Fire damage can be devastating, even if your house doesn't burn down completely. If a wildfire damaged your home, you need to be careful, as the air and ash that covers your home may be filled with toxins. When it is safe for you to return to your home, you need to make sure you know how to start the restoration process and keep yourself safe.
#1: Wear a Proper Fitting Respirator
When you are dealing with cleaning up or even looking at a fire-damaged home, you need more than a simple cloth mask. You need a properly fitted respirator with a HEPA filter. This type of filter is designed to filter out dangerous gases and vapors so that you don't breathe them in. This is a type of mask you may find at a hardware store. There is often a lot of harmful debris in the air after a fire, so you want to protect yourself.
#2: Wear Personal Protective Equipment
You also don't want to come into contact with anything that has soot or ash on it or that suffered from smoke damage. You don't know what type of contaminants are in the ash and smoke. You should wear protective equipment such as eye goggles, coveralls, gloves, and a hard hat. You want to dress in clothing that is going to keep you covered up and safe regardless of what you encounter.
#3: Take Lots of Pictures
When you are allowed back on your property, you should take a lot of pictures. You can use the pictures to file a claim with your insurance company. You can also use the pictures to get a restoration team up to date about your home's condition so they can bring in the right equipment.
#4: Use Air Scrubbers to Clean the Air
You don't want to use a shop vacuum or leaf blower to clean up and remove the ash; you'll need to set up air scrubbers inside of your home. Air scrubbers will remove the small particles that stick to soot and ash and can blanket the inside of your home after a fire. You'll specifically want to use air scrubbers that have HEPA filters since they're designed to remove the tiniest particles. You may have to change out the air filters multiple times in order to clean the space up. A restoration team will have this type of equipment that can be used to clean up your home.
#5: Throw Away All Food
When it comes to cleaning up your home, you may be tempted to keep things that seem sealed up, like canned soups or boxed cereals. However, you should always throw away all the food in your home. Smoke can make its way inside of a seemingly sealed container and cause damage. Heat can cook food inside of its container and cause damage as well. Don't risk it and take a chance; get rid of all the food in your house.
When it comes to cleaning up your home after a fire, you need to take your time. You need to wear full protective gear, get the right equipment to clean up the air, and slowly work to discover what you can save and what you need to throw away. Cleaning up your home after a fire is a very involved process, which is why you should hire a restoration team to help you with the process.