A residential clean-up after a fire or flood can be overwhelming when trying to put your life back together. Unfortunately, floods and fires never just leave fire or water damage. Smoke, soot, moisture, sewage, and debris all take their toll on your property and can continue to create damage long after the original devastation.
Use these tips from a professional residential clean-up service to start putting the pieces of your life back together and get back to living as quickly as possible.
Natural floods are often an unstoppable force. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is leave your property and possessions in Mother Nature’s hands while you wait it out on higher ground. However, if you have some forewarning, there are things you can do to mitigate the damage.
You can move your most precious possessions and electronics to the upper floor if you have a double-story home. Try to store as many of your valuable items up above floor level, such as on beds and furniture, so there is more chance it doesn’t get submerged.
When you have moved as much as you can out of harm’s way, take photos of your property and possessions. Floodwater will pick up anything that’s not nailed down and carry it downstream, so pictures will be very helpful when working with your insurance adjuster. It’s easy to lose your images during the turmoil, so use a smartphone camera and back up your pictures to the cloud.
Prepare an emergency backpack with water, toiletries, food and snacks, a first aid kit, bedding, and anything else you think you will need that you can carry. You could be staying at a shelter with limited supplies and many needy people, so it will be easier to endure if you are at least a little self-sufficient and less strain on emergency services.
If you can, pack sandbags around the lower level of your home. Floodwaters that don’t rise higher than the sandbags will save a lot of your property from getting water damaged.
Fire can strike at any moment, but there’s a lot you can do to reduce the chance that you have to endure the trauma of watching your life go up in flames.
Regularly check your smoke detectors – Smoke detectors save lives. Many fire-related deaths could have been prevented if there were working smoke detectors in the property, so check yours regularly, at least once a month, and replace them every 10 years.
Create an escape plan – Most workplaces have fire drills, but not many families put their loved ones through the same training. Ensure everyone knows what to do when they hear the smoke alarm. And just like at the office, everyone should know where to gather after they escape the property.
Install a fireproof safe – After the residential clean-up service has given you the all-clear to start the next phase of your recovery, replacing most household items is relatively straightforward. However, some things, like important documents, will make your life easier if they don’t get destroyed in the fire. A small fireproof safe can keep your most important documents, which can help when you are rebuilding your life.
Practice fire safety in the kitchen – More than half of household fires start in the kitchen, so it’s critical to practice fire safety in this area of the home. Keep a fire extinguisher suitable for grease and oil fires handy, and ensure there are no flammable materials like curtains and paper towels near hot plates and toasters.
Never leave a kitchen unattended while any of the hot appliances are running. Never use water to put out a kitchen fire. Cover it with a heavy lid or pour baking soda or salt on small fires. If a fire does get out of hand, don’t continue trying to fight it. Get out of the house and call 911.
Clean out your lint filters – Clothes dryers can cause fires in your laundry if they overheat and the lint catches fire. Make sure you clean the filters out regularly. Heating systems also have a filter that needs to be cleaned out periodically.
Keep your home tidy – A regular residential clean and tidy of your property can limit the chance of a fire and reduce its ability to spread if one does break out. If there’s a lot of clutter around your home, there’s also more chance of a fire, especially when using portable heaters.
Returning to Your Home
The first thing to do after flood or fire damage is to call a residential clean-up service near you to come and check the damage and create an action plan. There will be a lot of destruction and developing decay hidden beneath the surface, so it’s always good to have a professional assessment.
Don’t set foot into a damaged property until you know it is safe to do so. As an experienced residential clean-up service specializing in flood and fire restoration, we know you are anxious to start the restoration process. However, it’s not worth it if you put your life in danger. Ensure the gas and electricity have been turned off, and the house has been reported as structurally sound before you enter.
Don’t immediately start discarding things because they look beyond saving. It’s surprising how many items can get through a flood or fire and still be salvageable, even though they might not look it.
An experienced residential cleaning service has professional equipment and skills to return your damaged items to an as new condition. Many people are often relieved to discover that precious heirlooms or items of sentimental value don’t have to be thrown on the junk pile.
Call your insurance provider as soon as possible, but don’t wait for them to arrive before starting the residential cleaning process. The sooner you start, the less chance you give trapped moisture, soot, and mold to extend the level of damage. This is why a detailed collection of photos is so critical to your insurance claim.
Have you recently experienced flood or fire damage and want to know the fastest way to recover? Call Best Option Restoration and get our professional team to assess your property. Whether you’ve got a nasty mold outbreak, or a busted pipe in the basement, no residential clean-up service is too big or small, and we can help speed up insurance claims as well.