The Risks of Staying in Your Home or Workplace After a Fire

Interior of a home’s kitchen after a fire, soot-covered wall, fire damage

A fire can be one of the most damaging disasters to take place – whether in your home or place of business. Once the flames are out and the damage is assessed, it can be tough to know when it is safe to go back. The absence of fire isn’t the only factor–lingering effects can also be detrimental to your health and safety.

During a fire, not everything will burn completely. Unclean combustion will produce smoke and soot. Harmful chemicals are released when a fire burns items that are not meant to be combustible, such as certain synthetic fabrics, foams, plastics, carpeting, and even some forms of wood. More than just breathing them in, these chemicals can enter your body through your skin, eyes, and even your mouth when you speak.

Is the Smell of Smoke Harmful?

Even if your home or place of business has experienced a small fire, don’t underestimate the impact of smoke pollution. Smoke and harmful particles can easily travel through air vents and even penetrate the walls. Odors will attach themselves to many areas of a home or building.

More than just being unpleasant to be around, these smells can be a representation of something much more sinister, such as chemical residue. Smoke residue can attach itself to a variety of surfaces, including clothing, fabrics, and personal belongings. These lingering odors can get into your respiratory system and cause harm the same way that smoke does.

The Health Risks of Staying in Your Home After a Fire

In small quantities, the chemicals produced in a fire aren’t usually harmful. When combined with other chemicals, however, they can be dangerous. Smoke particles that are embedded in your furniture, clothing, and other surfaces can still reach your lungs and cause damage long after the smoke has cleared.

Some of the health complications that can result from staying in a smoke damaged house include:

  • Irritations: Smoke irritations in the eyes are common and can sometimes be accompanied by a tingling sensation in the skin. Your eyes may also itch or become watery and red
  • Respiratory problems: The residue left over after a fire can attack your lungs and airway. Carbon monoxide and other chemicals disrupt breathing and can even result in other organs being affected over time
  • Skin Damage: Skin damage isn’t only possible when you come into direct contact with the particles released during combustion. Avoid skin irritation by cleaning all the items that were exposed to smoke thoroughly before using them

The more you stay in an area that has experienced a fire, the more you are exposed to potentially dangerous residue, fumes, and chemicals. Sleeping in your home after a fire can expose you to further issues. Those with compromised immune systems or preexisting respiratory issues are affected most, but if not properly addressed, these health risks will also accumulate over time.

What to do if You Experience a House Fire

Practice safety measures that don’t leave you exposed to the health risks associated with smoke inhalation. Removing the contamination after the fire is extinguished can be a difficult process that should be handled by professionals.

After a fire, it’s a good idea to wait until a professional has the opportunity to clear any lingering residue, chemicals, or contamination before going back to your property. At Royal Renovations, we understand how stressful this can be. We put the needs of our customers first and have crews available 24/7.

For more information and tips on what to do after a fire, visit our website.

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