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The Essential Steps of Fire Damage Remediation
06/24/2015

A fire damaged kitchen

The fire mitigation process can be complex, and every job is unique.  Fire mitigation can range from restoring a building with charred walls and water damage due to fire hoses, to getting rid of smoky odors due to a small kitchen fire. In both cases, it is critical to act quickly to prevent further damage and property loss.  While a fire is traumatic for a home or business owner, a good remediation company should have an experienced radiation project manager on-scene to walk you through the insurance hurdles and fire mitigation process.

Fire Mitigation Procedure – Small Fires

Mitigation after small fires mostly entails getting rid of smoke and odors.  How are we defining a small fire? A small fire was easily put out with a fire extinguisher or a relatively small amount of water.  No fire hoses were used, and the structure of the building was not compromised in any way.

1. Water Mitigation. If there is any water or need for water removal, certified technicians will perform an initial inspection, make a preliminary determination, communicate to interested parties, and then start the water extraction and drying process.
2. Ventilation. While the home or business is secured, if required, the affected area will be contained and equipment will be installed to ensure air quality while cleaning is in process.
3. Pack Out and Debris Removal. Unsalvageable items will be inventoried (including taking photos) and disposed per owners’ discretion and approval. Then, we will inventory and pack out items that need to be dry-cleaned or professionally cleaned outside the home or business.
4. Cleaning. Certified technicians will clean the affected area utilizing odor removal solutions, equipment, and techniques.
5. Air Cleaning. We’ll use air scrubbers, hydroxyl, ozone, or fogging technologies to remove any smoke odors.
6. Restoration. This can include laying new carpet or flooring, or installing new baseboards or cabinets, for example.  Restoration is the final step that brings your home or business back to pre loss condition.

Fire Mitigation Procedure – Large Fires

After a large or more serious fire, the building is likely to have holes in the walls (firefighters needed to check that there was no hidden fire), large amounts of water (from fighting the fire), and the building will be full of toxins that can make people and pets sick (incomplete combustion from plastics, synthetics, etc.).  A remediation company will need to have the equipment and personnel to address all of these challenges as quickly as possible.  For larger fires, Superior performs all of the same steps for small fires and these additional steps:

1. Secure Property. Vandals will often target homes and businesses after a fire.  Openings such as holes, doors, and windows should be boarded up and secured as soon as possible.
2. Intensive Water Mitigation. We will pump out any standing water, use air movers and dehumidifiers to dry the home out, and treat affected areas to prevent mold.
3. More Intensive Debris Removal. In the case of a serious fire, it is likely that more items will have been damaged, and larger equipment may be needed to remove and dispose of large items.
4. Outdoor Cleaning and Restoration. If exteriors are affected, we will clean and restore fixtures such as doors, windows, shingles, siding, brick, decks, etc.

Immediate Response: Time Matters

Even a small fire that was quickly brought under control needs to be treated by professionals to prevent extensive property damage.  Smoke is acidic, corrosive, toxic, and dangerous.  

Can I Handle Fire and Smoke Mitigation Myself?

Realistically, no. It takes specialized equipment and training to safely and thoroughly mitigate after a fire. If you fail to completely remove the smoke and soot, walls, metal, and appliances can be permanently damaged and will need to be replaced.  The lingering smoke and toxins also make people and pets sick. In the long run, it is usually more economical to hire a professional rather then attempting the cleanup yourself. 

The most important takeaway about the fire mitigation process is that property owners should ACT QUICKLY. The more quickly professionals begin the fire and smoke mitigation process, the more likely they are to be able to save your possessions and avoid the high cost of replacing drywall, trim, and structural elements. 

If you have more in-depth questions about restoration processes, we are happy to provide information at 1.800.992.5326.

 

Superior Cleaning & Coit Cleaning and Restoration in Woodinville, WA holds a Construction Contractor, General license (SUPERI 973KR).

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