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What’s Causing Fires Problems in Homes this Winter?

Reports all over the nation warn of increasing stories of fire damage in homes across America.

Local fire departments responded to 1,338,500 fires in 2020. These fires caused 3,500 civilian deaths, 15,200 civilian injuries and $21.9 billion in property damage.

Every 23 seconds, a fire department in the United States responds to a fire somewhere in the nation. A fire occurs in a structure at the rate of one every 64 seconds, and a home fire occurs every 89 seconds.

It’s important to understand what causes these fires during the winter and ways to prevent these tragedies from happening in your home.

23
a fire department in the United States responds to a fire
64
a fire occurs in a structure
89
a home fire occurs

Causes of Winter Fire Damage

Winter Storms

Most of the U.S. is at risk for winter storms, which can cause dangerous and sometimes life-threatening conditions. Blinding wind-driven snow, extreme cold, icy road conditions, downed trees and power lines can all wreak havoc on our daily schedules. Home fires occur more in the winter than in any other season, and heating equipment is involved in one of every six reported home fires, and one in every five home fire deaths.

Space Heaters

Similar to candles, space heater fires are also common in the winter months. Most are due to clothing, curtains, or other flammable objects placed far too close to the heater. Be sure to keep flammable objects at least three feet away from space heaters.

Damaged Pipelines

Water expands by about 9 percent when it freezes. When water freezes underground, it causes a condition called frost heave, which is an upward swelling of soil. Frost heaves can damage roads, building foundations, railroad tracks, and, yes, gas pipeline systems. Fires and explosions related to petrochemical pipelines have been responsible for significant injury and loss of life [4]. An investigation of nine fire accidents that occurred between 2004 and 2007 reported that pipeline damage was a major cause of explosions and ruptures, resulting in significant burn injuries and over 600 deaths at the disaster sites. 

The best response is to detect and report the problem.

Are You Prepared for Wildfire Season?

  • Check all your fire alarms and make sure they are in working order.
  • Make a plan of what to salvage and what to rescue if you should experience a home fire.
  • Talk with your family about an escape plan
  • Remove all flammable vegetation around all structures. Contact your local fire department to find out if there is a minimal amount of clearance required. Trim trees so branches are six feet from the ground and 10 feet from your chimney. Remove branches overhanging your roof.

If you have time…
  •  Move patio or deck furniture, cushions, door mats, and potted plants in wooden containers either indoors or as far away from the home, shed, or garage as possible.
  • Close and protect your home’s openings, including attic and basements doors and vents, windows, garage doors, and pet doors to prevent embers from penetrating your home.
  • Connect garden hoses and fill any pools, hot tubs, garbage cans, tubs, or other large containers with water. Firefighters have been known to use the hoses to put out fires on rooftops.

Whom to Call for Fire Damage Restoration?

To report a wildfire – CALL 911

For a wildfire in a remote location contact one of the Interagency Fire Centers:

Northern Utah Interagency Fire Center (NUIFC): (801) 495-7611

Richfield Interagency Fire Center (RIFC): (435) 896-8404

Uintah Basin Interagency Fire Center (UBIFC): (435) 789-7021

Moab Interagency Fire Center (MIFC): (435) 259-1850

Southern Utah’s Color Country Fire Center (CCFC): (435) 865-4611

Need to Evacuate? Places You Can Go

firesafemarin.org/prepare-yourself/evacuation-guide/

Evacuation Centers

Temporary Refuge & Assembly Areas

Shelter in Place (Building or Car)

Fire Restoration in Utah

Contact us! RainFire Restoration has restored dozens of homes across Utah from fire and smoke damage. Our team is experienced and ready to help you recover from any type of fire loss. Call us today at (385)233-6862 if you have experienced fire damage in your home.

Useful Stats and References

  1. More than 500 homes (speculated) burnt in wildfires in Colorado. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/31/us/colorado-marshall-fire.html
  2. https://www.self.com/story/house-fire-prevention
  3. In Utah—America’s fastest growing state—two of every five homes (39.4%) face high fire risk. That’s a larger share than any other Western U.S. state analyzed by Redfin. Colorado and Idaho came in second and third place, with 19% and 14.4% of properties at high risk, respectively. Less than 10% of homes in the following states have high risk: Oregon, Nevada, California, Washington and Arizona.https://www.redfin.com/news/wildfire-real-estate-risk-2021/
  4. The majority of Utah, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, remains in extreme drought as of Thursday, and some portions of the state remain potentially ripe for wind-whipped wildfires.
  5. https://www.deseret.com/utah/2021/12/31/22861429/colorado-wildfires-boulder-drought-west-utah-snow-weather-cold-evacuations-forecast-winter-utah
  6. https://www.fractracker.org/2020/02/pipelines-continue-to-catch-fire-and-explode/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7312381/
  8. https://www.energy.gov/ceser/emergency-preparedness/community-guidelines-energy-emergencies/homeowners-respond-natural-gas
  9. https://www.ksl.com/article/25594491/how-to-prepare-for-fire-season

7 Questions to Ask Meth Companies

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Meth Testing and Cleanup Done Right? Ask These 7 Questions Before You Hire a Meth Remediation Company

Meth testing, remediation and cleanup is serious business. Contaminated homes and buildings pose a dangerous health hazard for anyone entering, even years after the incident. 

You can’t afford to trust meth testing and cleanup to just anyone. If done improperly, the effects of meth contamination will continue to  threaten the health of people who are innocently exposed to a problem that wasn’t properly mitigated up front.

Who Do You Trust?

So, how do you know if you are dealing with a reputable meth remediation company? By all means, check references and reviews. But more importantly, before you make a final decision, ask these seven key questions. A solid ‘yes’ answer to each question will help identify a company with the credentials, knowledge and experience to make sure your cleanup is done right.

The 7 Key Questions

1

Do you perform multiple initial assessment tests to pinpoint areas of greatest exposure?

RainFire’s answer - Yes! The first step of decontamination is to determine the levels of contamination and the areas of the home that are affected by contamination. Our state certified decontamination specialist will take an initial single sample or multiple composite samples which will be analyzed in a lab for contamination levels.
2

Do you both remove and clean meth from the site as needed?

RainFire’s Answer: Yes. We use several different steps to remediate meth. The first is gross removal, meaning that items may be properly removed and discarded. The second step is to preclean/ deep clean the property with combined surfactant and peroxides. This process helps to actually bubble out contaminants from some of the contaminated sources. The process continues with other cleaning techniques until we obtain a clearance test result.
3

Do you perform a certified test after completion to ensure remediation was effectively accomplished?

Rainfire's Answer: Yes! Following remediation treatments, we perform certified testing to ensure your home is within the state decontamination standards. A full report is provided, showing testing results.
4

Do you guarantee your work?

Rainfire's Answer: Yes! We will stay on the job and continue remediation until the follow-up certified tests are clear, at no additional cost.*
5

Is your company licensed, bonded and insured?

a) Yes! Must be yes to all three.
RainFire's answer: RainFire is a licensed restoration company. We are also bonded and insured to ensure your peace of mind for any work we do on your properties.
6

Is your company approved and included on the State of Utah certified meth remediation contractor list?

RainFire's answer: Yes! RainFire is registered with the state of Utah as a certified meth remediation provider. Only companies registered and certified with the State of Utah are approved to provide meth remediation services.
7

Do you provide a report that details what has been cleaned and decontaminated, including items that have been replaced?


Yes! RainFire Restoration delivers a report in writing following the decontamination process. It includes descriptions of:
The property: address, owner, buildings present.
Manufacturing method and any chemicals present.
Contamination, including photo documentation.
Sampling methods and results (before and after).
Decontamination process.
Safety procedures implemented.
Where and how contaminated objects were disposed of.
Where and how waste water was disposed of.
Certifications/qualifications of involved persons.
Signature of supervisor.

If the company you are interviewing answers ‘no’ to any of these questions, or is vague in their responses, you would be well advised to keep looking.

Hire The Best

Make sure your meth testing and remediation is done right by experienced professionals. Your health and the value of your property depend on it.

RainFire Restoration RF Method™ Meth Testing and Mitigation

RainFire Restoration is a solid seven ‘Yes’ company with years of experience in the restoration business. We use only the finest materials in our meth remediation projects, and guarantee our work by following a proven method for delivering the best results. Contact us today for a free quote.

*Provided the property is locked out and not recontaminated during the remediation process.

Meth Testing and Meth Cleanup: DIY Dangers

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The stress of COVID-19 shutdowns and distancing put a significant strain not only on businesses, paychecks and careers, but on the mental and emotional health of many people worldwide.

The drug testing company Millennium Health reported that the use of methamphetamine and fentanyl increased significantly after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. in March 2020. The adjusted positivity rate of urine drug screens was up 29% for methamphetamine during the first 9 months of the pandemic compared with the same period in 2019, according to the report.

29
rise in positive drug screens

That’s bad news, particularly if you are planning to buy, sell or rent a home or apartment. Utah law requires that sellers disclose if they know that the property is currently contaminated from the storage, production or use of methamphetamine. But without a proper meth test, they may not be aware of contamination that would require meth cleanup. And a buyer may get stuck with a significant health risk.

DIY Dangers: Incomplete Meth Testing Data

To answer the question, “Is my house contaminated with meth?” A seller or buyer may turn to testing kits sold online that you can set up yourself. The problem is, many of these tests don’t provide enough information for you to make a decision about whether your property is above the legal limit and requires meth remediation.

In Utah, the threshold is 1 part per million of meth to be considered legally contaminated. Most online or store-bought tests can only tell you if meth is present. They don’t have the sensitivity to detect the amount of contamination. This is crucial, as it will determine if your property is considered legally contaminated, and if so, how much meth remediation is required to bring it back below the legal limit.

Call the Experts

This is a situation where it pays to call the experts. A certified meth remediation company will conduct testing that reveals the extent of contamination, and can actually pinpoint the source and concentration of meth contamination by conducting multiple tests at different points in the property. This is important, as it allows them to focus their meth remediation efforts on those areas that require the most attention, and save the time and money of cleaning areas that are under the threshold.

More Economical Than You May Think

The best meth remediation companies provide professional, certified testing at very reasonable costs. Companies like RainFire Restoration offer meth testing packages that include multiple tests at discounted prices to ensure thorough and reliable results.

While it may be more than the online DIY test kit, the results will be certified and accurate, ensuring that you don’t run into costly legal or health issues down the road.

Additionally, if your property does require remediation, you will have the peace of mind of knowing you are working with a certified professional company that will make things right. It’s important to note that in Utah, remediation may only be completed by companies certified by the state. Check your company’s credentials before starting a cleanup project with them.

Peace of Mind

COVID-19 has been enough stress for most of us. Don’t add to it by skimping on DIY meth testing kits that will only get you partway to a meth-free solution for your home or property.

Getting Rid of Smoke Damage

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After enduring a fire in your home or business, the last thing you need is a reminder of the tragedy. Although removing the smell of smoke damage is challenging, it’s possible. Below we look at the most effective steps for bringing fresher scents back into your space.

How To Get Rid of the Smell of Smoke Damage

After a fire, the lingering smell is often the most difficult part of the experience to deal with, because smoke particles seep into any porous surface. Smoke particles are smaller than microscopic bacteria when a fire burns wood, which allows the smell to enter almost any surface.

Call a Professional for Removing Dangerous Soot

If soot remains in the space, please contact a professional for cleanup. Soot contains residue from plastics, chemicals, and other harmful materials that can be very dangerous to expose yourself to or handle. Make sure to wear head-to-toe protective gear, including a respirator and gloves, if you choose to clean soot yourself.

Air It Out

Open up all windows and doors to allow fresh air to move into every room. Encourage airflow by placing fans throughout the area. Do not use your central air or furnace during the cleanup, as this may circulate harmful soot.

Clean or Replace All Fabric

Fabric items will retain the smell of smoke more than anything else. Wash anything that will fit in the washer, including clothing, rugs, pillows, curtains, and blankets. Have your furniture professionally cleaned. Sometimes leaving baking soda on carpet overnight will draw the smell out of it. For excessive smoke, you may need to replace the carpet.

Scrub Hard Surfaces

Use products like rubbing alcohol, vinegar, wood cleaner, and commercial degreaser to scrub all hard surfaces. Doors, countertops, cabinets, windows and windowsills, light fixtures, and all other hard surfaces are susceptible to smoke smells after a fire.

Need Help? Call a Professional

Smoke damage is a difficult task that many people don’t have time for in the aftermath of a tragic event. Let our quick and efficient professional crew remove the evidence of smoke for you. We provide 24-hour emergency service for all your cleanup needs. Contact us today at RainFire Restoration in Midvale, UT, to remove smoke odor from your home or business.

A Few FAQs about Homeowners Insurance

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We recommend having a homeowner’s insurance policy to help you with any expenses if disaster strikes, that way you are not paying for your disaster cleanup alone and out of pocket.

What is a homeowner’s insurance policy?

When a home is damaged by an accident or a natural disaster, it is usually very expensive to repair. Homeowners Insurance protects you from paying those costs from out of your own pocket. Your “premium,” a.k.a. your annual, bi-annual, or monthly payment (the payment frequency is dependent on your policy), is the fee your insurance company charges you, and in return, the insurance company agrees to pay a much larger sum when your home suffers damage to cover your expenses. 

What does homeowners insurance cover?

Homeowners insurance includes coverage for six main categories:

  • Your Dwelling (the framework of your house),
  • Other structures like garages, fences, or guest houses,
  • Personal property that is within your home,
  • Liability costs 
  • Medical bills if someone is injured on your property,
  • And the loss of use coverage to help cover living expenses while your home is being fixed.

How exactly does homeowners insurance work?

Homeowners insurance pays out on damages caused by something specifically covered under your policy. Within each of the six categories listed above are certain coverages and exclusions; for example, “water damage” is generally covered under dwelling insurance if it’s caused by a burst pipe, but not if it’s caused by flooding. 

What does homeowners insurance not cover?

The two big areas not covered by homeowners’ insurance are flooding and earth movement (which includes earthquakes, landslides, mudflows, and so on). A few private companies sell insurance for these perils, but most homeowners end up getting coverage through federal insurance programs. Other perils not covered by standard home insurance include things like damage from regular wear and tear, fungi or mold, pests, sewer backup, power failure, and “ordinance or law” requiring renovations to meet new codes. Please note that this list is not exhaustive. Exclusions vary by company and by policy type.

How expensive is Homeowners Insurance?

There are two ways to calculate homeowners’ insurance limits. Your home can either be insured for its actual cash value (ACV), meaning the market value with depreciation subtracted or replacement cost, meaning the amount that it would actually cost to rebuild your home if it were leveled by a catastrophe. 

Ensure your home for its replacement cost. That way, if a covered disaster strikes, your insurance company will pay for repairs or replacement in full.

When We Come In

 In 2017, six percent of insured homes across the U.S. filed a claim with their insurance company. Property Damage accounted for 98.1 percent of those claims. Breaking down that number (98.1%) further, 35.1% of those property damage incidents were by Fire and Lightening, and 19.5% were by Water damage and freezing (source https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-homeowners-and-renters-insurance

Disaster is always lurking around the corner waiting to strike. We specialize in property restoration.

If disaster strikes your home, (and never believe you’re the exception) and you find that you have water damage or fire damage, call us. We will help you remove mold, carpet cleaning, or restore your property.