Office fires happen from time to time. It’s not uncommon for under-maintained break room appliances to catch fire and, occasionally, an old outlet or faulty appliance will cause a spark that catches the carpet or baseboards alight. Fortunately, these fires can usually be put out quickly but the damage done can be extensive. Sometimes it is just smoke and soot damage with light scorching or a wrecked appliance, but other times entire sections of wall or partial rooms may need to be rebuilt.
Naturally, you have scheduled commercial fire damage restoration for your office. But the process will go more smoothly if you know how to prepare. Believe it or not, most of your preparation steps are damage control relating to soot, which is the most common source of fire-related damage after a fire. Soot is staining and very easy to spread if you are not careful.
Avoid Tracking Soot Away from the Damaged Area
The first step is to be very careful about where you step. Soot is staining an in many cases, there is a great deal of loose soot on the carpet, walls, and nearby surfaces that could easily be spread throughout the office if someone is careless. Be careful and strict about not tracking that soot further out into your office space. Do not try to clean up the soot yourself, allow employees to try and clean it or task your maintenance task to vacuuming the area. This is a recipe for disaster and can potentially achieve exactly what you are trying to avoid.
Wrap and Remove Damaged Furniture
If there is damaged or soot-covered furniture that is at risk of tracking soot around the office or being moved by employees, remove it with care. Your first instinct may be simply to grab the furniture and carry it out but this is also a common recipe for tracking soot through the office, not to mention staining your work clothes. Your best bet is to use plastic tarps and tape. Gingerly wrap the furniture in the tap, so as not to disturb the soot, and seal the tarp with tape before carrying the furniture out of the office for restoration or disposal.
Cordon Off the Damaged Area
Find a way to block off the damaged area from curious onlookers and careless employees who might walk through the soot If you have actual cordon ropes or retractable ribbons normally used to control customer lines, use these to indicate that employees are not to cross the boundaries. In a pinch, line the outside of the damaged area with desks or chairs lined in a tarp to create an uncrossable barrier. This way, employees cannot track through the soot or curiously investigate a potentially dangerous area.
Provide Alternate Services for Staff if Necessary
If the damage occurred in a way that blocks the break room or restrooms, naturally you will need to provide your employees with alternative facilities. Break room damage can often be temporarily remedied with a mini-fridge and microwave placed on a table on the other side of the office. If the fire damage blocks an important restroom, allow your employees extra time to go one floor up or down or, if you are a small office, ask your nearby neighbors if their restrooms can become available until repairs are complete and be understanding about the time it takes for employees to walk out and back as needed.
Be Ready On Schedule
Fires can be highly disrupting to your workplace schedule, but remember to keep track of when you have scheduled your restoration services and have someone available to oversee the process. You may want this taken care of ASAP during work hours or you may want to schedule for the nearest weekend with a maintenance professional present to open the doors. If your commercial space has recently experienced a fire and you need fire restoration services, contact us today. We will do everything we can to meet your needs and your schedule.