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by Carasue Moody

This heat wave has hit all of us in a different manner. Some of us are just trying to keep hydrated and cool while others are just trying to save their properties. All across the country we hear about the hot and dry conditions and wildfires, whether they be natural or man-made. Numerous areas have been impacted and if we are not careful it could happen in our backyard. Something as simple as not putting out the coals in your barbecue grill. We all know it just takes one spark.

With thousands of homes lost and ten of thousands of acres burned by the wildfires in the Western United States, the Restoration Industry Association (RIA) has recommendations for residents whose homes and possessions have been impacted by wildfire smoke damage.

ďThere 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,Ē says Sam Bergman, President of the RIA. ďFalling debris from unstable areas in the home and burn residues many contain lead, asbestos or other contaminants are dangerous as well as electrical hazards from downed lines,Ē explained Bergman.

Here are some doís and doníts from RIA:

Do take steps to protect your property, notify the insurance company and document the extent of the damage. Take photos, use a notebook to track dates and times of conversations, and keep receipts.

Donít 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.

Donít 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 mile detergent and applying a coating of cooking spray or other corrosion inhibitor.

Donít wipe or attempt to wash fire residues from walls, ceilings or other absorbent surfaces. This can force soot further into the surface.

Do open windows for ventilation if weather and conditions permit. Having appropriate personal protection equipment before entering the property can help. Such as, gloves, boots, and in some cases, respirators.

Donít turn on computers, televisions or other electrical appliances until they have been cleaned and checked.

Donít hire anyone without 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 www.restorationindustry.org and click on the ďpublicationsĒ menu.

Well, Iím heading out to my grandchildrenís kiddie pool to cool off. Yes, the heat has gotten to me.