This blog is the second in a three-part series on fire damage cleanup. In this article we cover the first five of ten things that you should be thinking about after a house fire.
Ten Considerations After the Fire
1. Grieving the Loss and Staying Calm Helps
The experience of a fire is scary and stressful for anyone, and the number of tasks you now have to complete to “get back to normal” is daunting. No matter how scary, you can do this.
Feel the feelings, and know that you will get back to normal. You are alive, and you can rebuild. There aren’t very many things as devastating as a house fire so allow yourself to grieve before diving into the myriad tasks ahead.
2. Understand that Cleanup Will Take Time
The cleanup process is complex and can take longer than you’d like; however, a deep cleaning and proper structural repairs must happen so you can confidently return to your home or office.
Know that timelines can be delayed. Taking your time and doing things step-by-step is best, you don’t have to tackle everything at once. It can be tempting to rush through it but being thorough is key in these situations.
3. Contact Your Insurance Agent
After you call 911, you should make a call to your insurance agent so they can assist you with starting the cleanup process. They will give you the steps you need to follow starting immediately to prevent further damage to any remaining property.
There are many steps to be covered, including water removal. You may need to get authorization from the insurance company to bring in a restoration company to assist.
Not only is weather a factor, but the water used to put out the fire must be removed and dried to prevent mold.
When you call your agent, the primary thing to ask about is the timetable for addressing the water damage and the secondary issue is getting help to secure your property by properly covering the windows, doors, or exposed roof areas.
4. Call the Right Restoration Company
After you get authorization from your insurance company, you should call a reputable restoration company to help you with any immediate remediation of water damage and securing your property.
Restoration companies have access to filters, specialized equipment, alkaline cleaning agents, and years of experience to eliminate the smoke. Again, these first actions taken by the restoration company are really important to prevent and mitigate additional damage to your property.
Make sure any company you choose is licensed, bonded and insured, and has a proven reputation and stellar consumer reviews.
5. Identify a Place to Stay for at Least a Few Days
So much of the fire aftermath has to do with air quality and it takes time to remove all contaminants. Every step has to be taken to clean the structure and air ducts of smoke, soot, ash and other dangerous chemicals left behind.
If you don’t have friends or family to stay with, contact the Red Cross for temporary housing options. All pets will have to stay out of the home as well so they don’t breathe in harmful chemicals.