A house fire can often be a dangerous and costly event that requires immediate action – but when you’re in the moment, it’s not always simple to know what to do outside of calling the fire fighters and keeping your family safe. There are several things that you should do in the aftermath, and while it can be a bit confusing to know where to start, it can be much simpler to take care of issues as they arise.
8 things you should do after a house fire
Here’s a quick checklist of things that you should do if you find yourself in this difficult position:
- Find a safe place to stay
No matter how much damage there is, you should wait a little while before going back to living there like usual (if this is at all possible). It might be a good idea to contact family or loved ones, or perhaps a disaster relief agency to find a safe, temporary place to stay while things get sorted out.
- Contact the fire department
There are 2 reasons why you need to contact fire department officials after the fire has occurred. First, you’ll need to get permission from them before you can re-enter the property. Second, you’ll need to get a fire report from them (this can be useful when contacting your insurance company).
- Document all fire damage
Before you talk with your insurer, it can be a wise idea to get as much evidence of the damage as possible. Photographs and detailed notes can be some of the most effective things in your case, along with the fire report
- Get in touch with your insurance agenc
Start a claim and make sure that you address all your immediate needs. Plus, remember that an insurance agent may also be able to help you with options for cleaning and restoring items, as well as with securing your property, which is worth keeping in mind
- Who else do you need to contact?
Alongside the fire department and insurance provider, you should also get in touch with the local police department to notify them of the situation (particularly that your home will be vacant temporarily), as well as the post office and your children’s school. Also, contact your utility providers about the incident.
- Ensure that everyone is okay emotionally
House fires can be traumatic, so if you have a family, it’s important to take care of everyone’s psychological need as well as their physical ones. It can often be overlooked in these situations, but it might be worth scheduling counseling if it seems necessary.
- Take care of your pets
If you have any pets, it’s often important to get them checked by a vet to ensure that they’re okay. For example, burns can easily hide under fur and smoke can cause damage to their lungs – neither of which are issues that you’ll want to go overlooked.
- Don’t forget your finances
From your mortgage to car payments, there are still likely to be expenses that you’ll need to keep on top of in the aftermath of the fire. Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of financial trouble by ignoring necessary payments.
What shouldn’t you do?
In these situations, there will probably be things that you’re tempted to do that might be a bad idea, such as:
- Not waiting for permission before you enter your property
Most people in these situations are likely to want to go inside their home – even just to retrieve precious items. Despite this, it’s always best to hold off until you have permission from the correct officials.
- Don’t turn on any utilities yet
No matter what’s going on, it’s always best to leave your utilities off until they’re deemed safe by a professional. This includes gas, electric and water.
- Don’t try cleaning up yourself
Countless individuals will want to try and clean any smoke or soot damage from the fire, even just to help out a little. However, it’s always best to leave this to the experts. With their experience and proper equipment, they’re often able to handle the job just fine by themselves.