House Fire Disaster: Checklist on What to Do First

In the US, cooking, heating, smoking, candles, and electrical issues are the top causes of a house fire. Statistics say that around 358,500 home fires occur each year. It means that even the best precautions cannot eliminate the risk of fires at home. 

In case of the unthinkable, what should you do after a fire disaster on your property?

1. Move Out and Find a Safe Place to Stay

Even if you think the damage is minor, you can’t risk your family’s safety and health staying at home. If staying with relatives or friends is not an option, you may talk to your local disaster relief agency. They can find you a safe place to stay temporarily. If you have the means, you may also consider staying in a hotel for a while.

Ensure to contact the owner of the property immediately if you are renting. This will help them make decisions about the house and start with the recovery process.

2. Contact Your Insurance 

Always call your insurance right after a home disaster happens, and never assume that someone will do it for you. This will start the event documentation and claim process. Your insurance policy may cover your living and other daily expenses, such as your hotel bills. Whether or not you receive this in advance, save all receipts and keep a detailed record of all your purchases.

They should help you secure your property and recommend restoration companies for cleanup and restoring items that can be saved. If you can, get fire reports from your local fire department since these can help provide more information to your insurance company. On top of these, it’s best if you have a list of your trusted local restoration professionals, like Woodinville restoration companies, for instance, if you live in the area.

3. Determine if Your House is Safe to Enter

Never enter a house or building that a fire has damaged until the fire department tells you it’s safe to do so. Be aware that fires can start again even if they appear to be out. In addition, damaged roofs and floors can fall and hit you.

There are also health risks caused by inhaling soot and smoke, especially for an extended period. If you were given a signal to enter your home, retrieve valuables and essential documents, including birth certificates, passports, medical records, etc. Most importantly, never smoke while in your damaged house or bring any flammable items.

4. Organize and Recover Your Possessions

Separate damaged from undamaged items to make it easier for your insurance agency. In most cases, your homeowner’s policy will replace all the costs of all your damaged possessions. Consider keeping a home inventory of your belongings to make sure everything is accounted for. 

Your inventory should include the date of purchase, expenses, and descriptions of each item if possible. Along with this are the receipts or bank statements, and providing photos can also be a great help. Visit here to know more about pack-out services if you need professional help with your belongings.

5. Take Care of Your Pets

Take your pets to your trusted vet as soon as possible. In some cases, the effects of house fires can take several hours to become lethal. Your vet will assess your pet’s lungs, heart, lungs, eyes, and skin. You may not be aware, but burns can be hidden under their fur.

Expect that they may require lab work, such as an x-ray of the lungs. Depending on the situation, they can also be in oxygen care, IV fluids, or some surgeries in case of extensive burns.

6. Take Care of Your Family’s Mental Health

Disasters can lead to emotional distress, in addition to physical injuries. Imagine losing your home, your valuables, and treasured items. It’s normal to experience anger, shock, depression, and hopelessness, but over time, you can reach a stage of acceptance and be able to move on. 

Get support from your family, friends, colleagues, and people around you, and avoid isolating yourself too much. Allow yourself to cry, feel bad, and release negative emotions in a healthy manner. However, give yourself permission to feel good despite what happened. If you have children, be a positive role model in recovering healthily.