It’s hard to imagine anything more devastating than seeing your house on fire. This kind of event may cause serious damage and destroy your personal belongings. The smoke, odor, heat, soot, and water from a fire can reach hidden areas in your home and affect its structure. The best way to deal with this problem is to contact a professional. You may be anxious to fix your home after a fire, but unless you get expert help, you’ll be wasting your time.
What Is Fire Damage?
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, about 369,500 residential fires and 2,755 deaths have been reported in 2013. Every year, fire damage results in $7.3 billion in property loss. Fire causes over $990 million in damage during the holiday season. The best thing you can do is to prevent fires from taking place. Nobody wants to imagine life after fire.
While you can’t always prevent fire, there are some things that homeowners can do to safeguard their property. To protect your assets, it’s essential to understand the basic characteristics of fire. If your house gets on fire, you may have just two minutes to escape. There is no time to make phone calls or gather your assets. Smoke and heat are often more dangerous than the flames. Most fire deaths are caused by asphyxiation. The odorless fumes can put you to sleep before the flames reach you. Thus, it’s important to leave the building as quickly as possible.
How to Prevent Fire Damage?
Most fires can be prevented. The best way to protect your home is to remove fire hazards and install smoke alarms on each floor. Check the smoke detector every month by pushing the “Test” button. Replace the batteries annually, and the smoke alarm every 10 years. Make sure your house is equipped with fire extinguishers. If you afford, buy an automatic sprinkler system.
It’s crucial to prepare your family for fire damage. Show them how to identify fire hazards and escape the building in case something bad happens. Stick a fire evacuation plan on a wall in the hallway. Have your chimney inspected regularly, throw away old magazines and newspapers in your home, and remove dead tree limbs, twigs, and leaves. Flammable liquids should be kept in well-ventilated areas. These items are a fire hazard.
In case of fire, test the door with the back of your hand. If it’s hot, don’t open it. Crawl on the floor to reduce your exposure to smoke. Sleep with the doors closed as they can hold back fire and leave you more time to escape. Call the Fire Department immediately after leaving the building.
What to Do after a Fire
Fire damage restoration can be physically and mentally draining. As soon as the firefighters clean up the area, contact your insurance agent. Ask him to recommend you a professional fire restorer. To minimize further damage, you should dry wet items as soon as possible. Open the windows and install a fan to ventilate your home. Remove soot from carpets, draperies and other household textiles.
Clean soot stains from walls and vacuum the floor, carpets, and paper materials. Wear rubber gloves during the entire process. If you hire professional restorers, ask them about “thermal fogging,” a procedure that removes smoke odor. Keep in mind that smoke can remain in clothes and furniture unless they are deodorized before cleaning.
For help with fire damage restoration in the San Diego area, call (619) 376-6838