Hints and Tips for Recovering from Flood, Fire or Smoke Damage

If the problem is major, then the first thing we recommend you do it to call us – we can usually be with you in an hour or less to start the initial assessment and clean-up.

If the damage is minor, here’s what we advise, along with some tips on preventing problems.

Water damage clean-up & prevention

  • The first 48 hours are the most important when handling water damage. Not just because of problems with the water itself, but because of the potential for mould.
  • Make sure there are no problems with electrical appliances – water and electricity don’t mix.
  • Turn off your water supply.
  • Get rid of all free-standing water with mops (if you need pumps, then it’s definitely best to call us).
  • Use towels and sponges to soak up remaining water.
  • Remove any damp panelling from walls and let it dry.
  • Any books or documents that are really saturated it’s best to throw away if they’re not important. If they are, we have special desiccant dryers we can use to dry them out thoroughly.
  • Get rid of any damaged fibreglass installation.
  • Lift carpets and throw away sodden underfelt.
  • Remember that if you have insurance, it should cover you. All but the most minor water damage problems are best left to the experts. We can save you time and effort – and rescue save and restore many more of your fixtures, furnishings and assets than if you were to tackle it yourself. We’re also highly experienced in dealing with insurers, and helping you to get paid fully and promptly.
  • To help reduce the potential for future problems, be sure to check the most common causes of water damage, and maintain or replace as required: washing machine hoses, water heaters and water pipes.

Mould removal & prevention

  • The main cause of mould is water, either from a flood or from a leak, so you need to start by removing the cause. A leak may not be obvious, so you need to check very carefully to identify and stop the leak.
  • Use a mix of bleach and water to scrub the affected surfaces. If the mould is at all widespread, wear a mask, plus proper protective eyewear and gloves.
  • Rinse with a dry rag and spray with white vinegar.
  • Dry out overnight, or use fans for prolonged drying if necessary.
  • Mould can bring on symptoms of hay fever, with sneezing, sore eyes and even rashes. It can also induce asthma attacks. So it’s important that it’s fully dealt with – if in doubt, call us.
  • To prevent mould from returning, ensure your home or business isn’t too humid, with adequate ventilation.

Fire & smoke damage clean-up & prevention

  • Fires involving purely natural materials, such as wood, are generally the easiest to deal with – items are usually completely burned or almost undamaged, and the smoke and deposits produced are less problematic. Where synthetic materials are involved, partial fire damage is common, and the smoke and deposits are more toxic. We recommend that in all but the most minor fires involving synthetic materials that you call us.
  • The first step is generally soot removal. Use a strong vacuum cleaner, but without the brush attachment, as this just tends to disperse and embed soot. Cover up any items as soon as you’ve cleaned them, or further clean-up may get them contaminated again.  With carpets, professional cleaning is a good idea. In any case, avoid touching items as much as possible, as you’re liable to dislodge and disperse soot and other contaminants.
  • Wash clothes and other fabrics by machine or hand. Soak severely affected items overnight first.
  • Curtains and other furnishings will require professional dry cleaning.
  • If the damage is light, you may be able to get away with simply sponge cleaning with a suitable cleaning fluid. Remember that porous surfaces such as plasterwork are more susceptible to damage and will need different cleaners to harder surfaces such as tiles. Remember that anything you clean also needs rinsing to remove cleaning material residue.
  •  Follow this with as much ventilation as possible to aid drying and remove smells.
  • Be very careful with cleaning appliances. Anything electrical should be unplugged before cleaning, and have it professionally checked before using it again.
  • Fire prevention tips include having smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, both of which should be regularly checked and sited wherever fires may occur. Also be careful with maintaining electrical items, paying particular attention to wires and plugs (never overload the latter).

Once again, in any serious instances of fire, flood or smoke damage, please contact us