How to Recover From a Fire in the Home
Although the risk of fire in the home has decreased significantly over the last few decades, it remains one of the most fearsome hazards of daily life, and for good reason: every 88 seconds, a fire department in the United States responds to a home fire. Despite modern precautions, home structure fires regularly destroy homes and even take lives. If you’ve been the victim of a home fire, here are a few steps you can take to get back on your feet:
Start taking notes
You’ll need to remember many details about the event in the days and weeks to come. Be sure to note:
- The time and date of the fire
- The name of the responding fire department
- The nonemergency phone number of the responding fire department
- The fire incident report number
- Your insurance company’s name
- Your insurance company’s phone number
- Your insurance policy number
In addition, write a short description of the incident to help jog your memory later.
Refresh your “Go Bag”
If you aren’t able to live in your home, keep the following handy:
- Important documents like your driver’s license and passport
- Insurance information
- Spare keys
- Prescription medicine
- Cellphone charger
Enter your property when it’s safe
Ask the fire department if the structure is safe before you re-enter your home. Be very careful as you go inside—the structure may not be as stable as it appears. Do not attempt to reconnect any utilities. The fire department will reconnect utilities or let you know that it’s not safe to do so at this time.
Contact your insurance company
Your insurance company will give you instructions on how to begin a claim. They should be able to tell you how to protect your property, conduct an inventory and begin the restoration process.
It’s important to notify all interested parties about the fire. These include:
- Your mortgage company
- Your landlord
- Your utility providers (water, gas, electric)
- The post office (for mail forwarding)
- The local police office (to let them know your house will be vacant)
Once you’re allowed into the house, take photos of your damaged property. You’ll need these for the insurance claim.
Begin the cleanup process
Although there may be a few steps you can take to clean your home, you’ll want to hire a professional fire restoration company to restore your home to its pre-fire condition. The smoke and soot left behind after a fire can cause serious health problems. Fire restoration companies have the experience and specialized equipment to ensure the cleanup process leaves no dangerous residue.
Take care of yourself
Recovering from a fire may be physically and emotionally draining. Remember to ask for help, take breaks and know that it’ll get better soon.Read moreRead less