What Do You Do After a House Fire? 6 Steps to Avoid Further Damage

In the United States, cooking, heating, smoking, candles, and electrical concerns are the leading reasons for a home fire. Statistics report that around 358,500 house fires take place each year. Meaning, even the best safety measures can not eliminate the danger of fires at home.

In case of the unthinkable, what should you do after a fire disaster in your house?

1. Move Out and Find a Safe Place to Stay

Even if you believe that the damage is minor, you can not risk your relatives’ safety and health staying at home. If staying with relatives or friends is not a choice, you may speak with your area calamity relief organization. They can find you a safe place to stay temporarily. If you have the way, you may even think about staying in a hotel for a while.

Make sure to call the owner of the property right away if you are renting. This will help them decide on the house and start with the recovery process.

2. Contact Your Insurance

Always call your insurance right after a house disaster occurs, and never assume that someone will do it for you. This will start the event documents and claim process. Your insurance policy may cover your living and other daily costs, such as your hotel expenses. Whether or not you get this in advance, save all receipts and keep a detailed document of all your purchases.

They should help you secure your property and recommend restoration companies for cleanup and restoring items that can be saved. If you can, get fire records from your local fire department because these can help give more information to your insurance company. 

On top of these, it’s best if you have a checklist of your trusted local area restoration experts, like PuroClean. If you live in Woodinville, click this link for more information.

3. Identify if Your House is Safe to Enter

Never enter a home or building that a fire has damaged until the fire department tells you it’s safe to do so. Be aware that fires can start again even if they seem out. In addition, damaged roofs and floors can fall and hit you.

There are also health dangers triggered by breathing in soot and smoke, especially for an extended period. If they gave you a signal to enter your house, retrieve belongings and essential papers, including birth certificates, passports, medical records, and so on. Most importantly, never smoke while near your damaged home or bring any flammable items.

4. Organize and Recover Your Belongings

Separate damaged from undamaged things to make it easier for your insurance agency. In many cases, your homeowner’s policy will change all the expenses of all your damaged possessions. You can also call local companies offering pack out services to help you recover your belongings and help ensure their quality. 

Consider maintaining a house inventory of your valuables to make sure everything is accounted for. Your inventory should include the day of purchase, costs, and descriptions of each product if possible. The receipts or bank statements should be included while providing pictures can also be a great help. 

5. Take Care of Your Pets

Take your pets to your trusted veterinarian as soon as possible. Sometimes, the effects of house fires can take several hours to become lethal. Your vet will assess your pet’s lungs, heart, eyes, and skin. You may not know it, but burns can be hidden under their fur.

They may require lab work, such as an x-ray of the lungs. Depending on the situation, they can also be in oxygen treatment, IV fluids, or some surgeries in case of extensive burns.

Take Care of Your Family’s Mental Health

Disasters can result in emotional distress, along with physical injuries. Imagine losing your house, your valuables, and treasured things. It’s normal to experience anger, shock, depression, and hopelessness, but over time, you can reach a phase of acceptance and be able to move on.

Get support from your family, friends, colleagues, as well as people close to you, and avoid isolating yourself too much. Allow yourself to cry, feel bad, and healthily release negative feelings. But permit yourself to feel great despite what happened. If you have kids, be a good example in recovering in a positive and healthy way.