What Happens During the Fire Restoration Process?
After the Fire: Starting the Restoration Process for Your Home or Business
With much of the U.S. in the midst of a drought made worse by record-breaking summer heat, communities across the country are facing a higher risk of fire for homes and businesses. Regardless of how extensive the damage, a home fire or business fire can be a life-changing event.
If you’ve experienced fire damage or smoke damage in your home or business, you may be wondering where to go for assistance and what to do next. Know that you are not alone, and that professional help is available.
Fire and Smoke Damage: What to Expect
Even a small fire can cause serious damage to a home or business. Flames, heat, smoke and water used to put out the fire can have destructive effects on personal belongings as well as structures.
In the wake of a fire, don’t attempt to clean up and complete repairs yourself. It’s important for your health and safety to call in a restoration expert to assess the damage caused by fire, smoke and water. A restoration professional will also determine which items can be cleaned, restored and returned to pre-loss condition, and which repairs to the home and business need to be completed.
While we tend to think of the flames as the primary cause of destruction, smoke and soot can worsen the damage even after the fire has been put out. Smoke spreads to rooms that the fire didn’t reach, carrying with it destructively high temperatures, acidic components and corrosive properties that are damaging to metal items such as kitchen fittings and pipes.
Smoke often discolors porous materials as well, including plastics, countertops, tiles, porcelain and hardwood flooring. Along with a lingering unpleasant smell that can soak into carpets, rugs, drapes, furniture, clothing and other personal items, smoke residue can even degrade wallpaper and paint.
A byproduct of fire, soot can be equally as damaging. Like smoke, soot has corrosive properties that can severely damage walls, floors, ceilings, insulation, rugs, carpets, furniture, mattresses, pillows, clothes and more. Soot can even cause electronics to short circuit.
Health Risks of Fire, Smoke and Soot
Along with assessing the damage, it’s important to understand the risks to your health and safety following a home fire or business fire. To avoid these risks, be sure not to re-enter your home or place of business until you’ve been told by the proper authorities that it’s safe to do so. Once inside your home or business, do not attempt to turn on gas, water, lights or any utilities again until the authorities have given you the green light.
Once it’s deemed safe to enter the property, be aware of additional and less obvious health and safety risks. Any remaining soot and water in your environment may harbor toxins, contaminants, particulates and microbes that can be harmful, so be sure not to touch or handle any damaged items — and definitely don’t try to clean those items or any damaged areas yourself.
Be especially careful in the presence of soot, which comes with a wide range of health hazards. While not always visible to the naked eye, soot contains tiny particles that can be inhaled into the lungs, leading to or exacerbating respiratory problems including asthma, bronchitis and COPD. Soot can also contain a whole host of nasty chemicals, including ammonia, tar, hydrogen chloride, sulfide dioxide, formaldehyde and more. Prolonged exposure to soot has even been linked to a higher risk of cancer and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Given the ongoing damage and health risks that can happen even after the fire’s been put out, it’s important to have your home or business and personal items cleaned, restored and repaired by a restoration professional as soon as possible. You’ll also want to reach out to your insurance company to get the claims process started. Photographing and documenting all fire-damaged spaces and items can help streamline your claim.
Reclaim Your Life after a Fire with the Restoration Pros
Dealing with the aftermath of a fire can feel overwhelming. Take the first step in getting your home or business back in order by calling a restoration specialist. Independently certified and specially trained, the Restoration Pros at COIT are ready to respond to your emergency calls 24/7. With over 70 years of experience in the industry, we understand that the sooner we can get into your home or business to start assessing the fire damage, the faster we can help you get your life back.
Our restoration professionals work quickly and expertly to inspect your property and create a plan for restoring your home or business. We’ll also conduct a detailed inventory of affected items, determine which ones can be restored, and pack them out to be safely returned to you after restoration.
Once damaged portions of the structure have been removed, our restoration specialists begin the process of removing harmful soot, smoke, odors, as well as any water. After the restoration process is complete, we’ll return and replace your personal items with the utmost care and respect.
You don’t have to face the damage from a fire alone. COIT’s restoration specialists are here to help guide you through the process and restore your life as well as property.