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Flooding and Your Commercial Business

5/1/2018 (Permalink)

Your plan for disaster preparedness should include flood information and outline how to prepare for floods. Read on for information about floods and flood safety tips, and how to make them part of your emergency preparedness plan as you prepare for a flood.

Types of Flooding

Topography and weather conditions play a prominent role in the impact different types of flooding have on specific locales. The following are some examples of specific types of flooding.

  • Rising water may be the greatest risk to inland areas away from a river bed after a heavy snow pack begins to melt or after heavy rainfall.
  • Moving water is a serious risk in areas near rivers or in coastal storm surge areas because it creates significantly larger lateral forces on a building.
  • Overtopping, breaching or opening of dams, levees, and other flood control mechanisms, which are designed to divert the flow of water to provide protection, can lead to flood damage that may be more significant than if the levees were never installed. The Mississippi and Missouri River floods of 2011 included breaches of levees, as well as controlled flooding by the opening of various flood gates on levees. The result was thousands of acres of farmland, crops, livestock and fish farms being destroyed to protect urban areas.
  • Flash flooding can occur in every region as a result of slow-moving thunderstorms or excessive rainfall from any storm system.
  • Large, slow-moving tropical storms can dump excessive amounts of rain on coastal locations and then move inland to continue the devastation, resulting in widespread flood damage. Tropical Storm Allison (2001): A Case Study in Flooding Understanding Your Flood Hazard
  • There are several flood principles that should be considered to determine your facility’s exposure to flood waters and the type of protection to be deployed:
  • Often, businesses and homeowners let down their guard when a tropical weather system does not result in hurricane-force winds. Tropical Storm Allison is a good example of how rains associated with a tropical system can be equally devastating. The storm dumped approximately 32 trillion gallons of rain (enough to meet U.S. water needs for an entire year), according to the Tropical Storm Allison Recovery Project. This included 28 inches of rainfall during a 12-hour period just northeast of downtown Houston, and rainfall amounts ranging from 10, 20 and 30 inches in locations throughout the Southeast—earning Allison the infamous distinction as the costliest tropical storm in U.S. history.
  • Floods can occur anywhere, often with little or no warning, and with devastating consequences. Protecting the bottom line in order to remain open, or to re-open quickly after a flood disaster, requires taking steps now to prevent or reduce flood damage should your business be in the path of rising water. Below is a brief overview of issues that small businesses must address to reduce the likelihood of flood damage and to prepare financially and operationally should a flood occur. Many of the topics covered here involve complex issues that are best addressed by hydrological, engineering, regulatory or insurance experts; the goal here is simply to outline the basics in order to help business owners understand why they need to mitigate against flood risk and some of the challenges they may face.
  • Duration: It is important to know if flood waters are expected to recede quickly or may be trapped due to the slope of the land. The longer a facility is exposed to flood waters, the greater potential for flood-proofing failures due to a breach in the protection.
  • Depth: Flood waters greater than 3 feet create hydrostatic pressure on walls that can cause cracks in masonry and greatly increase the potential of collapse to unreinforced masonry. When estimating the potential depth of flood waters, it is always best to include a safety factor to account for inaccuracies in the estimate.
  • Velocity: As flood water velocity increases, so does the pressure exerted on flood protection. River flooding can be very fast moving water at first and then may settle down. Coastal locations may be exposed to wave action from storm surge.
  • Water Condition: Many times flood waters are dirty, brackish or contaminated with biological and chemical materials including waste water, sewage, pesticides, industrial waste, toxic and non-toxic chemicals, or oils. Debris that is churning in the water can impact buildings and flood protection systems, create breaches in the protection and cause extensive damage. Proximity to water is the number 1 risk factor for flooding, but property owners should not assume being out of the floodplain will help you entirely avoid the possibility of flooding. It is always a best practice to locate your property as far away from bodies of water as possible. Flood maps available from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) identify 100-year and 500-year flood zones throughout the United States. The flood zones also delineate participation in the NFIP, as well as permitting and other requirements that communities adopt in order to meet NFIP standards and qualify their citizens for lower flood insurance rates. By definition, the 100-year and 500-year flood zones mean there is a 1 (.20) percent chance of flooding annually in an area based on topography and historical data; it does not mean that flooding will occur only once in a century (or 500 years). There also are other important points to consider.
  • Location, Location, Location
  • Floods can and very often do occur outside the 100-year flood zone. In fact, approximately 25 percent of all flood damages occur in relatively low risk zones commonly described as being “outside the mapped flood zone.”
  • Specific boundaries on some flood maps may be arbitrary or include inaccuracies. For example, a property lying just outside the 100-year flood zone is almost equally likely to be flooded as one just within.
  • Obstructions or landfill can change the topography, storm-water drainage patterns, and flow of water over natural floodplains. Although permits are required for flood zone fill (and must be based on engineering assessments demonstrating “no impact”), it is possible that non-permitted work has occurred near your property.
  • Floods show no respect for the estimated probabilities. As Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director Craig Fugate observed following a spate of natural disasters, “It just seemed like it was back-to-back and it came in waves. The term ‘100-year event’ really lost its meaning this year. ”When it comes to flooding, there really is no better solution than adequate elevation, aside from choosing a location well outside of a 500-year flood plain. If such a location is not possible, the best way to increase the safety margin against flood damage is to raise the elevation of your building above the 500-year flood elevation. Flood-proofing your building is another option to reduce damage. Through the NFIP, there is extensive regulation of floodplain development at the community level. For example, IBHS’s FORTIFIED for Safer Business™ Standards, a package of enhanced voluntary construction standards that greatly increase a new light commercial building’s durability and resilience to natural hazards, requires FORTIFIED buildings to be at least 3 feet above the BFE or above the 500-year flood elevation. There are also ways to retrofit your existing building so that it meets or exceeds BFEs. While only a structural engineer/design professional can determine what is right for your property, the options include raising foundation onto pilings or columns or adding landfill, as long as “no impact” floodplain requirements are met.
  • Permits are needed for a wide range of activities including construction of new buildings, additions to existing buildings, and substantial improvement to the interior of existing buildings that are within the most hazardous flood zones. Part of the permitting process involves whether your building site is higher than the base flood elevation (BFE), which is the elevation at which your property has a 1 percent chance of flooding annually, as indicated on the NFIP flood maps. Major storms and flash floods can cause waters to rise higher than the BFE—therefore, it is always a good investment to build in a safety factor several feet above the BFE. This safety zone is called “freeboarding.”
  • The Importance of Elevation
  • When elevating a building so that the walking surface of the lowest floor is at the minimum elevation, areas under the BFE can be used only for parking and limited storage—under-floor bathrooms, utilities, and ductwork are not allowed.
  • Equipment, utility connections and all interior utility systems including ductwork must be elevated above the BFE. In addition, fuel and propane tanks must be properly anchored, since they can become buoyant even in shallow water. Sealing a building so that water will not enter is called “dry flood-proofing” or “flood-proofing.” Flood-proofing protects your building by coating the exterior with a membrane to prevent flood waters from entering. NFIP regulations allow flood-proofing as an alternative to elevation above the BFE for newly constructed or substantially improved non-residential structures only—new and improved homes must be elevated above the BFE to meet NFIP requirements. It is important to determine whether dry flood-proofing will provide the protections your property needs before choosing this option. This also applies if your business is located outside the 100-year flood zone, but you want to invest in additional flood protection. Dry flood-proofing is a complex procedure that should be done by professional experts. If done incorrectly, it may not protect your property and can lead to decay, mold, or termite damage:
  • What is “Dry Flood-Proofing”?
  • As a general matter, dry flood-proofing is best suited to areas with clay soils where floods are short in duration and less than 3 feet deep.
  • Buildings in poor structural condition should not be dry flood-proofed, as the exterior walls will be under extreme pressure during a flood.
  • There are a variety of dry flood-proofing measures; a professional can help to determine whether any of them are right for your situation:
  • Applying a waterproof coating or membrane to exterior walls
  • Sealing all wall penetrations including where utilities enter the building
  • Installing waterproof shields over all openings, including windows and doors
  • Anchoring the building to resist flotation
  • Strengthening walls to withstand flood water pressures and flood debris. Even above the BFE or outside the floodplain, basements are prone to floods because water may flow down into them. They also may have an increased hydrostatic pressure exerted upon them when the surrounding ground is saturated. Recognizing that elevation is the best form of mitigation, there are a number of additional measures business owners can take to reduce the likelihood and scope of basement flood damage.
  • The Vulnerable Basement
  • Thoroughly inspect your basement and the surrounding property for evidence of water entry and sources of water flow and leakage.
  • Correct potential problems—for example, extend and redirect downspouts, re-grade sloping landscape, and caulk any interior wall cracks.
  • Basement walls should be designed to resist hydrostatic pressure.
  • Use flood-resistant materials where possible, including floor coverings, wall coverings, and wall insulation. Most flood-resistant materials can withstand direct contact with water for at least 72 hours without being significantly damaged.
  • Do not store valuable equipment, documents, or inventory in any crawlspace or basement where flooding is possible. In addition, there are steps you can take now to reduce health and environmental damage should a flood occur.
  • The “Green” Factor
  • Anchor fuel and propane tanks to prevent them from being swept away. When they break away, the contents may leak, creating fire, explosion and pollution risks that can adversely affect health and the environment.
  • Install sewer backflow valves to block drain pipes from sewage back-up, which can occur if there is flooding in your area.
  • If you are supplied by well water, protect your well from contamination. A licensed well drilling contractor can inspect your well and suggest improvements. The NFIP makes flood insurance available to commercial owners and renters. As is the case with residential property, costs vary depending on how much insurance is purchased, what it covers, and the property’s flood risk. NFIP coverage limits are up to $500,000 for a commercial building, and up to $500,000 to protect its contents. Insurance coverage also may be available from private insurance companies, depending on your business’s location, building and business characteristics, and property value.https://disastersafety.org/flood/reduce-flood-damage-to-businesses/
  • The best way to learn more about flood insurance benefits, costs, and options is to contact your insurance agent. Finally, take steps now so you can quickly resume operations should a flood or other hazard damage your property. Although flood insurance may cover losses to your structure and contents, many businesses that are severely damaged never fully recover financially due to the loss of management focus, employees, and market share. IBHS’ Open for Business® planning tool helps small- and mid-sized businesses resume their critical business operations and work processes and deliver the goods and services expected by customers or clients–consider it a vital part of your flood preparation planning and practice.
  • Financial and Operational Protections

    The NFIP makes flood insurance available to commercial owners and renters. As is the case with residential property, costs vary depending on how much insurance is purchased, what it covers, and the property’s flood risk. NFIP coverage limits are up to $500,000 for a commercial building, and up to $500,000 to protect its contents. Insurance coverage also may be available from private insurance companies, depending on your business’s location, building and business characteristics, and property value.

    The best way to learn more about flood insurance benefits, costs, and options is to contact your insurance agent. Finally, take steps now so you can quickly resume operations should a flood or other hazard damage your property. Although flood insurance may cover losses to your structure and contents, many businesses that are severely damaged never fully recover financially due to the loss of management focus, employees, and market share. IBHS’ Open for Business® planning tool helps small- and mid-sized businesses resume their critical business operations and work processes and deliver the goods and services expected by customers or clients–consider it a vital part of your flood preparation planning and practice.

    Contact: http://www.SERVPROmarinecityromeo.com/ for more information.

Black Mold Guide

2/8/2018 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation Black Mold Guide Mold in basement before clean up.

Mold In Homes

Mold in homes causes numerous problems. House mold problems go beyond an unpleasant smell or unsightly stains on carpets, walls or ceilings. No one wants those things in their home, of course, but mold also contributes to a number of health problems, some quite serious.

Health Issues Due to House Mold Problems

Health issues due to mold problems include all sorts of respiratory problems, such as asthma attacks, even the development of asthma in people that previously showed no signs of the condition, chronic sinus infections, sore throats, runny noses, watery eyes and coughing. Other common health problems related to mold include headaches, fatigue and depression. Young children, elderly people, people with respiratory problems like asthma or emphysema, and people with disorders of the immune system are more susceptible to health problems related to household mold but even healthy adults can be affected.

Some people think toxic molds cause these kinds of health problems but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that toxic molds are very rare. Some types of molds produce toxins but most do not. However, they can still cause health problems even if they are not toxic.

Testing for Mold in Homes

Chances are you know it if you have house mold problems. You’ll see and/or smell the mold. However, you can call in a specialist to test for the presence of mold. If you believe you are suffering health problems related to mold in your home, and you have a specialist come in to clean up the mold or you attempt to clean it up yourself, you should have a test for mold done after the cleanup has been completed to make sure all mold has been removed. Just because all visible mold has been removed, that does not mean your problem is gone. If even trace amounts of mold are left behind, your house mold problems will continue.

You can purchase a test for mold in homes that you can perform yourself, but we really encourage you to have a specialist come in and perform a test for you. Their tests will be much more accurate than the tests you can buy yourself, and they will be able to advise you about the best way to clean up your house mold problems. If you have home owner’s insurance, your policy may pay for a test for mold in your home.

Problems Cleaning Up Mold In Homes

Cleaning up mold in homes poses many problems. If you don’t get it all, any health problems you’re experiencing will continue or even get worse. Cleaning mold from your shower tiles may be fairly easy, but cleaning mold from porous surfaces like wooden wall studs, insulation, carpeting and drywall is much more difficult. Some surfaces cannot be cleaned and must be removed and replaced instead.

Not only is it possible to miss a bit of mold while doing the cleanup, it’s even possible to spread some mold around to other parts of the house while trying to clean mold up. For instance, if you carry contaminated carpeting or insulation through the house to throw it out, mold spores can be deposited elsewhere in the house. Mold spores can also cling to the clothing of the people cleaning up and then be deposited elsewhere in the house as they walk through the house. You can probably avoid these problems by hiring a qualified professional to clean up the mold in your home. As we said before, you should also have a test for mold after the cleanup has been completed to make sure all of it is gone.

Why We Recommend a Consultation with a Mold Removal Specialist

  • We know how to locate mold in places where many homeowners miss it, including inside walls and inside heating and air conditioning ducts.
  • We also know how to remove mold from those hard-to-access spots, and have the equipment needed to do the job.
  • We know the best techniques for treating different types of mold.

Call our office to schedule an appointment at (586)336.7373. We have experts available 24/7 to help you through any situation.

SERVPRO of MC/Romeo's Recent Community involvement

12/9/2017 (Permalink)

Recently the team here at SERVPRO of Marine City/Romeo has been actively involved in various local holiday festivities such as a fundraiser for the Algonquin High School and Marine City's Merrytime Christmas. 

For the band fundraiser we set up a holiday themed display in downtown Algonac. This afforded us a wonderful opportunity to display our creativity and teamwork as we came up with ideas for our display. Everyone pitched in a little bit of time and we were able to get a wonderful display set up along St. Clair River Drive. Not only was it rewarding to give back to the bands but we were also able to put our name out into another community. We were so glad to be able to support another local group that has impacted the lives of so many students at Algonquin High.

Another local event in the blue water area this holiday season was Marine City's Merrytime Christmas. This event celebrates not only this tight knit community but the small businesses that make it happen. Small, locally owned businesses that participate are able to sell their products and advertise to the community. There is caroling,food and much more! It's a great time for all of the businesses in the area to come together and celebrate the holidays.

Information on Flooding in a commercial Building

11/24/2017 (Permalink)

Rebuilding after a commercial building floods | Florida Flood Damage

There are all different types of commercial buildings, but they can all become victim to water damage. It’s important to keep up on maintenance to ensure your building withstands a full life. It’s better to be cautious about the elements then to have to deal with thousands of dollars in repairs from putting off a leak. A good source to find out if there’s something wrong with your building is to listen to your tenants. The complaints are a good indication that there could be some sort of a problem. If there is complaints about mustiness there could be a mold problem. Frequent problems of water in work stations could be a sign of roof or piping problems.

Rebuilding after a commercial building floods | Florida Flood Damage

There are other precautions you should take monthly to insure that your building is in top shape. Inspect plumping draining system to insure their not clogged or damaged. Test basement sump pumps to make sure its pumping out water. Directing irrigation and draining systems away from the foundation can help stop basements from flooding.  Even the most well maintained and operated buildings can experience water damage. Following these tips can help minimize the event of water damage happening to your building.

Why choose SERVPRO for your Storm damage needs

11/24/2017 (Permalink)

Highly Trained Cleaning and Restoration Specialists | SERVPRO of Marine City/Romeo

Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s Corporate Training Facility to regular IICRC industry certifications, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property. Our training program includes the following:

  • IICRC Training
  • Employee Certification Training
  • Initial Franchise Training
  • e-Learnings
  • Continuing Education Classes

IICRC Training and Certification

The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) certifies and sets the standards for the cleaning and restoration industries. Our Professionals study IICRC standards and best practices in water restoration, fire restoration, mold remediation, carpet and upholstery cleaning, and other cleaning and restoration courses.

Employee Certification Training

The Employee Certification Training is a voluntary, self-paced program designed for SERVPRO Franchise employees. Certification is awarded after successful completion of course materials and an examination. Modules include:

  • Crew Training
  • Fire Restoration
  • Water Restoration
  • Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning

Initial Franchise Training

A 15-day hands-on course at the SERVPRO Corporate Training Facility is the foundation of the SERVPRO training program. This course is primarily for new Franchise owners and covers many restoration topics:

  • Fire Restoration
  • Water Restoration
  • Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning
  • Mold Mitigation

e-Learnings

All of our staff have access to web-based training. This voluntary program is designed to be an ongoing, self-paced coaching series for a Franchise's employees. Video presentations and support materials are followed by a knowledge test at the end of each module. This keeps our technicians and office staff up to speed on industry standards and the professional quality you expect.

Continuing Education Classes

SERVPRO of Marine City/Romeo offers both credit and noncredit courses for insurance agents, insurance adjusters, real estate professionals, and Franchise staff. These programs are designed to improve knowledge of emergency mitigation. Courses include:

  • Water Damage Restoration
  • Fire Damage Restoration
  • Understanding Mold in the Restoration Industry
  • Restorative Drying for Loss Control
  • Mitigation Awareness Response Seminar (non-credit course)

Do you have mold?

9/20/2017 (Permalink)

What is mold? Mold is a living thing. It has tiny seeds, called spores, that are always in the air, indoors and outside. The spores are so small, you can’t see them without a microscope. Most of the time, the spores land on something dry and nothing happens. They get sucked up in your vacuum or wiped away when you dust. But if the spores land on something that is wet, they can begin to grow into mold that you can see.

How do I know if I have mold growing in my house? You cannot see mold spores because they are too small, but once the mold starts to grow, you will notice it. Mold can grow on almost anything, as long as there is a little bit of water for a couple of days. The growing mold can be different colors: white, gray, brown, black, yellow, orange or green. It can be fluffy, hairy, smooth or flat and cracked, like leather. Even if you can’t see the mold, you will be able to smell it. Mold can smell very musty, like old books or wet dirt.

If the mold is growing on something that can be cleaned with bleach and water, and you do not have asthma or other health problems, you can probably clean the mold yourself. If the area that is moldy is very large or you have health problems, you may want to hire a contractor to do the work for you. If you decide to clean the mold yourself, please read the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ “Steps for Cleaning Mold” fact sheet before you start. 

If you suspect you have mold contact the professionals at SERVPRO of Marine City/Romeo at (586) 336-7373.

Source:http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdch

Steps to Fire Restoration

8/24/2017 (Permalink)

Step 1: Emergency Contact

The restoration process begins when you call the SERVPRO National Call Center, which is staffed 24 hours a day. Our representative will ask a series of questions regarding the fire damage event that will help us dispatch the nearest SERVPRO Franchise Professional with the appropriate equipment and resources.

Step 2: Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment

Our Professionals will carefully inspect and test adjoining rooms of your property to determine the extent of the fire, smoke, and soot damage. This step is crucial to developing a plan of action.

Step 3: Immediate Board-Up and Roof-Tarp Service

Fire damage can often compromise windows, walls, and roofs. To maintain security and to protect against further damage, the SERVPRO Franchise Professional can board up missing windows and walls and place tarps on damaged roofs.

Step 4: Water Removal and Drying (if water damage is present)

The water removal process begins almost immediately and removes the majority of the water. They will then use dehumidifiers and air movers to remove the remaining water and complete the drying process.

Step 5: Removal of Smoke and Soot from All Surfaces

The SERVPRO Franchise Professionals use specialized equipment and techniques to remove smoke and soot from ceilings, walls, and other surfaces.

Step 6: Cleaning and Sanitizing

They will clean all of the restorable items and structures that were damaged by the fire. They use a variety of cleaning techniques to restore your belongings to pre-fire condition. They’re also trained to remove odors using industrial air scrubbers and fogging equipment.

Step 7: Restoration

Restoration is the final step—getting your home or business to its pre-fire condition. Restoration may involve minor repairs, such as replacing drywall, painting, and installing new carpet; or it may entail major repairs such as the reconstruction of various areas or rooms in a home or business.

For your Fire Restoration needs call SERVPRO of Marine City Romeo at (586)-336-7373

Floors and Water Damage

8/18/2017 (Permalink)

Finishes: Floor finishes such as wax, polymer and polyurethane, affect porosity and slow the rate of absorption and desorption.  

Extent of damage: Wood flooring cups when moisture is absorbed at the unfinished sides and bottom of planks to swell and rise above the centers. If cupped planks are sanded flat before the wood is dried to acceptable MC, then, as planks continue to dry the sanded edges will continue to shrink downward, causing them to be lower than the centers of the planks. this is called crowning. Consider the condition presented and implement appropriate surface or subsurface drying procedures.

Replacement Criteria: Not all wood flooring can be restored to a pre-determined drying goal once moisture penetrates into and underneath the material. Parquet or engineered flooring that is buckled or broken can generally not be restored by drying and is replaced.

Drying Criteria:It is recommended when drying wood that the humidity reaches about 30-45 percent as quickly as possible. Of equal importance is increasing airflow to the flooring surfaces and sub-surfaces as quickly as possible.

Expiditing Drying: When flooring materials are saturated, moisture should be evaporated from accessible surfaces, both top and bottom. Finishes serving as vapor retardant barriers inhibit drying considerably. Therefore, it may be necessary to remove finishes to increase the rate of evaporation. When drying is complete , salvageable flooring is refinished in accordance with customer specifications  

Why SERVPRO is the best for your Fire restoration

8/16/2017 (Permalink)

SERVPRO of Marine City/Romeo 

(586)-336-7373

There are so many reasons why you should choose SERVPRO for all of your fire and smoke Restoration needs 

  1. Pretesting: SERVPRO Franchise Professionals tart the cleanup and restoration process by pretesting to determine which process to utilize and allow you to preview the results. So you get the most desirable results in the most efficient way possible. 
  2. Contents Claim Inventory Service: Utilizing contents claim (CCIS) technology, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can generate comprehensive room-by-room inventories. Contents are categorized as salvageable, non-salvageable and questionable- allowing for easier contents settlement. 
  3. Cleaning and Restoration: All restorable structure and contents will be professionally cleaned and deodorized to preloss condition in most cases. This service condition in most cases. This service includes walls, ceilings, floors, area rugs, furniture, draperies and upholstery electronics, art, clothing,  bric-a-brac  and more. 

Fire and Smoke Damage Tips

8/16/2017 (Permalink)

Set up the largest fan you can get, outside the front of your apartment door facing inwards. Turn it on high and blow fresh air in the house. As the smoke rose, it filled in all the little spaces in your apartment and you need to flush it out. Close all the other doors and windows and open one window for exhaust. Secluded rooms might need a second fan pushing fresh air in from another opening.

Remove all the curtains and window treatments from the windows. They will need to be washed or dry cleaned. At the very least, hang them outside to air out in the fresh air to remove some of the smoke particles from the fibers. Rinse down any mini blinds. Any cloth will need to be cleaned or aired out.

Wash down all the solid surfaces with a spray solution of one gallon of water, one teaspoon of dish soap or shampoo and a quarter cup of white vinegar. Use a rag and rinse it often in fresh water. Wipe window sills, baseboards, tables, chairs, shelves, wood or tile floors where the smoke particles might have settled. Very sooty smoke might have left a residue on walls and ceilings that will need to be cleaned.

Vacuum the carpets with a machine that contains a high-efficiency, filter to keep the smoke particles from blowing right back in the room. Use an attachment to vacuum couches and chairs and any exposed cushions. Go over the surfaces to remove as much soil as possible. If the smoke particles persist in the furniture, you might invest in upholstery cleaner to loosen the soil and then vacuum again.

Wash any and all window screens where the smoke exited the apartment. Place them in a tub or shower and use dish soap or shampoo to clean the mesh and then rinse with cool water. If you used an exhaust fan, wash out the filter in the same way. Change the air conditioner filter if it was in use at the time of the fire.

Wash down the front of your kitchen cabinets, especially if it was a kitchen fire that caused the smoke. Wipe all horizontal surfaces down with your cleaning solution.

Mop all the floors that are not carpeted. Several cleanings will be necessary. Dip your mop in the soapy solution, wash the floor and then rinse the mop in the sink under fresh running water. Otherwise, the smoke particles will just float around in your mop bucket and end up back on the floor.