The following Emergency Tips were compiled by members
of the National Institute of Disaster Restoration are based on
their wide experience in this field. It is not likely that you
will require all procedures listed, so examine your situation and
use those steps which common sense dictates.
FIRE AND SMOKE DAMAGE
After fire damage, it is natural to want to clean a building
and its contents. Timely action can be a great help, but incorrect
or delayed action can jeopardize or seriously impede satisfactory
- Clean and protect chrome trim on kitchen
appliances with a light coating of Vaseline or other oil.
- Blow off or brush-vacuum loose smoke
particles from upholstery, drapery and carpet.
- Open windows for ventilation.
- Change furnace filter if blower is
- Empty freezer and refrigerator if
electricity is off, and prop doors open with a rolled towel or
- Clean and protect smoked bathroom
faucets, tub fittings and towel bars with a light coating of
- Pour antifreeze in toilet bowls, sinks,
and tubs to prevent freezing if heat is off in winter.
- Wash plants with water on both sides of
leaves (water softener helps).
- Call plumber to drain heating system if
heat is off in winter.
- Remove pets (especially birds) to clean
- Wipe or attempt to wash walls, ceilings
or other absorbent surfaces.
- Use upholstered furniture if it can be
- Use exposed food items, or canned goods
which have been subjected to excessive heat.
- Use TV's, stereos, or electrical
appliances until cleaned and checked.
Water is an essential part of many cleaning processes, but
under some circumstances, although it usually cleans, it can
damage articles. The harmful effect of water is sharply reduced by
prompt and wise action. Some procedures are obvious; others
require foresight and experience. This list of Emergency Tips has
been compiled from many years of experience in water damage repair
- Remove as much excess water as possible
by mopping and blotting.
- Wipe water from wood furniture after
removal of lamps and tabletop items.
- Remove and prop up wet upholstery
cushions for even drying (check for possible bleeding).
- Place aluminum foil, china saucers or
wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
- Turn on air conditioning for maximum
drying in summer; open windows to speed drying in winter.
- Open drawers and cabinet doors for
complete drying (do not force, however).
- Remove valuable oil paintings and art
objects to a safe place.
- Blot wet carpeting with clean white
- Open suitcases and luggage to dry, in
sunlight if possible.
- Punch small holes in sagging ceilings to
relieve trapped water (don't forget to place pans beneath!).
- Leave wet fabrics in place; dry as soon
as possible. Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at
- Leave books, magazines, or other colored
items on wet carpet or floors.
- Use your household vacuum to remove
- Use TVs or other appliances while
standing on wet carpet or floors, especially not on wet concrete
- Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is
wet, and keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging from
SOOT (FURNACE) DAMAGE
Although smoke and soot may seem to be identical, experienced
professionals recognize the important differences and appropriate
emergency action can help in restoring walls and furnishings
damaged by soot. Wrong action can make restoration more difficult
and could greatly delay your "return to normal". These
Emergency Tips can increase the chances for prompt and successful
- Change furnace filter.
- Cover upholstery with clean sheets before
- Tape double pieces of cheesecloth over
air registers with masking tape.
- Blow off or brush-vacuum loose soot
particles from upholstery, drapes and carpeting.
- Attempt to clean walls or ceilings.
- Use do-it-yourself, home carpet or
Vandalism is upsetting even when the motivation is not
malicious. While timely action can minimize or prevent lasting
damage, it is just as true that wrong or delayed action can
increase it - sometimes beyond hope of repair. Emergency Tips
listed below will minimize the effects of the damage, and make the
eventual repair more successful.
- Hose down or wash egg damage from
building exterior as soon as possible.
- Wipe up freshly spilled food from
carpets and fabrics with a dampened cloth or sponge (but don't
- DO scrape and blot (don't rub; it may
cause fuzzing or damage fibers).
- Vacuum glass particles from carpets and
- Save containers which will reveal the
composition of spilled inks, cosmetics and paints.
- Attempt to remove ink, paint or cosmetic
- Operate damaged lamps or appliances.
- Throw out wood chips, broken pieces from
furniture, porcelain or other art objects.
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