How to Rebuild Your Life After a House Fire

 

A fire in your Chicagoland home can turn your life upside down. Depending on the degree of damage, you may be forced to rebuild your life from the ground up. Usually, the toughest part is knowing what to do immediately afterward and who to call. Contingent on the size of the damage, you may not be able to stay in your home. If staying with friends or family isn’t possible, talk to a local disaster relief agency such as the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, or FEMA. With the help of those organizations and others, you will survive and rebuild your life again. The following are some steps that can help.

 

Guide Your Kids

For children, losing nearly everything in a fire can be tremendously upsetting. It’s not just the loss of physical possessions that can traumatize children; the reality that the whole property, everything they’re familiar with, may now be gone is something that should be explained to them thoroughly but sensitively.

Psychotherapist Resa Hayes says, “Our children, just like us, wonder about safety, belongings, animals, and friends. We can help our kids by giving them a better understanding of fires…and how this disaster, in particular, is being handled.”

Unlike adults who may have a financial investment in the lost property, a child’s main worry will probably be about their toys, their bedroom, or other objects they were attached to. It could help to buy them a similar favorite toy. It may be a temporary solution, but with the right direction and counseling, children can get over this unpleasant incident.

 

Prepare for the Long Term

Because house fires are so destructive, you usually won’t be able to return to your Chicago area home right away, even after the embers are cold. Rebuilding your life and home doesn’t happen in just a week or two. It can be a long and strenuous process, emotionally and physically, that may take months or even years. So be prepared for the long haul. Give yourself and your family plenty of time to recover and see a counselor if necessary.

Allow yourself to feel both positive and negative emotions, such as sadness, anger, and frustration. While it’s normal and essential to grieve, try to concentrate on positive emotions. Consider things to be grateful for, from surviving the fire to experiencing the support of your family and community.

 

Be Proactive

The longer you do nothing, the worse the damage gets. So make sure you take these actions immediately:

  • Call your insurance agent to start a claim and attend to your immediate needs. Your insurance policy may cover living and daily expenses.
  • Contact ServiceMaster By Simons to restore your home if repairable and return it to pre-loss condition. We work with insurance companies to get your life back in order

 

Keep Important Contact Information on Your Phone

The last thing you need to be doing after a fire is scrambling to find the phone numbers of vital contacts. So always keep in multiple family members’ phones (in case you lose yours in the fire) a record of your insurance agent’s number as well as the number of ServiceMaster By Simons. We offer 24-Hour Emergency Fire Disaster Recovery Services for Chicagoland residential and commercial properties and will immediately respond so as to minimize additional losses.

Before you know it, our recovery team will be on-site to assess your damage and immediately provide the required services to keep your property safe and protected. We also work hard to save any of your contents that are salvageable so that your life can return to normal as soon as possible.

 

About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a SB100 Best of Small Business Award Winner 2021, Bronze Stevie® Award in the Female Entrepreneur of the Year category in the 18th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business, recipient of the 2020 Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-839-5542 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com

 

Tips for Teaching Children About Disasters

 

 

Disasters are scary—for both children and adults. But teaching children about natural disasters when they’re young helps them recognize what’s happening and how they should respond when one occurs. Knowing what to do during a disaster could not only save a child’s life but having accurate information can also lessen their fear and help them to avoid panicking during the event. The following are a few tips from Chicago’s ServiceMaster By Simons for talking to your little ones about disasters:

Explain Why. For example, you can say “Today, we’re going to talk about emergencies so we can get ready and practice. Then, if an emergency happens, we know what to do to stay safe.” Repeat this theme of safety and security through the discussion, staying positive and keeping it age-appropriate. Doing so will give them a better grasp of the situation and allow them to process the information, leading to deeper comprehension and a higher retention level.

Be Honest. Disasters are dangerous and people can die, but don’t focus on death or destruction. Don’t go into details or explicit examples that can confuse or upset your child. You want to provide accurate information but use tact. Don’t sugarcoat it or scare them to death either.

Listen. Before starting any discussion, ask what they know and understand about different disasters. That way you can build on what they understand while dispelling any inaccurate beliefs. Listen carefully to their thoughts and answers. Let them express their feelings in an atmosphere where they feel safe and secure.

Be Reassuring. Tell your children that disasters can be scary and it’s okay to feel afraid. Let them know the reason you’re talking to them about disasters is so that they’ll know what to do in the event of one happening and it’ll be less frightening. Reassure them that during an emergency, many caring adults including parents, teachers, and other caregivers will be working to keep them safe.

Limit Graphic Images. When showing images of different types of disasters, avoid using graphic pictures or videos showing destruction or people getting hurt. For younger kids, use animated images that may be less scary. During or following a disaster or emergency, the media is usually saturated with pictures and videos of the event, along with disturbing sounds. So limit your children’s exposure to the TV and internet. The media rehashing of the event can scare or confuse them as it can seem like the disaster is happening over and over again.

Focus on the Learning. Children are curious and love to learn new things through play, activities, and reading. Instead of focusing on the destructive nature of disasters, teach your children what disasters are from an educational, exploratory perspective. Find ways to make it fun, like crawling on the ground to practice your fire escape. The internet also has many free resources and games for children to learn about disasters and how to prepare for them. Here are a few of them:

 

  • On the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) site, the game, Play and Learn to Stop Disasters!
  • The American Red Cross has videos and activities: Coping with Disasters: Free Resources for Kids.
  • gov, an official website of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has games that will test kids’ know-how in a wide range of emergencies and teach them how to build an emergency kit.
  • The National Fire Protection Association website has Sparky the Fire Dog videos, games, and activities to teach kids about fire safety.

 

Recognize Helpers. When disasters strike, let your little ones know that many helpers will appear—first responders, firefighters, police, and emergency medical technicians who will work to keep them safe. Help them get familiar with their uniforms so they can easily identify helpers.

Say “I Don’t Know”. Children may ask questions you might not know the answers to. Don’t make up an answer. It’s okay to say that you don’t know and then tell them you’ll find an answer for them. And don’t forget! Your children certainly won’t.

If you do experience a disaster that affects your Chicagoland home, ServiceMaster By Simons will do all we can to alleviate your child’s worries. We can help explain to them how we’ll do our best to return their home to normal. And if some of their cherished possessions were harmed due to water damage or fire damage, or another disaster, we have the know-how to save much of it, helping to return peace of mind to your child.

 

About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a SB100 Best of Small Business Award Winner 2021, Bronze Stevie® Award in the Female Entrepreneur of the Year category in the 18th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business, recipient of the 2020 Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-839-5542 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com

 

Disaster Restoration for the Special Needs Family

 

If there’s one thing ServiceMaster By Simons of Chicago has learned is that disasters are like snowflakes – there are no two alike.  Each occurrence creates its own exclusive set of problems that need to be tackled, and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. That’s why we’ve established a customized set of procedures to be used for diverse water, fire, mold, and other disastrous events.

And just as no two disasters are alike, the same can be said for families. We use the term “special needs” to cover a wide range of conditions that make it tougher for a family to bounce back after a stressful event. This list can include conditions like allergies and chemical sensitivities, but also considers those with autism, mobility challenges, developmental delays, behavior disorders, and more. ServiceMaster By Simons believes that just as a personalized approach is required to fully restore a property after a disaster, a customized approach is needed to help all types of families achieve a healthy, happy home once again.

That process begins during the initial consultation stage. If your family includes those with special needs who will need to be assisted during the course of disaster restoration, we want to know about them. We will ask you about what will work best for your family and then review our procedures to see what changes need to be made to meet your needs in the most sufficient way possible. Here are two examples:

 

  • Those with autism often wrestle with sensory overload. They also have a tendency to dislike physical changes to their environment such as any alterations to their schedule and routine. This could mean that we’d schedule our disaster restoration services on a timetable that won’t disrupt a child’s routine.
  • People with asthma, COPD, cancer, and other medical conditions can be unfavorably impacted when certain cleaning chemicals that are used in the home or workplace. But by using a particular line of green cleaning products it may be possible to avoid generating chemical sensitivity issues.

 

We don’t consider caring for special needs families a burden. Doing all we can to take care of our customers, especially families, is what we do every day. Chicago’s ServiceMaster By Simons was created on the principle that every family deserves a happy, healthy home. We’ll ensure your life gets back to normal as quickly as possible by cleaning and restoring your property using the appropriate and very best cleaning products and expert restoration methods while taking your family’s wishes into account.

Don’t postpone receiving needed help because you’re unsure if the restoration company you hire will understand why you need things done in a specific way or at a specific time. We’ve been there. We get it. And we’re here to help.

 

About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a SB100 Best of Small Business Award Winner 2021, Bronze Stevie® Award in the Female Entrepreneur of the Year category in the 18th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business, recipient of the 2020 Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-839-5542 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com

 

The 4 Elements of Fire and Ways to Snuff it Out

When you see a fire raging, it seems like it’s an almost uncontrollable force, consuming all that gets in its way and inflicting fire damage on every item it touches. And the bigger it gets, the more difficult it is to manage. But every fire does have its Achilles’ heel.

Enter the fire tetrahedron. This triangular pyramid represents the four equal components that every fire must include. Without just one, a fire falls apart. Knowing this can help you kill a fire before it gets out of control and causes fire damage to your Chicago area property, necessitating a call to ServiceMaster By Simons for assistance.

 

The 4 Things Fire Needs to Exist

  1. Fuel.  A fire must have something to feed on, to consume. Just like living things, it has to have something to eat to survive. The fuel can be anything flammable such as paper, wood, fabric, chemicals, or combustible materials.

 

  1. Heat. A heat source is needed for the initial ignition of fire and to maintain a fire and enable it to spread. Heat allows a fire to spread by drying out and preheating nearby fuel and warming the surrounding air. Some objects’ flashpoints are lower than others, so they combust more easily, resulting in massive fire damage.

 

  1. Oxygen. Air contains about 21 percent oxygen, and most fires require at least 16 percent oxygen content to burn. Oxygen supports the chemical processes that occur during a fire. When fuel burns, it reacts with oxygen from the surrounding air, releasing heat and generating combustion products (gases, smoke, embers, etc.). This process is known as oxidation.

 

  1. Chemical Chain Reaction. While the three components above are still needed, an actual chemical reaction must take place for a fire to ignite. Once a fire has started, the resulting exothermic chain reaction sustains the fire and allows it to continue until at least one of the elements of the fire is blocked

 

The 4 Ways to Stop a Fire

  1. Cool it. If a fuel source can be cooled by, say, pouring water on it, a fire can’t continue because you’ve removed some of the heat energy. Water simultaneously cools and suffocates the fire. It cools it so much that it can’t burn anymore, and it smothers it so that it can’t burn any more of the oxygen in the air. But never use water on grease or electrical fires! Those need the correct fire extinguisher.

 

  1. Smother it. If the oxygen supply to a fire can be sufficiently decreased, burning will cease. By preventing fresh air from reaching a fire, you reduce the oxygen content in a confined atmosphere until it extinguishes itself. Some examples of this are:

 

  • smothering a pan fire with a lid
  • wrapping a person in a fire blanket
  • applying a blanket of foam over a burning surface, thus separating the fuel from the air

 

  1. Starve it. Sometimes, a fire can be extinguished simply by removing the fuel source. Ways this may be achieved are by:

 

  • stopping the flow of liquid or gaseous fuel
  • removing solid fuel from the path of a fire
  • allowing a fire to burn until all fuel is consumed

 

  1. Interrupt the chain reaction. There are certain compounds that, when introduced into a fire’s atmosphere, disturb the chemical chain reaction, causing a fire to delay and ultimately stop. Dry powder, Bromochlorodifluoromethane (BCF), and other halon extinguishers do the trick.

 

If the fire tetrahedron ends up being the cause of fire damage to your Chicago area home or business, we’re ready 24/7 to help you recover. Contact ServiceMaster By Simons anytime for fast, thorough cleanup and recovery of any fire damage.

 

 

About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a SB100 Best of Small Business Award Winner 2021, Bronze Stevie® Award in the Female Entrepreneur of the Year category in the 18th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business, recipient of the 2020 Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-839-5542 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com

 

The Dos and Don’ts of Fire Damage Cleanup

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Experiencing a fire in your Chicagoland home or business can be overwhelming, to say the least. But it’s vital that fire damage cleanup and the restoration process is begun as quickly as possible to get your life back to normal.

But do not attempt to do this on your own! You’ll need to rely on fire damage experts to handle the situation. There are specific steps the professionals know and will follow to restore your Chicago area property and contents to their pre-loss condition.

Because of the seriousness of these situations, here is a list of dos and don’ts when it comes to fire damage restoration and smoke cleanup:

Do

  • Make safety the priority. Even if the situation looks safe and clear to you, don’t enter a burned structure until a professional has informed you it’s safe to do so. Not only may the building be unstable, but fires can start again — even after they seem to be extinguished.
  • Document, document, document. Take photos of the fire damage, save receipts, take notes of conversations and keep all email correspondence. These actions help when dealing with your insurance company.
  • Call your insurance agent to initiate a fire damage assessment.
  • Call your Chicago restoration company, ServiceMaster By Simons, to help with fire damage cleanup and repair.
  • Limit movements inside the structure to keep soot particles from spreading.
  • Change furnace filters.
  • Cover dry furniture and upholstery with sheets until they are assessed or until they are cleaned.
  • Weather permitting, open windows and doors for ventilation.
  • Remove clothing and soft contents from the property and have it cleaned by ServiceMaster By Simons professional fire damage restoration cleaners, not just a dry cleaner.
  • Throw away all food and drink left after the fire.

Don’t

  • Enter a building before the fire department gives you the green light, even if it looks safe.
  • Start cleaning residue from walls, ceilings, and other surfaces. Everything needs to be assessed by your insurer first.
  • Walk on carpets or touch furnishings impacted by smoke residues or debris until they’re professionally cleaned.
  • Eat food, including canned goods, that were exposed to heat or fire.
  • Turn on utilities until professionally checked.
  • Turn on, clean, or use any electronic equipment until professionally checked.

Smoke and soot residue left behind after fire damage can cause severe health problems if not handled correctly. Only trained experts with professional equipment that understand the complicated chemical interactions involved with soot and fire can ensure your fire damage restoration is done safely and thoroughly.

The best thing to do is get in touch with ServiceMaster By Simons as soon as possible. We will assess your Chicagoland property and come up with a fire damage cleanup plan that includes:

  • Securing your property to prevent further damage
  • Removing damaged and unsalvageable items
  • Cleaning, sanitizing, and deodorizing of your property and belongings
  • Repairing or replacing all fire and smoke damaged areas of the structure

Our main goal at ServiceMaster By Simons is to restore your fire-damaged property and return it to its pre-loss condition or better. As a locally owned and operated company, providing the best possible customer service is our business.

 

About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a SB100 Best of Small Business Award Winner 2021, Bronze Stevie® Award in the Female Entrepreneur of the Year category in the 18th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business, recipient of the 2020 Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-839-5542 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com

 

Don’t Become a Victim of Assault by Battery

At times, the most innocent of actions can have dire consequences. For instance, pouring kitchen grease down your drain can cause your pipes to clog and lead to water damage. And you know that 9-volt battery you tossed into your junk drawer to one day use in your smoke detector? Well, it can become the cause of smoke – and fire!

While AAA, AA, D, and C batteries have their positive and negative posts positioned at opposite ends, 9-volt battery posts are set next to each other. When both posts touch metal that may be in your junk drawer (such as paper clips, steel wool, aluminum foil, nails, scissors, etc.), it can cause that metal to heat up. If that metal is touching a combustible source like paper or steel wool, it can start a fire. (Watch video)

Although these fires don’t happen every day, fires caused by loose 9-volt batteries have been reported countrywide, from New Hampshire to Kansas and Colorado. This problem has caused some homeowners to launch public awareness campaigns about it. (While we’re at it, this is a good time to remind you to always have fully-charged fire extinguishers in your home and business.)

How to Protect Yourself From This Danger

To help allay your fears, a study conducted by the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) concluded that fires started by batteries did not make the “Most Common Causes of House Fires” list. But ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons thinks that even one fire is too many. So, practicing fire prevention is important to ensure this situation doesn’t happen to you.

To keep your property safe, the NFPA has set these guidelines for safely storing 9-volt batteries:

  • Don’t store them loosely in a drawer or container with metal objects or other batteries.
  • Keep them in their original package until ready for use.
  • If the original package is gone, cover both positive and negative posts with electrical or another non-conductive tape.
  • Don’t put batteries in your pocket along with keys, loose change, or other metal objects.
  • Keep 9-volt batteries stored standing up in a safe place where they won’t be knocked around.

How to Safely Dispose of Household Batteries

Single-use, non-chargeable batteries made before 1996 contained mercury and were considered hazardous waste. But now they’re constructed with common metals that the federal government deems non-hazardous and can be thrown away with your regular garbage – except in California, where it’s illegal to throw in your trash any type of battery. (Tip: Reduce your need for disposing of single-use batteries by purchasing rechargeable batteries instead. These can be used more than 1,000 times and recycled.)

But the exceptions are lithium-ion batteries, button cell batteries (found in items like watches and hearing aids), and any rechargeable batteries. All contain hazardous metals. These types of batteries need to be recycled.

It is important not to place lithium-ion batteries in curbside recycling carts as recycling facilities and truck fires have been reported due to batteries being damaged during sorting or when heavy equipment crushed them. To help prevent battery fires and improve workers’ safety, Illinois Governor Pritzker signed a law that prohibits residents and businesses from placing rechargeable or lead-acid batteries into recycling carts beginning January 1, 2020.

Here’s how you can recycle lithium-ion, button, and rechargeable batteries:

  • Call your Cook County municipal household hazardous waste program on how to recycle these batteries correctly.
  • Search the Chicagoland area for recycling centers that accept single-use batteries using Earth911’s Recycling Search.
  • Find a mail-in recycling program that accepts batteries. Most of these programs will sell you a container to store used batteries that can be mailed when filled.

If your Chicagoland property has been affected by smoke or fire from any source, ServiceMaster By Simons can assist you by handling your property and contents restoration. We work with our customers as a team to guarantee your property will be returned to its pre-loss condition as quickly and efficiently as possible.

 

About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a Bronze Stevie® Award in the Female Entrepreneur of the Year category in the 18th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business, recipient of the 2020 Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-839-5542 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com

 

How to Prevent Puff Backs From Your Fireplace

A frosty Chicago winter evening spent next to a roaring fireplace can be very enjoyable. But that occasion can become a disaster if your fireplace begins spewing smoke into your home’s interior. When that occurs, it may be the result of a puff back. This could occur only once per season or it may happen every time you start a fire.

The results of puff backs are terrible. The smoke can damage all surfaces it touches. A foul odor permeates the environment while the air becomes dangerously contaminated with carcinogens and carbon monoxide. Additionally, smoke particles lodge in curtains, clothing and carpeting.

The good news is that fireplace back puffs are preventable. But what causes them?

Back Puff Causes and Cures

 

Cause: Creosote buildup

Creosote is a byproduct of fireplace smoke. It builds up inside a fireplace flue every time the fireplace is lit, growing thicker and thicker. The creosote causes your chimney to generate more smoke then can be exhausted, allowing the smoke to travel the path of least resistance – back into your home.

Cure: Hire a chimney sweep

A CSIA-certified chimney sweep can inspect and identify creosote accumulation. If it’s a problem, you’ll need to have your chimney swept, which will remove creosote buildup and restore your chimney to its peak working condition.

 

Cause: Lack of air supply

While a well-insulated home is more energy efficient, a tightly-sealed home could actually “suffocate” your stove or fireplace, resulting in negative air pressure inside. This could cause the fireplace to release smoke into your home. Fire needs oxygen to burn and a tightly sealed home will limit the flow of air into the fireplace.

Cure: Introduce air flow

Before lighting your next fire, simply open a window. Back puffing should discontinue if the issue was caused by an inadequate air supply.

 

Problem: Obstructions

If your chimney is blocked, it’ll restrict airflow and smoke will build up in the flue until it’s exhausted through your fireplace or stove. Bird and wasp nests built inside a chimney can restrict its airflow, along with balls and tree branches.

Cure: Clean the chimney

The National Fire Protection Association recommends that you have your chimney, fireplace, and vents inspected and cleaned annually, regardless of whether back puffs occur or not.

 

Problem: Unsuitable firewood

You may be trying to burn wet wood which can produce more smoke than usual. To burn efficiently, the fire needs to first burn off any excess moisture within the wood. The higher the moisture content of the wood, the harder it’ll be to burn.

Cure: Use seasoned wood

Wood needs to be dry to burn efficiently. Wood that’s freshly cut is high in moisture content, which is why wood needs to be dried out (known as seasoning) for 12 to 18 months before it’s ready to be used on a fire without causing smoke issues.

 

Sometimes, a badly built fireplace can cause smoke problems. All aspects of a fireplace, such as its opening size, smoke chamber, smoke shelf, damper size and chimney height, must be built without design and construction flaws in order to prevent smoke buildup.

When your fireplace pours smoke into your home, the resulting damage can be significant. Rather than replace fouled up belongings that have been contaminated with smoke particles, consult your Chicagoland smoke damage cleanup company, ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons. Our fire and smoke damage restoration technicians will remove all traces of smoke from your property.

 

 

About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a Bronze Stevie® Award in the Female Entrepreneur of the Year category in the 18th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business, recipient of the 2020 Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-839-5542 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com

 

 

Exposing Fire Sprinkler Myths

 

 

There’s no denying a fire could cause terrible damage to your Chicagoland commercial property. And without a way to extinguish the flames quickly, your employees and customers could be critically injured or killed. That’s why installing a commercial fire sprinkler system is so important.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), when sprinklers are present, the chances of dying in a fire are diminished by 80 percent and the typical property loss due to fire is reduced by 50 to 66 percent, compared to fires where sprinklers do not exist.

But although there’s undisputable evidence that sprinklers are a necessary line of defense against fires, many myths still live on about the way sprinklers truthfully work. So, lets touch on 4 myths surrounding commercial fire sprinkler systems and the reasons they’re wrong.

 

Myth 1: Water Damage From Fire Sprinklers Cost More Than Fire Damage

 

FACT:  Sprinkler systems are more economical when contrasted to the damage caused by other firefighting efforts. Since sprinklers can keep a fire limited to one room rather than allowing flames and smoke to spread through a building, most fire damage cleaning is confined to one area. Furthermore, water damage caused by fire hoses usually costs more to restore; a sprinkler discharges only 8-24 gallons of water per minute, but a fire hose releases 50-125 gallons per minute.

 

Myth 2: All Sprinkler Heads Activate During a Fire

 

FACT: Sprinkler heads are constructed to respond to temperatures only above 155 °F. A temperature-sensitive glass bulb with a liquid or metal alloy inside keeps the fire sprinkler head in position. The bulb directs pressure to a pipe cap, stopping water from discharging through the system. So, only the sprinkler heads close to the fire will trigger, leaving unaffected areas dry.

 

Myth 3: Sprinklers Are Too Sensitive

 

FACT: Although sprinkler systems are sensitive to fire, that doesn’t mean they’ll be touched off by someone burning their lunch or smoking a cigarette. Only 1 in 16 million sprinkler heads activate accidentally, so their benefits far outweigh any extremely minimal risks. And the most common reason why a sprinkler fails to operate is that the system was shut off at some point before the fire.

 

Myth 4: Smoke Alarms Set Off Sprinkler Systems

 

FACT: Fire sprinkler systems and smoke alarms operate independently. Smoke alarms perceive smoke particles which cause them to sound a warning, which is very important because you need a warning before a fire has had time to spread too far. But fire sprinkler heads are only heat activated. One won’t set off the other.

 

As a Chicagoland business owner, safety is required to keep your operations running smoothly. To help guarantee your company will be more secure from fire damage, it’s a sound idea to install commercial fire sprinklers and affix fire extinguishers throughout your establishment.

But if the unexpected does occur, help is nearby. At ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, we’re both fire damage and water damage clean up professionals. We offer 24-Hour Emergency Recovery Services and are dedicated to getting your business back up and running as quickly as possible.

 

About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a Bronze Stevie® Award in the Female Entrepreneur of the Year category in the 18th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business, recipient of the 2020 Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-839-5542 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com

Fire Emergency Tips for Chicagoland Apartment Residents

Two in 10 Americans live in an apartment or condo. That may not sound like a lot, but that translates to 56 million people! From 2010 until the end of 2019, Chicago added an average of 5,200 new apartments to the market each year. In Cook County alone, there are close to 800,000 rental properties, most of those being apartments. When it comes to the safety of all those individuals who live in apartments, they need to be aware of how to best protect themselves from fires because they face concerns that differ from those living in single dwelling homes.

For example, a free standing home will usually offer a number of escape routes in an emergency, but apartments commonly do not, especially those situated on upper floors. Additionally, apartments can be more perilous to live in because a fire that originates in one can affect several others. In fact, it’s unusual to go more than a month without seeing a story about a Chicago area multi-unit apartment fire in the news.

If you live in an apartment, this article contains some valuable fire safety tips to remember so you know what to do if a fire breaks out in your building.

Know the Fire Alarm System

Although the idea of an apartment fire can be terrifying, the building’s fire alarm system can help to warn residents of danger. Here are some points you need to remember concerning those fire alarms:

  • Fire alarm systems consist of smoke detectors, fire alarms, and manual fire alarm boxes. But the smoke detectors and the fire alarms aren’t connected. This prevents everyone in the building having to evacuate just because someone burnt their toast.
  • Identify the locations of the manual fire alarm boxes in your building so you can get to them quickly in an emergency. They’re usually placed near the exits.
  • If you’re evacuating a building because of a fire and no alarm has yet sounded, activate the manual fire alarm box on your way out.
  • If you hear an alarm, don’t ignore it! Treat it as an actual emergency and evacuate immediately! Don’t reenter your apartment until given permission by the fire department.
  • Don’t activate the manual alarm box unless you see smoke or fire. False alarms may cause your neighboring residents to ignore future fire alarms and they compel the fire department to treat them as emergencies.

Create a Fire Evacuation Plan

Evacuating an apartment building during a fire is a bit more complicated than evacuating a home. Follow these tips to help you prepare a fire evacuation plan from your apartment:

  • Be familiar with where all sets of stairs are. You may need to use an alternative staircase if the one closest to you is blocked.
  • Before leaving your apartment, touch the front door with the back of your hand to confirm the hallway is safe. If it’s hot, use another exit.
  • Pocket the keys to your apartment as you leave in case you’re unable to safely evacuate the building and close all doors behind you.
  • If you cannot safely exit (for example, from an upper story), stay in your apartment and dial 911. Then seal up the door and air vents with wet towels or duct tape to stop smoke from entering, open a window and yell for help. Wave a bright piece of cloth or flash a light so the firefighters can spot you.

The best thing for an apartment dweller to do is to practice safety at all times

  • Never block windows or doors with heavy furniture.
  • Don’t let trash accumulate in the apartment or around the building.
  • Keep your kitchen clean of any greasy buildup.
  • Don’t store flammable materials in the apartment.
  • Report any possible fire hazards to your building superintendent.
  • If action isn’t taken, report the conditions to the fire department or other authorities.

If you’re looking to rent a new apartment, first check any potential unit and building for working smoke detectors and fire alarms. Indicate any fire safety fears you have before signing a lease. If you’re a Chicagoland apartment building owner or manager who has experienced a fire loss, be sure to contact ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons immediately. We have the ability and resources to restore fire damaged structures quickly and efficiently to their original pre-loss condition, decreasing the amount of lost revenue you may experience.

About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a Bronze Stevie® Award in the Female Entrepreneur of the Year category in the 18th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business, recipient of the 2020 Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-839-5542 or visit www.servicemasterbysimons.com or info@servicemaster-rbs.com