Did your house just experience a fire?
According to the National Fire Protection Association, fires have caused $7.2 billion worth of property damage in the last 5 years.
But, your property isn’t the only thing you have to worry about after a fire. You also need to think about your health and safety.
Is it safe to live in a house after a fire? Check out this guide to learn everything you need to know about living in a house after a fire.
Understand the Health Risks
Generally speaking, it’s not safe to live in a home that’s recently experienced a fire due to the health risks. Here are some of the health risks you have to worry about if you were to live in a smoke-damaged home.
While smoke damage doesn’t cause asthma, it can aggravate asthma symptoms. Mold and soot left behind by a fire can aggravate this condition.
Even after a fire has been put out, chemicals linger behind that can cause damage to your lungs and aggravate your airways. If you or your children have asthma, you’re likely to experience some adverse effects if you continue to live in a smoke-damaged home.
Living in a smoke-damaged home can also cause damage to your skin. The residue from the smoke can engrain itself into your carpet, furniture, clothing, and other items.
This can lead to dryness, irritation, and other skin issues that no amount of lotion can fix. Unless you purge your belongings, you won’t be able to avoid damage to your skin.
Eye irritation is another common health issue that people experience when they move back into a smoke damaged home.
As we’ve mentioned, smoke particles can linger in your living spaces long after the fire has been put out. These particles can seep into your eyes and cause redness, watering, and irritation.
Living in a smoke-damaged home may also lead to chronic bronchitis. Bronchitis occurs when the linings of the bronchial tubes experience damage and become inflamed.
Bronchial tubes are responsible for bringing air in and out of your lungs. Most people experience bronchitis at least once in their lives due to a respiratory infection.
However, the type of bronchitis that most people experience is known as acute bronchitis. Acute bronchitis is characterized by chest pain, coughing, and wheezing. Typically, the symptoms last for a few days.
But, if you live in a smoke damaged home, you may experience chronic bronchitis. With chronic bronchitis, you experience the same symptoms as acute bronchitis, but on a much more severe level.
Episodes of chronic bronchitis can last anywhere from a few months to a few years. In some cases, chronic bronchitis can even lead to emphysema.
Emphysema is a lung condition that leads to shortness of breath. People who suffer from emphysema have damaged air sacs in their lungs. Over time, the air sacs’ inner walls weaken and rupture.
This creates larger air spaces and leads to more damage. If someone suffers from both bronchitis and emphysema, it’s referred to as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
What to Do About a Smoke-Damaged Home
Just because your home has been damaged by smoke, doesn’t mean you can never move back into it.
In order to make your home liveable, you need to hire a smoke damage cleanup service, also sometimes referred to as an emergency chemical spill response team or a fire restoration company.
To hire a smoke damage cleanup service, you’ll first need to get permission from your insurance company. Your insurance company will be able to tell you what your policy covers, and whether or not they’ll pay for fire damage cleanup.
After calling a restoration company, they’ll then dispatch an emergency response team to come to your home and assess the damage to your property.
Once the fire department gives them the go-ahead, the restoration company will secure all of your windows, doors, and any other openings to minimize further damage.
If necessary, they’ll start by pumping out any standing water in your home, and they’ll dry your home to minimize water damage and mold infestation.
After this, the restoration company will take steps to improve the air quality and ventilation of your home. The company will look for damage in your ductwork and other places so they can figure out what areas of your home need more airflow.
To remove hazardous air particles from your home to make it liveable, the restoration company will blow industrial-strength fans through your home. They’ll also use alkaline cleaning agents to remove any smoke damage.
After cleaning up the smoke damage from your home, the company will tell you when you can move back in.
Choose the Right Restoration Company
To make your home as safe as possible, you need to make sure you hire the right restoration company. Here are some tips for choosing the right fire restoration company:
- Check the company’s credentials to make sure they’re licensed and insured
- Make sure the company you hire is available 24/7 so that they can begin the cleanup process immediately
- Check their references
Also, make sure the restoration company you hire is in your insurance network.
Living in a House After a Fire: Time to Move on
As you can see, living in a house after a fire can be dangerous if you don’t take the right steps. But, if you hire the right fire restoration company, you can eventually return to your home without risking your health.
Be sure to check back in with our blog for more news and tips about property damage.