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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Why Professionals Should Exclusively Handle Smoke and Fire Damage

3/10/2016 (Permalink)

If you have suffered fire damage you may think you can read a few manuals and be able to clean the mess up yourself. But if you attempt that, you may be costing yourself valuable possessions and thousands of dollars in additional restoration fees. Fire clean up is a complicated process that should only be handled by professionals.

Just because the firefighters are gone doesn’t mean that everything is safe. The building is not back to normal until professionals have restored it. The process sounds simple but the job requires a lot of experience and manpower to adequately restore a burnt building. A homeowner should never attempt this. 

While the fire may be the immediate danger, the remnants of the fire will continue to affect the house. If ash and smoke is left untreated, it can cause extended corrosion, etching and discoloration, and powerful lingering odors. Professionals that have the right training and experience can stop this from happening before it becomes a major problem if they’re called in a timely manner.

Many companies claim to have the ability to restore buildings that have suffered fire damage but only those that have the right training and certification, like SERVPRO, should be considered. The agency that oversees these qualified companies is the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). To earn their certification, registrants must complete extensive coursework preparing them for on-site restoration.

If professionals are called in immediately, they can clean up and restore the building to its original state but if not, they may not be able to salvage all the damage. The first thing that ash does is to discolor most surfaces. Within minutes, anything that’s made of plastic or was located near the fire will begin discoloration. Fiberglass and finishes that are on appliances will begin to yellow within hours of the fire being extinguished. Also within the first few hours, metals may begin to tarnish. After the first few days, the ash will cause the permanent discoloration of walls, clothing, and upholstery. All wood or vinyl furnishings throughout the building will need to be either refinished or replaced and metal will start corroding within the first few days.

The state of the building’s appliances and furnishings will be significantly impacted during the first few days if professionals are not immediately called in to clean up and restore the building but that’s not the only trouble that can be avoided. The cost of restoration will be significantly less if you call them as soon as possible. This is because you may need to replace metals, the carpets will be permanently discolored, and glass will be severely etched and need to be replaced. It’s possible that odors that have been caused by the fire may still be present and may be intense enough that it may distract people in the building. And because ash is acidic, the longer it takes for the professionals to arrive on the scene the more permanent damage will be caused.

When the professionals first arrive on the scene, the first thing that they’ll do is to identify all affected materials and the source of any odors. The only way that they can clean the smoke and fire damage so that the building is restored to its original state is to be extremely thorough in their investigation. Ash residue can very easily be disturbed and spread throughout the building forcing everything it comes in contact with to need restoration. The professionals that arrive on the scene will be able to identify what can and what can’t be salvaged.

Over time, ash builds up into layers and it can eventually form into a lacquer-like consistency. So when the professionals arrive, they will remove the build-up of ash residue that’s coating the building.

The professional restorers will also locate the source of any odors caused by the fire and treat it with specialized detergents that are formulated specifically to neutralize these kinds of odors. Once the professionals are done treating the odors, they may seal the building off to prevent any further odor from spreading through the air.

After a fire it may be tempting to attempt to clean the building, especially if there doesn’t appear to be that much damage. However, that decision can have negative lasting effects. If you have fire damage and need cleanup and restoration, call SERVPRO to ensure a safe and quality restoration.

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