According to FEMA: A fire will change your life in many ways. Knowing where to begin and who can help you is important.
What to Expect: A fire in a home can cause serious damage. The building and many of the things in your home may have been badly damaged by flames, heat, smoke and water.
You will find that things the fire did not burn up are now ruined by smoke and soggy with water used to put out the flames. Anything that you want to save or reuse will need to be carefully cleaned.
The firefighters may have cut holes in the walls of the building to look for any hidden flames. They may even have cut holes in the roof to let out the heat and smoke. Cleanup will take time and patience.
It is important to understand the risk to your safety and health even after the fire is out. The soot and dirty water left behind may contain things that could make you sick.
Take Care of Yourself and Family
Contact your local disaster relief service, such as the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army. They will help you find a place to stay and to find food, clothing and medicine. Make sure that you have a safe place to live temporarily. You have a big job ahead of you. Get plenty of rest, and ask for help. Do not try to do it all alone. (Cavalry Public Adjusters, LLC can assist you with the insurance claim process giving you more time to take care of your family).
Help Your Pets
If you have pets, find and comfort them. Scared animals often react by biting or scratching. Handle them carefully, calmly and gently. Try to leave pets with a family member, friend or veterinarian if you are visiting or cleaning your damaged home. Keep your pets out of the house until the cleanup is complete to keep them safe.
Security and Safety
Do not enter a damaged home or apartment unless the fire department says it is safe. Fires can start again, even if they appear to be out. Watch for damage caused by the fire. Roofs and floors may be damaged and could fall down.
The fire department will make sure the utility services (water, electricity and gas) are safe to use. If they are not safe, firefighters will have your utilities turned off or disconnected before they leave. Do not try to turn them back on by yourself.
Get in touch with your landlord or mortgage lender ASAP. Contact your credit card company to report credit cards that were lost in the fire and request replacements. Save all of your receipts for any money you spend. The receipts may be needed later by the insurance company. You will need the receipts to prove any losses claimed on your tax return.
Tips on How to Handle the Damage
There are companies that are experts in cleaning and/or restoring your personal items.
Whether you or your insurer buys this type of service, be clear on who will pay for it. Be sure to ask for an estimate of cost for the work and agree to it in writing.
(Call in the Cavalry Public Adjusters, LLC for a FREE consultation, we will be happy to meet with you on site to explain the insurance claim process and give you complete guidance to Returning to Normal).
If you do not have insurance, your family and community might help you get back on your feet. Organizations that might help include:
- American Red Cross.
- Salvation Army.
- Religious organizations.
- Public agencies, such as the public health department.
- Community groups.
- State or municipal emergency services office.
- Nonprofit crisis-counseling centers.