During a crisis like a fire at your home or business, most people have no idea what to do. It's uncharted territory. Here are some tips for property owners when they are facing the aftermath of a fire, large or small, at their property.
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The very first thing you should do in the event of a water damage is locate the source of the water and ensure that the flow of water has been stopped. Cleanup can't happen if water is still actively pouring into the home. After the water has been stopped, it's a good idea to cut the power to the home if there is any standing water. Obviously, electricity and water can make a dangerous combination. If either of these tasks put you at risk, wait for a professional. Finally, as long as it's safe, take as many pictures as possible before starting any potential DIY cleanup. You'll want to start cleaning right away if possible, but you'll also want your insurance company to be able to see the initial extent of the damage before any cleaning occurred. Once pictures have been taken and the area has been deemed safe, remove as much standing water as possible and set fans to begin the drying process.
Your local fire marshall will let you know when it is safe to re-enter the property. Wait until they tell you the structure is safe.
Do not handle fire-damaged or smoke-damaged materials with your bare hands. The residue may contain biohazard contaminants, and the natural oils from your hands may actually worsen the damage caused by soot.
Your homeowner's insurance policy will cover secondary expenses like hotel rooms if you don't have a functioning kitchen or bathroom in your home due to a fire. Keep your receipts!
Important Items to Salvage if Possible: Insurance/tax documents, jewelry, precious heirlooms, etc. Other items can be packed out by your restoration team for storage off-site during the cleaning and reconstruction process.
The water from fire hoses will have flooded certain areas of your home, leaving behind a soggy mess. That will need to be mitigated along with the fire damage itself.
Standard laundry detergents will not remove the lingering odors caused by smoke or soot. Ask your restoration company about how your textiles can be laundered and restored.
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