There is a lot to think about if your house has had a fire. No doubt your mind will be racing about the million different things you need to take care of. Here is a list of items to remember after a fire. Please keep in mind always safety first. Never enter a building or structure that has experienced a fire before making sure it is safe. Do not assume because it looks safe, that it is. Let a professional make that decision for you.
- Always turn off all water and electricity before entering the building. Hidden damage can create a larger problem if you are not careful. Be sure to bring a flashlight with you.
- Be sure to wear protective gear. Goggles, gloves, boots and a face mask are a must when surveying the damaged area. If there is a lot of damage you may also want to wear protective clothing to protect you from any sharp objects.
- If there are pets in the house find them and get them to safety. If you have fish it is important to do a water change as soon as possible to save them. Be sure to clean any soot or debris off of your pets promptly for their health. Clean any pet toys thoroughly before allowing your pet to have them again.
- If there is a lot of dust particles and debris in the air use a bucket of water or a hose to wet things down beforehand. You are going to have to wash it anyways!
- Once everything is we you can start cleaning objects. Avoid cleaning the walls and the floor as ash will make it very difficult and you could probably make a bad situation even worse. I recommend hiring a professional for this stage of the process, but if you can not be sure to research how to clean fire debris.
- Any plant life you have in your house should be cleaned off as well, as the soot will kill them. Use a clean, damp wash cloth and wipe down every leaf and branch thoroughly. Larger plants can be sprayed with a hose first.
- Open all doors and windows to ventilate the area. Chances are you will need to leave the windows open for several days as the restoration process continues, so that the area has an opportunity to completely air out.
- Clothes and linens will not come clean with a normal wash. To get rid of the odor you will need to find a dry cleaner in your area that specializes in removing fire smoke odors and stains. Keep in mind that regular dry cleaning will not do the job.
- Throw out any open food that was exposed to fire or smoke. If there was any smoke or soot in your refrigerator all that food will need to be thrown out as well. Carefully inspect all food before eating, as it can be hazardous to your health to ingest soot.Do not use any appliances that have been exposed to the fire in any way until they have been properly cleaned and inspected. Smoke and soot can get into appliances, cause them to malfunction, and possibly cause another fire.