The Dos and Don’ts of Dealing with Fire Damage
Having property damage because of a fire can be stressful. After ensuring that you and everyone else working in your commercial building are safe, you can call a fire damage restoration company to clean any items that you want to save.
You’ll also want to follow some important steps that are often forgotten.
Everything You Should Know About Commercial Property Fires and Fire Damage
Some of the leading causes of commercial property fires are from cooking equipment, heating equipment, smoking materials, and electrical malfunction. A small flame can turn into a major blaze in as little as 30 seconds, so it’s essential to act fast.
Fire damage can either be caused by the flames or the smoke and other corrosive substances emitted from the fire. In some cases, the damage can be incredibly extensive by impacting your electrical wiring, plumbing, and appliances. Fire damage can result in almost $7 billion in property damage.
What To Do After a Fire
If there’s a fire in your commercial property, you must act fast to prevent injuries or damage. Below are some essential things you should do after the flames have been put out:
Do: Contact Your Insurance Company
One of the first things you should do after a commercial property fire is to contact your commercial insurance company. They will walk you through everything you need to do to file a claim if necessary, including documenting everything that’s been lost or damaged in the fire. Some commercial fire policies can even reimburse you for the damage caused by fire to cover your losses.
Do: Recover Your Possessions
Organize your possessions, separating the damaged from the undamaged, to make it easier to list for your insurance company. You can take any salvageable items with you and keep them in a safe place. If any important documents have been damaged in the fire, make sure to contact the appropriate agencies to have them replaced.
Do: Find a Safe Place to Stay
If it’s unsafe to continue working in your building after a fire, make arrangements to work someplace else for a few days until you’re cleared to return to your commercial property. If you’ll be gone for a few days, notify anyone who may need to reach you in an emergency.
Do: Take Pictures of the Damage
This step is crucial for getting the most out of your loss. If you’ve already contacted your insurance company, they will likely instruct you to take pictures or write down everything damaged in the fire.
Do: Let Your Loved Ones Know You’re Safe
It will ease your friends’ and relatives’ minds if you let them know you’re okay after a fire. After handling all the clean-up and documentation for insurance purposes, don’t forget to tell your loved ones that you’re safe.
What Not To Do After a Fire
Knowing what to avoid can also ensure your safety and limit the amount of damage you may cause after a fire. Try to avoid doing the following after a commercial property fire:
Don’t: Enter the Building Until It’s Deemed Safe
For your safety and to mitigate damage, don’t enter your commercial building after a fire unless local authorities allow you to. Just because the flames are out doesn’t necessarily mean there aren’t any other potential threats inside. For example, the fire could weaken the building’s structural integrity, or you could risk further smoke damage from soot particles while moving around.
Don’t: Touch Items Covered in Soot
Soot is the black, powdery substance formed by the incomplete burning of organic materials. Items covered in soot after a fire should be handled carefully, as touching them with your bare hands can cause permanent staining on surfaces. The best way to safely clean soot-covered items is by calling a professional.
Don’t: Throw Anything Away
Getting rid of anything completely destroyed in a fire might be tempting. However, you shouldn’t be so hasty yet. You will need to document everything that has been damaged for insurance purposes, so don’t discard anything until after this process is complete. Some items might also require a closer analysis to ensure it’s not a total loss.
Don’t: Leave Your Property Unsecured if Have to Relocate
If you have to leave your commercial building for a few days after a fire, make sure to keep it secured. Protecting your property to prevent theft, vandalism, or other kinds of damage while you’re away is always a smart idea. Leaving your property open and vulnerable while you’re gone can result in more expenses you’ll need to cover if more damage occurs.
Some tips for securing your property:
- Board everything up
- Check back regularly to ensure no new problems have occurred
- Take all your valuables with you
- Ask the fire department about how to prevent a flare-up if the structure is still burning
Don’t: Forget About Your Health
Dealing with fire damage can be stressful for you and everyone else involved. It’s important to gather all the necessary documents and get your property back to its pre-damaged condition, but not as important as making sure everyone involved in the fire is okay, especially yourself. Don’t forget to seek medical help if you or someone else was injured or burned in the fire.
You also want to do what you can to reduce stress as much as possible. Having a clear and calm mind can make the process easier, as your judgment won’t be as clouded.
Other Helpful Tips
There is so much to think about after a commercial property fire. Here are a few extra tips to ensure you get everything you need and to protect yourself in the future:
- Empty any freezers or refrigerators if the electricity is off
- Don’t attempt to clean any electrical appliances without consulting a professional
- Avoid eating any foods that may have been stored near the fire
- Deodorize clothes and fabrics before washing them
- Change your HVAC filter
- Install new fire alarms
Are You Looking for Quality Fire Damage Restoration Services in Boca Raton, FL?
Dealing with the aftermath of a commercial property fire is stressful enough. Don’t let the restoration process be a hassle, too. BlueTeam promises to be your trusted partner in your time of need by implementing a comprehensive reconstruction plan after evaluating the site. Contact our team today to request a quote!