Follow These Steps if Your Home or Office Had a Fire

Posted by on Jun 7, 2017 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Cleaning up after a home or office fire can be a complex and daunting task and is not usually something that can be done without expert help. It requires that a quick and accurate assessment of damage be prioritized so that the process of restoration can begin before permanent damage or discoloration occurs from smoke and hazardous soot residue among other things. Because flames and smoke rise, the damage to walls and the ceiling can be significant, and usually need immediate treatment with specialized cleaning products to keep them from further deterioration. While it’s difficult for a non-professional alone to be able to assess the full scale of damage, If you do decide to go ahead and do some cleaning and repair after a fire, there are several steps you can follow before calling for additional help.

1.Use Safety Equipment

Always wear a safety mask, eye goggles and heavy-duty gloves to protect yourself from debris and from inhaling toxic fumes and soot. If you go about removing items from the burn site, you will need to protect yourself from coming into contact with burn residue that could be harmful. It is especially dangerous to inhale soot because of it’s cancer causing properties. Keep in mind that all small children and babies need to be kept away from the burn site because it’s especially harmful to their respiratory systems.

2. Get Some Air

If you can ventilate the room, then do so. Open windows throughout the area to get as much fresh air flowing into the rooms as possible to minimize the effects of volatile vapors trapped in the burn site. You will also want to seal off the area that was burned including intake vents from other rooms if possible, to prevent odors from traveling into other areas of the home or office. Although getting fresh air into the burn site is a great start, to completely get rid of odors you will most likely need to use an air purifier or air scrubber as a next course of action.

3. Vacuum the Area

Use a vacuum with a high efficiency filter on drapes, and surfaces with visible dust and soot. It’s very important to make sure your vacuum is trapping the particles in the filter so that you are not risking blowing harmful debris back into the air. You can also wash any fabric items and things like curtains with a mild alkaline cleaner to neutralize the acid in the soot.

4. Clean Top to Bottom

If you are going to be cleaning the area, then remove as many items as you can before beginning, including drapery and rugs if they are present. Then start at the ceilings and work top to bottom so that the soot falls downward. Always wear a respirator mask and goggles while doing this task. There are special cleaning products, especially tri-sodium phosphate cleaners that you can use to combat the soot build up before it hardens on surfaces.

5. Consider Electrical Issues

You will need to unplug any appliances that may have been involved in the fire, and get them inspected before they can be used again. Also, you will need to assess whether the electrical system in your home or office has been compromised due to the fire, and perhaps get an inspection by a qualified electrician to make sure.

6. Prevent Water Damage

Most people don’t think about water damage after a fire, but since it is water that is used to put out the fire, you need to make sure that moisture is not collecting and lingering in walls, carpets, furniture and other items. Water damage can bring another host of problems including mold growth which can begin growing in as little as 48 hours, so it’s important to make sure the areas that were exposed to water are getting proper air flow.

7. Call for Professional Help

Even after you’ve followed the above suggestions, you may not have done everything you can to protect your and your family’s health from the toxic buildup of a fire. It’s wise to get a second opinion to make sure that you won’t be unknowingly exposing yourself and your family to potentially deadly hazardous waste. If you need help, the experts at Total Restoration Care are here to provide an expert opinion on how to stay safe from fire damage. We are the total restoration professionals you can count on to get your home or office back in good shape. Call us today!