Posts Tagged ‘fire safety’

Nov
24

Fireplaces: 7 Burn Practices to Increase Efficiency

November 24th, 2014 by Rainbow International

graphic about burn practices that increase fireplace efficiency

Winter is slowing creeping up on us, and it’s time to crank up the thermostat for more heat! But for some of you, the crackle of a warm, burning fireplace is the heat source of choice. According to the National Association of Home Builders, fireplaces rank among the top three features desired by new homebuyers. However, keep in mind that while wood or gas fireplaces may be a great source of warmth, they also can pose home fire hazards and increased potential for heat loss if not maintained properly.

Before using the fireplace for the first time since last winter, please check the following to help prevent potential fires:

  1. Have your fireplace inspected and cleaned by a professional chimney sweep to make sure it’s safe for use this winter. Dust and debris may have collected inside it since last winter, which poses a fire hazard.
  2. Install and make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working in your home. Replace the batteries each month to be safe.
  3. Before turning on your gas fireplace, make sure to have your log set cleaned by a professional once a year to prevent any hazards from occurring.
  4. Consider installing an oxygen-depletion sensor in your gas fireplace. This device will act as an extra safety precaution, and will shut off the gas automatically if the temperature is too warm. This also detects if there is an overdose of carbon monoxide.
  5. Burn dried wood that has been cured for eight to 12 months. Woods such as hickory, white oak sugar maple, and white ash burn well if available. Avoid using construction scraps, painted wood, or other treated woods. Ensure wood and paper for the fireplace is placed far enough away from the flames to avoid sparks causing a fire disaster. When stacking wood outside, cover it on top and leave the sides open for airflow. Never overload the fireplace.
  6. Equip the fireplace with a metal screen to stop burning embers or shifting logs from falling out of fireplace and landing on nearby combustibles, which could ignite.
  7. Never burn garbage, rolled newspapers, charcoal or plastic in the fireplace or use gasoline or any liquid accelerant to help start a fire.

Although many homeowners find these steps inconvenient, they can potentially save lives. Wood and gas fireplaces can save you money on your heating bill, just remember to be safe before you flip the switch or strike the match!

Related Articles:

8 Ways to Cut your Home Heating Costs

5 Action Steps to Take After a Fire

Prepare and Practice a Fire Escape Plan

 

Sep
5

5 Action Steps to Take After a Fire

September 5th, 2014 by Rainbow International

Graphic with title "5 Action Steps to Take After a Fire"

A house fire is a traumatic event that is difficult for the whole family. To make things a little easier, it’s important to take advantage of the support provided by emergency services, friends, and family. The following tips will keep you from being overwhelmed by the situation and help you not wonder what to do next.

Take Care of Yourself

Find a place for you and your family to stay immediately following the fire. Your local disaster relief service can help with this as well as provide you with food and other necessities. Don’t forget to find a familiar place for your pets to stay—your cats and dogs will be frightened after the fire and will feel more at home in comfortable surroundings.

Examine Your Home

Talk to the firefighters to learn what can be salvaged and what’s safe to use. If you are given the permission to enter your home, check first for important documents like birth certificates, social security cards, and drivers’ licenses. While there are some things you can do to prevent further damage to your home, such as emptying the refrigerator and freezer, always ask the firefighters present if it is safe to do so.

Call Your Insurance Company

You’ll probably be in contact with your insurance for a long time following the house fire, but during the first phone call, you need to alert them of the fire and ask what you should be doing to make the process go more smoothly. Generally, this includes making a list of everything that was damaged in the fire and the possible value of those items. While you’re probably more concerned with how much of the damages will be your financial responsibility, it can take some time to receive an answer to this question. In the meantime, keep track of all of your receipts as proof of your losses.

Alert Family

Don’t forget to call family members and close friends to let them know what happened, especially if you will be moving to temporary housing. The recovery from a house fire is difficult, but you will feel better knowing that the people closest to you are aware of your situation. In most cases, they can offer both physical and emotional support to help you get back on your feet.

Turn to the Professionals

Restoration is the key to rebuilding. Attempting the cleanup on your own can be dangerous due to the toxic gases and risk of smoldering ash. Fire restoration services have the proper safety equipment to get the work done without the risks. Store Rainbow International’s number with your other emergency contacts, and call in the professionals to start restoring your home after a fire.

 

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Mar
13

How to Stay Safe During DIY

March 13th, 2013 by Rainbow International

DIY projects that are done around the home require a safety first approach. This needs to be the number one concern as many jobs around the home can have the potential for injury. Keeping safe performing a DIY project can be done by reviewing a few safety tips for any type or project.

No Open Toed Shoes

Always wear a set of construction boots or a pair of steel-toed shoes when working on any project with heavy objects. The steel inserts in construction boots are designed to protect your toes from objects that are heavy enough to cause injury. If you do not have a pair of construction boots, then wear hiking boots or another type of heavy work boot.

Protect Your Hands

Wear gloves to protect your hands from stains and injury. Jersey gloves are a good choice if you have a painting job to complete. Gloves will also help to protect the hands from blisters. Heavy gloves need to be worn when working around open flames or any objects that are extremely hot. You can find a variety of glove choices at a local home improvement store.

Wear Eye Protection

Any type of work with wood or metal requires wearing eye protection. This includes goggles or glasses to protect your eyes from fragments flying through the air. You should also wear a face shield to protect against sparks when grinding metals. Eye protection can be found at a hardware store or from any local home improvement center. Eye protection should be second nature when working on any project. Make sure to look for eye protection that fits tight to your face.

No Loose Hair

Loose hair can easily get caught in machinery used in a workshop or for a DIY project. You can tuck any loose hair under a hot or keep is tucked under a shirt. Make sure that no loose clothing is being worn as it can also get caught in machinery and power tools. Shirts can have no sleeves or have buttons that are on the cuffs to keep them secure.

Provide Enough Light

Working in dimly lighted areas can be dangerous if there is any risk of falling or other injury. You need to illuminate a work area with strong lighting, such as construction floodlights. Another option is to use hand lighting from the ceiling or use any type of portable light. Look for lighting option at a local home improvement store.

Protect Your Lungs

Fumes from paint and debris from sanding are hazards to your health. You need to have a dusk mask or respirator on hand for any projects that involve chemicals or sanding equipment. A dust mask is a good choice for a DIY project and can be found at a home improvement center or local hardware store.

Create a Breeze

Fumes from chemicals and paint need to be ventilated from any inside room. You can easily ventilate a room by opening a window or door and setting up a box fan. If you are working inside or any area with no windows or doors, then take a break every few minutes to breathe a bit of fresh air. This is important if you start to feel dizzy or lightheaded when working on a project.

Respect the Ladder

Ladders need to be set up properly and kept stable. Do not go up a ladder if it is not sitting on a surface that is level. Avoid the top two rungs of an extension ladder as it will be unstable. A-frame ladders need to be locked in place and extension ladders should have a second person holding it in place.

Protecting the Floors

DIY projects that require working over a finished floor will require floor protecting film. This film will be used to protect the floor from liquids, such as paint, or falling debris. If there is a risk of slipping on the floor, then set up anti-slip mats. This is a good option for a garage if oil is present.

Protect Against Fire

A fire extinguisher should be on hand when working with sparking metal, open flame, or any tools that can create heat. You should also have a first-aid kit on hand to treat any burns, cuts, or other injury that may occur during a DIY project.

This article was supplied by www.cobaeurope.com, UK-based experts in flooring.

Oct
12

Rainbow International and Waco Fire Station #11 Promote National Fire Prevention Week

October 12th, 2012 by Rainbow International

The job of a firefighter is very serious and often hazardous. Everyday firefighters put their lives on the line to keep their communities safe. In honor of Fire Prevention Month we took a trip to our local fire station to bring cupcakes, check out the station and let the firefighters know just how much we really appreciate them.

After visiting we realized just how awesome our firefighters truly are. They make sacrifices to protect our homes and families, and provide emergency services without a second thought. These acts of courage and compassion should not go unnoticed! Support your local fire station and the brave men and women who prevent and lessen the impact of tragedies from happening in the future.

Thank you to our local firefighters and all of those around the world who keep us safe!

Aug
2

Home Fire Survival Guide

August 2nd, 2012 by Rainbow International

Each year, more than 4,000 Americans die and more than 25,000 are injured in fires, many of which could be prevented. Following these safety precautions and preparing for a possible home fire can dramatically shorten the amount of time it takes to reach safety.

Most house fires happen between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. This means you are likely to be asleep, making it even more important that you know how to react in order to save yourself and your family since you won’t have much time to plan your escape.

If you notice smoke, drop to the floor and begin to crawl to the exit nearest you. The smoke and heat will rise to the ceiling. With luck, you’ll be able to stay where the air is cool and clear.

Install and Test Smoke Alarms

Some tools are needed beforehand in order to survive a fire. Homes should be outfitted with a smoke and fire alarm. These alarms will alert you to the presence of a fire, giving more time to escape. Homes should have fire extinguishers on hand, and those living in the home should know how to use them. Sleeping with doors closed will help because they can prevent a fire from spreading into the room.

Have a Family Escape Plan

If you have children, work out an escape plan. Chances are any fire will start while they’re sleeping and you may not have the opportunity to tell them what to do. They need to know what to do, and they’ll only know if they’ve practiced it. Plus, when children panic they look for places to hide, like a closet or under the bed. They need to know how to get out of the house, and how to do it, by crawling to the nearest exit.

Beware of Hot Doors

Hot doors mean that the fire is nearby and the door should not be opened. Check for heat before touching a door. The best way to do this is to feel the top of the door with the back of your hand, so you don’t burn the palm of your fingers.

If the door is hot, don’t open it. Doors can keep out smoke, even more so if you can put a blanket or clothing along the bottom. Head for the window. If you can’t get out, find a way to signal your presence, with nearby items such as a flashlight or white sheet.

Make Firefighters Aware of Pets

Placing stickers on windows to alert firefighters that pets are in a home will help save their lives. Firefighters have the obligation of protecting people and property first, but will save pets if possible. Since animals can become easily confused during an emergency, leashes should always be kept in the same place so they can quickly be located during the rush to evacuate a burning home.

Jun
14

The Biggest Hazard in Your Backyard: BBQ Fires

June 14th, 2012 by Rainbow International

Backyard grills and patio fireplaces are popular focal points in landscape and outdoor decorating schemes. Grills are the center for outdoor living during the warmer months, and are a great way to entertain guests during the weekends.

When you prepare your home for the Spring and Summer months it is important to do a safety check and tune-up all the gear you’ll be using during the new season.

During the warmer season people tend to use their outdoor patios and living areas up to 20 times a month; therefore, the risk for accidents highly increases. Most home fires that happen in the time between March and May are due to patio appliances not being properly inspected.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in 2005-2009, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 8,200 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues per year. These 8,200 fires caused an annual average of 15 civilian deaths, 120 civilian injuries and $75 million in direct property damage.

Here are some simple tips to make sure you are preventing a home fire:

  • Check grill for safety hazards. Gas connections should be checked for leaks by applying a soapy water solution. When applied, bubbles will form if gas is escaping.
  • Barbecue in an open outdoor space for ventilation purposes and always keep a fire extinguisher handy.
  • Don’t allow an accumulation of grease to occur by keeping your grill and burners clean – this greatly reduces the chances of a grease fire.
  • Never fight a grease fire with water – this will only cause the flames to flare up.

Following these important safety tips can ensure you an enjoyable, fire-free grilling season.

Jun
22

Rainbow International Offers Wildfire Safety and Prevention Tips

June 22nd, 2011 by Rainbow International

As wildfires continue to ravage parts of the nation (with Texas, Arizona and Florida particularly hard-hit) many home and business owners have been faced with damage to their structures and contents. As of mid-June over 34 million acres of land have burned. While Rainbow International® specializes in fire and smoke damage cleanup and content restoration, the best policy is one of prevention and safety.

“We bring the best and latest in technology, training and equipment to bear when working fire and smoke damage jobs for homes and businesses,” said Rob White, Rainbow International president. “However, it’s one of those jobs we’d much rather see prevented to begin with. In the case of wildfires, education, awareness and prevention can go a long way towards saving lives and property.”

Rainbow International offers the following tips on wildfire safety and prevention:

  • Call 911 if you notice any unattended fire (don’t assume someone else has already called)
  • Be aware of and obey local outdoor fire ordinances and burn bans
  • Never leave a fire burning unattended (e.g., campfire, cooker, cigarette/cigar)
  • Extinguish and dispose of cigarettes and cigars properly (never throw out a car window)
  • Install smoke detectors on every level of your home or business
  • Have a home or business fire escape route planned and practice it regularly
  • In the event of a wildfire, stay on top of local news and obey evacuation advisories/orders
  • Have a disaster kit ready (e.g., water, non-perishable food, medications, identification, change of clothing, radio)
  • If you must evacuate your home, remove combustibles from the yard (e.g., firewood, yard waste), close all windows, vents and doors and shut off natural gas supplies
  • Don’t attempt to return until local authorities give the all-clear

“It’s amazing what can be done with many structures and contents damaged by fire and smoke,” added White. “Using the tools available today, we can often salvage and return to pre-loss condition items you wouldn’t expect, like documents, photographs, media storage devices and electronics. One thing you can’t restore, though, is a human life. We’re ready for fire and smoke loss calls but always hope prevention and safety come first.”

For more information and to locate your nearest Rainbow International, please visit www.rainbowintl.com. We also welcome you to follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rainbowintl, on Twitter at www.twitter.com/rainbowintl and YouTube at www.youtube.com/rainbowintl.

Rainbow International – Industry Leader and Innovator

Rainbow International® provides “best practices” with integrity and the highest of standards in restoration and cleaning services. Utilizing the most advanced equipment, innovative technologies and a built-in accountability system, our professional emergency crews complete every job rapidly to assure an uncompromising commitment to service excellence and customer satisfaction. Ultimately, we don’t just restore homes and businesses; we restore value, stability, and peace of mind.