When the ashes have settled after a house fire, what should you do? As a victim of a house fire, there are several things you should be sure to do so that you can fully recover from a disaster.
1. Get Familiar With the Aftermath
There is no pleasure in surveying your home after a house fire. But you should be familiar with its state at a glance before you take any action to fix it.
Before anything else, you should:
- Make sure your family and other occupants of the home are safe and don’t require medical attention.
- Understand what areas of your home have been affected.
- Take note of any appliances or valuable assets that may have been damaged or destroyed in the fire.
- Be familiar with where structural damage has occurred.
Knowing the state of your home will help you understand what steps you need to follow next.
2. Contact Your Insurance Company
Homeowner’s insurance typically covers damage from accidental fires. Getting in touch with an agent as soon as possible is essential. It takes insurance agencies a while to properly process claims, so getting yours started fast is in your best interest.
Your insurance company will likely ask you to ballpark the extent of the damage and to relay to the best of your ability how the accident occurred. You can expect to be in frequent contact with your insurance agency about the steps you need to take to work through them to fund your home disaster recovery and repair.
3. Call a Disaster Recovery Company
Once your insurance company has been notified – unless your insurance company explicitly instructs you otherwise – contact a disaster recovery company.
After a house fire, there is a lot to do, and it will probably be overwhelming to start alone. Professionals can help you start down the road to recovery. You will likely need a team of people who can help remove damaged items and begin repairing the house.
The first step will likely be to remove anything too damaged to be salvaged. This may mean removing:
Other house items may be cleared out as you or your disaster recovery team sees fit.
Once the irreparable items are removed, the water cleanup will likely begin. Firefighters will be generous with their water usage to make sure the fire has been put out. Unfortunately, this may mean flooding in your home.
Disaster recovery companies are well equipped to handle water damage. It may take a few days to completely eliminate moisture from your home, but once that happens, the real repairs may begin.
Fire damage can leave your home structurally vulnerable. Repairs will often require a bit more than a fresh coat of paint to fix your home. This is why disaster recovery teams are trained to handle structural damage repair.
4. Find Out if Your Home Is Safe
After the first responders have finished their initial response to your house fire, you should ask them if your home is safe to live in and if there is anything to be worried about.
Fire-damaged homes contain lots of ash and lingering smoke that can be toxic if inhaled or consumed. If you are not able to live in your home while it is being repaired, you will want to locate a close location you and your family can reside in until your home is once again ready to inhabit.
5. Gather important documents
Depending on how extensive the damage to your home is, you will want to locate all essential documents such as social security cards, birth certificates, passports, etc. These documents can be challenging to replace.
If these documents are lost in the accident, you will want to begin planning on how to have replacements authorized for you by the state and federal authorities.
6. Take Lots of Pictures
If there is one thing insurance companies love, it is taking a lot of pictures. The more photo evidence you can provide your insurance agency, the better.
You will want photos both to send to your insurance company and to keep for your personal records.
Your insurance company will want photographic proof of the damage done to your home for proper valuation of damages. Similarly, you should keep photos on hand for your personal records to show the damage done to your home in case of any incidents with the insurance company.
7. Get financially organized
Even though you suffered a loss from the fire, you still have to pay your bills and mortgage.
Contact the financial institution holding your loan and see if there is a way to work around your current situation. Some financial institutions may be willing to skip a payment (to be paid later) or work out another financial agreement.
Be sure that finances don’t take you blindsided. It can be difficult to remember to address your finances when stressed.
8. Seek Crisis Counseling
Let’s say that you, your family, and your pets are all safe. There’s no need for crisis counseling, is there?
Many people may underestimate the psychological impact that comes from losing a home and its possessions. After you suffer fire damage, there is a lot you need to worry about. It can get overwhelming, which is why crisis counseling is so beneficial right after an incident.
Counseling and therapy aren’t a requirement for everyone, but they can certainly help you feel like you are in control of your life after you’ve just lost all your possessions.
Crisis counseling is aimed at getting you back on your feet after you experience a dramatic event. It doesn’t need to be a long-term commitment. Some may just need one session to learn how to cope with their current situation and be fine.
Crisis Assistance from Western Disasters Cleanup
When you experience a disaster, you just want to feel safe and secure.
We know what it takes to recover from major accidents like fire and water damage. We love helping people by taking care of their disaster cleanup for them.
We know that it can be overwhelming trying to pick up the pieces, so we make sure our work quality is high and keep our customer service excellent.
We have someone on standby 24/7. If you need help, contact us now! We will be right there!