What to Do After a House Fire
From fire restoration to insurance claims and clean up, there are many steps that need to be taken after a house fire. While surviving a house fire can be scary, the following steps can help you to recover and rebuild.
Contact Your Insurance Company
While you might think the first thing you need to do after a fire is to call a fire restoration company for help, you’ll actually want to hold off until getting in touch with your insurance company. Getting help from a fire damage restoration is vital to prevent further damage, but insurance companies may cover part or all the cost depending on your coverage. It’s important to have a full understanding of what your insurance company will cover.
For instance, will they cover the replacement of burnt items and debris removal? Are specific fire restoration companies covered or do you have to use your own choice? Knowing these details will help you to make the best decision when choosing fire restoration companies, and will also give you an idea of how much money to set aside. While you might have a deductible, it’s important to know ahead of time if your policy will cover the entire cost. If they won’t, you’ll need to get additional help covering the cost of damages.
Get Legal Help If Necessary
Unfortunately, not everyone has fire restoration coverage under their insurance. If you don’t have any coverage, consider hiring an attorney to determine if the fire was an act of negligence and what legal steps can be taken if it was. This would depend on how the fire started, who is liable, and if any other parties are responsible for the damages.
For instance, if the fire started because an electronic device malfunctioned or was faulty, the manufacturer may be liable for any damages. It’s important to speak with an attorney and understand your legal rights before paying out of pocket. Your attorney might be able to file a product liability lawsuit to help pay for damages.
On the other hand, if the fire was a direct result of arson, you may be able to get compensation from the perpetrator. Additionally, if it was an accident, your insurance company might provide coverage in cases of negligence. Whatever the case may be, don’t get discouraged if you’re not able to afford fire restoration services. Trust that your attorney will be able to help you pay for damages and get on the road toward recovery.
Hire Professional Trash Pickup
Once you know your finances are in order, it’s time to start the cleanup process. You’ll need to hire a professional trash pickup service to remove any burnt items, debris, and other materials left behind. It’s important to look for trash pickup companies with the right licensing and insurance for this kind of work, as it can be dangerous for the average person.
You’ll also need to be aware of what type of items are burned, as some materials can release toxic fumes and smoke when burned. For instance, insulation materials and electronics may contain toxins that need to be disposed of properly. Don’t try to do this job yourself unless you’re qualified, as it can be extremely dangerous. It’s important to have these materials safely removed by professionals in order to prevent any additional damage. Most fire restoration services will warn you ahead of time of the potential dangers during cleanup and can recommend removal companies.
If the damage is minimal, you could simply find dumpster rentals in your area and do the cleanup yourself. Just make sure you take proper safety precautions when handling debris, and follow any local guidelines regarding the disposal of hazardous materials. Contact your local fire department if you’re unsure of what to do with an item, as they can provide additional advice.
Inspect Your Home’s Exterior
Your home’s exterior will likely also need extensive cleaning. This includes windows, doors, and any outdoor structures such as decks or sheds that may have been damaged by the fire. It’s important to inspect the exterior of your home carefully, as any damage could cause further issues down the line. Look for signs of smoke and soot damage, as well as water damage that may have occurred during the firefighting process.
Once you’ve thoroughly inspected your home, hire a professional contractor to assess the damage as well. For instance, a roofing contractor will help look for structural damage that might pose a danger to you and your family. While your roof might currently be sturdy, only a professional contractor can determine if any significant damage occurred that could cause a collapse down the line.
Other exterior areas you should inspect include your air conditioning unit, decking, and any outdoor furniture. You’ll need to hire a professional fire restoration service to clean any external surfaces that may have been affected by the smoke, soot, and other toxins. You’ll also need to hire specialize contractors in each of these areas, such as HVAC contractors and decking specialists, to help repair your home.
Start Shopping For Construction Materials
Once you’ve inspected and cleaned all areas of the home, you can begin shopping for construction materials to use in your fire restoration. From kitchen countertops to siding, you’ll need to find products that meet the standards of your local building codes. You should also check with your insurance company to see what type of materials they’ll cover during the restoration process.
Having help from your insurance company will help you save money on construction materials and get your home back to its pre-fire condition in no time. You can even take advantage of the situation and ask for upgraded products, such as energy-efficient windows, that may increase the value of your home and lower your electricity bills in the long run.
Get multiple quotes from different contractors and compare them to find the best deal. You should also make sure that your contractor is licensed and insured, as this will help protect you in the event of any accidents or mistakes during the restoration process. Finally, don’t forget to document all of your fire damage and take an inventory of any new materials you purchase. Taking these extra steps will help you keep track of your progress and ensure that everything is repaired properly.
Shop For Remodelers
From bathroom remodels to kitchen renovations, there are plenty of remodelers out there who can help you get your home back to its pre-fire condition. As with any other contractor, you’ll want to shop around for the best deal and find someone with plenty of experience in fire damage restoration. Ask potential contractors for references or check their websites for reviews. You should also make sure that the contractor is licensed and insured, as this will help you avoid any liability issues in the future.
To ensure your contractor will be covered for any damages, you should also ask for their insurance information. This way, if something goes wrong and your restoration is not completed properly, you can file a claim with the insurance company and get reimbursed for any losses. Your insurance company can also give you a list of reputable contractors, although you’ll still want to get multiple quotes from these contractors as well.
When choosing a contractor, make sure to check that they are familiar with the building codes in your area and can provide proof of licensure. Also, be sure to ask if they will be using subcontractors during any part of the restoration, as you may need to pay more for this additional labor. Finally, make sure that you get a written estimate and review it with the contractor before any work begins.
Inspect Your Plumbing
Get help from a plumbing company so that you can inspect your home’s water system and make sure it is in good condition after the fire. A plumbing inspection should include checking for leaks, faulty pipes, and malfunctioning fixtures. A qualified plumber can also help you replace any damaged pipes or fixtures to ensure your home is safe and up to code.
During a fire, damaged pipes and fixtures can be difficult to spot, so it’s important to have a trained professional inspect the entire system. They will also be able to test for water pressure and make sure that it is within the acceptable range. Additionally, they can advise you on any necessary repairs or upgrades to make sure your home is safe to enter.
While you’re at it, consider calling your gas company to also inspect your gas lines and ensure there are no leaks. This is especially important since a leaking gas line can be dangerous for your family’s health and safety. A leak could have also been the cause of the fire in the first place, so it’s important to make sure everything is functioning properly.
Uproot Your Floors
One of the last things you’ll want to do after a fire is focus on hardwood installation for your floors. Unfortunately, wood floors are susceptible to fire damage, so they will likely need to be replaced or refinished. However, the process doesn’t have to be difficult.
To start, you’ll want to use a vacuum to remove any soot or debris from the floor. Once that is done, you can either refinish the existing floors or replace them with new flooring. If you choose to install new floors, make sure you get the right type of wood for your home and the climate you live in. You’ll also need to decide whether or not to choose pre-finished wood or opt for another hard flooring option.
If your floors were already bending, buckling, or splintering before the fire, you might need to consider replacing them altogether. There are plenty of flooring options available, from laminate and luxury vinyl plank to hardwood, so you should be able to find something that fits your needs.
Finally, make sure to hire a professional flooring installer to ensure that your new floors are properly installed and sealed.
Invest in Warm Decorations
Once your home is reconstructed and all fire restoration is complete, you’ll need to spend a little time shopping for new furniture. From visiting a rug store to finding outdoor chairs and couches, it’s important to find furniture that will keep your home warm and cozy. Take this time to relax, unwind, and look forward to the process of rebuilding your home.
Don’t forget about adding a few decorations to make your home more inviting! This could include buying new curtains, cushions, and pillows, or even buying a few new pieces of art to hang on the walls. Having these decorations around will help you feel more at home and will make your home look more vibrant, even after a tragedy such as a fire.
When it comes to purchasing furniture, you’ll want to keep in mind the size of the space, the colors of the walls, and the overall style of your home. Make sure to find pieces that match these elements so that they fit in perfectly. Many times, your home will have new exterior and interior colors after all fire restoration work is complete.
Install New Smoke Alarms
Finally, make sure to install smoke alarms in all of your bedrooms and hallways for added protection. If your house fire destroyed your security systems, you’ll need to invest in new ones as soon as possible. Smoke alarms are essential for letting you know when there is a potential fire danger and can help you get out of the house quickly and safely if a fire does occur.
Consider getting professional help to rewire security systems and ensure that your alarms are installed correctly. This is especially important if you have a new home security system, or if the old one wasn’t functioning properly before the fire. Getting professional help installing your system can give you peace of mind knowing your home is protected against future fires.
After going through something as traumatic as a house fire, it’s important to take time for yourself and your family, and rebuild your home one step at a time. Make sure to follow these steps and get the necessary help you need to restore your home as soon as possible.by