How do you remediate fire damage?
Structure fires happen and are reported every 65 seconds, according to the National Fire Protection Association. But people usually think about fires abstractly. They occur in other places and to other people, rarely imagining that they could face the harsh reality of a fire in their own lives.
However, the National Fire Protection Agency estimated an average of 15,970 residential fires involving washing machines or clothes driers between 2010 and 2014. Hence we learn two things; fire incidences can happen to anyone, and you need to clean your dryer vents annually.
If a fire occurs in your property or home, there are several essential things you need to know and remember about surviving the ordeal and the fire damage cleanup efforts after it is out. This article talks about smoke and fire damage and how to clean up your property afterward. It also discusses the role and importance of fire remediation services.
What is Fire Damage?
Fire damage is the physical damage to property due to burning. It could be the direct result of flames, smoke, ash, and other corrosive substances emitted during the fire. Fire can ruin walls, furniture, upholstery, clothes, and other items, leaving them dilapidated and unfit for purpose.
However, fire damage could lead to further property damage, depending on the severity of the flames. For example, a burned staircase could be in danger of collapsing, while a hole in your walls or roof could leave the property vulnerable to weather elements, trespassers, or thieves.
In some cases, severe fire damage could leave the property beyond repair, and you may need fire damage cleanup or restoration service. If the fire has weakened the property's foundation, it could mean that you need to start from the ground up.
Fire damage can also cause smoke, ash, and water damage on your property. It could also leave a foul odor and stain and sully interior surfaces.
How Do You Clean Up after Smoke Damage?
The acidic nature of soot and smoke makes them challenging to remove. They contain unpleasant particles and odors that are harmful to breathe. The items you will need include:
- A dry-cleaning sponge
- Rubbing alcohol, paint thinner, or vinegar
- A vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment
- Degreaser or commercial soot remover
- Clean rags, sponges, and a bucket of hot water
How to clean up smoke damage:
- Ventilate: First, you need to ventilate. Open windows, doors, and use fans to encourage airflow. However, turn off the HVAC system to prevent the spread of smoke and soot.
- Protect: Wear protective clothing before you start cleaning. Wear gloves, sleeves, and long pants to protect your skin. Also, use eye protection and a respirator in areas with significant soot damage.
- Vacuum: Remove loose soot particles from upholstery using a vacuum cleaner. Be gentle and avoid scrubbing.
- Use the dry-cleaning sponge: These chemical sponges lift stains from surfaces and walls.
- Use liquid cleaners: Use a clean rag or commercial soot remover with rubbing alcohol, vinegar, or paint thinner to remove the remaining soot and clean up the smoke.
- Dry and deep clean: Use a clean rag and fans. Smoke odors can take a few days to clear. Get your carpets, furniture, curtains, and upholstery professionally cleaned to remove odor.
How Do You Clean Up Ash after a Fire?
Ash from wildfires is relatively non-toxic, but ash from structure fires may contain harmful chemicals (lead, arsenic, and asbestos). However, all ash can irritate the skin and cause coughing or trigger asthmatic attacks.
To clean up ash after a fire:
- Protect yourself. Cover your skin and wear a particulate respirator mask rated N-95 or P-100. People with heart or respiratory conditions should avoid handling ash cleanup.
- Control the amount and spread of ash particles in the air. Do not use leaf blowers or common vacuum cleaners that don't filter out small particles. Instead, use a HEPA-filter vacuum cleaner.
- Contain the ash using appropriate cleaning methods. Sweep gently with a push broom and mop up using a damp cloth. Put debris and ash into plastic bags for disposal.
- You may need commercial cleaning for upholstery, carpets, curtains, and window treatments.
- Avoid draining ash and chemicals into storm drains.
How Do You Clean Up a Burned Down House?
A burned-down house requires a lot of work, and it's critical to have a professional fire restoration service take the lead. If you decide otherwise, have a professional assess your home first before entering to clean, paint, or fix the damage. Besides structural issues, your house could have hidden damage to the plumbing, electrical wiring, the foundation, wall supports, the roof, deck, porch, or entrance.
Assuming you have already informed your insurance company and had a representative assess the damage, you can go ahead with fire damage cleanup and recovery.
First, decide what to throw away, such as:
- Burned clothes
- Damaged electrical equipment
- Large textiles like beddings, rugs, carpets, drapes damaged in the fire
- Damaged furniture and mattresses
- Cosmetics and toiletries may contain toxins and contaminants
- Heat, soot, smoke, water, and chemicals can affect medicine potency and effects
- Spoiled food items
- Any other damaged items.
Next, aerate your home by opening all windows and doors and using fans to facilitate airflow. Aeration removes the smell of smoke, soot, and chemicals.
- Remove smoke, soot, and ash.
- Clean and salvage home items. Wash all clothing; wash and dust house items; disinfect and deodorize carpets, upholstery, curtains, and window coverings; and don't use odor-masking spray.
- Wash away soot and smoke from walls and windows and let them air dry completely before repainting.
- Salvage unburnt furniture by cleaning it using oil soap. Use sand and refinish for deeper stains.
- Clean dishes thoroughly before use but consider throwing away wood and plastic ones because they can absorb smoke.
Finish by cleaning the exterior of your home from top to bottom.
- Check the roof for damage
- Clean and drain the gutters
- Wash the windows and walls from top to bottom using a power washer to remove soot, ash, and chemical fire retardants
- Tile cleaner can remove stubborn stains
- Remove debris from your yard and clean the driveway using a power washer
- Water your yard for a week to recede ash into the ground
Who Cleans up After a Fire?
A fire restoration company helps with fire damage cleanup and the remediation of smoke, soot, and water damage, as well as securing your property. Once hired, a restoration company dispatches an emergency response team to assess your property for water and fire damage.
Once the fire department declares our property safe, the company can secure all windows, doors, and other openings. They can also start pumping out water where necessary and possible to reduce mold infestation and further damage. Finally, they will ventilate the property to improve air quality and minimize smoke damage.
After these initial emergency efforts to avoid further damage, the company will later continue with the fire damage cleanup process until it's finished.
Do You Need Fire Damage Remediation Services?
AdvantaClean offers 24/7 emergency services, specializing in repairs and remediation, including fire damage cleanup. For more information about fire damage remediation services, check out our fire damage home page.
Call (888) 926-4106 or schedule a service appointment today with one of our fire damage remediation specialists.