Why Timing is Critical After a Fire Loss
Startled by the sound of a fire alarm going off, you’re suddenly awake in the middle of the night. You rush out of bed and get yourself and your family out of the house. Once you and your family are safe, you call the fire department to come and calm the flames. After the smoke clears and the fire department leaves, you see your belongings covered in soot and water. It can be overwhelming seeing the damages that fire has caused to your home and belongings but timing is essential in fire damage restoration and you need to act fast to mitigate your home.
So, take a deep breath, and follow the steps below to get your home on track to recovery.
1. Companies You Want to Contact
Fire Restoration Service
The longer you let your home sit in soot and water damage, the further the damage. This is why it is crucial to start the fire restoration process right away. After speaking to a reputable fire restoration company like SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead, they will be able to develop a custom action plan to restore your home. An expert will be dispatched to your home to review the damage, get a clean up plan in place and save as much of your belongings as possible.
Contact your insurance company and alert them of the situation at hand. They will be able to shed a little light on this dark situation by informing you of the next steps you need to take. With their guidance, you will be able to navigate the first initial steps of your fire damage claims. In addition, they will be able to inform you of the best practices you should take such as making a list and taking pictures of damaged items for documentation.
Utility and Lending Companies
Paying your bills and living expenses in addition to paying to having your home and belonging restored can be financially exhausting. Utility and lending companies realize this and they know the hardship a family can face in the event of disaster such as a house fire. Contact them, explain your situation, and see if they offer any hardship programs that would lower your payments or stop them completely until you get back on your feet.
Do you or a family member rely on daily medication to stay healthy? Depending on the extent of the fire damage or the origin of it, retrieving medication may not be possible. Contact your family physician and request to have your medication filled at your nearest pharmacy.
If you have a child in school you may want to contact the school and alert them of the situation at hand. If the fire damage deems your home unlivable you may need to stay with a family member and their home can be too far from the school. Teachers and principles are understanding of the difficulties a child and family faces in the event of a disaster and may allow them to do class work at home.
2. Disaster Relief
Disasters can devastate a family and can be especially hard if staying with family member is not an option. If this is the case, look for local disaster relief programs in your area. These agencies may be able to give you shelter, food, medication, and water until you can go back into your home.
3. Replace Important Documents
In the event of a life threatening fire, you’re probably not going to think about grabbing the safe in your house that contain important documents. Most important documents can be replaced. Here are just a few of the documents that you need to get replaced right away.
- Driver’s license
- Birth, marriage, and death certificates
- Damaged money (you can exchange it for undamaged cash with the treasury department)
- Social security card
- Bank documents
- School records
- Tax records
- Vehicle registration
4. Start Fire Clean Up
If the fire department gave you permission to enter your home after they leave then you can start the cleaning process while you wait for the restoration company to arrive. The sooner you get the jump on this, the more likely you’ll be able to save your belongings and home. Here are some steps you can take to help begin the restoration process:
First and foremost you have to get the polluted air out. Open all your windows and turn on any box/floor fans that you have to circulate the air out your home. If the fire department has advised against the use of electronics for safety reasons do not use fans that use your homes electricity such as box fans.
Circulating air out your home does not take care of soot alone. After a fire, a smoky smell will linger in your air until soot is completely removed. Try to remove as much soot from your home as possible by sweeping. The longer your belonging are covered in soot, the more it will continue to deteriorate.
Start Fire Damage Restoration Right Away
When your home has gone through a fire, time is of the essence to save, recover and restore your belongings from fire damage. Following these steps are essential to begin the fire damages restoration process in turning your house into a home again.
Have you called a fire restoration service yet? Contact SERVPRO of Salem/Peabody/Marblehead to schedule an appointment at 978.744.4545.