A house fire is something that you don’t often think about, but it can and does happen.
All too frequently in fact. It will change your life in more ways that you realize. Not being prepared when it happens leaves you feeling like you have any idea what to do, who to call….where to start!! Here are seven (7) things to get you started.
1. Make the important calls. Contact any family members that may not have been with you. Let them know what happened and let them know that everybody is okay (if so).
2. Call your insurance agent. After a house fire, don’t assume that someone is going to contact your insurance. This is the number one thing that you need to do once you’ve let your family know that you are ok. This will start the process of event documentation and initiate your insurance claim. From there your insurance agent will be able to talk you through emergency lodging and living expenses. Whether you or your insurer buys this type of service, be clear on who is going to pay for it. Get it in writing!
3. Know the cleanup requirements. If your house has been damaged rather than destroyed, interior cleanup will be required. Remember that damage to the property often goes beyond what the eye can see. The professionals like Jenkins Restorations will know where to start.
4. Ask when it is safe to enter a house. Do not enter a house or other building that has been affected by a fire until you have listened to the professionals telling you that is okay to do so. Fires can start again even if they appear to be out and there is almost always hidden damage. Roofs and floors may be damaged and could fall down.
5. Organize all your property items. Separating your damaged property from your undamaged property will make it easier for you to make a list of your damaged items. It would be great to have receipts and bank statements of purchased items. Providing photos along with the list would help greatly when filing the claim.
6. Save undamaged property from further destruction. Any items that are not damaged should be put in a safe place, even if it means putting them in storage. You will find that things the fire did not burn up are now ruined by smoke and soggy with water used to put out the flames. Anything you want to save will need to be carefully and potentially professionally cleaned.
7. Find somewhere to stay. Most homeowner’s policies will have coverage, which will pay for the food, clothing, and shelter that you and your family may need for a specified period of time. You may want to contact local disaster relief like the American Red Cross, your church, or family and friends who can help you with a place to stay for a while. You’ll need to find food, clothing, medicine, etc.
You have a big job ahead of you. Get plenty of rest and ask for help. Do not try to do it all alone. At Jenkins Restorations we want to not only help you clean and repair your property, but restore your lives because we understand the full weight of these situations. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need guidance or help in any way.