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 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.