Understanding The Basics of A Fire Damage Restoration Services Company

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Fire Damage In Home - Kitchen

Fire Damage In Home – Kitchen

Every now and then, you may hear about a particularly deadly house fire in your local news, but the frightening truth is that these are more common than you think. Statistics from the National Fire Protection Association say that roughly 375,000 homes catch fire each year. Nearly 2,600 lives are lost each year due to these fires, and even if no one is harmed, there is a still a massive price tag, with an $8 billion annual cost. While you can’t predict a fire, you can make the recovery process easier by understanding how to use fire damage restoration services.

When Fire Strikes

When we talk about fire damage, a lot of people tend to get caught up in the obvious impact, where there may be more subtle issues that leave their mark after the cleaning and rebuilding is done. These could potentially leave your house unsafe or end up compromising certain aspects of the home later on, meaning they could need potential further repairs. What also should be mentioned is that there’s also the risk of water damage to your home and belongings from putting out the fire as well.

Fire damage restoration is designed to help with all of these issues, being more than just a general clean-up, but also checking the entire house for more subtle impacts of fire damage as well as repairing the damage that may have been done over the course of putting out the fire. Compared to other restoration services, fire damage restoration is probably the least likely to be performed on your own, due to the scale and the fact that some of the tools in your home you would use for this task would likely be damaged. In addition, there is a sudden nature to house fires that make it difficult to adapt on the fly.

Part of the reason why you may see a lot of this variance going on is that there are a lot of different ways a house fire can break out. Where the fire starts may impact what part of the home sees the most damage, along with several other key components worth discussing. Here are some of the more common ways that a house fire is likely to break out:

  • Cooking equipment: Cooking equipment is the single most common cause of house fires. Part of this is due to flustered homeowners not knowing how to properly handle grease fires, but other issues can include a burning stove or leaving an oven on unattended.
  • Home heaters: These are common during the winter to keep warm, but faulty wiring in electrical ones can lead to a fire hazard. It’s also important to mention that proximity to fabrics and other flammable materials may lead to house fires.
  • Smoking/Candles: We place both of these together because the risk is similar, especially if they are used in bed. A single ash or contact with the candle can light things like a curtain on fire.
  • Chemicals: Certain household chemicals like motor oil or cleaning liquids have the potential to ignite under certain conditions.

In general, a lot of lowering the risk of house fires is being thorough and attentive, making sure that you monitor fire hazards at all times. However, there are situations where a fire breaks out that you can’t contain or while you aren’t present. These are why it’s important to know the ins and outs of fire damage restoration.

Fire Damage In Home

Fire Damage In Home

Fire Damage And Your Home

Now that we’ve covered some of the common sources of fire damage, it’s important to talk about the impact of fire damage. There are generally going to be three main types of damage that you have to deal with as a result of a fire, all of which can ruin different parts of your home.

Fire Damage: This may be a bit confusing, as all three of these types of damage are under the greater umbrella of fire damage. However, part of this includes the actual damage the fire does to your home, like charring, blacking, or disintegrating various parts of the home. Note that depending on the duration of the fire as well as the original material, fire damage may render some belongings or parts of a home unsalvageable. Another offshoot of fire damage is heat damage; naturally, the heat that emanates from a fire. Prolonged exposure to heat like this can lead to different materials melting and warping. While these aren’t destroyed, they are not able to be used any longer.

Water Damage: We mentioned earlier how the act of putting out a fire leads to a variety of different types of damage. Water damage is one of the prime examples. When firefighters use water to put out house fires, the high amounts of water may end up further damaging parts of your home, while also getting unaffected parts of the home wet. Not only does this potentially render furniture and other valuables unusable, water that isn’t dried quickly can help mold grow easily. In some cases, firefighters may also need to break through doors and windows in order to do their job and control the spread of flames. This leads to another type of damage you need to budget for in fire damage restoration.

Smoke Damage: Smoke damage is important to talk about when it comes to fire damage because there are different tiers of damage, including some of the most subtle types. The most obvious types of smoke damage that you will see shortly after a fire are the discoloration and smoke odor. For example, a few days after the fire, you may see a yellowing or peeling of walls and flooring. Rust and corrosion can also appear on metal hardware if they are exposed to smoke. With regard to the odor, smoke smell is actually caused by several different components, from tiny particles of carbon to other components coming off materials in the home that are burned.

The reason that smoke smell can be so difficult to get rid of is because these particles tend to get stuck in the carpet or on other surfaces, either requiring a thorough cleaning or removal and replacement. Simply letting this go and trying to live with it to save money isn’t a viable option, either. Byproducts of the smoke and soot can easily lead to respiratory issues as well as irritation of the skin and eyes. The main reason for this is that these byproducts, caused by different materials like plastics, fabrics, and carpet burning, are dangerous when exposed to the body.

The Fire Damage Restoration Process

At this point, a lot of people may not necessarily know what goes into fire damage restoration, besides why it is needed and the results. Let’s take a closer look at the different steps that are involved. Here’s a step-by-step look at what fire restoration professionals do to make your home safe and secure after a fire.

Step 1: Assessment: This is key for your budget as well as the restoration professional’s planning. Fire damage restoration professionals will look at the extent that fire, smoke, and soot has damaged different components of the home to see how much work is required and provide you with an estimate.

Step 2: Containment: Once you’ve agreed to the price and the proper fire damage restoration begins, the top priority is making sure that the damage and after-effects don’t go any further. For larger fires, this will generally begin with taking care of any holes in the roof or leaks that stem from the fire. For smaller fires, this may mean isolating a room to minimize the spread of soot.

Step 3: Cleaning: When the work of isolating the work area starts, fire restoration professionals will begin by painstakingly removing all the indicators of smoke damage, as well as soot and ash. In some cases, if certain areas are too damaged, the work of cleaning may also include disposing of certain items. Other parts of this process include clearing out any leftover standing water from putting the fire out, as well as cleaning carpets in the affected and adjacent rooms to remove the smoke smell.

Step 4: Restoration: With the fire damage removed, the next step is replacing some of the areas/furniture that was damaged by the fire. This will also often include a consultation to share what you can do to avoid a similar situation happening in the future.

Along with this work, there are also a few steps that you can take as a homeowner to stage your home for fire damage restoration before the professionals arrive. This includes opening the windows and using any fans you have to force out dust and contaminated air before the professionals do it using their industrial tools. Beyond this, though, you don’t want to do too much else. For example, it’s important to wash any bedding, clothing, or items exposed to smoke, but this might be better left to professionals to avoid damaging your machine.

In addition, cleaning is something that is best left to professionals, as to do so, you need to keep yourself safe by wearing protective equipment and trying to avoid skin-to-skin contact with areas that have been contaminated by ash and soot. Most households don’t have the gear needed. In addition, basic home vacuums are a poor choice to try and clear out soot. These can blow small particles into the air where they can get inhaled.

Choosing Your Fire Damage Restoration Services

Every single one of these steps is essential for making your house safe again after a fire. However, in order to execute this properly, it’s essential to make sure that you are putting these tasks in the hands of a company that you can trust to get the job done. There are several factors that you need to account for in this regard.

One thing that you want to do is make sure that the company is following proper safety practices not just for their own workers, but for your home as well. After a fire, exposure to smoke and soot can lead to health issues, so you want to make sure that your fire restoration professionals are staying protected and being thorough to ensure that these issues don’t stay after the work is completed. The best way to guarantee this is take a close look at the insurance and licenses that they have. This will help protect you and your property in case complaints arise during the process.

Another important thing that we should talk about when it comes to fire damage restoration services is avoiding scams. Many people are desperate for some sort of help after house fires and want to go with a company that can get started the fastest or provide the lowest price. However, this can lead to fly-by-night services that don’t do the job properly or completely. Be sure to avoid this by being patient and asking for references from customers. In addition, if you see a company asking for a large down-payment, it’s good to be skeptical.

Working With TCR For Your Fire Damage Restoration Services

In the wake of a fire damage or smoke damage scenario, it can be a difficult time for you and your family. A major component of helping recover is knowing that your home and property has the right fire damage restoration services to ensure that you are safe and protected. Miami-area homeowners have the perfect option in the professionals at Total Care Restoration. On top of going above and beyond to help our customers, we’re also:

  • 5 Star Rated on Yelp
  • IICRC Certified
  • BBB A+ Rated

This means that we have the skills and expertise to provide quality fire damage restoration services, no matter the nature or extent of the damage. We can also provide you additional guidance throughout the entire restoration process. Reach out to us today for a free inspection.

smoke damage in living room

Top 7 Residential Smoke Damage Tips

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Top 7 Residential Smoke Damage Tips

When dealing with smoke damage after a fire, it is key to take action as soon as possible because the longer the odors linger, the harder they will be to get out.

This is especially true with furniture upholstery which is notoriously difficult to clean once it has been exposed to extremely smoky conditions.

Experts often recommend professional help to deal with smoke damage, but if you are willing to roll up your sleeves and do some hard work, you may be able to clean up some or all of the damage yourself. Make sure it’s safe to enter your home again after the fire before you begin.

1. Assess the Damage

If more than one room in your home has been exposed to the smoke, you will most likely need to call on the help of someone to assist you. Make a list of what needs to occur so you are organized and ready to work as efficiently as possible. In order to remedy the damage, you will need to clean smoke and soot from your walls, ceiling, furniture, and any personal items that were exposed.

You may also want to consider disposing of or replacing some items that are beyond repair as well. This includes drywall that has been soaked by fire hoses. Often times it will need to be replaced because it will not maintain structural integrity or resist mildew and mold growth after having been exposed to so much water.

2. Get Some Ventilation

If your home is still wet from putting out the fire, the first order of business is to begin drying it out. Even if there is only smoke damage without moisture, open as many windows as you can to get some air flowing. Use fans and dehumidifiers to help dry the area, and start clearing out some of the odors. It is a good idea to change your furnace filter everyday in this situation until it is clear of soot and debris.

3. Clear the Area

Remove as much debris and as many loose items from the area as possible so you can begin the cleaning process. Separate what needs to be discarded from things you intend to clean or repair and get them out of the area to be dealt with after you clean the room itself.

4. Clean and Disinfect

To clean and disinfect you will need:

  • Rubber Gloves
  • Big sponge
  • Trisodium
  • Phosphate Cleaning Solution
  • Bleach or Household Cleaner
  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Warm Water
  • Ladder
  • Drop Cloth
  • Bucket
  • Protective Mask and Goggles
  • Vacuum With Nozzle

5. Walls and Ceilings

You will need to use a cleaning solution containing 4-6 TBSP of trisodium phosphate. Plus 1 cup bleach or household cleaner for every gallon of warm water to clean soot from the walls and ceilings.

Wear gloves and protective gear when using harsh cleaning chemicals like trisodium phosphate because it is very caustic to your skin and eyes. First, put a drop cloth down to cover your floors or carpets so the solution does not damage them. Then use a bucket, cleaning solution and large sponge to clean the walls and ceilings, one area at a time. Then rinse with clean water and dry.

Make sure you don’t saturate the walls so much that water leaks in through the walls and baseboards. This is very important because it could lead to mildewing and mold growth. After you go through the initial step of cleaning the soot, you can further disinfect the smoke odors using a sponge dipped in vinegar applied to your walls and ceilings. Dry thoroughly afterwards. Depending on how successful this process was, consider whether you will need to repaint the walls as well.

6. Furniture

Disinfecting upholstery from smoke damage can be a challenging task. You will first want to vacuum the soot up using a nozzle. Be cautious that you are not rubbing the soot into the fabric, and hover just above the material to make sure you are sucking it up into the vacuum.

After you do this, sprinkle baking soda all over the surface of the upholstery. Then leave it to absorb odors over 24 hours, and then vacuum it up. You may be able to use the trisodium phosphate cleaning solution on certain pieces of furniture. However, you will need to research the material you are working with beforehand to make sure it is safe.

A solution of vinegar and warm water applied to wood surfaces can be very beneficial for removing odors. Make sure you dry the items thoroughly after cleaning.

7. Carpets and Flooring

Have your carpets professionally cleaned after a fire to completely deodorize them. Although, depending on the level of damage, you may need to consider replacing the carpets instead. In addition, wood floors can be treated with a vinegar and water solution.

Also linoleum can be treated with bleach and water to disinfect them. If you have other types of flooring in your home such as tile, call the manufacturer to find out the best way to clean them after smoke damage.

Call the Experts

While you may be able to clean a lot of the smoke damage yourself, to get the job entirely done you may need to call professionals. Look for a reputable company who has ample experience dealing with smoke damage and fire restoration for residential homes.

Smoke Damage Restoration Miami

We service Broward, Palm Beach and Miami for any smoke damage restoration jobs.

Do not hesitate to contact us!

We can work with your insurance company, so you don’t have to pay anything out of pocket. We can also help with any fire restoration in Miami or Broward.

7 Expert Tips If You Had A Fire In Your Home

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7 Expert Tips If You Had A Fire In Your Home

First of all, cleaning up after a home or office fire can be a complex and daunting task. Most of the time, it is not usually something that can be done without expert help. The fire clean up requires that a quick and accurate assessment of damage be prioritized. The process of restoration should begin before permanent damage or discoloration occurs. Smoke and hazardous soot residue need to be taken care of immediately.

Because flames and smoke rise, the damage to walls and the ceiling can be significant. You may need to treat your walls and ceiling with specialized cleaning products to keep them from further deterioration.

It is very difficult for a non-professional alone to be able to assess the full scale of damage. Also we recommend you hire a public adjuster to help you with your claim.

If you do decide to go ahead and do some cleaning and repair after a fire, there are several steps you can follow before calling for additional help.

1. Use Safety Equipment

Always wear a safety mask, eye goggles and heavy-duty gloves to protect yourself from debris and from inhaling toxic fumes and soot. If you remove items from the burn site, you will need to protect yourself from coming into contact with burnt residue.

It is especially dangerous to inhale soot because of it’s cancer causing properties. Keep away your kids, and especially babies, from the burn site. They are more vulnerable to having respiratory problems.

2. Get Some Air

If you can ventilate the room, then do so. Open windows throughout the area to get as much fresh air flowing into the rooms as possible. The fresh air will minimize the effects of volatile vapors trapped in the burn site.

You will also want to seal off the area that was burned including intake vents from other rooms if possible, to prevent odors from traveling into other areas of the home or office.

Although getting fresh air into the burn site is a great start, to completely get rid of odors you will most likely need to use an air purifier or air scrubber as a next course of action.

3. Vacuum the Area

Use a vacuum with a high efficiency filter on drapes, and surfaces with visible dust and soot. It’s very important to make sure your vacuum is trapping the particles in the filter so that you are not risking blowing harmful debris back into the air.

Also you can also wash any fabric items in your home. If you chose to wash them, use a mild alkaline cleaner to neutralize the acid in the soot.

4. Clean Top to Bottom

If you are going to be cleaning the area, then remove as many items as you can before beginning, including drapery and rugs if they are present. Then start at the ceilings and work top to bottom so that the soot falls downward. Always wear a respirator mask and goggles while doing this task.

There are special cleaning products, especially tri-sodium phosphate cleaners that you can use to combat the soot build up before it hardens on surfaces.

5. Consider Electrical Issues

You will need to unplug any appliances that may have been involved in the fire. Also, make sure you get your appliances inspected before you use them again. In addition, you will need to assess whether the electrical system in your home or office has been compromised due to the fire. In reality, you may need to get an inspection by a qualified electrician just to make sure everything is in order.

6. Prevent Water Damage

Most people don’t think about water damage after a fire, but since it is water that is used to put out the fire, you need to make sure that moisture is not collecting and lingering in walls, carpets, furniture and other items. Water damage can bring another host of problems including mold growth which can begin growing in as little as 48 hours, so it’s important to make sure the areas that were exposed to water are getting proper air flow.

7. Call for Professional Help

Finally, even after you’ve followed the above suggestions, you may not have done everything. You need to be very careful to protect you and your family’s health from the toxic buildup of a fire.

It’s wise to get a second opinion to make sure that you won’t be unknowingly exposing yourself and your family to potentially deadly hazardous waste.

If you need help, the experts at Total Restoration Care are here to provide an expert opinion on your fire damage restoration in Miami. We are the total restoration professionals you can count on to get your home or office back in good shape.

Call us Now at: 786-301-0482!

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