Challenges of Fighting House Fires In Extreme Cold and Snowy Conditions

fire damage restoration anchorageConstant summer sunshine adds to the laid-back feeling and easy going flow. We love hiking, boating and ziplining to enjoy the great outdoors. In winter, we get out to snowboard and ski but also enjoy the great indoors.  Here in Anchorage, cold-weather operations can be strenuous during the cold winters and long nights. Fighting fires and recovering from damage in snow conditions exacerbates the stress and efforts for both you and the restoration team. 

Fire Damage Restoration In Anchorage

Proper snow removal leading to your home is imperative for reducing the response time from firetrucks. Freezing conditions might limit the available water supply;  hydrants might be blocked by snow or even frozen. 

Sometimes even minor snowfalls can hamper operations and may require additional equipment and alternate procedures. For example, the firefighters might not be able to see where the solid sidewalk is instead of the unstable earth around your property. They are also in danger of injury from items left lying on the ground and buried by the snow. Depending on the gear worn and tools carried, the mobility of the firefighter is greatly reduced in snow or on frozen ice.

Even after the fire is fought and won, cold weather can lead to even more fire and water damage.

The Water That Put Out The Flames Can Ruin Your Home 

Winter snow and ice around your home always increase your risk of water damage. But after saving your home, the water used by the firefighters will immediately begin to cause problems on your property.  As water from the hoses makes its way into your roof, gutters and eaves, it can refreeze, which can cause significant damage to your home. Freezing water expands, leading to cracks and other types of damage to areas  beyond the location of the fire. 

For example, an ice dam may form in your gutter; water builds up then freezes and expands. After just a few days, it can tear off your gutters, loosen shingles, and allow leaks into your home. This water that cannot drain off properly can work its way  into the attic.

The high pressure hoses can push water into gaps and crevices around your windows, doors, flashing, or other roofing components. Any loose or damaged siding will also allow water in. 

You could also suffer damage to the surrounding property from the heavy equipment. Even the resulting icicles are dangerous. Not only can they add more weight to your gutters, but they pose a threat if they detach and fall. 

Clean Up In A Closed Home

Another disadvantage to fighting a fire in the cold weather is lack of ventilation. If the fire was in the summer, you could open the windows and doors to air out smoke, soot and water vapor. In winter in Anchorage, this isn’t always possible. You will need some professional expertise and equipment. TCM Restoration has air scrubbers, dehumidifiers and industrial fans to clean and dry the indoor air.

Look Out For Mold 

Another dangerous result of fighting a fire in the winter is that the moisture from the hoses can lead to mold in the future. The TCM team will follow safety protocols to protect all the areas of your home from conditions that support mold growth.  

For Fire Damage Restoration In Anchorage

Smoke, soot and water damage continue long after the fire has been extinguished in your home. TCM Restoration & Cleaning (The Carpet Man Inc.) is an independent, Alaskan owned business serving the Anchorage area since 1996. If you have a home emergency, call TCM Restoration & Cleaning for immediate help or to learn more about water and fire restoration services.