Without skilled professionals to help clean the smoke and fire damage, your building (or home) will never return to normal. Certainly. no one wants to see their home or commercial building damaged by smoke and fire, but when it happens, most people don’t know where to start. After the fire department leaves, you can expect many weeks or months of cleaning, odor removal, and many times, repair and construction. The sooner the recovery starts, the less additional (secondary) damage there will be, and the faster you are back in the property.
Consider these suggestions:
- Don’t hire the “fire chaser” that hangs around the property waiting for the fire department to leave, only to high-pressure you into signing a contract with them! Failing to get solid references will cause you to regret that decision.
- Patiently search for a professional disaster recovery contractor that has an impeccable name and excellent standing with the BBB, and great reviews on Angie’s List or Yelp.
- “Fire chasers” listen to the scanners and rush to the scene to try and sell Board-up services just to get you hooked. Make sure your only obligation to a board-up contractor is just that: board-up only.
- Hire not only an IICRC Certified Firm, but be sure your technicians assigned to the project are all properly certified for the work they will be performing (ask for their Certification Cards) .
- Expect them to have the following most or all of these certifications: WRT, ASD, CDS, FSRT, OCT, and HCT. Here is the link to see the detailed descriptions.
Just because you don’t “see” damage doesn’t mean all is well! Soot and odor contamination can be everywhere; behind trim and in nooks and crannies, even between layers of structure material. Make sure to inspect ventilation systems, attics, crawl spaces, and even closets that had closed doors. All these areas are vulnerable to smoke and soot, and that residual odor will never leave your home, business and belongings if not properly cleaned and deodorized.
Skilled fire and smoke clean-up specialists use the proper combination of cleaning agents, air cleaning tools and deodorizers to clean up the damage in the distressed areas. Certified professionals know how to remove soot, odor and other contamination, and understand how to mitigate the different types of soot for different types of fires. Each situation has its own procedures and protocols, and certified restoration contractors follow IICRC protocols so you can be sure there are no lingering odors or damage.
Damage to your personal belongings can be devastating, since we are usually more emotional about our personal contents than we are about the structure. Most soot or smoke damaged personal items, (clothing, furniture, etc) can be restored by removing soot and odors, so you can have all your familiar items back. Professional textile (clothing) restorers, electronics restoration experts, even art and document restorers are able get your personal contents completely cleaned and odor free.
Ash and soot discolors most surfaces, and anything made of plastic close to the fire will start discoloring within minutes. Within several hours, fiberglass and finishes on appliances will begin to yellow and even etch, and after a few days, the soot will cause walls to discolor permanently.
The very best solution is to demand references and check them out yourself! Angie’s List, Merchant Circle, Yelp, Google and other review sites are good sources as well, so you can be more assured that you are getting a certified and skilled professional.