A building fire impacts your business long after the flames are extinguished. Because the restoration process can be overwhelming, you should never attempt to navigate it alone. Instead, team up with a fire restoration company to help your recovery go as smoothly as possible. In this guide, you’ll learn how fire damage restoration works, the benefits of hiring a professional, and tips for finding the right company for the job.
What Do Fire Damage Contractors Do After a Fire?
Fire damage repair is more involved than you may realize. The objective is to return the structure to its pre-incident condition as quickly as possible. Here are the seven steps required to accomplish this goal.
1. Assess the Fire Damage
The first thing a fire restoration company does when they arrive on the scene is to perform a property-wide inspection to determine the extent of the damage. The team develops a plan of action based on their findings and presents this information to you in detail.
2. Board Up the Building
The heat from a powerful blaze can burn through entry doors, shatter windows, and leave holes in the roof. To protect your building from vandals, animals, and the weather, technicians will board up the windows and doors and tarp the roof as a precautionary measure. Securing your property immediately prevents additional headaches while you work toward repairing fire and smoke damage.
3. Mitigate Additional Harm
Once the building is secure, the next step is ensuring no further fire or smoke damage occurs. This first includes identifying and fixing potential hazards that could reignite the blaze. Then, the team packs out and transports salvageable contents to a secure, climate-controlled storage facility to keep them safe during the fire restoration process.
4. Remove Smoke & Soot Residue
Even a small fire can leave visible soot and smoke residue on nearby building materials and belongings, staining them and eating away at the surface like an acid. Professional smoke damage services include removing these stains with careful scrubbing, vacuuming, and other thorough cleaning techniques.
5. Remove Smoke Odors
Beyond acidic residue, smoke damage from a fire leaves a lingering smoky smell. That’s why smoke damage cleaning includes deodorization. The crew uses special air filtering equipment to remove harmful smoke particles and stubborn odors from the building.
6. Repair Water Damage
Water damage often accompanies building fires because firefighters use hoses to douse the blaze. The intense heat of the flames can also damage plumbing fixtures and rupture pipes, causing further harm. The restoration company must perform water extraction, cleaning and sanitizing, and structural drying to prevent mold damage.
7. Rebuild the Damaged Structure
The final step of fire damage restoration is to replace components that cannot be restored. For instance, charred drywall, flooring, and siding are torn out and replaced. When the project is complete, your business should appear just as it did before the incident.
Why You Should Hire a Professional for Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration
You might wonder if you can restore a fire-damaged building yourself or if you should bring in a general contractor. In reality, the best and only choice is to hire a professional fire and smoke damage restoration company. Here are six reasons why.
1. Receive Help Immediately
When a blaze breaks out in your building over the weekend or in the middle of the night, you don’t have the luxury of waiting until regular business hours to call for help. That’s why the best restoration companies offer a 24/7 response time. The same can’t be said of general contractors, which don’t typically provide on-call emergency services.
2. Find & Repair Hidden Structural Damage
Often, what appears to be a contained blaze has actually spread through the walls, ceilings, and floors to surrounding rooms, causing additional unseen fire and smoke damage. This is why a thorough inspection from a professional is so important. The crew can comb through your building, looking for charred structures or water damage they didn’t spot at first glance.
3. Benefit from Advanced Property Restoration Equipment & Techniques
Professionals in the fire restoration industry use state-of-the-art tools to improve the effectiveness of their cleaning efforts. Plus, experienced crews don’t make the same mistakes amateurs do, increasing the likelihood that your property can be fully restored.
4. Know the Crew is Engaging in Safe Practices
Fire damage restoration is a dirty job. Avoid putting yourself at risk by handing the task over to the pros. When you do, you can trust that the technicians will never deviate from OSHA standards to ensure on-the-job safety and code compliance.
5. Get Assistance Filing an Insurance Claim
Haggling with your insurance company can be a headache all on its own. A knowledgeable fire restoration company can work with your insurer on your behalf, expediting the process and helping you get the full coverage your policy allows.
6. Seek Help with Additional Damage Restoration
A provider who offers comprehensive disaster restoration services can do more than tackle fire and smoke cleanup. They can also address water damage from extinguishing the blaze or storm damage that may occur if a lightning strike sparked the fire.
How to Choose a Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration Company
Now that you understand what the fire restoration process entails and why hiring a professional is so important, it’s time to make your decision. Here are eight questions to ask as you search for a reputable company to repair the fire damage.
1. Can You Help Me Right Away?
Fires and other disasters demand an immediate response. The faster your building is assessed and boarded up, the better. Look for a company that responds to calls 24/7 so you aren’t left waiting longer than necessary.
2. What are Your Credentials?
Specific certifications and training are required for cleaning hazardous environments. That’s why you should only hire a restoration contractor that hires technicians certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). Insurance coverage is another credential to check for. This ensures you won’t be held liable if any accidents or injuries occur on your property during the restoration project.
3. How Much Experience Do You Have?
First, find out how long the service provider has been in business. This tells you the level of experience the company has. Then, ask for specific examples of past restorations that resemble your situation to ensure the contractor is up to the task.
4. What is Your Fire Damage Restoration Process?
The representative you speak to should be able to explain the process in detail and answer your questions along the way. The steps they describe should be thorough and complete and include references to modern restoration equipment. Then, make sure any services you specifically want, such as contents pack-out and storage, are included.
5. Can I See Some References?
Consider asking for the contact information of previous customers. When you call, ask about their experience with the company, how long the restoration took, what it cost, and anything else you’re curious about. This is the best way to receive candid answers to the topics that concern you the most.
6. Will You Help with the Insurance Claims Process?
Insurers often partner with national and local restoration companies. To ensure the best experience, ask up front if the restoration company works with your insurance provider. Even if they aren’t specifically partners, you can ask for help filing your claim so you don’t have to deal with that headache on top of recovering from a building fire.
7. Are You Local to My Area?
While national providers can certainly restore fire and smoke damage, a local restoration company knows how to deal with issues affecting the region. Plus, you’re more likely to get a speedy response if you work with a company based close to your business location.
8. How Much Do Your Services Cost?
Insurance should cover most of the recovery cost, depending on the fire’s cause and your specific policy. Still, seeking estimates from multiple companies can save you money, especially if you must meet a deductible or the cost is likely to exceed your coverage limit. Remember, receiving quality service is more important than getting the lowest price, so compare quotes while keeping in mind the answers you receive to the other questions outlined here.
Contact BYLT for Commercial Fire & Smoke Restoration in Maryland and Washington, DC
Whether your commercial building fire was caused by faulty electrical wiring or a mishap in the kitchen, BYLT can help you on your way to recovery. Count on our team to provide a fast response time and respectful, compassionate customer service. We have over 100 years of combined experience removing fire and smoke damage from commercial buildings in Maryland and Washington, DC. We’re here to make your recovery go as quickly and smoothly as possible. Call us at (410) 770-2900 or contact us online to request fire and smoke restoration today.