How to Extinguish and Prevent Grease Fires

How to Extinguish and Prevent Grease Fires

Grease fireGrease fires occur while cooking when grease or fat spill out of a pan and hit the heat source or simply get too hot in the pot or pan.

The Unique Danger of Grease Fires

Grease fires are especially dangerous because they can not be put out using water or fanning with air. These methods will only strengthen the fire. Instead, follow the instructions below to put out a grease fire and save your home and health.

Step One: Assess the State of the Fire

The first thing that you should do after seeing a grease fire is to assess how large and dangerous it is. If it is small and seems to be able to be contained, continue with the following steps.

If it seems out-of-control or has a lot of unlit greases or fat nearby, do not attempt to extinguish the fire. Do not put yourself in danger under any circumstances. Immediately call 911 and describe the situation to the operator.

Don’t risk your life to save your kitchen or other material items.

Step Two: Turn Off the Heat Source

Assuming that you feel comfortable extinguishing the fire yourself, immediately turn off the heat source that is causing the flame.

It’s also a good idea to put on any protective gear you can to protect your arm, such as an oven mitt.

Step Three: Cover the Flame with a Metal Lid

Once the heat is turned off, cover the flame with a metal lid to suffocate it of oxygen. Do not use a glass lid as it has the potential to shatter when exposed to a flame.

Step Four: Use Baking Soda or Table Salt

If smothering the fire doesn’t work, you can use baking soda or table salt to try to smother the fire of oxygen. Grab a hefty amount and pour it directly over the fire. Again, wearing protective gear such as an oven mitt is recommended for this method.

Table Baking soda

Step Five: Fire Extinguisher

Fire extinguisher
Using a chemical fire extinguisher in your home creates a large mess that can be timely to clean up, so doing so should be the last resort. However, don’t hesitate if you’re unable or uncomfortable to use the other methods listed. After all, cleaning up after an extinguisher is easier than losing your entire kitchen.

If you don’t already have a fire extinguisher, it’s a good idea to purchase one. Click the image to shop for them online.

Be Prepared

With all of this in mind, it’s important to always be prepared. Grease fires are always unexpected, so figuring out the best way to handle it when it happens is out of the question.

Always Keep an Eye on Food While Cooking

While it may be tempting to set the food on the stove and head off to do something else, it can be dangerous. To best avoid grease fires, always watch the food that you’re cooking to see if it’s getting too hot and to extinguish a fire early if one were to start.

Keep Extinguisher Materials Nearby

If a fire were to start, the last thing you want to do is run around looking for your baking soda, table salt, or fire extinguisher. So, it’s important to keep these items nearby the kitchen. It’s especially recommended to always keep an open packet of baking soda right near the stove as a precaution.

Educate Your Family and Friends

Knowledge is power, but only when it’s shared. So, share this article with your friends and family to ensure that they’ll be as prepared as you are in the case of a grease fire.

Cleaning Up Your Home after a Flood

Home Flood DamageFlooding can be devastating and can cause a lot of damage to a home. Whether flooding is caused by storms, ground water problems, or a broken pipe, it is important to clean and restore the home as quickly as possible after the flood in order to minimize mold damage and make the home safe for inhabitants. If your home has been flooded, take the following actions.

Turn Off Electricity and Water

Turning off the home’s main power supply can protect you and anyone else that will be entering the home. Turning off the water may prevent any further water damage from occurring, especially if the issue began with the home’s plumbing. If it is suspected that there may have been damage to the electrical lines, water lines, or any other utilities, contact the utility companies before entering the home to prevent injury.

Remove Items and Appliances

After the home is safe to enter, removing items and appliances that have not been touched by flood waters can help to minimize the amount of cleaning and restoration needed. Preventing items from getting wet or damaged will mitigate the costs associated with repairs and replacements. These items should be stored in a safe, dry place until the home has been completely cleaned.

Take the Water Out

As long as water is standing in a home, it is increasing the risks for mold and structural damage. Using a wet vacuum, buckets, mops, and towels to remove the water may take time, but must be done to begin restoring the home. If flooding is severe, renting a sump pump may help you to get the water out.

Dry the Area

After water has been removed, the area that was flooded still needs to be dried completely. Fans and a dehumidifier can help to dry the floors. Carpet and other types of flooring may need to be replaced if they have been saturated or damaged, as there may still be a mold risk. If drywall has been saturated by water, it may need to be cut away and replaced, as the integrity of the structure will be compromised and the paper backing will likely grow mold.

Disinfect the Flooded Area

Disinfecting the area is necessary to ensure the safety of home inhabitants. Cleaning with bleach will help to kill bacteria that may have spread from sewers or flood waters. Walls, floors, furnishings, and anything else that may have been touched by flood waters should all be disinfected.

Call a Restoration Service

A restoration service can help with salvaging items that you may have thought were damaged beyond repair which can save money and heartache. A restoration service can also help with removing and replacing damaged drywall and other structures. A restoration service can help you to ensure that your home is safe and free from mold and water damage after a flood.

If your home has been flooded, call Florida Catastrophe Corp. today to minimize damage and get your home back in order quickly.

Hurricane Restoration Tips

Hurricane Restoration TipsIn the aftermath of a hurricane, expediting recovery can help to get you and your family back in your home faster and reduce the amount of damage. It is important to follow certain steps, however. If you have been affected by Hurricane Matthew, the following tips may be helpful.

Make a List of Damages

It can be tempting to just dive in and start throwing things away and cleaning up when returning home or venturing into your yard after a hurricane, but this can hurt your chances of receiving adequate benefits from your homeowners insurance. Make a list of everything that was damaged, being as thorough as possible with descriptions and valuations. Take pictures and provide serial numbers and receipts if you can. Smartphone apps may help with inventorying.

Wait Until an Adjuster Visits to Make Changes

Even after you have finished making a list of all damaged belongings, structures, and landscaping, try to refrain from cleaning up unless the law dictates that you must. Allowing an insurance adjuster to see exactly what damages look like can help to ensure that any claims that you make go through. If you must discard belongings or if conditions are dangerous, take pictures of damages to show the insurance company and keep receipts from any materials purchased for the recovery efforts.

Call Restoration Specialists

Restoration specialists will be able to help you assess the damage and get your home back in order faster. Restorations specialists can help clean up debris from the hurricane so that you can safely enter the home and walk around the property. If demolition needs to be done, restoration specialists can help to with safe and careful demolition. They can also assist with all aspects of restoration.

Prevent Further Damage

Boarding up windows until they can be replaced, covering holes in the ceiling, and sealing leaks can help to prevent damage from worsening as you work to recover from the hurricane. Removing downed limbs and trees can also help to keep this loose debris from flying into the home and causing damage if winds pick up again. Cleaning up water as soon as possible can help to mitigate the damage to the home.

Dry and Disinfect the Home

After water has been removed from the home, there is still a potential for mold to form. Mold restoration specialists may be very helpful in assessing the potential for mold growth after a hurricane, removing items and structures that have been contaminated, and cleaning and disinfecting the home. This is important to ensure that the home will be safe over the long term and to salvage as many belongings as possible.

If you have been affected by Hurricane Matthew, call 855-352-2281to find out how we can help with restoration and recovery.

What You Should Know about Flooding

Flooding FactsFlooding can be caused by a variety of different things, including burst pipes, hurricanes, dam failures, and high tides in coastal areas. It is important to understand that flooding can happen basically anywhere, no home is completely immune to flooding, even if it is uncommon for the area. If the area is prone to flooding, it is even more important to understand a few facts about the phenomenon so that you are better prepared.

Flooding Is Not Always Covered by Insurance

Flood insurance is not always included in homeowners’ insurance policies, particularly in areas where flood risks are highest. If your home is damaged by flooding, this oversight can be costly. Short circuiting by damaged wires and structural damage can put the integrity of the building at risk and make the home unsafe for inhabitants.

Water Damage Should Be Immediately Repaired

Without immediate repair, water damage can lead to serious structural damage and can cause health problems for inhabitants. The longer wood or drywall is allowed to sit with water damage, the more warp and rot is likely to occur. Mold may also form in the moist environment and cause mild to severe health issues. Contacting restoration services immediately after flooding occurs may save the building, mitigate the costs of repairs, and help to avoid these issues.

Flood Proofing Techniques May Protect the Home

In areas that are prone to flooding, it may be wise to take precautions to flood proof the home. Installing plastic sheeting over the foundation can help to keep water out. Sloping the land around the home can help to drain water away, as well. In some cases, it may also be helpful to devise a system to allow some water into the home in such a way that it is dispersed without causing damage. The roof, windows, doors, and other seals should be checked for security.

Restoration Services Can Help Salvage Furnishings

After a flood, it may seem that all furnishings are ruined, which can be overwhelming. Instead of throwing precious heirlooms and favorite furniture away, contact restoration services to find out if items can be salvaged. In some cases, restoration companies may be able to use special techniques to dry items. This can save money on recovery and help you to salvage pieces that had emotional value to the family.

To find out more about how to prepare for a flood or for help with restoration after a flood, contact Florida Catastrophe Corp. today.

6 Steps For Creating Your Family Disaster Plan

Family Disaster PlanDisaster can strike at anytime and the most severe of tragedies have no warning whatsoever. Are you and your family prepared for an emergency? What plans do you have in place to ensure your safety and potential evacuation? Go over our family disaster plan steps to make sure you’ve included them in your own family plan.

1. What Kind of Disasters Can Happen Where You Live?

Begin with assessing what types of disasters are most likely to happen in your area. Your local Red Cross is a great resource for providing you with what types of disasters occur and what plans your community has in place. Find out the various warning systems for each disaster type your city utilizes.

2. Disaster Plans for Work and School

Disasters will never happen at a convenient time, which may place your family members at different locations. Discover the disaster plans for your work, your partner’s job, your children’s school, and any other places your family members may be when tragedy strikes. Adapt your family plan to their’s so everyone is accounted for when you’re separated.

3. Evacuation Plans

For home tragedies, go over the various types of evacuation plans with family members. Make sure everyone knows how to reach exit and meet-up points from each room. Some emergencies will require you to leave the home and meet each other outdoors while other strategies may be to go to a specific location in your home.

4. Emergency Contact List

Create a list of emergency contacts for your family and equip each member with a physical copy to keep with them at all times. On these lists include standard emergency numbers, contact information of friends and family, as well as any pertinent medical information and insurance details. Let family members and friends know that they are your emergency resources and provide those individuals with your list as well.

5. Fresh Emergency Supplies and Batteries

Keep your home stocked with emergency supplies. Make sure you have three days of water and food that won’t spoil. Keep a first-aid kit, flashlight, radio, and extra batteries where they can be easily accessed. If you can, duplicate any of this in or near your automobile in case you have to evacuate.

6. Practice Makes Perfect

At the end of the day practicing your emergency plan is what’s going to keep your family safe. Conducting emergency drills and quizzing your children will help keep everyone current with what to do in case of an emergency. Making the time to update your emergency contact information and plans will save your family’s lives.

Contact Florida Catastrophe so we can help you through any disaster emergency.

How to Prevent and Protect Against Mold

Mold PreventionYou may notice some funny, unfamiliar smells in your home and not realize how dangerous they can be to your health. This more than likely is mold and mildew. These agents can weaken the integrity of your home and ruin your family’s health. You can protect your house and family from these dangerous invaders with some simple tips.

Where Mold and Mildew Creep In

Mildew loves to grow in places like closets, dresser drawers, and of course basements. These locations can create the ideal environment for mildew growth with the right temperature and any amount of moisture. Keep these areas clean as well as thoroughly clean any articles of clothing or items you store in them.

Limit the Moisture in Your Air

To limit the amount of mold spores floating in the air of your home, you need to reduce the moisture. Making sure your air conditioning unit is properly working because cooler temperatures are an inhospitable place for these spores. Dehumidifiers are also useful in basements and other parts of your home as they pull moisture out of the air.

Keep All Surfaces Dry

Defeating dampness is one of the most important factors in combating mold and mildew. Mold spores are prevalent throughout the air we breath and if you have surfaces where water pools, these spores will land there and grow. Waterproofing any cracks and crevices as well as staying on top of any leaks will prevent a mold and mildew takeover in your home.

Odors Might Mean You Have Mold or Mildew

Musty Odors are an alarming indicator that you may have been invaded by mold and mildew. To remove the musty scent in your basement sprinkle chlorinated lime and let it set until the smell disappears then sweep it up. For cement floors and your tiled bathroom walls use a diluted solution of sodium hypochlorite or chlorine bleach, keep your windows open while you wipe the area and don’t close your windows until the area is completely dry.

Beating Mold and Mildew with Chemicals

There are chemical alternatives available to you if you find that most conventional means just aren’t working. You can purchase granules of anhydrous calcium sulfate, silica gel, or activated alumina. Place them in a cloth bag or in an open container and put it in the closet, on a shelf, or out on the floor. These chemicals aren’t harmful to fabrics and can be reused repeatedly.

Mold and Mildew Can Be Fatal

Mold and mildew invasion is very serious, with the latest World Health Organization (WHO) statistics showing that over 7 million people died as a result of these air pollutants. There are plenty of easy steps you can utilize in removing mold and mildew from your home. Sometimes you may need to contact a professional with reinforcements for your battle, but don’t be worried, your home and your health can be protected against these pesky invaders!

Contact Florida Catastrophe today with your have mold and mildew concerns so we can inspect your home!

Beware of Housing Hazards and Deadly Materials

Asbestos HazardWhile the home provides a happy refuge from the elements and outside world, it’s important to take into account the oftentimes dangerous materials and hazards used in its construction – mostly after parts of the building have been exposed due to disaster or negligence. These materials can be dangerous to both your health and the environment.

Handling And Identifying

Some hazardous materials may involve federal, state and local laws or regulations. Before handling them in reconstruction, it’s important to know which ones are reusable or which materials should be disposed of in ways that are compliant with your local environment safety laws. It’s serious business. Older homes built before 1978 require certified environmental consultants by law to consider which materials do and don’t follow modern day standards.

Most Common Deadly Materials

The two most common hazardous materials that can be found in your home are asbestos and lead-based paint. Even contractors who work on homes built before this time need to be trained and certified to ensure maximum safety. In a nutshell, reconstruction should be taken extremely cautiously.

Dangers of Lead-Based Paint

Lead is a highly toxic substance that can cause a range of health problems, especially for younger children and babies. It can cause damage to the brain and other organs, specifically the kidneys. In extreme cases, lead poisoning can even cause behavioral problems such as learning disabilities or seizures.

If you have a child in a house built before 1978, it’s important to remember to frequently wash their hands and toys that come in contact with dirt and dust. Keep the area clean and wash down flat surfaces with a paper towel and throw it away on a regular basis.

Deteriorated lead-based paints can chip or melt off and combine with the soil and dust around your home. While this is rarely a problem in a normally standing structure, older devastated homes can quickly become a dangerous place.

Dealing with Asbestos

When materials containing asbestos are damaged, fibers are released into the air that can cause some various lung diseases when inhaled. The longer a home is left damaged, the more potential asbestos has of becoming significant medical hazards.

The scariest threat involving asbestos is Mesathelioma, a lung cancer that is almost specifically related to asbestos and once diagnosed, is almost always fatal. It involves inhaling asbestos for a long period of time. In extreme cases, a person can develop asbestosis, a scarring condition of the lungs that produces shortness of breath.

While it may seem like an outdated concept, don’t be so sure that you’re out of harm’s way. Asbestos can be even found in buildings built or refurbished before the year 2000.

Both these illnesses occur because of long-term, constant exposure and can completely be avoided by doing proper renovations and keeping up with modern day safety measures. Call us if you need help.

5 Tips for Storm-Proofing Your Home

Storm-Proof HomeWhen it is sunny, there isn’t a place in the world that can beat Florida, but during a storm, the weather here is severe. Most of Florida averaged well over 50 inches of rain last year with quite a few areas averaging over 70 inches. That is Mother Nature’s way of telling you she will bring severe storms to Florida no matter what time of year it is.

Keeping Your Home Safe

Don’t be fooled by Florida’s “Sunshine State” motto — we average more than 100 days of the year with thunderstorms. No matter how much notice a meteorologist can give you, moving your home is not an option. You can protect your house against severe weather, keeping your family, your valuables, and your home safe.

Here are some ways you can safeguard your home from severe weather:

  • Window protection
  • Keeping your roof attached
  • Landscaping
  • Reinforcing your doors
  • Keeping your house high and dry

Protecting Your Windows

Your home’s most vulnerable and beautiful asset is your windows. Installing shutters may be an aesthetically pleasing option for you to consider that allows protection and keeps the elements outside where they belong. There is also impact-resistant glass available to you. If windows shatter, more than just property could be hurt or damaged.

Keeping Your Roof over Your Head

Severe wind and heavy rainfall will take years off of your roof shingles or just take your roof off. It is important to remember that you can add more bracing to your roof through the attic of your home for reinforcement. One option many Floridians have decided with is going with a metal roof. It is an incredibly low-maintenance option that has an expected service life of 40 years.

Lawn Maintenance Will Make a Difference

Keeping your lawn well-manicured will make a difference when severe weather strikes. Making sure all of your tree’s branches are far from your roof and power lines will eliminate severe hazards and costly damage. Hedging and bushes could also cause potential problems, so keep in mind that you may want any and all foliage away from windows, entry ways, and any other locations where they could cause damage or obstruct access.

Keeping Your Door on Its Hinges

Don’t let your door be the last thing you think of in severe weather. Check the weather stripping around your door to prevent leaks from heavy rain and strong winds. Make sure that your door’s hinges are securely attached to their frame and that the deadbolt works, as weather could potentially be strong enough to blow the door open. If your doors are older, you may want to consider reinforcing the frame with weather-treated wood.

If the Water Does Rise

Flooding is an expensive and real hazard all across Florida, but you do have options to keep your home dry. If you can’t afford to raise your home so that the bottom level is above the flood plane, you can have floodwalls and berms built to fend off rising water. You will also want to seal every part of your home tight with waterproofing composites and rubber sheeting to keep it dry.

You’re not alone if your home has taken a beating from severe weather. Contact Florida Catastrophe today and we will help you bounce back from disaster.

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