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Sanitation and Safety

Tips On Smoke Removal And Fire Cleanup

 

Here are some helpful smoke cleanup tips following wildfires provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA):

  1. In areas not currently affected by smoke or blowing ash, thoroughly air out the house by opening windows and running fans.
  2. Pressure wash, scrub or disinfect all exterior surfaces including walls, walks, drives, decks, window and deck screens, etc.
  3. Wash and disinfect all interior walls and hard surfaces with mild soap or other appropriate cleaning solutions or products, and rinse thoroughly. Don't forget inside cabinets, drawers and closets.
  4. Launder or dry clean all clothing.
  5. Wash, dust or otherwise clean all household items, including knick-knacks.
  6. Disinfect and deodorize all carpets, window coverings, upholstered furniture and mattresses with steam or other appropriate equipment.
  7. Upholstery, fabric window treatments, etc. can be spray-treated with deodorizing products available at most supermarkets, but do not use odor-masking sprays.
  8. Have heating, ventilating and air-conditioning units and all ductwork professionally cleaned to remove soot, ash and smoke residue. Change filters when you first return to the premises and at least once a month for the first year.
  9. If aerial fire retardant or firefighting foam residue is present on the house and/or automobiles, use a mild detergent and brushes to scrub and dilute the dried residue and flush it from the surfaces; rinse with clean water. A follow-up with pressure washing may be beneficial but will not replace scrubbing to remove the residue.
  10. Ash and soot on the ground and vegetation in the vicinity will continue to generate smoke odors and airborne particles when disturbed by air movement. Until the ash and soot are diluted and absorbed by the environment, indoor mechanical air filtration may help minimize the uncomfortable and potentially health-threatening impact of these pollutants.

For more information on smoke removal and fire cleanup, we recommend the following websites:

FEMA - Tips on Smoke Removal and Fire Cleanup

Centers for Disease Control - Wildfire Emergency Preparedness and Response

Centers for Disease Control - Worker Safety During Fire Cleanup