Bushfires continually plague Australia, and the 2019 season was the worst on record. Anyone who may have evacuated during the onslaught may return to a scene of considerable damage, but if they're lucky, they'll be able to salvage the property and rebuild. Yet, while homeowners will have to exercise a lot of caution in this situation, of course, hidden dangers can be present as well. What do you need to know about the risk of asbestos before you take any action?
If you own an older building, contractors probably used asbestos in many different areas during construction. Government policy is to leave this alone and undisturbed unless you plan any renovation. In this case, however, the fire may well have disturbed the asbestos, and it may now be in a dangerous state.
Some people think that fire will destroy asbestos, and while this is true, the temperature will need to be extreme. However, some of the external coverings may perish in the fire, and internal walls may collapse to expose the asbestos to the outside air.
In this case, you will need to be very careful before you poke around to see what you can salvage. Minute particles of asbestos may fly into the surrounding area, and these could pose a significant health hazard to yourself and anyone else who could be in the vicinity.
Listening to Experts
In this situation, you should always listen to the advice from fire department officials so you know that the building itself is structurally sound. However, you should also talk with a licensed asbestos disposal technician before you do anything else.
Many of these experts have experience in this situation and will know how to identify problem areas. They will then exercise extreme caution as they remove any debris that may contain asbestos from the entire property.
Out of the Ashes
As you rebuild, you will want to ensure that your property is asbestos-free, and this is your opportunity to do so. Remember, this material may be hidden in a variety of different areas, and while the fire may have exposed some of them, others may still be elusive.
Talk with an asbestos disposal expert, who will survey the property and help you to come up with a plan of attack. They can test for the presence of asbestos throughout the home and ensure that it is completely removed.