What To Do After a Fire
How to Respond to a Fire
It can be hard to know what to do after a fire. The damage is extensive, and you may not even know if your insurance will cover it. Here are some tips that can help you get past the initial shock of a house fire and start planning.
Get your insurance information.
After you have evacuated your home and have been given the “all clear” from your fire department that it is safe to return, you will want to contact your insurance provider.
Once you are connected with an agent, it is important that you provide them with a full list of the damage. For this reason, it is important to keep a running list of your belongings and any assets that may be affected in a disaster. This will help the insurance agent construct and accurate claim.
When the fire is out, you should contact your insurance carrier. You'll need to report the event and get an adjuster to come out as soon as possible. This can be done by phone or in person at your local branch office. Do not clean up anything on your own until the adjuster has looked at it; otherwise, any damage that may have occurred during cleanup could affect your claim.
Contact a fire damage restoration service.
If your house has been affected by fire or smoke damage, you will want to contact a fire damage restoration service. These companies help homeowners deal with the aftermath of fires in their homes. They can board up the house, clean it, and repair it, as well as help with insurance claims. The company may also be able to help find temporary or permanent housing for you and your family while repairs are being made on your home.
Document the damage.
One of the most important steps in your insurance claim is to document the damage. This will help you get a more accurate estimate and more money in your pocket.
- Take photos of the damage. Make sure you take pictures of what happened before, during, and after the fire so that you can clearly show how much work was done by firefighters or contractors hired on your behalf.
- Take detailed notes of what happened during and after the fire (dates, times, conversations with anyone from your insurance company). You may need this information when talking with an adjuster or at trial if it comes down to litigation for damages caused by negligence on someone else's part (i.e., someone not paying attention around an open flame).
- Measure everything—from flooring materials removed for cleaning purposes all way up through any smoke damage that has occurred on walls and ceilings above where firefighters were working at extinguishing flames below them.
Clean up any mess.
- After a fire, you will need to remove any debris and clean up the mess.
- Clean up any wet or dry materials on the floor.
- Remove smoke smell from walls, ceilings, and furniture by washing them with soap and water (if possible).
- Clean curtains, clothes, and furniture with mild detergent in warm water.
- Use an industrial vacuum to suck up excess soot from carpets before washing them. Get rid of any large dust particles from air ducts with a brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner hose or use a stiff broom to sweep it out through windows if necessary (make sure all windows are open for ventilation).
It is hard to know what to do after a fire, but here's some advice on how to start the process of recovery.
- Get the insurance company involved.
- Clean up the mess as much as possible.
- Document the damage with pictures or a video camera. If you can take pictures or video of your home before and after, that can be very helpful for both your own records and for your insurance claim.
- Contact a fire damage restoration service if you need help cleaning up after a fire in your home.
The aftermath of a fire can be overwhelming, but there are many things that you can do to help the recovery process. Keep in mind that it may take some time before your home is back to normal, and that’s okay! Be patient with yourself, and if there are any bugs or issues along the way, ask for help from friends and family members who will be happy to lend their assistance.