Fire Damage- The First Steps You Can Take.
Fires are one of the types of disasters that most think would never happen to them. For most, they are in stories that happen to other people and rarely are considered to be a close risk. While we hope this stays true for our lives, we must identify with the fact that it just takes one instance for our "story" to change.
Having said that, there are many things you can know that will help you in dealing with the consequences of a fire. In the following content, you will gain more insight as to what you can do to clean up fire damage and the things you should know before a remediation company, like ours, comes in to take over the job.
These tips may seem small, but they can go a long way in protecting your family and property so that you can return to your home to its' pre-fire condition.
In the cleanup process, the initial stages will involve removing debris, water, smoke particles and soot accumulation in the building and vents as well as removing and replacing all damaged items to remove the smell and improve air quality. The combination of these steps can be very time consuming and require an expert skillset and the knowledge of health and safety protocols. It's important that you realize that you don't have to tackle cleanup alone.
SERVPRO franchises are all equipped with experience and knowledge in fire damage and can take you through the process- taking the most challenging parts off your hands. Our goal is to remedy the disaster, so that you can focus on putting the pieces back together with what matters most- loved ones.
While we know the comeback process can be lengthy for you, it's equally important that you understand the time it can take for restoration to be complete, so customer patience is extremely important as well. Added stress doesn't help the cleanup process go any faster, so acceptance of the imperative steps is extremely useful. Our staff is here to help narrow the focus so that you can feel confident going one step at a time, one day at a time.
The first step, in the case of a fire, is to call 911. After doing that, calling your insurance agent should be done immediately. The faster they can be informed, the faster restoration teams can come in to assist and prevent further damage. Insurance companies often need to come in and provide authorization to get the help we can offer. An instance that can offer an example: if there is structural damage to a home, water mitigation may tend to be brought in so that mold damage can be avoided. Once these steps are taken, your appointed agent should help to finalize and file the claim, allowing the work to begin. Once that happens, professionals can be called in and all of the belongings can start to be replaced and restored.
The length of temporary stay may vary, but you will undoubtedly need a place to stay following the fire. Even a small fire will need to be formally inspected by the fire department and the cleaning and air quality must take place prior to your return.
Even outside of the property damage, smoke and burned materials can cause detrimental health conditions, so professionals must be used in the process of discerning what to remove and what can stay.
Needless to say, if there is a large loss with significant amounts of damage, a long term housing plan must be put into place. If need be, your insurance company can help you find the proper housing needed while your restoration process is completed- which can take an upward of months before the end is met.
When dealing with matters this impactful, your well being may be overlooked. Do not fall victim to lack of rest and clarity of thought so that you can make the best decisions possible even under duress. For some, staying with family or friends is helpful and hard decisions are made more easily with their support. If these are not options open to you, there are disaster relief services, such as the Salvation Army or the Red Cross where they can direct you towards temporary housing as well.
Even when the fire is out, ash, soot, and smoke residue can be left behind. This means that even distinguished, there are many dangerous health hazards still lurking. Non-organic materials that are burned reals toxins called VOC’s that can have long-term effects and even lethal if they are ingested or inhaled. Some signs show up immediately after exposure, but many take lengths even reaching years. Even seasoned vets have faced health challenges when the proper precaution has not been executed. Everyone who enters the space post-fire should proceed with extreme caution when reentering a property. Even in cases where the fire department says there is no serious structural damage and you may reenter the property,many toxic chemicals may still hang in the air.
If you are unsure whether tools you should have on hand, check the The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Healthwebsite to see examples of protective gloves, masks, clothing, and breathing equipment with effective filters that need to be worn by everyone who enters a building after it has been boarded up because of a fire.