Do's & Don'ts of Fire & Smoke Damage Safety
Fire damage can be a devastating experience both for home and business owners. Fire damage is difficult to overcome and repair, but there are simple things you can do to motivate the process. When you’re wondering what to do after a fire, here’s a look at things to do (and things not to do) during the fire restoration process.
Dos for Fire Damage Restoration
Your checklist for after a fire should contain certain non-negotiable tasks, including:
- DO contact a certified restoration specialist: Make sure you immediately contact a certified fire and smoke restoration professional for remediation services
- DO turn off utilities: Turn of water, electricity, gas, and any other utilities until a professional can evaluate if any of these systems were damaged during the fire.
- DO break out the vacuum: A professional should provide service, but you can enhance the professional’s chances of success by doing a first pass on your own. Use a vacuum with a brush attachment and go over your upholstered furniture. Your furniture will look better as soon as the soot is removed. Also, cover your furniture with a sheet if you need to sit on it while waiting for professional help. This will prevent the soot and ash from grinding into your upholstery.
- DO address your carpets, floors and countertops: Give similar treatment to your carpets. Vacuum them for an immediate and superficial improvement over the damaged state. It will help prevent soot from grinding deeper into the carpet’s roots. Countertops and hardwood floors should be wiped clean to prevent the soot from deeply staining and clinging to the surfaces.
- DO check your appliances: Your utilities should be off. Make sure empty your freezer and refrigerator, and leave the doors open to prevent mold and mildew. Likewise, winterize your plumbing and drain your hot water heater and boiler. In the absence of heat during the fire damage restoration process, fluids can freeze and cause burst pipes and other damage.
- DO take care of pets: Remove pets from your fire-damaged home. Lingering soot and smoke can be harmful to them.
Don'ts for Fire Damage Restoration
Your checklist should also include several things to avoid at all times, including:
- DON’T use your AC, heater or electronics: Wait until a professional arrives on the scene — same with electronics like the television, computers and DVD players. Turning on electronics can create greater damage.
- DON’T clean walls or clothing: Also, do not clean walls, ceilings and other similar surfaces, and wait to clean your clothing and similar garments. A professional should examine them first and provide advice.
- DON’T eat leftover food: Never eat anything that was in the home during the fire. It is most likely not safe to consume due to contamination from smoke, soot, or contaminants introduced to the environment when the fire was being extinguished.
- DON’T wipe away powder from extinguishers: Forgo trying to clean up any staining from the powder discharged by a fire extinguisher. It is best to let professionals guide the clean up of these areas.
These are some basic guidelines for preventing further damage and get a head start on cleanup, but they are not a substitute for professional restoration services. When in doubt, wait for the professionals. Upholstery, carpets and counters are fine to begin cleaning, but the rest is best left to the pros. And remember, never reenter a home until it has been cleared by the fire department or other local officials.
Always Call an Expert
If you’re wondering what to do after a fire, it’s always tempting to start the cleanup process immediately, and do as much as possible. The best course of action is to hire a certified professional to provide expert knowledge and service. The situation requires the training and knowledge that only a professional can provide. A trusted professional will offer an after-fire checklist that will help speed along the fire and smoke damage cleanup process. Consulting a professional will help you restore your property back to like-new condition as quickly as possible.
At SERVPRO of Henderson/Boulder City, we provide fire damage restoration services that follow the IICRC guidelines for Fire Damage Restoration. Want to know more about it? Call us today at 702-564-8508