Your home or business has caught fire, and after the emergency responders leave you’re stuck with water damages and other living areas that have suffered from smoke, soot, and flames. It is an emotional time, and you don’t want to have to think about what you need to do next.
By knowing ahead of time what steps you should follow after fire damage has occurred, you will make a traumatic situation a little less stressful. Have your insurance company phone number close by, because you should call them first. Then, get in touch with a fire restoration company, report to the utility companies, find a place to stay, and begin going through and sorting your personal belongings.
Call Your Insurance Company to Discuss Fire Damage
As a homeowner, it is your responsibility, and often a requirement from the bank that you have your mortgage through to keep house insurance on your property. The reason for that is for these situations just like fire damage. The premiums that you pay every month are going to seem like a much better investment when your fire cleanup and restoration gets fully paid for.
So, your first step after the fire department leaves is getting in touch with your insurance agent. Let them know what has happened, and they will give you further directions from there. Every company is different, but they are most likely going to want documentation of everything you can get.
You’ll want to have a camera, piece of paper, and ideally, someone else with you while you go around recording all the fire damage, smoke damage, water damage, and other destroyed property that you find. You’ll have to be able to share this information with them if you want to get reimbursed for what you lost. Some companies will send out an agent after a disaster to assess the fire damage themselves, but you should always keep your own records too.
Contact a Fire Restoration Company
This is a step that can easily be interchanged with step one. For some, it’s better to call the fire restoration company first. These professional fire damage contractors have worked with all different kinds of homeowner’s insurance companies over the years, so they can help you with your evaluation and documentation of the fire and water damage.
If you wait until the second step, that’s perfectly acceptable too. Choose one that offers 24/7 emergency fire cleanup services. You aren’t going to want to wait any longer than necessary to get your fire damage repairs started. The fire damage companies that are open around the clock are the ones that truly understand what a horrific situation you’ve been through, and they want to be there for you whenever it happens, not just during normal business hours.
Even if you’ve never been through a fire before or suffered water damage at your home, it’s a good idea to have a restoration company in your contacts ahead of time. While it’s not something that you want to worry about happening, it’s better to prepare yourself just in case it does.
Tell Your Utility Companies About the Fire Damage at Your Property
Depending on the severity of the fire damage that has occurred, you should contact your gas, water, and electric companies and let them know about the event. Before any fire restoration or water damage cleanup can start, they may want to come in and shut off the services for safety reasons.
For things like electrical, you don’t want to be cleaning up standing water with live wires around. The results could be catastrophic. You can expect your provider to send out their own contractor to come and do an evaluation. They will be able to quickly tell if you should have your services suspended until the fire damage restoration and water cleanup is completed.
Locate a Safe Place to Stay with Your Family
For minor smoke damage or fire damage, you might be able to stay in your home while the fire restoration process takes place. However, in most instances, you’re going to have to relocate yourself, your family, and your pets. Where you decide to stay is entirely up to you, and it’s suggested you go somewhere that you’re going to be comfortable. You are dealing with one of the most traumatic and stressful situations that you likely ever will in your life. There’s no reason to make things any worse.
When talking with your insurance agent, ask them about housing if you can’t stay at your residence. A lot of times, there will be a living allowance included in your coverage. You will get a check written practically instantly to cover the cost of food, lodging, and even travel expenses for some. If you don’t want to wait until after fire damage has occurred, that’s something you can review at any time with your insurance company. They will be able to tell you what kind of coverage you have.
Begin the Fire Cleanup and Restoration Process
Finally, after you have all the above steps taken care of, the fire cleanup and restoration processes are going to begin. Some homeowners will elect a fire damage restoration company to take care of everything from start to finish. Other people want to be on location to watch the progression of their home’s smoke cleanup and fire restoration.
It is highly recommended that you at least take part in the fire cleanup process, so you can check your belongings and decide what can be salvaged and what has to be tossed in the garbage. It is an excellent time to get documentation and pictures of what is being lost for your insurance company as well. Many policies will give you a certain amount of money to cover any personal possessions that you lose like televisions, furniture, and clothing.
As long as you choose a trusted fire restoration company, you can leave them to handle this part of the job if it makes you more relaxed. After the home has been cleared of ruined property, the fire restoration job can begin, and you can start planning on getting back into your home as soon as your fire damage cleanup contractors get your home in its original condition.
Ramon started over 30 years ago as an insurance adjuster. Since then, he has learned from the best and started his own company and crew of water damage and fire damage restoration contractors to help homeowners and properties when they flood. His company 24/7 Water Damage Charlotte is in the unfortunate position of being located in prime hurricane area and where flooding and storm damage is very frequent. This is his company is ready for any size disaster 24/7 to make sure nearby homeowners get the help they need, when they need it.