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House fires can have numerous causes and many of these causes are preventable. Using common sense is extremely important but there are several less obvious tips which should be followed at all times. Remember, fires can start small and completely unintentionally but can have devastating effects on your home.
The most obvious piece of advice we can give you is to keep combustibles away from heat sources.
Typical combustibles in the home include:
Typical heat sources in the home include:
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Fire damage can cause structural damage so the less people in the property, the better. Be aware of obstacles and sharp objects within the property and wear personal protective clothing. We highly recommend that you DO NOT enter the property unless instructed it is safe to do so by supporting authorities. Soot and smoke are hazardous to health. If you do enter the building you need to take precautions. Do not eat or drink anything that has been in contact with the flames, soot or smoke as certain contamination will have occurred.
Ensure gas, water and electricity supplies are switched off at the mains, do not touch any electrical sources whilst in contact with water. Remember that the fire services may use large quantities of water to extinguish the fire. Contact utilities suppliers and glaziers if necessary. Secure the property if possible. Although fire damage can be devastating you need to be aware that you are still responsible for the security of the property and you should act to keep your property safe and not compromise the safety of it.
3. Limit Secondary Damage
If it is safe and easy to do so you should try and remove valuable items to protect them from secondary damage caused by soot and smoke. It is also a good idea to make a quick list of items that have been damaged. Contact your insurance company and inform them of the situation. Be clear and concise with them. Offer them a list of items that have sustained damage and salvage what you can. Once you have contacted your insurance company, call Tempest Restoration on 0845 052 4522 and arrange for us to visit the property to provide expert advice and service to return your home to its pre-incident state as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
Please note that Tempest Restorations services are not a replacement for the Emergency Services and should only be contacted after them and your insurance company.
Below are some basic guidelines for best practice in the home when it comes to fire safety. Preparing for the possibility of a house fire doesnt take much time. Its more thought than action. It is worth taking this time out of your day since it can save your life and the lives of your family members. It is not good enough to think that you have enough common sense to cope with escaping from a burning building. In a terrifying situation, common sense unfortunately does not always prevail.
Never leave small children unattended where heat sources are. Children are unlikely to realise the consequence of their actions and can start a raging fire if left alone even in a very short space of time. If you need to leave a young child unattended, make sure you leave them in a safe and secure place. For example, you could leave a toddler in a play pen with some toys to provide a safe distraction.
Never leave candles unattended when they are lit. The popularity of scented candles has been steadily increasing during the past few years and many people believe that it is safe to leave them unattended. Candles can cause fires which can spread out of control very quickly. Due to the nature of candles, once heated, their structure changes from a solid to a liquid. This liquid runs and pools. If left on a shelf, this liquid can run onto and over the shelf and onto your floor. You should always burn candles in places where they are not likely to be knocked over and keep them far away from flammable material. Burning candles in a bedroom, which is filled with flammable material including curtains, cushions, and bedding, is a risky idea and should be avoided at all times if possible.
Smoking is one of the major causes of house fire in the UK. Smoking anywhere in the house is potentially dangerous but it may not be practical to go outside every time a you need a cigarette. It is advised that you should never smoke whilst in bed, particularly if you have been drinking alcohol. Before putting ash and cigarette remnants in the dustbin, make sure they are completely extinguished and there is no residual heat. Always be sensible when smoking because it is all too easy to leave a lit cigarette unattended for a few minutes and then forget about it. It only takes a moment to cause a small fire that can quickly spread and take over your house. Your home is full of combustibles that can fuel a fire.
Smokers should also leave lighters and matches out of the reach of children. It is not enough to place them in a drawer because children are naturally curious and could find them. We recommend that you keep them at the top of a high cupboard and make sure the cupboard is one which cannot be accessed by children. Children can often get to places that you wouldn't imagine they could!
Gas powered cookers are a very real threat to your home. You should make sure that your cooker is in good working condition and always positioned away from as much combustible material as possible. When you are cooking over a naked flame, be aware of loose clothing. Long sleeves can easily pass over a flame and catch alight if you are not careful. In addition, keep all dish cloths and tea towels away from kitchen units which are next to the cooker, since they can easily catch alight. You should never leave the stove unattended whilst you are cooking. Even if you are just boiling a pan of pasta, you should not leave the room. Food or boiling water which spills over the edge of a pan can easily cause a large house fire. It may sound obvious to advise against cooking anything whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs but many people attempt such a task. Even if you are just tired or not feeling well, do not be tempted to cook. Momentary lapses in concentration can cause disastrous situations to occur. Remember, it takes only a moment for a flame to ignite and only a few more to engulf a house.
If you have a fire or stove, make sure its maintained on a regular basis. If you have an open fire, it is a good idea to use a fireplace screen, which prevents dangerous sparks from escaping and setting fire to nearby combustible material. Find out more about open fire and stove maintenance by reading our article on avoiding fires in your chimney During the winter months, it can be tempting to use portable heaters which emit heat to the immediate environment. These heaters can warm you up very quickly but make sure you do not sit too close to them and never point them in the direction of flammable material.
Be aware of damaged electrical goods. If kitchen appliances break, always replace them with new ones which have passed vigorous safety checks. Many people try to fix appliances such as microwaves, toasters, and kettles in an attempt to save a few pounds. However, this is extremely dangerous and the appliances can become instant fire risks. Most appliances are sealed nowadays and it more cost effective to replace faulty or damaged goods than to fix them. Consider the cost of a toaster compared to the cost of your home.
Be aware of electrical cables. Make sure that electrical cables do not run underneath rugs or are hooked over nails and try never to use extension cords. Electrical items should always be kept well-ventilated. If they become overheated, they can cause house fires. This can be a particular problem with televisions and laptops. Make sure that televisions have space around them so that air can ventilate properly and never leave laptops on a sofa or a bed because they could become a fire hazard if overheating occurs. It is also recommended that you do not charge electrical equipment overnight whilst you are sleeping.
Never let rubbish and general waste accumulate. If you do need to store rubbish for a short period of time, make sure you choose a sensible storage location. Never store rubbish near a boiler or a cooker. You should try to keep your entire kitchen clean and tidy. For example, do not let grease accumulate on your cooker or in your oven. The rule of tidiness does not only apply to areas located within the house. Keep your garden and external areas clean as well. Never allow lawn clippings or garden refuse to accumulate near a building. Lawn clippings which start to ferment can produce heat and catch alight.
A. We aim to be on the scene as soon as we can. With technicians located acrosss the UK, you are never too far away from the expert help of Tempest Restoration. The longer you delay after your property has been affected by fire, the worse the damage will be. From the moment of arrival on site, we will begin the decontamination process. We work around the clock to ensure that fire damage and your losses are kept to a minimum. We aim to safely return your business to normal, as quickly as possible.
A. Damage caused by fire may look superficial but its the effects on materials that are not visible that can have lasting consequences to health and to the structure of a building. Potential hazards include asbestos and lead among others. Your home is full of porous materials and smoke can penetrate these materials beyond what is viewable by the naked eye. Our bespoke equipment and understanding of the uniqueness of each fire gives us the ability to detect fire damage and deal with it safely and effectively. Hired machines in the hands of inexperienced operators will cost unnecessary time and money in the long term. We understand the urgency of returning your home to its pre incident state and we operate quickly and efficiently to do so for you.
A. From your point of view, the quicker the process starts, the quicker you can be back in your home. Restoration work following a fire can be lengthy, it would be wrong to assume its a quick fix. Secondary damage caused by fire begins within minutes but can be minimised if dealt with promptly by a professional. During a fire, chemical reactions produce chemicals that are toxic and potentially fatal. During the time that the fire services are extinguishing the flames, the use of water (although required for putting out the fire) can unfortunately cause further structural damage and additional hazards. The contaminated area needs to be neutralised and rendered safe to prevent further damage and degradation. Potentially, every minute is costing you money.
A. During the combustion of a fire, chemical changes occur and environmental pollutants are created, many of which are harmful to human health. This seems fairly straight forward but natural and synthetic materials in your home produce a vast array of chemicals, depending on their makeup. Here at Tempest, we thoroughly assess the entire area using state-of-the-art testing equipment to detect any traces of hazardous substances.
A. Of paramount importance and priority is safety. Fire can, however big or small, cause structural damage to your home. Even past the point of the emergency services approving the site safe for entry, you should still proceed with caution. Every fire is different and unique. The location of a fire in your home can cause a chain reaction to other rooms, and sometimes it can be contained, either way the process of restoration is variable depending on many different factors. We assess each site to ascertain the extent of the damage and the precise actions required. We undertake a comprehensive risk assessment and survey of the property along with safety checks of power supplies to isolate any further damage. Ventilation of the home then removes trace of odour. Contents are assessed for renovation/removal and damaged surfaces are decontaminated and cleaned, neutralising odours.
A. During a fire the heat produced can reach thousands of degrees. The corrosive smoke produced is forced into every space and becomes trapped in porous materials, most surfaces will almost certainly suffer corrosion. Combustion will create chemical products that will be toxic long after fire is extinguished. During the fire, fumes and chemicals produced such as carbon monoxide are potentially fatal. It is essential that your home is decontaminated by a professional following a fire, you could be ricking your health if you don't.
A. Yes. A fire produces chemical residues during combustion. The combustion process releases harmful chemicals into the environment. In older buildings materials such as asbestos and mercury have fatal side effects when subjected to fire. These chemicals penetrate porous materials and surfaces within the building itself. Smoke particles can penetrate some places you probably didn't think of, such as your heating system. If left, they can remain for months in the atmosphere which can result in lung irritation and respiratory problems, a major reason for having a professional undertake the restoration work.
A. Given that each fire is individual and unique based on many different factors including location, time and combustibles, the damage caused and cost to restore is also variable. In order to limit these costs, it is essential that fire damage remediation commences as quickly as possible. The secondary damage caused to properties begins following the fire being extinguished and will cause costs to escalate if not stopped. Our swift response teams located across the UK can be on site speedily and act quickly and efficiently to ensure your losses are kept to a minimum and your home can be back to normal in a short space of time.
A. Our technicians are trained to the highest standards and are equipped to decontaminate fire and soot-damaged properties. We have been restoring, renovating and repairing domestic and commercial premises for over many years and have served hundreds of customers in across the UK, helping them get back to normal. We are trusted providers to many insurance companies who come highly recommend.
A. We operate across the UK with technicians available in major towns and cities. Our head office is based in Swaffham, Norfolk where we undertake all our training.
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