Fires are known to be one of the most destructive disasters that can harm your home. Flames will burn your personal belongings and the structure of the building, causing widespread damage. There’s also damage done by smoke and soot. Not to mention, the high temperature of the fire itself threatens yours and others’ safety and well-being.
If there’s a fire, you need to evacuate the building and make sure everyone is safe. Then, you need to call 911 to have your local fire department put the fire out.
When the flames have been extinguished, you may feel a sense of relief, and understandably so given the amount of further damage the fire could have caused if it were still burning. But there’s still a lot of work to be done.
If you need guidance on what to do after a house fire occurs, continue reading for some helpful tips.
1. Wait to Re-enter Your Home
For one, you should not re-enter your home until the fire department has determined it is safe to do so and you have been granted permission. This is a rule that is for your own safety. The damage can leave your home in an unstable condition, so it can be unsafe for you to be in your home.
You also shouldn’t use any of your home’s electricity, water, or gas. Those utilities might be damaged and using them can cause other problems while also putting yourself in harm’s way.
2. Leave the Damage Alone
It’s important that you do not try to clean or restore any of the fire, smoke, or soot damage on your own. These types of damage require specialized cleaning methods and products, and if you clean such damage incorrectly, this can actually worsen it. Knowing this, it’s best to leave the damage alone, and wait until professionals can properly take care of it.
3. Make the Right Calls
When there’s a house fire, there are several people you need to reach out to. In addition to the fire department, you should get in touch with your insurance company to inform them of the incident and to start the claims process. Also call your utility companies to let them know about the fire.
Call your local police department to inform them of your home’s vacancy. Even vacant homes with fire damage are susceptible to vandalism and theft, so letting the police know ensures your home’s safety.
Consider reaching out to nearby family and friends as well, especially if you need somewhere to stay. Fires can be traumatic events, and it can help to have the support of your family and friends during such a difficult time.
4. Document the Damage
When dealing with insurance claims, you will need to provide your insurance company with evidence of the damage, so you need to document the damage yourself. This documentation also helps you keep track of how much damage your property and belongings suffered.
Begin with the exterior of your home. Go around the outside, and inspect your home’s siding, windows, roofing, and more. Take photos and videos of any damage you find. Feel free to take notes as well for extra documentation.
When it’s safe for you to go back into your home, take photos and make a list of your damaged items. When noting the specific items, be as detailed as possible. Also make a list of important documents that need replacing including birth certificates, driver’s licenses, passports, medical records, titles, tax information, and others.
5. Gather Undamaged Items
As you make your way through your home to inspect the damage, take the time to grab and gather any belongings that were not damaged in the fire. You’ll want to get these items out of your home so that they aren’t affected by the secondary fire damage from smoke and/or soot. Having these items in the way during restoration and/or reconstruction is also another opportunity for potential damage, and it can make it more difficult to complete the job if these belongings are in the way.
Store these belongings in a safe place, such as a climate-controlled storage unit. You should also have these items cleaned right away to ensure they’re free of any fire effects.
Get Professional Fire Damage Cleanup Help
When you experience a house fire, never hesitate to seek help. In fact, once the fire has been put out, you should immediately get in touch with our fire damage restoration professionals at ServiceMaster EMT to have your home cleaned and restored. The longer you wait to have the damage addressed, the worse the damage will be, making for an even costlier cleaning and restoration project. The damage soot causes results in tarnishing, etching, and other effects that can become permanent, which makes it even more important to get fire damage restoration help right away.
Within our fire damage cleanup services, professional technicians will clean and restore your personal contents and damaged structural elements, reconstruct your home, deodorize your property, and more. Our professionals will work diligently to restore your home to its pre-fire condition.
For immediate assistance after a disaster, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (800) 376-6678. We are available 24/7 in Los Angeles, CA, the surrounding areas of Southern California and the state of Nevada.
Check out our full list of locations.