Restaurant Fire Safety
Keep your restaurant safe with these tips. If you do experience a fire, call SERVPRO West Littleton/Sheridan to help get you back to business!
Restaurants—with their open flames, hot equipment, electrical connections, cooking oils, cleaning chemicals and paper products—have all the ingredients for a fire to flame out of control. Nearly 8,000 eating and drinking establishments report a fire each year, according to 2006-2010 data tabulated by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in Quincy, Mass. These fires caused an annual average of $246 million in direct property damage.
A fire can devastate your business, leading to lost revenues and even permanent closure. But there are steps you can take to prevent fires and minimize the damage.
• Install an automatic fire-suppression system in the kitchen. This is crucial because 57% of restaurant fires involve cooking equipment. These systems automatically dispense chemicals to suppress the flames and also have a manual switch. Activating the system automatically shuts down the fuel or electric supply to nearby cooking equipment. Have your fire-suppression system professionally inspected semiannually. The manufacturer can refer you to an authorized distributor for inspection and maintenance.
• Keep portable fire extinguishers as a backup. You’ll need Class K extinguishers for kitchen fires involving grease, fats and oils that burn at high temperatures. Class K fire extinguishers are only intended to be used after the activation of a built-in hood suppression system. Keep Class ABC extinguishers elsewhere for all other fires (paper, wood, plastic, electrical, etc.).
• Schedule regular maintenance on electrical equipment, and watch for hazards like frayed cords or wiring, cracked or broken switch plates and combustible items near power sources.
• Have your exhaust system inspected for grease buildup. The NFPA Fire Code calls for quarterly inspections of systems in high-volume operations and semiannual inspections in moderate-volume operations. Monthly inspections are required for exhaust systems serving solid-fuel cooking equipment, like wood- or charcoal-burning ovens.
Train your staff to:
• Find and use a fire extinguisher appropriately. An acronym you may find helpful is PAST – pull out the pin, aim at the base, make a sweeping motion, (be) ten feet away.
• Clean up the grease. Cleaning exhaust hoods is especially important, since grease buildup can restrict air flow. Be sure to also clean walls and work surfaces; ranges, fryers, broilers, grills and convection ovens; vents and filters.
• Never throw water on a grease fire. Water tossed into grease will cause grease to splatter, spread and likely erupt into a larger fire.
• Remove ashes from wood- and charcoal-burning ovens at least once a day. Store outside in metal containers at least 10 feet from any buildings or combustible materials.
• Make sure cigarettes are out before dumping them in a trash receptacle. Never smoke in or near storage areas.
• Store flammable liquids properly. Keep them in their original containers or puncture-resistant, tightly sealed containers. Store containers in well-ventilated areas away from supplies, food, food-preparation areas or any source of flames.
• Tidy up to avoid fire hazards. Store paper products, linens, boxes and food away from heat and cooking sources. Properly dispose of soiled rags, trash, cardboard boxes and wooden pallets at least once a day.
• Use chemical solutions properly. Use chemicals in well-ventilated areas, and never mix chemicals unless directions call for mixing. Immediately clean up chemical spills.
Be prepared: Have an emergency plan
If a fire breaks out in your restaurant, your staff must take control of the situation and lead customers to safety.
• Be prepared to power down. Train at least one worker per shift how to shut off gas and electrical power in case of emergency.
• Have an evacuation plan. Designate one staff member per shift to be evacuation manager. That person should be in charge of calling 911, determining when an evacuation is necessary and ensuring that everyone exits the restaurant safely. Ensure your staff know where the closest exits are, depending on their location in the restaurant. Remember that the front door is an emergency exit.
• Offer emergency training. Teach new employees about evacuation procedures and the usage of fire-safety equipment. Give veteran staff members a refresher course at least annually.
SERVPRO Helps Aurora Family with Christmas
They were so excited that Santa came!
We are so happy that we were able to help an Aurora family provide a Christmas for their children. Our communities are what keep our business going and we are delighted that we were able to give back. Here is what the mother had to say:
"I am absolutely in love with this company and the staff!
Me and my family have experienced such a generous amount of care and positivity from everyone !
When hearing about my family difficulties this past year Kimber, reached out and emailed me stating that me and my family were chosen to get help from SERVPRO for the holidays!! I was is such disbelief and so happy. I had been going through some hard days getting down because me and my husband would not be able to afford a Christmas for our children. And just like that Kimber told be that we would be sponsored and to get a list together!
As me and my husband were putting lists together we just kept saying over again how excited we were for the kids and how lucky we were that these people were so generous, and we couldn't believe this was happening to us!
Kimber has been amazing upfront and helping with everything, she is caring and so genuine!
Thank you for everyone at SERVPRO for making Christmas happen in my home, for my kids! I can't wait to see them open their gifts.
It's been a deeply humbling experience seeing the kind heartedness of others this Holiday season, and everyone at SERVPRO is absolutely amazing!!"
SERVPRO Offers Free Vandalism Cleanup for Victims of Hate Crimes in Aurora
Vandalism spray painted on the door of an Aurora home.
Three more hate attacks targeting African-American families in Aurora have upset residents and compelled police on Monday to step up patrols and appeal to the public for help.
The authorities have been investigating after other recent attacks. Police Chief Nick Metz, Mayor Steve Hogan and other city leaders have declared hate crimes will not be tolerated in Aurora, which bills itself as the safest large city in Colorado.
Over the weekend, vandals left threatening notes and spray-painted racial slurs — “KKK” and the like — on three apartment doors near the 6700 block of South Rivera Court.
“People are scared,” one resident said, asking that her name not be printed for fear her family could be targeted.
“Since the election, people feel like they are now privileged to go after minorities and get away with it. And I am scared retaliation will happen if we speak out and no protection will be provided for victims by our apartment complex.”
The attackers may be posing as missionaries and carpet cleaner salespeople, moving door to door, to learn racial information about residents who then are targeted, the resident said. In addition to spray-painted scrawls on seven doors, the attacks this past weekend included threatening messages on notes, she said. Some victims apparently did not report crimes to police.
Aurora police have stepped up patrols, agency spokeswoman Diana Cooley said.
Police on Monday posted a bulletin on their departmental Facebook page saying “these bias-motivated crimes will continue to be a high priority for the Aurora Police Department.”
The recent crimes “all have that pattern — the spray painting and note,” Cooley said. “This is going to alarm some folks. It is something we take seriously. If you are a resident and see something suspicious, please contact the police department.”
The attacks Saturday and Sunday followed attacks Nov. 22 and Nov. 29 on a different African-American family. City leaders on Nov. 30 lamented that contentious presidential election politics were spilling into the community and vowed an aggressive investigation.
Aurora residents have reported at least nine bias-related crimes since the Nov. 8 election and Metz has said he believes other incidents may be happening that haven’t been reported.
Nationwide, police have reported surges of hate crimes since the election. The Southern Poverty Law Center documented 867 hate crime incidents during the 10 days after the election, including 21 in Colorado. The Colorado crimes targeted immigrants, African-Americans, women and children.
The Littleton franchise of the clean-up company SERVPRO is offering its services to erase the physical damange of vandalism for free to victims of hate crimes in Aurora, SERVPRO administrator Kimber Tornes said. “We unfortunately can’t erase the damage to their hearts and minds.”
Preparing for a Blizzard in Littleton
Don't get caught in a blizzard without these tips!
When you live in Colorado, you can usually count on one thing - there will always be at least one blizzard during the winter season. Everyone knows the standard checklist when preparing for old man winter, including the dreaded run to a crowded grocery store to stock up on milk, bread and eggs. But here at SERVPRO West Littleton/Sheridan we have a few tips for things you may have forgotten or not thought of:
- Keep all electronics you may need, including cell phones, tablets and entertainment for the kids fully charged when you know a storm is coming. This way if the power goes out, you still have a full 100% instead of starting at 25%.
- Keep one or more portable battery packs fully charged for when the juice runs out on your electronics. If you are in a pinch and need to charge an electronic device, remember that most can be charged in an automobile - Just remember to start it and let it run while charging so you don't drain the battery in your automobile.
- Keep extra coolers and empty your ice maker into large storage bags for a few days before the storm. This way if you lose power you can keep your refrigerator or freezer items cold as long as possible.
- Keep books, playing cards and board games easily accessible in case boredom sets in.
- Make sure to check your supply of items such as pet food, formula and diapers for children, toiletries and medications.
Stay safe and remember that we are always here to help!
December Candle Safety
Candles can add to your holiday enjoyment but make sure to use them safely with these tips.
From 2009-2013, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 9,300 home structure fires that were started by candles. These fires caused 86 deaths, 827 injuries and $374 million in direct property damage.
Facts and figures
During the five-year period of 2009-2013:
- Candles caused 3% of reported home fires, 3% of home fire deaths, 6% of home fire injuries, and 5% of the direct property damage in home fires.
- Roughly one-third (36%) of home candle fires started in bedrooms. These fires caused 32% of the associated deaths and 47% of the associated injuries.
- Falling asleep was a factor in 11% percent of the home candle fires and 30% of the associated deaths.
- On average, 25 home candle fires were reported per day.
- More than half (58%) of home candle fires occurred when some form of combustible material was left or came too close to the candle.
- December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. In December, 11% of home candle fires began with decorations compared to 4% the rest of the year.
Remember that a candle is an open flame, which means that it can easily ignite anything that can burn.
- Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.
- Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.
- Think about using flame-less candles in your home. They look and smell like real candles.
- Use candle holders that are sturdy, and won’t tip over easily.
- Put candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface.
- Light candles carefully. Keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame.
- Don’t burn a candle all the way down — put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
- Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home.
- Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage. Never use candles.
Religious candle safety
Lit candles are used in religious services, in places of worship, and in the home. Whether you are using one candle, or more than one on a candelabra, kinara, or menorah, make sure you use them safely.
- Candles should be placed in a sturdy candle holder.
- Handheld candles should not be passed from one person to another at any time.
- When lighting candles at a candle lighting service, have the person with the unlit candle dip their candle into the flame of the lit candle.
- Lit candles should not be placed in windows where a blind or curtain could catch fire.
- Candles placed on, or near tables, altars, or shrines, must be watched by an adult.
- Blow out candles when you leave the room or go to sleep.
- If a candle must burn continuously, be sure it is enclosed in a glass container and placed in a sink, on a metal tray, or in a deep basin filled with water.
Keeping Your Home Safe During Holiday Travel
A local home was affected with extensive mold damage while the homeowner was out of town for several months.
At SERVPRO West Littleton/Sheridan, we receive many calls for water damage and mold remediation while a homeowner is traveling out of town. With the holiday season approaching, it is important to always have a family member, friend, neighbor or house-sitter check on your home every day if you are traveling. Many things can happen while a home is unoccupied. Some of the losses we have responded to include:
- Pipe Bursts due to freezing temperatures
- Refrigerator and freezer line breaks
- Ice Maker Malfunctions causing water damage
- Sprinkler line bursts
- Toilets continuously running and causing overflow
- Hot water heater rupture causing extensive mold damage by steaming the home
Some homeowners only have their home checked every few days while they are out of town. We cannot stress the importance of this being a daily task. Even a few hours can make all the difference when restoring a water loss.
Enjoy the holiday season and remember that SERVPRO West Littleton/Sheridan is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help with the unexpected!
Preventing Ice Dams in the Winter
Taking precautions to prevent ice dams is an important part of preparing your home for winter weather. Knowing what an ice dam is, minimizing the conditions that allow one to form and removing an ice dam as soon as you spot one can help prevent serious damage to both the roof and the inside of your home.
Take Action Before Snow Starts Falling
An ice dam may develop during the cold winter months if warm air from your home or attic melts snow on your roof. In freezing temperatures, the melted snow may refreeze once it reaches the colder edge of the roof. Keeping the temperature of your attic at 32°F or below can help prevent snow from melting and ice dams from developing. The following are some steps you can take to help prevent the snow melting-and-freezing cycle that often causes ice dams:
Tips to Help Prevent Ice Dams Through the Winter
Ice dams can sometimes form despite your best efforts to keep your roof at the proper temperature. Be sure to monitor the weather and maintain your roof throughout the colder, winter months for additional protection against ice dams, such as:
- Clear gutters and downspouts. Prevent water from accumulating and possibly freezing in your gutters by cleaning leaves, debris and snow accumulation from in and around gutters and downspouts. Making sure that your gutters are properly pitched can also help prevent the collection of water in low spots and help reduce the potential for ice buildup in gutters.
- Remove snow accumulation from your roof after every storm. Whenever possible, use a roof rake to clear snow about three to four feet from the edge of your roof soon after each storm. Snow accumulation along the edge of your roof increases the likelihood of an ice dam developing, which prevents water from draining off the roof. This water can then back up underneath roof shingles and make its way into your home.
- Remove ice dams as soon as you spot them. Check your roof often and know how to help identify and remove an ice dam.
CAUTION: Avoid using a ladder in snowy and icy conditions. This can be extremely dangerous and is best left to the professionals.
Space Heater Safety
Space heaters account for about one third of all winter house fires.
In order to save money in the colder months, many people opt to use a space heater to heat one room rather than heat the entire structure. Regardless of your plan, it is important to be cautious. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates that nearly 18,000 residential fires every year are associated with the use of room (space) heaters.*
Space Heater Selection
Before purchasing a space heater, it is important to consider how it will be used. Will it be used for supplemental heat in colder rooms or other areas, or will it be used for emergency heat? As a general rule of thumb, electric space heaters are typically safer than portable fuel-burning models (e.g. natural gas, propane, kerosene.)
Remember to choose a unit that is listed or labeled by a nationally recognized testing laboratory such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories), CSA (Canadian Standards Association) or ETL (Intertek). This will ensure that the heater’s construction and performance meet voluntary safety standards.
Also, look for specific safety features that will shut the unit off under certain conditions. These can include:
- Low oxygen levels (aka oxygen depletion sensor)
- Tip-over switch
- Touch sensor (if the grill is touched)
When setting up a space heater, remember to keep it at least 36 inches from any flammable or combustible materials and place it on the floor, unless it is designed otherwise.
Areas where space heaters are used should be free of flammable liquids. Do not put them on easily ignitable or combustible surfaces, such as rugs or carpets, or use them to dry wet clothing.
When using a fuel-fired space heater in an enclosed area, it is a good idea to leave a window or door partially open to allow for fresh air to enter. This will help prevent carbon monoxide (CO) buildup or a depletion of oxygen. Never take a gas-fired or kerosene heater into a confined space as the results could be deadly.
All unvented fuel-fired heaters manufactured after 1983 should be equipped with an oxygen depletion sensor (ODS). The ODS will shut off a heater if it detects a reduced level of oxygen in the area where the heater is being used.
For natural gas or propane-fired space heaters, remember the following safety tips:
- If you smell gas, do not attempt to light the space heater. Turn off all controls, open a window or door and leave the area.
- Remember that, unlike natural gas, propane is heavier than air and does not dissipate rapidly. If you smell gas, do not touch any electrical switches or use an electrical appliance, radio or telephone in the area you smell gas. Do not smoke. A spark could ignite the gas.
Electric heaters should be kept out of wet or moist places like bathrooms as water could lead to a fire or shock hazard. Also, be sure to plug electric space heaters directly into an outlet since using extension cords could result in overheating and fire.
Be sure to clean your space heater regularly, and follow your manufacturer’s guide for specific advice on maintenance and inspection.
Keep the Inside of Your Home or Business Safe with Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
To help make your winter even safer, we recommend that you take the time to test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. A smoke detector is the most effective way to detect smoke from a fire and signal an alarm so that you and your family can get out safely. A carbon monoxide detector can alert you to the buildup of this dangerous odorless and colorless gas. Make sure you test the detectors monthly, and after you change the batteries to ensure they work properly.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?
Water damage caused by a pipe burst in Littleton, CO.
You're catching up on some laundry and everything's going fine. The next thing you know, water starts gushing across your floor when your washing machine water supply hose suddenly fails. You get the water mopped up, but a few days later your wood laminate floor starts buckling. So, you may wonder, will your homeowners insurance cover the damage?
In this case, your insurance policy will likely provide coverage. Most standard homeowners policies provide protection from water damage if the cause is sudden and accidental. According to the Insurance Information Institute, you'll likely be protected if, for instance, your drywall is drenched after your water heater ruptures or an upstairs pipe bursts and water saturates the ceiling below.
What's Not Covered?
Homeowners insurance does not cover all types of water damage, however.
Damage from unresolved maintenance issues: While your insurance will probably help cover the cost of replacing or repairing a damaged floor if your dishwasher suddenly goes on the fritz, coverage generally will not kick in if the damage results from an unresolved maintenance issue, such as continuous leaking near a faucet or other plumbing fixture.
Replacing or repairing the source of the water damage: Most insurance policies will not cover the source of the water damage. So while your policy may cover the cost of tearing out and replacing that damaged floor, you shouldn't expect it to cover the cost of replacing your broken dishwasher or washing machine.
Water backup from an outside sewer or drain: You also will not typically be covered by a traditional homeowners policy if water backs into your home through an outside sewer or drain. You may, however, be able to purchase additional sewer or water backup coverage that may help provide protection in case of such an event.
Flood: No type of flood damage, no matter the source of the water, is covered by standard homeowners policies. Flooding, for example, can occur from storms, over-saturated ground, overflowing or surging bodies of water such as rivers, ponds, lakes and oceans, You can, however, purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.
CELEBRATE SAFELY WITH A RECIPE FOR SAFETY
SERVPRO of West Littleton/Sheridan wishes you a safe and Happy Thanksgiving with your family and friends.
Source: SERVPRO of Northwest Bergen
Each November, families gather to celebrate Thanksgiving by preparing a delicious feast, but if you don't practice safe cooking habits, your holiday could become hazardous very quickly. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen are unattended cooking. It's important to stay alert to prevent cooking fires.
- Be On Alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don't use the stove or stovetop.
- Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grillig, boiling or broiling food.
- If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that food is cooking.
- Keep anything that can catch on fire away from the stovetop--that includes oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains.
If you have a cooking fire, consider he following safety protocols to help keep you and your family safe.
- Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
- Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
- For an oven fire turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
- If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear path out.
- Keep a lid nearby when you're cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stove. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
Have a safe Holiday Season!