Cleaning the Office After a Fire Next Door
The fire in the office next door has been put out, and everyone has left. You have the incident number in hand and remind yourself you need to get a report for the insurance company as soon as possible. As you look around at the smoke-filled room in Palm Bay, FL, you are probably wondering how long your business will be closed and how it will affect your employees. The last thing you want to think about is what got damaged, what needs dry-cleaning, and what is a total loss.
Here are some basic cleaning guidelines to help you get started in your cleaning efforts.
- When you walk through ash, it reenters the air, so always wear a mask when in a soot or ash covered room.
- Wear long sleeved shirts, extended gloves, and long pants to prevent ash from touching your skin.
- Contact a professional fire cleaning service and request content cleaning help.
- Take pictures as you work through the office – lots of pictures.
- Open windows, but don’t use fans to remove the heavy smoke odor because the breeze will disturb the ash and soot.
- Sort items into piles that can be cleaned with water, should be discarded, need dry-cleaning, and you simply don’t know.
- Remove window coverings and pictures from the walls.
- Keep employees out of the office to prevent moving the soot and ash around.
- Do not turn on electronic equipment because the soot and ash are probably inside the devices.
- Notify the cleaning service if the adjacent fire was a grease fire or chemical fire to allow for the necessary special cleaning steps.
When the cleaning professionals arrive, make sure to request an itemized list of their services to use for insurance purposes. If your office is large, ask about content storage until the items can be correctly cleaned. If items require dry-cleaning, ask about available professional cleaning services or freezer storage. Don’t forget that smoke and ash can soak into paper, wood, and paint, so your office may be closed for a few days.