A home fire is catastrophic. The incident leaves you and your entire family rattled to the core, and it can be difficult to know where to begin in evaluating the damage, beginning repair and salvaging efforts, and getting your life back to normal. If you or someone you love have recently experienced a house fire, the following tips will help you get through the process.
1. Safety First
After surviving a fire, the last thing you want is to put yourself or a family member at risk. Never enter a structure that has experienced a fire until you have been given permission to do so by a professional. Safety hazards from damaged ceilings and floors, as well as toxic levels of smoke, soot, and airborne chemicals should be taken very seriously.
2. Read the Fire Report
After a fire-related incident, the fire department is required to write up a report that details what happened. You have the right to obtain a copy of this report. Having the necessary paperwork on hand can help you as you work with your insurance company. And don’t be afraid to ask any questions about what’s contained within the report.
3. Make Some Calls
It’s important to have as much support as possible after a crisis like a house fire. First, reach out to family members and loved ones to let them know what happened and to provide pertinent information. From here, it will be your responsibility to contact your insurance agency. This will get the ball rolling on helping you recover your losses. At the same time, the insurer will be able to provide you with valuable information regarding emergency lodging and living expenses, as well as providing you with information pertaining to the help they can offer for cleanup and repair. If further help is needed, you might consider reaching out to the American Red Cross or local help groups that offer services to individuals and families who have lost their homes.
4. Secure Your Property
Talk to the fire department and police about the best ways to go about securing your property against possible looting while your home is being repaired. Unfortunately, nefarious people exist who will attempt to take advantage of your dire situation for their own personal gain. Stopping that from happening will prevent your current situation from becoming even worse.
5. Begin the Cleanup Process
Cleaning up after a fire is a very labor-intensive process, and because damage to the property frequently extends past what the naked eye can see, it’s very important to hire a professional fire damage and cleanup company to take care of the work. They will need to remove any damaged material or debris away from your home. In addition, they will spend a large amount of time eliminating soot from ceilings and walls, clearing away residue from fire extinguishers, professionally cleaning carpets and upholstery to remove smoke, soot, and ash, getting rid of odors, etc. In the event that fire hoses were used to put out the fire in your home, it’s smart to look for a company that does damage control and cleanup for both fire AND flood. This will ensure that excess water is removed from your property, too, and that any mold, mildew, or bacteria from the flooding is banished from the interior of your home.
6. Seek Counseling If Needed
In addition to getting your home back in working order, you need to make sure that you and your family are also in working order. Some people experience post-traumatic stress after a house fire, or experience feelings of anxiety and/or depression. There’s no reason to be embarrassed – a fire in your home can be a horrible experience for anyone. It’s especially important to provide counseling and reassurance to children who have lived through a fire.
Do you need help cleaning up and repairing your home after a fire? Abbotts Fire & Flood cares about your well-being and has the professional experience required to assist you with fire and flood damages so that you can start living your life again. Give us a call to learn more today.