What to Do After Fire Damage in Your Home
A fire in your home, no matter how destructive, is always scary and it can leave you feeling vulnerable. While we hope you never have to deal with fire damage, we also believe in being prepared for the worst. Since a fire is a high-pressure situation, you don’t want to wait until you’re dealing with it to know what to do. Learn it now so you’ll be prepared. Read on to learn what you should do if you experience fire damage in your home.
Wait to Enter the Building
Even if everything looks safe and clear to you, don’t enter your home after a fire until a professional has told you it’s safe to do so. Not only could your structure be unstable, but fires can start again — even after they appear to be out. The authorities are the ones who should determine if your home is a safe zone or not. Trust them.
Call the Right People
First, call your family members and loved ones to let them know what happened. Then, you’ll want to call a disaster relief company to hurry over and assess the situation. In addition, call your insurance company to get things set in motion. They can help arrange temporary lodging, and walk you through your next steps. Communicate to them that you have contacted a disaster relief company, and let them know what the company reports to you.
Get a Copy of the Fire Report
Call the fire department to get a copy of the fire report. If they are not authorized to give it to you, they’ll let you know who you can call. The fire report should cover the condition of your home, who was involved, the time and date of the fire damage, and more.
Secure Your Property
To prevent looting or any further accidents, secure your property. This may include boarding up windows. Your insurance policy may require this, so ask them for specifics and reach out to emergency services for more information on what you should do. If your utilities are not safe to use, the fire department will shut them off before they leave. Do not turn them back on.
Cancel Credit Cards and Replace Documents
If your property is safe to enter, try to find your valuable documents. But if you lost any of your credit cards in the fire, cancel them now. You don’t want to risk them being found, intact, by someone else. In addition, begin steps for replacing your driver’s license, social security card, and other important cards and documents.
Begin Steps to Clean up
In most cases, you’ll want to use a disaster relief company to assist in the cleanup because fire damage is often deeper than you initially see. Smoke, soot, and extinguisher residue can be too difficult to clean yourself. If the damage is only in one small area of a room, however, you may be able to clean it up yourself. Use tri-sodium phosphate mixed with water to wipe soot off the walls. Use a shop hired vacuum to remove soot and extinguisher residue. Bring carpets, rugs, and curtains to be professionally cleaned. Open doors and windows to let air circulate.
Consider Water Damage
If water was used to put out the fire, you’ll need to worry about water damage and mold. This is best left to a professional disaster cleanup company, as mold can grow quickly and must be removed carefully so it doesn’t damage anyone’s health — or come back.
Consider Emotional Health
A fire in your home can cause serious stress and strong emotions. Make sure to take stock of your emotional and mental health, as well as the emotional health of everyone in your family. Seek professional counseling if you need it.
New Life Restoration
New Life Restoration is a 24/7 disaster cleanup company that services California’s Central Coast. If you’ve experienced fire damage, we’ll get there in a hurry, and we’ll even help you work with your insurance company. Give us a call at (805) 925-1600, or contact us online.