Fire Damage Emergency Tips

What you can do until help arrives

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In the US there are over 500,000 structural fires per year in residential neighborhoods. That means families are being regularly impacted by fire damage events. And serious fire damage displaces a household leaving the family house-less with the responsibility to figure out next steps on their own.

Beyond the reality that fire damage is devastating, it's also increasingly confounding and complex, and it's this way for several reasons:

  • Surprisingly Complex. There's more to fire damage than fire damage; beyond the burned material, the smoke and soot, there's also the water damage from the fire fighting efforts. 
  • Unclear Way Forward. The stress of a fire damage event compounds the issues. Responding to fire damage requires navigating conversations with police and fire departments, service providers, and insurance industry representatives. In that initial moment of insurance claims and police reports knowing exactly what is your next step can be elusive. 
  • Dealing With Hacks. And, in the midst of it all, you have to sort through the noise of the unqualified. Basically, who can you trust in these moments?

Below we've put together tips for homeowners. Explore and learn, then call us with your questions. 

Have Smoke or Fire Damage? Call (800) 734-0602

What To Do After A Fire

  • Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
  • Keep hands clean so as not to further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
  • Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
  • If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.
  • Clean and protect chrome with light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
  • Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves.
  • Change HVAC filter.
  • Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.

What NOT To Do After A Fire

  • Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting us.
  • Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
  • Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water.
  • Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
  • Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.