The following emergency tips were compiled from restoration contractors who have experience in the field. You can use these tips to help deal with emergency situations you may run into.
Fire and smoke damage
After fire damage, it is natural to want to clean your property and its contents. Timely action can be a great help, while incorrect or delayed action can jeopardize or seriously impede satisfactory restoration.
- Clear and protect chrome trim on kitchen appliances with a light coating of petroleum jelly or other oil.
- Blow off or brush-vacuum loose smoke and soot particles from upholstery, drapery and carpet.
- Open windows for ventilation.
- Tape doubled pieces of cheesecloth over air registers with masking tape.
- Empty freezer and refrigerator completely if electricity is off, and remove doors from hinges to prevent children or pets from getting hurt.
- Clean and protect bathroom faucets, tub fittings and towel bars with a light coating of oil.
- Pour antifreeze in toilet bowls and the drains of sinks, and tubs to prevent freezing if heat is off in winter.
- Wash plants with water on both sides of leaves (water softener helps).
- Call plumber to drain heating system if heat is off in winter.
- Move pets (especially birds) to clean environments.
- Wipe or attempt to wash walls, ceilings or other absorbent surfaces.
- Use do-it-yourself, home carpet or upholstery cleaners.
- Use upholstered furniture if it can be avoided. Cover upholstery with clean sheets before using.
- Use exposed food items, or canned goods which have been subjected to excessive heat.
- Use TVs, stereos, or electrical appliances until cleaned and checked.
- Send smoked garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke and odour.
Water is an essential part of many cleaning processes, but under some circumstances, although it usually cleans, it can damage articles. The harmful effect of water is sharply reduced by prompt and wise action. Some procedures are obvious, others require foresight and experience.
- Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting.
- Wipe water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
- Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying (check for possible bleeding).
- Place aluminum foil, china saucers or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
- Turn on air conditioning for maximum drying in summer.
- Open windows to speed drying in winter.
- Open drawers and cabinet doors for complete drying (do not force them open).
- Remove valuable oil paintings and art objects to a safe place.
- Blot wet carpeting with clean white towels.
- Open suitcases and luggage to dry, in sunlight if possible.
- Punch small holes in sagging ceilings to relieve trapped water (don’t forget to place pans beneath).
- Leave wet fabrics in place. You should dry them as soon as possible.
- Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.
- Leave books, magazines or other coloured items on wet carpets or floors.
- Use your household vacuum to remove water.
- Use TVs or other appliances while standing on wet carpet or floors, especially not on wet concrete floors.
- Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, or enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.
Timely action can be a great help, while incorrect or delayed action can jeopardize or even seriously impede satisfactory restoration.
- Hose down or wash egg residue from building exterior as soon as possible.
- Wipe up freshly spilled food from carpets and fabrics with a dampened cloth or sponge (but don’t over-wet). Scrape and blot. Don’t rub as it may cause fuzzing or damage fibers.
- Vacuum glass particles from carpets and upholstery.
- Save any containers, which will reveal the composition of spilled inks, cosmetics and paints.
- Attempt to remove ink, paint or cosmetic stains.
- Operate damaged lamps or appliances.
- Throw out wood chips, broken pieces from furniture, porcelain or other art objects. You may need them for repairs.