What to Do and What Not to Do After a Home Fire
Things To Do After A Home Fire
Experiencing a fire can unsettle anybody. It’s a very frightening and scary event. With that said, it’s absolutely imperative that you do certain things immediately after a fire to not only protect yourself, but also protect your home as well. Likewise, there are some things you must absolutely not do after a fire. Our goal today is to review both of these.
Consult With the Firefighters
First and foremost, consult with the firefighters before you reenter your home. It doesn’t matter if your home looks safe to enter. The only thing you can trust is their direct words. Until they give you explicit permission, simply stand back and watch them work.
Realize also that they might not even allow you to re-enter. In some cases, a home becomes so damaged that it also becomes inhabitable. Yes, we understand that you might want to rummage through your belongings. However, is it worth taking the risk of having a ceiling crash down on you and potentially kill you?
Contact Relevant Parties
This is actually a step you can do before or after the previous one. Regardless, below is a list of the people who you should contact:
- Family Members: Obviously, you want to let your family members and close friends know what occurred.
- Insurance Company: You should ideally contact your insurance company first. Your best bet is to start the claims process right away. Remember also to keep a copy of every single receipt you accumulate during the restoration process.
- Landlord: If you are renting, then you need to contact the homeowner or landlord and go through his or her insurance company instead.
- American Red Cross: You may want to contact American Red Cross to take advantage of those services available to victims of a house fire.
Get A Fire Report
You’ll need to get a copy of the official “fire report” for insurance purposes. It covers all aspects of the fire, i.e., its intensity, the damage it caused, the time it took to douse it, etc. Do note that you will likely not be able to get a copy of it on the same day of the fire. You may need to contact the fire department a day or two later.
You may want to seek out a security agency to secure your property. If your doors are non-functional and many windows have been busted, then this could be something worth pursuing. Mind you, whether not to pursue this depends mainly on whether there’s anything worthwhile still left inside your home!
Contact A Restoration Agency
It’s at this point that you need to consider the cleanup process. Assuming your house hasn’t been completely destroyed (if for instance just a kitchen got burned down), then you need to decide whether you want to perform the cleanup yourself or hire a company.
Generally, we recommend hiring someone. Performing fire cleanup is not easy. You need to be able to deal with a lot of things:
- Soot Damage
- Smoke Damage
- Fire Damage
- Water Damage
- Extinguished Residue
Another thing to keep in mind is whether or not you can get a crew together fast enough. The longer you wait, the worse the damage will be. So unless you can get a crew together in 48 hours maximum, then you need to get yourself a professional, full-service fire restoration company.
Things To NOT Do After A Home Fire
While this is going to be a smaller list, it will certainly not be any less important!
- Don’t rush into cleaning up. If you want to do the cleanup yourself, first do the proper research. Using improper techniques can easily worsen the damage.
- Avoid eating any canned or packaged food/beverage items that were close to the fire. The heat may have activated the bacteria inside them. Your best bet is to throw them away.
- Avoid turning on ceiling fans if your ceiling is wet. It’s very likely that the wiring got wet and damaged and needs to first be repaired.
Last but not least, avoid panicking. You can recover from a fire, but you must stay calm and get to work right away. Follow the steps outlined in this piece, and we promise you’ll be okay!