After a fire damage, it might sound like a good idea to save a few bucks and do some of the cleaning yourself. Isn’t it too hard right? Wrong. Fire tends to leave behind an evil, not so visible, friend: Smoke. Smoke odor can be very dangerous and detrimental to one’s heath. It is Important to understand the dangers and how to safely remove leftover soot.
Leftover smoke and soot following a fire are more than just smelly and unsightly. Even during the fire damage restoration process, if these leftovers are inhaled it can negatively affect one’s health. This is especially true for children, elderly, and those with weaker immune systems.
When combustion occurs during a fire, not all materials burn cleanly, resulting in smoke and soot. The products left include a combination of solids, liquids, and gasses that, more often than not, could be composed of various chemicals which are harmful to your health.
?Exposure to smoke and soot during fire restoration may occur via the skin and eyes, inhalation, and ingestion. Because airborne soot particulate is invisible, you may unknowingly be affected. Once soot enters your bloodstream, it can cause a wide array of serious health issues, including respiratory issues, shortness of breath, bronchitis, asthma, stroke, heart attack, and even death. In infants, even short-term exposure to soot has been shown to have lifelong health consequences, permanently altering developing respiratory systems.
If a fire strikes your home, it is important to act fast to remove the smoke odor as soon as possible. To be safe, put on a face mask and start the damage control. First, you need to get rid of whatever was the cause of the fire, whether it’s the curling iron that got left on in the bathroom or the candle that never got blown out. Open windows and doors to get some air filtration that will begin to push out the smoke that hasn’t already settled.
Smoke particles can rest and stick to almost any surface in the affected area. Once this happens, air circulation will no longer be able to push the smell out, making it almost impossible to completely remove the smell. The longer this sits, the more the soot will set in, making it harder to completely remove. This is why you should be sure to clean all surfaces, furniture, carpets, and fabrics in the area when the fire happened. Remove all drapes, furniture coverings, rugs and any other fabrics and throw them into the washing machine. All of the hard surfaces need to be wiped down and cleaned with a cleaner as well. Walls, floors, counters, tables, couches, chairs and even light fixtures need to be wiped down and cleaned.
?Unfortunately, safety risks from fire do not end once the flames are extinguished. Even if you have acted fast and think you have cleaned it all up, fire damage can linger for years unless properly addressed. Proper tools, materials, and ventilation practices are necessary to protect and restore indoor air quality following a fire, including HEPA filtration and adsorption (activated carbon) to preserve air quality. You can help the effort of making it easier to completely remove smoke by doing the tasks mentioned above, but professional tools, knowledge, and expertise are at the heart of a thorough and safe fire restoration. Call a trained professional, such as Alert, to ensure the damage is completely removed without further hazards.