If you’ve experienced the misfortune of a fire in your home, your number one concern afterward should be your safety. We always remind our blog readers to never enter a home damaged by fire until the fire marshal or inspector has declared it safe to do so. However, this permission mostly revolves around structural integrity. When you do get the green light to re-enter your home, you will be exposed to smoke damage, and there can be health concerns at that point, too.

Upon reentry, you will be exposed to soot that is left over from the fire. Soot is a powdery or greasy substance, composed mainly of carbon, that is left behind after a fire. It will coat much of the contents of your home, depending upon the extent and severity of the fire, and it will linger in the air as well. This exposure could contribute to a number of health concerns, such as…

Lung problems. Soot can irritate your lungs and cause a variety of problems related to breathing and your health in general.

Skin problems. Soot can irritate the skin, and cause itching or rashes. Contact with soot should be limited as much as possible for this reason.

Carbon monoxide poisoning. The gases left behind in your home could cause carbon monoxide poisoning. If you notice headaches or dizziness, stay out of the home until you’ve opened windows and better ventilated the place.

Cancer. Prolonged exposure to soot can raise your risk of certain types of cancer.

Some people are more susceptible to health risks from soot. Keep young children, elderly family members, pregnant women, and those with asthma, heart, or lung problems out of the area until restoration is complete. And on that note, remember to call us first thing if your home is ever damaged by fire. We have the right protective equipment to conduct cleanup safely, so that you can get your life back to normal more quickly.