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All About Smoke Damage

A fire can be devastating and the damage from the smoke it produces can be as well. If a fire does occur in your business, you must have a professional clean up the smoke damage. Smoke damage can persist if not re mediated properly. 

Impacts of fire & smoke damage

Once a fire occurs, it is obvious what fire damage looks like in your home. What might not be so obvious is the smoke damage. Fire damage produces charred items, walls that are discolored, soot or ash on the floor, walls and ceiling. However, the smells and chemicals emanated from the result of a  fire burning can be harmful to the surfaces in your home as well as your health. Smoke damage can occur immediately after fire damage, but it also can take several hours or days after the fire to manifest. 

discoloration

Almost immediately after a fire has been put out, it is evident smoke damage is there in your home or business.  

  • Walls & ceilings. You might notice a yellowing as the smoke damage gets worse.
  • Plastic surfaces, wood & appliances. These types of surfaces can become discolored and even warp from smoke damage.
  • Metal hardware & Metals. Rust and corrosion will start to develop on any metal hardware in your home or business. These types of surfaces can also become permanently tarnished.
  • Marble, granite or travertine. Countertops, tiles or other surfaces that contain these materials will usually permanently discolor from smoke damage and acidic residue found in soot.

Smoke Odor

Many surfaces in your home or business will display the symptoms of smoke odor. This can happen on surfaces or fabric items. What causes this smoke odor? Smoke from a fire produces tiny particles of carbon (called soot) and this soot settling on surfaces of your home causes the smoke odor. After fire damage restoration has been completed, smoke damage restoration is necessary to get rid of smell produced from fire damage.

Smoke has several components which produces the odor that lingers. It produces particles that can penetrate fabrics and surfaces. These particles can be toxic. Smoke damage also produces vapors that can be poisonous if you inhale or are absorbed into surfaces. These vapors present themselves as fog-like droplets. Carbon monoxide (CO) is the most dangerous toxic gas produced from fire damage. Another toxic gas called phosgene is produced with items such as chlorine are burned. Hydrogen cyanide is produced from common household items such as insulation, synthetics, plastics, carpets, clothing and plastics burn.

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All About Fire Damage: Preventing Fire Damage in Your Home or Business

FIRE PREVENTION is a year round consideration!

We want to help you prevent fires in the workplace and your residence. With planning, preparation and education, consumers and businesses alike can take meaningful steps to avoid the danger and destruction of commercial and residential fires. Use this information to make your home and business safer year round!

The Stats

Figures provided by the U.S. Fire Administration.

Residential

Smoking
14.2%
Electrical Malfunction
9.7%
Cooking
6.6%

Non-Residential

Cooking
29.9%
Electrical Malfunction
7.4%
Heating
7.4%
Appliances
3.8%
Equipment malfunction
3.8%

Tips for Fire Prevention

It is easy to collect clutter! Whether you have a home or business, clutter is always a factor. Harboring items that have been acquired, items you have spent money for, keepsake items or stockpiled inventory or supplies can definitely be a fire hazard. If a fire starts near an area that has a large quantity of clutter, the flames spread more quickly. Now is the time to go through your home or business and declutter. Make sure emergency exits and escape routes are not blocked by clutter, furniture or other assets.

Everyone wants to make sure their electronic device is charged. Between smart phones, tables, televisions, computers, appliances, lighting and other devices… electrical outlets are in demand in any home or business. Overloaded circuits cause overheating and overheating can cause a fire. When overtaxed, circuit breakers can also malfunction, which can cause a fire. Consider these tips:

  • Do not connect an extention cord or power strip to another extension cord or power strip
  • Don't use extension cords permanently. Use them only for temporary purposes
  • Don't use worn, old or damaged extension cords
  • Don't use heat-producing appliance, such as a coffee maker or iron, on anything but an outlet
  • Don't run electrical cords under doorways or carpets

Different appliances and equipment produce higher amounts of heat than others. As an example, copy machines or coffee makers run hot. Make sure appliances and equipment that run hot stay away from products that will fuel a fire, such as paper. So if you have a copy machine or printer, keep it separate from the paper.

Each month, smoke alarms and smoke detectors should be checked and tested. If you have not replaced your smoke alarms or smoke detectors in the past 10 years, replace them. Smoke alarm and smoke detectors that are older than 10 years old are prone to malfunction and do not contain updated technology.

Each quarter, practice fire evacuation drills. Also, make sure you plan for the worst by having a business continuity plan. Disaster restoration planning allows your to minimize financial losses, disruptions, establish evacuation plans and communicate during times of emergency. Click the links below to learn more:

Never leave anything cooking unattended, even for a minute! Food burning can cause protein fires, which we cover in the next section. Protein fires can cause smoke odor damage and require specific equipment to remediate. To avoid this danger, always supervise your cooking and do not leave food cooking for long periods of time unsupervised.

Types of Fires

Most people think a fire is a fire, but did you know there are different types of fire? All fire damage produces smoke odor damage and the home or business usually also suffers water damage from putting out the fire.

  • Protein Fire

Protein fires are most often caused by cooking and are resulting from burning food that is high in protein like food or meat. If you have experienced a fire in your kitchen from burning food, the smell may not go away! Fire damage restoration of a protein fire requires very through cleaning to get rid of the odor and residue. Specific equipment and training is necessary to get the job done successfully.

  • Complex Fire

Complex fires are caused by multiple natural and synthetic items inside your home have burned causing black smoke residue on contents and surfaces and synthetic smoke odors. Here, emergency corrosion mitigation is needed to protect at-risk surfaces.

  • Natural Fire

If you experience a fire near your home or business and the smoke odor or smoke residue has penetrated the structure from the outside, you have experienced natural fire damage. Black soot requires specialized equipment to resolve.

  • Appliance Fire

When microwaves or hot water heaters explode, ovens burst into flames or dryers catch fire, that’s when you know you have experienced an appliance fire. Black soot and smoke odor damage require expert knowledge, skill and equipment to resolve.

  • Electrical Fire

When electrical circuits become overloaded from too much demand, electrical fires occur. Electrical fires can also be caused by faulty, old wiring and can produce some pungent smoke odor damage. To remove the black soot and smell, we have the processes and technology to restore your home or business back to its original condition.

Why Fire Damage Repair Needs to Happen Immediately

Obvious signs such as discoloration on walls or ceilings can disappear with replacement of the affected material. However, the smoke odor will not go away as it becomes trapped in hidden places and can continue to cause damage the longer it lingers. Air conditioner vents, spaces behind walls or the outside walls of your home or business are all areas where ash and soot can hide and continue to cause smoke odor damage if they are not resolved immediately.

What to do when fire damage occurs

Processes and technology are the key to handle fire damage when it happens. As a trusted fire damage contractor, we will make sure fire damage and smoke odor damage is handled property by:

  • Inspecting the structural integrity of the building for safety
  • Identifying the source to determine the type of fire that occurred
  • Evaluating all areas that suffered water damage as a result of fire suppression efforts to identify those that may need treatment
  • Remediating water damage (if any)
  • Evaluating sensitive materials that may be damaged as a result of smoke and soot particles
  • Removing contents from the building, including:
    • Collecting immediate items you may need to operate your business remotely
    • Securing removal, storage and cleaning of sensitive files and data storage devices
    • Salvaging of product stock, raw materials, commodities, and machinery
    • Packing out the remaining contents for cleaning and storage
  • Performing structural restoration, including:
    • Removing of any charred contents that may seal in smoke such as insulation and burned wood
    • Evaluating carpets and floor coverings that may need to be removed
    • Treating affected surfaces for smoke odors and sealing to keep any leftover odors from leaking back into the building
  • Cleaning, eliminating odors and deodorizing surfaces to pre-loss condition
  • Returning items to the original location and helping to restore your normal operation.

Don't Know What To Do Next? We Do

  • We're ready to restore your home or place of business following any disaster
  • 24/7 our trained and well-equipped experts respond to your emergency needs
  • With you as our priority, we say what we do and do what we say