It is devastating enough to have your home burn, however, there are things that must be done as soon as possible. This can be very overwhelming for you and your family. Here are some recovery steps that should be taken after your home has been singed by a fire.
1. Property Insurance – Contact your agent as soon as you are able. Documentation can be made and an insurance claim can be started. Your agent may also help with living expenses elsewhere while you are waiting for repairs to be made.
2. Secure your property – This is very important. Protection is needed against looters. Most insurance policies require this. Your agent may be able to help in securing your home. In the mean time, make sure you board up all windows and doors with plywood.
3. Remove all valuables – If you are unable to live in your home, take your possessions with you. Make sure to keep inventory of what you remove so that you can report the list to your insurance agent.
4. Records/Document -. Collect as many as you can find immediately. These include, but not limited to, medical records, birth certificates, drivers license, water damage restoration policies, social security cards, marriage certificates, tax returns, automobile registrations, titles, will, and bank statements.
5. Utilities – DO NOT TRY TO REPAIR any utilities yourself unless you are a licensed contractor. Hire a private contractor to do the necessary repairs. The fire department will make sure the utilities are turned off. Permits and inspections are required before any repairs can take place.
6. Call to make – Contact any family members that are not aware of the fire. Those that may live in the home need to be informed. Those that do not may receive word of the disaster from someone else. Your call will assure them that you are okay. Contact your landlord if you are a tenant.
7. Clean up – In order to help absorb some of the smoke odors place small containers of vinegar throughout your home. Make sure to wash painted walls with a mixture of 6 tablespoons of tri-sodium phosphate with 1 gallon of water. Apply a smoke sealer to walls before repainting. Vacuum all surfaces. Seal off rooms with plastic as you work on one at a time. Replace air conditioning filters. Use flax soap to clean all wood fixtures and furniture.