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We are approaching the holiday season and, unfortunately, that means the season for fires. During winter, in-home fire damage in the U.S. is of large concern. Furnaces, space-heaters, and radical cooking methods (deep-fried turkey?) are among the main causes. December too can bring many hazards in the form of decorations, candles, and Christmas tree fires. Businesses are also at risk.

Fires can happen without warning and cause a lot of damage. When dealing with this crisis, the most important thing to worry about is everyone’s safety. Once that is taken care of, there is the property damage to deal with. Fire damage reparations can cost a significant amount of money. How does one recover from such a disaster? Can anything be recovered?

Exactly How Much Damage Can a Fire Create?

A fire obviously does considerable damage to a structure, but soot and smoke can also create just as many problems. Soot spreads a lot further than where it started and leaves behind stench and residue. The type of materials that were burned in the fire determines how easy or difficult the restoration process can be. For example, the soot from burned plastic furniture or carpet is much oilier than the soot from burned paper or wood. When burned, plastic produces hydrofluoric acid, hydrochloric acid, and other reactive agents that can cause corrosion.

How You Can Help Prevent Fires

There are many ways that you can protect your business or home and minimize the risk of fire damage.  Here are some tips:

  • Do not leave food that is being cooked unsupervised.
  • Never put a burning candle out of sight.
  • Do not overuse electrical outlets.
  • Make sure your home or business has smoke alarms and test them regularly.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher on hand and learn when and how to use it.
  • If possible, install a sprinkler system in your business.

What To Do When There Is a Fire

If a fire does happen, take hope in knowing there are things you can do to minimize the damage to your property.  Here’s how:

  • The first and most important thing to do is make sure all occupants are healthy and safe. Keep them away from where the fire started.
  • Secure the property.  Contact us to start the restoration process.  We will begin by assisting you in temporarily boarding up any exposed areas.
  • Next, contact your insurance agent so they can go over coverage and claim information.
  • Do not use any electrical appliances until they have been inspected.
  • Turn off any air conditioning or heating system in order to avoid the spreading of soot.
  • Select items that need priority restoration.

Can Fire Damage Be Repaired?

Homes and businesses that have experienced fire damage can be restored! To begin minimizing losses, burned materials need to be removed, and the affected areas need to be decontaminated and dehumidified. Most odors from smoke do not disappear when “aired out.”  Soot needs to be sealed in place or removed in order to get rid of the smell. Heavy plastic sheeting can be used to seal off the burned areas and create odor barriers.

Post Fire Damage Cleaning Your Belongings

Fire damage can cause irreparable effects to some items that then may need to be replaced.  A way to tell if the materials can be restored is through test cleaning. Keep in mind that, in some instances, replacing the item would be more cost effective than restoring it.  Knowing the value of a belonging can help with this decision.  Restoring the items can occur off-site or on-site.

The Pros and Cons of On-Site Content Cleaning

Pros:

  • Much faster to do than off-site cleaning
  • Costs less for you and your insurance
  • Allows for decreased business interruption

Cons:

  • Items have a possibility of being damaged during reconstruction
  • Higher risk for property theft
  • Can slow down the reconstruction phase

The Process of Restoration

The type of material being restored will determine what chemicals are used and how it is cleaned. Here are some examples:

Hard surfaces

  • Use dry or wet cleaning
  • Polish
  • Deodorize

Wood

  • Neutralize contaminates
  • Replace oils
  • Deodorize
  • Finish coat
  • Can also be refinished

Books and Paper

  • Clean by hand
  • HEPA-vacuum
  • Chem-Sponge
  • Freeze dry if wet

Upholstery

  • Hot water extraction is the most effective
  • Use dry cleaning for delicate or slick fabrics
  • Use wet cleaning for coarse or dull fabrics

It is necessary for the HVAC system to be cleaned and deodorized because of the soot particles stuck in there.  The ductwork needs to be examined to see if there is any contamination.  A neutralizing agent is then added to the system to get rid of odors.  A Duct Sealer can also be applied if any leftover smells need to be sealed.

How the Experts Can Help

When your property has suffered fire damage, contact a qualified and professional restoration company.  At Mission Restorations, we can help you through the entire process.  Here are some things you can expect when working with us.  We will:

  • Inspect the Damage
    • Decide what contents can be restored and which ones need replacing
    • Board up and tarp the affected areas in order to secure the premises
    • Determine if there is a need for corrosion control and/or dehumidification
  • Remove barcode items
    • Print an inventory
    • If necessary, take pictures or video
  • Clean items on or off-site
  • Clean the property and its materials
  • Get rid of odors
  • Check for additional damages
  • Reconstruction

Some Things You Can Do

The best way to help minimize the damage from a fire is to be prepared!  Make sure to routinely check fire-extinguishing systems.  When possible, install automatic sprinklers.  Some may think that the water damage caused by the sprinklers is not worth installing them.  However, water damaged materials are more likely able to be saved than ashes.

Call the Fire Damage Restoration Professionals

Mission Restorations is a professional damage restoration company that specializes in fire damage restoration.  Once we arrive on site, we will quickly get to work inspecting and documenting the affected areas.  We work closely with our customers, keeping them updated every step of the way.

We are a certified company that follows IICRC guidelines. Hiring us will ensure that the damage restoration is done properly.  We will also be available to help at a moment’s notice.  The longer you wait to clean up and repair the fire damage, the more it can cost.  Our technicians know this, and will quickly come to your aid to prevent further damage to your home or business.

It is vital that you have a plan already set in case of disaster. You can pre-contract with a restoration company before anything happens. This will allow for immediate action in saving your property, instead of you trying to figure out what to do.  Call Mission Restorations at 704-727-2000 today, so that your mind can be at peace tomorrow!

Fire Damage Restoration 101
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