11 Steps to Fire Damage Restoration Processes


Fire Damage Restoration Processes and Procedures

If you are experiencing the aftermath of a fire, this can be an overwhelming disaster. No one should have to go through this experience. Handling the aftermath of a fire has been seen through the goggles of far too many trained professionals to not start this blog off with stating most cases of fire and smoke damage should be handled by fire remediation professionals. 

fire and smoke damage repair tips

What is the Meaning of Fire Damage Remediation?

Fire damage remediation is the work that comes after the fire and before the rebuild or fire damage restoration efforts. More specifically, fire remediation is the clean up work after a fire, but this means removal of charred soot damage, destroyed furnishing, and cutting out damaged framework. Also the clean-up associated with after the fire crews have extinguished the fire are included within the fire remediation services. While many might think that all fire remediation companies would also restore the home, only fire restoration companies do the rebuilding or reconstruction. Orange Restoration has 20 years of experience handling massive remediation and fire damage restoration projects.


How Long After a Fire Can You Go Back?

Safety is still a first priority after securing everyone from the fire. Let’s make sure no more risks of harm come from this mess by making sure to use proper PPE and making sure to steer clear of any other major risks structurally or otherwise. The environment after a fire is not the same as it was before, the structure found is the remains of a once safe space you may have called “home”, but it is no longer deemed safe by any means. Going back to the property of your home after a fire is not recommended. 



If you hire a reputable fire damage restoration company, you might be able to go back to the property to view it as their work shows some progress, but always ask a professional before you proceed. Also, when asking for access to a fire site aftermath, make sure to state why you are needing access and what you plan to do. Even while someone may have approved your access to the fire restoration work site, that does not mean it is safe space or safe to breathe!

As a fire restoration company, we often get the question, “when will my home be back to normal?” The answer will always be unique as no fire damage restoration project ever has the same timeline.  

fire damage restoration

How do You Restore After A Fire?

It’s crucial to prioritize safety, make informed decisions, and have a clear plan in place for restoring your home. In this brief guide to the steps, we’ll draw upon insights from experts and experienced professionals to help you navigate the process of fire damage restoration of your home. Here are 11 specific thresholds and tasks of the fire restoration process and what to look for.

Prioritize Safety: The first and foremost priority is safety. After ensuring the safety of everyone involved and mitigating immediate risks, it’s essential to understand that returning to a fire-damaged property is not recommended. The post-fire environment is vastly different and potentially hazardous.

Handling Insurance Claims: We are lucky in California, which has a robust fire insurance system in place. Discuss the following key points with your insurance agent:

1) Referral for a reputable fire restoration contractor like Orange Restoration, ask about us if you like, or see our 5 star Google & Yelp reviews!

2) A detailed list of damages to your property.

3) & the claims release duration.

Hiring A Fire Damage Restoration Expert: Promptly contacting a restoration professional that can help determine the duration needed for the rebuilding process. Also, make sure to determine when their start date will be, until then you may need to secure the property.

Assess the Extent of Damage: Before restoration work begins, a fire damage restoration professional will assess the damage to your property. They will inspect your house for structural damages in components like load-bearing walls, columns, beams, and other critical cornerstone elements. Understanding the extent of the damage is crucial, and these professionals can often connect you with licensed electricians and plumbers to address the damages effectively.

Secure Your Property: Once the restoration work commences, protecting your property from vandalism and accidents is essential. Work with your restoration team to secure the area, which may include measures such as fencing off your land and boarding up windows and doors. If the restoration company cannot start right away, make sure to seek support to handle securing the fire work site.

Structural Repairs: The structural components of your home should be addressed first by professionals. They will replace joists, beams, columns, and other structural components that have been irreparably damaged by the fire.

Electrical System Repair: Before new structures, walls, and appliances can be installed to your home, restoring your utility systems is necessary. The electrical system is particularly susceptible to fire damage. It must be thoroughly inspected, and any damaged components replaced. This inspection includes everything from the power supply to plug-in points, making sure SDG&E knows you are reconnecting after a fire shut off.

Address Fire-Specific Damage: A fire leaves behind more than just structural damage. It often leaves soot residue, smoke stains, and contaminated air ducts.

Restoring Room by Room: Restoring an entire home after a fire can be an overwhelming task. To make it more manageable, work with your restoration professionals to tackle one room at a time.

Document Everything: Take photographs, retain invoices, receipts, and all paperwork related to the restoration. Digitalize these records to create a comprehensive folder that can serve as evidence of the extent of the damages, the resources expended, and the professionals involved.

Plan for Costs: The cost of rebuilding a home after a fire can vary widely, ranging from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands. Be prepared for these costs and explore insurance options if you reside in areas prone to wildfires. Also, when discussing the rebuild, if you want modifications to the way things were before, let your builder know, you may need to pay out of pocket to do this, but some changes are worth it.


What is the Best Cleaner for Fire Damage?

For each application, there may be a different solution, but most commonly, homeowners asking this are referring to cleaning soot and chard stains on otherwise undamaged remains. For cleaning this mess, we suggest products with trisodium phosphate (TSP) , a very effective, but caustic, burning skin and other organic materials it comes in contact. Make sure to read the safety instructions for any products containing TSP, use proper safety equipment. Before using TSP on a higher priority item, begin working on a test area or with something less valuable to learn how to use the solution. Remember to follow the product instructions first.

Fire Damage Restoration can be done on some fixtures , but often if they were fire adjacent they will have smoke damage and require some real elbow grease in the fire damage restoration process.

Often if cabinets were fire adjacent they will have smoke damage and need to be thrown out or may require some real elbow grease in the fire damage restoration process.

What Should I Throw Away After Smoke Damage?

Anything that can easily be replaced should immediately be removed, cleaning smoke damage is not worth doing if you can replace something new. Another article mentions throwing perishable food items away, but unless the fire damage and exposure was minimal, tossing all food items might be a good idea. Checking with the fire remediation experts may be a good idea to determine what would be safe to keep if restored properly. Later, those that are doing the restoration efforts will determine if they can save the items from the smoke and fire exposure.


What Happens if You Don’t Rebuild After Fire?

Homeowners seem to ask this question as if they are obligated to rebuild, no they are not. They may be required to pay off past debts like their mortgage, but they can do as they please, given they have many options. Oftentimes, the life cost of living in temporary housing, moving out and back in are too much trouble. Taking the insurance pay out and starting fresh may be a good idea. It is ok to do that, someone will relish at the opportunity to start fresh building at your old property.


Orange Wrap-Up

Restoring your home after a fire is a complex process that requires careful planning, professional expertise, and a focus on safety. While the timeline for each restoration project varies, having a clear plan in place and consulting with experienced professionals will help you navigate this challenging journey. Remember that, despite the hardships, your home can be rebuilt, and with the right resources and support, you can look forward to a brighter future.

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