The fire is out, and the smoke has cleared. The fire department is gone, and the you are left with a disaster on their hands. It is important to contact a professional mitigation company that can meet the required professional standards in service while recognizing the importance of extending true compassion and understanding as you cope with your loss.
After a fire is extinguished, a your first obligation is to call the insurance company. This is most likely the first, and probably the only time, you will have had to deal with this type of situation, as you are distraught, stressed and traumatized.
So, what do you say to them? How do you begin the process of restoring your property?
Safety is always the first concern. You want to ensure that no one including youself enters or walks around in the structure, which could expose them or other occupants to hazards. This can be a problem because smoke darkens the structure and obstructs the view of identifiable safety concerns. There may be compromised structural components, falling debris or even electrical-safety issues. Depending on the severity of the loss, you and other occupants may need to consider leaving the building.
In addition to the structural hazards, it is also important to consider health issues, especially in exasperating any respiratory ailments or concerns of the people living in the damaged structure. Every fire generates particles of incomplete combustion (PIC’s) that remain in the air and on surfaces after the fire is out. Many of these PIC’s are known as carcinogens. They range in size from 0.1 to 4.0 microns. A micron is 1/1,000,000 of a meter—take the thickness of a dime and slice it 1,000 times! Because of their very small size, PIC’s are easily inhaled.
You should definitely consider leaving the structure, at least temporarily, especially if someone already has a known respiratory concern (infants, seniors, diabetics, asthmatics, etc.) If you decide to leave, secure the property to the highest extent possible. The next step is to get the professional mitigation company involved immediately! The sooner they start the restoration process, the easier it is going to be to assess, evaluate and act on the damage caused by the fire. The faster the response, the greater the chance of saving property and possessions.
WITHIN MINUTES: Plastic and marble surfaces begin to permanently stain.”The most effective way to ensure maximum service and outcome is to recommend a mitigation company you know and trust.”
WITHIN HOURS: Metals tarnish, grout stains, fiberglass yellows and furniture yellows.
WITHIN DAYS: Flooring stains, fabrics are lost, and wood furniture finish is compromised.
And, the list goes on. The faster a professional mitigator can begin, the faster the you can return to a restored and healthy environment, and the better you can manage the loss to keep fire damage repair costs as low as possible.
A professional mitigation company’s personnel knows how to allay the many concerns and fears that you may have after a loss. A prompt, knowledgeable and sympathetic response will go a long way in explaining the process and assuring the you of the best possible outcome. The most effective way to ensure maximum service and outcome is to contact a mitigation company you know and trust. Explain to the Policyholder that they will be contacted; then call the mitigation company with the necessary information and let them make contact. Check with your client to confirm contact, but if you’ve made the right referral, the company should have already made contact letting the Policyholder know what to expect—and that they will be on the site in a matter of hours.
Make sure to document any personal items you have lost and try to attach a value to each item. Take a moment and think of all the things you would hate to lose if a fire occurred in your home. Your Policyholders are experiencing those emotions for real. They should review what was in the affected room or rooms and begin documenting losses as soon as they are able. A professional mitigator will take the time to communicate with the insured on the processes that will take place, how their property and personal items will be protected, and work with them on getting their lives back together.
The responsibility of the professional smoke and fire mitigator includes:
- Respond rapidly to the customer
- Communicate the procedures and secure an authorization
- Scope the damage and provide a detailed estimate
- Control and contain to prevent continuing damage
- Prevent cross-contamination
- Properly clean and process the entire job
- Process and properly dispose of wastes
- Provide effective odor control
- Provide an environment ready for any final repairs
From the time the first call is received until the mitigation is complete, a professional mitigation company is essential in handling the claim and in managing the cost, but even more importantly, it creates a satisfied, lasting and loyal Policy holder.