FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS > FIRE DAMAGE QUESTIONS > What should I do if I have a fire damage at my home or business?
- Call for professional help as soon as possible. Corrosive byproducts can cause irreversible etching.
- If the temperature is above 60 degrees, open windows to ventilate the home.
- If you have to turn off your water, take steps to prevent your plumbing and/or heating supply pipes from freezing.
- If the electricity is off, remove perishable foods from your refrigerator and freezer. The odor created by spoiled food is usually impossible to remove. Leave the doors propped open.
- Discard any open food packages.
- Keep a listing of anything you have discarded and receipts for any expenses you incur in protecting your property. Most likely, your insurance claim representative will ask for these items.
- Vacuum loose dry soot smoke particles from carpets. Make sure the vacuum cleaner has a HEPA filter to prevent redistribution of fine soot. Avoid walking or tracking on carpet if possible.
- Close doors on affected areas to localize smoke odors as much as possible.
- Change the furnace or air conditioner filter if the blower is operating. Tape damp cheesecloth over air registers with masking tape to capture loose soot in the air.
- Clean Formica, chrome, porcelain and aluminum fixtures to prevent permanent tarnishing or etching.
- Don’t touch anything with your bare hands. Oils from your hands can cause additional damage.
- Don’t use any TV, stereo or electronic appliances until they have been checked by a technician.
- Don’t use ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet.
- Don’t attempt to clean carpets or upholstered furniture.
- Don’t wipe or attempt to wash ceilings or other absorbent surfaces. Incorrect cleaning could compound the soot residue.
- Don’t consume food items exposed to smoke or canned goods that have been subjected to excessive heat.
- Don’t use upholstered furniture if possible.
Last updated on May 3, 2011 by Champion