Fire Damage Emergency Tips
What you can do until help arrives
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An estimated 2,900 residential fires totaling $35 million in damage annually are caused by clothes dryers. The main culprit is failure to clean the lint filter and dryer vents. Fires can occur when lint builds up in the dryer or in the exhaust duct. Lint can block the flow of air, which causes excessive heat buildup, and results in a fire in some dryers.
Some tips from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission are as follows:
- Clean the lint screen/filter before or after drying each load of clothes. If clothing is still damp at the end of a typical drying cycle, then the lint screen or the exhaust duct may be blocked.
- Clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct regularly.
- Clean behind the dryer where lint can build up.
- Replace accordion-type ducting material that can trap lint with rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal duct.
- Wash clothing soiled with volatile chemicals, such as gasoline, cooking oils, cleaning agents, or finishing oils, and stains more than once, and use the lowest heat setting with a cool down period at the end of the cycle.
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What To Do After A Fire
- Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpets.
- Keep hands clean so as not to further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork.
- Place clean towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
- If electricity is off, empty freezer and refrigerator and prop doors open.
- Clean and protect chrome with light coating of petroleum jelly or oil.
- Wash houseplants on both sides of leaves.
- Change HVAC filter.
- Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers.
What NOT To Do After A Fire
- Don't attempt to wash any walls or painted surfaces or shampoo carpet or upholstery without contacting us.
- Don't attempt to clean any electrical appliances that may have been close to fire, heat or water without consulting an authorized repair service.
- Don't use any canned or packaged food or beverages that may have been stored near the fire, heat or water.
- Don't turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet. The wiring may be damaged.
- Don't send garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke odor.