What to Do Before Help Arrives in Case of Fire, Smoke, and Water Damage

What to Do Before Help Arrives in Case of Fire, Smoke, and Water Damage

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Fire and Water Damage can be nasty things, even if they are dealt with right away. There are important do’s and don’ts you must know about.

Fire and smoke can leave behind soot, smoke damage, fire damage, and a variety of other problems. Floors, ceilings, walls, woodwork, and carpeting will often need to be professionally cleaned in order to be restored to the condition prior to the damage. If your home or business suffers from a fire, it is important to take the necessary steps to prevent further damage.  The following tips may help reduce damage and increase chances of a successful and financially responsible restoration.


What one should not do:

  • Don’t attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces until your professional fire cleaning crew shows up to assess the damage.
  • You shouldn’t shampoo carpets or upholstery without consulting these professionals.
  • Don’t consume food that was close to the fire—it may have been contaminated with the carcinogens in the smoke.

What one should do:

  • Place dry towels on old linens, rugs, upholstery, and carpet traffic areas.
  • Wipe the soot from chrome kitchen/bathroom faucets and then protect these surfaces with a light coat of lubricant.
  • Make sure to cover your air filter gates to prevent soot and any other particles from entering the HVAC system and causing further damage.
  • Change the HVAC filters, and leave the system off until the professionals check the system and give you the go-ahead.

Water damage is a particularly sudden sort of claim as burst pipes usually happen without notice. Damages can increase rapidly if not mitigated properly and as quickly as possible.

Here is what you should know:

  • Act as quickly as possible when you find water damage affecting your house. The quicker the response time, the more money you’ll end up saving and will possibly have to repair less.
  • Contact a water damage restoration company to begin the mitigation and drying. A good company’s response time should be no more than 2-3 hours from when you contact them.
  • Not all insurance agencies will send adjusters for small to mid-sized claims. Your water damage restoration vendor should assist with all details that need to go to the claims handler.
  • The carpet may need to be extracted to remove as many gallons of water as physically possible.
  • If moisture is detected in a wall cavity, technicians will have to ensure that the area has access to air flow to allow proper evaporation and dehumidification.
  • The technicians may need to apply antimicrobial treatment to the affected areas to deter mold during the drying process.
  • The salvage ability of contents will not be able to be determined until the drying process is complete.
  • For damage that is covered by your insurance policy, the mitigation will be covered by your insurance carrier. The deductible would be applied to the mitigation, or personal property.

Having the right homeowners insurance policy can help to ensure you have the coverage you need in case of any water damage or fire issues. For all of your Southern California home insurance needs, contact Hoffman Brown Company in Sherman Oaks.