Utilization of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is vital when a property owner chooses to enter a home or building devastated by wildfire or any fire tragedy.

"Burn residues that may contain lead, asbestos or other contaminants are dangerous," says Sam Bergman, president of the Restoration Industry Association (RIA). "Wildfires burn primarily wood and vegetation, but there can be numerous pollutants in the air, so proper PPE is essential for anyone working in a fire-damaged environment," he explains. Goggles, boots, shoe covers, gloves, masks and perhaps respirators are necessary tools.

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Bergman and the RIA also recommend a number of steps to properly and safely document and restore damaged property:

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

Don't 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.

Don't 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 mild detergent and applying a coating of cooking spray or other corrosion inhibitor.

Don't wipe or attempt to wash fire residues from walls, ceilings or other absorbent surfaces. This can force the soot further into the surface.

Do open windows for ventilation if weather and conditions permit.

Don't turn on computers, televisions or other electrical appliances until they have been cleaned and checked.