House fire is one of the most devastating things that can happen to any family. It can be caused by many things, such as cooking equipment, heating systems, electrical equipment, faulty wiring, lighting, and flammable liquids. Between 2012 and 2016, 355,400 home structure fires in the country have been recorded, leading to 2,560 deaths and 11,670 injury cases.
Fire restoration is something that you wouldn’t want to do on your own. It’s a risky process and lots of assessment and preparation are needed to make your property safe and beautiful again.
How is fire restoration done?
Assessment of the Damage
Every fire restoration project starts with assessing the extent of the damage. Since every situation is different, professionals need to create a restoration plan that will work best for the property. This can only be done through proper evaluation. Many forms of damage may not be visible. For example, flooring that looks okay might have warping underneath or the insulation behind walls may have mold growing on it already. Furthermore, the HVAC system may have been filled with soot or the electrical wiring drenched in water.
Isolation of Unsafe Areas
Certain rooms or areas may have been severely damaged by fire or water (during fire mitigation) than other parts of the building. They need to be isolated because they could potentially harm anyone. Think falling debris, cracked floors, or collapsing walls. Additionally, these areas need to be protected from further damage by securing or covering them with barriers.
Once the preparatory steps have been initiated, it’s time for the cleanup. This is an exhaustive process. In addition to the visible dirt and debris, other things need to be addressed as well, such as soot, and possible mold and mildew build-up.
Before the actual cleanup is done, restoration professionals will sort items. Heavily damaged items need to be discarded while the rest should be clean and restored. After the cleanup, your home should be completely sanitized to prevent the spread of pathogens and other disease-causing bacteria.
Water Removal and Drying
Water damage is common after a house fire. Excess water needs to be extracted ASAP because it could cause building materials to rot and encourage mold or mildew buildup. During fire restoration, professionals make use of special equipment such as water extraction machines to remove the majority of the water. Meanwhile, commercial dehumidifiers are used to speed up the drying process and eliminate moisture. Removable furniture and items can be taken out to dry completely under the sun while built-in furniture will benefit from large fans.
Soot and Smoke Removal
After the water damage has been dealt with, it’s time to get rid of soot and smoke. Smoke odor can take a long time to completely go away. It helps to use air movers that promote airflow inside your home as well as air scrubbers that lessen the smoke particles and other contaminants in the air.
Soot on walls, floors, and other surfaces can be removed using a tri-sodium phosphate and water solution. Add 4-6 tablespoons of the chemical in a gallon of warm water, and add a cup of household cleaner or bleach. Spray the solution on surfaces, scrub, and rinse thoroughly. Then, dry completely. It’s important to wear protective gear and clothing when cleaning smoke and soot.
Sanitizing and Cleaning
At this point, another round of cleaning and sanitizing will ensure that no bacteria and pathogens remain in your property. Cleaning is much easier this time but sanitizing needs to be more thorough. There are special cleaners and disinfecting supplies that professionals use for restoration projects.
When there’s water damage, most likely there is mold. Minor infestations can be dealt with easily using common cleaners like bleach or vinegar-water solution. However, if the mold build-up has gotten worse, you will need professional mold cleaners to do the job. Ask your contractor if cleaning mold is part of their restoration service.
Repair and Restoration
Once the cleanup is done, it’s time to restore the property back to its original state. This process can include minor and major repairs, drywall and carpet replacements, repainting, floorboard removal and installation, and much more. In homes or buildings that have suffered tremendously from fire damage, renovation or remodeling might be required.
It’s always best to hire restoration specialists who will put your property back to its old condition. Upon assessing the damage, they will create a plan to reverse the damage. This includes removing water, soot, and smoke, cleaning, and repair.
House fire can be a traumatizing event for any family. In emergency situations like this, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Knowing what to do can greatly reduce the potential damage in your property and make the restoration process more effective.