A house fire is one of the most tragic events someone can experience. In the embers of what remains, it is hard to know what to do after a house fire.
In the aftermath of a house fire, there are many moving parts in order to recover. Here is a comprehensive checklist of things to do to restore your home and life to normalcy.
1. Inform Close Family and Friends
The first thing you need to do after a house fire is to let close family and friends know that you are safe. Whether through the grapevine or local news, they will want to see that you are ok. Informing them of the fire will allow you to find the assistance you need until permanent solutions are established.
Additionally, a house fire causes an immense amount of stress. During your time of rebuilding, it is vital to lean on the support of those you are closest to. The process will go easier if you have at least one person who can help guide and support you through the stress of the restoration process.
2. Contact Your Insurance Company
It is crucial to contact your insurance company as soon as possible. They will be able to guide you through the next steps of what to do after a house fire. They will advise you on what documentation, restoration companies, and temporary living assistance you need based on your coverage and situation.
Insurance for house fire typically knows which restoration companies are reputable and that they will cover. They also will be able to let you know what specific restoration processes are covered under your policy.
When seeking a restoration company, it is essential to get all cost estimates in writing. Also, a good restoration company can work directly with your insurance company.
It is important to talk with your insurance company to ensure you receive all coverage entitled to you.
If you do not have insurance for a house fire, various organizations may be able to help you. Reach out to the following groups to see what options are available to you:
- American Red Cross
- Salvation Army
- Local religious organizations
- Public health department
- Local community groups
- State or municipal emergency services office
- Nonprofit crisis-counseling centers
3. Tend to Your and Your Family Members’ Immediate Needs
Depending on the severity of a housefire, you will likely be displaced from your home. You may find yourself without the necessities. You will need to contact family, friends, or community organizations to obtain some of these necessities.
Some of the first things you will need to find/replace are:
- A place to stay
- Baby Items
Disaster relief services like the American Red Cross or Salvation Army can help you find these immediate needs. At this time, family and friends can assist you in finding the necessities you lost in your housefire.
4. Seek Medical Help
House fire causes a host of potential medical issues. The most significant health risk is respiratory issues caused by smoke inhalation. Smoke inhalation can cause a cough, shortness of breath, bronchitis, and more severe lung and heart damage.
It is vital that after a house fire, you seek out a doctor to clear you from any potential health risks the fire might have caused.
Furthermore, you and those you live with just experienced a traumatic event, and returning to normal will be highly stressful. Therefore, pay attention to the mental health of those involved and seek help if needed.
5. Secure Pets
Just as the experience will be nerve-wracking for you, a house fire causes your pet stress. For this reason, ensure pets are secure and comforted. You can take them to a safe space like a friend or family member’s house.
At this time, schedule an appointment with your pet’s vet to check for any burns, lung damage, or other potential health concerns.
Pets should only return to the home once clean-up is completed to ensure they are safe from potential harm and to reduce stress.
The whole experience will be challenging for the animal. The increase in fear may cause the animal to be more prone to reaction. Be sure that you or the people caring for the animal use extra precautions while tending to their needs.
6. Protect Your Home
Once the fire department approves re-entry into the home is safe, take added precautions to protect what remains in your home.
Though the home is damaged, it still needs protection as much as possible from weather and crime while you are not staying there. The added security will ensure no further damage or loss to the building.
Contact local law enforcement or restoration company to see what they can do to assist you in protecting your home, like boarding up windows.
7. Document the Damage
Before any repairs or removal, take pictures and videos of the damage for insurance.
Once you are ready, inventory all your possessions for insurance replacements. Ideally, this includes the date of purchase, cost, and item description.
At this time, contact your mortgage lender about the necessary documentation. Additionally, contact your credit card companies to report damaged and lost cards.
Lastly, be sure to get a copy of the fire report from the fire department and save any receipts for repairs. You will use these for your insurance company and any loss claims you report on an income tax return.
8. Manage Your Possessions
Managing your possessions is one of the most strenuous parts of what to do after a house fire. For insurance to replace all that is lost, you must first know what needs replacing.
Begin by organizing possessions by separating damaged from undamaged. Then compile a list of what needs replacement, what needs professional cleaning, or what needs replacement.
Here is a list of common things that need replacing after a fire:
- Drivers license
- Auto Registration
- Titles and Deeds
- Insurance information
- Social security cards
- Credit cards
- Medical records
- Tax records
- Citizenship papers or passports
- Birth, marriage, and death certificates
- Kitchen tools
9. Begin Restoration
You must go through the restoration process to return your life and home to normalcy. During restoration, you will work with a clean-up company to ensure your home is safely repaired.
A restoration company will go through various steps as they complete the process. It is essential to look for a company with experience and a good reputation in restoration. Using a reputable company will give you the greatest chance of success.
Utah Disaster Clean Up & Restoration is Fire Restoration You Can Trust
After over 20 years of experience, Utah Disaster Clean Up and Restoration knows what to do after a house fire. We strive to do our best to restore and reconstruct your home to its former glory. Our fast and friendly service will get you through this stressful experience quickly and seamlessly.
If you or someone you know requires fire restoration, contact Utah Disaster Clean Up and Restoration today. We are ready to help.