A small house fire may not appear to cause a lot of damage, but even tiny fires can leave a major mark. Knowing what to do as you await a restoration service can help minimize the chances for further damages.
1. Wear Safety Gear When In the Damage Zone
Soot, ash, and some chemical fire suppressants can pose a health danger, particularly if you breathe them in or get them in your eyes. When working in the damaged area, wear eye protection and a respirator mask so that you don't inhale any particles. It's also a good idea to wear gloves to protect your hands from soot and toxins that may be present.
2. Remove Surface Soot From Textiles
Textiles that can't be laundered or dry cleaned, like carpets and upholstery, should have any surface ash or soot removed as soon as possible. This will prevent it from working deeply into the fibers. Use an upholstery brush on a powerful vacuum cleaner to remove the surface soil from furniture, and vacuum the carpet as usual. Clean the filter and empty the vacuum canister or replace the bag frequently as you work.
3. Avoid Touching Unrestored Textiles
You don't want to put any extra weight on textiles (particularly carpets and upholstery) until the professional restoration crew shows up. Avoid walking on carpets more than necessary. If you must sit on the furniture, cover it with a plastic drop cloth and avoid sitting for long periods or moving around too much. You don't want to grind any remaining soot into the fibers.
4. Turn Off HVAC Systems and Seal Vents
Soot and ash can get into your vents and air ducts, where they will then be spread throughout the home. Shut down your HVAC system immediately after the fire to prevent this from happening. It's also a good idea to use plastic and tape to seal off all the air vents and returns so that soot and debris are less likely to get into them. You will still likely need to have the ducts and system filters cleaned, but quick action can minimize the spread of soot throughout the home.
5. Don't Use Appliances Right Away
Any appliances that were in the affected area should not be used, even if they seem to be in good repair. Power surges and smoke damage can affect how well they work, in some cases rendering the appliance itself into a new issue. Consider hiring a restoration service check over each appliance first to make sure it is still safe to use.
If you have questions about handling a house fire, contact fire damage repair companies.