Thankfully, house fires aren’t all that common. On average, there are around 353,100 house fires per year in the US. Advanced smoke detector systems and the improved safety and quality of home appliances mean fewer house fires. However, in a house fire, some critical steps will ensure the home is restored to its former glory.
What Are the 5 Steps to Take After a House Fire?
A house fire can be devastating. Not only is there a loss of personal items, but there’s a loss of personal space and time. The days after a house fire are consumed by ongoing organizing and trying to get back to normal. Below, you will find five of the most important steps you can take after a house fire to minimize the impact.
Step #1 Contact Insurers
House fires can be so destructive, causing damage to household appliances, the structure of the home, and personal possessions. A home protection plan will cover the cost of most major repairs, the replacement of household appliances, and even some personal possessions. Hopefully, you will have secured a good home insurance package that will cover you for a large amount of damage. Most insurance companies will say in their policy how much they will be able to cover you for. Be prepared to be hit with a barrage of questions. Insurance companies are notorious or have strict criteria that need to be met before they will payout.
Most insurance companies will want to know how the fire started, where you were at the time, what intervention had to happen, and what the damage was. You would benefit from reading your insurance policy before calling them to check what they will cover you for. Once a claim has begun, most insurance companies will cover your daily living expenses, assist with cleaning up the home and helping to facilitate a home move, and start to cover the cost of repairs.
Step #2 Clean Up
Before you clean up, you will need to make sure the home is safe to enter. Most people like to get back into the house as soon as possible to see what damage there is and what household items may need to be replaced. However, a property is not always safe to enter after a fire. If the fire generated a lot of smoke, there might be soot and ash contamination. The fire department will usually be able to tell you if the house is safe to enter.
Cleaning up after a substantial fire is no easy job. Specialized contractors will be able to assist you for a fee. Professionals are better equipped to deal with the damage that a fire causes and assess the damage done and the extent. You’ll find that furniture and other household items will be hard to clean if they have been damaged due to the soot and ash.
Water damage is another unfortunate result of nearly all home fires. If the fire is severe enough for the fire department to intervene, they may have used water or foam to douse the fire. Insurance companies will be able to help you deal with water damage as well as fire damage.
Step #3 Find A Suitable Place To Live
Not only will the most substantial house fires ruin your house, but they will also kick you out of your home. House fires that were severe enough to cause a large amount of damage often force people out of the home. Not only is there a health risk if the rooms are filled with ash, but the fire may also have damaged some household appliances.
Speak to your insurance company and see if they cover the cost of the accommodation. Some insurers will cover the cost of a motel or perhaps a small villa if you have a family. Chances are, this will only be short-term, temporary accommodation. Long-term restorations can sometimes take months, in which instance you may benefit from renting short-term to save money. That is if your insurance company is not covering the cost of accommodation.
Step #4 Recover Any Possessions
Probably the most heartbreaking part of any home fire is the damage it causes to personal possessions. Once you know that everyone is out of the house and safe, it’s natural to think about your possessions and whether they have survived. The fire department will be able to recover some of your possessions, and you may find that the damage is minimal.
If the fire was caught early, the only damage might be to household items like the sofa or curtains because materials are more likely to smell like smoke. The average temperature of a house fire is between 100 degrees at floor level and 600 at eye level, so a more extensive house fire will cause damage to possessions. Again, insurers might be able to cover the cost of a replacement.
Step #5 Restore The Property
A fire big enough to damage a property may need restoration work. Large house fires tend to damage the structural integrity of a home and require more extensive restoration work. There are restoration companies that deal specifically with fire-damaged homes and bringing them back to life.
Technicians will board up the house and seal the windows. They begin removing the smell of smoke as well as repairing the structure. Fire remediation teams take control of the project to ensure the house returns to its former glory. The bigger the restoration project, the more likely you will have to find temporary accommodation.
5 Steps to Take After a House Fire
Thankfully, house fires are not too common. Most homes are fitted with devices to protect the home and its residents with state-of-the-art smoke alarms that alert occupants to the slightest smell of smoke. Some modern homes even have sprinkler systems. Hopefully, it’s a scenario you will never experience, but be sure to have a great home insurance package if a home catastrophe occurs. You can prevent house fires by turning off appliances when they’re not in use, reducing candle burning, and ensuring all smoke detectors are working.