Vandals can strike for a variety of reasons: bored youngsters, someone with a grudge, a gang or fraternity initiation. Regardless of the motivation, if your home or office is the target of vandals, you need to know what to do - and not to do - to expedite the clean-up and avoid making a bad situation worse.

As one of the nation’s leading property damage restoration companies, Paul W. Davis Systems offers these tips for what to do when vandals strike:

1. Notify the police and call your insurance agent to get the claims process underway.
2. Take photographs of the damage.
3. If the vandals used eggs or other spoiled food items, wash or hose down the exterior of the building before the materials dry and bake onto the surface.
4. Sweep or vacuum up small pieces of broken glass and other sharp materials to avoid potential injury.
5. Scrape up and then blot -- but don’t rub -- any freshly spilled food from carpets and upholstery.
6. Retrieve and retain all broken pieces of porcelain and art objects.
7. Arrange for a knowledgeable disaster clean-up and restoration service to deal with the mess.

As critical as knowing what to do is knowing what not to do, and that includes:

1. Do not try remove ink or paint spills. Proper, effective removal requires expert knowledge of the chemical components of the material used, If containers were left on the premises, save them so the restoration expert can analyze the contents and use the appropriate removal techniques.
2. Do not try to use damaged lamps or other electrical appliances and devices until they have been checked and confirmed safe by an electrician.
3. Do not attempt to remove large pieces of glass from window panes or picture frames. Do not discard pieces of broken furniture because restoration experts can often repair damaged items very effectively. In fact, it’s a good idea to not discard anything until the insurance adjuster has completed his work and the clean-up process is ready to begin.