What to Do After a Fire: 5 Tips for Cleaning Up Smoke Damage
Fires are devastating, causing damage not only to the physical structure of your home but also to your mental state. They could start from a variety of sources, such as cooking, portable heaters and electrical equipment, candles, faulty wiring, and flammable liquids. While moving on from the devastation of your home may be difficult, and you may not know where to begin, you must act immediately.
Although it is prudent to begin repairing your home as soon as possible, relying on experts will relieve you of household chores and provide advanced services. Cleaning up after a house fire may appear to be a daunting task, but there are simple steps you can take to get started and be on your way to recovery.
Things To Know Before Remediation
Fires happen any time, but we only know about them abstractly. They occur in any places and to any one. We rarely imagine having to face the reality of a fire in our own lives.
If a fire breaks out in your home or property, there are a few things you should know and remember to help with cleaning up after the fire has been extinguished.
What Is Involved In The Fire Damage Clean Up?
Fire damage cleanup is a multi-step, difficult process that frequently includes dealing with water damage, fire damage, and smoke damage.
Depending on the severity of the fire and the heat of the blaze, the home or commercial property may also have structural damage. So, they require emergency board-up services to protect it from the elements.
Fire damage cleanup will include removing debris, standing water, smoke particles and soot accumulation in the home and vents, damage content, odor, etc. Also, they will repair the water damage and replace the damaged content. They will ensure the air quality in the home is excellent.
All of these cleanup efforts will require considerable time, effort, and expertise. Also, you need an understanding of the health and safety risks involved. Remember that you do not have to do the cleanup by yourself.
Smoke damage cleanup companies in San Diego with experience and knowledge can guide and assist you through the process, manage and complete the difficult and dangerous parts of the cleanup, and assist you in every step of the cleanup.
Important Things To Know About Fire Damage Cleanup
Here are a few things to consider before beginning the fire damage cleanup process:
1. Try To Relax:
Being in the midst of a fire can be extremely stressful. Your mind is most likely reeling from the reality of what has occurred, stuck on what to do next, and overwhelmed by the number of things you have to do right now. Take a long, deep breath. Recognize that you are only at the start of a lengthy process. Things appear to be out of your hands right now. You don’t know where to begin, and you long for things to return to “normal.”
2. Acknowledge That Cleanup Will Take Time:
The fire damage cleanup process will most likely take longer than you expect. We’d all like to be able to snap our fingers and have everything repaired, safe, and clean.
The fire damage cleanup process, on the other hand, takes time and patience. Stress and worry will not speed up cleanup or allow you to return to your property sooner.
There is so much that you cannot control during the cleanup process. You can’t change what happened or reduce the scope of the cleanup, but you can take it one day at a time and do what needs to be done that day, knowing that things will return to normalcy eventually. You are not required to complete all tasks at once.
3. Call Your Insurance Agent:
After calling the fire extinguisher team, your next call should be to your insurance agent. They will be vital in kicking off the cleanup process. Inform them of your fire, and then ask what steps you must take right away. The sooner you notify them, the sooner you can get assistance from a professional smoke damage restoration company in San Diego and prevent further damage.
It is not uncommon for firefighters to break windows or cut holes in the roof or walls to allow ventilation and slow the spread of the fire.
These holes allow dark smoke to escape, making it easier for firefighters to do their jobs and see what is going on.
In addition, firefighters use hundreds of gallons of water to extinguish the flames. Water sprayed inside your home will damage it. If there isn’t any major structural damage and the fire department says the property is safe to enter, removing any standing water will help prevent further damage.
Following the solution to these initial concerns, like minimizing water damage and addressing security concerns, your insurance agent will assist you in filing a claim. So, you can begin fire and smoke damage cleanup work by calling professionals in San Diego, and eventually, your property and belongings can be completely restored.
4. Find A Safe Place To Stay
You will need to find another place to stay for at least a few days, regardless of the size of the fire or the extent of the damage.
Even minor fires must be investigated by the fire department. Also, you should thoroughly clean the property and test the air quality inside it.
Smoke, soot, ash, and burned materials can all cause serious health problems and pose a risk to one’s health. Before you live or work in the building, ensure professionals remove all potentially toxic materials and chemicals.
Keep in mind that just because something appears to be clean does not mean it is. Many unseen chemical compounds in the air after a fire can make you sick, cause significant respiratory illnesses, or cause other diseases that must dissipate and be removed.
How to Clean After Fire Damage?
Following a house fire, you may need to clean three types of damage:
- Damage caused by fire
- Smoke harm
- Water harm
Let’s break that down into a quick checklist to give you an idea of how the cleaning process works:
- Remove all debris with care.
- Get rid of any standing water.
- Repair or replace anything that has been harmed by water.
- Remove all smoke and soot particles from the house.
- Clean the vents to remove soot and smoke particles that could cause lung damage.
- Make sure to turn off your HVAC system as soon as possible after the fire. You don’t want those particles to spread through your ventilation system and into other areas of your home. If you suspect this, thorough cleaning of the system is required.
- Discard clothing and household items that are beyond repair or unwashable. However, it is a daunting step, but keep in mind that most things are replaceable.
- Get rid of the smoky odor that usually follows a fire.
- Purify the air in your home to improve the quality of the air.
You can use this checklist to clean up most areas of your home after a fire. If any of these tasks are too difficult for you, or if you don’t have the time to handle a post-fire cleanup, you should contact our team of experienced smoke damage restoration professionals in San Diego.
Cleaning Of The Exterior Of Your Property
Before you begin cleaning up after a fire, make sure your home is structurally sound. Even if you start on the outside, you should check the following for strength and functionality:
- Outdoor living spaces
With a power washer, begin cleaning the exterior surfaces. If you don’t have that equipment, use a stiff brush and a solution of water and borax or another safe cleaning solution.
Unless the damaged area is small, cleaning exterior surfaces by hand can take a long time.
The longer soot and ash remain on your property, the more likely it is to cause permanent damage. If you have a large area of damage, you should consider renting a power washer or hiring a professional.
You can clean the gutters, porch, deck, sidewalks, driveway, and windows after power washing. If you have a power washer, you can use it. If you lack the necessary equipment or manpower, consider hiring a team of smoke damage cleanup professionals in San Diego to complete the task quickly.
Cleaning Of Interior Finishes
If a lot of water was sprayed inside your home to put out the fire, you can use a bleach solution to wipe down the surfaces to reduce the risk of mold and mildew growth. Add one cup of liquid household bleach to every gallon of water used. To test for discoloration, thoroughly mix the ingredients and wipe down a small area of the surface. If there is no discoloration, you can continue wiping down all surfaces as needed.
You can use a mild cleaning solution or a homemade mixture of tri-sodium phosphate, bleach, and warm water to clean the interior surfaces. These solutions are suitable for most hard, flat surfaces in your home. Let’s go over how to clean fire-damaged walls, floors, and brick in greater detail.
Cleaning Of Fire-Damaged Walls & Hard Floors
Most walls can be cleaned easily of soot and smoke with a solution of trisodium phosphate, bleach, and water. Use up to 6 T trisodium phosphate, 1 cup of chlorine bleach, and 1-gallon warm water. Put on rubber gloves before wiping down the walls with the solution, beginning at the floor and working your way up to the ceiling in small sections.
Don’t splatter water all over a large area at once. To prevent mold and mildew, apply small amounts of the cleaning solution to specific areas of the wall. After cleaning, immediately rinse each small area with warm water.
Allowing the walls to dry is the final step. You can speed up the process by using large fans and opening the windows. If you want the walls to dry quickly to prevent mold and mildew growth, hire a professional smoke damage restoration company in San Diego.
What To Toss After a Small Interior Fire
After a small house fire, you can go through most of your belongings to see what is salvageable, but there are some items that you should throw out immediately regardless of their visible condition. These are some examples:
- Non-Perishable Foods – Canned foods may appear undamaged, but you never know what the food inside has been exposed to. That heat can cause bacteria to grow, which can make you sick. Food in boxes and bags is no longer safe because smoke can easily pass through the packaging.
- Burnt Clothing – While you can wash many fabrics with soot or minor smoke damage, you should discard burnt clothing.
- Medication – If your medicines were left near the fire or damaged by water and cleaning solutions during the cleanup process, discard them. Intense heat and exposure to moisture and chemicals can cause damage that is difficult to detect.
Do you require assistance with fire and smoke damage cleanup in San Diego? EZ Flood Restoration USA can assist with everything you expect.
Cleaning up after even the smallest house fire can feel overwhelming, but not impossible. We understand that our clients require immediate assistance. Because you never know when a fire will break out, we remain vigilant and ready to assist as needed.
A fire can turn your life upside down, but contacting our experts will help you put everything back together as soon as possible by doing a smoke damage cleanup and restoration in San Diego.