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Fire Damage FAQs

How long will the restoration process take?


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 of your home or business will take. Consult with your ServiceMaster Representative on the estimated dates and phases of your restoration project.

Can I clean it myself?


We suggest you do not attempt any “do it yourself” cleaning methods without consulting your ServiceMaster Representative. Pretesting, 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 ServiceMaster fire restoration technician expertly controls results. ServiceMaster’s professional cleaning system products used by experienced, trained technicians give you the best chance for complete restoration of your belongings.

What are some safety concerns?


At ServiceMaster, occupant and worker safety is top priority. During 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 or safe operation. A licensed electrician may turn off electrical power until it is evaluated.

Can I turn on my heating and air conditioning unit?


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

What items do I keep in my possession?

  • Cash
  • Pets
  • Checkbooks
  • Stamp/Coin Collections
  • Flammables
  • Valuable Jewelry
  • Gasoline cans
  • Valuable Paintings
  • Medications
  • Weapons/Ammunition
  • Personal documents


How do I keep track of non-restorable items?


We recommend that you make a list of items (including food items) deemed non-restorable. Make a copy for your insurance company and keep one for yourself.

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


This is ultimately your decision. Some things you may want to consider are safety concerns, odors, electricity, noise from equipment, etc. If vacating your premises for any length of time, consider the following: forward your mail to your temporary residence; stop newspaper and other deliveries; notify all utility companies of temporary suspension of services.

Do I need general contractors?


There are some items that require general contractors, such as drywall/painting, electrical, plumbing, framing/finish carpentry, flooring/carpet, installation of doors, windows, cabinets, post construction clean up, etc.

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


Depending on the source, nature and extent of the fire, it may be best to remove all belongings to our secured and climate controlled facility for cleaning, storage, and to make room for restoration or construction. ServiceMaster will work with you and your insurance claim representative to manage this process.

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


Yes. With advanced notice we can schedule time for a ServiceMaster Representative to meet with you and provide access to your requested items.

What about other photos, paintings, or family heirlooms?


Some high value items require restoration by a specialist. Working with your insurance claim representative, we can help you identify these and locate a qualified restorer.

When the unforeseen happens, call on ServiceMaster Clean®. Our emergency call center is prepared to handle your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Call us now at (301) 337-8801.