After you have fire damage, you are going to need a full restoration company to help you. You are going to require smoke damage cleanup, soot cleanup, water removal and extraction and an experienced team to help you.
Fire damage requires a special process, cleaning materials and cleaning equipment. Cleaning a home or business after a fire should be handled by an experienced fire damage restoration company. But if there is minimal damage, it can be done as a DIY project. The ash and soot left behind after a fire is what also needs to be cleaned from any damaged surfaces. You are going to need some good cleaning solution, rubber gloves, a shop vacuum and other various cleaning materials. Here is a really good DIY guide on very small fire damage cleanup projects. In most cases, if the fire has damaged your walls, kitchen or even more, you are going to want to have a professional fire, smoke and soot damage restoration company help you!
Typically if your homeowners insurance policy covers fire damage and the cause of the fire was not intentional, then your insurance company will cover the costs of repairing your home. You need to make sure your rental and or homeowners policy covers fire damage. As a renter, you are not responsible for the home, but you will want to make sure your personal belongings are covered in case there is a fire.
For cleaning soot, smoke and ash, there are several things you are going to need.
- Unsmoke Degrease-All Degreaser – Cleaning Solution
- OdorX Smoke Wash
- Cleaning Sponges
- Laundry Detergent Powder
The reasons it is called secondary fire damage is because of the after effects of the fire itself. The fire is the primary fire damage, but the smoke, soot and ash can do additional damage to your home or personal belongings. Smoke and soot need to be cleaned immediately after along with deodorization in order to prevent any additional damage from the secondary fire damage effects. You can read more about secondary fire damage by visiting this website.
Ensure that the structure of the building you are entering is sound before stepping inside it. You may need to have a survey carried out ahead of time to determine the structural damage (if any). This is a worthwhile step as it will prevent injury. Remember that walls are weaker and may collapse due to water damage.
Ensure the electricity is turned off to prevent further injury or accident. When the electricity is turned back on, don’t use any appliances, as the wiring may have been compromised. It is best to seek professional advice and have it checked. After removing as much from the fire damaged rooms as possible, open the windows and let the air circulate. It is important that the room dries out.
If you have personal items (especially clothing and linen) that have been covered in soot or debris, but may be restored, use a professional cleaning service. Any attempt to clean such garments yourself can lead to ruin, if soot is smeared into the garments. Smoke and soot damage should be handled by a professional restoration company that has experience in fire damage cleanup.
It is important that you only go in to areas of the building that are known to be safe, and have been granted access by the authorities in charge of health and safety. Don’t risk injury for the sake of looking around, or finding objects. Limit your movements around the fire damaged home as much as possible. Movement causes soot particles to get embedded into upholstery and the carpets. There may be some things you can save, if you are careful.
Ensure that your hands are always clean when touching items in your fire damaged home. Dirty hands will soil carpets, walls, upholstery and woodwork. When trying to remove materials from a fire damaged home or building, remember that wet materials are much heavier. Not only this, but they may be covered in debris and objects that could cut your skin.
You can clean and protect any chrome products by using a small amount of petroleum jelly or oil. Only a fine coating is required to offer protection. Remember to wash any plants that were covered in soot. Clean both sides of the leaves, as well as the pot and branches. These are just a few steps on the entire fire damage cleanup process. Depending on the severity of the damage, you may need the help of our expert fire damage restoration team.
If you have an air conditioning unit in your home, you will need to clean the filter and ensure that it is in working order. Never turn it on until you are sure it is clean, as it will blast soot all over your home and furniture. Do not turn on any ceiling fans, as the wiring may have been compromised.
If the electricity has been turned off, empty your freezer and refrigerator. Throw out any food or beverages that may have been in contact with fire or water. If they have been heated (even canned goods), they are unsafe to eat and may cause you to become sick as is can be contaminated.
If you are trying to save furniture which contain stains and debris, use a professional cleaning service that specialize in fire damaged homes, and especially furniture. If you try to remove the particles yourself, you may push them deeper into the upholstery. Check out this how to guide for after a fire.
Keep the doors open until it is clean. Do not touch sockets or power outlets that have been in contact with water until they have been declared safe by an electrician. Even then, they will take time to dry out. You will always want to get the go ahead from the restoration company and the electrician before turning any electrical outlets on. You want to make sure it is safe and no additional damage is caused.
Use clean towels or old linens on carpets, rugs and other areas that are commonly walked over in the home. This will prevent debris and soot from being trampled through the house. Place plastic bags over your shoes, and those of anyone else who visits your home. Ensure that dirt and grime is not moved through your home when people walk around.