Soot, Char, & Ash: It’s More Toxic Than You Think
When you think of charred wood, ash left behind after a wildfire, or soot, you might think that they are little more than harmless byproducts of incomplete combustion. Afterall, haven’t people cooked their food and kept warm by burning wood in their stoves and fireplaces for millennia?
Beware of Using Ozone After a Fire
In the fire restoration industry today, many practitioners use ozone generators as one of their primary means to neutralize smoke odor. Although ozone may be effective to some degree in neutralizing odors, many experts disagree on its effectiveness and whether the risks outweigh the rewards.
Dioxins – The Most Hazardous Substance in Structure Fire Environments
In the fire restoration industry today, very little attention is given to the toxicity of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), heavy metals, or the composition of particulate matter and smoke residues. Tens of thousands of toxic chemicals, gases, acids, and hazardous substances are created in structure fire settings. Most concerns regarding toxic or hazardous substances are focused primarily on two Federally regulated materials: asbestos and lead. Typically, testing for the presence of these two hazardous materials depends largely on the age of the building, although lead and asbestos are often found in buildings built well after regulation cut off dates.
Lead Contamination in Structure Fires: Lessons learned from the Notre Dame Cathedral
On April 15, 2019, fire broke out beneath the roof of the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral in Paris. Over 400 firefighters fought the blaze, which grew uncontrollably and consumed approximately two thirds of the roof structure, including the 300-foot wooden spire. The spire ultimately crashed through the roof, bringing down with it stone, stained glass windows, and the handcrafted, vaulted oak ceiling dating back to the 13th century. The damage was not just to the building, only a few months later, reports began to emerge of an unexpected threat to residents in the vicinity of the cathedral: lead poisoning. Read more about the hidden threats of fire.
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Addressing Toxic Smoke Particulates in Fire Restoration
In the restoration industry today, a lot of attention is given to the testing and abatement of microscopic hazardous materials. These include asbestos, lead, mold, bacteria, bloodborne pathogens, and all sorts of bio-hazards fall into this category. If these contaminants are disturbed, treated, or handled improperly, all of them can cause property damage and serious harm to the health…
Restoring Smoke Damaged Textiles – What Does Clean Mean?
During a structure fire, toxic smoke, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and particulate matter are generated from the vast array of building materials, contents, and household products that combust. These chemicals mix and interact with each other to create a vast array of carcinogens, poisonous gasses, acids, and other toxins that can cause acute and chronic illnesses, cancer…
The Trilemma of Insurance Claim Disputes
When a dispute arises over a property damage claim, policyholders need to carefully weigh their options when it comes to getting their claim resolved. Some policyholders opt to hire a public insurance adjuster (P.A.) to represent them, however this decision comes with a cost. A P.A.’s services usually requires a 10% fee of any insurance claim proceeds they are able to recover from the claim onset.
After the disaster: Not all vendors are created equal
Fraud concerning property repair usually involves unethical or incompetent building contractors. Read Sean Scott’s reminders for consumers and insurers to be aware of red flags involving building or repair contractors.
Playing with Fire: Avoiding Toxic Exposures
Although the flames are out, the smoke has cleared, and the fire department has removed the yellow tape, the fire scene is not as safe as one might think. Read Sean Scott’s cover story article for Claims Magazine and find out more about the health risks anyone must consider when exposed to a structure fire.
Toxic Exposure: Structure Fire Restoration
Many restoration contractors may not realize is that boarding-up a fire damaged structure can create an extremely hazardous environment. Find out more about safety considerations when working around fire damage.
How Clean is “Clean”?
During a structure fire, toxic smoke, volatile organic com-pounds (VOCs), and particulate matter are generated from the vast array of building materials, con-tents and household products that com-bust. These chemicals interact with each other to create a vast array of carcinogens, poisonous gasses, acids and other toxins that can cause acute and chronic illnesses, cancer and even death. Some are so toxic that the EPA has designated them as having a zero level of permissible exposure limit (PEL).