Every 90 seconds, a home catches fire in the United States. Even though not all fires burn the house, even a small one can cause serious damage due to the heat and smoke from the fire, as well as the water and soot from trying to put the fire out.
Fire damage restoration is a task that you might have to face if your house burns down. Learn more about what to do after a fire, as well as what steps you can take to prevent future fires.
What to do following a fire?
Witnessing your home being destroyed by fire can be a devastating experience. To avoid further damage to the house, it is essential that you act immediately after the fire has been extinguished. Further damage can result from rainwater entering your property or mold growth, which could lead to higher repair costs.
To report the fire to your insurance company immediately, and find out what next steps they recommend, you should contact them. These include protecting the property, making a list of all the damage, and calling an expert in fire damage restoration.
You should ensure that your home is inspected by insurance adjusters for possible fire damage. All damage must be identified and covered under your initial claim. These areas need to be checked:
- You could have burned embers, or the wood beneath the shingles could have turned to mold.
- Stucco or siding. The heat from the flames could melt the siding or cause cracks in the stucco.
- Hot can cause window frames and doors to melt or crack. It can also cause glasses to warp or discolor.
- Heating and Plumbing. Electricity can cause damage to pipes, ducts, and soldering.
- Interior walls & framing. An inspector might have to remove some wallboard in order to check the framing for mold or to look for it.
Professional fire damage restoration services
A fire damage restoration firm specializes in helping victims recover from fire damage. These companies offer a wide range of services, such as:
- Secure your house. Hire a restoration contractor to board up the house and secure the roof.
- Assessing and assessing the damage. They will inspect all rooms in order to assess the damage caused by water, fire, or smoke.
- Water extraction and drying. This will prevent mold and mildew development. The company will use giant fans and dehumidifiers.
- Removing smoke or soot from surfaces. The use of specialized equipment.
- They can use a variety of techniques to clean salvageable materials.
- If the company is licensed to do home improvements they are allowed to make minor repairs such as replacing wallboards and installing flooring. They may also have the ability to complete larger jobs like rebuilding rooms.
How to find a fire damage restoration service?
You can choose a restoration company that is recommended by your insurance. Before you sign any contract with a restoration firm:
- You can read customer reviews.
- Find out if your firm is certified through the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification. IICRC certification demonstrates that the firm has insurance, a written customer policy, and education for its technicians.
- Carefully read the contract.
- Be aware of which services are covered by your insurance. If you sign a contract, you will be responsible to pay for services not covered under insurance.
- Make sure that the restoration company has the ability to begin work immediately.
Fire damage cleanup
Even if the fire is contained quickly, water damage, such as smoke and soot, can spread. Every item in the affected room will likely need to be cleaned. This includes furniture, walls, flooring, ceilings, flooring, and personal belongings.
- How to remove soot. The oily substance Soot can easily stain objects it touches. Soot can stain carpeting, curtains, and upholstery. To remove the soot, a restoration team will use a heavy-duty vacuum. If you are trying to remove soot yourself, you should hold the vacuum nozzle up to the surface of the items. The brush attachment is not recommended as it can cause soot buildup.
- Ozone treatment for odors. All textiles within the room will smell smoke, so they should be deodorized. An ozone generator is used by restoration services to produce an oxidizing solution to eliminate the odor. The service will often put the items under a cover while the ozone Generator is running. Avoid cleaning clothing or other fabric items after they have been deodorized. It could cause the fabric’s odor to persist.
- Thermal fogging to eliminate odors you can also let the smoke from a fire linger in your home by absorbing the smell into your home’s structure. The reason is that the heat of the fire opens pores in the wallboard and releases smoke. The smoke trapped in the wallboard becomes more noxious as the house cools. The process of thermal fogging, which is used by restoration companies, is used to open the pores and neutralize odors. But, smoke odor can get into your insulation and there’s no way to remove it. If your insulation is smoky, you will need to replace it.
After soot has been removed, odors neutralized and items cleaned up, they can be cleaned. It is recommended that draperies and upholstered furnishings be dried-cleaned. There are companies that can do this for you. Also, carpets must be professionally cleaned.
What you can do?
It is best to hire a professional restoration firm that has the tools and experience to properly clean up after a disaster. You can help by following these steps:
- Allow items that have been soiled to be cleaned by professionals.
- Use fans and dehumidifiers to dry wet textiles fast. Easy-to-move items such as cushions or clothing can be dried outdoors in the sunshine.
- Keep the windows open so that the restoration company can get to the house.
- Turn on the HVAC fan to move the air. Change the filter every day until you see no soot on it.
- You can cover clean items with plastic, to keep them from getting damaged while repairs are being done.
Fire prevention tips
Although fires can be started by lightning, wildfire, or other natural causes, there are steps you can take to keep them from starting in the home.
- You can stay in your kitchen while you cook on the stovetop or use the broiler.
- Keep grills at least 10ft from your house’s siding and deck.
- Replace any damaged or frayed cords.
- Take care when using portable space heaters. Avoid combustible materials within 3 feet of a portable heater. You can also purchase heaters with a thermostat control mechanism, which will shut off the heater automatically if it overheats.
- Place matches and lighters that are too high for children in a locked cabinet.
- While you are lighting a candle in the room, be sure to stay there and not let your children go.
- Each year, inspect and clean the chimneys and stove pipes.
- Before you go to sleep or leave the house, ensure the fireplace is turned off completely.
Use smoke alarms
Smoke alarms provide a great early-warning system in the event of a possible fire. The alarm will give you enough time to get your family out or to use a fire extinguisher for a small, contained fire.
You should check the alarms at least monthly, and change the batteries no less than once a year if your alarm is equipped only with a 10-year non-replaceable battery.
- Install smoke alarms outside and in each bedroom.
- Smoke alarms can be installed on every floor of your home, and even in the basement.
- For false alarms to be avoided, keep the smoke alarm in the kitchen at least 10 ft from the stove.