It can be a tragedy when one of your neighbour's home catches fire, and yet is there a possibility that the fire could harm you and your family in a way you might not immediately suspect? This is not a case of the fire potentially spreading to your property, but is in fact when the fire in question has affected a dwelling that might contain asbestos. It's a rarity, and yet there have been instances when asbestos has been released into the air after a house fire. You would generally receive a warning from the fire department if this was to happen, and while evacuation is unlikely to be necessary, there are a few precautions you might want to take for added safety, such as:
Seal Yourself Inside
Obviously, you will need to close your windows and bring pets and any laundry indoors until such time as the fire has been brought under control. If anyone in your household suffers from any type of respiratory ailment, it can be prudent to keep the windows closed for an extended period of time until any asbestos released as a result of the fire has entirely dissipated.
Your Air Conditioner
Until such time as the asbestos services company has removed the contaminated material (which can only happen once the fire has been totally extinguished and the damaged materials are cool enough to handle) you should refrain from using your air conditioner. There's a possibility that microscopic amounts of asbestos will be drawn into the unit's air intake vents and then fed into your home.
For added surety, you might wish to use this opportunity to remove and clean the air conditioner unit's filters. If you're concerned, you can in fact simply replace the filters, perhaps with those that have a higher minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) in order to remove even more airborne particles during the filtration process.
Your patio furniture should be thoroughly washed if asbestos has been released due to a nearby fire. Warm, soapy water and your garden hose will be sufficient. Again, if you need added surety, then you might want to take the extra step of hosing down the actual patio or outdoor decking itself.
It can be a tragedy when one of your neighbour's home catches fire, and yet if any asbestos was present, you will need to prevent this from affecting your own household. Contact local asbestos services for more information and assistance.