Most of us would like to think that our homes will never experience a fire. Unfortunately, however, fires are all too common, and few of us are ever prepared to deal with the devastation. And while no one wants to think about such things, it’s important to understand how you should respond in the wake of any fire catastrophe.
Fires are one of the most frightening disasters that can befall any home. In addition to the primary physical damage to the home, there are related mental and emotional consequences for the home’s owners. Obviously, a fire can leave you feeling shocked, scared, and uncertain about the future. Moreover, these types of events create stress that can make it even more difficult to properly respond. Fortunately, we have the answers you need to help you move forward in the aftermath of a fire.
If you’re like most people, you will desperately want to get into your home to assess the damage. Most experts advise against that, however, since fire creates conditions that pose ongoing risks. For example, fires that appear to have gone out can reignite unexpectedly. In addition, the flames and heat may have caused structural damage to roofs, floors, or walls that could cause unexpected collapses. Finally, soot and smoke from fires can linger for some time, posing increased health risks for humans and pets.
We recommend waiting to enter the home until after you’ve had experts assess the damage and risk. Yes, it’s frustrating – but it’s better to be safe than put yourself or your loved ones at unnecessary risk.
You should contact a reputable fire damage restoration company to help you work through the process. Restoration professionals can come out to assess the situation and help guide you in determining the best course of action.
It’s also wise to choose a restoration firm that will work with your insurance adjuster. Chances are that you will be extremely vulnerable in the wake of a fire, and a professional can help to eliminate any added stress related to the insurance process. A good fire damage restoration firm will collaborate with adjusters to make sure that your home’s damage is properly assessed, and repairs are covered.
Your restoration professional is likely to call the insurance company, but an in-person meeting can be even more invaluable. While the adjustor will want to come inspect the damage, you should try to schedule a time when your restoration specialist can be there too. By allowing the two to meet on-site, you can ensure that your damage is properly evaluated so that any claims cover needed repairs.
Remember, insurance adjusters are not trained fire damage specialists. As a result, they’re not always equipped to recognize the full extent of your home’s damage. Your restoration company can work with the adjustor to make sure that all damage is properly identified.
You should also ensure that you hire your own fire damage restoration specialist. You need a specialist who is committed to ensuring that you get everything you need to properly restore your home. Hiring your own specialist will ensure they are working for your best interest.
Like most people, you’re probably going to prioritize speed in the aftermath of a fire. You’ll want to get someone out there right away, so that you can get your home repaired and suitable for habitation as quickly as possible. However, it’s important to avoid settling. You deserve a company that will fight for you and do what is necessary to bring your home back to its former glory. To find that company, you may have to do some research in your area, call and speak with a live person, and ask questions about how they do their job. Don’t settle for anything less than the best.
When fire strikes, you’re bound to have questions. Here are the answers to some of the most common questions, as well as other things you’ll need to consider in the aftermath of any home fire.
Can I live in the home where there is fire damage?
Even in instances where fire damage appears to be mild, it’s almost never safe to stay in the home until it has been properly cleaned, restored, and approved for occupancy. Unfortunately, fire creates ongoing hazards that must be addressed before your home will be habitable again.
For example, your home could have structural damage that compromises its integrity and increases the risk of collapse, electrical dangers, and other safety concerns. In many instances, fire causes harmful materials to spread throughout the house. These materials can linger on surfaces and in the air, posing an ongoing risk to people and animals.
Your home’s air ducts will need to be cleared and cleaned, the air will need to be scrubbed, and ozone remediation will be necessary to restore air quality. Since these threats can often be invisible to the naked eye, you should make other living arrangements until your home has been properly restored and cleared for habitation.
A licensed contractor can provide a competent inspection to assess damage, obtain necessary permits for repairs, and restore your home. Once that is complete, the city can inspect the property and issue the needed certificate of occupancy. It’s also worth noting that your city may condemn the property in the aftermath of any serious blaze. In those instances, your contractor’s expertise will be invaluable for navigating state and local laws and ordinances to expedite repairs and occupancy approval.
What Should I Do to Document Damage?
While you shouldn’t live in the home until it’s been cleared, when it’s safe to enter, you will want to salvage any important documents, keepsakes, or other property that has not been impacted by the fire. You should also take photographs to document the damage and make notes about items that have been destroyed.
Are There Other People I Should Contact?
Yes. There are a number of entities you should contact when your home has suffered a fire – especially any fire large enough to require restoration. For example, you should contact your lender if your home has a mortgage. If you had credit cards, checks, or other financial instruments destroyed in the fire, contact those companies to let them know. You may want to contact the post office to have them hold your mail if you’re going to be staying in a hotel or with friends.
In addition, you should notify the local police so that they know your home will be vacant for a while. Depending on where you live, law enforcement may be able to ensure that they drive by to check up on the property while you’re absent.
It’s also important to recognize that there may be agencies in your area that can extend a helping hand while your home is being repaired. These include groups like the Red Cross, churches, and other charitable organizations.
Be Mindful of Disaster’s Hidden Impact
While your restoration company is focused on restoring your home, try to focus on helping your loved ones through the trauma. Natural disasters can leave emotional and psychological scars that need to be addressed. Try to assess your own emotional health and that of everyone else in your family. Depending upon your emotional state, you may want to consider trauma counseling to help you deal with the event.
Ross Restoration is proud to be one of the best Fort Wayne home restoration companies operating in this area. Our cleaning and restoration services are second to none, and customer satisfaction is always our top priority. At Ross, our customers are like family – and we want our family to enjoy homes that are free from dirt, debris, fire and water damage, and anything else that might diminish your quality of life.