A fire is always traumatic.
Here are a few tips to help get back to normal and restore your peace of mind:
- If anyone has burns, cool and cover burns to reduce chance of further injury or infection. Go to the emergency room if necessary.
- Do not throw away any damaged goods until after an inventory is made. All damage is taken into consideration in developing your insurance claim.
- Contact your homeowners insurance agent.
- If it was a smaller fire, you can wash your pots and pans in soapy water so you can eat. Water isn’t enough to remove the smokey residue, but things inside sealed appliances like your refrigerator or freezer should be free of smoke damage. But don’t consume food or medicine that has been exposed to smoke.
- Call a restoration firm – like ServiceMaster Absolute – to get immediate professional cleaning services to remove smoke damage and smoke odors. Homeowners’ and renters’ insurance typically pays for such service. Reputable firms should have their contractor’s license so they can even rebuild damaged wood, walls and fixtures within just a few short hours.
- Don’t attempt to turn off utilities yourself – the fire department or your cleaning firm will take care of that.
- If you are not able to live in your home, then contact the police to alert them your property will be unoccupied so they can be watchful for vagrants or burglars.
Additionally, large professional cleaning firms can take your furniture contents to ozone safe rooms to eliminate the odors and smoke residue from your items. This service also serves as a storage area for you while any construction is being done on your home.
Ozone permanently kills odors and germs through oxidation with ozone. Ozone is put into a room at high levels, usually for a few hours, to even a few days, to kill germs, mold, smoke or any odor. Ozone generators are used in industrial cleaning applications and considered tools of the trade for commercial odor remediation jobs. In the case of heavy smoke damage, ozone treatments may be necessary for several days in a secure facility.
Well after the fire has cooled and you’re back to normal, go through the house and replace your smoke detectors. You might even consider the CO2 detectors because that is an earlier indicator of fire or other dangers.