You hear people talking about it on the news, you may even see pictures of it circulating around the internet, but like many things you never think it will actually happen to you. While fires and fire damage can be quite an uncommon occurrence, they do happen for whatever reason and it is essential that you know exactly what you can do following such an event.
It is understandable that the event can be devastating, causing lasting physical and mental damage to your home and your family, but it is important that you know what to do in such a situation so that you can go about remedying the situation in a calm and collective manner. We have listed below helpful advice regarding everything you need to consider thinking about, following a house fire.
Immediately After – Take Care of Yourself and Your Family
In many instances, nobody is at home when a fire occurs and this can be better in that no lives are lost when the fire breaks out. However some people are not so fortunate and there can be occasions where you or family members are caught inside the house during a fire. It is important to act quickly and with concern for your own safety and the safety of your family.
Do not waste time collecting belongings. If there is a high smoke level, you can help reduce damage to your lungs by soaking a rag or rags in water and breathing through the rags. Try to get out as soon as possible and avoid the fire at all times. If the doors are blocked by fire and smoke, try to exit through the nearest available window.
Contact the Authorities
Once a fire has done its damage and been put out by the fire brigade, you will want to contact your Insurance Agency and your Mortgage Company or Landlord. Each company needs to know in the event of a fire so that they can provide professional advice and assistance. If you do not have home insurance, you can try contacting local community groups for aid and assistance.
Check with the Fire Brigade to Make Sure Your Home is Safe to Re-enter
Once the fire brigade have neutralised the threat and made the area safe, they may say that it is safe for you to return to the house in order to take account of the damages. They will also say if your utilities are safe to use. If they have stated that your utilities are not safe, or if they have not said anything about utilities but you find them off, do not attempt to turn them back on yourself as you could cause further damage. Check with a professional as to whether or not your utilities and appliances are safe to use before attempting to turn anything on.
Take Inventory – What Has Been Lost
Make a list of everything you may have lost in the fire. This is necessary for insurance companies to see the bulk of what you may have lost. Granted if there are some valuables or photos lost in the fire, there may be no way of physically restoring them but you can always see if you can receive compensation. Depending on the nature of the fire and the cause of the fire, you may be eligible for more compensation but if the fire was caused due to a neglected appliance or a discarded cigarette – to use a few examples – you are more often held responsible for the cause of the fire.
Talking to Repairs and Cleaning Companies
Cleaning up after a fire can be a nightmare if you don’t know where to start. Thankfully there are cleaning companies with specific experience in restoring and repairing homes and businesses following events such as fires and floods. Your insurance company may be able to give you a recommendation on who to call, where a professional will then talk you through the process of bringing your home back to normality.
It can be an extremely stressful and time consuming time in your life and nobody is really prepared for these events. However if you are fully insured and know which steps to take and in what order, you can turn a disastrous situation into a more manageable one, where qualified experts will help get your life back on track as soon as possible. There are people who are willing to help, if you only know where to look.
Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer in the property industry working alongside a selection of companies including Cleaning Industrial Solutions, who were consulted over the information in this piece.