Frequently Asked Questions – Fire & Smoke Recovery Guide

Q: How long will the restoration process take?

A: Because there are many variables and many services involved in fire and smoke restoration, it is difficult to predict exactly how long the complete restoration will take.  Consult with you ServiceMaster TEAM Restoration Technician on the estimated dates and phases of your restoration project.

Q: Can I clean it myself?

A: We suggest that you do not attempt any “do-it-yourself” cleaning methods without consulting your ServiceMaster TEAM Restoration Technician. Pre-testing, using the right cleaning agent for the particular item, mixing deodorizing agents with cleaning solutions and using correct dilution rates are just some of the ways a fire restoration technician expertly controls the results.  Professional cleaning systems and products used by experienced, trained ServiceMaster TEAM Restoration Technicians give you the best chance for complete restoration of your belongings.

Q: What are some safety concerns?

A: At ServiceMaster TEAM, occupant and worker safety is a top priority.  During the initial inspection, safety hazards are identified and addressed, including debris removal, air quality, electrical hazards, slip and trip hazards, etc.  Burnt electrical cords and appliances are separated out for disposal, and questionable electrical appliances are unplugged and tagged for evaluation of safe operation.  Electrical power may be turned off and kept off until evaluation by a licensed electrician.

Q: Can I turn on my heating and air conditioning unit?

A: We recommend that you not turn on your furnace or air conditioning unit without clearance from the HVAC contractor.

Q: What items do I keep in my possession?

A: Cash, checkbooks, flammables, gasoline cans, medications, personal documents, pets, stamp/coin collections, valuable jewelry, valuable paintings, and weapons/ammunition

Q: Do I need to move out of my property during this process?

A: This is ultimately your decision.  Some things you may want to consider are safety concerns, odor, electricity, noise from equipment, etc.

Q: Do I need general contractors?

A: There are some items that may require general contractors, such as drywall/painting, electrical, plumbing, roofing, framing/finish carpentry, flooring/carpet, installation of doors, windows, cabinets, post-construction cleanup, etc.

Q: Do my belongings need to be moved away from the premises?

A: Depending on the source, nature, and extent of the fire, it may be best to move all belongings to a secure facility for cleaning and storage, and to make room for restoration or construction.  ServiceMaster TEAM will work with you and your insurance claim representative to manage this process.

Q: Will I have access to my belongings while they are in storage?

A: Yes, with advance notice we can schedule time for a ServiceMaster Restoration Technician to meet with you and provide access to your requested items.  A service charge may apply.

Q: Who is responsible for paying for the services?

A: Ultimately you, the property owner, are responsible for payment and will need to sign a form authorizing payment for the services.  If this is an insurance claim, ServiceMaster TEAM generally collects only the deductible (co-payment) amount from you and bills the balance to your insurance provider as a service to you.  If your claim is not covered by insurance or you decide not to file a claim, you will be expected to pay in full.