Assessing the damage after a home fire can be overwhelming and unnerving, but it’s important to inspect your home to determine how much damage was done. With some help from the Red Cross, we’ve rounded up some tips for how to inspect your home after a fire.
First and foremost, do not enter your home unless you’ve been given the all-clear by authorities or a building inspector. Entering the property while there is still significant smoke or fire damage can be dangerous and cause health issues. Also, be sure to always wear eye protection and a hard hat.
Start on the outside
Start by looking at the structural damage of the home. Look for missing support beams, damaged gas lines, or foundation cracks. Damage on the outside often indicates major damage on the inside. Check to see if there are any loose power lines, and if there are, report them to your local power company.
Once inside your home, move about carefully, and watch out for rodents (gross, but they may be there!). Upon entering, smell for gas. If you can smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave the home immediately and call your local fire department.
If gas isn’t suspected, continue to walk around the home cautiously. Do not lean on damaged furniture, and be on the lookout for sagging floors or ceilings (often a sign of water damage). Be sure to inspect the panel box for any breakers that may have tripped, and before turning on or using any appliance, unplug them first and check for water damage.
Finally, throw away food, beverages, or medicine exposed to heat, smoke, or soot. Food that was in the freezer can be used if it still has ice crystals on it.
Take pictures for your insurance company
During the whole inspection, don’t forget to take photos of all damaged items including furniture, floors, ceilings, etc. These pictures will come in handy when filing a claim with your insurance company. Similarly, be sure to save all receipts for items purchased to help repair damage, and do not throw away any damaged property until inventory has been taken.
When in doubt, call the professionals
Fire and smoke damage, no matter how small, can be dangerous to repair on your own. Once the damage has been assessed, call the appropriate professionals to help you with repair, including plumbers, electricians, and of course, a cleaning and restoration company.
At Paradise, our IICRC Fire and Smoke Restoration-certified technicians will immediately begin to remove damaged structure, clean soot, and rid your home of the contaminants that come with fire or soot damage. We’re here for you 24/7—give us a call today!