For most people, having a fire in your home is something you could never imagine happening. Once it has occured, most people don't know what to do, how to limit their damage, and who to call. Here are "5 Quick Tips" on what to do, and "5 Quick Tips" on what not to do.
Fire and Smoke Damage – Do:
1. Wash house plants on both sides of their leaves. Not only can soot harm a plant, but the chemicals may even be released back into the air.
2. Change your HVAC filter. Soot and dangerous chemicals can be sucked up into your vents, and spread to areas of the house that may not have been affected.
3. Clean and protect chrome on kitchen and bathroom faucets, trim and appliances with a light coating of Vaseline or oil. This forms a barrier that collects all of the soot and smoke, and can easily wiped away.
4. Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas. By protecting high traffic areas, you prevent any stains, chemicals, or soot from being pushed deeper into any fabric.
5. Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers. This will act as a filter, and help to provide clean air throughout the home.
Fire and Smoke Damage – Do Not:
1. Use any canned or packages food or beverages that may have been store close to fire, heat or water. Although still sealed, heat and dangerous chemicals can sometimes find their way into containers, contaminating food. Also, any sealed products may be exposed without notice.
2. Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. Wiring may be wet or damaged. This could start a house fire, or even electrocute someone.
3. Attempt to shampoo carpet or upholstered furniture. This will only dampen the fabric and could possibly trap in a smokey odor. Use professionals who have special cleaners for these situations.
4. Attempt to clean any electrical appliances, TV's, radios, etc. that may have been close to fire, heat or water. These too may still be live, can easily start another fire, and even electrocute someone.
5. Attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces without contacting professionals. Some household cleaners contain chemicals that may not clean away smoke and soot, but instead just push it around. Also, some contain bleach like chemicals that may damage and thin paint. Again, bring in professionals who have specialized cleaners that are used for specific purposes.