From Devastation to Restoration: Overcoming Fire and Flood Damage

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Updated on:

August 22, 2023

Resilience in Crisis: Expert Tips for Fire and Flood Recovery

Going through a disaster like fire or flooding is a very devastating event. Due to a lot of weather events that are affected by the climate change, flooding and fires have become more frequent to property owners and recovering from those events can be very challenging.

Fire restoration and flood restoration can be a very tiresome process that requires days to complete. You might run into a lot of property damage, structural damage, smoke damage, and have other affected areas that need to be fixed.

It can be hard trying to figure out where to start, but in this article we will help you go through the fire restoration and water restoration process easier with our guide and tips.

Key takeaways:

  • Fire and flooding are increasingly common disasters due to climate change.
  • Effective restoration requires addressing structural, water, and smoke damage.
  • Proper cleanup and remediation are crucial to prevent further issues like mold growth.

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What to do right after a fire?

Right after the fire, immediately call emergency services for a rapid response. It is important to call the professionals that specialize in fires as soon as you can since they do an excellent job at making sure that no further damage is afflicted.

After you have done that, you can contact any restoration services. A restoration project may take a lot of time so it is best to start working on it immediately.

The actual restoration process, like structure repairs and reconstruction, should be done by restoration services. But the cleanup jobs like deodorization, soot removal, cleaning and sanitization can be done on your own.

firefighters at work

How to start a fire restoration

One of the first things you need to do after the fire has been put out is check your home for all the damages. This is necessary to do in order to figure out what next steps to take to remedy such situation.

Structural Damage

Start by taking a look at the home's exterior and keeping an eye out for things like foundation cracks, downed power lines, broken gas lines, and damaged support beams.

You might want to hire an inspector or contractor to make sure your home isn't structurally endangered because these problems can be significant.

Once inside, search for issues like drooping flooring or ceilings. Along with fire and smoke, water frequently causes damage to the house. The weight might cause both the floors and the ceilings to fall.

Electric and Plumbing

Check the systems in your house next. Turn off your power at the fuse box if you observe sparking or any frayed wires. Look around for any tripped breakers while you're there. You should have an electrician and technicians look them over.

Turn off the water main if you believe that the water pipes have been damaged. Showers, sinks, and toilets should not be used until a plumber has been called.

inspection after fire damage

Important step before fire restoration cleanup

Before you start cleaning up you home after a fire, make sure that a proper fire restoration has been made. You should have all structure damages fixed as well and electrical and plumbing.

After a fire, you might need to consider doing a fire flood restoration since you water extraction might be needed after putting out the fire. If the water is not properly removed, you will run into a problem of mold growth that will require specialty cleaning that costs a lot of money.

Things to throw away after a fire

To start a deep cleaning of your home after a fire, you must first throw out the damaged items.

electrical outlet demontage

1. Electric Equipment

Before using small appliances, entertainment systems, or other gadgets, make sure they have been inspected for heat and water damage. It is best to throw them away than take the chance of igniting another fire if you are unsure of their state.

2. Burnt Clothes

You can clean your clothes, but it's not always a good idea. Chemicals in smoke and soot can irritate your skin when touched and your respiratory system when inhaled. They might also smell like the toxic chemicals that firemen use. It is best to just toss away your burned clothing.

3. Furniture

Like clothing and other textiles, mattresses and fabric furniture can trap odors and pollutants that are difficult to remove. Not to mention that the heat or flames can endanger their structural integrity. The best course of action is tossing these enormous goods from your home if you're unsure of their condition.

Start Cleaning

Open all the windows and turn on the fans before you start working on the interior of your home. The stench of smoke and chemicals will be lessened as a result. Don some gloves, use a shop vac to remove any remaining standing water from the firefighting operations, pull up any wet carpet or vinyl flooring, and properly dispose of them.

smoke removal

Remove Smoke damage, Soot and Ash

Use this solution to clean the walls, floors, cabinets, and other surfaces in your house:

  • 2 tbsp dishwashing soap or laundry detergent
  • 4-6 tbsp tri-sodium phosphate (TSP)
  • 1 cup chlorine bleach or household cleaner
  • 1 gallon of water

Wearing gloves, using a sponge, and quickly rinsing with clear water are all recommended while cleaning surfaces and objects in your home.

After cleaning, if you can still smell smoke, check to see if you've fully cleansed your HVAC ducting, which may be retaining odors. After that, if the scent persists, speak with a restoration business about thermal fogging, a cleaning method. In the attic and wall insulation, smoke scents will be released as a result.

walls and cealing cleaning after fire damage

Cleaning Walls and Windows

The smoky smell will go away if you remove the soot and ash off of the walls and windows with the cleaning solution mentioned above. After cleaning the walls, give them 24 to 48 hours to completely dry out before repainting.

Use the aforementioned method to clean washable wallpaper as well, but avoid getting the wall beneath the paper wet to avoid mold and mildew. Any wallpaper edges or parts that are coming away can be reapplied using a commercial paste.

Cleaning Furniture

You might be able to save your furniture if it was not burned in the fire and is still suitable for use. Furniture made of hardwood, in particular, may be simple to save. Use the same oil soap you would for hardwood floors and other wooden objects to clean it. Sand the furniture and refinish it if there are deeper stains. Even if you are successful in eliminating the stains, you may want to have your furniture professionally cleaned to ensure that any remaining chemicals are eliminated.

Non-porous Surfaces and Floors

Fabrics can be more easily saved than other materials, such as glass and metal, but you shouldn't save anything that has been burned, charred, melted, or is otherwise deemed unsafe structurally.

Glass can be cleaned with vinegar and dish soap or soaked in white vinegar and baking soda and will typically withstand a fire.

Metal can often tolerate harm but may discolor. After cleaning with vinegar and dish soap, paint and lightly sand.

In most cases, hardwood floors can be saved unless they have burn marks or have been scorched. If necessary, sand and refinish them after cleansing them with oil soap.

flood damage cleanup

Water Damage Restoration

A storm, flood, or burst pipe problem can leave your home with extensive water problem. This is why water restoration services should be contacted immediately to ratify the damage.

Water removal and inspection need to be conducted as soon as the damage has been acquired. It is important to remove all contaminated water from your home to make sure that you are not putting yourself and tour family in danger.

After those necessary steps have been taken, it is time to cleanup.

Water Damage Clean - Flood restoration

If all the surfaces are not dry, turn on ceiling fans to help speed up the process. Work closely to get rid of all the moisture and humidity in order to stop any mold growth.

Floors

Following the removal of carpet, padding, and other flooring, start drying the subfloor as soon as you can.

If submerged for an extended period of time, wooden subfloors would probably swell, and the affected areas will need to be replaced. In general, wood floors suffer after being soaked in floodwater.

Tile may be salvageable, but the subfloor needs to be dried and examined for signs of water damage.

Walls

To avoid odor, delay the formation of mold, and stop the deterioration of wall studs, open all flooded walls.

To encourage airflow inside the wall, take into consideration removing a six-inch part at the ceiling level. Although plaster and paneling may still be usable, it is crucial that air flow into wall cavities in order to dry the area.

The interior of the wall should be cleared of any moist insulation. Wall studs should be cleaned, disinfected, and sprayed with a fungicide to control mold.

Brick outside walls will need to be pressure washed, and if the wood or masonite siding is water-damaged, it may need to be replaced.

mold redemption

Mold remediation

Mold can be very tricky to get rid of. This is when using a steam cleaner like out Volt Mini will help.

portable mini steamer for home cleaning

The Volt MINI works at high pressure and temperatures, unlike other small professional portable steamers for cleaning, and can produce 101.5 psi of steam at a maximum temperature of 338 degrees Fahrenheit. This allows the machine to kill all mold growth and spores.

This machine is great to use for fire damage restoration as well as water damage restoration since steam can be used on multiple surfaces and this machine comes with variety of accessories that will help speed up the cleaning process.

home restored after flood

Summary

Fire and flood damage is a big stress, but with right aproach and methods you can perform recovery out of leaving any signs of this disaster.

About the Authors

Kristina Tretyakova
Distinguished as a South Florida Top-10 student in 2021. Studying Marketing and Business Administration at FIU. Proficient in daily operations and skilled in cleaning, auto detailing and copywriting.
Marek Chaciński
Becoming a Maestro in Production Process Optimization. Unleashing the potential to enhance efficiency, elevate quality, and amplify output, leading to remarkable and sustainable outcomes

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