Tips On Smoke Removal And Fire Cleanup

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Release date: 
July 25, 2003
Release Number: 
1477-05

Tucson, AZ - Pima County, the Arizona Division of Emergency Management (ADEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommend that residents in Summerhaven who were affected by the recent Aspen Fire take steps to remove smoke and to clean up in and around the house.

"Even if your house didn't suffer actual fire damage, smoke from the fire can create problems in your house and on your property," said Frank F. Navarrete, state coordinating officer for ADEM. "We encourage all of those in the area of the Aspen Fire to follow a few basic clean-up procedures."

Some helpful tips:

  • Pressure wash, scrub or disinfect all exterior surfaces including walls, walks, drives, decks, window and deck screens, etc.
  • Wash and disinfect all interior walls and hard surfaces with mild soap or other appropriate cleaning solutions or products, and rinse thoroughly. Don't forget inside cabinets, drawers and closets.
  • Launder or dry clean all clothing.
  • Wash, dust or otherwise clean all household items, including knick-knacks.
  • Disinfect and deodorize all carpets, window coverings, upholstered furniture and mattresses with steam or other appropriate equipment.
  • Upholstery, fabric window treatments, etc. can be spray-treated with deodorizing products available at most supermarkets, but do not use odor-masking sprays.
  • Have heating, ventilating and air-conditioning units and all ductwork professionally cleaned to remove soot, ash and smoke residue. Change filters when you first return to the premises and at least once a month for the first year.
  • If aerial fire retardant or firefighting foam residue is present on the house and/or automobiles, use a mild detergent and brushes to scrub and dilute the dried residue and flush it from the surfaces; rinse with clean water. A follow-up with pressure washing may be beneficial but will not replace scrubbing to remove the residue.
  • Ash and soot on the ground and vegetation in the vicinity will continue to generate smoke odors and airborne particles when disturbed by air movement. Until the ash and soot are diluted and absorbed by the environment, indoor mechanical air filtration may help minimize the uncomfortable and potentially health-threatening impact of these pollutants.

"Taking these simple measures will help make your home safe and sanitary," said Federal Coordinating Officer Michael J. Hall. "The results are well worth the effort."

The Aspen Fire disaster recovery is a joint effort of Pima County, ADEM and FEMA.

On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
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