Finding a Fire Restoration Company
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After a house fire, finding a fire restoration company can be confusing and stressful. It is often the last thing a homeowner wants to deal with after finding their home and belongings destroyed, but it is a crucial first step in getting your life back to normal. Here are a few of the factors to consider when you are choosing a fire restoration company for your home.
Serious harm can be caused by even the smallest fires, so finding a fire restoration company to assess the damage is important no matter what size of fire has occurred. Besides the obvious damage from the smoke and fire, there is usually quite a bit of water damage from the hoses used to extinguish the flames. Water damage can cause the foundation to rot and may lead to mold and mildew in the home. Mold is extremely dangerous when inhaled, so a professional fire restoration company should be brought in to dry out any moisture left after the fire.
Fire damage comes in two forms: Odor and soot. The soot is visible and must obviously be cleaned before the house is usable again, but the odor is often invisible and not noticed until the occupants move back into the home. Finding a fire restoration company to help you with the process will ensure that all damage is repaired, whether it can be seen or not. The process for removing the damage is different for each kind of material and the type of fire that occurred. Damaged wood cabinets in the home may need different treatment than a glass table would.
A professional fire restoration company may be able to help you reorganize your home to protect against damage in future home fires. They will also advise you on which of your damaged items can be restored and which are beyond repair. Smoke, fire, and water can cause damage that seeps into the inside of your furniture and other items. These defects are often not visible from the outside, so it is important to consult an expert in fire restoration to make sure you do not waste money on repairing an item that cannot be salvaged.
Trying to clean certain items yourself may actually damage them further. This is especially true for fabrics and clothing because they can be stained and bleached by some chemicals used in cleaning. Dry cleaning may be recommended in some cases and not in others. When in doubt, check with your fire restoration company to find out the proper cleaning procedures for your household items.
Your home’s duct system and air vents are an often overlooked area that can accumulate a great deal of smoke damage during a house fire. Smoke can collect in the ducts and leave residue and odor behind long after the fire damage itself has been cleaned up. It may be too expensive to remove the entire duct system in order to clean these hard to reach places, so a professional fire restoration company will seal off the smoky areas. This chemical sealant prevents the smoke residue from breaking off and causing odor throughout the home when the heater or air conditioner is used.
There are several important questions you should ask when finding a fire restoration company. This may not be something you want to do when you are in a hurry to get your house repaired, but the extra time taken to find a good company will be well worth it. You don’t want to suffer a second loss when the uninsured fire protection company you hired negligently damages your property or a renegade employee steals your valuables. Asking about things like liability insurance and pre-employment background checks can prevent these problems from occurring.
The first thing to ask a prospective fire restoration company is how they handle their hiring process. Do they perform full background checks and drug screens on their employees? What is the training procedure for new employees? Ask about any certifications the employees or company may have received in their industry. While this is not a guarantee of expertise, it at least assures you that they have been employed in the field for a certain length of time. Always ask about the company’s guarantee on its work. You want at least 90 days to inspect the condition of the home as much of this damage will not be obvious right away.
Ask about the company’s liability and worker’s compensation insurance, along with any bonds on them or their employees. Liability insurance is crucial to protect yourself against any injuries or negligence caused by the fire restoration company. It may seem like worker’s compensation insurance is the company’s problem, not yours, but it will become your problem if they are not covered. You will be liable for any employee hurt on your premises if the company is not adequately insured.
After you are sure that the fire restoration company has all of its paperwork in order, it is time to ask about their procedures and cleaning products. Ask how long the entire process will take, from the initial damage assessment to the final cleaning of your home. You and your family will likely be displaced during this time, so you want to make sure the company will be working at a fast pace. Even if you plan to make other housing arrangements, ask if it is safe to be in the home during the cleaning and restoration process. You may want to return to the house to check your mail or pick up items you forgot while packing.
Find out the type of equipment that will be operated in your home. This includes both the cleaning equipment and any equipment used to assess the extent of the damage. Different fire restoration companies may use different equipment in their testing and cleaning process, so you want to be sure you are getting services that are powerful enough for the damage your home has sustained. Ask about any chemicals that will be used to clean the premises and whether they are hazardous to materials, pets, or humans.