A common misconception about fires is that flames are the most dangerous part. While they are a threat, smoke and soot can be more insidious and destructive. Even small fires can cause terrible smoke harm, and most businesses or homeowners do not appreciate the danger that smoke can cause to their properties. Discover why your home or business is at risk and what you can do to prevent this type of damage.
The Hidden Dangers of Smoke and Soot Damage
The smoke from a fire can wreak havoc on your belongings, and soot and grime are often unavoidable. However, the most dangerous damage is caused by the effects of smoke. As a by-product of combustion, smoke contains charred fibers that stick to walls, floors, furnishings, and other surfaces. Smoke can damage textiles like curtains, draperies, and upholstered furniture.
Signs of smoke and soot damage include:
- Black stains
- Stained fabric
- Smoke smells
- Floor damage
- Paint discoloration
Why Smoke Can Be So Harmful
Smoke is carcinogenic and can be especially hard on human lungs and skin. It can also cause corrosive damage to various metals and metal objects. The substances in smoke that cause these problems are known as volatile organic compounds, VOCs. VOCs are harmful because they are released into the environment from combustion and accumulate in the water, soil, and air due to everyday activities. VOCs also cause nose irritation, headaches, and other disorders in humans. Prolonged exposure to these fumes can also lead animals and humans to pulmonary damage or impaired vision.
Smoke Damage Claim Steps
The last thing you want is your insurance company giving you a hard time. Our team of professionals can help you document your claim and provide you with advice on how to handle the situation. If you think you may have smoke and soot damage in your home or building, there are certain steps to take. These include:
1. Make a List of Everything Damaged and Lost
If you have a smoke damage claim, you must list everything that was affected. Make a note of any items damaged, lost, or destroyed. Make this list as soon as possible to remember everything.
2. Secure Your Property to Mitigate Damage
As soon as possible, secure your property to prevent further damage. It may involve securing your valuables, such as jewelry or artwork, but it also applies to business materials and documents. Moving them to higher floors in the building or storing them in a safe area outside is recommended. It will provide a buffer between your property and the smoke and soot that will likely come after the fire has been extinguished.
3. Get Repair Estimates and Document Everything
You will likely need to get repairs done. You will probably need expert advice on the best way to do this and an estimate from a repair service provider. Insurance companies will send out their adjusters, who will most likely make decisions in their best interest. You don’t have to accept the numbers they propose; this is where a public adjuster comes in handy.
4. Keep Paying Your Insurance Premiums
If you have insurance on your home or business, you need to keep paying your insurance premiums. These may increase somewhat due to the fire damage but following these steps will help you limit the additional strain a claim can put on your budget.
5. Hire a Public Adjuster
A public adjuster will help you navigate filing a claim and dealing with the insurance company. They know what to expect and are experienced in dealing with insurance company representatives. Hiring one will keep you from being at the mercy of decisions made in the best interests of insurance companies rather than your own.
The damage of smoke that can occur in a building through fire is just one facet of the dangers smoke presents to residential and commercial structures. With the help of a public adjuster, dealing with smoke damage claims in Florida is easier. Do not hesitate to contact us to get the best advice and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.