Much of the damage that occurs during a fire in a home or business does not come from flames. Instead, it is damage caused by smoke or soot and by the water or chemicals used to extinguish the fire that usually result in the greatest degree of destruction. However, there are things you can do that make it more likely that a professional can restore your home or business and its contents to their original condition.

J&M Keystone, Inc. offers complete smoke, fire and water cleanup services by professionals who understand how to mitigate the damage caused by a home or business fire. These professionals are able to give you fast service that results in like-new conditions for your home or business. With help from the professionals at J&M Keystone, Inc., you can reverse the damage caused by smoke, soot, fire, water and chemicals.

Smoke and Soot Cause Serious Damage

Smoke and soot generally cause far more problems for home and business owners who are victims of a fire than the flames themselves. Not only are smoke and soot corrosive, but the damage they cause is often exacerbated by the damage from flames as well as from water and chemicals used to fight the fire. In just a few short minutes, a fire can cause thousands of dollars in damage and leave a layer of soot and smoke over the contents of a building that, if not cleaned immediately, may cause even more damage in the long run.

Getting soot and smoke out of a home or business and its contents requires a professional, according to experts who have studied the effects of smoke damage. Home and business owners should never try to handle smoke damage cleanup alone as they can easily cause irreparable damage or spread the effects of soot over a larger area, making cleanup more difficult. There are certain steps that must be taken immediately after a fire to maximize the chances that soot and smoke damage can be repaired, and only a professional can perform these tasks.

However, there are things that you can do to help the professionals with their job and to give yourself the best chance of complete recovery from smoke and soot damage. Here are some tips on what you should do immediately after a fire.

  • Get the air circulating if appropriate. One of the most important things you can do is ventilate a room that has been exposed to smoke to remove the smell. However, you must be careful; if there has also been water damage from firefighting efforts, you should use a dehumidifier before opening any windows and introducing fresh air into the room. Otherwise, you risk introducing mold into the room. Further, if you open windows and blow soot around, it can be transferred to other areas of the building. Be sure to isolate rooms with smoke damage from other areas of the home or business before opening any windows or setting up fans. Consider the ventilation system in the room, as well; air conditioning vents can transport soot and ash to other parts of the business.
  • Dry wet items quickly. If you can use fans and dehumidifiers to dry carpets and furniture, do so until professional help arrives. The most important factor in water damage is removing the water as quickly as possible, so if your rooms are damaged by water from firefighting efforts, drying your items makes sense.
  • Clean copper or brass within 24 hours so that soot does not etch these items. Copper or brass cleaner and a clean cloth can be used to remove soot. Be sure to clean thoroughly, including in any crevices.
  • Put plastic food wrap under furniture legs to minimize contact with rugs or flooring.
  • Wrap all clean and dry items in plastic. This will prevent the spread of soot from other areas of the building to clean items, resulting in cross-contamination.
    • Cleaning textiles. Soot is oily and ash is corrosive, so together they can destroy drapes, carpets and upholstery. It is very important to get a professional to clean your textiles using non-damaging techniques.
    • Deodorizing. A professional can apply the right deodorizers that will both remove smoke odors and protect the air quality so that no one suffers from respiratory problems. Using your own deodorizing sprays may cause an unintended problem for allergy or asthma sufferers.
    • Cleaning soot from walls. A professional can assess the extent of soot damage and determine the best way to clean your walls.
    • Mold remediation. If there is a chance of mold damage from water, be sure to have a professional perform mold remediation.

There are also some things you should not attempt to do yourself. You should always hire a professional to perform these jobs to protect your valuable building and contents.

J&M Keystone, Inc. can help you recover from smoke and soot damage and restore your home or business to its former condition.