Disaster Tips – What Can I Do Now

While you’re waiting for ServiceMaster Clean® professionals to arrive, these disaster tips will keep you safe and prevent additional damage to your property. When you’re faced with fire damage, water damage or other property damage and loss, always check with the trained experts at ServiceMaster Clean® before you attempt to move or clean anything. We can also provide you with tips for preventing damage in the future.

Fire Damage: What Can I Do Now?

Safety is the most important thing to remember when dealing with smoke and fire damage. Falling debris, poor air quality, electrical hazards, slip and trip hazards, and residual chemical reactions are all safety hazards following a fire. But there are some things you can do. Here are some disaster tips when dealing with fire damage to your property.

  • Limit movement in soot-covered areas to avoid permanently setting soot into carpet and upholstery.
  • Wash hands frequently to avoid spreading soot on walls, woodwork and other surfaces.
  • Cover high-traffic areas with clean towels.
  • Empty refrigerators and freezers and prop doors open if the electricity has been turned off.
  • Dispose of food and beverages stored near the fire.
  • Clean and protect chrome surfaces with a light coating of petroleum jelly.
  • Wipe clean both sides of houseplant leaves.
  • Change HVAC filters. Only use your HVAC system if a trained professional has deemed it safe.
  • Cover air registers with air-permeable cloth such as a double-layer of cheesecloth to prevent the spread of soot and chemicals.
  • Contact your ServiceMaster Clean Mid-South Restoration specialist before attempting to clean anything.

Water Damage: What Can I Do Now?

After any situation that has resulted in water damage, the most important thing is to be safe. Water damage can damage structural integrity, create electric hazards, accelerate the growth of mold and spread dangerous contamination. But there are some things you can do. Here are some disaster tips when dealing with water damage to your property.

  • Mop or blot up excess water.
  • Wipe excess water from wood furniture.
  • Allow wet upholstery, cushions and pillows to air dry by separating them and propping them up when possible.
  • Protect furniture legs from wet carpeting by placing aluminum foil or wood blocks beneath them.
  • If your air conditioner has been deemed safe to operate, turn it on to aid drying during the summer.
  • Remove rugs and allow them to air dry by hanging if possible.
  • Remove art and other valuables to a safe, dry place.

Preventing Disasters

Here are some simple tips for preventing disasters before they happen.

  • Place a smoke alarm on each floor of your home or business and one in each bedroom.
  • Keep fire extinguishers within reach in kitchen and utility areas.
  • Schedule regular service and cleaning for heating systems, including chimneys and fireplaces.
  • Avoid overloading electrical circuits and extension cords. Make sure there is never combination of appliances that exceeds 1500 watts on the same electrical circuit.
  • Periodically check hot water tanks, water machine hoses, dishwashers, refrigerators and ice makers to ensure they are secure, in good condition and leak free.
  • Clean gutters every autumn to prevent backups and leaks.
  • Prevent frozen pipes by keeping your home or business heated while you’re away, and leave cabinet doors open during extremely cold weather to allow warm air inside.