Protein fire

Protein Fires: What To Do

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 Fires

A protein fire results from burning any protein rich fibers, such as those you find in most meat, or eggs. What’s 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 in cooking 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.  Sometimes, it’s necessary to apply a sealing agent, or 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.  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 and thorough cleaning techniques that only professionals can get a hold of.  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.

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

5 Wildfire Safety Tips

Wildfire

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 with fire 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 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 Seal            We 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.

Home buring with 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 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

 

We at Alpine Cleaning and Restoration are 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 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 part that will leave it feeling fresh and clean.  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 and 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 you have 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!  Feel free to give us a call anytime for help with your upholstery.

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.

what to save

What to Save

What to Save After A House Fire

Before a professional fire damage restoration team can clean up after a house fire, the first and possibly the most difficult task to do is to figure out what can save and what needs to be thrown away.  If the fire was put out with water, make sure to read the water damage guides as well.  Most of your belongings that were not completely destroyed can be salvaged and cleaned.  Just make sure to follow the safety rules before you throw anything away.

Food items

Its important to be cautious while dealing with the food situation.   If any is burnt at all, just throw it away.  Any food items that have been exposed to heat, smoke, or ash should be trashed as well.  Any food that has been exposed to heat may turn bad.  Its better to be safe then risk getting food poisoning.  Make sure not to use any canned foods if they are rusted, bulged out, or dented.

Refrigerated Food

Even if the electricity was turned off, your refrigerator will keep cold for about four hours if it is well sealed, so you might be able to save the food in it.  If your refrigerator was not damaged in the fire, check its contents. Confirm that the food is still cold and that no soot got into it. Otherwise, a good rule of thumb is simply, “if in doubt, throw it out.”

Frozen Food

Any food that was in the freezer can be used if it still has ice crystals on it and if it still feels cold and hard. If not, discard it. Again, whenever in doubt, discard it.

Medicines and Cosmetics

It’s tempting to try and save medicines because they’re so expensive, but you have to be careful.  You don’t want to put anything harmful in your body.  Be sure to inspect medications and cosmetics carefully to make sure that they are clean of soot, dust, and all other chemicals that might have been used to extinguish the fire.

Clothes and Textiles

Clothes and textiles the easiest to save and can often be cleaned and disinfected. Discard these materials only if burnt. Be extra cautious with clothing for babies and children.

Other Contents

All other content can be reused after you make sure that it is well-cleaned and disinfected and that it is dust- and soot-free.

Let Us Help

Alpine Cleaning and Restoration are experts in fire damage restoration and are there to help you if you need it.  Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you need any help.  Our staff is on call 24/7 to help you.

holiday safety tips

Holiday Safety Tips

Everyone loves the holidays.  Getting to meet with your family, giving (and receiving) gifts, eating good food; what’s not to love?  But you don’t want your joyous event to turn into an unexpected tragedy.  According to CNN, there are plenty of accidents that can occur around the house during the holidays, especially fires.  Every year, accidental fires kill more than 400 people and cause over $900,000 worth of property damage.

While enjoying your holiday will be your top concern, don’t let your fun outweigh your safety.  There are a few simple things you should keep in mind if you want to stay safe during the holiday season.  Here are some tips for you.

10 Safety Tips For the Holidays

  • Use a timer when cooking on the stove top or oven
  • If you have a log fire place, make sure to use the screen
  • Never burn wrapping paper, boxes or trash in your fire place
  • Don’t leave a fire, candles, warmers, or space heaters unattended
  • Use candle or fragrance warmers instead of buring candles
  • Real Christmas trees dry out in 2 weeks- get rid of the fire hazard
  • Check holiday lights for cracked or broken bulbs or frayed wires- don’t use
  • Christmas lights that are overheating should not be used
  • Never over fill a turkey fryer with grease
  • Never use “indoor lights” outdoors

Let Us Help

Alpine Cleaning and Restoration Specialists, Inc. knows that fire damage in your home can be devastating.  While we hope nothing bad happens, be sure to get in touch with us if a fire should happen to strike.  Our disaster response team is on call 24/7 and promises a 1-hour emergency response time.  If you need us, you can be sure that we’ll be there for you.

We wish you a happy and safe Merry Christmas!

Emergency fire damage restoration

Emergency Restoration Tips

What Do You Do In an Emergency?

Fires and floods can do some pretty serious damage to your home.  Even after the dust has settled, the emergency is still only half over.  Now comes the costly and time consuming business of cleaning and restoring your home.  But where do you start?  Here are some do’s and don’ts for general emergency restoration.

Smoke and Fire Damage

Emergency fire restoration

Do’s

  • Blow off or brush-vacuum loose soot particles from upholstery, drapes, and carpets.
  • Cover carpeted traffic areas with towels or old linens to prevent additional soiling.
  • Discard open food packages. The food could be contaminated.
  • If electrical service is off, clean out your freezer and refrigerator. Leave the doors propped open or place charcoal in the unit.
  • Send clothing with heavy smoke damage to a qualified professional dry cleaner.
  • Clean formica and chrome fixtures in the kitchen and bathroom to prevent permanent tarnishing.
  • Wipe residue from porcelain bath fixtures to prevent etching.
  • Wipe the leaves of house plants to remove smoke residue.
  • Change the air filter on your furnace if it uses forced hot air.
  • Tape cheese cloth over intake and outlet air registers to capture any loose soot in the air. This is even more effective if the cheese cloth is damp.
  • If the outside temperature is above 60 degrees, air out the house to reduce smoke odor.

Don’ts

  • Do not attempt to wash any papered or flat painted walls without consulting your professional cleaner. Incorrect cleaning procedures could compound the soot residue problem.
  • Do not attempt to clean carpets or upholstered furniture. Again, incorrect procedures could increase damage.
  • Do not use electrical appliances that have been close to fire or water before having them checked. They could malfunction.
  • Do not use ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet. A short circuit could result.
  • Do not touch anything. Soot on your hands can permeate upholstery, walls, and woodwork, causing further damage.
  • Do not eat food that has been exposed to fire or smoke.
  • Do not wait to call for professional help.

Water Damage

Emergency flood restoration

Do’s

  • If the outside temperature is above 60 degrees, use dehumidifiers if available.
  • Use fans to circulate the air and assist drying.
  • Remove as much water as possible by mopping and blotting.
  • Wipe furniture dry.
  • Lift draperies off carpet, loop through a coat hanger, and place the hanger on the drapery rod.
  • Prop up wet furniture cushions for even drying and place small wood blocks or aluminum foil under furniture legs.
  • Remove wet area rugs or other floor coverings.
  • Open furniture drawers, closet doors, and luggage to enhance drying.
  • Move photos, paintings, and art objects to a safe, dry location.
  • Remove wet fabrics and dry them as soon as possible. Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.
  • Remove damp books from shelves and spread out to dry.
  • If damage occurs during a cool season, leave heat on; if in summer, use an air conditioner if available.

Don’ts

  • Do not attempt to remove chemical stains such as ink or paint.
  • NEVER operate damaged electrical appliances.
  • Do not throw away damaged wood chips or other small articles. They might be helpful for repair.
  • Do not use household cleaning products on fabrics, upholstery, or carpet without consulting your professional cleaner.

Let Us Help

In an emergency, response time is critical to avoid permanent damage to your home.  That’s why Alpine Cleaning and Restoration Specialists guarantees that we’ll be there within 60 minutes of your call or e-mail.  Your satisfaction is our first priority and we’ll do our best to get you back on your feet as soon as possible.  Get in touch with us today and find out how we can help you.