-up. This ensures that it works properly throughout the year. In addition, the basement smoke alarm should be connected to the other smoke alarms in the home.

Install a carbon monoxide alarm as well, especially if there is heating equipment that burns gas, oil or wood in your basement.

Flammable materials.

Materials such as debris, paper, and textiles, should be kept away from heating equipment. Oily rags should be put in airtight containers and away from heat sources. Trash should also be kept out of the basement.

Equip your basement with arc-fault circuit interrupters.

These devices prevent fires in electrical switches from occurring by shutting off the circuit when an unintentional arc (discharge of electricity) occurs within the circuit.

Keep the stairs free of clutter.

This will provide less fuel for a fire and to be able to quickly escape the basement in case of an emergency.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?

We can help. SERVPRO of Bloomington/Pontiac – (309) 827-7500

Preventing Laundry Room Fires

6/21/2019 (Permalink)

According to the National Fire Protection Agency, over 10,000 house fires reported annually are attributed to clothes dryers and washing machines and caused millions of dollars in property damage. Numbers like this are not uncommon for any year in the U.S., yet many people are unaware of the hazards or the simple steps which can prevent them.

Possible Fire Hazards

Visible Lint buildup in the dryer’s lint trap

Unseen Lint buildup inside the dryer, from lint which gets past the trap

Unseen Lint which collects inside the dryer hose

Dryer hoses which are crushed or kinked by cramped dryer-to-wall spaces

Outside vents blocked with lint buildup, rodent nests, bird’s nests, objects or materials placed too close to the vents, and other obstructions

Flammable Items inside laundry appliances, including plastic or rubber items like bath mats, diaper pants, clothing items padded with foam rubber, or items with flammable chemicals like rags soaked with oil or gasoline

Friction from slipping power belts caused by worn belts or excessive loads

Flammable materials or debris allowed under or too close to laundry appliances.


Always clean out the lint trap between every dryer load

Keep the areas under and behind your washer and dryer clean and uncluttered

Keep the area near the outside dryer vent clear of stored materials or objects which could impede or block the dryer’s exhaust

Remove the outside dryer vent cover on a regular basis and inspect the space behind it for obvious debris. However, obstructions in these wall spaces are not always visible. So, you should have a professional check and clean these on a regular basis.

Have a professional inspect the dryer and clean out any invisible lint buildup on a regular basis.

Have a professional clear the dryer hose of lint on a regular basis

If you’re unsure of the safety of your washer or dryer, never leave the house or go to bed after starting a load of clothes.

If you have experienced a laundry room fire, Contact SERVPRO of Bloomington/Pontiac.  309-827-7500

Garage Fire Hazards

6/19/2019 (Permalink)

A fire in your garage isn’t something most property owners need to consider. Be that as it may, actually a great many carport fires happen each year in the USA. What’s more, if your carport is joined to your home, this can be particularly tricky.

Flames aren’t constantly unsurprising. Be that as it may, you can find a way to diminish the danger of a fire breaking out in your garage.

Electrical Problems

Electrical fires are very common. Electrical malfunctions are the number one cause for house fires in the US, and they often start in the garage. These fires can start from blown circuits, overloaded electrical outlets, faulty wiring, exposed wiring, and other ways. Keep track of all of your electric wiring—don’t leave electronics plugged in, don’t use extension chords long term, have your wiring checked regularly. Exposed wires can be chewed through by mice and other pests and be left exposed—making them a fire hazard. If you live in an older home, we recommend that you have your wiring checked to ensure that you are not in danger of an electrical fire.


When there is clutter in your garage, a fire still spread quicker. But the truth is—the garage is often the place where we collect our clutter. It is so easy to throw your clutter in the garage where it is out of sight and out of mind. This clutter that piles up in the garage not only makes it hard to navigate through your garage, but it can also mean a bigger fire. If a fire starts in your garage, it can spread much easier with clutter. As the clutter catches fire, it spreads fast.

Flammable Liquids

The garage tends to be full of flammable liquids that are potential fire hazards. These liquids may include oil, cleaning solutions, and gasoline. The storing of these liquids is not necessarily dangerous, but they become dangerous if they come in contain with a spark. It may be best to store these liquids in a shed separate from your home, if possible.

Propane Tanks

Propane is often stored in the garage as well. These tanks shouldn’t be a problem as long as they are sealed properly. If the tank is leaking, any small spark could ignite an instant fire that can quickly get out of hand. Aside from starting a fire, if a fire has started, a propane tank will certainly fuel it.

To prevent potential danger, it is probably best to store propane somewhere away from your house—like a shed or to avoid having extra propane. You can just buy it when you plan on using it. Storing it can be dangerous for your house.


Garage fires tend to get out of hand quickly. To avoid a potentially disastrous fire, there are a few things that can be done to fireproof your garage or at least help a fire from getting out of hand. Keep a fire extinguisher in or near your garage. Install a fire alarm in your garage. Get a shed on your property where you can keep propane tanks and other flammable materials. Keeping your garage clean, organized, and free of frayed and exposed wires will help you avoid fire and keep any potential fires from getting out of hand. Take some simple measures to avoid having a disaster in your garage and your house.

If you experience fire damage, call the fire restoration professionals at SERVPRO of Bloomington/Pontiac309-827-7500

Important Contacts After A Fire

6/18/2019 (Permalink)

Insurance Company

Contact your insurance company and alert them of the situation at hand.  They will be able to shed a little light on this dark situation by informing you of the next steps you need to take. With their guidance, you will be able to navigate the first initial steps of your fire damage claims. In addition, they will be able to inform you of the best practices you should take such as making a list and taking pictures of damaged items for documentation. 

Utility and Lending Companies 

Paying your bills and living expenses in addition to paying to having your home and belonging restored can be financially exhausting. Utility and lending companies realize this and they know the hardship a family can face in the event of disaster such as a house fire. Contact them, explain your situation, and see if they offer any hardship programs that would lower your payments or stop them completely until you get back on your feet.


Do you or a family member rely on daily medication to stay healthy? Depending on the extent of the fire damage or the origin of it, retrieving medication may not be possible. Contact your family physician and request to have your medication filled at your nearest pharmacy. 

Child’s School

If you have a child in school you may want to contact the school and alert them of the situation at hand. If the fire damage deems your home unlivable you may need to stay with a family member and their home can be too far from the school. Teachers and principles are understanding of the difficulties a child and family faces in the event of a disaster and may allow them to do class work at home.

Replace Important Documents 

In the event of a life threatening fire, you’re probably not going to think about grabbing the safe in your house that contain important documents. Most important documents can be replaced. Here are just a few of the documents that you need to get replaced right away.

  • Passport 
  • Driver’s license
  • Birth, marriage, and death certificates
  • Damaged money (you can exchange it for undamaged cash with the treasury department) 
  • Social security card
  • Bank documents
  • School records
  • Tax records
  • Vehicle registration   

Start Fire Damage Restoration Right Away 

When your home has gone through a fire, time is of the essence to save, recover and restore your belongings from fire damage.

Call SERVPRO of Bloomington/Pontiac to help you turn your house into a home again.

Winter fire safety tips

1/10/2019 (Permalink)

Space heaters

When the weather turns cold, portable space heaters become a popular way to supplement heat in the home.

If you plan to purchase a space heater this winter, choose one that has been tested and certified by an independent laboratory and that will automatically shut off if the heater tips over.

Carbon Monoxide

With the increased use of gas fueled appliances in the cold winter months there is an increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

To insure your home is safe from carbon monoxide, install CO detectors in your home, or, if you already have CO detectors in your home, replace any that are older than 10 years. In addition, you should not run or warm a car in your garage.

Other safety tips

Additional suggestions to prevent fires this winter.

  • Avoid overloading electrical outlets in your home.
  • Install photo electric smoke detectors in every bedroom and on every floor of your home.
  • Have your furnace checked and serviced to ensure it works properly.
  • Know two ways out of your home and establish a family or roommate meeting place in case of emergency, or read your residence hall's emergency plan.
  • Inspect and dispose of non-working electrical holiday decorations.
  • If you live on the second or third floor, consider purchasing an escape ladder.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today –  309-827-7500

Avoid Kitchen Fires

7/30/2018 (Permalink)

There are few things so warm and comforting as inviting people to your home in central Illinois, for a meal you have prepared. What is meant to be relaxing can turn into an emergency if a fire breaks out in your kitchen, though. Fortunately, kitchen fires are easily avoided if you take a few key safety precautions. Here are three tips on how to avoid kitchen fires.

1. Give It Your Attention.

Do not leave cooking food unattended. If a burner is on, you should be in the kitchen. It only takes a moment for something to boil over and catch fire or for small fingers to find their way to the burner in your absence. It may seem like a hassle to turn the stove off just to retrieve something from another room, but it's well worth the trouble if it keeps your home from suffering fire damage from a kitchen fire. Protect your home and your loved ones from danger by paying attention when you're cooking.

2. Keep Your Stove Clean.

A dirty stove is a recipe for a disaster. Not only does built-up grease have the tendency to draw insects, it can also cause a grease fire. Cleaning all cooking surfaces regularly can help you avoid fire caused by oil residue.

3. Keep Flammable Objects Away From Heat Sources.

If something can catch fire, it should not be near the burner on the stove. Pay attention to the tips on food packaging that warn you to keep it away from heat. Wear form-fitting clothing while cooking, especially on your arms so that sleeves don't dangle into danger. Potholders, recipe cards and kitchen towels have their place in the kitchen. That place is just not on the stove.

For More info, call us 309-827-7500

Smoke Alarms

7/30/2018 (Permalink)

The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) reports nearly two-thirds of these fire-related deaths occurred in homes with no working smoke alarm or no smoke alarms present at all. Smoke alarms play a vital role in saving lives, and when they are properly installed, can reduce the risk of fire injury in half.

The NFPA recommends smoke alarms be installed in every bedroom, outside all sleeping quarters and on every level of the house.

Business owners should consult the local Fire Marshall to ensure specific building fire codes and smoke detector requirements are met.

Once smoke alarms are in place, it is important to maintain and regularly test the alarms to ensure they are in the proper working order. Review the tips provided here regarding smoke detector installation and maintenance.

Smoke alarms work best when paired with a fire escape plan. A preparedness plan allows your family, employees, or clients to escape quickly and safely in an emergency situation. For tips or information on emergency preparedness, contact SERVPRO of Bloomington / Gibson City / S. McLean County  309-827-7500

Smoke Alarm Tips:

    • Install smoke alarms inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
    • Smoke alarms should be installed away from the kitchen to prevent false alarms. Generally, they should be at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance.
    • Test smoke detectors at least once a month using the test button
    • Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm “chirps,” warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away
  • Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old

In Case Of A Grease Fire..

7/3/2018 (Permalink)

Grease Fire Do's and Dont's

There are many different ways a fire can break out, one of the most dangerous being a grease fire. If you lack experience putting out a grease fire, know that you do not treat it the same as you would a "standard" fire. There are certain things that you must do and things you absolutely must NOT do. Please consider the following:


  • Turn off the stove or heat source
  • Smother the fire with the pot lid. Without oxygen, the fire cannot survive.
  • Use baking soda to douse the flames. Flour and other items will not work
  • Use a Class B dry chemical fire extinguisher
  • call 911


  • Try to put out the flames using water. It will splash the grease, causing the fire to spread
  • Move the item. This could also cause splashing, spreading and could potentially burn you
  • Try to use anything other than baking soda. It will not help

Need Emergency Service? Call Us 24/7 – 309-827-7500

Fire Safety Tips

1/8/2018 (Permalink)

When your Central Illinois home or suffers fire damage, it can be especially devastating.

Fire Safety Tips That Could Help Save Your Life

Fire Prevention Tip #1
One of the simplest and most effective fire safety precautions you can do to help keep your family safe is to install smoke detectors and smoke alarms throughout your home. It is important to check smoke alarms regularly, and change their batteries at least once a year. Investigation into home fires often reveals that smoke alarms could have saved lives but didn’t because the alarms were either disconnected or the batteries were dead or removed.

Fire Prevention Tip #2
At a minimum, you should have one smoke alarm for each level in your home. A smoke alarm should be placed within 10 feet of sleeping areas, since most fire deaths occur at night while people are sleeping. In order to be most effective, the alarm should be mounted on the ceiling or towards the top of a wall about a foot below the ceiling. It should never be placed where a wall and ceiling meet or in the corner of a room. Alarms should also not be placed near heating ducts or cold air returns. The air flow around these areas could prevent alarms from detecting smoke. You can also interconnect the smoke alarms throughout the house so when one goes off, all of the smoke detectors will sound.

Fire Prevention Tip #3
In the event of a fire, your primary thoughts should be of the safety of you and your family. If there is any doubt about staying at home or leaving, leave immediately. It is important to have an evacuation plan in place and to practice it. This will ensure that you and your family know and understand how to get out of the house. Here’s a checklist of fire safety considerations:

  • Have an escape plan for each room and make the bedrooms top priority. Rehearse the plan regularly as a rehearsed escape plan will help eliminate panic in an emergency situation. Children who have not rehearsed a fire drill at home may hide under a bed or in a closet, greatly reducing their chance for survival.
  • Once the alarm sounds, time is of the essence. Don’t stop to gather valuables or toys — just get out. .
  • Know how to use 911 and teach your children as well. Post your house address near the phone.
  • Designate a window as a secondary exit. Make sure it is completely unobstructed and is easily opened by children and elderly. For second and third story windows, keep a Fire Escape Ladder stored close by. Practice using them out of a first floor window so everyone is familiar with them.
  • Feel closed doors for warmth before opening them and look for smoke seeping in around the door’s edges and from underneath. Open any closed door slowly and be prepared to shut it immediately if heat or smoke rush in.
  • Have a designated outside meeting place, and make everyone aware of where it is. Make sure the meeting place is located well away from the house and make it a rule to not re-enter the house.
  • As soon as two people have reached the meeting place, have one person leave to call 911. The second person should stay to make sure the other family members all make it out.
  • If someone is missing don’t go back inside. Instead, notify the fire department as soon as they arrive.

Fire Prevention Tip #4
Fires caused by candles, cooking, falling asleep while smoking, and other such accidents can occur at any time. It is always a good idea to consider using smokeless electric or battery-operated candles, like rechargeable Tea Light candles. These candles are much safer than traditional candles. With flameless candles, you don’t have to worry about a child or pet knocking them over and starting a fire.

At SERVPRO of Bloomington / Gibson City / S. McLean County we Answer the Phone Ready to Help
Call Today - 309-827-7500

Fire Prevention Tip #5
A little fire safety maintenance can go a long way towards reducing your risk for a fire at home. Here are some fire prevention tips you can do to help lower your risk of a fire breaking out:

  • Practice home fire drills regularly and make them realistic. Have different escape routes blocked and practice using alternate exits.
  • Lint build-up in your dryer’s vent can cause a fire. Get rid of it before it becomes a problem using a Dryer Maintenance Kit that includes a vent brush, lint trap brush, and vacuum attachment.
  • Make it a habit to unplug all countertop appliances when they aren’t being used.
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector. They are especially useful in the newer energy-efficient homes with tight weather seals.
  • Store cigarette lighters and matches where children can’t get them.
  • Don’t use an outdoor grill or charcoal grill indoors or on a porch or balcony.
  • Test your smoke alarm regularly to make sure it’s in working condition.
  • Change battery-operated smoke detector batteries once each year.

Fire Prevention Tip #6
Help emergency vehicles find your home faster with a Solar LED address light that easily stakes into the ground and illuminates your house numbers.

If a fire does breakout, don’t panic. For example, something cooking on the stove catches fire and you’re not sure what to do. If you throw water on the pan, grease could splatter and the fire might spread. Instead, grab a Fire Blanket and use it to smother the flames quickly. Made of nonflammable fiberglass, the Fire Blanket cuts off the oxygen supply to the fire, putting it out. You can also grab a convenient Fire Extinguisher.

Smoke inhalation, not burns, is by far the largest killer in fires, so the more time you have to escape, the better. This heat-resistant, transparent copolymer Smoke Escape™ Hood features a patented 3-layer ionized smoke filter that gives you up to 15 precious “escape” minutes.

Following these fire prevention tips and fire safety ideas will not only lessen your risk for damage, injury, and loss, but may also save your life, and the lives of your family. The minimal amount of time it takes to read and practice these fire prevention tips could end up being one of the best investments you ever make!

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 309-827-7500

Central Illinois Smoke and Soot Cleanup

7/7/2017 (Permalink)

Smoke and Soot Damage Can Cause a Pervasive Odor in Your Home.

Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.  

Smoke and soot facts:

  • Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
  • Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
  • The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.

Different Types of Smoke

There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Bloomington / Gibson City / S. McLean County will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:

Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber

  • Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.

Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood

  • Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.

Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire

  • Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor. 

Our Fire Damage Restoration Services

Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions.  We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage.  We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.

Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 309-827-7500

BBQ Safety: Tips For Grilling

5/30/2017 (Permalink)

When the weather gets warmer, it’s always fun to gather with friends and family for an outdoor cookout. After all, nothing spells spring or summer like the smell of burgers, steaks, hot dogs and chopped veggies fresh off the grill – until something starts burning, that is.

While gas and charcoal grills are an easy way to cook up large amounts of delicious food, they can also pose a fire danger to your property and family. By following a few simple BBQ safety tips, you can prevent injury while keeping your home and surrounding property safe. Learn the most important grill safety tips from the experts at SERVPRO to keep your property out of harm’s way the next time you smoke, sizzle or sauté outside.

Practice Good Grilling Habits

Whatever kind of grill you use, there are a few simple things you can do to reduce your risk of fire or injury. Here are some basic grilling safety tips to follow:

  • Set your grill up a safe distance away from structures and overhangs, including your main building, shed, garage, trees and other potentially flammable objects.
  • Never use your grill inside, in a tent or under an outdoor awning or carport. Doing so can pose a serious fire hazard and potentially cause carbon monoxide poisoning if you’re using a gas grill.
  • Light your gas or charcoal grill using special long-length lighters or long matches to avoid getting burned. Keep all ignition sources out of the reach of children.
  • Never leave an actively burning grill unattended, and let your grill fully cool before you cover or store it.
  • Clean your grill thoroughly and often to reduce flammable buildup inside.

Be Aware of Proper Charcoal Grill Safety

Many people swear by the taste of food cooked on a classic charcoal grill. This popular way of cooking is fun, but it also poses unique fire risks of its own. Keep these important BBQ safety tips in mind if you own or use a charcoal grill:

  • Only add enough charcoal to cover the bottom of the grill. Don’t pile too much inside since it could cause ashes and sparks to become airborne, possibly catching nearby objects or even your home on fire.
  • Store extra charcoal in a secure place away from other potential fire hazards, and preferably in an airtight metal container.
  • Only use starter fluid specifically designed for charcoal. Apply it to cold coals only, and don’t add extra fluid once the grill is lit. Otherwise, the flames could get too high, resulting in possible burns or an uncontained fire.
  • Empty your used ashes only when they have fully cooled. Never store or dispose of them in a garbage can or leave them on a deck. Even when cooled, ashes can still cause a fire. It’s best to dump them on garden soil or contain them in a metal receptacle for proper disposal.

Use your Gas Grill Wisely

Gas grills are convenient and easy to use, and require less refueling than charcoal grills. But gas grills are also susceptible to fire risks, so it’s important to be aware of how to properly operate your gas grill. Remember these safety tips if you own a gas grill:

  • Open the lid before lighting the grill. This allows oxygen to escape and reduces the risk of fire or even explosion.
  • Check your grill’s gas line and tank fittings regularly for leaks. You can do this by brushing soapy water around these areas. If you see bubbles emerge, there could be a leak somewhere. Replace any damaged/leaking parts and make any other needed repairs before using the grill.
  • If you have spare gas cylinders, never store them under a stairway or the eaves of your home. Place them upright and outside, away from any structures to minimize fire risks.
  • Turn off your grill using the controls first, then close off the gas line at the tank. This helps to ensure any excess gas can escape safely.

If you happen to experience a fire during BBQ season, the professionals at SERVPRO are always available to help. We hope you never need to make that call but if you do, we’re available 24/7/365 to assist you. Visit our Fire Damage Repair and Restoration page