In the aftermath of a home fire, it’s very important to know what to do and what to avoid doing. First, make sure it’s safe to enter the home. Discuss the recovery process with your insurance agent and ask for help at local disaster relief shelters. If you choose to have your home restored, hire a reputable disaster restoration company. Follow these guidelines after experiencing a home fire:
- Ensure your safety if you enter your home after the fire. Ask the restoration specialists, fire department, insurance agent or local building officials if the building is safe to enter. Do not touch fire-damaged items, as soot and contaminated water (that was used to extinguish the fire) may pose health risks. If the utility services were turned off by the fire department for safety reasons, don’t turn them back on until you are advised to do so.
- Contact your insurance agent to discuss what can be done to restore your property and the amount of your insurance deductible. Ask for ways to secure your home and for recommendations of restoration companies that can be trusted. If you have a home inventory, show it to your agent. More about what to discuss with your insurance agent after a fire can be found here.
- Ask for help at local disaster relief services such as public health departments or the American Red Cross. They can provide a safe place to stay, food, clothes and other essential items. When you decide to start the recovery process, don’t do it alone – ask family members or friends for support.
- When you hire a fire restoration company, make sure you receive an estimate of the cost before work is started. Ask your insurance agent who will cover the costs. Save the receipts for any expenses that concern the fire loss.
- Care for your pets, as they may behave irrationally during and after a disaster. Their instincts may cause them to bite or scratch, so be careful and gentle when handling them. Do not let pets get near fire-damaged contents and provide a safe shelter for them.
- If you must leave your house, let the local police department know your property is unoccupied. They can protect your property against burglaries. Also make sure you board up openings or make a temporary fence to protect your home.
To learn how to prevent fire accidents from occurring in your home, follow our Fire Safety Checklist. With the cold season on the horizon, take some time to read our Heating Equipment Fire Safety Tips, as well. If you need professional restoration services to return your property back to pre-loss condition after experiencing fire, water or mold damage, contact your local PuroClean office.