In the U.S, there are around 353,100 home fires every year, which shows that no one is immune to this disaster.
House fires are traumatic and are often caused by candles, faulty wiring, and unattended cooking equipment. Perhaps you’ve recently suffered a house fire and you’re not sure what to do next.
Sounds familiar? Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s what to do after a house fire.
Call the Authorities
Did the house catch on fire? Then contact the authorities immediately! Never extinguish fires yourself, instead call the fire services as they have the experience and equipment to put it out.
The police will ask you for important information so they can create a fire report. This will include the time and date of the incident, the house’s condition, and the areas involved.
It’s also crucial to contact the authorities so the local police can secure your property when you’re away. They will board up windows and doors with plywood, plus secure tarps over any openings.
Check-in With Loved Ones
One of the most important things to do after a house fire is find your loved ones. It sounds obvious, but it’s overwhelming at the moment and you may forget the whereabouts of your household.
You should also contact loved ones who aren’t with you. Let them know what has happened, and reassure them that everyone is okay. It’s crucial to have support in traumatic times, and you’ll need this during the fire restoration process.
Contact Your Insurance Agent
Call your insurance agent for peace of mind.
Don’t worry if you can’t enter your home to receive your details, the provider should have access to your records. Depending on your plan, you can claim several costs through your home insurance, so keep the receipts when you eventually fix up your home.
Most insurance companies are experts in property emergencies so they can help you with last-minute lodging and living expenses. Plus, your provider will give you the contact details of a fire damage restoration company so they can work their magic.
And if you need legal aid during this difficult time, click the link for more info.
Hire Professional Fire Cleanup Services
Although it’s tempting to handle the fire damage yourself, know that it’s a dangerous business. To stay safe, contact the restoration company so they can assess your property and secure all entryways to prevent further damage.
The emergency responder will also activate industrial-strength fans and air scrubbers to clean the toxins from the property. This will reduce the number of smoke that seeps into the walls and your possessions.
Wait Until It’s Safe to Re-Enter Your Home
Whether it’s an electric or kitchen fire, don’t enter your home until the fire restoration company confirms it. It’s difficult to know which areas have been damaged and fires can reignite, potentially putting you at risk.
Once you’re in, retrieve salvageable belongings. Focus on valuables and important paperwork like birth certificates and passports. Leave behind cosmetics, food, and retrieve medication packaging so you can get replacements.
It’s useful to note down everything you’ve lost during the fire or anything that must be removed. The entire experience is overwhelming, so having a record lets you relay this to your insurance provider. Plus, the agent may ask for a receipt, so retrieve any surviving ones so you can claim it.
Unfortunately, most items may be destroyed by smoke or soot so store these in a bag so they can be professionally cleaned.
Call Your Electricity, Water, and Gas Suppliers
After the residential fire, call your suppliers as they likely got disconnected or damaged. Even if the wires appear intact, you may overlook signs of fire damage so leave it to the professionals. Also, don’t turn on or reconnect the systems as they could cause further problems.
Look After Your Pets
Pet owners must look after their furry friends post-fire.
Consider your pet’s behavior as scratching, biting, and hiding are telltale signs that they are nervous. Take your pet away from the property during the restoration, either by booking them into kennels or asking loved ones to look after them.
It’s also wise to book an appointment with a vet so they can examine your pet to ensure they aren’t affected by the fire.
Find a Place to Stay
Make sure you find a comfortable place for your family to stay during the restoration. You can either book a hotel for the week or stay with loved ones so you can rest and plan your next step.
If that isn’t possible, contact a disaster relief agency like Salvation Army who can provide free temporary accommodation. Once you’re settled, tell your employer, family and friends, and delivery services of your new address.
Experiencing a house fire is a disturbing experience, especially if the damage is severe and valuables were destroyed.
Don’t be afraid to seek help from a counselor, as they can give you advice on how to move forward. And, if you have children, pay attention to their behavior and tell them that everything will be better.
Remind them that the most important thing is that they’re safe, and you can eventually replace your belongings.
Know What to Do After a House Fire
Hopefully, after reading this article, you now know what to do after a house fire.
Start by calling the authorities, contact your loved ones, and your insurance provider. You should also call a fire restoration company before entering your property, so it’s safe. Good luck!
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