After fire damage, it is natural for a person to want to clean a building or home and contents. Timely action can be a great help. It is also true that incorrect or delayed action can jeopardise or seriously impede satisfactory restoration. Here's a list of Emergency Tips to follow when water damage occurs. It is not likely that you will require all procedures listed. Examine your situation and use those steps which common sense dictate.


Do . . .
  • Clean and protect chrome trim on kitchen appliances with a light coating of Vaseline or other oil.
  • Blow off or brush-vacuum loose smoke particles from upholstery, drapes and carpets.
  • Open windows for ventilation.
  • Change furnace filter if blower is operating.
  • Empty freezer and refrigerator completely if electricity is off, and prop doors open with a rolled towel or newspaper.
  • Clean and protect smoked bathroom faucets, tub fittings and towel bars with a light coating of oil.
  • Wash plants with water on both sides of leaves (water softener helps).
  • Call a plumber to drain the heating system if heat is off in the winter.
  • Remove pets (especially birds) to a clean environment.
  • Tape doubled pieces of cheesecloth over air registers with masking tape.

Do Not . . .
  • Wipe or attempt to wash walls ceilings or other absorbent surfaces.
  • Use upholstered furniture if it can be avoided.
  • Use exposed food items, or canned goods, which have been subjected to excessive heat.
  • Use TVS, stereos or electrical appliances until cleaned and checked.
  • Send smoked garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke and odour.


Water is an essential part of many cleaning processes, but under some circumstances, although it usually cleans, it can damage articles. The harmful effect of water is sharply reduced by prompt and wise action. Some procedures are obvious; others require foresight and experience.

Do . . .
  • Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting.
  • Wipe water from wood furniture.
  • Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying (check for possible bleeding).
  • Place aluminum foil, styrofoam or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
  • Turn on air conditioning for maximum drying in summer and open windows to speed drying in winter.
  • Remove Orientals or other coloured rugs from wet wall-to-wall carpeting.
  • Open drawers and cabinet doors for complete drying (however, do not force).
  • Remove valuable oil paintings and art objects to a safe place.
  • Blot wet carpeting with clean white towels.
  • Open suitcases and luggage to dry, in sunlight if possible.
  • Punch small holes in sagging ceilings to relieve trapped water (dont forget to place pans beneath).

Do Not . . .
  • Leave wet fabrics in place; dry as soon as possible.
  • Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.
  • Leave books, magazines or other coloured items on wet carpet or floors.
  • Use your household vacuum to remove water.
  • Use TVS or other appliances while standing on wet carpet or floors, especially not on wet concrete floors.
  • Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.


Although smoke and soot may seem to be identical, experienced professionals recognise the important difference and appropriate emergency action can help in restoring walls and furnishings damaged by soot. Wrong action can make restoration more difficult and could greatly delay your return to normal. These Emergency Tips can increase the chances for prompt and successful restoration.

Do . . .
  • Change furnace filter.
  • Cover upholstery with clean sheets before use.
  • Tape doubled pieces of cheesecloth over air registers with masking tape.
  • Blow off or brush-vacuum loose soot particles from upholstery, drapes and carpeting.

Do Not . . .
  • Attempt to clean walls or ceilings
  • Use do-it-yourself, home carpet or upholstery cleaners.


Do . . .
  • Hose down or wash egg damage from building exterior as soon as possible.
  • Wipe up freshly spilled food from carpets and fabrics with a dampened cloth or sponge (but dont overwet). Do scrape and blot (don't scrub; it may cause fuzzing or damage fibres).
  • Vacuum glass particles from carpets and upholstery.
  • Save containers, which will reveal the composition of spilled inks, cosmetics, and paints.

Do Not . . .
  • Attempt to remove ink, paint or cosmetic stains.
  • Operate damaged lamps or appliances.
  • Throw out wood chips, broken pieces from furniture, porcelain or other art objects.


Do . . .
  • Stay indoors.
  • Disconnect electrical appliances such as TVS and radios.

Do Not . . .
  • Use fireplaces, radiators, stove, metal pipes, sinks or other conductors.
  • Handle electrical equipment or telephones during the storm.


Do . . .
  • Go down to the basement or seek shelter under a stairway or in a closet.
  • Stay away from downed hydro wires and gas leaks.


  1. Notify your insurance broker, agent as soon as possible.
  2. If birth certificates were destroyed, contact your local Office of Birth and Death Records to arrange for replacement.
  3. If your Social Insurance or Employer Health Tax cards were destroyed, call your local Social Insurance Administration to arrange for replacement.
  4. If paper money was damaged or destroyed, notify your local bank. Refunds are not always possible, but it doesn't hurt to ask.
  5. If Savings Bonds were damaged or destroyed, notify your local agent.
  6. If your chequebook, savings account book or blank cheques were lost or destroyed, notify your bank immediately.
  7. If personal credit cards were lost or destroyed, contact the companies that issued the cards as soon as possible.
  8. Remove money, charge cards, jewellery, personal papers, guns and ammunition.
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