What Is Involved in Fire Damage Restoration
Prevention and Recovery
We go over some tips on how to prevent fires. We also explain what type of fire damage can occur and what the process for fire damage restoration looks like.
Restoration after Fire Damage
Fires in the home or workplace are devastating and traumatic, even small ones. Rarely do entire buildings burn down these days, but even a relatively small fire can be a huge problem. Larger ones are catastrophic. They cause extensive damage and a whole lot of mess.
Provided the physical damage is not too severe, most of the effects of the fire can be cleaned up. It is, however, important to know how to do this. Not all fires and not all fire damage are the same. In most cases, it is best left to a specialist. They have the knowledge, experience and equipment to do an effective fire restoration.
Typically, these are the steps a fire restoration specialist would take after a fire:
Time is an enemy when it comes to fire restoration. The sooner someone can start addressing the problem, the better. Once the fire department and emergency service, if it came to that, are gone, it's time to call in a specialist to start the fire restoration process.
Assess the Situation
Once the immediate threat has been contained the fire restoration people have to assess the situation and advise on the best way forward. They will determine the extent of the damage and work out the best way of dealing with the situation.
Water, chemicals and the resulting acids after a fire can do extensive further damage — fast response from a cleaning crew can minimize this before there is additional damage. Apart from the risk of further damage, you want to get back into your home or business as soon as possible. This will allow you to carry on with life and leave the trauma behind you.
It is important that the cleaning crew isolate and block off the area and protect it if there is a risk of further damage. This is especially true if there is damage to the roof or exterior of the building. Tarpaulins will be erected if there is damage to the roof.
Mild Fire Damage
If the damage is not extensive and it is not necessary to call in the professionals, you can attempt to clean up the aftermath yourself. Remove everything that is damaged and clean according to the type of damage. Sugar soap or Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) are quite effective in cleaning the soot.
Types of Fire Damage
There are a few types of fire damage. The extent of the problem is related to the substance or combination of substances that burned in the fire. There are a few main fuels for fires:
This is often the main fuel in home or office fires. Plastics, PVC, carpets, drapes, oil, carpets and many other objects can be the main fuel for the fire. These will result in a dense, black smoke that does extensive damage and is very difficult to clean.
Items in a fire such as wood, paper, leather, and other natural substances still make a mess, but are easier to clean.
These normally result from kitchen fires involving meat, beans, and other proteins. These will leave a sticky, unpleasant mess that is difficult to clean.
Each type of fire damage requires a different application, skills and materials. It is essential that the right process is followed.
Fire Detection and Avoidance
Prevention, as they say, is always better than a cure. Sadly, fires cannot always be prevented. But it is still important to take the necessary precautions.
An early warning system can save lives and reduce damage. A smoke alarm is the first thing to get. Make sure you have enough of them in the right places in the building and that they are all active and working. Smoke alarms often go unchecked and fail to work.
Fortunately, these days we can get smart smoke detectors that will not only be more alert and responsive but also alert the necessary people remotely. They work with Bluetooth sensors and WiFi to ensure fast and accurate notification of any problems and can be linked to your security company.
Have Working Fire Extinguishers
Another essential safety precaution many businesses and homeowners neglect are fire extinguishers. Often, when they are present, they have not been checked or serviced for some time and may not be functional. It is also important that there is always someone on hand that is confident and knowledgeable in their operation.
Check Electrics and Wiring
Faulty electrics and wiring are a common cause of fires and they should be checked regularly. It is not only the building wiring that should be checked, but also the appliances. Check for frayed or damaged cords and never bend, pinch or cover these cords. It is also important not to overload sockets or circuits.
To be safe, these should be checked and serviced regularly. This includes fireplaces and chimneys.
Candles, lanterns and anything else with an open flame is obviously a major risk and should always be used with caution.
Accumulated trash can be a serious fire hazard. Keep all trash and flammable material away from the building and safely stored or disposed of.
Care must be taken with the storage of firewood, oil, cooking oil and other flammable materials.
Lint in the Dryer
This is another fairly common fire hazard. It is important to remove the lint build up from the dryer regularly. Left alone, it becomes dry and highly flammable.
The first thing you need to do is minimize the risks by following the above tips. Next, mitigate the risk by having fire extinguishers on hand and working smoke detectors where necessary.
In the unfortunate event if a fire, act quickly. Unless you have minor damage, make sure you get qualified fire damage restoration experts to attend to it as soon as possible.