Why It Pays to Hire a Fire Restoration Professional
It’s a scenario nobody likes to think about. After spending years happily nesting, working hard and building up your dream home, a candle is left burning too close to a curtain, or some wiring goes haywire behind your fridge, and a fire breaks out within your house. Whether it’s a localized fire that takes out a room or two, or your entire home gets destroyed, losing one’s treasured possessions, and all the associated memories, is a traumatic experience. Unfortunately, the conflagration itself is only the beginning of the ordeal. Fire and smoke restoration is a complex, sensitive, and potentially dangerous procedure. Simply put, it’s not a job for amateurs. Experience is essential when tackling a fire and smoke restoration project, and having someone in your corner who knows their way around the process is a must. Read on to learn the many reasons why it pays to have an experienced fire restoration professional on your side, for the critical task of getting your house – and your life – back to its pre-fire perfection (or at least close to perfection).
Fire and Smoke Restoration is Dangerous
When we consider the attendant dangers of a fire, we likely first think of the devouring orange and yellow flames, scorching heat and choking smoke. But fire contains risks that extend far beyond the immediate inferno. Fire-damaged materials contain toxins that are highly hazardous to your health. When household and building products – made of plastic, textiles, finishing products and foam – burn, they form a nasty residual soot. This invisible gunk contains all manner of dangerous carcinogenic chemicals, such as asbestos, ammonia, tar, and formaldehyde, just to name a few.
As you walk through your fire-ravaged home, you could be breathing in this toxic soup, or even just absorbing these dangerous chemicals through your skin. In the short-term, this could lead to shortness of breath and respiratory issues. Prolonged exposure could lead to bronchitis or even cancer. Susceptibility to toxic soot is most acute during the initial cleanup process, and if the mess is not properly dealt with, these cancer-causing compounds could linger in your environment for years. This is why it’s wise to hire experienced fire restoration professionals: experts who have the systems in place to ensure that proper and safe deep-cleaning techniques are employed. With the right people and the right practices employed, you can restore your home to its pre-fire condition without endangering your health.
Recovery Takes Much Longer Without Professional Help
In addition to being dangerous and potentially hazardous to your health, the process of fire and smoke restoration is complicated, byzantine, and frankly, easily botched. Restoring your home back to its pre-fire state is not a clearcut task. Let’s review the primary responsibilities that await the would-be fire restorer.
First off, you have valuable and even priceless belongings and mementos to salvage. This can be an emotionally challenging process, and it’s helpful to have some support when sifting through such sensitive materials. Secondly, you have cleanup to attend to. A lot of cleanup. And it’s a complex, hazardous cleanup to boot. Thirdly, you have to be able to skillfully examine the structure of your fire-damaged home and repair any issues straightaway. The last thing you want to do is take chances with the foundational structure of your home. And finally, there are the all-important insurance claims you need to correctly execute, in order to absorb and minimize the already brutal financial impact of the blaze. Taken together, the entire process is a real headache to attempt on your own.
What’s more, your effort to save money with a Do-It-Yourself approach to fire restoration can easily backfire, should you dispose of still salvageable belongings, or fill out an insurance claim incorrectly. Time is money, and performing such a complicated clean up on your own consumes a lot of valuable time. This is time you could be dedicating to making money and making moves. The moral of the story? Hire a pro. Being able to rely on a trustworthy ally who knows all aspects of the disaster recovery process, inside and out, is the clear choice forward.
You Could Accidentally Dispose of Salvageable Materials
For the stressed out and untrained eye, it is all too easy to incorrectly deem damaged but still salvageable objects to be lost causes, as you rapidly attempt to sift through them. However, with a little knowledge and access to advanced recovery techniques, a fire restoration contractor can help you to minimize your losses and avoid unnecessary waste. What’s more, for contaminated items that are truly unrecoverable, proper disposal prevents unwanted fines and avoidable health hazards. An experienced restoration professional will be able to tell you what you can still save, what you actually need to toss, and how to properly toss it.
Special Equipment is Required
It would be great if a basic toolbox, a couple bottles of degreaser and an N-95 mask were all that was needed to adequately rehabilitate a fire and smoke damaged home. Alas however, one cannot simply wipe soot away, or turn a few screws to reestablish a building’s structural integrity. Rather, you must systematically and knowledgeably deep clean all surfaces – seen and unseen – to eliminate lingering health threats and to remove residual odors.
Qualified specialists utilizing professional tools, as well as time-tested, proven techniques are intrinsic to a safe, efficient and thorough fire restoration. Little things can easily trip somebody up. For example, laundering smoke-damaged clothing in your washer could deepen the damage to your attire, and leave permanent undesired odors in your washing machine to boot. You must pursue specific dry-cleaning techniques if you wish to salvage fire and smoke damaged clothing. This is just one of countless examples demonstrating why having professional experience and know-how on your side is a must during fire restoration.
Did I mention that insurance policies related to fire and smoke damage are a major pain to do on your own? What’s more, most insurance policies are going to require professional inspection of your property anyway, in case of hidden damage due to water, heat and smoke. The reason for this is simple: insurance companies need to be sure that the damages that they are about to recover are appraised by a certified, experienced professional. The solution? Hire a pro to make sure that your i’s are dotted and your t’s are crossed – it will more than pay for itself in the long run.
The Big Picture
If you’re like me, you like to handle things on your own. Perhaps you were raised that way: solve a problem yourself if there’s any way you can. However, the convoluted and hazardous processes of fire and smoke restoration is not just another project. Sometimes wisdom requires humility. The last thing you want to do is accidentally work against yourself, wasting additional time and hemorrhaging scarce resources.
Fire and smoke restoration is an example of a problem where you end up saving money in the long run by spending a little bit of money judiciously up front. Hire a professional with an excellent reputation and several years of experience. The stress you’ll save alone is worth the price, not to mention all the countless headaches you’ll avoid by doing things right the first time. Hire an ace, let him or her navigate the precarious processes and make the difficult decisions, and focus on getting your sanctuary back in order and your life back on track.