The cold weather has hit St. Louis! Heaters have been turned on, heated blankets are plugged in, and fire places have been cleaned. Unfortunately, all these things we love that keep us warm in the cold winter months, can also lead to an unexpected house fire. We all know that when a fire starts, the fire department is called immediately. Once the fire is out, what happens next to the contents inside? If you call Woodard to help you after a fire, our crews will arrive on scene and follow specific processes to begin the restoration of your belongings. The first step in the process is our highly trained and certified restoration crew entering the home and reviewing with the homeowner what items can be restored. Our crews will take photos of the items and make notes of any damages that are pre-existing. Next, our crews will begin the pack-out process; smaller items are carefully wrapped and boxed to ensure safe keeping. Larger items are loaded onto box trucks and secured with moving blankets and loading bars to eliminated the risk of movement as they are taken back to our state-of-the-art ContentCare Center®. Once the contents have arrived at our ContentCare Center®, the items are carefully unloaded and moved into our specialized Ozone Chambers to eliminate the odor from the belongings. Ozone is a powerful tool used to neutralize odorous molecules by releasing additional oxygen into the air. Items will spend 24 to 36 in the chamber depending on the severity of the fire. Once the ozone process is complete the more delicate process begins. There are four categories for the cleaning process in our ContentCare Center®; hand clean, hard items, dishwasher, and ultrasonic machine. Woodard’s ultrasonic machines are filled with a solution that is heated to a very high temperature and use sound waves to remove soot from heavily coated items. We use our large industrial dishwasher to clean large quantities of household kitchen items. One of Woodard’s more labor intensive processes is cleaning hard items, which includes anything from kitchen tables to large wooden china cabinets. The team carefully cleans every square inch to ensure no residual soot remains. The most delicate and time consuming process involves hand cleaning items, which includes books, movies, hand crafted ceramics, picture frames, and more! These items require our content care specialists to use unique cleaning methods that have been crafted over many years. Soot finds its way into all those hard to reach spaces, and over the years our crews have developed many techniques to return belongings to their pre-fire condition. When all the customer’s items have been thoroughly cleaned and checked, they are ready for inspection. Once their items have been approved, they are then wrapped and placed in storage until the customer’s home is restored and move-in ready. When the home is move-in ready, Woodard delivers the contents to the home to allow the owners to unpack and get back to their lives.