A fire, regardless of the size or the extent of damage, is a devastating and traumatic experience. There are a lot of things that need to be done after a fire, and it can be stressful trying to figure out which task to tackle first. Below are some guidelines and tips what to do after a fire.
Wait To Reenter Your Home: Do not reenter your home until the fire authorities have told you it is safe to do so.
Secure Your Property: To prevent theft and damage from the elements, be sure to contact someone who can board up your home. This should be done after the fire has been subdued.
Make Essential Phone Calls: The first thing you want to do is contact family members and let them know that you’re okay. Next you will need to contact your insurance company, as well as a cleaning and restoration company to get started on the process of assessing the damage and making a plan of action. It is important to shop around and do research on a restoration company, rather than simply using the first business you come across.
Find a Temporary Residence: Whether you will be staying with family members or at a hotel, this is something that needs to be decided upon quickly. If you choose to stay in a hotel, check with your insurance company to find out if it is covered in your policy. Also be sure to notify others of your new address, such as the post office, your employer, delivery services, utilities, children’s schools, and family and friends.
Get a Copy of the Fire Report: A fire report states all the specifics of your fire, and it is important that you have this documentation. The Fire Department will be able to help you locate this document.
Hire a Professional: Whether your home is a total loss and you will need to rebuild or there is minimal damage, it is important to hire a professional for the job. It can be tempting to try to do some of the work on your own to save money, however to ensure that the work is done correctly, hiring a professional is strongly recommended.
Bring the Essentials: Once the house is safe to enter, be sure to grab essential items that you will need while your home is being cleaned and repaired. This can include:
- Glasses or Contacts
- Hearing Aids or Prosthetic Devices
- Credit Cards, Check Books, and Insurance Policies
- Valuables such as Priceless Jewelry
Consider Counseling: A fire can be a traumatic experience, so attending counseling sessions afterwards is a great way to debrief and work through any of the aftermath.