Comprehensive Articles on Damage Types - Water, Smoke, Fire, Mold, and Smoke

What to Do After a Fire Damages Your Home

Dealing with the devastating aftermath of a fire is every homeowner’s worst nightmare. Even if your home’s structural integrity remains intact and most of your valuable possessions were spared from the flames, there are still many problems to deal with, including the persistent odor of smoke and the lingering black soot that can cast a gray pallor over everything you own. When you add to this the fact that cleaning up after a fire can pose serious health hazards if not approached properly, it can all add up to one enormous headache. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to help ease the fire damage restoration process. Here’s a brief rundown on what to do after a fire damages your home:

  1. Begin by cleaning any and all clothing that has been stored in your home to remove odors and restore the integrity of the fabric. One or two cycles in the washing machine should be enough for most items, but specialty care pieces and those that are severely damaged should be taken to a professional dry cleaner for further inspection.

  2. Next, scrub all exposed exterior surfaces with a strong disinfectant in order to remove soot and kill harmful bacteria. You should wear safety clothes, including a mask and gloves, before scrubbing any areas that are heavily soiled. Specifically target porches, patios, walls, walkways and windows, including both glass and screens.

  3. Afterward, move inside and thoroughly cleanse and disinfect all interior surfaces. (Again, safety procedures should be followed at all times.) This should include walls, floors, cabinets and countertops, tables, chairs and closets. If the material is particularly delicate and/or porous, contact a professional who offers fire damage restoration service before proceeding.

  4. Clean all furniture, taking care not to further damage materials like upholstery, leather or velvet. Again, when in doubt, get in touch with a fire damage restoration specialist.

  5. If the damage is not severe, you can attempt to remove odors from fabrics like drapes and furniture upholstery with an odor-neutralizing spray.

  6. Carpets and mattresses should be similarly deodorized, as well as steam cleaned when necessary.

  7. Carefully wash or dust all small household items to remove soot.

  8. Air conditioners and heating or ventilation ducts must be cleaned by a professional in order to remove all ash, soot and potentially harmful residue. If left ignored or treated improperly, this could lead to serious respiratory problems for you or your family.

While many of these steps in the fire damage restoration process are easy to approach on your own, you should still begin by calling a fire damage specialist immediately. This kind of expert can easily assess the damage in your home and help you form a clear-cut, easily manageable plan of attack for restoring your home to its former glory, as well as taking on the burdensome and often complicated task of cleaning and restoring trickier areas without compounding the damage. Don’t leave something as important as your home (and your health) up to chance; instead, get in touch with a fire damage pro and learn how you can get your life back with as little hassle as possible.