Fire Damage FAQCheck out this list of commonly asked questions about fire damage
Fires in a home or building can cause significant, widespread damage. The flames cause charring and destruction of building materials and structural elements and the smoke, soot, and residue created by the fire cause tarnishing and etching to various materials. Much of the damage caused by these corrosive byproducts takes place after the fire is extinguished. It is very important to begin the restoration of your property as soon as possible after a fire because the structural damage and damage from corrosive byproducts will continue to get worse.
Fire Damage: What to Do
If a fire breaks out on your property, make sure you evacuate the home or building immediately and have the local fire department put out the fire. Once the fire is out, you need to call a professional such as ServiceMaster EMT for fire damage restoration services. Our professional technicians can quickly stabilize your property and begin the restoration and rebuilding process to return your home or building to its pre-fire condition.
The fire damage restoration process will differ slightly between cases and it can involve a lot from structural repairs and reconstruction to the cleaning of soot damage and removal of smoke odors. It is common for people to have questions about what exactly fire damage restoration entails. The following are common questions asked about fire damage restoration with answers from our professionals:
How can I help with the fire damage restoration?
If your home is damaged by a fire, you will likely want to do something to start the cleanup process. However, it is better that you don’t after calling a fire damage restoration professional because you risk making the damage worse. Using improper cleaning products and methods for surfaces affected by smoke and soot will only smear the residue and cause it to penetrate deeper into the materials.
Our technicians will arrive promptly with the right equipment and cleaning products to effectively remove soot and smoke damage and rebuild the home or building. You can help make the restoration process smoother by finding damaged objects such as electronics and put them aside so they can be restored quickly.
How long does fire damage restoration take?
This is determined by the extent of the damage. It can take several weeks to restore your home if the fire damage affected much of the building. Restoration for commercial buildings typically takes longer because they are bigger than most homes and they need to pass inspection codes before they can be opened again.
Do I need to move out while the restoration takes place?
This depends on the extent of the damage as well. If your home is heavily damaged or left unstable, you will need to stay somewhere else for your own safety. If the fire only affected a limited area of your home, you can continue to live there during the restoration if the noise of the restoration and smoke smell do not bother you.
If I move out, what items should I take with me?
If you do decide to stay somewhere else temporarily while your home is restored, you should take important personal and valuable items with you such as:
- Personal documents
- Cash, credit cards, and checkbooks
- Valuables such as jewelry and artwork
Should I pack my damaged belongings?
It is best to leave your damaged items out so our technicians can find and restore them. There are many instances when we can restore your damaged content on-site. If the damage to your home does not allow us to handle the content restoration on-site, we will pack up and inventory your belongings and take them to our facility for cleaning and restoration. They will be cleaned and stored in our secure, climate-controlled facility and we will deliver them to your door when you are ready to receive them.
We will consult an expert if you have high value items that have been damaged, and we can work with your insurance carrier on the claim.
Can I access my items while in storage?
We will always allow you access to your items when they are stored in our facility. You just need to give us a call and schedule a time when you can come to get your items.
How do I inventory and apply value to items that need to be replaced?
Making a list of your permanently damaged items and assigning a value to them is not an easy task. You should list your items and include information including the year purchased, quantity of items, and price to help with the insurance claim.
The following is an example:
- Couch; 2014; $1500
- Laptop computer; 2016; $800
Should I turn on the air conditioner or heat?
Do not turn on your heat or air conditioner after the fire. The HVAC unit may be damaged or full of smoke and soot. Our professionals will inspect the HVAC system for damage, and have it repaired and cleaned if necessary. You can use your heat and A/C after our professionals have approved it for use.
Professional Fire Damage Restoration
When a fire occurs, it is important to act quickly in the aftermath to prevent widespread or permanent damage to your home. The quicker you act, the better chance there is to limit the damage which will save you time and money on the restoration.
Our restoration contractors at ServiceMaster EMT are available 24 hours a day to respond to fire damage emergencies in southern California including San Diego County, San Bernardino County, Orange County, and Los Angeles County; Mohave County in Arizona; and all of Nevada. Check out our full service area. We are licensed and equipped to limit the fire and smoke damage, clean and restore affected materials, remove lingering odors, and rebuild structural damage.
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