Aside from residential and commercial fire incidents, brush fires are an unfortunate common occurrence in Arizona. According to the Department of Forestry and Fire Management, 2,520 wildfires in 2020 alone burned almost 980,000 acres of land in the state. With the possibility of a man-made or naturally occurring fire striking at any time, heeding preventive measures is crucial for property owners.
However, if you’re already dealing with residential or commercial fire damage in Avondale, you naturally have a weighty task on your hands. Your goal is to restore as much of your possessions and return your building to its pre-damaged state as soon as possible.
With that said, it helps to remember that there are still hazards that linger even after the flames have been extinguished. Structural issues, smoke, and soot, for example, can all endanger you and your loved ones and prolong the fire and water damage restoration process.
Seeing your home or business affected by a fire is heartbreaking, but acting without taking the necessary precautions can worsen an already volatile situation. On the other hand, understanding how to safely handle fire damage restoration in Avondale will enable you to rebuild your property — and your life — speedily.
On that note, keep these tips in mind as you start your restoration journey.
Enter With Caution
Putting out the fire doesn’t automatically make a building safe for re-entry. To keep everyone safe, it’s best to wait for your local fire department to give you the go signal to do so.
With this, you’ll still need to pay attention to your surroundings as you enter. Watch out for unsteady floors and stairs, and avoid activities that will cause soot and ash to spread.
Moreover, never try to fix structural issues, downed power lines, or damaged gas lines on your own. Instead, let professionals address such problems before attempting to recover your belongings or clean the building.
Wear Proper Equipment
Besides waiting for the approval of the authorities, it’s best that you also put on proper gear before going inside a fire-affected building.
Wearing long-sleeved shirts, protective gloves, pants, and hard-soled shoes helps protect yourself from ash and other debris. An N-95 mask is also recommended, as it can block large and small particles. It can protect you from inhaling ash that can be easily kicked up into the air as you move around inside the building.
Watch Out for Potential Hazards
As mentioned earlier, any fire-affected structure will still have lingering hazards even after the fire has been put out. So when entering your property to recover your valuables or remove damaged components, pay attention to the following risks:
Byproducts of the fire, such as smoldering wood and other debris, may still be present inside your building. They can start another fire once they come into contact with flammable materials, so keeping your eyes peeled for such materials is crucial.
Risks of electrical injuries can also be present, especially when power lines are turned back on and electrical devices are used. To stay safe, it’s best to never turn on your home or workplace’s power supply until a trained electrician has inspected your circuits and equipment. Also, never enter areas with standing water from the firefighting efforts until your electrical power is shut off.
Your property may also have unstable structures and components after a fire, and these can collapse without warning. To prevent injuries and ensure the safety of everyone working on your property, it’s always a good idea to assume that all roofs, stairs, elevated floors and similar structures are unsafe until inspected.
During a fire, oxygen in an enclosed room is used up and replaced with carbon dioxide. The buildup of carbon dioxide in the air causes incomplete combustion, which then triggers the release of carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide can also come from gas or diesel-powered equipment like pumps, generators, and pressure washers, which are often used during fire and water damage restoration. Protect yourself and everyone on the premises from carbon monoxide poisoning by wearing masks and avoiding using gas or diesel-powered tools indoors.
Other substances that pose health risks are ash, soot, dust, and asbestos. These may be inhaled during the cleanup process and cause lung damage, so taking precautions like wearing N-95 respirators and using high-efficiency particular air (HEPA) vacuums when cleaning smoke damage is recommended.
Use Only Vacuum Cleaners With HEPA Filters
Never use regular shop vacuums and other common vacuum cleaners when cleaning affected floors and other surfaces. These cannot filter soot and other small particles like a HEPA-filtered vacuum, so they will only blow them out of the exhaust and set them into the air — making it easy for you to inhale them. The same applies to leaf blowers.
Sort Out Affected Items
As you look through your affected belongings, it helps to separate salvageable items from the rest as soon as possible.
Food, drinks, medication, and other consumables that have been inside a fire-damaged room will have to be thrown away immediately. These can either be affected by the heat or contaminated with fumes or firefighting chemicals that cannot be safely washed off.
As for hard, non-porous objects like glass, ceramic, and metal, it’s highly likely that they can still be saved. Teams specializing in fire damage in Avondale, like Restoration 1, also offer pack-out services. This will help you relocate all salvageable items and protect them from further damage while your home restoration project is ongoing.
Ask for Help From Professionals in Fire Damage Restoration
While keeping these tips in mind will help you clean your property safely, some cases will inevitably be beyond your capabilities. And suppose you find your cleanup project too overwhelming to manage on your own. In that case, it’s best to immediately enlist fire and smoke damage restoration in Avondale rather than risk further damage to life and property.
Local professionals come equipped with professional protective equipment and tools to evaluate your building’s structural integrity, remove its damaged components, and recover your treasured possessions. On top of that, they can treat odor and contamination to ensure your property is healthy from the inside out.
Restoration 1 of Avondale is a locally-owned IICRC-certified restoration company. We specialize in residential and commercial fire damage in Avondale and work towards one goal: to save your property and its contents without having to replace everything. Contact us for expert help 24/7!