What to do After a Fire in the Home
Working out what to do after a fire in the home can be incredibly stressful. It’s a devastating event to experience. It’s important to stay rational and act in a sensible way. Once the fire has been dealt with by the fire services, here are the steps you should take.
Make Sure Everyone is Alright
When a fire occurs, the most important thing is the people involved. As long as no one is hurt, you have something to be thankful for. You should make sure that everyone is checked over by a doctor. That way, you can be sure that everyone is healthy, and there won’t be any nasty surprises later on.
One of the most common health problems in a fire is smoke inhalation. This can cause lung problems if it isn't picked up on by a doctor and treated accordingly. Once you’re sure that everyone is alright, you can get on with the task of getting your family home back in working order.
Inform the Insurance Company
Before you speak to anybody about cleaning up the home or carrying out repairs, you should talk to your insurance company. They will be able to get the ball rolling. Then, hopefully, they will pay out on your claim before long. That money is vital because it will allow you to get back to normal as quickly as possible.
They will have to do some checks and investigate how the fire started before they pay out though. They do this because some people try to make fraudulent claims. If your fire was a genuine accident, you have nothing to be worried about. The process may take a couple of weeks though, so you’ll need to be patient.
Assess the Damage
As long as the fire services have said that you can re-enter the home again, you should have a look at the extent of the damage. Of course, a thorough assessment and investigation will be carried out by your insurance company. But you’ll probably still want to get a look at the condition of the home, so you know what you have to deal with.
Seeing the damage first-hand will also help you to formulate an approach and put together a plan of action. It’s important to remember that fire damage often looks worse than it is. A lot of the damage you see will likely be cosmetic. This is what the investigation will uncover, so you don’t need to worry about that.
Get Rid of Damaged Items and Salvage the Surviving Stuff
Having a quick clear out of the home is a good idea. Anything that has been burned and is unsalvageable should go straight in a skip. It’s best to be ruthless rather than getting sentimental over the things that are lost. Yes, it’s difficult but material possessions can always be replaced.
While you do this, you should also try to salvage any items that are not damaged. It’s best to remove them from the home as quickly as possible to prevent them from getting damaged. You can put them in a storage facility or in a friend’s garage while you get things back to normal again.
Find Somewhere Else to Stay for a Short Time
While you get your home back in shape, it’s best to find somewhere else to live for a while. This shouldn’t have to be for too long. So, you could stay with family members or stay in a hotel. If the process of making repairs to the home takes longer than expected, you could take up a short-term rental agreement.
It’s important not to rush back into the home because there are lots of things that need to be sorted out. If you rush the process, you could end up making a mistake, and that’s not good for the long-term security of your home.
Have a Structural Assessment Carried Out
Fire can often cause problems to the structure of the home, and that poses a big risk. Without a solid structure, your home would be at risk of serious problems in the future. That’s why it’s so important to have a structural assessment carried out before you think about moving back into the home.
Make sure you hire someone who is an expert in home structures. They should be able to check whether the fire has caused any damage that requires further attention. If they do highlight any concerns, make sure you take them seriously and then act accordingly. And don’t move into the home until any problems are fixed.
Have the Home Cleaned
After a fire, the home will be a mess. Obviously, the scale of the problem will depend on the size and severity of the fire. But even a small fire creates a lot of smoke, and smoke can stain the walls and fixtures in the home. A lot of the dust and dirt is easy to clear out, so you can probably do it yourself.
But some of the cleaning is best left to the professionals. Smoke damage can be pretty difficult to deal with if you don’t know what you’re doing. So, find a company that provides professional cleaning services. They will be able to offer you the best solutions to the problems you face.
Move Back In
When all the above measure have been carried out, the only thing left to do is move back into the home. By this point, you will probably be relieved to get back into the home and get life back to normal. It can be difficult doing this though. Especially for someone who has traumatic memories of the incident.
It’s also important to think about how you can make sure that something like this doesn’t happen again in the future. Make sure that you add more smoke alarms to the home and keep them in working order. It’s vital to learn the lessons of past mistakes when it comes to fires. You don’t want to have to go through the same thing again.