It is very common to feel overwhelmed and stressed immediately after house fire. There are some steps you can take immediately after fire in order to minimize further damage to your home, and there are also some things you should not do after fire.
Whenever you are in a situation involving fire damage, always focus on your personal safety. Make sure that it’s safe to stay in the house and be careful of electrical hazards. Also beware of areas that may be slippery from any water that was used to put out the fire. Make sure any activity that you do is perfectly safe. Before you pick up any materials, remember that they will be very heavy if they are wet. Avoid straining your back and get help if something is too heavy.
Try to avoid moving around your home as much as you can. Movement may embed soot particles into carpets and upholstery. As much as possible, keep your hands clean so that soot will not be spread further, especially to unaffected walls. Rugs, upholstery, and heavily trafficked areas should have clean linens placed on them to prevent soot from spreading.
If your electricity has been turned off, make sure you empty the refrigerator and keep its doors propped open. Change your HVAC filter as soon as possible, and tape cheesecloth over air registers to help keep them clean.
There are also a number of things you may be tempted to do, but should be left to the services of a cleaning professional. Even though soot looks powdery, dry, and somewhat dusty, it is actually very oily. Please don’t wash and the walls or shampoo your carpet and upholstery. Doing so incorrectly can actually make the smoke and soot damage set more deeply into fibers and drywall. Along those same lines, be sure to send any clothing out for special cleaning in order to prevent the smell from setting in the fabric.
If your ceiling is wet, do not turn on any ceiling fixtures. Also, if you have electrical appliances that were near the fire or water, contact a repair service to clean them.
Throw out all canned and packaged food or drinks that were stored near the fire and heat. Ingesting soot can cause unnecessary health risks.
Remember too that the air in your house is now polluted. Opening the windows may help but more is needed in order to get the smoky smell out of your house. For example, run fans that push air out of the windows with a steady current of airflow. Setup as much ventilation as you can for each room by positioning fans in different directions. Rooms that don’t have smoke damage should have shut doors so that the soot does not get in.
Although having a fire can be a stressful time, remember there are a lot of people who are ready and willing to help you. Call us if you have any questions about the best way to restore your home to its pre-fire condition. We know how invasive soot damage can be, and we are experts at removing it completely. Our 24 hour emergency service is available day and night to help you get back on track.