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Selecting A Restoration Firm To Preform Fire Damage Clean Up

Fire damage clean up is an arduous process that often requires the proper industrial equipment and time. A standard vacuum cleaner is rarely enough. In addition, time is of the essence. In the wake of a fire, when victims are faced with insurance matters, arrangements for interim housing, and possible health concerns, homeowners are unlikely to make salvage efforts the top priority. Sadly, this could present a costly dilemma. In these cases, the services of a certified fire restoration company are invaluable.

The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) states that delays in fire damage clean up can have serious consequences.  In addition to the obvious devastation created by heat, flames, and soot, water and smoke are powerful contaminators and destructors in their own right. Immediate intervention is critical to minimize exposure to these damaging agents in hopes of limiting restoration costs.

•    Within minutes after the blaze is extinguished, acidic soot residue causes discoloration of plastics. Certain materials like marble and alabaster could be marred permanently.
•    It only takes a matter of hours for acidic soot to cause yellowing of bath fixtures, countertops, and the tarnishing of unprotected metals. Furniture and appliances may also discolor.
•    Within days, acid residues may permanently discolor walls and cause corrosion and rusting of metals. Flooring made of wood or vinyl must be replaced (or at the least refinished), and textiles such as clothing and furniture upholstery becomes irreparably stained.
•    In a matter of weeks, carpet may become unsalvageable due to discoloration. Silver-plated fixtures are irreversibly corroded. Glass, crystal, and china may become severely etched and pitted due to extended exposure to acidic soot residue.

In addition to the structural destruction caused by the flames, acidic soot alone can cause irreparable harm to a home’s interior and belongings. But the problems don’t end there. Odor removal can present another challenge, and ceiling or box fans alone are not always powerful enough to disperse the smell of smoke. Water damage caused by first responders in an effort to extinguish the inferno further complicates matters.

Home and property owners may be able to salvage some of their belongings with soap and a sponge or by vacuuming and laundering. Heavy soot build-up, extensive water damage, odor removal, and corrosion control, however, is almost always best left to certified restoration technicians. These professionals have the necessary fire damage clean up tools that allow them to restore the interior of a home or commercial property to pre-loss condition. For structural damage, a general contractor may need to be consulted.

When selecting a restoration firm to perform fire damage clean up, consumers should ensure that the candidate’s training is up to date and backed by formal documentation. In addition, the company’s or technician’s health and safety certificates should be in order. Ideally, the candidate should possess vast experience in a variety of restoration skills, and be able to provide proof of professional licenses as well as applicable insurance.

As the certifying body for fire restoration technicians, the IICRC offers an online search tool for consumers in search of a Certified firm specializing in fire damage clean up. IICRC-certified firms are backed by the CleanTrust™ logo. A well-established badge of credibility and professionalism awarded only to professionals who meet IICRC certification standards and requirements.

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