After the firefighters leave from extinguishing a house fire, the home is left with a variety of issues that need to be repaired or replaced. During the process of putting out the fire, firefighters spray thousands of gallons of water directly into the home, causing water damage in addition to fire damage. This means,
you not only are having to deal with burnt sections of your home, you are also having to deal with flooding. The fire may have damaged electrical wire or burned away the protective rubber coating around wires creating even more of a hazard inside the home.
What to do after a house fire
As tempting as it might be to rush inside and survey the damage, you should refrain. Depending on the severity of fire the home may not be structurally sound. Entering a home that isn’t sturdy can be extremely dangerous. This being said, here are a few things you should do after a house fire:
* Limit your movement inside. Simply walking around the house can move soot particles around and embed them into your carpets and upholstery, making it more difficult to get the smoke odor out of the home.
* Use towels to place on the ground where you are walking. There will be a lot of soot around the home that you will track inside, using towels helps mitigate the extended damage.
* Any plants that you have inside should be washed on both sides of the leaf’s. Taking the plants outside after and hosing off with a garden hose is ideal.
* If you have central heating and cooling you should tape cheese cloth over air outlets so not to allow the smoke odor to enter the air ducts.
* Call a cleaning and restoration service professional. These companies are experts on cleaning and repairing homes or businesses. Contact your insurance provider and then contact a restoration service.
What not to do after a house fire
There is often more damage than what meets the eye after a house fire. Trying to jump into cleaning and repairing can be extremely dangerous and potentially cause more issues. After a house fire, never:
* Attempt to clean major electrical appliances that were near the fire.
* Use canned food or boxed food that was close to the fire
* Turn on light switches that were close to the fire. The water from extinguishing the fire could be pooling around outlets or fixtures.
* Send clothing to the dry cleaner. Improper cleaning will actually set the smoke smell in your cloths.
* Attempt to wash walls using generic cleaners. This will cause more damange.
Cleaning up after a small house fire
If there was a small fire and you wish to clean up the damage yourself rather than work with fire damage professionals, here are a few tricks:
* Using products that contain tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) can help to reduce the smoke odor in fabrics. Be sure to test one or two items with the following solution before washing them all.
o Measure 4 to 6 tbsp. Tri-Sodium Phosphate and 1 cup household cleaner or chlorine bleach for every gallon of warm water you will use.
* To remove smoke odor and soot from walls you can also you have above mixture. Gently scrub the walls and always test a small area first.
* Replace any drywall that had contact with fire hoses. Drywall can absorf the water and lead to mold and mildew.
* Wash all of your dishware, pots and pans. Even if there were only mildly exposed.
* Throw away and food packages that were already opened or close to the fire. This includes canned foods, beverages, plastic bottles and coffee.
If you have suffered a house fire it is important to keep a level head and stay calm. After the firefighters leave, do not rush in as the house could be dangerous still. If the fire required firefighters to put out the flames then you will not want to stay in the house until a professional fire restoration company has been able to repair your home. Contact your insurance right away so they can help you facilitate the cleanup process. Be extremely careful when moving around the house as there could be exposed electrical wires from the fire as well as pooled water from the fire hoses. As devastating as the fire may have been, there are loads of professionals that have the experience to get your home back to its original state.