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Fire Damage Cleanup Tips

When fires unfortunately break out, homeowners are usually caught completely off guard by the numerous challenges that pop up. The fact remains that fires are more than just deadly; they are also the producers of great property damage and loss. It is for this reason that familiarizing yourself with basic fire damage cleanup tips would be in your best interest. Remember, it never hurts to be prepared!

1. Confirm That The Flame Is Gone

First and foremost, you must confirm that the fire is still not in effect. If firefighters get involved, then simply wait until one gives you permission to re-enter the premises. Otherwise, ensure that the original source of the flame is totally extinguished and that no potentially re-ignitable embers remain.

2. Don Some Gear

Once the fire is out, you then need to don some safety gear. Understand that the air inside your home will likely be brimming with soot and other potentially harmful particles. Some of the types of gear you might want to consider wearing have been listed below for your convenience:

  • Long Pants
  • Long-Sleeve Shirts
  • Gloves
  • Facemask
  • Goggles

3. Get Started Right Away

The next thing you ought to do is to get started with the cleanup ASAP. Allowing smoke and fire damage to set only makes the cleanup process that much more difficult. In fact, waiting too long can lead to any soot stains becoming permanent. Plus, soot produces an unhealthy odor that’s chockablock with asthma-triggering particles.

4. Ventilate, Ventilate, Ventilate

At this point, you need to completely shut off the home’s HVAC system. This will prevent soot and other particles from spreading further through your home. After that, open every single window and door. This will accelerate the filtering of nasty particles out of your home. Keep in mind that you will still need to deal with the HVAC system itself at some point in time.

5. Throw Away Food

Any single food item was that was exposed to fire or smoke needs to be discarded. This of course includes content in open containers, but it also includes food in containers whose seals have been broken or damaged. We also recommend you throw out all closed canned items as well. The extreme heat of a fire can cause the bacteria within the can to become active. It is therefore wiser to just play it safe.

6. Deal With Your Clothes

There’s good news and bad news regarding damaged clothes. Any clothes with holes or burn marks on them are obviously useless. However, you might be able to get away with wiping soot off a t-shirt or sweater. Just make sure to use common sense here.

7. Check Out Your Electronics

Fire-damaged electronics can be risky business. In some cases, you can get away with just wiping off soot and calling it a day. However, there is always the risk that the electronic cigarette might have suffered internal damage.

8. Vacuum Your Home

Never ever use a vacuum brush to deal with leftover soot. It will only rub the soot even deeper into the wall or surface. Instead rely on a hand-held vacuum or a vacuum hose attachment. Also, when you vacuum, hold the vacuum a few inches above the surface.

9. Get Your HVAC System Inspected

One optional step that we recommend involves getting a professional HVAC professional to inspect your HVAC system. At minimum, you need to change all air filters and take a close look at your air conditioning unit. However, we recommend getting professional assistance, because it is very possible that soot or other chemicals may have become lodged within the system itself.

10. Hire A Professional

The final tip is for you to simply hire a professional. There are just so many benefits to trusting the services of a trained and experienced professional:

  • They understand the different types of fires and smoke. This plays a significant role when it comes to damage cleanup.
  • They know how to clean fire damage without inspiring further damage. They also know how to do this quickly.
  • They possess the tools needed to correctly clean up fire damage and repair any damaged belongings.
  • They work in large teams. This permits them to resolve all issues in a fraction of the time it would otherwise take for you to do it yourself.
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