We all know how devastating a fire can be in our homes, not just through the obvious loss of property but also through the financial burden and emotional toll.
Besides the gaping hole in your pocket, smoke and fire can also cause severe damage to your home and belongings, which may have long-term effects on your health.
So, if you're unfortunately a victim of a house fire, it's pertinent to act quickly and wisely to minimize the damage.
We will highlight ten best practices for handling fire and smoke damage at home.
1)) Safety First
Before venturing into the damaged property, you must ensure your safety.
Have the fire department inspect and determine the dangers and whether it is safe to enter the property.
Wear protective gear, including gloves, goggles, boots, and suitable respiratory equipment like masks that are rated for firefighting fumes.
2)) Call Your Insurance Company
After ensuring you're safe, one of the first calls you should make is to your insurance provider.
Your homeowner's insurance policy could help cover the cleanup and repairs, so it's essential to get the process started right away.
3)) Assess The Damage
Once the fire has been extinguished, it is essential to evaluate the extent of damage done to the property and your personal belongings.
Start by creating an inventory of items you've lost, and which ones could be salvaged.
Then, take photographs and document all items that can be repaired or restored.
4)) Ventilate And Clean
After the fire, odors and soot tend to linger in the air and can cause respiratory issues and foul smells.
It's vital to ventilate by opening windows and turning on fans when safe.
You can also hire professionals to thoroughly clean and decontaminate your home.
5)) Seek Professional Help
Besides cleaning your home, consider seeking help from professionals who can perform smoke damage restoration.
Restoration experts utilize modern techniques and equipment to remove all traces of smoke and soot to restore your home to its original condition.
These professionals have access to specialized tools and techniques that ordinary homeowners lack.
6)) Prevent Further Damage
While you wait for professional help, there are a few things you can do to prevent further damage.
First, you can board up broken windows and missing doors to prevent intruders and environmental factors like rain and wind from causing more damage.
You can also remove debris and cover large areas with tarps or plastic sheeting.
7)) Remove Wet Items
All items that have been affected by water damage should be removed immediately.
Remove items like carpets, upholstered furniture, and toys and dry them thoroughly.
You can also air-dry wet items under the sun, but make sure to remove them once the day gets humid or when the sun has set.
8)) Get Rid Of Spoiled Food
Perishable items like food and barbecues that have been exposed to high temperatures during the fire may lose their freshness.
It's crucial to discard all perishables and takeout cans or jars found in the house after a fire.
9)) Handle Electrical Equipment With Care
If there's any suspicion of damage to electrical outlets, switches, appliances, or any other electronic equipment and tools in the house, do not attempt to power them on.
Instead, get in touch with electricians or technicians to test and/or repair them.
10)) Keep Records And Documents Safe
It's essential to store essential freelance documents such as wills, passports, certifications, and other pertinent documents safely.
Sensitive digital records can be encrypted and stored in the Cloud whenever possible.
Dealing with the aftermath of a fire can be a daunting task, but with these ten best practices, you can mitigate the damage and have an idea of where to start.
Remember to prioritize your safety before venturing into the house.
Seek professional help and have your home professionally disinfected, ventilated, and cleaned.
Always consult with experts before making rushed decisions to prevent further damage.