5 Tips for Restoring Your Home After a Fire
Although the modern world is packed with conveniences, there’s also an awful lot to worry about. The economy is stagnant, and most Americans continue to fear for their job security. The regular costs of living are on the rise, so even the gainfully employed must budget carefully in order to raise a family. There’s the shaky situation in global politics, the fallout from climate change, the spread of disease and the increase in extreme weather. It’s a lot to handle, so you definitely don’t want to add to the pile with constant worry about your home. But even though you have all of the security measures in place, a house fire can happen at any time. And the aftermath is never pretty. You will be able to recover, as long as you think the situation through clearly. Here are five tips for restoring your home after a fire.
Even a small fire can create a dangerous situation within your home. Parts of the main support structure might have been compromised, or burning material could have released all sorts of toxic chemicals into the air. The fire department will certainly have been called, so listen to his instructions. You absolutely shouldn’t reenter your house before you get the go ahead from the fire marshall. Not only is it a bad idea for the sake of your safety, but you could also end up harming your insurance settlement.
When you do get the green light to head back inside, start things off by evaluating the damage. The first thing you should do is ventilate the burned area as quickly and effectively as possible. Not only are you going to be dealing with damage from the fire, but also some serious water damage from the fire department’s efforts. You need to get that smoky smell out while also starting the drying process as soon as you can. Then walk through every inch of the affected area and take stock of the issues. You’ll need to give your insurance company all of the details concerning any damage, so you can begin to negotiate the settlement. As things calm down, get a copy of the police report and put together a full list of the destroyed items and property damage.
Before you can get back inside you’ll need to make the place hospitable. Don’t get down to cleaning up without protective eyewear and a good pair of work gloves. You don’t want to get any of those toxins on your exposed skin, nor do you want to come in contact with the residue from any fire extinguishers that were used. You’ll probably want to throw out all of the food that was in your home as well. Toxins will hang out in the air and settle on surfaces. It’s just not worth the risk.
Now it’s time to get to work. Pull anything salvageable out of the affected area, and clear out all the trash as well. Then start your clean up efforts on the floor. This is crucial, because if you let that water linger you’ll just have compromised wood and perhaps some devastating mold growth. Keep the ventilation going by leaving everything you can open to the fresh air, and bring in an industrial strength fan to speed the process along. If there is standing water you’ll have to start off with one of those wet vacuums. Have a contractor asses the space and determine if some or all of the impacted floor needs to be replaced.
There will also be a significant amount of soot and extinguisher residue to deal with. The residue aspect you can probably get to with that wet vacuum. But get a cleaning solution made with TSP, or tri-sodium phosphate. You’ll make up a mixture of the TSP solution and water and should be able to get things handled with a sponge. You’ll take the same approach with soot. But if the walls or floor are charred you’ll probably need to check out GlobalRestoration.net for a work assessment.