After surviving the frightening experience of a home or business fire, you may feel that the danger has passed and that you can focus entirely on the rebuilding process. However, putting out the flames is just the first step in preventing harm and injury. There are still several hazards in and around your fire damaged property, so fire damage removal services are an important element of recovery.
Avoid Immediate Harm
Immediately after the flames are out, there are several dangers to avoid. One of the most important things you can do at this point is to follow the instructions of firefighters and the police. There’s a lot of potential for personal injury and further damages:
- The possibility of fires restarting
- Electrocution from downed power lines or damaged wiring
- Structural weaknesses that could cause parts of the building to collapse
- Particulate inhalation
As professionals arrive to clean up and remove the damaged property, they come with personal protective equipment and training to help them stay safe during the remediation process. Sometimes, unfortunately, eager property owners cause more damage by trying to tackle cleanup and recovery efforts on their own.
The Hazards of Soot
Soot contamination is a significant issue for property owners and for professional cleaners. The smoky residue left behind on surfaces after a fire often contains bits of plastic, carpeting, foam, synthetic fabrics, and even asbestos. Modern furnishings often contain formaldehyde, and particles of this are also found in soot. According to the National Fire Protection Association, the effects of smoke and soot hang around for several weeks.
Soot particles are very fine, commonly 2.5 micrometers or smaller, and are easy to inhale. When those particles get into the lungs, they can cause serious harm. Some of the respiratory issues linked to soot exposure include asthma, bronchitis, and coronary heart disease. Finally, when soot is not handled appropriately, it may spread throughout the environment, affecting neighboring properties.
Hidden Dangers in Piles of Debris
As flames move through the property, destroying some furnishings and damaging others, bits and pieces of your belongings collect on the floor and other surfaces. A single pile may contain plywood with chemical components, carpeting, computer hardware, and plastic. This means that the debris poses immediate physical risks (such as cutting your hand on a sharp fragment) and the delayed effects of particulate contamination.
Traveling Contaminants in Smoke
Smoke inhalation is a significant cause of injuries during fires. It contains a mixture of particles and gases and travels easily from one part of the building to others. Smoke damage includes the streaks and stains that appear on walls, ceilings, and other surfaces. As smoke travels throughout the property, it leaves layers of soot, coating the property itself and all personal belongings inside. It’s important to recognize that fire damage removal services must extend far beyond the immediate area of the flames.
Standing Water and What You Can’t See
Pools of water left behind after firefighting efforts may seem harmless, but they are another potential source of injury. Downed power lines and damaged electrical wires combined with standing water create a serious risk of electrocution. As building materials absorb water, the danger of structural instability also increases. Finally, water that has seeped into insulation, padding beneath carpeting, and drywall can cause high levels of moisture that encourage the growth of mold.
What Should You Do Now?
There are some things property owners should do right after a fire. According to the American Red Cross, your most important steps have to do with caring for yourself and your loved ones. This means making sure that medical needs are seen to right away and that emotional needs are also addressed. Recommendations from the Red Cross include eating healthy, getting plenty of clean water, get adequate sleep, connect with friends and family, reach out to available resources, and be patient. Full recovery can take several weeks.
Turn the Rest Over to Fire Damage Removal Professionals
Every property is unique and poses its own set of hazards and difficulties. Professional remediation technicians assess damages and create a plan for fire damage removal, cleanup, and reconstruction. When your property has been through a fire, don’t put yourself or others at risk. Instead, turn to United Water Restoration Group professionals for expert results. You have enough to handle without confronting the physical risks of the aftermath of a fire.