Category Archives: fire restoration

Preventing Space Heater Fires


During the winter heaters help us escape from the cold, home heating fires are the second leading cause of house fires behind only kitchen fires.  Space heaters rank as the most deadly of home heating devices and while only 32 percent of home heating fires involve space heaters, they are involved in 79 percent of home heating fire deaths, according to the new report Home Fires Involving Heating Equipment released today by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

The leading factor contributing to space heater fires in general was heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress, or bedding. Failure to properly clean and maintain space heaters can pose a fire risk as well.


NFPA offers the following safety tips.



  • Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  • Never leave children and pets unattended around afireplace, fire pit, or other space heater is being used. Use a sturdy, metal screen to prevent contact burns, which are even more common than flame burns.
  • All heaters need space. Keep things that can burn, such as paper, bedding or furniture, at least 3 feet away from heating equipment.
  • Use heating equipment that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Never use your oven for heating.
  • Make sure all fuel-burning vented equipment is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. CO is created when fuels burn incompletely. CO poisoning can cause illness and even death. Make sure the venting for exhaust is kept clear and unobstructed. This includes removal of snow and ice around the outlet to the outside.
  • Install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified professional.

Portable electric space heaters

  • Turn heaters off when you go to bed or leave the room.
  • Use and purchase portable space heaters with an automatic shut off so if they’re tipped over they will shut off.
  • Place space heater on solid, flat surface.
  • Plug power cords directly into outlets and never into an extension cord.
  • Replace if cords, plugs or any equipment seems to be worn, frayed or broken.

Fuel burning space heaters

  • Always use the proper fuel as specified by the manufacturer.
  • Allow the appliance to cool and refuel outside or in a well-ventilated area when refueling.
  • When in use, open a window to ensure proper ventilation.
  • If the pilot light of your gas heater goes out, allow 5 minutes or more for the gas to go away before trying again, do not allow gas to accumulate, and light the match before you turn on the gas to the pilot to avoid risk of flashback.
  • If you smell gas in your gas heater, do not attempt to light the appliance. Turn off all the controls and open doors and window. Call a gas service person.

Wood burning stoves

  • Chimneys and vents need to be cleaned and inspected at least once a year.
  • Wood stoves should bear the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • In wood stoves, burn only dry, seasoned wood. In pellet stoves, burn only dry, seasoned wood pellets.
  • Start the fire with newspaper or kindling, never with a flammable liquid, such as lighter fluid, kerosene or gasoline.
  • Keep the doors of your wood stove closed unless loading or stoking the live fire.
  • Allow ashes to cool before disposing. Dispose of ashes in a tightly covered metal container and keep the ash container at least 10 feet away from the home and any other nearby buildings. Douse and saturate with water.

Avoid a Residential House Fire This Christmas


During the holiday season residential house fires are at their peak in both frequency and deadliness. We tend to do a lot of cooking and literally drag in a bunch of kindling and have it strewn festively around our homes alongside hot strings of lights and open flames.  With all the mirth and merriment happening we can lose focus on safety, a foresight that could lead to disaster.


  • In the Kitchen

The kitchen is where most house fires start. With all of the hullabaloo of the holidays it is easy to get distracted. Make sure you keep your cooking area free of debris like printed recipes and dishcloths. Don’t leave unattended pots and pans on a burning stove and keep a fire extinguisher handy in case of emergency.

If you’re planning to deep-fry your holiday turkey, do it outside, on a flat, level surface at least 10 feet from the house.


  • Outdoor Lights

If you’re the Clark Griswold type when it comes to exterior illumination you should take care to check a few things before flipping the on switch. Make sure you only use lighted strands that are meant for outdoor use. Double check old strands to make sure there are no frayed or exposed wires and busted bulbs. Don’t plug too many strands together and don’t stuff to many strands into one outlet.


  • A Roaring Fire

Candles are beautiful during the darkest time of the year but make sure to maintain about a foot of space between the candle and anything that can burn. Set candles on sturdy bases or cover with hurricane globes. Never leave flames unattended. Before bed, walk through each room to make sure candles are blown out. For a safer way to get the romantic effect of candles use LED candle lights.

During these cold months there is nothing better than curling up in front of a roaring fire. Don’t light your fire place without having it cleaned first. Screen the fireplace to prevent embers from igniting your carpet or drapes. Only use seasoned wood.


  • Oh Christmas Tree

A Christmas tree fire can destroy a room in less than a minute. If you are going to use a real tree make sure it is fresh. Do not buy it too early or you risk drying it out. Make sure to keep your tree away from heat sources like fireplaces and space heaters. Turn off the lights on your tree during the day and before you go to bed to make sure they don’t heat up too much. LED lights are less likely to heat up.


Even if you take all of these precautions it is still possible for a fire to rip through your home. If the worst happens call Branch Services to bring your house back to its original glory.


Branch is now officially a Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise

Branch is proud to announce that we have met the qualifications for The Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) Certification Program. The program’s goal strengthen diversity in the state.

Branch Services is committed to providing opportunities to all Long Islanders who are committed to the fire, flood and mold restoration business. We are proud of our hardworking staff and owners who have decades of experience behind them and look forward to continuing to serve the community for years to come.


Catch us at the Long Island Commercial Real Estate Expo!


Next Wednesday (3/16) Branch Services will be exhibiting at the Long Island Commercial Real Estate Expo

“The Long Island Commercial Real Estate Expo is the event dedicated to improving economic activity on Long Island through the commercial real estate industry. The show is for Long Island and is produced by Long Islanders. It offers unique programs featuring business leaders discussing issues that affect the business climate.”

You can visit their Website here

Fire Damage Restoration: What you need to know

fire damage restoration

What you need to know about fire damage remediation:

There’s plenty of information available on how to prevent fires in the home but what happens… in the event that you (unfortunately) have a fire?  Now what?  Here’s some advice on what to do….

Contact your insurance company IMMEDIATELY after the fire is out. They can provide advice on how to handle the aftermath of your fire and possibly be able to recommend a professionalfire restorer, such as us… Branch Services. Fire restorers can provide services to prevent furtherdamage, help determine which items can or cannot be refurbished and which structural items do and do not need to be repaired or replaced. They provide estimates to insurance companies for the cost of damages and will help walk you through the process of thoroughly deodorizing, cleaning and repairing your home. You can find the names of certified fire restorers through the IICRC website Here you can search for restorers who have been educated and certified by the IICRC.

Here are some additional tips to follow after the event of a fire.

Safety Tips During Restoration

Do not use electrical appliances that have been near a fire.

Do not use ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet.

Do not touch anything during your first inspection to prevent transferring soot from item to item.

Do not wash drapes or other materials that may require dry cleaning.

Do not hesitate to seek professional help in restoration effort.

Hiring a professional to do the clean up after a fire is always recommended for additional information on why you should choose to use a certified professional, click on the following link….

Puff Back


What is a puff back you ask? It’s not something that is soft and cuddly, that is for sure… it’s actually quite the opposite. It’s dirty, dingy and a real pain to clean up. Incomplete combustion of oil fired furnaces that begin operating at the beginning of the winter season can cause an effect that is commonly known in the industry as a “puff back”.

What is the cause of incomplete combustion in oil fired furnaces? Usually a faulty ignition switch.

When the ignition fails to light properly, oil fumes accumulate in the chamber of the furnace. If stalled long enough, these fumes will cause a small explosion when the pilot light finally ignites. This mini explosion will blow every little piece of dust and soot in your baseboard heating system or duct system all over EVERYTHING in your home. Drapes, blinds, furniture, bedding, clothing, floors, carpets, dishes, appliances, etc.

Soot is a powder like substance and is black and sticky. You cannot clean soot with a regular sponge, towel, paper towel, etc. The cleaning of soot requires special sponges and cleaning products that are used by professionals. In addition to this stick sooty mess, an odor will also be present which is similar to that of an oil smell. This odor is difficult to remove and requires the services of a professional to remove as well. A professional certified home restoration company such as Branch Services is experienced with handling puff back situations for over 25 years. A puff back can occur in large proportion such as the situation just mentioned or in small proportion, over a period of time. If you notice black soot accumulating on carpet around heating vents or baseboard, or on surfaces inside your home, chances are you are experiencing a small scale puff back.