8 Things to Do After a House Fire
A fire has ripped through your home.
You and your family are safe, but where do you go from here?
This is something homeowners face after there has been a fire and sometimes there is no clear answer on what they should do. It’s a horrible thing to go through, but we want to help you get through one of the toughest times you’ll ever go through.
RetroFoam of Michigan might specialize in foam insulation, but we have helped homeowners with their insulation needs after a fire. This sparked us to do our research to provide the following list to help people who have had a fire in their home.
Things to Do After a House Fire
From calling your insurance company to making sure your home is secure, here are the things you should do after a house fire.
- Call your insurance company as soon as possible. You will want to file your claim with your insurance company immediately after the fire. The sooner you file the claim, the sooner repairs can be made or your search for a new home can begin. If you’re not insured, try contacting local community groups for aid and assistance.
- Call the police. An empty house is a beacon for a burglar to come in and try and take or salvage whatever they can. Alert your local police department to the fire at your home so they know to keep an eye on the property during their patrols. Boarding up your windows and doors also adds a layer of security to keep squatters and looters out, according to The Spruce.
- Find a restoration company that can clean up soot and water damage. You’ll have enough on your plate dealing with a house fire, so leave the cleanup to the professionals. The soot and water damage could cause some serious problems in the future. Ask your insurance company for recommendations of contractors they have worked with previously.
- Plan your finances and keep receipts. While insurance may cover things like your mortgage or other bills, replacing items lost in the fire requires a little more. Make sure you keep all of the receipts for the things you replace so you can be reimbursed quickly.
- Separate your belongings into lists of damaged and undamaged items. Basically, your insurance company needs a list of your damaged property. Separating the damaged stuff from the items that weren’t damaged in the fire will make this easier for you. Also, you’ll want to find a safe place to put the undamaged items, like a storage unit until your home is repaired.
- Make sure your home is safe. A fire can cause serious structural damage to your home you may not have even considered. Before entering your home after the fire, make sure the fire marshal has cleared it and deemed it safe for you to go inside. Another danger to consider is if there are any noxious fumes that may have been left behind from items that burned.
- Find a place to stay. While your home is being rebuilt or while you look for a new home, your insurance may include coverage that will pay for food, clothing, and even shelter.
- Make sure your utilities are safe before turning them back on. During a fire, firefighters may turn off utilities to protect the home from more damage. If this is the case, you should contact either the fire department or your energy provider to get reconnected, as doing it yourself could cause another fire, a gas leak, or water damage.
The U.S. Fire Administration has a guide called After the Fire that is much more comprehensive with checklists to help you keep everything organized if disaster hits.
Being Prepared for a House Fire
The first thing to do before disaster strikes is to make sure every room in your home has a smoke detector.
You should also have fire extinguishers and exit ladders to ensure you and your family can get out safely. Make sure that you and your family discuss an escape plan prior to a fire and do some practice runs so you all know the plan by heart.
Another thing to do before a house fire is to go over your homeowners insurance to make sure you have replacement, loss, and dwelling coverage in the event of a fire.
About Amanda Ringler
Amanda previously has worked as a breaking news and crime reporter, TV news producer, and editor in Flint and Detroit. Throughout her career as a journalist, she has won several awards from the Detroit Chapter of Society of Professional Journalists and the Michigan Press Association. As part of the RetroFoam of Michigan family, Amanda uses her experience as a journalist to write content that will help educate homeowners on the benefits of foam insulation. When Amanda isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and rescued huskies. She also loves knitting, making art, cooking, and hosting dinner and a movie night for friends and family.