A fire in your home or business can be devastating and the losses can be great. You may lose precious family heirlooms, invaluable business documents, photo albums, furniture, and, of course, the building itself. Recovering after a fire is not always a quick or easy process. Even after the last embers have been put out, the fire trucks have pulled away, fire damage and water damage from extinguishing the fire lingers and continues to cause damage, creating more stress and worry. Remember that at every step of the way, there are people you can rely on so you won’t have to do it all alone. Taking the following steps immediately after a fire will help get the recovery process started.
The first thing to remember after a fire is to keep organized records of the damage to your home as well as records of all communication between you and the insurance company and restoration contractor. Make sure to save all relevant receipts and documents and take notes on all correspondences between you and the professionals involved. This will help you protect yourself from miscommunications.
The first and foremost concern is making sure you’re safe. As traumatic as it is to lose your home and everything in it, your safety has to come first. Don’t return to your home or go inside unless told it’s safe. Until emergency personnel give you the green light, don’t risk returning to the evacuation area or going inside your home. Do not touch fire-damaged items, as soot and contaminated water (that was used to extinguish the fire) may pose health risks. If the utility services were turned off by the fire department for safety reasons, don’t turn them back on until you are advised to do so.
Start Making Calls
The first call you make after a fire should be to your insurance provider. Most insurance companies require that you file a claim immediately after a disaster and it is also in your best interest to do so. Your provider will want proof of the claim and will send an adjuster to your property to assess the damage. After calling your insurance company, contact a professional fire restoration service provider to secure the property, inspect the damage and begin the recovery process. It is beneficial to hire a restoration service provider that also specializes in construction services to help rebuild your home in addition to cleaning and restoring your belongings.
Ask for help at local disaster relief services such as public health departments or the American Red Cross. They can provide a safe place to stay, food, clothes and other essential items. When you decide to start the recovery process, don’t do it alone – ask family members or friends for support. Your mortgage company, utility companies, the post office, and your employer should also be contacted.
Inspect Your Property
Have a building inspector check the house and give you the go-ahead before you enter. Once you’ve gotten approval, do so safely. While you’re on your way, keep an eye out for trees and power lines that could’ve been weakened or damaged by fire or water. Avoid debris along the road to your home and your driveway. And remember that things could still be hot, so approach your property with caution. It’s always best to have a professional restoration company go through the damage with you.
You can also begin working on your personal property list – not a fun task by any means, but necessary for insurance purposes. If you didn’t already have a home inventory created (you should), write down items the moment you remember them. Taking inventory of your losses will help you in the valuing process. Valuing your property is an important step in reclaiming lost or damaged contents. This process will aid you in filing a claim with your insurance provider as well as claiming a casualty loss on your federal income tax. Make sure your insurance agent explains the differences between actual cash value (ACV) and replacement cost value (RCV) with respect to your policy. Having receipts or records of purchase helps immensely in this stage, but remember; just because you paid top dollar for furniture or an appliance when it was new doesn’t mean you will be covered for that same cost, especially if you bought it years ago. [Read More …]
Fire Damage Restoration
Professional fire damage restoration companies, like Xtreme Home Improvement, have the specialized equipment, systems, and procedures to respond to residential, commercial and industrial fire losses regardless of the type and size of building affected. Our certified technicians will find any unseen damage that may be lurking behind the walls, floors, and ceilings. We will place drying equipment throughout the structure so when it completely dries, the construction aspect of the restoration process can begin. This includes replacing drywall, wood or ceiling panels that have been removed due to extensive fire damage. The fire damage restoration process is fairly complex and time-consuming. Keep in mind that every day that passes only further worsens the damage that’s already present. [Read More …]
Homes and businesses in Central Pennsylvania can be hit by a fire at any time and it is important for property owners to know how to react if one should strike. It is important to call your insurance provider and a trusted fire damage restoration company after a fire and to keep detailed records of the communications with these providers. Taking the right steps in the aftermath will help you achieve a full and successful recovery.