Wildfire SMOKE and SOOT Contamination: TOXIC and May Hurt you and Your Family’s HEALTH!

Wildfire smoke and soot contamination buildings result in a condition where particles settle onto contents and fabrics and can absorb into porous surfaces.  These particles are toxic and may hurt you and your family. 


Wildfire (Photo credit: agrilifetoday)

Did you know that smoke damage is covered by your policy? 

Call a Public Adjuster to help you manuever through the complex process.  A QUEST for Public Adjusters will assess your property for these toxins and handle the claim from begining to end.  If they cannot recover money for you; they don’t charge anything.  What do you have to lose?

Depending on a number of factors including some of those listed below, much of the “dry soot” particles can be removed through HEPA vacuuming. While a vacuuming process sounds simple, the HEPA vacuuming requires training and experience to do it properly. Several typical experience and process management problems include:

•  Homeowners and commercial building owners try their best to remove smoke and soot but can create a worse cleanup problem for themselves, their building and contents;

•  Most janitors and maid service cleaning crews are poorly equipped and lack training to mitigate wildfire soot contamination situations;

•  Most carpet cleaning contractors do not have the knowledge or industry certifications to complete a wildfire smoke and soot contaminated job properly;

•  Restorers who are certified in fire restoration find that cleaning up wildfire smoke and soot is different than a building fire cleanup, and requires a separate set of skills;

•  Some restorers only have their company owner certified in fire restoration. What this means, the actual service crews have limited knowledge and direction on how to cleanup wildfire soot properly.

•  Some restorers are busy working on several wildfire jobs at the same time; they are often limited in the amount of equipment and the number of trained and certified crews that can respond;

•  Environmental factors from outside the building continue to produce high particle counts resulting in a continued indoor air quality issue;

•  Attempting to remove soot from damaged contents that remain in a soot contaminated building may limit the smoke and soot cleaning results;

•  Removing soot from ceilings, walls and flooring while soot contaminated contents are in place may result in limited building cleaning and deodorization success;

•  Trained and experienced restorers and technicians agree: HEPA vacuuming soot particles is the first step in the total cleaning process. Just because the building and its contents are HEPA vacuumed doesn’t mean further cleaning, restoration and deodorization services are not required.

Although there are thousands of chemicals that have been detected in PM in different locations,

some of the more commonly found airborne constituents include nitrates, sulfates, elemental and

organic carbon, organic compounds (e. g., polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), biological compounds (e.

g., endotoxin, cell fragments), and a variety of metals (e. g., iron, copper, nickel, zinc, and vanadium)

(American Heart Association). Like ambient urban air pollution, wildfire smoke contains numerous

primary and secondary pollutants, including particles, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, carbon

monoxide, aldehydes, organic acids, organic compounds, gases, free radicals, and inorganic materials

with diverse toxicologic properties, may explain the wide range of acute symptoms (Künzli, N. et al.).

Environmental Testing

In 1988, the U.S. Forest Service became a primary participant in the national visibility-monitoring program

titled Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments (IMPROVE). IMPROVE monitoring indicates the public is increasingly concerned about air quality when PM 10 concentrations

are greater than 30 micrograms per cubic meter of air per 24-hours. Above 30 micrograms air quality levels affect visibility and human health standards.

Wildfires are natural events that are not subject to National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS),

which for PM10 (24 hour average) is 150 micrograms per cubic meter. Note: PM10 concentrations in the air from the wildfires in Los Angeles August, 2000, Los Angeles September 2003, San Diego to Santa Barbara October 2007, Sierra Madre April 2008 and Santa Barbara to Chino 2008 were more than the accepted NAAQS for several days.  Appendix – Forest Fire Smoke Categories (PM-2.5 using TEOM PM-10)*  Categories 24hr (ug/m3) 8hr (ug/m3) 1hr (ug/m3) Visibility (mile)

Good 0.0-15.4 0.0-22.0 0.0-40.0 >= 11.25

Moderate 15.5-40.4 22.1-57.7 40.1-80.0 5.62-11.24

Unhealthy to sensitive groups 40.5-65.4 57.8-93.4 80.1-175.0 2.57-5.61

Unhealthy 65.5-150.4 93.5-214.9 175.1-300.0 1.50-2.56

Very Unhealthy 150.5-250.4 215.0-357.7 300.1-500.0 0.9-1.49

Hazardous >=250.5 >=357.8 >=500.1 <0.9

*(reference) http://www.deq.state.mt.us/FireUpdates/2001/Breakpoints.asp

Information above is in

[Copyright © 2008 by Patrick J. Moffett,  REA, CHMM] Environmental Management & Engineering, Inc.
5242 Bolsa Avenue Suite #1, Huntington Beach, CA 92649 714‐379‐1096  PMoffett@emeiaq.com

Public Adjusters represent the insured in their insurance claims. We are the Insured's Advocates and represent only the insured, not the insurance company A QUEST for PUBLIC ADJUSTERS is looking out for YOUR best interest. There are many people who attempt to handle their claims, only to find frustration. A Public Adjuster works on contingency basis and therefore, if they can't increase your claim, there is no charge. What do you have to lose? Hire a Public Adjuster that will be by your side throughout the process. We also perform Appraisals (for dispute resolution) and have Umpire services. If we can't help you our Attorneys will. Call us today at 800-517-8006 or 915-252-9184

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Posted in Health & Beauty, Home Inspections, Insurance Help
2 comments on “Wildfire SMOKE and SOOT Contamination: TOXIC and May Hurt you and Your Family’s HEALTH!
  1. I tend not to drop many responses, but i did some searching
    and wound up here Wildfire SMOKE and SOOT Contamination: TOXIC and May Hurt you and Your Familys HEALTH!
    | Q.U.E.S.T LLC dba A QUEST for Public Adjusters Blog Richard K.
    Bahena. And I actually do have a few questions for you if it’s allright. Could it be simply me or does it appear like some of these comments come across like they are coming from brain dead individuals? 😛 And, if you are posting at additional sites, I’d like to follow anything new you have to post.
    Would you list of every one of all your social sites like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin

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