Home insurance

Smoke and fire damage: What to do

Wednesday, March 13, 2019by  PEMCO Insurance

​Nothing is more indiscriminate than fire when it comes to damaging the possessions you hold dear. While we can't always ease the heartbreak of ruined keepsakes, know that PEMCO's "worry less, live more" philosophy stands behind you as you get your life back to normal.

Following a fire (before professional restoration specialists arrive), there are a few things you can do to help minimize further damage and keep your family safe:

Safety first

If you or members of your household are sensitive to soot or smoke, or if you have concerns about being in or around the affected areas of your house, play it safe; wait for a professional assist you.

Call 1-800-GO-PEMCO
As soon as we hear from you, we can start to help. We'll arrange an inspection of the damage and connect you to professional cleaning companies that specialize in fire and smoke restoration.

Clean with caution
Fire damage is no ordinary mess. Your best-intended efforts can make things worse. For example:

  • Don't attempt to wash walls, ceilings or painted surfaces or shampoo your carpets or upholstery. Also, don't clean clothes (ordinary dry cleaning can set smoke odor in clothes permanently).
  • It is OK to lightly vacuum or blow off loose soot particles from carpets and upholstery, but don't scrub or use water. Cover carpeted traffic areas with old towels to keep soot from being tracked through the house. Stay off sooty furniture to avoid spreading the mess.
  • Change your furnace filters and cover heat registers with cheesecloth so they don't circulate soot particles.
  • Wash both sides of houseplant leaves with water.

Don't trust potentially damaged electronics or food
Err on the side of caution. If the walls or ceilings are wet, don't use electrical outlets or ceiling fans. The wiring could be damaged. That's also true for any appliance that may have been close to heat, fire or water. Get them checked out first by an electrician or authorized repairperson.

Throw away any food that may have been contaminated or gone too long without refrigeration. Check canned foods and unsealed jars to be certain they are not damaged by the smoke or fire. If the electricity is off, clear out your refrigerator and freezer and open the door so it can dry. Be sure to securely block open or remove the door to prevent a curious child from getting trapped inside. 

Remember: You're not in this alone. PEMCO's in your corner whenever you have questions or concerns. Contact your PEMCO adjuster or call 1-800-GO-PEMCO.


Share on social media

Comments on this post

No comments yet. Be the first to comment!

Add your comment

At PEMCO, we believe that maintaining the confidentiality of personal information is a fundamental responsibility. View our privacy policy.