Fire & Smoke Damage Tips
During a crisis like a fire at your home or business, most people have no idea what to do. It's uncharted territory. Here are some tips for property owners when they are facing the aftermath of a fire, large or small, at their property.
1. Safety First
Your local fire marshall will let you know when it is safe to re-enter the property. Wait until they tell you the structure is safe.
2. Hands Off
Do not handle fire-damaged or smoke-damaged materials with your bare hands. The residue may contain biohazard contaminants, and the natural oils from your hands may actually worsen the damage caused by soot.
3. Secondary Expenses
Your homeowner's insurance policy will cover secondary expenses like hotel rooms if you don't have a functioning kitchen or bathroom in your home due to a fire. Keep your receipts!
4. Important Items to Salvage if Possible
Important Items to Salvage if Possible: Insurance/tax documents, jewelry, precious heirlooms, etc. Your restoration team can pack other items out for storage off-site during the cleaning and reconstruction process.
5. Be Prepared for Water Damage
The water from fire hoses will have flooded certain areas of your home, leaving behind a soggy mess. That will need to be mitigated along with the fire damage itself.
6. Ask Before You Launder
Standard laundry detergents will not remove the lingering odors caused by smoke or soot. Ask your restoration company about how your textiles can be laundered and restored.
Frequently Asked Questions about Fire Damage
It's never a quick fix, though we've gathered together a multi-discipline team of contractors and technicians to work in tandem to complete the work as soon as possible. From structural repairs to sand/soda-blasting to odor removal to contents cleaning, our fire damage restoration crew begin as soon as the project scope is determined, and we don't stop until the job is done and both you and the insurance company are satisfied with the results.
Most often, yes. You'll need to check your specific policy for the full scope of coverage, but in general, if the damage was caused by a flame, it's covered. Your best bet is to hire a professional restoration to help you through the claims process. We know how to avoid some common missteps when it comes to making sure the entire loss is documented and covered. Many homeowners and insurance companies forget, for instance, to consider that your HVAC system will need to be cleaned of soot, and, since fires are extinguished using water, many areas of your home may need to be restored due to water damage even if they weren't directly affected by the fire.
Depending on the extent or location of the fire damage, some homeowners can move back in a few days or longer. The fire department will usually turn off electricity and gas to the property right away, and that won’t be restored until a building inspector says that it’s safe to turn those utilities back on. If you experienced significant smoke damage and the home’s occupants include elderly persons, young children, or those with chronic health conditions, you may be wise to stay until the smoke cleanup is complete. Contracting with a company experienced in fire damage restoration can often get you back home sooner, because they’ll have the resources to hire and manage the many tradespeople who will need to work together to make the home liveable again.
DIY soot removal is not recommended. Commercially available products can actually cause permanent damage to surfaces. Soot itself is primarily oil-based, but that residue also contains toxic, possibly biohazard contaminants.
Smoke damage is rarely limited to one area of the house, and it leaves behind residue that can hide in crevices and out-of-reach areas, and a simple "airing out" may not be sufficient. We recommend consulting with a smoke damage technician who can help you troubleshoot the next steps.