What to do After a Major House Fire
Learn which actions to take immediately following a fire to ensure your safety and find out how to get started with fire cleanup.
A house fire is a freighting experience that no one ever wants to encounter. However, in the event of a fire at your residence, it’s not only important, but absolutely imperative to make sure you take certain actions. Your family’s safety is of the utmost importance and should be your main priority in this circumstance. Contacting the appropriate authorities, professionals and insurance providers is another essential step, and finally, finding the optimal fire restoration company who will help you begin the cleanup and rebuild process.
Breakdown of Immediate Steps
Use this checklist as a guide to help you determine what you should do first and what steps take priority when you’ve experienced a major house fire.
1. Keep your family and pets safe.
While this should seem like the obvious first step, keep in mind that a major event like a fire can catch many people off guard, leaving them scrambling to figure out what to do. Get everyone out of the house and move as far away from the fire and the surrounding area as possible. Firefighters strongly advise that you should not re-enter your home or any building affected by the blaze. Even if the fire is small or doesn’t produce any flames, the danger of smoke can be catastrophic. Be safe, be smart, and act quickly.
2. Contact all the necessary people, companies and organizations.
First call emergency services so that they can dispatch the fire department, police and (if necessary) medical personnel to your address. You’ll also need to call your insurance provider to find out if your loss is covered. If it is and you’ll be filing a claim, they will likely send an adjuster out to observe the fire damage and assess the loss as quickly as possible (most insurance companies will send someone within 24 to 48 hours of the reported incident). Then call fire restoration services in your area to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. This will help get the fire damage cleaning process underway quickly, which can make a big difference in the time it will take to get you back into your home.
3. Find alternative temporary housing.
Even if your house isn’t completely ruined, or only a small area is affected, the smell of smoke will likely permeate the house (this will get addressed during the fire cleanup process). Plus, a professional fire damage cleaning crew will need to access your home and it will be easier to do their work in an unoccupied house. If you can’t stay with friends or family, check with your homeowner’s insurance agent to see if your policy covers costs such as hotel rentals and clothing that are associated with loss of use of your home.
4. Start fire damage cleaning and recovering items (if possible).
This is a big “if” because you should not re-enter your home if it is an unsafe situation. Once the smoke has cleared and it is safe to go inside, try to save any undamaged property or belongings from further damage and separate damaged items from undamaged ones. It’s helpful to keep an ongoing inventory list of all of your belongings with information such as date purchased, cost, serial number, and other important details. These details are important because you may need to reference them when working with your insurance company.
Hiring a Fire Restoration Services Contractor
While your insurance company may offer to refer you to a preferred vendor network to restore your home, we at Resolve have a nationwide network of contractors who can handle all types of damage resulting from fires, floods and storms. Every contractor on the Resolve network undergoes a thorough screening to ensure he or she is licensed, insured and well-qualified to work on your home. We also provide you with an experienced project specialist who’s there to help guide you through the restoration process and help make this stressful and traumatic time a bit easier to manage. Remember: safety should always be your top concern – take care of your loved ones first and worry about the fire restoration later.
The information and advice contained in this article is intended as a general guide for informational purposes only. It does not take into account your personal situation. While we at Resolve have significant experience and history operating in the home restoration industry and working closely with construction contractors, we are not licensed as a general or specialty contractor. We encourage you to consider the information we’ve provided but urge you not to rely upon it in place of appropriate professional advice from a licensed, experienced construction contractor.