Fire Damage: The Do's and Don'ts
A fire can be one of the most devastating things to a home. Not only is there the damage from the fire itself, but often water is used to put out the fire, which can cause additional damage. If you have experienced a fire in your home, it is important to know what to do and what not to do to minimize the damage.
- Make safety a priority: Your safety and your family's safety should be your number one priority after a fire. Be sure to check for any structural damage to your home before re-entering and be aware of any potential hazards.
- Call a professional: Once you have ensured that everyone is safe, the next step is to call a professional fire damage restoration company. They will be able to assess the damage and start restoring your home.
- Call your insurance company: As soon as possible after the fire, you should call your insurance company and let them know what has happened. They will be able to help you determine what coverage you have and what steps you need to take next.
- Make a list of damaged items: Once the fire is out and it is safe to enter your home, make a list of all the items that were damaged by the fire. It will be important when you are making an insurance claim.
- Take pictures: If possible, take pictures of the damage. It will provide documentation for your insurance claim.
- Clean up what you can: Once you have documented the damage, start cleaning up what you can. It will help prevent further damage and will make the repair process easier.
- Be very careful when walking around your home. There may be loose floorboards or other hazards that you cannot see.
- Take advantage of any resources your local community may offer. Many communities have resources available to help homeowners who have experienced a fire. These resources may include temporary housing, financial assistance, or counseling services.
- Please don't enter your home until it is safe: Until the fire department has declared it safe, do not enter your home. There could be structural damage that makes it unsafe to enter.
- Don't try to clean up on your own: Many people think they can save money by cleaning up the damage themselves. However, this is not recommended. Cleaning up fire damage is a complex process and, if done wrong, could cause further damage. It is best to leave it to the professionals.
- Don't throw away damaged items: Until you have talked to your insurance company, do not throw away any items that were damaged in the fire. They may be able to be repaired or restored, and you don't want to get rid of something that your policy could cover.
- Don’t use any fans or air conditioners until you have consulted with a professional restoration company. Fans and air conditioners can spread soot and smoke damage if they are not correctly used.
If you have experienced a fire in your home, follow these dos and don'ts to minimize the damage. And, be sure to call your insurance company as soon as possible so they can help you through the process.