Reclaim Your Space: How to Clean Up After a Fire and Get Your Life Back
The aftermath of a housefire can be overwhelming, and the road to getting back to regular life is one filled with challenges. Whether you're a homeowner or business owner, cleaning up after a fire is a massive undertaking.
We've compiled essential strategies you can use to safely clean up after a fire and fast-track your recovery. From assessing fire damage to taking preventative measures for the future, these tips will serve as a useful guide to restoring your property and peace of mind.
1. Damage Assessment
Once the flames are extinguished and you have the all-clear to re-enter your property, the first step before the cleanup is to assess the extent of the damage.
This isn't just about scorch marks and smoke damage because there will be hidden damage beneath the surface, including burnt electrical wiring, water, and heat damage from firefighting efforts, and structural damage to the building.
Leave no stone unturned, and check areas not directly exposed to heat. The first step to creating a recovery plan is to know what you're up against.
2. Safety Measures
Safety should always be your top priority. Before you start cleaning, get yourself ready with the proper safety gear and equipment. Wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves, masks, and goggles. These will protect you from soot particles and potential exposure to hazardous materials.
Turn off electricity and gas before you enter the property. This tip can prevent potential accidents from exposed wire and busted pipes.
Remember, the hours after cleaning up from a fire holds many hidden dangers, so take the time to make yourself aware and protect yourself and your family.
3. Document the Damage
When you have the all-clear that it's safe to enter the property, and before you start the cleanup, document the damage in detail. This essential step will speed up your insurance claim and ensure you are reimbursed accurately. Take photos and videos of the damage. Capture the condition of each room, highlighting areas of soot, smoke damage, and water damage. A record of destroyed appliances, furniture, and valuable items will also help with the claim.
Create a comprehensive inventory of damaged items. List everything that has been affected by the fire, including clothing, electronics, furniture, and personal items. The more detail you can include, the more likely you'll receive a fair claim from your insurance company.
4. Hire Professionals
Home and business owners will always need help when dealing with the aftermath of a fire, plus there are tasks that only experienced professionals should handle.
Reach out to your local fire damage restoration company as soon as possible. They will perform an accurate assessment of the damage to your property so you know what needs doing.
Always work with a company that has experience in fire damage cleanup. Ask for references and check their credentials to ensure they're reputable. These companies have the proper training to handle the cleanup safely and effectively, from removing soot and smoke damage to mitigating mold and mildew risks.
5. Start the Cleanup
Now that you've assessed the damage and contacted professionals, it's time to begin cleaning. Always remember to wear your protective gear during this process to shield yourself from any harmful substances.
Begin by removing any solid debris. Separate hazardous materials from non-hazardous ones, as many of these will require specialist disposal. Be particularly cautious around sharp objects and items that may have become unstable due to the fire.
Clean and Disinfect
Cleaning up soot and smoke damage requires specialist methods. A mixture of warm water and a heavy-duty cleaner, like one containing TSP, can effectively remove soot and smoke stains from washable surfaces. Use a sponge or cloth, wipe a small area at a time, and rinse with clear water immediately.
Smoke odors can be tricky to eradicate, but the first step is to air each room out separately. Fire restoration experts will then use various techniques, such as thermal fogging, to eliminate persistent odors.
Next, disinfect all surfaces to kill any bacteria and prevent mold growth. A solution of one gallon of warm water and a cup of bleach can be used on non-porous surfaces. Be sure to rinse and allow it to dry after disinfecting.
6. Fire Prevention Strategies
Even after the cleanup, there's still more to do to ensure the safety of your home or business moving forward.
Install Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors are your first line of defense against fires. Install smoke detectors in every room and test them regularly to ensure they're working. Remember to replace batteries as needed and consider investing in a model that detects carbon monoxide. Modern smoke detectors are networked. When one is triggered, the others will follow, so everyone on the property is immediately alerted to the danger.
Create a Fire Escape Plan
Having a well-practiced fire escape plan is critical to everyone's safety.
Create a plan that clearly outlines all exit routes from the property and ensure that all family members or employees are familiar with it.
Regularly practicing a fire drill can ensure a swift and safe evacuation in case of another fire.
Store Flammable Materials Safely
Store flammable materials properly, in a cool, dry place, away from any heat sources or open flames. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for storing and using these materials to prevent potential fires.
The pain of experiencing a fire in your home or business can be mitigated by taking these preventative measures. They not only help protect your property but also give you peace of mind.
In the wake of a house fire, the journey toward restoration can feel overwhelming. However, with these tips and professional help, you'll be better prepared to safely and effectively clean up after a fire. Remember, the process involves more than just clean-up. It's also about assessment, documentation, working with professionals, and taking preventative steps to safeguard your home or business in the future.
How to Clean Up After a Fire and Get Your Life Back with Best Option Restoration
If you’re experiencing water damage, mold damage, or fire damage in Denver, Arvada, Thornton, Broomfield, Boulder, or the surrounding areas, Best Option Restoration can help you. We are aware that water damage, mold damage, or fire damage can leave you feeling overwhelmed, and our goal is to instill peace of mind throughout the project and restore your property in the most efficient way possible. We have many years of experience in restoration reconstruction and all our general contractors are licensed and insured. If your property has been damaged due to water, fire, or mold we will give you the personalized service and expert marksmanship needed to get the job done right. To learn more about our services, call us at (720) 620-3272 or contact us online to receive an estimate on your project.