Frequently Asked Questions About Fire Damage
- How long will the fire restoration process take?
Because there are many variables and many services involved in fire and smoke restoration, it is difficult to predict exactly how long the complete restoration will take. Consult with your SERVPRO Technician on the estimated dates and phases of your restoration project.
- Can I clean the fire damage myself?
We suggest that you do not attempt any “do-it-yourself” cleaning methods without consulting your SERVPRO Technician. Professional cleaning systems and products used by experienced, trained SERVPRO Technicians give you the best chance for complete restoration of your belongings. Pre-testing, using the right cleaning agent for the particular item, mixing deodorizing agents with cleaning solutions, and using correct dilution rates are just some of the ways a fire restoration technician expertly controls the results.
- What are some safety concerns?
At SERVPRO, occupant and worker safety is a top priority. During the initial inspection, safety hazards are identified and addressed, including debris removal, air quality, electrical hazards, slip and trip hazards, etc. Burnt electrical cords and appliances are separate out for disposal, and questionable electrical appliances are unplugged and tagged for evaluation of the safe operation. Electrical power may be turned off and kept off until evaluation by a licensed electrician.
- Can I turn on my heating and air conditioning unit?
We recommend that you not turn on your furnace or air conditioning unit without clearance from the HVAC contractor.
- What items do I keep in my possession?
Cash, Medications, Valuable Jewelry, Checkbooks, Personal Documents, Valuable Paintings, Flammables, Pet, Weapons/Ammunition, Gasoline, Cans, Stamp/Coin Collections, etc.
- How do I keep track of non-restorable items?
We recommend you make a list of items (including food items) deemed non-restorable. Use a format like a sample below, or obtain a similar form from your insurance company. Make a copy for your insurance company and keep one for yourself.
- Do I need to move out of my property during the fire restoration process?
This is ultimately your decision. Some things you may want to consider are safety concerns, odors, electricity, noise from equipment, etc. If vacating your premises for any length of time, consider the following: forward your mail to your temporary residence; stop newspaper and other deliveries; notify utility company, Cable Company, etc. of temporary suspension of services.
- Do I need general contractors?
There are some items that may require general contractors, such as drywall/painting, electrical, plumbing, roofing, framing/finish carpentry, flooring/carpet, installation of doors, windows, cabinets, post-construction cleanup, etc. Please talk with a SERVPRO representative as we have the ability to provide these services to you through our own in-house facility.
- Do my belongings need to be moved away from the premises?
Depending on the source, nature, and extent of the fire, it may be best to remove all belongings to a secure facility for cleaning, storage and to make room for restoration or construction. SERVPRO will work with you and your insurance claim representative to manage this process.
- Will I have access to my belongings while they are in storage?
Yes, with advance notice we can schedule a time for you to access your requested items.
- What about special items? Artwork, china, heirlooms, etc.
Some high-value items require restoration by specialists. Working with your insurance claim representative, we can help you identify these and locate a qualified restorer.
Who is responsible for payment for the service?
Ultimately you, the property owner, are responsible for payment and will need to sign a form authorizing repairs and payment for the restoration services. If this is an insurance claim, SERVPRO generally collects the deductible (co-payment) amount from you and bills the balance to your insurance provider as a service to you. If you have a large loss, your mortgage company may be included as a payee on the payment from your insurance company, and you may need to obtain a signature from them as well. If your claim is not covered by the insurance or you decide not to file a claim, you will be expected to pay in full.