Fire damage is one of the most devastating catastrophes in somebody's life. If a house is on fire everything vanishes right in front of your eyes in a few minutes. It's a happening that nobody would want to personally watch and experience. Fire can engulf almost whole properties and everything inside them, leaving behind huge amounts of obliterated remains or damages. Still, not all hope is lost because, in some instances, the property damaged by fire can be renovated or restored.
Before heading on to restoring your valuables, general assessment of the whole situation is needed. Understanding that an extensive assessment of your home's damage entails more than strength and readiness. Here are some tips in conducting damage assessment:
- Assess the superficial damage. First, carefully check and assess the damage from outside the house. Visually catalogue and note your observations either through the aid of a video recorder or digital camera. This way you can keep an assessment for insurance and personal records. But before doing this, consult the firefighters about your plans and make sure they give a go-signal. You should also examine the land around the house and its surrounding yards, the roof, and all the exterior surfaces of the house. Check for ruins: melted objects, damaged chimneys, missing shingles and other exterior ruins, etc.
- Assess the internal damage. Once again, before entering the house, you must obtain clearance from firefighters. Afterwards, you may do an initial walk through the charred entrance door into your damaged home. It may be very difficult, but you have to do it. An impulse of wanting to salvage the remaining valuables might overcome you but remember to resist this urge. First things first—you need to do an assessment of the house. Catalogue and visually record everything first before salvaging anything that's left of your belongings. All major rooms: bedrooms, attic, living areas, bathrooms and the basement must be checked. Examine carefully the visible damages, particularly to the walls, roof, floors, ceilings, ducts, vents, bathtubs, windows, sinks, etc. Check all things to see their current condition – whether they are intact or falling apart, especially in the basement, where you will go to take a look at the foundations, walls and ceilings.
- Seek a professional's help for extensive analysis. Everyone, with working senses, can assess visual examination. Leave the nitty-gritty part of analyzing to professionals. Professional restoration companies can do a more accurate and faster damage assessment. It is ideal to hire one if you want to avoid the stress and have limited time.
- Clean up the damage. The objective of the damage cleaning process is to take the assessed damage and correct it accordingly through a restoration process. The primary aim is to minimize the possibility of further damage.
To properly clean and deodorize your home from top to bottom, you must remove all soot first. The removal of soot marks and absorbed smoke odors is a must. Soot is likely to stain everything and can possibly embed itself and leave a permanent mark. You will have to remove it as soon as possible.
Accidents happen all too often and most times when we least expect it. What is possible and within our capability is to prepare and plan ahead – prevention is always way better.