The thought of having your home destroyed by fire is one of the worst things any of us can imagine. Most of us have smoke alarms installed and a plan in place for should the worst ever happen, but actually experiencing a house fire is both physically and emotionally damaging. Losing your home and everything in it can cause you to feel overwhelmed with stress and anxiety for the future, but trying to keep a level head and taking the right steps in the aftermath is vital. If you are ever unfortunate enough to experience a house fire, here is what you should do.
Call 911 Immediately
This first tip is obvious, but some people may panic and try to put out the fire themselves if they believe they can handle it. However, houses nowadays tend to contain a lot of items made from synthetic materials that burn a lot quicker than they did just a few decades ago. Calling 911 immediately on spotting a house fire will ensure that you get professional help to tackle the fire before it causes extensive damage. So, get everyone out of the building and as far away from the building as possible while contacting emergency services. After all, material items can be replaced — people cannot.
Contact Your Insurance Company
The second call you will need to make is to your insurance company. They will advise you on the immediate steps you need to take, such as how to secure your property and whether or not you need to remove any standing water left by the firefighters putting out the fires. Contacting your insurance company as soon as possible is vital as they need to stay informed on the level of damage to the property, including any broken doors, windows, roofs, or walls that are a result of the emergency services trying to contain the fire.
Find Somewhere to Stay
Even after the fire is safely put out, you will still need to find somewhere else to stay, regardless of the level of damage. Even if it was only a small fire, the building will need to be properly inspected and cleaned of any ash, soot, and burned materials. The smoke alone can cause furnishings to become unusable, and it is not safe to breathe in the fumes of both the smoke and the chemicals left behind by the fire. You may need to ask friends or relatives for a place to stay in the short term but also look ahead at long-term options if the damage is extensive. Your insurance company should be able to advise you on whether or not they can set up temporary housing.
Hire a Restoration Company
Finally, you will need to hire a restoration company. They can help to sift through your items and see what can be salvaged. They will also protect your home from the elements by boarding up broken windows or using a tarp to cover the roof while they carry out other restoration services, such as dehumidification, cleaning away of soot, and smoke odor removal. Lastly, they will help to repair and reconstruct your home.
Experiencing a house fire can be devastating, but make sure you know what to do should it happen to you.