Five Precautions To Take If You Live In A Fire Danger Period

Five Precautions To Take If You Live In A Fire Danger Period

If you live in an area prone to fires, it’s important to be aware of the risk and take steps to mitigate it. From knowing the USDA fire danger levels to making sure you’re covered if a fire does impact your home, here are five precautions to take if you live in a fire danger period.

1. Know The Fire Danger Levels

The USDA classifies fire danger into five levels. You’ve probably seen the signs featuring Smokey Bear when visiting public lands. It’s a good idea to pay attention to the fire danger level and adjust your activities accordingly.

When fire danger is low or moderate, fires do not ignite easily, and they are easy to control. Once the fire danger level reaches high, fires can ignite easily and spread rapidly. As the danger level increases, fires become more difficult to control and last longer.

If you live in an area with a high fire level or above, campfires and brush fires can easily escape and become dangerous wildfires.

2. Prepare Your Home

Maintaining your home with the possibility of wildfire in mind can help protect it. Keep your roof and gutters clean. Debris such as pine needles or leaves can easily ignite. Make sure your shingles are in good shape and replace any that are loose or missing. That way, embers won’t be as likely to get through. Use wire mesh on attic vents and below patios and decks to prevent embers from entering. Finally, remove all items stored beneath decks and anything flammable from the walls.

3. Think About Your Landscaping

Colorado State University recommends making use of defensible space and planting native species within it. They define defensible space as room for firefighters to do their jobs. In fact, firefighters may pass by houses that do not have adequate defensible space in consideration of the danger to them and the likelihood of being able to save the structure.

Plants near your home should be lower and more widely spaced than those that grow farther away. Using decorative gravel or stone can slow the spread of fire and should be used for the first three to five feet from the house. Use mulch to conserve moisture and prioritize which plants will be saved in a drought. Keep your grass mowed and consider using ground cover plants.

If you plant wildflowers, make sure there is a wide space between the beds. Similarly, any shrubs used in landscaping should be low-growing and non-resinous. Space them apart from one another and away from trees, where they could become ladder fuels. Do not plant trees near structures. Sticking to native species is best. Aspen or narrow-leaf cottonwood are good choices, but it’s important to pick up leaves when they fall to reduce available fuel.

4. Consult With Professionals

The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends contacting local professionals like the forestry office and fire department for information about local laws, building codes, and protection measures.

It’s important to make sure your house is as fire resistant as possible. Consult with a professional about replacing materials that are not suitable. Roofs should be made with non-combustible material, like slate, metal, or fiberglass. Siding should be similarly fire resistant. Consider making use of metal, brick, concrete, and rock. Windows should have dual or triple-pane thermal glass, and any shutters or drapes should also be fire resistant.

If you have a chimney, make sure a spark arrestor is in place. Eaves, porches, and sundecks should all be enclosed to prevent trapping heat and embers. Even your patio furniture should be non-combustible. When in doubt, consult with a professional so you can be sure your home is as fire resistant as it can be.

5. Know Your Policy

If you live in an area prone to wildfires, make sure you know what your policy covers. Standard insurance policies will pay to repair or rebuild your home, replace your belongings, and reimburse you for living expenses like hotel rooms or meals out. However, coverage amounts vary. Make sure you have enough insurance to protect you, keep an up-to-date inventory of your possessions, and keep copies of important papers off site.

Being prepared ahead of time can set your mind at ease. If the worst does happen and your home is damaged by fire or smoke, call ECOS immediately. We work well with all insurance companies and take pictures to document the damage and repairs.

Erasing The Smell Left After Smoke Damage

When fire blazes, the items burnt on its destructive journey leave a distinctive odor. The smell left after smoke damage is a mix of damaged paint, plastic, wood and other materials. Needless to say, it’s less than inviting and affects the livability and breathability of your home.

The smell can also affect you physically, leaving you feeling nauseated and suffering headaches. Microscopic particles stubbornly stick to walls, floors, ceilings, clothing, fabrics, cabinets, and furniture, and it makes the smoke smell just as difficult to eradicate. So, how do you erase the smell left after smoke damage?

Let In Fresh Air

Open the windows to let the fresh air. Fans will help circulate the air, moving in the fresh air and pushing out the smoke smell.

Indoor air quality issues can persist, and that’s where restoration professionals must step in with professional grade fans and environmentally friendly tools to erase the smoke damage and smell.

Wipe Down Surfaces

Smoke rises and soot settles — on walls, windows and other surfaces. For lighter cases of smoke damage, you can use vinegar to cut through the soot and smoke smell.

Dilute a cup of vinegar with a gallon of water, or use less water if you need a stronger solution. Add a few drops of dish soap to the liquid mixture. Once combined, you can use this cleaner to naturally clean up the soot and reduce the lingering smoke smell.

Dry cleaning sponges also lift soot, and alkaline cleaners help to neutralize acids inside soot and erase the smell left after smoke damage. ECOS Environmental uses environmentally friendly cleaners to tackle persistent smoke damage and lingering odors. The damage can also linger in nooks and crannies like window screens.

Launder Clothing and Fabrics

Wash all fabrics. It will take some time, but it’s necessary to banish the smoke smell permanently.

Take down the curtains. Gather up the clothes. Launder all washable fabrics. Add some vinegar to the wash to help erase the smoke smell. Run the fabrics and clothes through as many cycles as necessary until the smell is gone.

Avoid using odor-masking sprays on non-washable fabrics as these will only hide the odor. Deodorizers will help reduce the smell, but you may need to try several passes. You can also hang up larger fabrics and rugs outside on a nice day to let the wind blow the smoke smell out.

Getting the Smoke Smell Out of Furniture and Carpets

What about furniture? Depending on the degree of smoke and damage, you may worry that you can save your furniture. What about your carpets?

Baking soda absorbs odors. Sprinkle it over upholstery and carpet. Wait for three hours. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to contain the smoke smell and baking soda.

More specialized cleaners are available, but misusing them may cause damage to your personal belongings. You may also worry about which cleaners are safe for your pets.

Professionally Clean AC/Heat Units

What if the smoke smell persists after all that effort? After letting in fresh air, wiping down surfaces and deodorizing your furniture and carpets?

Contact professionals to clean your air conditioning, heating and ventilating units. Once all ducts are clean, your home or business won’t circulate hidden smoke smell. Regularly change all filters.

Don’t spend unnecessary money trying to erase the smell left after smoke damage. Contact ECOS Environmental to sort your belongings in a climate controlled area, and we will bring in the right tools and expertise to banish the smell left after smoke damage for good.

ECOS Environmental is available 24/7 for Colorado residents, and we work around the clock to restore your home and business. We use green technology and cleaning products to clean up smoke smell and damage that won’t harm you or your pets. Contact ECOS today 24/7 at 888-375-3267 to speak with a senior manager about your project.

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What You Should Know About Dealing With Fire Restoration

Fire Restoration

When you experience a fire in your home or business, the aftermath is overwhelming to deal with and leaves you feeling vulnerable. Hopefully, you never have to deal with the fear, loss and helpless feeling that comes with experiencing fire damage.

Be prepared by educating yourself early on, and address fire damage restoration as a priority, should it occur, to avoid long-term issues and costly repairs. Here’s what you should know about dealing with fire restoration.

Contacting the Insurance Company and Fire Restoration Services

Safety and damage must be assessed before you enter the building. Your insurance company can help you find temporary lodging until you get the fire report. Also, contact a fire restoration service to conduct a damage assessment to get the restoration process started.

Credible fire restoration professionals are both licensed and insured to perform their services. A fire restoration contractor knows how to employ their services and resources to reduce the risk of further damage and offer cleanup help as they:

• Try to salvage as much of your personal and home belongings as possible, such as clothing, appliances and furniture.

• Document all items removed from your home in writing and by taking photos, noting differences between structural and personal property damage.

• Work with the insurance company before, during and after the assessment and restoration.

• Work carefully and quickly to get you back into your home, and remain in contact with you to make sure you don’t experience other problems.

If Safe to Enter: Tasks You Can Perform

Did officials clear the building for safe entry? Always put safety first. If approved to enter safely, wear respiratory protection, work gloves and long sleeves and pants. Here are a few small tasks you can perform to minimize initial damage before the restoration company steps in for major cleanup:

Ventilation: Air out the house by opening the windows. Force out contaminated air and dust with fans. Know that the restoration professionals set up industrial-strength fans and other equipment to remove the contaminated air.

Cleaning: You need to find your valuable documents and replace them. You can scrub surfaces with soap and water if you need to get to certain items, but leave the heavy-duty cleaning for the restoration professionals. Alkaline cleaners help neutralize acids in soot to reduce the smoke smell.

Laundry: Wash clothing, bedding and other items that you can machine-wash with alkaline cleaners. Use dry cleaners who are experienced with remedying smoke damage. Don’t use washers and dryers subjected to smoke and fire damage.

Fire Restoration Services Step in For Cleanup

Fire restoration services thoroughly cleanup by using industrial-grade equipment and products. For example, they may use specialized filters as they vacuum. Dry-cleaning soot sponges help lift loose soot. Fire restoration professionals remove standing pools of water with the use of submersible pumps. They sanitize rooms to prevent the risk of health problems, such as those due to mold. Mold begins to grow after 24 hours which may result from water damage from putting out the fire.

The restoration company discards items that are too damaged for repair or restoration. Furniture and other items can also absorb contaminated water or mold. New carpets replace damaged ones. New wallpaper and paint go up. Your home gets a complete analysis and work-over, from top to bottom and interior to exterior.

Did you know that a fire restoration company can leave your property looking better than before? The best companies do more than repair. They renovate to optimize the area for your safety but also look at this as an opportunity to redesign your home to your needs and changing tastes.

Calling a Fire Restoration Company STAT Can Save You More Money

You may think fire damage looks minor and that you can put off repairs. More damage results from negligence, which sends the insurance company a red flag. They may deny future claims. Be proactive in making your claim. Let fire restoration professionals help you document the damage. This makes it easier to file accurate claims, saving you more money in the long run.

Fire restoration services often step in before insurance companies do to assess the damage. They help walk you through the steps you need to take to get back to your normal routines — and back into your home or business. ECOS Environmental assists with documentation, emergency board-up, soot removal, thermal deodorization (for mitigating smoke damage), demolition, repair and reconstruction.

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