5 Things You Should Know About Commercial Fire Damage
Any amount of fire damage can be devastating for a business, and fire restoration is hard work! After the fire department ensures everything is safe, restoration professionals are the next people who should enter a building that has been damaged by fire, water, flood, sewer backup, or other significant events.
SERVPRO technicians are experts at commercial fire, water, and mold restoration and we will have your business back up and running as quickly as possible. We know that every day spent restoring your commercial building is lost revenue and productivity! We will do the hard work, so you don't have to.
Here are five commercial fire damage restoration tips.
1 Limit activity in the damaged area.
Don't enter a damaged building until the fire department deems it safe. Fire can impact the structural integrity of the building. Firefighters often have to cut holes in the walls, ceilings, and floors to slow the fire and make sure it is completely out.
You should limit any activity in the damaged area to prevent soot and ashes from being embedded into surfaces or spread to other areas of the building. Staying away from the damaged area also helps minimize your exposure to hazardous chemicals and materials like lead, asbestos, bacteria, mold, and other pathogens. Disturbing or spreading these toxins and contaminants can cause further property damage and can cause health problems.
SERVPRO technicians are experts at cleaning up even microscopic bacteria, mold spores, and hazardous chemicals. We use HEPA filters, vacuums, and special chemicals to make sure every area is safe and clean.
2 Removing smoke and soot damage is challenging.
Any fire, large or small, will likely cause smoke damage to walls, ceiling, and other surfaces. Soot is very greasy and can cover the interior of your business, even if the fire was limited to a small area. Smoke can get into the walls, floors, and air ducts, causing the smell to linger long after the fire if it isn't properly treated.
It is essential to hire fire restoration experts that will thoroughly scrub your building of all the soot, smoke, and potentially hazardous chemicals. Improperly cleaning smoke and soot can actually "set" the smells, especially in fabrics and textiles like carpets, upholstery, clothing, and similar items. Additionally, soot residue can contain dangerous chemicals and cancer-causing carcinogens.
3 Cleaning up after fire sprinkler and suppression systems.
It is essential to properly clean and repair any water damage to prevent mold and mildew from growing. Commercial buildings should have fire sprinkler systems, and many modern buildings have fire suppression systems instead of sprinklers.
Sprinkler systems automatically turn on if the temperature in the building rises too quickly. Some systems will turn on the sprinkler heads in every room while others only turn on in the places where the system detects a fire. Quick response sprinklers spray 18 to 24 gallons of water per minute to suppress and put out the fire.
Fire suppression systems use a mix of dry chemicals and liquids (like water) to put out any fires in the building. Suppression systems do reduce the damage directly caused by the fire, but they can make the amount of soot damage worse. The combination of water and dry chemicals can allow the soot and dust to spread around the building.
Whether from a sprinkler system or firefighters spraying gallons of water, if the fire was big enough, you probably have some water damage in addition to the fire damage. Mold and mildew can begin to grow within 48 hours after the water damage occurs!
SERVPRO technicians have the right chemicals and methods to clean up the fire suppressant chemicals and properly restore any water damage to prevent mold and mildew from growing.
4 The most common causes of commercial fires might surprise you.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, the most common cause of fires in commercial buildings are cooking equipment. Faulty stoves, cooking accidents, and other kitchen-related incidents account for 29% of fires in office properties and 13% of fires in retail stores.
Other primary causes of fires in commercial buildings include malfunctioning heating equipment, faulty electrical and lighting, and improperly disposed cigarettes, cigars, or other smoking materials.
Because kitchens and break rooms are high-risk areas for fires, make sure your sprinklers, alarms, and fire extinguishers are properly maintained and in good working order. Have your HVAC system, water heaters, and other electrical systems inspected and maintained by a professional. Always make sure flammable materials are stored away from heat sources.
5 Cleaning damaged property can be tricky
Cleaning all the smoke and soot-damaged property can be very challenging. You can't just throw the sooty, smoky clothes in the wash or take dirty curtains to the dry cleaners. Removing soot and smoke odor can be very difficult, and household remedies are not very effective.
It is vital to deodorize everything before you clean it. SERVPRO recommends letting the professionals do the dirty work. It is essential to use counteractants, chemicals that break down the smoke molecules to get rid of the bad odors.
SERVPRO technicians use counteractants on furniture, carpets, upholstery, curtains, and other fabric surfaces. If you decide to take things to professional dry cleaners, make sure they have experience and the right equipment to handle the job.
It is vital to clean all the dishes and cookware properly, even if they look clean and unharmed by fire or smoke. Make sure all dishes and utensils are scrubbed and soaked in a solution of bleach and water. Rubber and wooden cooking items tend to absorb smoke and should be thrown away.
In most cases, floors and carpets absorb the worst of the damage because of the water or chemicals used to extinguish the fire. It is important to make sure everything is dried thoroughly to avoid mold and other problems in the future. In many cases, it is necessary to take up the flooring and replace it.
SERVPRO technicians are experts at cleaning and restoring your commercial property to its original condition. We are standing by, 24/7 to help clean and repair any size disaster. Contact us today to learn more about our commercial restoration services.