If you find yourself in a situation where your home was damaged after a house fire, you will feel so many emotions that you will not know what to do next. Some of the most common questions people have are whom they should call, where should they begin, and is it safe to reenter their home once everything settles down. And if you are in this situation, this article might be able to help you learn what steps you should take next.
In the text below, you will be able to learn what things you should do and what things you should not do if your home was caught in a fire. Let’s take a closer look at the tips and steps:
Things You Should Do After the Fire
In addition to your home being damaged or completely lost in a fire, you might have also lost valuable assets and personal items that cannot be replaced. In order to protect your property, recover the loss, and heal from the unfortunate event, you will need and want to take some steps. Keep in mind that you will want to ask your family members or friends for help with some of the steps you will need to complete. Their support and help will definitely help with the workload. The steps you should take include:
1. Get in Touch With Your Insurance Agent or Company
Once things have settled down, the first thing you will want to do is to contact your insurance agent or company – and this should be done as soon as possible. Also, do not try to clean anything up until a representative from the company evaluates your property and fire site. Now, while you wait for someone to come, you should take pictures of any and all damage, as well as take some measures to prevent further damage to your home. Keep in mind that you should not enter the home/site until the fire department clears the home and property as safe. You should also check if the insurance policy you have covers the cost of living expenses for the time your home is being repaired or rebuilt.
2. Evaluate the Extent of the Damage with the Insurance Company Representative
Once the agent gets there, walk with them through your home and evaluate the extent of the damage done. Write down what needs to be repaired, and if there are some items that can be salvaged, write it down as well. According to the experts from GTArestoration – fire restoration company from Toronto, it is important to remember that you will not only have to deal with smoke and fire damages, but you will also need to take care of the water damage caused by the fire. If your home is entirely ruined by the fire, talk with the agent about the process for rebuilding your house.
3. Find A New Place to Stay
After you are done with the agent, you should choose a place to stay. This event will be extremely terrifying for kids and pets, hence, ensure that the place you choose is comfortable. This will help you with keeping everyone calm and you will be able to carefully plan your next steps.
4. Contact a Fire Restoration Company
Once you are done with evaluating the damages with your insurance agent, they might have instructed you to obtain a quote on what needs to be done. Hiring a fire restoration company can help you with estimating what needs to be repaired or replaced. Also, by hiring them, you can ensure that any contamination – such as smoke or water damage – is removed. Once the decontamination is done, you will be able to clearly see how much damage there is. If you want to see all the services you can get from these companies, check out this website.
5. Take Inventory of the Items Lost in the Fire
The insurance agent will provide you with an inventory sheet and they will ask you to take inventory of all the things that were damaged or lost in the fire. Start with adding the things that you previously wrote down and then add the rest of the items. If you want to ensure that you write down everything, take a look at some photos or videos you made in your home before the fire happened. Also, you can ask your family members to make a list of items from their rooms, as well as ask relatives or friends to help you jog your memory. If you cannot remember the prices, you can always check old credit card reports.
6. Contact the Police if you are Worried About the Safety of Your Home
The repairs on your home might not start for some time, and an empty home – even a damaged one – can be appealing to looters or squatters. Contacting your local police will help you keep your home, assets, and property safe. Also, you can choose to board up windows or doors which will add more security to your house. It is not expensive to board them up and the price will depend on the number of windows and doors you have, as well as the size of them and whether you choose to hire someone to do it or if you will do it by yourself. Whatever you choose, you should board up your windows and doors once the fire department labeled your home as safe to be in.
7. Do Not Turn on the Utilities On
In most fire cases, the firefighters will turn off your utilities in order to prevent additional damage. If they turned them off, you should contact them and the utility providers before turning them on. It can be extremely dangerous to turn them back on and it can create even more problems including gas leaks and water damage.
It can be quite traumatizing to go through a house fire, however, the steps mentioned above are incredibly important for you and your family members. Hence, if you find yourself in this situation, keep in mind that the first thing you should do is get everyone out safely, call the fire department, and once they are done containing the fire, get in touch with your insurance agency as soon as you can.