Welcome back to the Disaster Response blog! Lately, we have been discussing water damage restoration in the Grand Rapids area and, specifically, how that relates to your homeowners insurance policy. I…Read More
Everything You Need to Know About Fire Damage Restoration
Any disaster is scary, but a fire can be one of the scariest not only due to the devastation that a fire can cause but also because of the injury that it can inflict. Many fires can be avoided. However, accidents happen and you can be left with a smoldering pile of what once was your possessions or a part of your West Michigan home. Whether you’ve experienced the frenzy that a turned over candle can cause or the heart-wrenching moment of coming home from work to see your home smoking and your local fire department hard at work, you will need fire damage restoration services.
Have You Just Witnessed the Devastation of a Fire? Call Us Now!
It’s easy after a disaster to need a moment to take a deep breath to assess what you should do next. However, if your home or business has just gone up in flames, you need to call Disaster Response for fire restoration right away! Why? It is paramount that you start the clean-up and restoration process as soon as possible and here’s why:
- The longer your home or business sits in smoke, the more damage you will incur. Smoke is extremely corrosive and actually is more damaging than the fire itself.
- A fire can cause additional damage such as water damage from burst or melted plumbing, and rain and other damp weather that is allowed to get in (if you don’t seal your home).
- The quicker you get the fire damage restoration process going, the better your chances are of salvaging as many of your possessions, appliances, and the original structural elements of your home.
- The sooner you start cleaning up and restoring your home or business, the sooner you can get back to life as normal.
If you are a victim of a fire, do not wait! Call Disaster Response! We offer compassionate, professional fire damage restoration to West Michigan and beyond. Call us day or night — we have someone to take your call no matter if it’s 3 in the morning or 3 in the afternoon.
Why Call Disaster Response?
A disaster can leave you feeling overwhelmed, vulnerable, and unsure of who to trust. Not only has the space that was central to your life become an unsafe place, but you must find someone in West Michigan to help you pick up the pieces who you know will get the job done well and who you can trust. It sometimes seems like all the proverbial vultures appear when people are the most vulnerable. We can’t make any promises for our competitors in the West Michigan area. However, we can say that when you call Disaster Response, we’ll always have your best interests in mind. You can expect a level of service that you can rely on to not only get the job done right but to be a compassionate asset every step of the way. When you call us you will get fire restoration services from:
- Professionals with 30+ years of experience
- Fire damage restoration specialists with top of the line tools and equipment
- Contractors who care about helping you get back up on your feet
- Insurance adjusters with your interests in mind
- For our commercial clients, we offer a Disaster Response Plan for the future.
Disaster Response has the experience, knowledge, tools, expertise, and compassion to help you get back on your feet whether it be an accident or a devastating loss. Contact or call us right away and have confidence that someone has your back and a plan. What are our clients saying?
General Fire Damage Restoration Process
Though the actual fire restoration process will vary from situation to situation, due to the extent of the damage and other present variables, there are steps of a general process that you can expect once the flames are put out and it’s time to start the cleanup process.
Clear Out Smoke
One of the first steps is to clear out the smoke. As mentioned earlier, smoke is actually the most damaging, compared to the flames themselves. Smoke is actually very acidic and so the longer something is allowed to sit in the smoke, the more damage it will incur. Once the last of the flames are put out, it is time to get as much of the smoke out as possible. Providing good ventilation to the area will help. However, the best way to get rid of the smoke is to begin by removing everything that is charred and smoking.
Seal You Home
Getting as much smoke out of your home as possible is paramount. However, if your windows are missing and there is a big hole in your wall or roof, and it looks like it will rain, you will definitely want to seal up your home till the restoration experts are on the scene. Sealing up your home will keep additional damage from occurring like water damage, as well as keep pests out that can create more messes. When you call us for fire damage restoration, we will guide you as to what to do next.
As we allow the area to ventilate, we will begin removing all loose items that are burned and soot-covered and will determine if they are salvageable. Some items, if cleaned and aired out can actually be restored very easily. Once loose items are removed, we will begin to examine your drywall, tile, and framing to determine how much we can saved and clean or treat, and how much we need to remove and rebuild during the fire restoration process.
Much of your home’s framing may actually be salvaged depending on how much of it has been burned. If the framing is charred less than ¼ of an inch then it will most likely be salvageable. However, any more than that and it will need to be removed. In some cases, even though the framing doesn’t need to be replaced, we may add an additional framing piece or a support beam for strength and stability.
Drywall is actually fairly resilient in comparison to other parts of your home’s structure. If the drywall isn’t burned too badly and smoke did not get in the walls, then most likely it can be cleaned. However, just because drywall is more resilient, doesn’t mean that you can wait on getting the soot removal and fire restoration that you need; smoke’s acidity can damage your drywall beyond repair.
Tile and grout exposed to smoke and fire can also be salvaged as well. However, the same concept applies. If allowed to sit in corrosive smoke and soot, then you will need to replace your tile. In many cases, tile and grout can be cleaned and sometimes, they can be salvaged by chipping away the top layer, but this can be more harmful than helpful in many cases.
Granite & Formica
Worried about your granite countertops? They may actually be cleaned depending on the extent of the damage. The same is true for Formica countertops as well. If there are damaged, burned items sitting on your countertops like small appliances, it is best to get them off your counter as soon as possible. Leaving them there can actually cause a permanent stain.
Carpet that was only mildly exposed to smoke and the fire can be salvaged as well, but most likely if you experienced a major fire, your carpeting will need to be removed and replaced.
Your laminate flooring will also most likely need to be replaced during the fire damage restoration process, especially if smoke made its way into the floor. The foam under the laminate will also probably need to be replaced.
Your insulation will probably need to be replaced as well if smoke has made its way into the wall cavity and for the reason that during the assessment, the insulation will most likely be removed anyway. Why? Metal pieces such as nails and wiring can corrode and become damaged and unsafe. Removing the insulation can help our contractors know if smoke did make it into the wall and how much damage was truly inflicted on your home.
Knowing how much to remove and what to remove can seem pretty straightforward: if it’s burnt to a crisp, then you can safely assume that it needs to be retired. When it comes to items that are indeterminately damaged or structural elements it is always best to get a professional opinion. In Disaster Response’s 30 years of experience, we’ve seen it all, again and again. We will do our best to save what we can and restore or replace what’s needed.
The next step in the fire restoration process is applying the odor counteractant. If you’ve ever enjoyed a night out around a bonfire or if you’ve been around smoke at all you will know that smoke is not only very smelly, but it permeates everything. From our hair to our coat, and even our shoes. The same is true for your home. After all of the damaged, smoke filled items have been removed, a thermal fogger or ozone treatment will need to be applied. Why? Even though you may think that the smoke has cleared, on warm days, the pores of the wood in your home, will expand and release smoke into the air, causing your home to smell. Smoke can linger in the structures of our homes for over a hundred years. Buildings that survived the 1871 Great Chicago Fire sometimes still smell smokey on hot summer days.
The sealant will also counteract the smoke that may still be lingering in the structural parts of your home. Applying the odor counteractant as well as the sealant is extremely important. If they are not applied or not applied properly, then the repairs that are done to repair your home, may need to be ripped out and redone, costing you even more.
Additionally, there will be other repairs that will need to occur such as repairing damaged plumbing, replacing windows, appliances, and more. The supplemental repairs will depend on the type of fire, the damage, and how soon you begin the restoration process.
If you have any questions about the fire restoration process, feel free to contact Disaster Response. When you call our disaster restoration company for services, once we understand the situation, we will be able to explain the specific steps that your home will require to pick up the pieces and get your back to life as usual.
Why Call the Professionals?
Some in the West Michigan area wouldn’t attempt to DIY restoring their home, but there are some who would. We at Disaster Response fully support you learning more about taking care of your home and doing repairs yourself, except when it comes to fire damage restoration. As you can see, from the Fire Damage Restoration Process, there is a lot that goes into restoring your home. It’s not just about getting the flames out and removing those charred items that cannot be repaired. Much of the repairs that need to occur are those that take an expert eye and may be hidden unless you know where to look for them. Here are some other reasons why you, in this case, leave what needs to be repaired to the professionals.
We Know Exactly Where to Start
Like most people, when a disaster has occurred, you are probably overwhelmed with a million thoughts running through your head. You’re wondering how much damage was done. You’re starting to estimate the cost of everything. You will be thinking about where you and your family can stay until your home is repaired. When you call a disaster restoration company, they will know exactly where to start because they have the knowledge, experience, and calm demeanor to begin the restoration process and to give you the peace of mind that you need.
DIY Could Be Detrimental to Your Health
Attempting to clean-up and repair your home on your own can also be detrimental to your health. Smoke and soot are incredibly harmful and the release of chemicals into the air from the fire can be toxic. Don’t risk harming yourself during the restoration process and don’t risk the effects that improper and ineffective restoration can cause for you and your family long term. The amount of money that you could save from doing it yourself doesn’t amount to much if you have to have the repairs redone, and if you and your family get sick.
The Professionals Will Get It Right
Conversely, the professional fire damage restoration experts at Disaster Response will get it right the first time. We can’t speak for our competition, but we know that when you call us you can have peace of mind knowing that we have three decades of experience, the right equipment, and the attention to detail to catch everything that needs restoration.
DIY Puts Your Safety At Stake
It isn’t necessarily your health from exposure to smoke, soot, and harmful chemicals that will compromise your safety. It is also the structural issues caused by the fire that could prove to be dangerous. If your home doesn’t have the supporting structures that it needs then you risk collapse or other catastrophic structural failures that could have been avoided if you would have hired a professional damage restoration company.
Call the Professionals
Calling the professionals will not only give you peace of mind knowing that the restoration process will be done correctly, but we can help you with the insurance claims and answer any questions you may have about the entire process. Call Disaster Response today to talk to a fire damage restoration specialist. We are available 24-hours a day, 7 days a week to help you. We offer other services in addition to fire damage restoration such as water damage restoration, mold testing and mold removal, and more. Visit our website to learn more.
Causes of Fire Damage
Fires can be caused by a variety of factors. Some causes can be avoided through consistent home maintenance and watchfulness while other causes, unfortunately, can’t. When talking about a fire, it’s easy to imagine a whole house ablaze, but fire damage doesn’t just have to be addressed when it happens on a large scale. It must be addressed when it’s limited to one room of your home or business or even just one part of a room. Read more about those things that cause a fire and how to avoid a fire.
Causes of House Fires
It’s easy to get distracted while cooking no matter how many times you’ve fixed a particular dish or cuisine. You can leave the stove or burner on, an oil fire could occur, or any number of flammable accidents. Unfortunately, kitchen fires are some of the worst fires to cleanup after.
How to Avoid a Kitchen Fire
- Avoid cooking when you are distracted — we understand that might be a difficult thing to do with your home life or career, but do your best to cook when you are not in rush and can put most, if not all, your effort and attention towards it.
- Use timers to help you remember when to take your meal out of the oven and anytime you are using a heating device. If you leave the kitchen, be sure to take your timer with you.
- Make a habit of checking your stove, oven, toaster, and other appliances to be sure they are turned off when you are done using them. Getting in this habit and making a mental note that you checked them will give you peace of mind and help you avoid a fire.
Smoking inside can lead to house fires if cigarettes, cigars, etc. are left unattended or disposed of improperly. The most deadly house fires are those that occur in our bedrooms. Cigarettes can fall from the fingers of smokers that have fallen asleep and end up igniting the carpet, bedding, or curtains. Pet’s can also knock ashtrays which can have the same effect.
How to Avoid a Fire Caused by Smoking
- Avoid smoking in your bedroom
- If you must smoke in your bedroom, be sure to dispose of your used cigarette effectively
Electrical fires can happen due to faulty wiring and to appliances that are old, poorly maintained, or overworked. An appliance that can start an electrical fire doesn’t have to be one that uses heat like a toaster or oven. Any appliance can start a fire.
How to Avoid an Electrical Fire
- When using an appliance, devote your complete attention to it
- Stay up to date with maintenance and cleaning
- Replace frayed cords and overworked extension cords
- Unplug appliances after use and double check they are off before leaving the room
- Consider upgrading your electrical system if you have an old system or if you find yourself using multiple extension cords
Candles are beautiful and romantic as well as practical, but they can also cause a disaster if you forget about them or they are knocked over by a pet or child. Thankfully, there are a lot of candle alternatives such as battery-operated candles, potpourri, diffusers, and more. If you choose to use candles be sure to take the necessary safety precautions.
How to Avoid a Candle-Caused Fire
- Be sure to keep all flammable objects away from them
- Burn them on a stable surface
- Set an alarm so you don’t forget to blow them out
- Teach your children about the dangers of candles.
As we mentioned above, an electrical fire can be started by bad wiring in your home. If you have an older home, be sure to have your electrical system inspected by a professional electrician when you move in and when you install a new appliance.
To Avoid An Electrical Fire
- Always have a home inspected, and specifically, the electrical system and wiring. Also consider upgrading to a modern system that can handle the energy consumption of modern lifestyles.
- Stay up-to-date with preventative maintenance
- Invest in system and appliance upgrades
There is nothing like a barbeque whether it be with a group of friends or for the purpose of grilling the perfect steak. However, an unattended barbeque and one poorly placed can cause a disaster.
To Avoid A Barbecue Fire
- Never place a barbeque under a tree, roof, or awning of your home or shed, or under other flammable objects.
- Regularly clean your grill and maintain it
- Check your propane tanks for leaks
In most cases, you don’t have to worry about your light fixtures lighting your home on fire. However, it is always a good idea to inspect them for frayed cords and old flammable lampshades. Older lights can generate a lot of heat and can burn curtains, shades, and other items in close proximity.
To Avoid A Fire by Lighting Fixtures
- Check old light fixtures regularly for repairs and other issues
- Replace your light fixtures with energy-efficient alternatives
- Keep heat-generating light sources away from flammable objects
Curious Minds & Pets
Our children and pets can actually be two of the biggest culprits for causing fires. Our kids can cause a fire due to carelessness and curiosity. Our pet’s on the other hand, don’t know any better. Accidents happen. However, do all that is in your ability to avoid a problem.
To Avoid a Fire by Children & Pets
- Educate your children about the dangers of fire and what to do if they see a fire
- Keep candles and other flammable objects away from the reach of your pets
What Our Clients Are Saying
It’s easy for a disaster restoration company to claim to be the best, to be caring, and to have the experience to do the job right. However, it is another thing to hear about the experiences of their clients. Read our client’s reviews to learn more about our reputation in West Michigan and contact our fire damage restoration specialists with any questions you may have!