Holiday Fire Prevention


holiday decor

The holiday season is right around the corner! Whether you’ve had your Christmas decorations up since the first of November or you’re waiting until after Thanksgiving, make sure to follow these tips to avoid any fire damage this holiday season. 

While making your holiday feast, remember: turn pot/pan handles away from the front of the stove to help prevent knocking them over. Don’t leave the house, even just to run to the store for your missing ingredient.  Don’t fall asleep while cooking — your nap will be even more rewarding after you stuff yourself with turkey and pumpkin pie. And lastly, always turn off cooking equipment when not in use.  

Have you taken a trip to the Christmas tree farm yet? Live trees should be green and have sap at the trunk. Dry trees can ignite much easier. Keep the tree well-watered once inside your house. If you’re not in the market for a live tree this year, look for fire-resistant artificial trees.  

When it comes time to deck the halls, check decorative lights for frayed wires or broken bulbs. Don’t overload outlets and read instructions for proper surge protector use.  

Make sure it’s only the chestnuts roasting by the open fire. Only burn wood in your fireplace. Keep the screen closed while using the fireplace. 

The holidays are hectic, and sometimes these safety tips can be forgotten in the hustle and bustle. If your home or business does endure some fire damage, give a call to the experts at ServiceMaster of Tacoma at 800-339-5720. We’re available 24/7/365, ready to get your life and holiday festivities back on track.   

Fireplace Safety Tips

Before you make yourself a cup of hot cocoa and curl up by the fireplace this fall or winter, make sure that you take these precautionary measures in order to avoid a disastrous home fire:

1) Call your chimney sweep. Have your fireplace cleaned when necessary, ideally in late spring or early summer. 

2) Open the doors. Fireplace doors should be open when you’re burning a fire. 

3) Burn the right wood. A well-seasoned hardwood, like oak, produces less creosote, a flammable bi-product that builds up in fireplaces.  

4) Stack firewood near the back.  

5) Use a spark guard. It helps prevent sparks, and thus fires in your home. 

6) Keep a fire extinguisher handy, and never leave a fire unattended!

If you do suffer from a home fire, call the masters of disaster at ServiceMaster of Tacoma, (800)339-5720, to give you peace of mind and get things back to normal.

DIY Emergency Kit

Up here in the Pacific Northwest, we don’t get hit by the hurricanes that ravish the east coast. Unfortunately, this does not mean that we are devoid from other natural disasters and emergencies, such as earthquakes and storms. In order to protect what’s important, it’s always a good idea to be prepared and regularly audit your preparation measures. A good starting point is an emergency preparedness kit, which should contain the items listed below:

  • Water. You should have at least a gallon per person, per day, for at least three days. This is for both drinking and sanitation, too.
  • A three-day supply (at least) of non-perishable food.
  • A battery-powered or hand-crank radio.
  • A flashlight.
  • Batteries for both your radio and your flashlight – double check that you have the right size!
  • A first-aid kit, containing personal medication, bandages, gauze, antibiotic ointment, pain reliever, and medication for upset stomachs. When auditing your first-aid kit, make sure that your medications are not expired!
  • Sanitation items. Moist toilettes, garbage bags, plastic ties, and even dust masks, to filter out contaminated air.
  • A multi-tool, that at least has a pocket knife, wrench, pliers, screwdriver, and a can opener.
  • A battery pack or solar charger for your cellphone.
  • A whistle, to signal for help.
  • Blankets or sleeping bags for each person.
  • A change of clothes.
  • Matches kept in a waterproof container.
  • Plates, cups, utensils, and paper towels.
  • Paper and pencil.

Keep in mind any other items that might pertain to your families, such as diapers and formula for a baby, feminine hygiene products, or pet food and extra water for your pet. Books, games, and puzzles are also items you should consider adding to your kit, to help entertain children and adults alike.

Need help recovering post-disaster? Don’t hesitate to call the disaster restoration specialists at ServiceMaster of Tacoma (800)339-5720 to get things back to normal.  

ServiceMaster Blood Drive

Hurricane Michael is the second-large scale hurricane relief effort the American Red Cross is responding to in less than a month. Want to know how you can help? Donate blood! Severe weather like Hurricane Michael forces the cancellation of blood drives and decreases donor turnout in affected areas, resulting in thousands of blood and platelet donations to go uncollected. They are counting on sponsors in unaffected areas like ours to ensure that they have enough blood products to support patient needs.

This blood drive is open to anyone, but spots are limited! Here’s the signup link:


Kitchen Inspection Tips

Fire Safety Tips: Kitchen 

It’s National Fire Prevention Week! Did you know that the majority of home fires start in the kitchen? The most obvious way to prevent a cooking-related fire is to stay in the kitchen and keep an eye on your food while cooking. There are some other easy fixes (that might not be quite as obvious) that you should do to prevent a dangerous fire in your home.   

Be sure that you have the proper outlets installed per the building code in your area.  These requirements vary by area and appliance. You can find these specifications by calling your local government. 

Make sure that cooking areas, including on top of the stove and oven, are free from towels, potholders, cooking oil or food packaging – these items can catch fire. It’s good practice to clean these areas often, as messes can also lead to fires.  

Make sure your cooking vents are cleaned per your manufacturer’s directions. You can usually find these directly on the manufacturer’s website. 

Properly plug in kitchen appliances. If they’re not in use, it’s just a good idea to unplug them and put them away.  

If you do keep matches in the kitchen, keep them out of reach of curious little hands.  

Keep a fire extinguisher handy and make sure it’s charged and ready for use.  

Finally, make sure you have a smoke alarm installed in the kitchen and in every bedroom. Replace the batteries and check them every month. 

Need to get your home back to normal after a fire? Call the disaster restoration specialists at ServiceMaster of Tacoma at 800-339-5720.

ServiceMaster’s Cherie F.

Meet this week’s Master of Disaster from our fire crew, Cherie! You can count on Cherie to get the job done right, and with a smile on her face.

Why An Organized Garage Matters

Can any of us confidently and truthfully say that we have a clean and tidy garage? 

The garage easily becomes a place where we place things that we don’t want in our house, or don’t need on a regular basis. It seems so easy to shove, stuff, and stack things in the garage, which inevitably leads to a disorganized mess. What we often don’t think about in that moment is the safety hazards that we are presenting to ourselves and our families. Follow these tips to keep your garage and home safe! 

Make sure flammable items do not accidentally get put together, like gasoline, aerosol cans, alcohol, and so on. Even a small spark can cause the entire garage to go up in flames. 

Old chemical bottles can leak and mix, creating toxic fumes. Remember that paint thinner that’s been sitting on your shelf for the past 12 years? It’s probably a good time to dispose of that. These leaks can also make cleanup after a flood extremely dangerous. If you do have flammable things store in your garage, be mindful to keep them sealed and away from heat sources.  

Garbage clutter is also a safety hazard. Not only can you or a loved one trip, falling items can cause damage and bodily harm. 

Clearly, organizing your garage makes it safer and easier to use. Don’t know where to start? Start by sorting your things. You can group similar items together, such as gardening tools, sports gear, seasonal decor, and automotive tools. Ready to dispose of some items? Make three piles: recycle, toss, and donate. If you have questions on disposing of certain items, don’t hesitate in contacting your local dump. To organize your belongings, there are several solutions that you can use. Some things to consider are hanging wall storage, baskets, bins, hooks, racks, a workbench with a pegboard, cabinets, and shelving, including overhead shelving to keep less frequently used things out of the way.  

Ready, set, get organized!

Mold Tips: Outdoor Inspection

We’re all concerned about the chances of mold growing within your home, but did you know that mold can grow outside of your home, and be just as dangerous? With the arrival of fall, and the beginning of rain season here in the Pacific Northwest, the setting for mold and mildew to grow is prime. Follow these tips to keep the inside AND outside of your home, mold-free.  

  • Clear any excess debris. This includes your gutters! Get rid of any leaves standing by your home, as they provide shady and moist areas for molds and mildews to grow. 
  • Make sure to repair leaky faucets around the exterior of your home; they’re perfect for mold buildup. 
  • Trim any low-hanging trees. They give moss and mold easy access to your home.  Also, help keep your siding and fences dry by trimming any surrounding foliage and allowing them to get proper sunlight.  
  • If you have an outdoor grill, make sure to get a cover. Moisture can get trapped in there, providing the perfect home for mold.  

Need help with mold removal? Don’t hesitate! Call the professionals at ServiceMaster of Tacoma, at 800-339-5720.

ServiceMaster’s Domenica R.

Meet this week’s Master of Disaster, from the accounting team, Meny! #masterofdisaster

What to do When Your Home Floods

There’s never a good time for a water loss to happen in your home, nor can we ever be fully prepared. It’s messy. It’s stressful.  There’s a good chance that “now what?” is going to be one of the first phrases spoken after the discovery of your water damage.  In the event that this disaster does unfortunately happen in your home, the least you can do to prepare yourself is to know what steps to take.  

First things first; find the source of the loss and stop the flow of water.  If necessary, shut off the home’s main water supply. Don’t hesitate to call a plumber or your local water supply company for expert help.  

Once things have calmed down, give your insurance company a call to report the damage. From there, it’s important to call a professional to begin the water mitigation process as quickly as possible to minimize damage. The experts at ServiceMaster Restore are on-call 24/7/365. 

While waiting for the professionals to arrive, there are a few things you can do: 

If there was a significant amount of water spilled, look for signs of structural damage. Stay out of any areas that look like they may collapse.  

Next, shut down the power in the affected area. If you need help doing so, you can call your electric company. If you smell gas, you might have a gas leak. Get out.  

If you stopped the water, called your insurance company, checked the area for structural damage and gas leaks, and turned the power off, you can start to remove your personal belongings. Make sure to wear protective gloves, goggles, and shoes.  

From here, your adjuster and water mitigation specialist will be able to guide you through the rest of the process and get you back to normal before you know it.  

In need of a disaster restoration specialist? Call ServiceMaster of Tacoma at 800-339-5720.