How to Clean Up After Fire Damage

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Even catastrophic damage can be cleaned up if you know how
Even catastrophic damage can be cleaned up if you know how (Image: © We Buy Fire Damaged Houses)

If hiring a professional isn't possible after your home or business has sustained serious burn, smoke and water damage due to a fire, you can do the job yourself with the right equipment and methodology. Use the tips in this article to begin the process of getting rid of damaged goods, rehabilitating and cleaning what can be salvaged. It can help you make certain that the property is properly prepared for habitation once again.

Things You'll Need

  • Gloves, face cover, overalls and hardhat
  • Permission from fire department to enter premises
  • Industrial-grade post-fire cleaning detergents
  • Industrial-grade scrub brushes
  • Commercial grade disinfectants, anti-fungal/bacterial agents
  • Commercial grade wet vacuums
  • Commercial grade cyclonic fans
  • Dumpster (optional)
  • Generators (optional)
  • Camera (optional)
  • Plywood for board ups (optional)

Get clearance from fire department officials. If severe amounts of damage have occurred, the building may not be structurally safe for anyone to enter the premises. Call your insurance agent to get immediate assistance with your claim so you'll have funds available to cover basic needs. If fire officials haven't done so, contact utility companies so power or gas can be shut off before you return to assess the damage.

Wear a hard hat, face covering, gloves and overalls when entering the building once you have permission to peruse the site. If your insurance agent or claims representative has already completed an inspection report and claim form, you may touch or move things, but to be on the safe side, borrow a camera and take another set of photos before you begin to take action.

Remove valuables and other salvageable items from the building. Rip up carpet and padding. Verify shut-offs at gas/water/electricity junctions. If the number and size of damaged interior goods is formidable, have a waste hauling firm deliver a dumpster to the site so you can strip the building down and have the charred and water-logged items hauled away when you're done.

Rent professional-grade vacuums designed specifically for large-scale water removal jobs to absorb and contain water left by firefighters. Don't skip this step. Water left behind will lead to mold and mildew that will completely undermine your re-build if it's ignored.

Use professional-grade cyclonic fans to dry out surfaces once the water is removed. You will likely require generators to power them if your power is off. If you don't own them, add one or more generators to your rental list. Obtain whatever fuel is necessary to keep them up and running.

Begin washing down walls and salvageable interior items with commercial cleaners formulated specifically for fire/water restorations. Follow up with anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agents to rid surfaces of potential microbes and preserve them for reconstruction. You can do this while Steps 4 and 5 are undertaken to hasten the process of revitalizing the building's infrastructure.

Board up window or door openings to protect the property from being vandalized. If you are comfortable doing so, leave the cyclonic fans running day and night. Expect to spend several days meticulously cleaning areas in need of rehabilitation. If the job proves too burdensome, contact a restoration company to handle the job. They have the machinery, manpower, chemicals, and know-how required to undertake the complete job, and your insurance coverage may offer this coverage.

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