TORRANCE, Calif., Dec. 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Recent tests of structures and land reveal hidden dangers to property owners after wildfires are extinguished. Tennessee residents may still be exposed to dangerous toxins by living and working in buildings contaminated with a hidden intruder.
Recent wildfires caused millions of dollars in property damage to thousands of families and business owners causing them to rebuild their lives. As the fires scorched areas from Pigeon Forge to Rough Creek, Tennessee residents endured an atmosphere filled with smoke and watched as cars, lawns and window sills became home to annoying and potentially toxic ash and soot. Even those who don't live in the immediate burn areas felt the fury of the fires with dismal skies and ash-covered properties.
"What people may not be aware of are the dangerous levels of carcinogens, cyanide and other harmful toxins in the soot that settled in these structures," reported Keith Sampson, CEO and owner of SRP Environmental, with offices nationwide. "Just because you don't smell smoke does not mean your business and/or home isn't contaminated," continued Sampson. "Homes are not the only structures affected - schools, daycare centers, churches, shopping centers, hospitals - all buildings exposed to the wind-driven smoke and ash are at risk."
Strategic Response Partners, Inc. (SRP) provides expert services that include inspecting, cleaning and restoring damaged structures. Sampson and his team have examined several thousand fire damaged properties that have tested positive for dangerous levels of toxins hidden in places that many people never thought about.
Smoke is made up of particles, liquids, and gaseous compounds that are not visible to the naked eye. Wildfires produce tons of particulate matter per minute that seeps into structures - even with closed windows and doors. These toxic specks can be found settling in landscaping, running through rain gutters, buried in carpets and gathering on bookshelves. More shocking are burnt fire embers on rooves, ash in attics, siding panels, indoor and outdoor insulation, ventilation systems, heating and air-conditioning units, electronics, appliances, mattresses, pillows, couches and even clothing where harmful particulate matter is very commonly found. "Every time a contaminated television, heater or refrigerator is running, or a bed is slept on, particulate matter is re-entrained into the air that we breathe," stated Sampson.
Health hazards that are faced when exposed to particulate matter include aggravated asthma, respiratory symptoms, chronic bronchitis, decreased lung function – (especially in children), lung cancer and premature deaths. This potentially deadly airborne substance enters the body and makes its way into the lungs where it can do its worst damage. Particulate matter related deaths are reported to be comparable to those caused by traffic accidents.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has guidelines in place pertaining to proper clean up procedures including pressure washing the outdoors, laundering items and completing a thorough cleaning of everything inside the building. Decontaminating an area that has been exposed to particulate matter may also include removing and replacing furniture, insulation, carpeting and filters. Additionally, the property needs to be professionally tended to by experts in demolition, waste removal and construction. Most importantly, it is imperative that the clean up process takes place as soon as possible to avoid further contamination through winds, rain, and other means of disturbing any particulate matter.
"People need to understand that they are facing potentially serious health problems and environmentally unsafe conditions if these smoke damaged properties are not remedied promptly. The first step is to have the property thoroughly tested and a smoke remediation protocol outlined. The next would be to hire a restoration contractor that is IICRC Certified in Smoke and Ash Remediation, and follows the protocol for setting up proper containment with air scrubbers as needed. The final step would be to have our firm come in and verify that the cleaning protocol was followed and no contaminates exist," reported Sampson.
For more on how Strategic Response Partners and SRP Environmental can walk you through the proper steps to insure a complete and successful recovery, please call us at (888) 582-5848 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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SOURCE Strategic Response Partners