House fires are devastating, and restoring your house may seem daunting. Follow our guide on what to do after a house fire.
After the trauma of a house fire, thinking about next steps can be overwhelming. Still, once the fire department leaves, it’s important to know what to do. Here are some guidelines to help your family safely move on after a house fire:
File your insurance claim immediately
The first thing you should be doing after a house fire is calling your insurance company. Your insurance agent will be able to guide you through the restoration process. Make sure you ask about your insurance deductible. Your agent can also give you tips on securing your home and may recommend trusted restoration companies.
At this point, you’ll also have to document any personal items lost in the fire, along with an estimated dollar value for each item.
Make sure to ask your insurance agent if restoration costs are covered by your insurance policy, especially after you get a written quote from your chosen restoration company.
Make sure your house is safe to enter and secured when you leave
Depending on the amount of damage done, you may not be staying at your house after a fire, but you will have to take steps to ensure your safety when you enter and exit your home. Always speak to the fire department and other local officials before returning, even if you’re only staying on-site for a short time.
Some common safety concerns after a house fire include structural damage, falling debris and electrical safety issues. If the fire department has activated any emergency shutoffs for any of your utilities – water, electricity, or gas – consult them before turning any services back on.
In terms of health issues, keep in mind that every fire creates particles of incomplete combustion (PICs), which can be carcinogenic. These are microscopic and easy to breathe in, meaning you should avoid touching any fire-damaged items if you’re not wearing respiratory protection.
When leaving, ensure your property is as secure as possible. Looters are always a concern, so it’s a good idea to let your local police know that your property isn’t occupied.
Hire a disaster restoration company you trust
After a house fire, it’s essential to find a professional, licensed disaster restoration company as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the worse the fire and smoke damage will get. Post-fire, it takes only minutes for plastic and metal surfaces to permanently stain, and mere hours for metals to tarnish, grout to stain and for fibreglass and furniture to turn yellow. Flooring, fabrics and wood furniture will become seriously damaged within days after a fire.
Water damage can lead to mould and bacteria.
Hiring a compassionate company to guide you through this difficult time is crucial. Restoration companies with experience in fire and smoke remediation services should:
- respond quickly
- provide a written, detailed estimate before starting work
- talk you through the process before any work is done
- avoid cross-contamination
- dispose of waste properly
- provide odour removal services
- offer water damage and mould remediation services
Touch With Care understands how devastating a house fire can be, and is proud to help families restore their homes.
When you experience a flood, an urgent response will limit damage to your home or business. Touch With Care’s team of highly experienced restoration specialists are prepared to act quickly across Toronto and Mississauga. We respond within the hour to limit the possibility of water damage, electrical dangers, the growth of mould and bacteria, and structural harm to your home or business. Contact us when disaster strikes.