Fire and water damage: what to do in a disaster situation
By: Stu Bloom
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A fire and/or water disaster – natural or otherwise – can occur at any time.
Obviously, the sooner you consult with a true quality restoration dry cleaner, the greater the chances of restoring your fine garments, household textiles (such as bed and table linens, bedspreads, coverlets, comforters, cushion covers, draperies and area rugs) and accessories (such as handbags, purses, wallets, shoes and boots) to pre-disaster condition. Or better still, to original or near original condition.
In the meantime, there’s much that you can do – and not do – to mitigate further damage.
RAVE FabriCARE recommends that you observe the following guidelines as soon as you become aware of the situation:
Contact your insurance company or agent immediately.
Separate wet items – carefully – to prevent dye bleeding or dye transfer from one garment, household textile or accessory to another.
Handle wet items with care. As most fabrics are weaker and heavier when wet, use a solid support such as a stretched towel or canvas, to carry the weight.
Reshape or block wet items while they are still damp.
Wear disposable gloves when handling items that you suspect mat have become contaminated with
— gray water (water that has become increasingly unsanitary, even though it might have originated from a sanitary source) or
— black water (water that is totally unsanitary, such as water contaminated by sewer waste or gray water that has pooled and been left unattended).
Hang wet items on plastic hangers. Air dry at room temperature, leaving about 3 inches between each item. Avoid metal or fabric covered hangers, if possible.
Open all windows, turn on all lights, air conditioners, dehumidifiers and fans to inhibit the growth of mold and mildew.
Caution: If you suspect that the wiring may be wet or damaged, do NOT use these appliances.
Caution: If you suspect that the air conditioning ducts may be contaminated by soot from a fire, do NOT turn on the air conditioning system.
Blow off or very gently vacuum loose particles of soot from drapes, upholstery, area rugs, etc.
Caution: Do NOT let the vacuum head touch the textile.
Hang suedes, leathers and furs at room temperature.
Caution: Do NOT hang suedes, leathers and furs close to any heat source.
Remove wet area rugs from wet carpet and wet tile and wood floors.
Pin up draperies and upholstery slip covers to prevent contact with wet carpet and wet floors.
Keep your hands clean. Use disposable plastic gloves if possible. Soot on your hands can easily transfer from one surface to another.
Photograph any valuable heirloom, vintage or historic textiles that may be separately insured before taking any steps to salvage them. Document your efforts, if possible.
Call a true quality restoration dry cleaner to restore your garments, household textiles and accessories to pre-disaster if you are a high value or moderate value homeowner with a significant investment in designer, high fashion, specialty and couture garments, household textiles and accessories.
Call a true quality restoration dry cleaner to restore your garments, household textiles and accessories to pre-disaster condition if you have wearable collections insurance coverage.
Contact your tax accountant for details on the tax deductibility of casualty looses.
Don’t disturb items that aren’t wet.
Don’t wring out items that are wet. Remove any excess water by pressing out the excess water with your hands or with dry cotton or paper towels.
Don’t stack wet items on top of one another or leave them in a heap.
Don’t place wet items in plastic bags.
Don’t place wet items in a clothes dryer. The heat could set stains, making those stains more difficult to remove.
Don’t rub or wipe wet items with cotton or paper towels. If you feel the need to do something, gently blot and absorb, but don’t rub or wipe.
Don’t hang items near a stove, furnace, electric heater or other heat source.
Don’t turn up the heat as this can activate mold and mildew.
Don’t unfold extremely delicate fabrics if the layers are stuck together. Wait until after they are air dried.
Don’t brush suedes, leathers and furs.
Don’t attempt to clean area rugs and upholstery slip covers with an “all purpose” stain remover or shampoo. “All purpose” stain removers and shampoos are rarely “all purpose”.
Don’t use supermarket or home improvement store area rug and upholstery cleaning equipment and products. Why not? The explanation is technical and lengthy, but for the sake of brevity, just don’t do it.
Don’t sit on upholstered furniture that might be covered with small particles of soot. This will prevent the particles of soot from becoming embedded in the fibers.
Don’t throw out anything without the approval of your insurance company or adjuster.
These are some do’s and don’ts to consider before you select a restoration dry cleaner to restore your fine garments, household textiles and accessories.
Another critical don’t
If you are a high value or moderate value homeowner, there’s one more “don’t” to consider…
Don’t entrust your bespoke, made-to-measure, designer, high fashion, specialty and couture garments, household textiles and accessories to
- the first restoration dry cleaner — franchised or non-franchised — “recommended” or “suggested” by your insurance adjuster (the insurance company representative assessing your disaster),
- the first restoration dry cleaner “recommended” or “suggested” by your restoration contractor (the contractor restoring your home’s physical structure), or
- the first restoration dry cleaner to show up at your door (these “restoration dry cleaners” are the equivalent of the legal profession’s “ambulance chasers”).
Instead, research the difference between an ordinary restoration dry cleaner and true quality restoration dry cleaner.
When you choose a true quality restoration dry cleaner such as RAVE FabriCARE, you’ll get a restoration dry cleaner
- with the proven skills, expertise and experience as well as the procedures, processes, technologies, equipment and facilities required to restore your fine garments, household textiles and accessories to pre-disaster condition. Or, better still, to original or near original condition.
- who does not subcontract the restoration of any of your fine garments, household textiles and accessories to undisclosed, in-state or out-of-state subcontractors you’ve never approved or even heard of.
- who offers all restoration clients
— a disaster site survey report including disaster-related information, exterior home photographs, interior room by room photographs and source of damage photographs — prior to leaving your home,
— a photographic inventory report (organized by room) of every garment, household textile and accessory removed from your home for possible restoration — prior to leaving your home, and
— 24/7 access to a password-protected virtual closet (organized by room, by storage area such as closet, drawer and armoire, by brand, by material, by color, by size, etc.) of every garment, household textile and accessory removed from your home for possible restoration — as soon as every item has been individually described, priced and photographed.
Many of the features of this restoration management system are protected by a patent issued by the US Patent Office. RAVE FabriCARE has exclusive rights to use this restoration management system in Arizona.
- trusted by more upscale department stores, clothing boutiques, custom clothiers, bridal salons, fine linen stores, and handbag and shoe salons than all other dry cleaners and restoration dry cleaners in Arizona combined.
There is a difference between an ordinary fire and water restoration dry cleaner and a true quality restoration dry cleaner @ravefabricare
It’s your right to choose
As a high or moderate value homeowner, it’s important to remember that
your insurance policy does NOT require you to choose or accept the cheapest, fastest and/or least qualified restoration dry cleaner.
your insurance policy does NOT require that you choose or accept the restoration dry cleaner “recommended” or “suggested” by your insurance company/agency/adjuster – a restoration dry cleaner who, in all probability, is no more than an ordinary dry cleaner with a restoration franchise logo (such as CRDN, FRSTeam or NARD), a pricing software package called Xactimate, an ozone room and some storage space.
Let’s be blunt: Insurance companies, insurance agents and insurance adjusters have a vested interest in steering you to the cheapest restoration dry cleaner offering marginally acceptable work.
In other words, insurance companies, agencies and adjusters are often far more interested in protecting their financial interests than they are in restoring your fine garments, household textiles and accessories to their pre-disaster condition. Or even to original or near-original condition.
Any objective observer would call that a conflict of interest.
Furthermore, please remember that your insurance adjuster works for and is paid by your insurance company. Insurance companies are profit-making businesses and their employees are not social workers. Your insurance adjuster might be friendly, but your adjuster is not your friend.
That being the case, here’s what you need to know: you’re FREE TO CHOOSE the restoration dry cleaner you want to work on your fine garments, household textiles and accessories.
Why you should make the choice
And why should you make that choice and not the insurance company/agency/adjuster or restoration contractor?
- you paid the insurance premium.
- the quality of your insurance coverage depends not only on the specific wording of your policy but, more importantly, on the quality of the companies you retain to carry out the numerous tasks associated with restoring your home and it’s contents – including your fine garments, household textiles and accessories.
You can trust RAVE FabriCARE
RAVE FabriCARE is Arizona’s leader in the true quality restoration of fine garments, household textiles and accessories that have been contaminated or damaged by fire, smoke, soot, water, mold, mildew and/or humidity.
For your bespoke, made-to-measure, designer, high fashion, specialty and couture garments, household textiles and accessories, you need a true quality restoration dry cleaner you can trust.
And you can trust RAVE FabriCARE, the dry cleaner trusted by more upscale department stores, clothing boutiques, custom clothiers, bridal salons, fine linen stores, and handbag and shoe salons in Arizona and than all other dry cleaners and restoration dry cleaners in Arizona combined.
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