Most of us view our homes as a safe refuge. But unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Electrical wiring issues, kitchen appliances, space heaters, and accidents can all lead to potential devastation at home. And since there’s a house fire that takes place in the U.S. every 86 seconds, there are sadly a substantial number of Americans who may have to face this reality at some point.
The health and safety of your loved ones is the most important thing in the aftermath of a fire. But assuming that no one has been hurt or that medical attention has been sought as needed, you may be wondering what you should do next. Although we hope you’ll never have to reference this post, we’re sharing four crucial steps to take after a house fire.
- Contact Your Insurance Company: After a fire, one of the first things you’ll need to do is to contact your insurance agent. Fires are typically covered by standard home insurance policies, which means you can quickly file a claim and obtain “loss of use” funds to cover daily expenses. Your insurance agent can also help you to secure your property and may be able to recommend fire damage services in your area.
- Get Permission to Re-Enter: You should not re-enter your home after a fire without getting the explicit go-ahead from the fire department or building officials. This is because there could be hidden structural damage that could lead to serious injury; in some cases, there might also be a possibility that a fire could break out again. You should stay out of your home until officials tell you it’s safe to re-enter. If you are able to go back into your home, you should wear long pants and sleeves, rubber-soled shoes, work gloves, and safety goggles for your own protection.
- Inventory Damaged Belongings: Upon re-entry to your home, it’s a good idea to create a list (and take photos of) specific items that were damaged in the fire. Your insurance company will likely require you to submit this list and to separate damaged items from undamaged ones to move forward with your claim. You’ll need to provide the product’s brand name and description, the purchase price, and the serial number (if possible). If you no longer have receipts or they were destroyed in the fire, you may need to obtain bank statements or other proof of purchase. Having a detailed inventory of personal possessions before a fire ever occurs will save you some time here.
- Contact a Fire Restoration Company: If your home is salvageable after a fire, you shouldn’t try to DIY your fire restoration. This can be hazardous to your health in a number of ways — and it ultimately won’t be effective. A company that offers fire and smoke damage restoration can ensure that your home provides a safe environment for your family and that any evidence of the fire is properly addressed as soon as possible. Hiring a fire restoration company can allow you to return to a sense off normalcy following this type of tragic event.
We hope you never have to experience the devastation of a house fire. But if you do, you’ll know exactly which initial steps to take to keep your loved ones safe. For more information on our fire restoration services and how we can help you after a disastrous event, please contact us today.