Fires can be a lot of fun. There’s nothing quite like roasting s’mores in someone’s backyard or telling scary stories around a campfire just before everyone hobbles away to sleep in a tent in the wilderness. We all have fond memories. However, not all fire memories are fond and one bad experience with a fire in your Savannah home can be costly, damaging, traumatizing, and inconvenient. It’ll still be memorable, just like the other fire memories you have. It just won’t be pleasant. Checking your home after a fire properly can minimize the long-term damage and keep you and your family safe. We at Harper Special Services would like to recommend a few steps you should take to check your home after a severe fire:
- Wait until after colored tape has been removed and you have been “cleared” by local authorities to enter your home if that is a factor. Leave your children with a relative or friend when you first conduct an inspection as the site may be unsafe or traumatizing.
- Check for structural damage. Loose power lines, foundation cracks, or missing or severely damaged support beams are red flags. If the door is jammed, don’t force it open as the structure of your home is already compromised. If the door is supporting the building, you’ll be in danger if you push it in. Find another way to enter your home.
- Sniff for gas and listen for a hissing sound that may indicate a natural or propane gas leak. If you suspect this, leave immediately and call the fire department.
- Don’t walk on saggy floors and steer clear of saggy ceilings as this likely indicates water damage.
- If the weather is dry, open windows and doors to ventilate. This can help you reduce odors and soot.
- If the power is out, use a flashlight as opposed to an open flame.
- Check utilities such telephones, and electrical, plumbing, and heating systems and see if you can get a grip on what things are still in tact and working and what things are not. The exception to this, is that if you see sparks or broken/frayed wires, you should turn off the electricity and seek professional help. If you suspect damage to the sewage system, don’t use sinks, showers, or toilets until they are seen by a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, turn off your water supply.
- Be extremely cautious around anything that could’ve turned into a chemical hazard in the fire. Spilled chemicals or household items such as cleaning products are offenders. Use rubber gloves and discard these carefully.
- Throw away food, beverages, and medicine. The only exception is food in a freezer if it still has ice crystals on it.
There are many things like the 9 above that you can do to minimize your damage after a fire. Above all, don’t hesitate to call in a professional for help in the restoration process. For fire emergencies in Savannah, Georgia, your first call is Harper Special Services. We’re available with trained professionals to help; 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.