What to Throw Away and What Can Be Salvaged After A House Fire

What to Throw Away and What Can Be Salvaged After A House Fire

Even the smallest blaze can cause considerable fire damage to belongings throughout your home. That’s because smoke and soot can travel farther than flames, ruining everything from food to clothing. While most people understandably want to salvage as many items as possible after a fire, there are times it’s just not possible.

If you’ve suffered fire damage at your Central Florida home, these tips can help you decide what you need to throw away and what can likely be salvaged.

No Questions Asked: Throw These Four Fire-Damaged Things Away

One of the hardest parts when recovering from a house fire is learning what you must throw away. But any loss is worth it if it protects you from possible health or safety issues. We recommend you dispose of these four items after a fire.

  1. Non-perishable foods: Many people assume sealed foods are okay, but they might be inedible if they were close to the fire’s heat. That’s because high heat can lead to bacteria growth that spoils food or creates a nasty taste. Toxic fumes, too, can contaminate food stored in sealed glass jars and aluminum cans. If your pantry wasn’t close to the fire source, still check for rusted or bulging cans or foods with fire extinguisher dust on them.
  2. Perishable foods: Refrigerated and frozen foods are often salvageable after a fire. However, if your refrigerator’s interior smells smoky, food in the freezer no longer feels frozen, or the refrigerator lost power during the fire, it’s best to toss any uneaten food.
  3. Burnt clothing: Clothes and other textiles like bedding can often be salvaged, but you’ll need to clean and disinfect them properly. Anything burnt should be tossed.
  4. Cosmetics and medicines: If any products inside medicine cabinets show signs of heat, soot, fire extinguisher dust, or other fire damage, properly dispose of them.

The bottom line is to never hang onto any belongings that could put someone’s health at risk. If in doubt, throw it out!

What Can Be Salvaged After a House Fire

Even if you need to discard many items after a house fire, the good news is that many more can often be salvaged, particularly with the help of fire damage restoration professionals. The faster you can remove the soot that comes in contact with your belongings, the easier it is to salvage them.

Here are just some of the personal belongings that Central Florida Restoration Solutions can help you save:

  • Porous materials: Though they’ll likely need specialized cleaning, you can often save items like rugs, carpets, linens, clothing, stuffed animals, upholstered furniture, and paper products like photo albums, books, and other documents.
  • Non-porous items: Good non-porous candidates for restoration include mirrors, glass tabletops, dishware, kitchen utensils, lighting, metal appliances, non-laminated tables and chairs, and other wood items.

Unfortunately, many, if not most plastics don’t survive high fire temperatures, but if they’re only affected by smoke, you might be able to salvage some of them.

Tips For Salvaging Damaged Family Treasures

The Heritage Emergency National Task Force is a coalition of 42 national organizations and federal agencies co-sponsored by FEMA and the Smithsonian Institution. The organization has put together a list of guidelines from professional conservators that can help you find and restore family treasures after a house fire. Top tips include:

  1. Limiting the amount of time you handle or touch damaged items, as you could further grind in soot residue.
  2. Lifting objects carefully to avoid weakening them.
  3. Wearing protective clothing, especially latex or nitrile gloves.
  4. Avoid cleaning anything with water or store-bought cleaning solutions.

If something looks beyond repair, don’t despair. A restoration expert can determine if there’s a possible treatment to salvage the item.

How CFRS Can Help With Fire Damage Restoration

Major or minor, a house fire is a scary ordeal. Working with a restoration company like ours that empathizes with your situation can make a significant difference in how many of your personal belongings you’re able to salvage. We know that the sooner you get started on the fire damage restoration process, the more you will feel in control of the situation. By calling in the trained technicians at CFRS as quickly as possible after a fire, you can also prevent smoke damage, water damage, and mold damage from occurring.

To learn more about all the home restoration solutions we offer, contact CFRS today.

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