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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

A real fire hazard that can lead to a fire damage disaster

1/11/2023 (Permalink)

Blog Summary: SERVPRO® of Waxahachie/Midlothian explains how a cleanup for the New Year can help avoid fire damage.

SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian highlights the connection between seasonal hazards and restoration services after a fire damage disaster. Fire prevention during the holidays involves identifying the seasonal activities that elevate the risk of a fire and smoke damage disaster. Seasonal activities increase the risk of a fire and the likelihood of other types of property damage. Here are some examples:

  • Seasonal cooking (fire)
  • More frequent use of the fireplace, wood stove, and fire pit (fire)
  • Live Christmas tree (fire)
  • Decorations and celebratory lighting (fire)
  • Candles (fire)
  • Fireworks (fire)
  • More visitors and overnight guests (water damage, sewage backup)
  • Clutter (fire damage)

That clutter increasing the fire risk is not surprising, and the holidays seem to generate even more clutter. The National Institutes of Health outlines the fire safety dangers stemming from the clutter in the home. “Specifically, the fire safety dangers to be aware of when having too much stuff in the workplace and the home includes:

  • Increased risk of fire due to the accumulation of combustibles such as papers, clothing, and rubbish.
  • Increased fire severity due to an abnormal amount of fuel that will overtax existing automatic sprinkler systems.
  • Blocked escape from fire due to the exits, hallways, windows, and doors being obstructed by clutter.
  • Extreme risk to fire-emergency response personnel.
  • Risk of injury or death due to being trapped under falling items.”

The consequences of clutter

Clutter is a real problem with real consequences. It can have emotional effects, such as causing stress and anxiety. Clutter can also lead to physical injury when attempting to escape a house fire. Piles of magazines and newspapers, mounds of clothing, and teetering towers of hoarded electronics can impede a timely escape when seconds mean the difference between life and death. A clutter cleanout reduces the fire risk and improves how a person feels while also reducing the risk of injury associated with navigating through a maze of mess to escape a fire.

Tips for tackling the clutter

The scope of the clutter cleanup can be overwhelming. Plan to succeed by making a plan and sticking to it. Below are some helpful tips.

Tip #1: Inspect the home and assess the risk level.

Take a look around the home. Identify the main clusters of clutter. Rate the extent of the problem:

  • Spotty: A pile here and a pile there but limited to a room or area
  • Systemic: Here and there, but not limited to one room or area
  • Severe: Piles of clutter in every room
  • Out of control: Piles of clothing, magazines, newspapers, and recyclables (plastic and glass containers) in every room, with hallways, doorways, and steps often impassible

Tip #2: Designate the room or area where the journey will begin.

Victories often are the result of small successes. Choose a room or area that can be cleaned up in a reasonable amount of time. The open space will be an incentive to keep cleaning.

Tip #3: Schedule a block or blocks of time during the holidays to begin the cleaning process. Set aside adequate time in the schedule to tackle the pile, room, or area successfully. Tenaciously protect the time scheduled for the cleanout.

Tip #4: Enlist the services of family members to help with the cleanup. Send them reminders by social media a few days in advance with a reminder the day of the event.

Tip #5: Make the necessary preparations before the cleanup.

Make a list of items that will be needed for the cleanup. The list may include the following items:

  • Heavy-duty plastic contractor bags (Avoid a back injury or muscle strain by not overfilling the bags.)
  • PPG: nitrile gloves, eye protection, an N-95 mask or respirator, thick-soled shoes, an LED headlamp, etc.
  • Cleaning products such as wipes, all-purpose cleaners, disinfectants, deodorizers
  • Equipment: Broom, dustpan, rags
  • Hand truck or dolly to transport loaded bags, heavy electronics, and furniture to a vehicle, trailer, garbage can, or dumpster

Tip #6: When the day arrives, go clean up.

Find a steady pace, and do not get frustrated. Focus on the tasks at hand, and do not forget to celebrate the completion of each major task!

Tip #7: Pile with a purpose.

Assign three piles with the following designations: throw away, give away, or keep. Qualifications for the rubbish or recycle bin pile include items that are damaged, broken, no longer needed, or have not been worn in a year or more. Newspapers, magazines, plastic bottles, and glass jars go in this pile. When donating or selling items, remember that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Let go of old objects and enjoy the freedom and open spaces.

An item goes in the keeper pile if it

  • is used regularly
  • has a dedicated storage space
  • does not contribute to clutter in the home

Clutter in the home, garage, or basement can hinder mobility or present a serious fire hazard during the holiday season. Should fire damage occur, the homeowner can turn to the team of fire damage cleanup professionals at SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian to remediate the fire and smoke damage.

For more information about seasonal hazards and restoration services in Venus, TX, and nearby areas, contact SERVPRO of Waxahachie/Midlothian by calling (972) 935-0827 or by emailing acarey@SERVPRO10932.com.

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