The U.S. Fire Administration reports 740 deaths in residential fires between 2009 and 2011. In many cases, taking precautions like switching to fireless candles or cleaning out the lint from the dryer vent would have prevented the disaster in the first place. There are three key terms to understand when considering the risk of fire in your home – prevention, mitigation and restoration.
What is Fire Mitigation?
The Federal Emergency Management Association, or FEMA, defines mitigation as the effort to reduce loss of both life and property if there is a disaster. It means taking action to understand the risks and taking proactive measures to manage them, such as getting insurance to help fund fire restoration costs or investing in community services.
What is Fire Damage Restoration?
Fire damage restoration is a process that begins as soon as the authorities say the property is safe. Smoke is an acidic byproduct of fire capable of corroding and staining surfaces such as walls and counters. In some cases the steps taken to put out the blaze can cause more damage than the actual fire. This is why proper fire restoration deals with heat, smoke and water damage.
What You Can Do on Your Own?
- Make that call first – you will need professional help, so before you get busy, call the experts at SteamDoctor.
- Open all the windows. This will get air moving to push the smoke out of the rooms.
- Move pets and kids to a smoke-free environment. Smoke contains carcinogenic gases that can affect their health. Start with a neighbor you trust for immediate aid then move them to a temporary home with friends or family until the fire restoration is complete.
- Empty your refrigerator and freezer if there is no power. Once empty, prop the door open to prevent odors from building up inside.
- Inventory the contents of your home. Make a list of all items that need replacing. Take pictures of the damage, too. You will need copies for the insurance company, for your own personal records and possibly for the fire investigation authorities. Make up to five copies to have on hand just in case.
What You Should Leave to the Professionals
There are tasks you don’t want to attempt on your own due to the toxic gases or risk of smoldering ash. Fire restoration services have the proper safety equipment to get the work done without the risks.
- Don’t wipe down the walls, wood trim and furniture or any other absorbent surface.
- Don’t sit on or move upholstered furniture.
- Don’t consume any food product, including canned items, that were exposed to the extreme heat of the fire.
- Don’t turn on home systems like the furnace or air conditioner.
- Stay away from electrical devices like appliances, stereos or TVs, until the fire restoration service deems them safe.
Restoration is the key to rebuilding. Keep SteamDoctor with your other emergency contacts, then call in the professionals to start restoring your home after a fire to schedule an appointment.