Recent Fire Damage Posts
What to do after a fire
Even small fires contained to one room can spread soot and harmful fumes throughout your home. Putting out the fire may create a water damage or a mess of fire extinguisher foam.
Your first instinct may be to start cleaning whatever you can, but you may actually make the damage worse. You should consult a fire restoration specialist certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) to learn what you can do and how best to save your property.
Our restoration professionals are committed to restoring your property. We want to help you reoccupy your home as fast as possible.
Our experienced crews will help you navigate the restoration process. Their know-how and commercial cleaning products will prevent secondary damage to your belongings.
You can safely wipe soot off chrome fixtures. Consider applying a light coating of lubricant to protect them from soot disturbed during cleaning.
If the weather is cold and the heating system is disabled, you should pour RV antifreeze into sinks, toilets, tubs, and holding tanks to prevent pipes freezing.
Check Your Appliances
If you do not have power, empty the freezer and refrigerator of food and leave the doors open. Otherwise, you will get bad odors in them.
As with plumbing fixtures, you can wipe the soot off chrome appliances and apply a lubricant, but you should not attempt to use an electrical appliance until you are certain it was not damaged in the fire.
Protect Heating System
Cover your HVAC intakes with two layers of cheesecloth to prevent soot and other particulates from getting into the system. You may also change the air filter, but you should not try to turn the system back on until an HVAC professional has inspected it.
Remember Your House Plants
Plants are living organisms that need to breathe. Wipe away soot from both sides of all leaves to help them survive. Consider moving them to another location if the temperature during restoration is too hot or cold for them.
How to prepare in case of a fire
It is always important to take preventative measures to ensure you and your family will be safe in the case of a fire. Doing fire drills can help enhance your families readiness, by eliminating the need to wonder what to do in an actual emergency. Always test your smoke alarms to ensure they are functioning properly. Adding a few fire extinguishers can help in an emergency, especially if you catch the fire in its early stages. Always remember to check wiring for excessive fraying. Remove any flammable materials from heat sources and always check to make sure the oven is fully off.
Fires are severely traumatic and life changing events. It is always good to prepare, so that you are ready when the unexpected might happen.
Learn About Fire
Fire is FAST! In less than 30 seconds a small flame can turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house or for it to be engulfed in flames.
Fire is HOT! Heat is more threatening than flames. Room temperatures in a fire can be 100 degrees at floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level. Inhaling this super-hot air will scorch your lungs and melt clothes to your skin.
Fire is DARK! Fire starts bright, but quickly produces black smoke and complete darkness.
Fire is DEADLY! Smoke and toxic gases kill more people than flames do. Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three-to-one ratio
Develop Fire-Safe Habit
Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as space heaters.
Smoking materials are the leading cause of residential fire deaths in the United States. If you smoke, take precautions: Smoke outside; choose fire-safe cigarettes; never smoke in bed, when drowsy or medicated, or if anyone in the home is using oxygen.
Use deep, sturdy ashtrays and douse cigarette and cigar butts with water before disposal.
Talk to children regularly about the dangers of fire, matches and lighters and keep them out of reach.
Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep.
Never leave a burning candle unattended, even for a minute.
Nicotine Odour Cleanup
Nicotine odours are some of the most difficult to counteract. A very typical scenario is that a seller wishes to maximize the value of their property, but the occupants had been heavy smokers for years. Smoke odour molecules can get everywhere, including behind kitchen counters, and embedded into painted surfaces.
Ordinary latex interior paint is porous and will trap nicotine odour molecules, so even after a deodorization, the embedded nicotine molecules may continue to emanate odours. Options include cleaning the affected surface, applying an odour blocking sealant to the surface, or removing and replacing the surface.
When opting to clean a painted surface, it is advisable to raise the temperature in the room to 29C (85F) for 24-48 hours prior to the work. This elevated temperature will open the pores in the painted surface, allowing the trapped nicotine odour molecules to be removed.
The application of an odour blocking sealant is not as labour intensive as cleaning, however it takes longer. After the sealant dries, the surfaces will need to be re-painted.
Removal and replacement is reserved for those situations when there is no viable alternative. For example, most textured ceilings (popcorn) are unpainted plaster and can trap a lot of nicotine odour molecules. Application of a sealant may lead to deterioration of the plaster. Removal of the texture and conversion to a smooth ceiling may be the preferred option.
Fire Safety Plan
For commercial buildings there are a lot of safety plans that should be set in place to ensure that the occupants are safe. For example, in schools fire drills are often done to prepare students and the faculty in case of a fire emergency. Like wise in a commercial building, it is the employers responsibly to make sure that these kinds of safety plans are created, but don’t be fooled, safety is the responsibility of each individual working on the premises. A fire safety plan is a detailed document that covers all aspects of fire safety specific to the building or property. The plan details: A safe and orderly way for the occupants to evacuate the building. Also how proper maintenance and housekeeping can prevent fires. By regularly checking fire safety equipment, you can ensure your occupants safety. For example, checking fire extinguishers to make sure they are up to date. Making sure fire drills are ran often, to prepare for an emergency. Smoke alarms need to be placed in strategic areas to be effective. All occupants play a huge roll in safety as well. By making known anything that looks suspicious or damaged to the employer or safety representative.
Smoke and soot damage
Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and Soot Facts:
Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Different Types of Smoke
There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Milton & North Oakville will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:
Wet Smoke– Plastic and Rubber
Low heat, smouldering, pungent odour, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke– Paper and Wood
Protein Fire Residue– Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – (905) 864-9544
Tips of what to avoid after a fire
Trust the Professionals
A house fire is traumatizing. Even when everyone makes it out safely, even when the fire is contained to a small area, you will be left thinking of what could have been worse. Plus, you will have a mess that cannot be cleaned with conventional consumer products.
These tips will help you take back control of your life following a house fire.
See our previous blog for a list of things to do after a fire; avoid the following:
Do Not Wash Soot-stained Walls
If you attempt to clean painted or papered walls with typical household cleaners, you may fix the soot into the material. Suddenly, what should be a simple cleaning job may require painting or new wallpaper.
Do Not Shampoo Your Rugs
Again, household cleaners will not be effective removing soot from carpets and upholstery. Instead you risk making a temporary stain permanent when you attempt to clean fabrics yourself. Fire restoration professionals have commercial cleaning products that can safely remove soot from rugs, carpets, and upholstery.
Do Not Attempt Cleaning Electronics
When electronics like computers, radios, and televisions have been exposed to excessive heat or water, they should be inspected by an authorized repair service before you turn on the power again. Trust the professionals to avoid electrocuting yourself or igniting another fire.
Do Not Consume Contaminated Food
Foods that were not fully sealed should be considered contaminated following a fire. In addition, sealed foods that have been exposed to excessive heat may also be unsafe for human consumption. Check with a trained fire technician to learn what can be salvaged and what must be discarded.
Do Not Turn on Power or Electric Devices
If the power is out after a home fire, an electrician should inspect the building for safety before power is restored. If the power remains on, you should still avoid using overhead lights, ceiling fans, or other appliances that may have suffered fire or water damage until they have been inspected by a qualified professional.
Do Not Send Clothes to Your Regular Cleaner
Some drycleaners specialize in fire restoration. Others do not have the training and materials to properly clean clothes exposed to soot. If you want to salvage your clothes, be sure to take them to a drycleaner who specializes in cleaning after a fire.
Here at SERVPRO® Milton & North Oakville, our IICRC-certified fire restoration technicians have the training and experience to guide you in getting your life back following a house fire. Trust us to help you restore your home and peace of mind.