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Property fires are not as uncommon as they seem. There are around 358,300 home-based fires yearly, according to the U.S. Fire Administration and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Fires each year cause direct property damage of up to $25.5 billion. 

But what’s more surprising is that the leading causes of house fires are part of our daily lives. Unattended cooking, faulty heating equipment, and malfunctioning electrical outlets and appliances can all put your property at risk of a fire. 

Besides taking preventative measures, preparing for the worst is equally essential. Understanding what happens in the fire damage restoration process, particularly, allows you to set your expectations and coordinate better with restoration professionals. Best of all, it helps remove confusion about the restoration project and enables you to proceed with peace of mind. 

What Is Fire Damage?

In many cases, fire and water damage coexist in a building damaged by a fire. Firefighters typically use water to extinguish flames, resulting in standing water inside the property. In other cases, a natural disaster (e.g., flood) or a preventable water emergency preceded it and caused an electrical fire. 

Water damage is another factor besides fire and smoke damage that restoration experts must address throughout the process. As a result, restoration projects can take weeks and months to complete.  

The Common Steps in the Fire Damage Restoration Process 

1. Damage Assessment 

Every fire and smoke damage restoration project begins with assessing the extent of the damage. Once it is safe, property restoration technicians enter the property to thoroughly inspect the building using checklists and identify which areas have been affected by fire, smoke, and water. 

Damage assessments enable them to do the following: 

  • Understand the types of fire, smoke, and water damage in your building 
  • Identify what items to discard and what can still be restored 
  • Create a restoration plan tailored to your unique situation 

2. Securing the Property

A reliable restoration team then secures your property by boarding up damaged doors and windows and placing tarp covers on damaged roofs or openings. These measures protect your home from further damage from pest infestations or exposure to natural elements while keeping trespassers out.

If only a part of your building is affected by the fire, board-ups and tarp covers also help seal off the damaged areas to minimize the chances of cross-contamination. 

3. Water Extraction and Drying Out 

While water effectively puts out fires, it can also leave structures inside fire-damaged buildings wet. This can eventually cause extensive water damage or lead to further issues like bacterial contamination and corrosion. 

A professional’s fire restoration checklist includes extracting excess water and thoroughly drying out affected areas using specialized equipment. They carry this out quickly to prevent mold, corrosion, and irreparable damage to salvageable items. 

4. Demolition and Removal of Damaged Structures 

If certain components, fixtures, or furniture can no longer be restored, restoration professionals remove them for safety and to make the process more efficient. They carefully demolish and remove damaged structures down to the studs, as covering them up only worsens the situation in the long run.   

5. Smoke Removal and Cleanup 

Smoke and soot can penetrate deep into surfaces and even contaminate the HVAC system, leaving behind persistent odors and negatively impacting indoor air quality. In response, professional restoration teams perform meticulous cleaning to remove traces of these substances inside a building.

If the ventilation system is damaged beyond repair, technicians remove it to ensure no harmful particles will permeate the air.  

After the smoke and soot cleanup, deodorizing agents are used to address any lingering smoke odors. Restoration teams also use disinfecting agents to sanitize water-impacted areas to prevent bacterial growth. 

6. Construction and Restoration 

This is the last step in the fire restoration process, and it involves repairing or rebuilding damaged structures and replacing walls, flooring, and ceilings.

Skilled technicians use proper tools and techniques to save whatever is salvageable and ensure your newly restored property is functional and aesthetically pleasing.  

Frequently Asked Questions About the Fire Damage Restoration Process

Q: What Should I Do Right After a Fire?

A: Right after a fire, it’s crucial to take immediate steps to ensure your safety and begin the process of recovery. Here’s a basic fire restoration checklist to help you: 

  1. Ensure everyone’s safety. Do not re-enter the property until authorities deem it safe. 
  2. Contact your insurance company to notify them about the fire. 
  3. Document the damage. Take photos and videos of the damage for insurance purposes. 
  4. Contact a certified fire and smoke damage restoration company. They will guide you through the restoration process and provide expert advice on what steps to take next. 
  5. Seek temporary accommodations. If your home is uninhabitable, arrange for temporary accommodations for yourself and your family. 

Q: Can You Live in Your Home During Fire Damage Restoration?

A: If only a portion of your home was affected, you may be able to stay in the areas that were not impacted. However, if there’s widespread damage throughout the house, it’s best to arrange temporary accommodations, at least until the smoke and soot damage has been addressed. 

Q: Can Restoration Teams Help Restore My Belongings? 

A: Companies offering comprehensive fire and smoke restoration solutions can help restore items like furniture, electronics, and other valuables if they have endured minor smoke or water damage. However, those engulfed in flames, left wet for a long time, or corroded by soot must almost always be discarded immediately.  

Get Guidance Throughout Your Fire Restoration Project with Restoration 1 of Morris County  

Should you ever need help returning your property to its pre-fire state, your local professionals at Restoration 1 of Morris County are available 24/7. 

We understand the emotional toll fire damage can take on you. So, on top of implementing our straightforward process in fire and smoke damage restoration, our entire team goes the extra mile to guide you through every step we take and ensure you have no unknowns to worry about. 

Let our certified and compassionate team get your home back to normal and minimize disruption to your life. Contact Restoration 1 of Morris today for expert fire and smoke damage restoration.