Emergency Service 24/7/365 • Virgnia Piedmont

Fire & Water Damage Dos and Don'ts

Coping with water, fire and smoke damage

Water Damage Tips

Dos

  • Call ServiceMaster Restore® immediately. Water damage and bacterial growth can begin within hours.
  • If possible, stop the source of the water.
  • Blot furniture, prop up cushions on upholstered pieces and place furniture legs on wood blocks or aluminum foil.
  • Turn on air conditioning or heating system. Turn on ceiling fans if ceiling isn't wet.
  • Lift draperies and sheers off wet surfaces. Loop the draperies through a coat hanger and place on the drapery rod.
  • Move photos, paintings and art objects to a safe, dry location.
  • Check under all beds and in closets for wet surfaces.;
  • Open closets, drawers and cabinet doors to enhance drying.

Don'ts

  • Don't touch any electrical source or enter a room with standing water until electricity has been turned off.
  • Don't use ceiling fixtures if the ceiling is wet. A short circuit could result.
  • Don't use electrical appliances while standing on wet flooring or carpeting. 
  • Don't use appliances that have been close to fire or water before having them checked.
  • Don't remove books from shelves. Rather pack them together tightly until your restoration professional can start specialized drying process.
  • Don't use a household vacuum to remove water.
  • Don't lift tacked down carpet without professional help. Lifting the carpet incorrectly could promote shrinking.
  • Don't disturb visible mold.
  • Don't wait to call for professional help! Immediate action can prevent further damage.

Fire and Smoke Damage Tips

Dos

  • Call ServiceMaster Clean immediately. Corrosive byproducts from fire and smoke can cause irreversible damage in as few as 72 hours.
  • Cover carpeted traffic areas with towels or old linens to prevent additional soiling.
  • Discard open food packages. The food may be contaminated.
  • If electrical service is off, clean out the freezer and refrigerator. Leave the doors open.
  • Send clothing and linens with heavy smoke damage to a professional restoration cleaner rather than a dry cleaner.
  • Wipe formica and chrome fixtures in the kitchen and bathroom to prevent permanent tarnishing.
  • Wipe residue from porcelain bath fixtures to prevent etching.
  • Wipe the leaves of houseplants to remove smoke residue.
  • Tape cheesecloth over intake and outlet air registers to capture any loose soot in the air.
  • If the temperature is above 60 degrees, open doors and windows to air out the house to reduce smoke odor.

Don'ts

  • Don't touch anything with your bare hands. Oil from your hands can permeate upholstery, walls, and woodwork causing further damage.
  • Don't attempt to clean painted walls or wallpaper. Incorrect cleaning can compound soot residue.
  • Don't attempt to clean carpets or upholstered furniture.
  • Don't use electrical appliances without having them checked.
  • Don't eat food that has been exposed to fire or smoke.
  • Don't use ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet.