In a fire, the loss of the structure is typically the first consideration. SMART’s primary objective when we arrive is to assess the scene and make sure that the structure is secure. Checking utilities, boarding up windows and doors, installing a temporary roof or walls to protect the structure from further damage are just some of the things that may be necessary. Once the building is safe and secure, efforts to limit secondary damage from water and soot can begin.
After the structure is safe and secure, it’s time to inventory the contents. The items that haven’t been damaged by the fire have potentially suffered water damage, exposure to soot or have certainly been inundated with smoke odor. The delicate task of documenting and removing all the contents from the affected area is next in the process of fire restoration. Most items can be dried, cleaned and deodorized, but it is important to start this process right away to make sure the contents are not further damaged by odor, water or soot. That means moving the contents to a different location, so it is crucial to have an experienced restoration professional on site to evaluate, coordinate and execute the contents restoration phase.
Another damaging element in a fire loss is water. Water can cause damage to the structure that may not be immediately apparent. It is important to quickly and carefully remove as much water as possible and begin drying the structure. A combination of air movers, dehumidifiers and other tools will effectively dry the structure. The longer a structure is wet, the longer it takes to return it to pre-loss condition. The experience of knowing where and how to concentrate the drying effort makes all the difference.
Any qualified contractor can fix a damaged structure, but unless all the soot is removed, odor will be an issue long after repairs are completed. Smoke, particularly smoke from a fire, will find its way into every nook and cranny of a structure as well its contents. It will fill every cavity, finding its way through open joints and cracks and settle as soot on all surfaces, both vertical and horizontal. SMART project managers and technicians specifically trained in odor control and take specific steps during the initial phases of reconstruction to ensure an odor free structure once the job is complete.