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Emergency tips

The DOs of Fire and Smoke Recovery:

  • Call your insurance representative as soon as your safety is secured outside the fire scene.
  • Follow instructions from fire, police and insurance representatives. Your cooperation can help you return to normal as quickly as possible.
  • Clean and protect chrome trim and faucets with coating of vaseline or other similar product.
  • Open windows to aid ventilation.
  • Blow off, brush, or vacuum loose particles from upholstery, draperies, and carpeting.
  • Place material covers over carpet and upholstery to prevent further damage.
  • Remove and replace furnace filter (if still in operation).
  • Tape double layers of cheese cloth over air registers to filter airborne smoke or fire particles.
  • Pour antifreeze in toilets, sinks, and tubs to prevent freezing if heat/power off during colder seasons.
  • Remove pets and wash/bathe them. Change the water in fish aquariums.
  • Remove the top layer of house plant soil (1/2″ – 1″) and wash leaves on both sides.

The DON’Ts of Fire and Smoke Recovery:

  • Make hasty or costly decisions concerning your property under duress.
  • Remove anything from the site of a major fire until investigated by fire and insurance representatives and only after you have been authorized to do so.
  • Wipe or attempt to wash walls or ceilings.
  • Sit on upholstered furniture until professionally cleaned.
  • Use electrical appliances, TVs, or stereos until cleaned and serviced.
  • Operate wet appliances until you have had a professional servicing. Improper grounding or short-circuiting may result in property damage or safety hazards.
  • Operate ceiling fixtures if there is any evidence of water damage to the ceiling.
  • Consume food goods from a smoke or fire damaged area or canned goods that have been subjected to excessive heat.
  • Launder clothes or dry clean garments that have a strong smoke odour.

The DO’s of Water Damage Recovery:

  • Go to your main water shut-off valve and close it until repairs can be made to a burst plumbing pipe.
  • Call a plumber to make necessary repairs.
  • Make small holes in sagging ceilings to relieve trapped water and place containers under holes to contain dripping water.
  • Prop up or elevate furniture on blocks or place aluminum foil between the legs and wet surface to prevent further water damage to the item.
  • Remember that wood furniture or fixtures may be salvageable even if they appear damaged – clean off water, mud, or dirt. Remove drawers and dry thoroughly to prevent warping. Scrub with a soft brush and mild cleaning solution, use a soft cloth to wipe dry.
  • Open doors and windows to prevent mold and decay. If possible, use a fan to circulate air, first ensuring the fan outlet is safe!
  • Remove as much excess water as possible using pumps, mops, etc.

The DON’Ts of Water Damage Recovery:

  • Attempt to dry wooden furniture in the sun – this can lead to severe warping and twisting of the wood.
  • Operate wet appliances until you have had a professional servicing. Improper grounding or short-circuiting may result in property damage or safety hazards.
  • Operate ceiling fixtures if there is any evidence of water damage to the ceiling.

The DO’s of Storm Damage Recovery:

  • Check with an electrician before turning anything back on if your home has flooding. Mixing water and electricity is extremely dangerous.
  • Refill your pipes only after heat is restored to your home or building.
  • Leave a light switch on to alert you when the power is restored.
  • Gradually reconnect your appliances one at a time to avoid overloading your circuits once power is restored.
  • Call your local Hydro provider to report the continuing outage – especially if your neighbours’ appear to get their power back, but you don’t.
  • Check food in your refrigerator or freezer carefully after a prolonged outage. If in doubt, throw it out.
  • Check with your local municipalities to find out how storm-damaged trees and other debris should be handled. Some municipalities may own trees next to your property and will be responsible for removing debris from the trees it owns.
  • Remember that if you own a service pole that has been damaged, it is generally your responsibility to have a new pole installed so that your local Hydro provider can safely restore your service.
  • Protect yourself and others by calling 911 or your local Hydro provider immediately if you see any downed or fallen lines, broken poles, or trees touching wires. Don’t assume they already know!
  • Call for rescue and/or emergency medical assistance immediately to report a life-threatening emergency if someone is being electrically shocked due to downed power lines, do not touch them!
  • Report any gas odor or suspected carbon monoxide poisoning immediately and find a safe place.

The DO’s of Vandalism Damage Recovery:

  • Hose down or wash any egg damage or residue from the building’s exterior as soon as possible.
  • Wipe up freshly spilled food from carpets and fabrics with a damp cloth or sponge, taking care to ‘blot’, not rub.
  • Vacuum glass particles from carpets and upholstery.
  • Save containers that may reveal the composition of spilled inks, cosmetics, and paints.

The DON’Ts of Vandalism Damage Recovery:

  • Attempt to remove ink, paint, or cosmetic stains.
  • Operate damaged lamps or appliances.
  • Dispose of any wood chips, broken pieces from furniture, porcelain, or any other art objects.