Actions to Avoid Following a House Fire
Once a home fire has been extinguished, it’s a natural impulse to try and clean up as quickly as possible but doing so may cause more damage than good. Below is a list of actions to avoid following a house fire to help you recover quickly and safely.
Avoid using electronics
After a fire, it’s best to wait until a professional arrives on the scene to ensure electronics are safe to use. This includes TVs, computers, and DVD players. Even the A/C needs to stay off until you get the all-clear. Turning on electronics can create greater damage.
Don’t try to clean possessions on your own
While it’s tempting to grab a bucket of water and get to work, it's best if you do not clean walls, ceilings, and other similar surfaces, and wait to clean your clothing and similar garments. A professional should examine them first and provide advice. In some cases, different types of approaches to cleaning are necessary for different items to avoid causing further damage, so it’s best to wait for a fire remediation professional to give you advice before trying to clean on your own.
Toss all food in your home
Never eat anything that was in the home during the fire. Smoke, soot, and chemicals can get into everything and it’s better to be safe than sorry. It is most likely not safe to consume due to contamination from smoke, soot, or contaminants introduced to the environment when the fire was being extinguished. That includes canned goods. Heat damage may not be seen on the outside of canned goods, but the heat can re-cook the ingredients in the can causing harm.
Refrain from cleaning up after firefighters
Unfortunately, extinguishing a fire can cause a mess on its own as fire retardants and other foams or powders may have been used to stop the flames. Forgo trying to clean up any staining from the powder discharged by a fire extinguisher. It is best to let professionals guide the cleanup of these areas as they have the equipment to handle different types of chemical cleanup on a variety of surfaces.
It’s always tempting to start the cleanup process immediately and do as much as possible. The best course of action is to hire a certified professional to provide expert knowledge and service. The situation requires specialized tools and knowledge that only a professional can provide. A trusted professional will offer an after-fire checklist that will help speed along the fire and smoke damage cleanup process. Consulting a professional will help you restore your property back to like-new condition as quickly as possible. If you experience a house fire, contact SERVPRO of Phoenix 24/7 at 480-503-2090 to get the help you need.