Assessing the Damage
Allow time after you re-enter the scene, for proper ventilation in the building. Some toxins may still be trapped in areas of the building and without proper fresh air ventilation, some personal discomfort may be experienced with the following symptoms: headaches, dizziness, nausea, etc. Should symptoms persist, see your doctor.
If you own or are purchasing the property, contact your insurance company or agent as soon as possible. If you are renting or leasing the property, you must contact the owner. Your insurance agent will know what parts of the damage are insured. In some cases they may be able to assist by providing names of reputable contractors who can do restoration to certain elements of the work that are not insured.
If You Cannot Live In The Building
If you’re not able to live or work in the property, remove all valuables. When the fire department releases the property to you, by word or abandon, you become responsible for the security of the property. Securing the doors and windows and other areas against unauthorized entry becomes your responsibility.
Red Cross Assistance
Those who have experienced a fire or other disaster may obtain assistance from the local American Red Cross chapter. Upon application to the Red Cross, you can obtain food, clothing, lodging and other services as needs are assessed. A Red Cross Disaster Caseworker will be happy to assist you, and can be reached at 801-323-7000.
If You Have Moved
If you have moved, be sure to notify the:
- Credit Card Companies
- Local School District
- Post Office
- Social Security Administration
- Water Department
- West Valley City Sanitation Division
- Other companies providing service or sending mail to your address
Tax information on Disasters, Casualty Losses, and Thefts, Publication 547, is available from the local Internal Revenue Service Office. Check with your accountant for guidance and recommendation.
Construction & Inspection
If the building is structurally damaged to the point of repair, and/or is not habitable, a City Building Inspector must be called to assess. After the building inspection is completed, a permit must be obtained prior to making repairs. Contact the West Valley City Building Inspection Division at 801-963-3283.
Often the Fire Department will have the utility services interrupted or disconnected as a safety precaution and also to prevent further damage to the structure and its contents. The steps to re-establish utility services are:
- Electrical - An Electrical Inspector must check the wiring to be sure it is safe before the power can be reconnected. Contact Rocky Mountain Power at 888-221-7070. Remember, have a service person check damp or wet appliances before you operate.
- Natural Gas - Do not turn the gas back on after an incident. Call 800-323-5517 to have a Questar service person turn on gas and relight appliances for you.
- Telephone - Contact your telephone or cell phone provider for this service.
- Water - This utility may be turned back on by the resident. Use caution however, the incident may have damaged the plumbing. Hidden leaks may cause further damage when water is re-introduced into the pipes.
- Wall to Wall Carpet - A wet / dry vacuum or water extractor carpet cleaning machine are excellent for this job. These can be rented at most supermarkets or drugstores. They will remove the standing water and dirt. Then add carpet cleaning detergent and clean the carpet per manufactures specifications or as instructed on the machine.
Rugs & Carpet
Let rugs and carpets dry out thoroughly. Throw rugs can be cleaned by beating, sweeping, or vacuuming and then shampooing.Shampoo with a commercial rug shampoo, dry the rugs as quickly as possible by laying them flat and exposing them to a circulation of warm dry air. A fan turned on the rug will speed the drying process. Make sure the rugs are thoroughly dry. Any moisture remaining at the base of the tufts will quickly rot the rug, causing it to fall apart.
When water gets underneath linoleum, it can cause odors and warp the wood flooring. If this happens, remove the entire sheet. If the linoleum is brittle, a heat lamp will soften it so it can be rolled up without breaking. If carefully removed, it can be re-cemented after the floor has completely dried. Small blisters in linoleum can be punctured with a nail and re-cemented if one is careful. Dilute regular linoleum paste thin enough to go through a hand syringe and shoot adhesive through the nail hole. Weigh down the linoleum with bricks or boards. It is usually possible to cement loose tiles of any type. Wait until the floor is completely dry before beginning.
Always read the care label before treating any garments, for proper instructions. Smoke odor and soot can sometimes be washed from clothing. The following formula will often work for clothing that can be bleached:
- 4 to 6 Teaspoons Tri-Sodium Phosphate
- 1 Cup Lysol or any chloride bleach
- 1 Gallon warm water or half cup ammonia to two gallons of water
- Rinse with clear water
- Wear rubber gloves when cleaning. After washing article, rinse with clear warm water and dry thoroughly
Preparing Clothing for the Cleaners
Should you have doubts or questions about the cleaning or preparations of clothing, it is wise to contact your local cleaning service.
Wipe with a damp cloth, then with a dry cloth. Stuff your purses, shoes, etc. with paper to retain shape. Leave suitcase open for airing. Steel wool or a suede brush can be used on suede. We recommend you contact a leather and suede cleaner for information.
Mildew is a mold growth. If it is allowed to continue, it will weaken or rot fabrics. Ways to remove mildew include:
- Wash stain with soap and water
- Rinse well and dry
- If stain remains, use lemon juice and salt, or a solution of a tablespoon of “perborate bleach” to a pint of lukewarm water, or dilute a solution of household chlorine bleach
- Test colored garments before using any treatment
This generally is a very complex problem due to the many varied materials on the market today. Manufacturer’s combine several raw materials such as natural fibers including: