How to Prepare for Fire Damage CleanupThe most important steps you can take is to be proactive and preventative. Be sure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly and change batteries regularly. In addition, if you have a fireplace, it’s a sound practice to have it professionally cleaned at least once per season. Other preventative measures you can take are to always extinguish candles, never overload electrical outlets, and use radiators and furnaces with caution.
The longer the aftermath of a fire is left to sit, the less likely the chance of reversing the damage. It only takes minutes for soot to make plastics yellow, and cause porous surfaces to discolor. In the span of a few hours, bathroom grouts and the finishes on furniture and appliances will also discolor. Within days, most fabrics, including clothing and upholstery, become stained, possibly permanently, while wood and vinyl begin to require refinishing. —Institution of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration CertificationThe seemingly most innocuous chores and projects can lead to a fire in your home. For instance, you might be in the middle of a basement conversion, and, accidentally leave a space heater on overnight; or, it could be a Christmas tree that’s the source of a fire. Nearly regardless of the cause, when it does happen, it can be truly devastating. So, here are some helpful tips on how to prepare for fire damage cleanup in your home:
- Assess the amount of damage, if it’s safe. Never enter a fire damaged area if you are in the least unsure about its condition and whether or not it poses a risk of injury. Wait until you know for certain there’s no longer any danger and then you can begin to assess the amount of damage.
- Document the scene down to every last detail. You should attempt to document the scene as thoroughly as possible. Again, don’t do anything that would expose you to injury, but, do what you can to document as many details as possible.
- Begin to sort through your possessions to salvage. One of the strangest phenomenons about fire is that it might leave behind items that are completely or virtually untouched. There might be salvageable possessions to rescue from the scene.
- Contact your insurance company to report the fire damage. You should be in contact with your insurance company after a fire. In addition, look through your policy to see what is and what isn’t covered.
- Bring-in an experienced, professional fire damage cleanup service. When it comes to the actual cleanup and rehabilitation, you should never attempt to do either on your own. Fire damage cleanup requires the right experience and equipment and should be left to a professional service.