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Fire Damage Cleanup Tips
May 22, 2019
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Nothing can damage a house or building more than fire does. The moment you see or feel that your house is on fire, call for help immediately and vacate the building. You should not go back until authorities say that it is safe to do so. After any fire, even a small one, dealing with the aftermath can be difficult. Fire and smoke can cause significant damage to any building, particularly on the walls or ceilings. And on average, homeowners pay between $3,500 and $5,000 for restoration for just a small fire.  Thankfully, there are things you can do to clean up the damage and restore your house into its former state.

Safety first

Before anything else, you need to ensure your safety and the safety of the people you live with. Do not go home until officials say so. You need to make sure that the fire and its cause is totally out before stepping in. If the blaze is small enough to handle on your own, ensure that the fire is completely extinguished. It is always recommended to have your home. Inspected by professionals especially if the cause of the fire is an electric problem.

Wear proper gear

As with any kind of cleanup, you have to wear the right clothing and gear to avoid direct contact with chemicals and other hazardous compounds resulting from the fire. Note that the soot left by fire can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, and skin. Protective gear for fire damage cleanup includes a face mask, gloves, boots, and goggles. Wear comfortable clothing that allows you to move around with ease and covers as much skin as possible.

Keep the area well-ventilated

This is very important not only for your health and safety but also for the prevention of further damage in your property. You want to allow the air to circulate freely not only to eliminate any toxic fume but also to avoid water damage (after extinguishing the blaze), including potential mold buildup on the surfaces. Once it is safe to do so, turn off your home’s HVAC system. This must be one of the first things you should do before starting the cleanup. Then, open all windows and doors. Using tools like air scrubbers can greatly help reduce harmful particles, chemicals, gases, and other contaminants in the air through a series of filtration systems.

Clear soot and charring immediately

Remove items damaged by fire or smoke. Dispose of all things that have been damaged by fire or smoke. Once removed, you can now deal with soot and smoke odor. Soot is a black powdery or flaky substance left by burnt things after a fire. It can be very dangerous to your health because it contains a lot of carbon-based impurities coming from all sorts of materials, most especially plastic. That is why cleaning soot and charring should be one of your first tasks. The longer it stays in your house, the more they could pose risks to your health and property. To clean soot from surfaces, you can use a vacuum cleaner. Then, scrub the surface with Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) solution (1 tbsp mixed in one gallon of water) using a sponge. Finally, rinse with warm water. Wipe the surface with a dry, clean cloth. Again, always wear goggles and mask all the time.

Get help

Restoring your home after fire damage is a laborious, time-consuming process. You need all the help you can get. Better ask friends or relatives to help you with sorting damaged items and cleaning up. You may also need help from smoke and fire damage restoration specialists to get rid of the smoke odor. That is because the removal process is complicated and requires expertise and tools to perform effectively. For damaged walls, priming and repainting are necessary. Nonetheless, there are things you can do to minimize the smoke odor. One is by wiping surfaces (walls, floors, ceilings, and furniture) with white vinegar. You can also put some baking soda in small bowls (as well as activated charcoals) and place one in each room to neutralize the smoke odor. Other odor-reducing products include oil diffusers. Experts usually make use of special fog that eliminates the smoke odor completely.

Inspect everything

Thoroughly inspect your house after the cleanup. Double-check items, such as clothing, fabrics, and furniture for signs of fire or smoke damage. Clothes that have burn holes should be disposed of immediately while those that were only covered with soot can still be recovered but would require thorough cleaning. Inspect your home electronics and appliances too as these are easily damaged by fire and have them checked by a licensed electrician.

Fire damage cleanup is no doubt a difficult task. For major damage, you will likely need help from restoration experts. However, for minor fire and smoke damage, you can follow these tips and bring back your home into its original state.

Note: This article is informational only. When making purchasing decisions, conduct your own research.
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