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Smoke And Fire Damage Restoration Tips: A Quick Overview

Smoke and Fire Damage Restoration Overview:

House fires are typically unexpected and can be devastating. There are some things you can do to be better prepared for disaster, but no matter how prepared you are, dealing with the aftermath of a fire is emotional and difficult on multiple levels. From handling the loss of important, sometimes irreplaceable objects and mementos, to the hassle of dealing with insurance, to getting your house into a livable condition again: there’s just so much to deal with. And you’re expected to deal with it all while having your life upended. 

At Distinctive Restoration we’re well-equipped and ready to help homeowners deal with the devastation caused by fire damage. We understand and can work directly with your insurance and help make the process less of a burden.  Here are some tips to make a difficult time just a little more manageable.

Be Prepared

First and foremost, recognizing that things like house fires can and do happen, make sure you’ve given thought to a couple of things. 

  • Does your insurance policy cover fire? Homeowner’s policies typically do, but it’s something you should be sure of.
  • Does your coverage match the value of your home plus a bit more? Fire damage expenses will only be covered up to your dwelling coverage limit. 
  • Do you have an insurance planner or registry of items? In the midst of stress and loss, it can be hard to remember all the things you own that are of value. Figuring that out before a disaster can take one more stressful thing off your plate.

Think back to the fire safety demonstrations in elementary school. Beyond “stop, drop, and roll” they recommended you go home and practice what you should do in case of a house fire. It still applies as an adult, plus a couple items:

  • Do you have an evacuation plan? Everyone in the family should know how they should exit the building and where to meet up safely.
  • Do you have contact information in a quick and easy-to-access place? Thanks to cell phones, most of us don’t have any phone numbers memorized anymore. Not a problem as long as you have your phone, but if you have to escape a fire, your phone shouldn’t be at the top of your list of things to save.
  • Do you have important documents in a fire and water proof box? Keeping these items off site in a safety deposit box is an even safer option.

What To Do Immediately After a Fire

First, make sure everyone is safe; family members and pets are all accounted for. Next, shut off utilities, especially the HVAC. That’s easily forgotten as heat or air conditioning is the last thing on your mind. But if they stay on, they will transport ash and soot throughout the house as well as contaminating all of your air ducts.

Next, begin the documentation process. Document everything! Don’t begin moving things or washing or wiping down anything. Give your insurance a call and let them know what has happened. Try to avoid the area of fire damage. Walking on carpet will only damage it further by forcing ash deeper into the fibers. You’re also likely to track ash and other contaminants into parts of the house that weren’t affected by the fire.

Cleaning Up After a Fire And Hiring Professionals

It can be tempting to start the cleanup process yourself, but this is a big job that is best left to professionals. Of course you want to save everything you can, and you want to get back to normal as quickly as possible. And really, time is of the essence. While there will obviously be damage from the fire and smoke, there will also be further damage from the water and chemicals that were used to put the fire out. 

Mold and microorganisms can begin to grow after only 24-48 hours of water damage occurring. And ash is acidic, so the longer it sits on walls and textiles, the more those will deteriorate. There is also concern about noxious chemicals that are the byproducts of combustions. Wood burning alone can create methane, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and heavy metals.

Once you’ve talked to your local fire officials and fire damage restoration partners to make sure the property is safe and there are no embers continuing to smolder, the real work can begin. This is the time to start getting all of the furniture and wet, soggy items out of your home to give them ample time to dry. If you’re working with a company like Distinctive Restoration, we can assist with the haul-off, cleaning, drying, water extraction, and mold-prevention tactics to make sure your items aren’t totally ruined.

As always, we invite you to do your research before hiring a fire and water damage expert as finding a professional team is critical to the success of salvaging your home. Our team is here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and we’re here to help. Give us a call or reach out today for more information about how Distinctive Restoration can make recovering your home after a fire as easy and painless as possible.