7 Steps to Take if Your Home Had a Fire
Every year in the United States, hundreds of thousands of citizens experience the trauma and financial strain that accompanies a home fire. A structural fire strikes roughly 360,000 homes in any given year. Dealing with the fallout of house fires can be a trying burden. If you want to minimize post-fire headaches, do the following once the smoke clears.
Step 1: Make Sure Immediate Danger Has Passed
While it doesn't happen often, homes afflicted by fire damage can suffer from secondary inflammations that crop up days later. Have someone from the local fire department go through the wreckage the next day to look for signs of smoldering under the surface. You can use a simple laser thermometer to gauge the temperatures of flooring and wall studs to identify potential trouble spots.
Step 2: Contact Your Insurance Carrier to File a Claim
Notifying your insurance provider of the incident should be done as soon as humanly possible. It's important to carefully document all expenses incurred due to the fire ranging from lost property to additional bills. A proof-of-loss claim will allow you to be compensated for damaged goods. You may be able to secure an advance on your final settlement if you play your cards right.
Step 3: Let Utility Providers Know About Your Situation
Generally speaking, first responders from the local fire department will shut off gas, water, and electric service after doing their job. This should largely eliminate the immediate threat of additional fire or water damage. Nevertheless, local utilities will want to send their people out to assess the situation. Notifying these institutions can save you a ton of hassle down the road.
Step 4: Seal Up the Perimeter to Prevent Further Damage
When a fire compromises the integrity of a home, it's important to keep natural phenomena like rain and snow from making things worse. Using sheets of plywood and OSB to seal up the roof and siding is, of course, absolutely critical. Cheap tarps and window flashing prudently applied around openings will protect your real estate from the elements.
Step 5: Stabilize Your Short-Term Financial Situation
Even if your home has been gutted, you're still required to make mortgage payments. If you need to borrow a little money to keep you or your family afloat while your insurance claim is being settled, do it. Once the settlement check clears, you can pay off any emergency loans you may have taken out. Work with a reputable local credit union to get a favorable short-term loan.
Step 6: Obtain a Copy of the Fire Report
While it's not always necessary, obtaining a copy of the report from the responding fire department is advisable. As a matter of public record, your fire report should be easy to obtain. It will contain a summary of the incident and an assessment of the damage. This report will help you and your insurance provider to make smart restoration decisions moving forward.
Step 7: Contact a Trustworthy Restoration Company
The sooner you talk to a fire and water damage contractor, the better off you'll be in the long run. Fire damage restoration requires unique skills and equipment that general contractors may not possess. A good fire damage restoration outfit should be able to quickly size up your situation and recommend a course of action that reduces the cost of rehabilitating your home.
Fire Damage Restoration Services in Philadelphia, PA
When catastrophic home fires strike, Greater Philadelphia locals cannot afford to put off the restoration process for long. At TLC Drain & Sewer, we've been repairing residential fire damage at a high level since 2011. Our team of fire damage specialists can make short work of your restoration conundrums at a price that's hard to argue with.
Contact us at (215) 639-7473 to speak with our team of professionals today.