Thursday, January 30, 2014

7 Key Things to Do After Fire Damage

Experiencing a fire in your home can be frightening and devastating. After this life-changing event, there are at least seven key things you should know and do after the fire damage.

1. Don't Enter. Ask authorities when it's the right time to enter your home. They know when it's safe and the flames have been completely extinguished. They'll thoroughly check out your property and set up a safety zone.

2. Consider All Possibilities. The professionals will also be able to establish the intensity of the situation. If the destruction is too severe, you may not be allowed to reenter at all.

3. Know Whom to Call. Call any immediate family members who may have not been home at the time. Tell them what happened and that you're okay.

Call your insurance company immediately to start the claim process. They also may be able to help you obtain emergency lodging and funds. Make sure you save all receipts to file with your claim. They can also direct you to clean up companies. If you were renting, be sure to call your landlord. They may need you to call their insurance company as well to give a report. You can also call local help groups such as your church or the American Red Cross. Don't be afraid to ask for their help.

4. The Fire Report. The fire department will take a report, which will have details such as the home structure, time and date of the incident and the destruction locations. This helps them to find out the specifics of how they helped and what resources were available. Get a copy of this report from them.

5. Secure the Property. To prevent looting, it's important to secure your property. Your insurance company will most likely suggest this action be done, and you can check with your local police department to find how the best way to do it.

6. Clean Up Needs. Fire damage often extends beyond what the human eye can see. You may just think there is minimal interior fire damage, but it's possible the destruction went deeper structurally. Your insurance company agent will be able to suggest an assessment agency to help you with this issue. If your home has suffered extensive destruction, it's best to call professional removers.

7. Smoke and Soot. Cleaning smoke and soot can be bigger than you think. They can leave a film on walls and everywhere. Special chemical cleaners containing trisodium phosphate are great for soot and smoke. A professional vacuum cleaner will help remove extinguisher residue.

Have all rugs, carpets, drapes, etc. professionally cleaned. If possible, open all doors and windows. There's nothing quite as refreshing and cleansing as fresh air.

Experiencing fire damage is traumatic. If you notice any negative responses or attitudes of fear from yourself or your family members, don't hesitate to get counseling. With their help, you'll be able to readjust and begin a new chapter in your life.

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