What to do after a fire
If your Houston home or business has been damaged in a fire, you may be at a loss about what to do. This is a highly-charged, emotional time and we are here to help.
There are very specific actions you must take immediately following a fire, both for your safety and to ensure the fire cleanup, restoration, and remediation has the best chance of a positive outcome.
Your safety and that of your loved ones are of primary importance. Contacting the appropriate people and agencies, including the authorities, your insurance provider, and professional fire damage contractors should be the first order of business.
Here are the steps you should take immediately following a fire:
1. Ensure your family and pets are safe
Remove all people and pets from the area and get them to a safe place. Do not re-enter your home or any affected buildings immediately after the fire. Even if some areas do not appear to be damaged, smoke can cause a range of debilitating health issues and can be deadly. Heed all instructions and directions that you are given by firefighters and authorities. They will be working hard to preserve your belongings as best they can, but your personal safety is always number one.
2. Contact all appropriate agencies and people
If a fire is in progress, call emergency services: fire, police, and ambulance services should be dispatched to the location. Call your insurance provider to report the incident. They will generally send out an adjustor within 24 to 48 hours to assess the damage and get your claim underway. Finally, call a Houston fire restoration contractor to schedule a site visit as soon as possible. The faster they are able to get to work on the damage, the faster you can get back into your home or make the necessary decisions on how to proceed.
Some other contacts you may need to consider:
- The post office to forward or hold your mail if needed
- Utility companies to suspend services during fire cleanup
- Your bank
- Credit card companies
- Employers, schools
It is also a good idea to choose a neighbor to stay in close contact with so that they know what’s going on and so that you always have eyes and ears in the neighborhood.
If you need help with your immediate needs, contacting volunteer organizations like the Red Cross is always a good idea. They can help you with cleanup kits, clothing for you and your children, counseling services, medicines, temporary housing, pet needs, and other essential items that will help you get your life back on track and back to “normal” quickly.
3. Find a safe place for you and your family to stay
Even if only a portion of your home is damaged, it is always a better idea to temporarily relocate to a safe place until the “all clear” is given. There may be hidden damage that makes the building unsafe and you don’t want to put your loved ones at risk. Plus, it will give the fire clean-up professionals more room to work. Check with your insurance company to see if you are covered for expenses related to relocation during the fire cleanup such as hotels, meals, and clothing related to the loss of use of your home and belongings.
4. Begin the process of cleaning and recovery
If you are able to re-enter your home following the fire, do your best to save your valuable property from further damage. Separate items that are damaged beyond recovery from the rest. If you have serial numbers, photographs or descriptions of your damaged items, this is very helpful for insurance purposes.
5. Contact a professional fire restoration contractor
As soon as possible after the fire, schedule a site visit with Houston Home Relief. We will meet you at the site and go over the processes for fixing your home after the fire. Our fire damage technicians truly care about your comfort and safety, and each is highly trained and well-qualified to inform you of all your options. We will guide you through the process every step of the way, alleviating a great deal of stress during this traumatic time.