Traumatic events such as home fires can leave you feeling overwhelmed and uncertain as to what your next steps should be when figuring out how to deal with the residual fire and smoke damage. ServiceMaster by Rice has extensive experience with fire restoration and has helped Storm Lake, Milford, Cedar Rapids, Fairmont, Des Moines, Carroll, Spencer and West Des Moines businesses and homeowners alike mitigate the lingering effects of fire damage.
While you may be tempted to perform some do-it-yourself cleaning methods rather than contacting your local ServiceMaster by Rice, we strongly encourage you to refrain from doing so. Attempting to tackle a smoke and fired damaged home or office on your own can actually make the damage worse. Touching surfaces covered in soot can permanently set the soot in place – there are complex chemical reactions and hidden damage that are best restored with specific products, equipment and expert methods. Returning property back to pre-loss condition and helping families and individuals that have gone through a house fire is what Service Master by Rice does best.
What is fire and smoke damage?
During a fire, smoke is driven by heat created by flames. No matter where the fire originates, smoke may penetrate throughout a building structure. Smoke also combines with humidity and can form corrosive residues that may cause secondary damage.
Long after the fire is put out, the damage can continue as remaining free-floating smoke settles on horizontal surfaces and contents.
Fire does burn, but residual smoke may burn as well. This is sometimes called etching, pitting or chemical burning. Quick response and action are critical. The more time that elapses before remediation, the greater the damage.
ServiceMaster by Rice is a highly reputable, licensed, insured and endorsed provider of fire and smoke restoration services. In addition to our years of experience, our certified technicians have completed advanced training in fire mitigation, restoration systems and corrosion control. We also participate in continuing education to learn about new techniques and equipment to better serve you in your time of need.
It is our goal to restore your property as quickly and efficiently as possible. Depending on the source, nature and size of the fire, the cleaning and restoration may require several phases before completion.
Deciding between restoring and replacing your personal items
ServiceMaster by Rice will work to restore all property to a pre-loss condition when possible. It’s important to remember that some items cannot be restored, or that their restoration will cost more than their actual value. Because of our experience in fire remediation, we will be able to advise you and your insurance claim representative as well as explain the limitations of property restoration.
What type of fire was it?
There are many different types of fires, and determining which one occurred in your building will help with the fire damage clean-up process. Also, to ensure proper claims investigation, the area where the fire started must be secured and undisturbed until released for cleaning by your insurance representative.
A protein fire occurs when food from the oven or stove has burned and there will be a lingering strong burnt food odor. There will also be smoke residue left behind on unprotected surfaces.
With a complex fire multiple natural and synthetic items inside the home or structure have burned and black smoke residue is left behind on all surfaces. A synthetic smoke odor will still be present after the fire has been extinguished and emergency corrosion mitigation will be needed to protect at-risk surfaces.
In a natural fire situation where trees, shrubs and bushes have burned (which occur most commonly in the form of forest fires) smoke will penetrate your home from the outside, and the smoke residue and odor will be left behind throughout your property.
Smoke damage caused by a furnace malfunction occurs when a heating appliance such as an oil-fired furnace malfunctions and causes smoke to disperse throughout your property.
Steps to take after the fire has been put out
Once the danger of fire has passed there are general steps you can take to help prevent further damage to your home and property.
- Structural damage should be boarded up or covered with a tarp.
- An inspection of the furnace or air conditioner unit is a must. Make sure you replace the furnace filter, cover supply and return air vents to prevent cross contamination of smoke and odor into other areas and then clean and deodorize the duct work.
- Turn off electrical power in order to address any safety issues, then restore the power for lighting and restoration equipment.
- Remove debris for safety purposes and to make space for complete restoration.
- Remove excess water remaining from the firefighting. Be sure to check the flooring and structural components for any moisture and set up drying and dehumidification equipment to help stave off mold growth.
- Corrosive by-products from smoke residues can cause irreversible damage in a short amount of time. By removing smoke residues and treating at-risk surfaces such as marble, stone, grout, aluminum, glass and appliances with a corrosion inhibitor you can help protect these items.
- Empty refrigerators and freezers to prevent your food from going bad.
- Begin initial odor control measures such as ventilation to air out the property.
- Make arrangements for emergency laundry or dry cleaning for several changes of clothing for immediate use while the remainder of your clothing is being restored.
Service Master by Rice has the most advanced professional products, systems and specialty equipment to get your possessions and property back to the condition it was in before the fire and subsequent smoke damage. Combined with our years of experience and certified technicians, you can feel confident that your home and property are receiving the best care possible. Contact ServiceMaster by Rice for the most comprehensive smoke & fire damage recovery services available.