Fires are one of those everyday occurrences that many people and organisations can get complacent about. Unless you’ve been directly affected, you might forget about the devastating consequences that fire can have. Of course, the risks to life and health must always be of paramount concern. But clearing up after a fire can be vital in putting lives and livelihoods back on track. In this blog we’re going to take a closer look at responding to smoke damage – and how React Specialist Cleaning can help with deep cleaning of smoke damage.
Fires in the UK: who is affected and how
Government figures showed fire and rescue services (FRS) attended 167,150 fires in the year to 31 March 2018. This was a 3% increase compared with the previous year (161,997), but a 43% decrease compared with ten years ago (293,920 in 2007/08). The figures are broken down into categories, according to the severity of effects on people and property. Primary fires are those that either occur in a (non-derelict) building, vehicle or outdoor structure; involve a fatality, casualty or rescue; or are attended by five or more pumping appliances. Secondary fires are generally small outdoor fires, not involving people or property. Chimney fires are fires in buildings where the flame was contained within the chimney structure, without causing casualties.
Primary fires in 2017/18 were slightly fewer in number than the previous year. Of these incidents in 2017/18, around 37,000 were house fires a year, the majority of which are caused by electrical equipment misuse, mainly cooking appliances. As for commercial premises, around 25,000 fires were reported in non-dwelling buildings, with electrical faults, misuse of equipment and arson being the most frequent causes.
Smoke is the main problem for health and property
Smoke is a harmful mixture of particles and gases. Inhalation inflames the lungs and airways, causing swelling which blocks oxygen absorption. Even after the fire is over, smoke damage remains. Lingering smoke damage can be harmful to your health. Exposure to smoke and soot during fire restoration may occur via the skin and eyes, inhalation, and ingestion. Once soot enters your blood stream, it can cause a wide array of serious health issues, including respiratory issues, shortness of breath, bronchitis, asthma, stroke, heart attack, cancer, and premature death.
If your premises are damaged by fire or smoke, it is essential to clean promptly and deeply. This helps to address both the obvious damage, and the numerous, often less obvious effects relating to trapped soot and odours, and water and chemical damage from firefighting. These can present significant issues for any future use including further deterioration of the building and contents and health risks to inhabitants. That’s a task for React Specialist Cleaning.
How we address the task of cleaning up smoke damage
As experts in the field, we know to take the property as whole. Even if the fire was localised, smoke and soot can have traveled throughout the structure, affecting walls, carpet, upholstery and other items. The first step is always to allow fresh air to circulate. It may also be a good idea to run a dehumidifier with the windows closed if there is associated water damage along with smoke damage. The presence of mould can be a serious health risk and can damage your floors beyond repair.
Soot is oily and stains very easily so removing it is always a priority for us. We use a variety of different methods to completely eradicate soot and smells, including air blasting, pressure washing, steam cleaning and dry soot sponging. For walls, we use a cleaning product such as trisodium phosphate (TSP) while being careful not to oversaturate the walls. With furniture, we’ll be thorough but gentle, to ensure that we don’t strip off any finishes or cause further damage. And for textiles, including carpets, we’ll focus on cleaning and de-odorising, as the smell of smoke can linger.
With our smoke damage deep cleaning service, you’ll get your property back in a usable state quickly and with less fuss. Whether it’s a residential or commercial premises, we’ll apply the same rigorous approach. And whether you’re a landlord or a business owner, you’ll be looking after the health and safety of the building’s users.
Contact one of the team today to find out more about our how our deep cleaning service can address fire and smoke damage in your commercial or residential building.
Telephone: 01283 550 503
Post by Shaun D. Doak
Shaun is the Managing Director of React Specialist Cleaning. He is deeply committed to making sure that every one of our company’s clients receives the highest possible level of service. An expert in HVAC and commercial and industrial cleaning methodologies, Shaun has extensive experience in the facilities management and renewable services sectors.