Fire Damage Repair
Fire damage to your home or business can be a traumatic and overwhelming experience. Fortunately we’re trained to handle getting your life back to normal.
Cleaning up after a fire can be a daunting task that most people have no experience handling. Time is of the essence when mitigating your fire and smoke damaged property. Soot and the residue left behind after a fire are corrosive and have the potential to permanently damage your property. A timely response can prevent your property from further damage.
STEPS TO TAKE AFTER FIRE DAMAGE
(The follow steps assume the fire has been put out. Please get off the internet and to safe place if the fire is still burning. Call 911 after you and the other building occupants are safe).
Please remember; your home can be rebuilt, your possessions can be replaced. A fire is a stressful situation and can affect your entire life. Don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed, take a deep breath and rest assured that we’re here to help.
- Insure that the property is safe for reentry. The fire department and various city inspectors will typically prevent you from accessing the property if they’ve deemed the building unsafe. Your electric and/or gas meters may be removed depending on the severity of the fire.
- Make sure you wear proper protective clothing when reentering your property and inspecting the damage. Wearing a dust mask, goggles, gloves, and protective footwear will help prevent injury. Your body’s oils may interact with soot particulates and cause permanent damage to sensitive items. It’s always a good idea to wear gloves when handling fire damaged property.
- Ventilate your home. Opening windows and doors will help remove some of the airborne contaminates from settling on your belongings. Be careful when ventilating your property to not spread the soot and contaminates to unaffected areas of your home. Leave your HVAC system turned off in order to prevent cross contamination to other areas.
- Secure all important documents (passports, social security cards, work ID’s, tax documents, credit card statements, checks, bills, ect), weapons, currency, medications, jewelry, and other valuable items. You may be relocated for an extended period of time and you’ll want to maintain possession of these items. The fire department radio frequencies are followed by contractors, independent adjusters, and other people. Unfortunately fires garner lots of attention. If you’re being relocated make sure you take anything irreplaceable with you. Criminals have been known to target homes that recently sustained a fire.
- Contact us right as soon as possible. We can assist you with filing a claim, securing your property, assisting in temporary relocation, and guide you through the overall process.
Here are a few tips to assist you through the process
Take photographs of your damaged property. You can never have too many photos! There’s no need to photograph every damaged item (we can assist with that later), but capturing overview photos and getting good photos of valuable property that was damaged is always a good idea.
Save everything! Depending on your insurance policy, you may be reimbursed for things like fuel, food, lodging, clothing or other items you replaced following the fire.
Empty your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry if your power has been disabled. You may be relocated for an extended period and the contents of your refrigerator will spoil and begin to decompose and attract pests.
Talk to your neighbors. Let them know what’s happening and ask them to keep an eye on your property. People are naturally curious after a fire. Indulge your neighbor’s curiosity and tell them to stop by the house when they see people working and give them permission to ask questions. This will help keep criminals and other contractors looking to exploit your situation from doing so.
Limit your exposure to your damaged property. Fires emit a plethora of chemicals and other compounds that may cause respiratory irritation. It’s always a good idea to keep children and the elderly away from fire damaged items and property. It’s understandable that you need to return to gather documents and assess the damage, but do your best to limit your exposure to the damaged areas. MAKE SURE YOU WEAR GLOVES! The oils emitted through your fingertips can interact with compounds in the soot to permanently damage your belongings.
Returning your home or business to normal
Cleaning up after a fire is a multistep process. Insurance Restoration Services is ready to assist with all your fire cleaning and restoration needs.
Securing your home
The fire department typically has to knock down doors, open ceilings to verify the fire has been completely extinguished. Sometimes holes are cut in the roof, windows are broken out, garage doors completely removed in order to extinguish the fire. We are prepared 24 hours a day to board up (strategically and securely installing plywood and other temporary barricades) your home or business. Securing your home also entails assisting you with removing valuable personal property.
Addressing Water Damage
You already have to contend with cleaning up a fire, by quickly addressing any water damage we can insure that you don’t have to clean up a mold problem as well. By promptly addressing any water damage we’re able to prevent any further damage and prevent mold from growing.
Soot and smoke residue are corrosive. You risk permanent damage to highly sensitive items (artwork, photo, electronics, fine linens, ect). Our fire damage experts will quickly identify any sensitive items and take steps to prevent further damage.
Source Removal and cleaning
Source removal is the first step in properly cleaning your fire damaged building. We remove the fire source and items from around the source area after receiving permission from your insurance company and local authorities. Removal the source with alleviates a large portion of the odor and assists in preventing recontamination of other areas. Specialty HEPA vacuums, sponges, and cleaning solutions are used to thoroughly clean your home and insure that all odor and soot have been removed. Improper cleaning techniques will lead to recleaning and will result in your home still smelling like fire. Specialty equipment may be needed for upholstery, carpet, leather, clothing and other items.
Pack-out and contents (when needed)
We may need to take your belonging on site to facilitate structural repairs, or taking your belongings off site just makes more sense. We’re able to more efficiently and thoroughly clean larger fires at our facility. Our staff will work with you to inventory damaged items and assist in dealing with your insurance company to make sure your damaged items are properly identified and cataloged. We’ll walk through your property to insure you have everything you’ll need throughout the repair process. All remaining items are inventoried, packed, and transferred to our facility. Your contents will be cleaned, deodorized, and repackaged. We store the items until the repairs are complete, at which point we return the items and help you unpack.
There are several types of deodorization methods that may be utilized on your fire. We utilize specialty cleaning solutions developed specifically to combat smoke odor. The preferred method of deodorization is largely dependent of what the type of fire and odor we’re addressing. Protein fires (burnt food) will require a different method of deodorization than a brushfire or wildfire. Deodorization treatments include ozone treatment, hydroxyl generators, thermal fogging, nano-deodorization, chemical treatments, and many others. Our experts will use the method that best addresses your situation.
After everything is cleaned and the deodorization process is complete it’s time to put your home back together. Insurance Restoration Services will coordinate with your claims adjuster to insure that every aspect of your property is addressed. Our years of experience allow us to work with your adjuster in preparing a thorough scope of repairs. This insures that your property is returned to pre-loss conditions without any surprise out of pocket expenses at the end of the claim. Companies that aren’t accustomed to working with insurance carriers have a difficult time understanding the intricacies of dealing with insurance companies. Another contractor’s inexperience may lead to additional expenses to you. We make sure that doesn’t happen.
Our estimators and project managers are trained in dealing with insurance claims, we understand what your insurance company needs and we work with them to insure a smooth process. Typically your insurance company will provide you with an estimate to start repairs. Many people believe this estimate is final and the only funds allotted by your insurance company to fix your damaged home or business, but that’s not the case. Addressing fire damage repairs is a difficult task and your adjuster will do their best to write a thorough repair scope, but sometimes they miss items or there is unseen additional damage that wasn’t visible when their scope was repaired. Proper communication is the key to getting your life back to normal and we specialize is dealing with your insurance company. We’re your advocate when it comes to making sure everything gets addressed.