Raw sewage cleanup, in particular, is especially laborious and risky as it not only causes a lot of hassle and inconveniences, but also presents a variety of health hazards (sewage spills contain contaminants that can cause serious diseases) and sanitation issues. Professional help is your best option in such situations, but you can do a few things to limit the extent of the damage before the experts arrive (or even deal with the problem yourself if the damage is not too severe).
If a fire unexpectedly damages your home, handling the clean-up could mean the difference between a small inconvenience or something much, much worse. Learn the dos and don’ts in the aftermath of a house fire with this helpful video and tips from ServiceMaster Restore.
Plan an Escape Route
Draw out a floor plan and ideally, have two escape routes from each room. Remember, windows are escape routes, so make sure they can be opened easily from the inside. Each person in the family should know how to exit each room and floor of the home.
The first moments after a house fire are usually spent making sure everyone is safe. Once the flames are out, the natural instinct is to go in and start putting your life back together, but that’s not the safest or smartest thing to do.
Here are a few things you should not do after a fire:
- Don’t reenter your home until it’s been inspected and approved for reentry by a professional. There could be structural damage that isn’t obvious until someone falls through a floor.
- Don’t touch anything with your bare hands. Oils from your hands can permeate fabrics and surfaces, causing more damage.
- Don’t wash the walls yourself. It might look easy to wipe off, but incorrect cleaning can compound soot residue.
- Don’t clean carpets or upholstery yourself. Cleaning products and equipment available to the public can’t remove the soot and smoke smell.
- Don’t use electrical appliances until they’ve been checked by a professional. Throw away any small appliances, such as coffeemakers, that show signs of melting.
- Don’t use any food that was in the home; it can be contaminated with smoke residue or byproducts from fighting the fire. There’s no way to be absolutely sure refrigerated or frozen food stayed the correct temperature, and heat may have caused cans of food to warp or explode.
- Don’t use any ceiling fixtures if the ceiling around them is wet. Have them checked by a professional.
Here are some things you should do after a fire:
If the outside temperature is above 60 degrees, open doors and windows to air out the house and help remove the smell of smoke.
Clean plastic, chrome, porcelain and aluminum fixtures to prevent permanent tarnishing and etching. If not cleaned soon, the damage can become permanent and they will have to be replaced.
Change the air filter on the furnace if it uses forced air. It’s full of soot and other contaminants, and you don’t want that blown through the entire house.
Use damp cheesecloth over return and supply air registers to catch loose soot in the air. Despite everyone’s best efforts, there’s bound to be specks of soot floating through the air for a while.
Fire Damage Restoration
If you fall victim to a home fire, once the flames are out, make one of your first calls to ServiceMaster Restoration and Cleaning. Our highly trained experts have the tools and training to remove soot, smoke smell, and the damage caused by the firefighting process from your home. Damage from corrosive elements can become permanent in as little as 72 hours, so it’s vital to start the cleaning process as soon as possible. That’s why we have a 24-hour emergency service, ready when the worst happens in The Woodlands, TX area.