If you want to save your food after your kitchen is damaged due to a fire, then you should exercise caution. Appliances and food that are harmed after a fire may not be safe to use or consume.
Even food that is stored in cans may not be fit for consumption. For example, if you had a can of tuna or beans that was exposed to intense heat, then the food would no longer be safe to eat. Bacteria that can cause food to spoil may have developed because of the fire.
You may also notice that the food tastes strange due to changes in its molecular structure. Here, our focus will be on how to handle food items after your house has been damaged by a fire.
Food Safety Issues After Fire Damage
If you have food items that were not exposed to the direct heat of the fire, then you may assume that it is safe to eat. However, it may actually be dangerous to eat even after the fire has been extinguished.
For example, your food may have become contaminated due to smoke fumes and/or the heat. A power outage may also cause food to thaw and spoil. Even some of the chemicals used to extinguish the fire may end up making their way into your food items. The general rule of thumb is to throw out food after a house fire in order to play it safe.
Types of Food to Discard
When most people think of fire damage, they think of roaring flames. In reality, fire damage goes far deeper than mere flames. Once a fire has been extinguished, smoke damage will still linger. Leftovers that were created by the intense heat may still persist for quite some time. Even the chemicals that the firefighters used to eliminate the fire will remain for a prolonged period.
Jarred and canned food items and unwrapped vegetables and fruits should be thrown out. Any food products that have traces of fire extinguisher dust should be discarded. If you have any perishable goods that have been left out at room temperature for quite some time, then we would recommend that you also throw them out.
In sum, any food items that you suspect have been exposed to chemicals, fumes, smoke, and/or heat should be thrown in the garbage as soon as possible. While some of them may actually still be edible, the risks far outweigh the benefits.
Cleaning Up Fire Damage
While you may be tempted to restore your belongings after a fire, most experts agree that your health should be the top priority. Virtually all items can be restored, especially if you have insurance. If you are uncertain as to how to salvage or clean a certain item, then you should hire a fire and smoke damage restoration company.
There are many reputable fire and smoke damage restoration companies in the world. If you are in doubt who to choose, then you can perform some research. Go over reviews and ask friends, family, and co-workers for advice if you are not sure who to go with.
Most fire and smoke damage restoration companies have years of experience. They will be able to tell you which items to salvage. Even better, they will show you how to best go about it in order to save time and money.
Stay Alert and Stay Safe
A fire that is confined to a small area, such as a pantry, can usually be put out using a simple fire extinguisher. Your home should have at least one handheld extinguisher, though many homes have multiple fire extinguishers just to be safe.
Small fires tend to not cause a significant amount of damage, especially if they are extinguished rapidly. However, they may still contaminate your food, equipment, and appliances with chemicals, water, fumes, and smoke.
We hope that you will follow the food safety guidelines outlined in this article should your home become damaged in a fire. You must take the necessary steps to ensure that your food is safe to eat. You must also ensure that the damaged area can be used in a safe and hygienic manner long after the fire has been eliminated.
Devon Graham is a blogger in Toronto. He graduated with honours from the University of British Columbia with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing. Devon Graham is a community manager for small businesses across Canada. He also likes to research various topics related to pets, food, storage solutions and business solutions.