Experiencing a house fire is a traumatic event, and knowing what to do afterwards can be overwhelming. As a professional firefighter, I’ve seen first-hand the confusion and distress that follows such a disaster.
To help, I’ve compiled a list of five crucial steps to take after a house fire.
What To Do After A House Fire (Checklist)
1. Ensure Safety and Find a Safe Place to Stay
First and foremost, ensure your and your family’s safety. Even after the fire has been put out, your home may not be safe. Structural damage, as well as smoke and soot, can pose serious risks.
Find a safe place to stay, whether it’s with family, friends, or through local disaster relief services like the Salvation Army.
2. Contact Your Insurance Agent
As soon as possible, contact your homeowners insurance company. Initiating the insurance claim process early is critical. Your insurance agent will guide you through the steps and what documentation is required. This might include:
- Taking photos of the damage
- Listing lost items
- Keeping receipts of all expenses related to the fire
3. Protect Your Home
To prevent further damage, it’s important to protect your home. Contact a restoration company to secure the property. This may include boarding up windows and doors and covering damaged roofs with tarps. Your insurance coverage may include these restoration services.
4. Recover Important Documents
Try to locate important documents, like birth certificates and financial records. If they are damaged, you’ll need to begin replacing them as soon as possible. In some cases, local fire departments can provide assistance in recovering these items.
5. Hire Professional Restoration Services
For dealing with water damage, smoke damage restoration, and cleaning up after a fire, it’s advisable to hire a professional restoration company. They have the expertise to handle the complexities of fire cleanup, including dealing with smoke and soot, and can help in making your home safe again.