San Diego Fire Damage Restoration Company
Fire damage restoration is a very time sensitive process. While other forms of remediation can often be started before the crew arrives, fire remediation can be quite dangerous because of the chemicals present in the air and should not be taken on by those unfamiliar with the proper safety precautions.
In addition to addressing the char and soot from the fire, our fire damage restoration crews will need to address damaged caused by firefighting efforts. Water and chemical damage may, in fact, be more extensive than that from the smoke, which will need to be addressed by separate cleaning techniques.
Addressing Smoke Odors
Smoke and chemical odors following a fire can set very quickly, so deodorizing efforts must begin as quickly as possible after a fire has occurred.
- Removing odors from structures that have been burned or affected by water damage will require multiple steps. Ideally, the first steps in cleaning should occur within hours of the fire, giving the structure time to dry before the next cleaning phase begins.
- Some items such as furniture or belongings will be removed from the property to allow for extensive cleaning. This will also give the restoration crew time to estimate the level of salvageable contents in the home so an appropriate claim can be filed.
- Fire damage restoration crews will need to address two types of fire damage. The smoke will cause chemical odors and contamination of surfaces that may set and create staining over time. The water used to fight the fire can provide a breeding ground for bacteria or fungi which can further damage and stain surfaces. Bacterial or fungal contamination can also cause considerable odor and increase the risk of infection for those exposed to this environment.
Those seeking out a smoke and fire damage restoration company should take the time to document the extent of the damage if possible. This will help the crew determine which cools would be necessary to address the damage. You can also use these documents to file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance company for reimbursement for any cleaning procedures applied.
Checking for Additional Damage
Specific cleaning procedures will be implemented to address smoke and fire damage to minimize odors and contamination in the space.
- Any structural elements that have sealed in smoke, moisture or have been charred must be removed and replaced.
- Any framing that is salvageable will be treated with biocides to prevent contamination. These materials must be allowed to dry within 4 percent of their natural moisture content, to prevent warping or contamination. This is especially vital in spaces with extensive water damage.
- Before framing materials can be replaced they should be sealed to prevent odors from leeching out over the following months. Drywall must be sealed and painted with at least two coats of paint.
- Fire damage restoration crews will typically remove floor coverings even if they have not been damaged. These can collect fallout during demolition which can cause additional damage.
- The HVAC system will be removed or restored. This can then be used to begin removing microns from the air that could later cause irritation or illness.
- Before a home can be occupied, ozone deodorization and dry or wet fogging will be used to minimize odors. This process can be dangerous and should only be taken on by a trained professional.
- Airing out the space also helps to remove VOCs that may be added during the cleaning process.
The specific processes used to restore a home will vary, based on the nature and location of the damage. For example, buildings severely damaged by fire will also need to have utility lines such as plumbing and electrical fixtures examined. A remediation crew will outline all processes to be administered and any associated safety precautions before the procedures begin.
Managing Water Damage
Building fires are typically managed by dousing the structure with water, which can cause comparable damage to smoke after a fire.
- A Fire Damage Restoration company will need to evaluate the structure of the building to ensure that the water has not caused bowing or swelling that would ultimately result in structural instability.
- Water damage can also cause staining and discoloration on the walls, ceiling, floors and other surfaces which could cause permanent damage.
- While water damage must be addressed, it is also important to note that many fire departments in high risk areas of San Diego will use fire suppressant chemicals to preserve the structure during widespread fire. Restoration companies will need to use specific cleaning tools to remove these chemicals that can be dangerous.
Water can increase the extent of smoke damage by allowing the walls and other doused surfaces to absorb more smoke and ash. This can increase discoloration of the affected surfaces. Water damage after a fire can also increase the risk of mold growth. Mold inspections should be performed during and after cleaning to ensure that no one is at risk of mold sickness.
Necessary Fire Damage Restoration Actions
Most cleaning should be entrusted to a professional crew, but there are some steps that property owners should take on immediately to minimize the damage.
- Before a fire damage restoration crew arrives you should not stay in the smoke damaged property. If the building smells like smoke you may be inhaling dangerous particles that could cause illness or injury. If you need to enter the damaged building, wear HEPA filters.
- Any metal items should be wiped clean immediately. Soot contains a great deal of acid that can corrode these materials.
- Any items covered in soot should be left for a fire damage restoration crew to address. If it is not properly treated, soot will smear or grind into fabrics, increasing the damage left by the fire.
Smoke and fire damage restoration may not save materials that have been sufficiently stained. A crew will oversee the removal, construction and ultimate replacement of these damaged items. Most professional remediation companies work directly with insurance companies to address any budgetary restraints applied to the project.
In most cases an emergency remediation crew can begin working on a property within 24 hours of the initial fire, allowing you to get back into your home as quickly as possible.