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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Hospital Fire Damage Recovery

By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff

Hospitals can be affected on a number of levels when it comes to fire damage and its aftermath. The building may be severely damaged and vital services and patient care may be disrupted for extended periods. The hospital may also be unable to perform basic administrative tasks if important records or computer files are compromised. It is important that fire damage recovery and restoration begin as soon as possible.

As with any case of fire damage, the building and damage zone should be secured, with no one allowed to enter until the approval is given by local authorities. Keep in mind that the structure may have been weakened by the fire and may be prone to collapse. Protective clothing, gloves, and boots should be worn, along with eyewear and breathing gear to protect against smoke and soot particles that may be easily inhaled. Smoke may also produce toxic fumes that can cause serious health problems.

Loose items will need to be removed from the damaged area so that they are not an impediment to repair and recovery efforts. Some pieces may be restored, while others will require replacement.

Air will need to be circulated throughout the area in order to remove smoke odor and soot. This can be done by opening all windows and doors and using fans to help move the air throughout the area. Soot particles will rapidly clog up air filters in use, so they will need almost constant changing throughout the recovery procedure. Damp cheesecloth placed over the air vents will help catch soot particles and slowly remove the problem from the air. This process may take a couple of days.

Fire damaged areas may be an even bigger mess, with debris, soot, and dirt all mixed together with water or foam (used to put out the fire). Any time there is water damage there is the potential for subsequent problems such as mold to crop up. Any water in the damage zone should be removed as soon as possible and the area dried out completely. After about 72 hours, the mold threat becomes a virtual reality.

The entire area will need to be cleaned, with walls, floors, and ceilings scrubbed down to remove stains and charring created by the fire. Electrical systems will need inspection since fire may frequently damage wiring, fuses, or other components. Likewise for HVAC systems, which may effectively move smoke and soot throughout the building. Proper restoration techniques will keep this in mind and technicians will know where else in the building to look for signs of smoke damage.

As the facility is being repaired and restored, an inventory will need to be made of the items and equipment that was damaged or lost. All of this will need to be replaced in order to allow the hospital to continue functioning at peak efficiency.

Recommended Reading
Consequences of Fire Damage in Hospitals
Hospital Fire Damage Preparedness and Education

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