What to do after a Wildfire

What to do after a Wildfire

Health, safety and indoor air quality need to be considered before entering an interface Fire Zone. Check with local authorities to determine whether it is in fact safe to enter your property. When entering your property, it is recommended that you wear personal protective equipment such as respirators like N95 masks or a 1/2 face respirator with P100 filters with carbon component to protect your lungs. It is also recommended that you wear protective footwear while walking around your property. Protective footwear designed to protect your feet from impact, compression, and puncture as well as other types of injury. It is quite common for sharps and or other hazards to be present in fire zones.

The devastating effects of interface wildfires can be corrected by following and being aware of these important steps.

  1. Indoor air quality can be vastly improved by installing industrial sized air scrubbing filtration equipment with carbon filters pre filters and HEPA filtration. These machines in most cases should be the first step to restoring your homes air quality. They are capable of cleaning airborne residual particulate including smoke, ash and soot which will undoubtedly be around in your home or building and likely continue to be circulated by HVAC systems.

In many cases smoke and soot odors can penetrate deep into surfaces especially when these surfaces are super heated and then naturally cool down to their ambient temperatures. When this happens, it is difficult to get the smoke smell out of many indoor surfaces. In addition to surface cleaning, an affective tool to aid in achieving this goal is the hydroxyl generator. The Hydroxyl Generator is an air handling piece of equipment engineered to remove odors (like smoke) volatile organic compounds (VOC.s) bacteria particles and virus particulate from the air.

  1. Although rarely 100% conclusive one can use white tissue or paper towel and go around wiping surfaces to get an idea of the amount of contamination that may exist inside your home or business. Decontamination of indoor structures should be performed by surface cleaning, simply washing and cleaning all surfaces using the proper surfactants which counteracts and eliminates smoke, ash and soot as well as the odors that come with them. Although this is simple to say it is quite a time consuming and detailed process which, if executed properly will be extremely effective. All indoor surface’s including ceilings, walls, cabinets, flooring, ducting, and HVAC systemsas well as contents including clothes, curtains and textiles, furniture, appliances, plants, and general belongings should be cleaned thoroughly.

Freezers and refrigerators that contain food and have been disabled for longer than six hours should be inspected thoroughly. Appliances that have be disabled longer and allowed to completely defrost, in most cases will be considered non salvageable. This is because the melting frost/ice and food liquids will be absorbed by the insulation components which are not considered serviceable. Attempts to reuse these types of appliances almost always results in the smell of decaying food and protein matter and possible health and safety issues due to the potential of food born illness.

  1. A complete thorough inspection of the exterior building envelope is extremely important to eliminate secondary damage that can occur as a result of water ingression and compromised insulation components. Many homes and businesses in wildfire areas will be damaged from heat based on the proximity to the fire. Floating embers can land on and even ignite small fires on a building and around the property, some of these burns will be obvious to see but many can be well hidden and cause problems if not discovered and repaired. It is important too Carefully and thoroughly inspect roofs, patio surfaces, siding, windows, doors, eaves, eavestrough, downspouts, attic spaces, insulation components and fixtures to identify and execute repairs as soon as possible.

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