SOURCE: Restoration Industry Association

Restoration Industry Association

June 29, 2012 13:16 ET

RIA Offers Restoration Tips for Residents Impacted by Wildfires

ROCKVILLE, MD--(Marketwire - Jun 29, 2012) - With thousands of homes lost and tens of thousands of acres burned by the wildfires in the Western United States, the Restoration Industry Association (RIA) has these recommendations for residents whose homes and possessions have been impacted by wildfire smoke damage.

"There is little comfort we can offer at this time other than to educate people on how to properly salvage and manage what may remain of their property," said Sam Bergman, CR, president of the RIA. 

"Falling debris from unstable areas in the home and burn residues that may contain lead, asbestos or other contaminants are dangerous," explained Bergman. "Electrical hazards from downed lines may also be a problem."

 Having the appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE) before entering the property is critical. "Wildfires burn primarily wood and vegetation, but there can be numerous pollutants in the air, so proper PPE is essential for anyone working in a fire-damaged environment," said Bergman. Gloves, goggles, boots, and in some cases, respirators, are among the items that individuals should have on before entering a damaged building.

Here are some do's and don'ts:

  • Do take steps to protect your property, notify the insurance company and document the extent of the damage. Take damage photos, use a notebook to track dates and times of conversations, and keep all receipts.
  • Don't enter the structure until it is deemed safe by the proper authorities.
  • Do blow off or brush-vacuum loose smoke particles from upholstery, draperies & carpeting.
  • Don't use carpeting or upholstered furniture impacted by heavy smoke or debris.
  • Do clean and protect chrome trim on faucets and other bright work by washing with a mild detergent and applying a coating of cooking spray or other corrosion inhibitor.
  • Don't wipe or attempt to wash fire residues from walls, ceilings or other absorbent surfaces. This can force the soot further into the surface. 
  • Do open windows for ventilation if weather and conditions permit.
  • Don't turn on computers, televisions or other electrical appliances until they have been cleaned and checked.
  • Do check the RIA website at for a list of restoration contractors in the area.
  • Don't hire anyone without checking references.
  • Do stay hydrated and wash your hands frequently, particularly before touching your face or eating.

For more safety tips, information on how to work with insurance companies, and to locate a certified fire restoration specialist, visit and click on the "publications" menu.

The Restoration Industry Association has member firms worldwide. RIA provides industry leadership, supports science, and promotes best practices for cleaning and restoration. More information is available on the RIA website:

Contact Information

  • Media Contact:
    Patricia L. Harman
    Director of Standards & Communications
    Restoration Industry Association
    (o) 301.231.6505
    (cell) 410-456-3700
    Email Contact