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Clarissa T's picture

I am living in a hotel as we were recently in a fire. Thankfully, no one was hurt and I had homeowners insurance. Needless to say, I’ve learned a thing or two along the way.

Fires in homes or burning anything man-made can be quite dangerous due to the leads, paints, and plastics we have in and around our abodes. Here are some tips if you are ever in a fire.


1. Inhale as little as possible when retrieving items

Make sure to retrieve most needed items on the first day and try to exit as quickly as possible. Most homes have paint and ingredients within the wall that are highly concentrated with PCBs and other highly toxic substances, so you want to ensure to keep that in mind as you collect any items or touch any surfaces. Wear gloves please!


2. When returning to retrieve items thereafter, make sure to open all windows as you peruse/assess damage and BE WARY OF BROKEN GLASS!


The chemical burn odor will linger until your home is rebuilt or a professional company comes and sweeps/removes the damage. Be sure to go in with a simple mask and with open windows on the occasion that you return. Wear sturdy shoes and wrap them twice or more with plastic trash bags to deter any piercing glass from penetrating through.


3. Do not retrieve food items, vitamins, medicines, and anything that was within a container made of any percentage of plastic


Even if it doesn’t look melted, any heat would have released chemicals unto the items in the container. THROW AWAY!


4. Smoke smells linger, even if you get accustomed to it. Bet on having to replace almost everything that you retrieved even after several washes.


This includes the attire you were wearing outside, any shoes you were wearing as you went in to retrieve items, wallets, purses, furniture, etc.. Sometimes even after several washes and perfumes will not remove the odor. Remember adding chemicals to chemical odor will only intensify damage to your health. THROW AWAY!


5. Set appointments to see your doctor!

Check for blood levels or any chemical poisoning as well as oxygen levels. Even though you may have made it outside without injuries or smoke inhalation inside, the residue of the fire spreads into the air of your neighborhood pretty quickly making it possible for people to inhale it from a mile away.


6. Keep all receipts of all expenditures after the fire.

Food, clothes, shoes, commuting costs, anything you would have typically used/had in your home. Most insurances will costs. (But varies on your plan, of course)



Their sacrifice and dedication is absolutely amazing. We are forever indebted to these heroes. I have included a link here on their health effects due to their occupation.



AND REMEMBER: In the rebuilding process, take into consideration frequently changing environmental codes on the federal, state and local levels. Below are some great resources for you and your community.



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