If you have a fire at your home or business, it’s important to call the fire department right away. Even if a fire seems small, there could be fire inside of walls and floors. If it isn’t put out completely, smoldering materials could re-ignite.
Ask Before Entering
The first step to take after a fire is to ask if it’s safe to enter your home. If firefighters tell you not to go on the property, listen to them. Even after the flames are gone, weakened structural supports can be dangerous. Avoid areas with wet or damaged ceilings and walls. They could collapse and cause injury.
Know Who to Call
- Let your family members know you are safe.
- Contact your insurance company. They can start the claims process and tell you what steps you need to take to ensure you get your insurance benefits. Depending on your coverage, they may help with emergency shelter and living expenses.
- If you rent your home, contact your landlord.
- Local agencies such as the United Way, American Red Cross, and local churches may be able to help you with immediate needs.
Understand your fire report. The fire department will document the time and location of the fire, the extent of the damage, and analyze the probable cause. Contact your local fire department after the fire and they can tell you how to get a copy. This will be important when it comes time to file your insurance claims.
Secure your property. A property restoration company like RestorePro can tarp damaged roofs to prevent damage from the elements as well as board up windows and damaged walls to prevent intruders.
Consider your clean-up. If the damage is limited to a small area, you might be able to manage the repairs. For example, in an oven fire that was quickly contained, you might need to simply replace the appliance and clean soot from the surrounding walls, counters, and ceilings. If the fire was larger and involved the structure of the home, have a professional property restoration company inspect the damage. Keep in mind that the damage often goes far beneath the surface. Fires often result in water damage due to firefighting efforts, and if that isn’t cleaned and restored properly can lead to mold problems.
While these are important things for you to do, there are other that you should NOT do.
- DO NOT eat or drink anything that has been exposed to fire, heat, smoke, or soot.
- DO NOT use appliances or electricity in the home until they have been inspected by a professional. There is a risk of electrocution or a new fire.
- DO NOT attempt to clean walls, ceilings, or upholstery. Improper cleaning can increase the damage.
- DO NOT enter any room with a wet or damaged ceiling.
- DO NOT stand near wet or damaged walls and supports.
If you experience a fire, don’t try to handle it alone. Call RestorePro at 1-800-847-0114 and let us help you through the process. While you wait for our expert technicians, follow these steps to ensure that you have the best possible outcome when your fire damage restoration process if finally complete.