Hay Fire

Hay Fire

Hay Fire in Cornish

Hay FireA little more than a week ago, there was a hay fire in Cornish, Utah.  Although there were no injuries and the cows nearby were saved from danger, 350 tons of hay were destroyed.  How could this happen?  The answer is spontaneous combustion.

Spontaneous Combustion?

Yup.  It just goes up in a blaze of its own accord.  Well, okay, the process is a little more complicated than that.  The problem arises when the hay bale gets wet.  If the load is above 20%-25% moisture levels, and the load is large enough, heat can get trapped inside the bale.  Certain bacteria found in hay really love high temperatures, and if you create a heat trap, they start to multiply.  This causes a chemical reaction inside that can become self-sustaining.  It builds up heat until it gets too hot and bursts into flame.  Once it goes up, there’s little you can do but try to protect the surroundings, because the fire is nearly impossible to put out.

So what can you do?  Well, there are a few things.

Minimize Moisture

covered hay bale                  The key to preventing hay fires is to minimize the amount of moisture in the hay.  First, before you cut your hay, you should check the weather conditions.  Generally speaking, you want to have less than 50% humidity levels in the air when you cut and bale your hay.  Keep in mind that moisture levels go up over night, so if there’s any question, it might be worth it to delay a day or two.  Check the weather reports and schedule your work appropriately.

The way you bale the hay also matters.  When baling your hay in round shapes and stacks, you should go for the tightest possible packages.  This will help prevent rain and morning dew from penetrating the inside of the bale and creating hot pockets.  Specialized equipment can crimp or abrade the hay, which speeds up the drying process.

If possible, store your hay inside.  When storing inside, make sure you don’t have any leaking pipes nearby.  If you can’t store it inside, try to keep your bales covered with waterproof tarps.

Check the Temperature Regularly

Once you have your hay baled, be sure to check on it regularly to make sure the temperature is staying in the safe zone.  The danger begins if the inside of the hay bale reaches 150 ° Fahrenheit (65 ° Celsius).  Combustion isn’t for certain at this point, but be sure to keep checking on it to be sure.  If it hits 160° F (70° C), then you’re definitely in the danger zone and should start checking it every few hours.  If the temperature reaches 175° F (80° C), then you need to call the fire department for assistance and immediately move it away from anything that might endanger the surrounding area.  The hay may continue to rise in temperature, up as high as 212° F (100° C).  At that point, combustion is guaranteed, if it hasn’t gone up already.

Hay Fires Are Easily Preventable

By following some simple safety guidelines, it’s fairly easy to prevent hay fires.  Even if pockets of bacteria and heat get trapped in a bale, the organisms don’t always reach critical point.  Even if they rise to the brink of the danger zone, the amount of bacteria fluctuates, as does the temperature.  There may be several periods of warming and cooling in the hay without anything going wrong.  So, with some careful observation and safety procedures, you should have no problem keeping things under control.

Accidents Happen

Even though the risk is not very high and it can be prevented, accidents happen.  If a hay bale does combust, hopefully you’ve been able to move it away from other flammable materials.  Fighting a hay fire is difficult because the hot pockets inside the bale can be difficult to reach.  Call the fire department as soon as you see the problem arise.  The fire fighters will do everything they can, but you’ll have to accept that at least the hay bale is lost.  You should be able to save your barn and home, though.

Smoke Damage

PromiseEven if you save your barn and home, hay fires produce a lot of smoke and residue.  This gunk can have a real nasty smell to it.  It will coat any surface it can, leaving its lingering smell and staining the paint job.  Fortunately, if that happens, you have us to help you out.

Alpine Cleaning and Restoration is an expert on fire damage restoration, and that includes smoke damage.  If a hay fire should damage your home – or worse, if the fire itself damages your home – get in touch with us.  Our professional restoration team will give your house a thorough cleaning.  After we’re done, we guarantee you won’t even have the lingering smell of smoke to remind you of the fire.  We work with your insurance company to help get you the best price on this process, letting you get back on your feet all the faster.

Don’t wait.  We’re always ready to help.

Fireworks Safety in Cache Valley

Fireworks to Celebrate

fireworksJuly is known for fireworks. As we celebrate Independence Day – and Pioneer Day for Utah – we light up explosives. We dazzle ourselves with the bright colors and deafen ourselves with loud noises. The noise drives our neighbors and their pets crazy. It’s a good time all around.
It’s also a fire danger. Even though the 4th has passed, fireworks are lit up all month long. It’s not always legal, but there’s always a few people ready to slide the law. We’re not here to judge you for that, but just don’t ignore your fireworks safety.

Fire Hazards

Fire is always a risk of setting off fireworks. Just this year alone, firefighters have already had to put out several blazes. In the past, wildfires from mishandled fireworks have caused significant damage to the Logan Canyon mountainside. It’s no leap of logic to see how they could even set your house on fire, too. Be sure you follow these safety tips.

Safety Tips

  • Never allow young children to handle fireworks
  • Older children should use them only under close adult supervision
  • Clear a wide area around where you intend to use fireworks to minimize the risk of fire
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol
  • Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear
  • Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands
  • Never light them indoors
  • Only use them away from people, houses and flammable material
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person
  • Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
  • Never ignite devices in a container
  • Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
  • Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
  • Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don’t go off or in case of fire
  • Never use illegal fireworks
  • Fireworks sold in brown paper are for professional use only; do not buy them if you don’t have proper training.
  • Always be aware of the fire hazard warning for the day. Cache Valley posts the fire danger for every day, so be sure to check it.

Sparklers

sparklersSparklers are a favorite firework for many. When I was a kid, everybody wanted to play with them. They’re fun, but they are dangerous. Sparklers burn at temperatures up to 2000 degrees, which is hot enough to melt some metals. Contact with the burning end of the sparkler will cause third degree burns almost instantly. That’s nothing to sneeze at. Given the danger, it’s probably best not to let children play with them (especially not younger children), but if you do, be sure you watch them closely and be ready to take them away at the first sign of things getting out of hand.

Keep Pets Away from Fireworks

It may be tempting to want your precious pup to join in the fun, but this is a bad idea. Animals are extremely afraid of loud noises and burning smells. Fireworks produce these in abundance. If you don’t lock your pet inside during the celebration, more than likely it will run away. This could result in your pet getting lost or injured. That’s not a risk you want to take.

If The Worst Happens

Even with proper precautions, fireworks are dangerous. Injuries are always possible and you should know what to do. If someone is burned by a firework, remove clothing from the burned area and call the doctor immediately.
The worst case scenario would be an eye injury. If there is an injury to the eye, be sure you prevent the injured person from touching or rubbing it. Do not attempt to flush it or put ointment on it. As above, call the doctor immediately. With quick enough medical attention, it may be possible to prevent permanent loss of eyesight.

For More Information

There are specific times of the year when it’s legal to buy fireworks in the state of Utah. The Utah fire marshal has helpfully provided a flier for the dates. For the specifics of the state laws for fireworks in Utah, you can go here.
Staying safe is an important part of our July celebrations, so be sure you follow all our safety tips. If your home should be damaged from fire during these celebrations, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We’re a full-service restoration company with lots of training. We employ the most experienced professionals in the field of fire restoration. We’ll get your home back in living condition in no time.
Otherwise, we hope you have a safe and fun July!

Fire in Hyrum City

Hyrum City FireStorage Facility Burns

Two weeks ago (6/15/2019), a fire broke out in the Armor Storage facility in Hyrum city at about 8:15 PM.  According to reports, the fire had burned for five whole minutes at least before the fire department was called.  People first tried to put the fire out.  There was plenty of water nearby, but the cluttered building made it impossible to get to the fire’s starting point.  The initial estimates say the fire has caused at least $1.5 million in damages, but it could be as high as $5 million (Source).

Fire Safety

Fires can be devastating.  They continue to burn until put out, or until they run out of fuel.  This means that if fire fighters can’t get them under control, they can destroy your entire house and all its contents.  Fortunately, fire fighters are well-trained and can usually get things under control before it becomes a total loss.  Even so, if a fire breaks out, there’s going to be some damage.  It’s a good idea to know what to do in these cases.

Know What Fires You Can Put Out

Every second counts in a fire.  As stated previously, witnesses at the fire in Hyrum tried to put it out on their own before calling the fire department.  This wasted precious time and probably contributed to how much was destroyed before they got it under control.  It’s important to know when you are able to put a fire out on your own.  If you can’t put it out, call the fire department immediately.  The types of fires that you can put out on your own include:

1. Small Fires on Ordinary Combustibles

If the fire has just started and it’s on ordinary combustibles, like paper, fabric, wood, or trash, usually you can put it out with water.  Trash fires are an example of this type.  If you catch it early, you can put it out before it gets out of control.

2. Grease Fires

Grease fires are common enough in houses.  You’re cooking some breakfast and you walk away from the stove for just a second and suddenly the grease in the pan overheats and catches fire.  These kinds of fires should never be put out with water, as spraying water will simply spread the grease around – and spread the flames.  If a grease fire starts in your home, the appropriate response is to take the lid of a pan and cover the flames to smother them.

This category also includes any flammable liquid fires.  Generally, a good CO2 fire extinguisher will do the trick.

3. Early Electrical Fires

Electrical fires get extra juice from the power source where they started.  If you spot an electrical fire breaking out, the first thing you need to do is power off whatever device started it, by unplugging the device if you can, or by turning off the circuit to the socket it started from.  Then you need to use a dry chemical extinguisher to put the fire out

All of these instructions only apply when the fire is still small at the start.  Once it hits a certain point, it’s too big for you to stop it on your own.  Be sure to call the fire department as soon as you find the fire if it can’t be put out quickly.  Do not waste too much time trying to put it out if it’s already out of control.

Fire Alarms

Fire AlarmMake sure you have up-to-date fire alarms with charged batteries in them.  Modern fire alarms last a long time before they need replacing, but even so, it’s a good idea to check your alarms and make sure once every six months.  Fire alarms will help you notice fires quickly, and this can make all the difference in how much you can save from the disaster.

Fire Restoration

Once the fire is put out, you’ll need to have the damage fixed.  Fortunately, Alpine Cleaning and Restoration is a full-service fire restoration company.  Our team of highly trained experts can recover and repair many different possessions.  As independent contractors, we can also repair damage to your home.  Our perfected cleaning techniques can even remove the smoke smell from your home, so not even a lingering trace remains.  We work closely with insurance companies to make sure that you get the best deals possible for your restoration.

If you’ve been hit with a fire recently and need help getting your home back on track, get in touch with us today.  We’ll get you back on your feet in not time at all.

House Fire

Common Causes of House Fires Over Holidays

house fireHappy Holidays

The winter seasons has a lot of holidays.  The freezing cold and shortened days makes people want to chase away the gloom.  From October to February, we have holiday after holiday, from Halloween to Valentine’s Day.  The holidays in the middle, especially Thanksgiving and the December holidays, feature big meals and family events.  It’s a wonderful time and the last thing you want is to have it spoiled by a house fire.

 

House Fire

House fires are one of the most devastating accidents you can suffer.  They could potentially destroy your entire home, along with all your possessions. Even if they don’t get that out of control, there will still be some damage from both the flames and the smoke. The best way to avoid a house fire is to prevent it.  For that, you need to know what to worry about.  Here are some of the most common causes of house fires.

1. Cooking Fires

Most house fires are caused by cooking-related incidents.  They account for about 58% and are usually caused by someone leaving a stove on.  If you want to prevent a cooking fire, be sure you always stay near your cooking equipment while it’s in use. Don’t ever walk away from the stove, even if you think it’s just for a moment.  Something as simple as leaving the room to answer a phone call can be all it takes for a fire to start.  Always use a timer.  If the timer has a loud alarm, all the better, so in case you do get distracted, you’ll have a reminder.  Always follow cooking instructions, especially when you’re cooking something big, like a Thanksgiving turkey.  Finally, make sure that you keep anything flammable away from the cooking surfaces.  Do not put anything on the stovetop and store flammable liquids and powders away from it.

2. Heating

This may come as a shock, but heating equipment gets hot.  I know, right?  Who’d have ever believed it?  That’s why heating systems are the second biggest cause of fires.  Usually this results from a failure to clean the heater or chimney.  Dust is flammable and can easily catch fire if it chokes the heater too much.  Make sure you have it cleaned every year.  Portable space heaters are also a serious risk. They get very hot and can easily set fire to nearby substances, like dirty laundry carelessly dropped on the floor, or the blankets on your bed if you set them too close.  If you set one up in your home office, be sure that it’s away from any paper.  They also need regular cleaning.  Don’t take any chances with them.

3. Electrical Fires

Electrical fires are another of the most common causes. Faulty lighting fixtures cause most electrical fires.  Either they’re installed to close to something flammable, or they’re installed incorrectly and short out.  Other causes of electrical fires include overloading outlets by plugging in too many power strips, using the wrong type of bulb for a lighting fixture, and using appliances with frayed cords.  Always have a qualified electrician install and repair your electrical systems.  And never, NEVER overload an outlet.

 

4. Open Flames

Especially over the holidays, people like to light fires. Usually in the fireplace, but you also need to worry about candles, Christmas decorations, and naughty children with matches.  If you want to start a fire in your home, make sure the fireplace and chimney are clean and clear of debris.  If you light candles, don’t leave them unattended and make sure you put them out before going to bed.  Avoid using real candles for Christmas tree decorations.  If you smoke, do not do so before going to bed, as it’s easy to fall asleep with a lit cigarette.  If a lit cigarette starts a fire in your bed, the chances of dying in a house fire go up dramatically for obvious reasons.  Finally, make sure you always store your candles, matches, and lighters in a secret place where your children can’t find them.

 

Dryer Fire5. Misuse of Appliances

Appliances are extremely convenient, but they can be a cause of fires if not used appropriately.  As electrical devices, they are subject to many of the same risks. Frayed cords can cause shorts and sparks that can light up many of the things you store in your kitchen or around the house.  Drier fires can happen if you fail to clean the lint filter.  Always make sure you follow the instructions and safety precautions on your appliances.  These will be specified in the user’s manual.

 

Don’t Forget About Fire Alarms

A working fire alarm is the difference between losing a little and losing a lot.  It can even be a life or death situation.  60% of all deaths in house fires happen in houses that don’t have proper smoke alarms.  While most homes have them built in during construction by law these days, older homes may not have them, so be sure to check up on them.  Check the batteries to make sure they are still good.  The battery life on most commercially sold fire alarms will be many years, but you still need to do tests to make sure nothing’s faulty.

 

We’re Here To Help

Alpine 100% No Smoke Smell Guarantee Seal            The best way to avoid a fire is to prevent it.  It’s easy to think that it’ll never happen to you, but it always could.  Make sure you take all the needed precautions.  If you do, you shouldn’t need to worry.  Still, nothing can guarantee a fire won’t start.   If something should go wrong, Alpine Cleaning and Restoration is here to help.  Read our handy article on what to do immediately following a house fire.  After that,  get in touch with us and we can help restore your home from any fire damage.  When we’re done, you won’t smell any traces of smoke.

Stay safe, and enjoy your holidays.

Utah County Wildfires

Cleaning up Smoke Damage in Utah County

The Twin Wild Fires in Utah County

Firemen in Utah County are battling with two wildfires.  As of yesterday morning, the Pole Creak fire has consumed almost 7500 acres of land and Bald Mountain lost 1500 acres to its blaze.  As a result, thousands of people evacuated the area and are awaiting the chance to return.  Firemen have partially contained the wildfires; 25% at Pole Creak and 14% at Bald Mountain.  At the time of writing, no homes have been destroyed.  While that’s good news, the fires are likely to cause considerable smoke damage to the homes nearby.  This will leave many residents with a bad mess to clean up when they return.

 

Smoke Damage

Smoke DamageSmoke damage is caused primarily because of the ionization of particles in the smoke.  Ionization gives smoke particles an electrical charge, which attracts them to surfaces. Certain surfaces are more likely to attract them. Metal objects will create a magnetic attraction, causing smoke to cluster around them.  While drywall might hide metal nails, they still have enough of power to draw smoke to the wall, causing it to form rings around the nail.  Furnishings made of synthetic fibers also tend to have a stronger attraction to smoke particles.

Because of the way hot air interacts with cold air, smoke can get into places you wouldn’t normally expect it to.  Seemingly enclosed spaces have greater smoke damage than open spaces, and because it naturally moves toward cooler areas, it has a tendency to get behind drapes and blinds.  It will follow ventilation systems, leaving residue that your vents will spread to the rest of the house if not cleaned up.    And because smoke is so light, it can easily carried by the wind, even if the fire never gets close to your home.  Even if you’ve taken all the proper precautions, there’s still the possibility that the smoke will get on, or into your home.  So what can you do about it?

 

Alpine’s 100% No-Smoke Smell Guarantee

Alpine 100% No Smoke Smell Guarantee SealThe Fire Restoration team at Alpine Cleaning and Restoration are experts at cleaning up smoke damage.  With more than 25 years of experience, we know all the tricks.  We use hydroxyl generators to completely remove all traces of the smell of smoke.  This process is completely non-toxic, allowing you and your family to still live in the home while we clean it up.  We also use an ozone chamber to remove the smoke residue from objects in your house.  By the time we’re done, you won’t be able to even tell that there was a fire.  That’s our 100% guarantee!

 

Give Us A Call

At the time of writing, the fire is still ongoing in Utah County. Firefighters are doing their best to contain them and we appreciate all their effort.  Please stay safe.  Do not return to your homes until you’ve been given the all clear.  Hopefully the fires won’t seriously damage any homes, but if they do, we’re here to help.  Whether it’s fixing damage from the flames, or the smoke, we can help you get back on your feet quickly.  Give us a call at 1-855-4-ALPINE, or use our handy contact form.  Get in touch as soon as you’re ready.  We’ll fix your home up right away.

 

Stay safe.

Protein fire

What To Do About Protein Fires

What is That Smell?

Protein fire            It happened a few weeks ago.  You were cooking some chicken, when out of nowhere the doorbell rings. It was Betty, from down the street. It wasn’t anything important.  She just wanted to talk.  She’s old, her kids all moved out years ago, and they never call her, and she wants to tell you all about it.

At length and in excruciatingly unnecessary detail.

When she finally leaves, you’re so relieved you sit down by the TV to relax.  Only, what’s that smell?  It turns out, you forgot to set a timer on the chicken and now it’s burned.  Well, that sucks.  You clean up the mess, throw out the burned meat and decide to order take out.  You don’t think much of it at the time.  Two weeks later, there’s a smoky reek in the kitchen, but you can’t see anything smoke damage.

 

Protein Fire

A protein fire results from burning any protein rich fibers, such as those you find in most meat, or eggs. What’s so remarkable about protein fires is that they don’t actually look like fires.  They don’t have large flames and they don’t produce visible smoke. This is a result of the slow-cooking process used to cook protein rich foods.  The animal fat in protein burns down to a fine, nearly invisible mist. While you can’t see it, the mist will coat everything in a sticky, rancid residue.  It gets everywhere, coating your stovetop, clothes, carpets, tiles, and penetrating the paint on your walls.  Any porous surface soaks it up.

 

It Won’t Go Away!

The worst part of a protein fire is that the residue cannot be cleaned by normal means.  Ordinary household cleaners won’t get into pores the residue sinks into, so the stink lingers.  Months down the line you’ll find yourself wondering what the smell is and how to get rid of it.  What do you do?

You Need Professional Assistance

Because of the way the residue penetrates into porous materials, standard cleaning job won’t do.  You need a thorough cleaning.  Only specialized cleaners will break up the residue and you need special cleaning techniques to get deep enough to scrub that smell away.  In some cases, even that may not be enough, so it’s necessary to apply a sealing agent.  You may also need to repaint tainted surfaces. The process is lengthy, taking several days and multiple cleanings to completely remove the scent.

 

Exercise Kitchen Safety

The best way to deal with a protein fire is to avoid having one in the first place.  For that, you just need to follow some basic kitchen safety rules.

Remember to set a timer whenever you cook something. It’s very easy to forget something in the oven, especially if you get distracted.  A timer with a loud alarm will save you from this mistake.

If you are frying something on the stovetop, such as eggs or meat, do not ever walk away with the stovetop still on.  If the phone or doorbell rings, or one of your kids starts shouting at you from the basement, turn the stove off.  It only takes a few minutes for something to burn, and a few minutes is often how long distractions will take, so don’t take the risk.

These two simple steps will reduce your chances of a protein fire – or any kind of fire – to almost 0.

 

What To Do

If a protein fire does start, there are a few things you need to do right away.

First, extinguish the fire.  Turn off the stove and remove the pan from heat.  Remove the burned meat from your house as soon as possible.  Don’t throw it away inside, or it will continue to spread the smell.

Second, remember to keep your hands clean.  If you get the residue on your hands, you will spread it to everything you touch.  Put on some good cleaning gloves before you do anything so you don’t get it on your hands.

Third, cover your furniture, rugs and carpets, and upholstery with old sheets, or plastic covers.  This will help prevent the residue from spreading around your house.

Alpine 100% No Smoke Smell Guarantee Seal            Finally, call us as soon as you can.  Remember that this job requires special chemicals that only professionals can get a hold of and special cleaning techniques only we know.  If you try to clean it yourself, you’ll most likely just end up spreading the residue – and the smell – around.  The longer you wait, the more the residue will sink in and the more chances there are of the people who live in the house spreading it by accident.

So, don’t hesitate; call the experts at Alpine Cleaning and Restoration right away.  Our fire restoration team will get on the job ASAP.  We’ll have it cleaned up as quickly as possible.  By the time we’re done, there won’t be any trace of the smell left behind.

 

Wildfire Season safety tips

5 Wildfire Season Safety Tips

Wildfire season safety tips

It’s Wildfire Season Again

You may have heard about the wildfire blazing on the Utah-Idaho border.   This is only one of as many as twenty wildfires that firefighters in Utah have responded to this year.  Already, they have burned up as much as 1500 acres of land.  Smoke from these fires has created a smoggy haze that’s fallen over cities many miles from the fire’s actual location.

Wildfires are destructive and terrifying, but they only happen in forests right?  Wrong! Last year, the most devastating fires in California all happened miles away from any forests despite the focus on forest firefighting in the media.  Urban areas are a prime target for wildfires, most often because people think they’re safe and don’t take precautions.  In the last article, we looked at some general fire safety tips.  Today, we’re going to look at five ways you can specifically protect yourself and your home from wildfires.

1. Secure the Area Around Your Home

A common mistake people make during wildfire safety is having combustible materials too close to their homes. Wildfires generate intense heat and can ignite material from as much as 100 feet away!  Therefore, it’s wise to move firewood, dead plants and dried grass, unpruned and low-hanging branches, and even wood fencing, as well as anything else that could catch fire to a minimum safe distance of at least 30 feet. If you do have a wooden fence, it’s a good idea to separate it from your home with a masonry or metal barrier to prevent a fire from spreading along the fence to your house.

But it’s also important that you don’t go overboard. Some people think creating a buffer zone means clearing out anything that might burn within the 100 foot danger area.  This is actually a mistake.  While you should definitely thin out the vegetation close to your home, be sure to leave some there.  It will help to catch the embers blown by the wind, which is the number one way that wildfires ignite houses.  Live vegetation, when kept watered, is slower to ignite than you’d think.  If enough is there to catch the embers, they are more likely to have time to cool before they can actually ignite anything.

2. Keep the Fire From Getting In

Speaking of embers, a single one is enough to light up any number of things in your home.  You need to do everything you can to keep them out.  The number one place for them to get in is through openings in the eaves and vents on your roof.  Make sure that any openings are screened.   It may seem like a little detail, but a good metal screen is often a surefire way to make sure the fire doesn’t get into your house.

Windows are another overlooked precaution.  Intense heat can go right through the glass and light up anything too close.  Replace your drapes and any furniture near the windows with heat-resistant fabrics.

Combine this with some extra planning for the outside of your house and the chances of your home surviving a wildfire increase dramatically.  And on the subject of the exterior . . .

3. Protect the Outside of Your Home

The best time to start planning on fire protection is when you first start building a house.  From the get-go, you should plan for wildfires, especially if you live in an area prone to them.  First of all, consider the location.  Putting your house near a thick stand of tress is clearly not a smart idea, but it’s also a bad idea to put your house on hilltop, or overhanging any place that a wildfire might sweep through.  These spots are just asking for your house to go up in a blaze.

When designing your home, plan to build it from fire resistant materials.  Avoid complicated shapes in the layout, as these create places for embers to fall and get stuck in.  If you build your homes with these in mind, it will greatly reduce the fire danger.

If you aren’t building a new house, try to buy one that meets these conditions.  And even if you’ve already bought your home, there are still ways to improve on it.  Consider upgrading the roof, for example.  Older homes often have wooden shingles.  These are a big mistake.  Asphalt shingles are better, but steel and tile are the safest.  If you’ve got a wood-shingled house, have the roof replaced with better materials as soon as you can.  Not only will it decrease the fire hazard, but it can also reduce your insurance rates.

4.  Work with Your Neighbors

All of these safety tips are useful, but they might not be any good if your neighbors don’t also take precautions.  In places where homes are closely packed, your house is only as fire-proof as the one next door.

Therefore, it is a good idea to form community fire plans. Get together with the people in your area and make sure everyone understands the basics of fire safety. Help them fire-proof their homes as much as you can, because if their home goes up, yours might, too. Community meetings to discuss the matter will help get everyone on board.  Don’t be afraid to remind your neighbors of fire hazards in their yards, either; chances are, they might not have realized it and will appreciate the reminder.

5. Always Have A Wildfire Safety Plan

Even with all the precautions taken, there’s no way you can absolutely guarantee your home will be protected.  Do everything you can to protect your home, but be sure that you have a plan for what to do if a wildfire gets out of control in your area.  Develop a plan for what you will do and where you will go if a wildfire gets close to your home.  Make sure that your family knows it and have practice evacuations so everybody in your home knows what to do.  It will help them stay calm if the worst should happen.

Don’t try to stay in your home if a fire gets close. There’s nothing you can do to prevent your house from burning down by staying in it.  A house can be rebuilt, but lives lost cannot be restored.  Do not take the risk.  Taking the above precautions will dramatically increase the chances of your house surviving a wildfire.  If you’ve done them, then all that remains to do is get yourself and your family to safety and hope for the best.

 

We’re Ready To Help You

Alpine 100% No Smoke Smell Guarantee SealWe all hope that the worst doesn’t happen, but that’s not always in our control.  Even with every precaution taken, your house might still be lost or damaged in a fire. If that happens, the people at Alpine Cleaning and Restoration are here for you.  We’re the best restoration company in Utah.  As soon as the firefighters give the clear to return, you can get in touch.  We will restore your house to as good as new, if not better.  You won’t even smell the smoke!  We’ll work with your insurance agency to give you the best restoration possible.  You can rest easy knowing we’re on the job.

House Fire

Summer Fire Safety

Summer fire safety

The Heat Is On!

We’re coming up on the final month of summer, but the heat isn’t letting up just yet.  Many people think that summer is the worst season for fire danger, but according to the NFIRS, summer is actually when the lowest dangers exist.  I know it’s hard to believe that when we keep reading about the huge wildfires in California, but only about 8% of all house fires that happen occur in the summer.  Most house fires happen in December and January – often due to faulty space heaters and wood burning stoves/fire pits.  But don’t let that make you think that summer is a time you can overlook fire safety.  Here are a few things you should consider to make sure your house doesn’t go up in smoke.

Cooking Fires

By far, the most common cause of house fires is cooking and that doesn’t stop during the summer.  Nearly 32% of all house fires are caused by cooking accidents.  Never leave stoves and ovens on, even briefly, when you can’t be there to attend them.  It only takes a second for them to overheat and start a fire and if you aren’t close enough to stop it, it’ll quickly spread.  Grease and oil are particularly bad offenders on that front.  Dishrags left too near the heat are also a danger. To reduce the risk of danger, make sure you clean the cooking surfaces regularly to prevent grease from building up on them.

Air Conditioning

While faulty heating systems cause many fires, air conditioning units cause their fair share as well.  Portable and fixed AC units will sometimes have inadequate wiring for their heavy power loads, which causes short circuits.  The peak time for AC fires is between 2 and 8 PM, when they see peak usage.  Be sure to have an electrician check your AC unit to make sure the wiring is properly installed and can handle the load.

Look for ways to avoid needing to use the air conditioner all day so it won’t overheat.  Consider turning on a small fan in the room you’re using rather than running the AC all through the house if you can.  Check the AC’s filter regularly to make sure it doesn’t build up dust or debris.  And never, ever run a cord powering an AC unit under a rug or through a door.  This increases the chances of the cord being damaged, which is guaranteed to start a fire sooner or later.

Yard and Vehicle Maintenance

You’d be surprised how much this goes overlooked. During the summer, a poorly kept yard is a prime target for fires.  Loose brush and debris are highly combustible.  Be sure to clear them from your yard.  While you’re at it, trim the bushes and trees, as poorly kept branches and brambles are also prone to catching fire.  Check up on your vehicles to make sure that no hot metal parts dangle from under it.  Mufflers and exhaust pipes are chief offenders here.  Keep them raised away from the ground as much as possible and avoid parking your cars near dry brush or grass.  Be sure to avoid dragging chains, or other metal objects that could create sparks.  Keep a shovel somewhere in the yard that you can access quickly to bury a fire if you catch one starting early.

Attics

Attic fires peak in both summer and winter.  While in the winter, the cause is often faulty wiring; during the summer the cause can be just the heat itself.  Attics are often closed-off spaces with poor ventilation. Combined with the insulation surrounding them, they are prone to getting very, very hot.  Do not overstuff your attic with items, especially not combustible ones like paper.  Not only does this increase the number of things that can catch fire if it gets to hot, it provides more fuel for the fire if it does start.

It can also make it impossible for you to get at the fire with an extinguisher if you catch it early enough to stop it.  The summer months are also prone to lightning storms.  While there’s not much you can do to stop lightning from striking, you can mitigate the damage.  Unplug appliances during thunderstorms to prevent short circuits and consider installing a lightning protection system if you live in an area where lightning storms are particularly common.

General Fire Safety

The general fire safety rules are as good in summer as any other time.  Don’t overload power sockets.  Install smoke alarms and check up on their batteries regularly to make sure they work. Keep fire extinguishers in accessible places near known fire risk areas.  And in case the worst happens, always have a fire safety plan.  Make sure your children know it and practice following through on it.  The more you practice, the less likely you are to panic if a fire actually breaks out.

We’re Here To Help

Even with the best fire safety precautions, accidents can happen.  That’s why Alpine Cleaning and Restoration is on call 24/7, ready to respond at a moment’s notice.  If something should go wrong and a fire starts, get in touch.  Fire prevention starts with you, but fire cleanup starts with us.  If your home is damaged by fire, we can not only clean it up, but also restore to just as good a condition as it was before the fire. There won’t even be the scent of smoke to remind you that a fire ever happened.

That’s a promise.

upholstery cleaning

Upholstery Cleaning

upholstery cleaning

Photo by Benjamin D. Esham

Upholstery Cleaning

Upholstery can be an expensive investment and you want to take care of it as best you can.  If you want your upholstery to last, regular cleaning, either by a professional, or with professional equipment is important.  How often you should have it professionally cleaned varies, but the recommendation is every 12-18 months.  Depending on how much you use it, and how many children or pets you have, you might need to clean more often.

Vacuum

The first step in the cleaning process is to vacuum.  You want to remove debris that might be disolved into the couch fibers themselves.  I would suggest you vacuum thoroughly for several minutes with the upholstery brush tool before going into any cleaning.  This will prepare the fibers and help you get ready for the more deep cleaning.

Spot Cleaning  Your Upholstery

The next step to cleaning your upholstery is to do some spot cleaning.  It’s important to use a spot cleanser that doesn’t change the original color of your couch.  Before spot cleaning, test the formula in an discreet area of your couch first.  Once it dries, check to see if there is any discoloration.   Once you’ve tested the solution, feel free to treat the other spots in the areas that need to be treated.

Cleaning Your Upholstery

You can now dive into the actual cleaning.  If you are on a tight budget, some simple clear dish soap in warm water will work great.  For microfiber-suede, a 50% alcohol-water spray works well to clean and dry quickly.  You will also need some clean white dish cloths or sponges.  Work up some suds, then gently scrub in a circular motion over the entire couch.

After you’ve cleaned your entire couch, you’re done!  Just let it dry and then enjoy your cleaner, brighter furniture!  If you want a deeper clean, we offer top of the line equipment that not only cleans the fibers on the surface but also deep cleans your upholstery fibers for a fresh new living room!

We Can Help

If you’d like to have the assistance of a professional, we are always available.  Get in touch with us today to see how we can help.

house fire

What to Do After a House Fire

What Should You Do After a House Fire?

house fireHow many times have you doubted whether or not you left the stove on? Curling iron? Did you leave any candles lit? Did you put out that cigarette all the way? We try to be as careful as we can when it comes to fire safety but unfortunately accidents do happen. It can take a while to get over the loss you suffer if you become a victim of fire damage. It can be very emotionally draining but there are things you can do to make the recovery process easier when disaster strikes.

Don’t Go Back In After a Fire

Safety is the most important thing when it comes to the moments after fire damage.  You’ll be tempted to run inside to see what can be salvaged. Don’t do it. Only fire fighters and emergency responders will be able to tell you when or if it’s safe to return to a fire damaged structure. Nothing is worth risking your life for.

Call Your Insurance Agent

Before we talk about this step, it’s important to note how important insurance is.  It’s a good idea to be fully covered. Make sure to get a policy that will cover you in case of a fire. If you have coverage, contact your insurance agent first.  Not only will they tell you what you need to do in order to get money to repair your damages, they can help assist you with immediate action.

Immediate Fixes

Once the fire crew has given the all clear, you will want to do a few specific things first.  If you had a sprinkler system go off you will need to start pumping out water. Cover any damaged windows and doors.  If the damage leaves you feeling overwhelmed, get a hold of your agent.  They can guide you through the process.

Make a List of What Needs Replaced

Many insurance agents will ask that you do make a list of your valuable belongings before any type of damage happens. It is a good idea to keep an up to date list because it will save you a headache if the worst happens. If you didn’t already have one, take a survey of your belongings so you can know the amount of loss you need to report to your insurance agency.

Save Your Receipts

Anything that you buy to repair your home after fire damage has the potential for reimbursement from your insurance company but you do need those receipts. If fire damage has made your home unlivable ask a friend or family member for a safe place to store all of your documentation. It will come in handy later.

Start Replacing Valuable Documents

There are a lot of things you’ll be thinking about after the fire.  Family heirlooms, jewelry, furniture; these are all things to worry about, but they might not be as important as you think.  Don’t forget about important documents you owned.  Look for birth certificates, social security cards, passports, credit cards and other important documents.  You don’t want to end up needing them only to find you don’t have them anymore.  Replacing them is very time consuming.  You want to get started as soon as possible.

The most important thing to remember when recovering from fire damage is to try and stay calm.  The safety of you and your family come first.  You can replace anything else. Rely on professionals like insurance agents to do the hard stuff for you, after all it’s their job.  And when you’re ready to get your house restored, be sure to get in touch.