Tips

Tips for Water, Fire, and Smoke Damage

If you"re in the midst of a water, fire, or smoke disaster, know that ServiceMaster Restore® will be there when you call 1-800-RESPOND (737-7663). In the meantime, here are some ways to mitigate the damage yourself.

What to do if you have water damage
  • If the outside temperature is above 60 degrees, use dehumidifiers if available.
  • Use fans to circulate the air and assist drying.
  • Remove as much water as possible by mopping and blotting.
  • Wipe furniture dry.
  • Lift draperies off carpet, loop through a coat hanger, and place the hanger on the drapery rod.
  • Prop up wet furniture cushions for even drying and place small wood blocks or aluminum foil under furniture legs.
  • Remove wet area rugs or other floor coverings.
  • Open furniture drawers, closet doors, and luggage to enhance drying.
  • Move photos, paintings, and art objects to a safe, dry location.
  • Remove wet fabrics and dry them as soon as possible. Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.
  • Remove damp books from shelves and spread out to dry.
  • If damage occurs during a cool season, leave heat on; if in summer, use an air conditioner if available.
Important warnings on water damage
  • Do not use an ordinary household vacuum to remove water.
  • Do not use electrical appliances while on wet carpet or wet floors.
  • Do not go into rooms with standing water if the electricity is still on.
  • Do not lift tacked down carpet without professional help. Lifting the carpet incorrectly could promote shrinkage.
  • Do not wait to call for professional help. Damage from the water and bacteria growth can begin within hours.
What to do if you have smoke/fire damage
  • Blow off or brush-vacuum any loose soot particles from upholstery, drapes, and carpets.
  • Cover carpeted traffic areas with towels or old linens to prevent additional soiling.
  • Discard open food packages. The food could be contaminated.
  • If electrical service is off, clean out your freezer and refrigerator. Leave the doors propped open or place charcoal in the unit.
  • Send clothing with heavy smoke damage to a qualified professional dry cleaner that specializes in smoke damage.
  • Clean Formica and chrome fixtures in the kitchen and bathroom to prevent permanent tarnishing.
  • Wipe residue from porcelain bath fixtures to prevent etching.
  • Wipe the leaves of houseplants to remove smoke residue.
  • Change the air filter on your furnace if it uses forced hot air.
  • Tape cheesecloth over intake and outlet air registers to capture any loose soot in the air. This is even more effective if the cheesecloth is damp.
  • If the outside temperature is above 60 degrees, air out the house to reduce smoke odor.
Important warnings on smoke and fire damage
  • Do not attempt to wash any papered or flat painted walls without consulting your professional cleaner. Incorrect cleaning procedures could compound the soot residue problem.
  • Do not attempt to clean carpets or upholstered furniture. Again, incorrect procedures could increase damage.
  • Do not use electrical appliances that have been close to fire or water before having them checked. They could malfunction.
  • Do not use ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet. A short circuit could result.
  • Do not touch anything. Soot on your hands can permeate upholstery, walls, and woodwork, causing further damage.
  • Do not eat food that has been exposed to fire or smoke.
  • Do not wait to call for professional help.

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