PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Whether your home has suffered a tiny bit of smoke damage or complete fire and water destruction, the cleanup process can leave you overwhelmed.

“We had little bit of a rain back in May and during that time our sump pump failed and we had about four inches of water throughout the finished basement downstairs,” said homeowners Steve Westervelt.

The water damaged Steve Westervelt’s drywall and carpet.

“The restoration company that we worked with did an excellent job because they took pictures of everything they were going to take out for repair,’ Westervelt said. “That kind of helps because sometimes you just kind of forget what you had and what was taken.”

Cleaning up water and smoke damage quickly is important because if left untreated, the damage can become a bigger problem, costing more money to repair.

“It’s very important when you have a major fire or flood and your contents are being packed out of your home that the company doing it does complete photographic inventory, bar coding, scanning of all contents so it can be tracked from start to finish from the home to the restoration facility and back into the home,” said restoration company owner Kenny Cochran.

“When going through the items that you might have lost in the fire or flood, you first need to access what their value was, how much it would cost to replace them because that’s going to help you make some of these decisions a little easier,” said Angie Hicks of Angie’s List. “Obviously the sentimental things are going to be a lot tougher. But that sofa you paid $1,000 for, if it’s going to cost $800 to repair it, you might just want to go ahead and get a new one.”

A fire or flood can you leave you feeling desperate for help, but homeowners should still research contractors thoroughly and get estimates in writing.

Most homeowners don’t plan for a disaster, but you should.

Go room by room in your home and take photos of your possessions.

Keep important documents and receipts in a fire safe, waterproof container.

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