Although your insurance company will most likely require mitigation of the home to prevent further damage, your first-and-foremost concern must be assessing your primary safety before re-entering the home. Evaluate the "scene" and determine if you consider it a safe re-entry. Highest injuries occur after a fire related to “slip and fall” hazards or electrical issues. Use good judgment and special consideration when lifting wet items. They can be excessively heavy, and therefore dangerous.

If you deem that it is safe to re-enter the home, limit your movement to your designated task list. Movement after a fire can cause soot particles to become further embedded into carpets and upholstery. Take care to keep your hands clean so that no additional damage will be done to furniture, walls, or woodwork. Identify your "high traffic" areas and cover them with clean towel, sheets, or rugs. Then use the following checklist:


• Change the filter for your central heat and air unit.

• Duct vents should have two layers of cheesecloth (do not substitute) taped over them.

• If electrical service has been disconnected (normal procedure during a fire), empty freezers
  and refrigerators and prop doors open.

• Chrome may be protected from further damage with an applied thin coating of oil or petroleum

• DO NOT attempt to clean the area. Washing walls, cleaning carpets or upholstery may result in
  additional damage if not handled correctly.

• DO NOT clean or turn on ANY electrical appliances without them first being inspected by an
  authorized repair service. Extreme heat and water can cause damage far beyond visible.

• DO NOT eat anything that was present in the home during the fire. Dispose of any foods that are
  canned, bottled or packaged. It is a health hazard!

• DO NOT turn on ceiling lights or fans if the ceiling is still wet. The wiring may be damaged.

• DO NOT attempt to wash clothing or send to a local dry cleaner. There are proper cleaning
  methods than can remove the odor. Improper methods may result in the smell becoming
  permanently “set.”

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