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First General Services of Southern New York, Inc.  
106 Washington Ave.  
P.O. Box 158  
Endicott,  NY  13761  


Do's & Dont's

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Wind Damage



  • Cover holes in the roof, walls or windows with boards, tarp, or plaster sheeting to prevent additional damage.
  • Be aware of the possibility of gas line breaks or leaks 
       Use flashlights instead of candles or lanterns.
  • Make sure to remove all glass particles by vacuuming carpets and upholstery thoroughly.




Fire & Smoke Damage


  • Cover any holes in the roof, lock all doors and windows, and block any other openings.
  • Try to salvage property by thoroughly cleaning smoke or water-damaged items.
  • Clean and protect chrome trim on kitchen appliances with a light coating of vaseline or other oil.
  • Blow off or brush-vacuum loose smoke particles from upholstery, drapes and carpets.
  • Open windows for ventilation.
  • Change the filter before turning on the furnace, blower or air conditioning.
  • Until the furnace and air ducts can be cleaned, place double layers of cheesecloth over all air registers to reduce the spread of soot.
  • Empty freezer and refrigerator completely if electricity is off, and prop doors open with a rolled towel or newspaper for ventilation.
  • Clean and protect smoked bathroom faucets, tub fittings and towel bars with light coating of oil or petroleum jelly.
  • Pour antifreeze in toilet bowels, sinks and tubs to prevent freezing if heat is off in winter.
  • Wash plants with water on both sides of leaves (water softener helps).
  • Call plumber to drain heating system if heat is off in winter.
  • Remove pets (especially birds) to clean environments.
  • Treat smoke damaged garments with care.  Improper cleaning may fail to remove smoke odor, or worse, permanently set it into the fabric.

Do Not...

  • Turn the water hearter back on, have a plumber do so.  Attempting to turn it on without refilling could cause permanent damage.
  • Wipe or attempt to wash walls, ceilings or other absorbent surfaces.  Hire a professional who will use the proper chemicals for best results.
  • Use exposed food items or canned goods which have been subjected to excessive heat.
  • Use TVs, stereos or electrical appliances until cleaned and checked.
  • Send smoked garments to an ordinary dry cleaner. Improper cleaning may set smoke and odor.
  • Restore gas and electric utilities, have a professional handle this.



Water Damage


  • Remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting.
  • Wipe water from wood furniture after removal of lamps and tabletop items.
  • Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions for even drying (check for possible bleeding of colors).
  • Place aluminum foil, china saucers or wood blocks between furniture legs and wet carpeting.
  • Turn on air conditioning for maximum drying in summer; open windows to speed drying in winter.
  • Remove Oriental or other colored rugs from wet wall-to-wall carpeting.
  • Open drawers and cabinet doors for complete drying (do not force open, however)
  • Remove valuable oil paintings and art objects to a safe, dry place.
  • Blot wet carpeting with clean white towels.
  • Open suitcases and luggage to dry, in sunlight if possible.
  • Punch small holes in sagging ceilings to relieve trapped water. 
       Don't forget to place catch pans beneath!

Do Not...

  • Leave wet fabrics in place; dry as soon as possible. Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.
  • Leave books, magazines or other colored items on wet carpets or floors.
  • Use your household vacuum to remove water.
  • Use TVs or other appliances while standing on wet carpet or floors, especially not on wet concrete floors.
  • Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.



Soot (Furnace) Damage


  • Change furnace filter.
  • Cover upholstery with clean sheets before use.
  • Tape double pieces of cheesecloth over air registers with masking tape.
  • Blow off or brush-vacuum loose soot particles from upholstery, drapes and carpeting.

Do Not...

  • Attempt to clean walls or ceilings.
  • Use do-it-yourself, home carpet or upholstery cleaners.


Vandalism Damage

Vandalism is upsetting even when the motivation is not malicious. While timely action can minimize or prevent lasting damage, it is just as true that wrong or delayed action can increase it; sometimes beyond hope of repair.

Tips below will minimize the effects of the damage, and make the eventual repair more successfull.


  • Report any theft to the local police immediately.  Be sure to give them a thorough description of all missing items.
  • Board up broken windows and fix broken locks to dissuade further break-ins.
  • Hose down or wash egg damage from building exterior as soon as possible.
  • Wipe up freshly spilled food from carpets and fabrics with a dampened cloth or sponge (but don't overwet!). DO scrape and blot (don't rub; it may cause fuzzing or damage fibers).
  • Vacuum glass particles from carpets and upholstery thoroughly.
  • Save containers which will reveal the composition of spilled inks, cosmetics and paints.

Do Not...

  • Attempt to remove ink, paint or cosmetic stains, only professionals should tackle these.
  • Operate damaged lamps or appliances.
  • Throw out wood chips, broken pieces from furniture, porcelain or other art objects.


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