Steps to Take After Having a Fire
Experiencing a fire in your home or business can be a devastating experience. In the chaos of assuring that all people are safe, assessing the fire damage and investigating the cause it is important to remember these important steps.
Make Sure Everyone is Accounted For and Safe
The pandemonium during and after a fire can be disturbing in even the smallest instances. Make sure your family and your company has fire safety and exit plans in place. For employers it is especially important to know how many people were in the building and what areas they are located in. Officials will need to be alerted to any search and rescue needs immediately. Homeowners do not forget to include special considerations for small children, elderly family members and pets.
Contacts to Be Made
The Fire Department-Contact the Fire Department (911) immediately even in the event of a small fire. Often embers can remain hidden in walls and roof areas. Professionals will need to assess the safety of your structure before returning.
Emergency Contacts-Once everyone in the building is accounted for, call emergency contacts (family and friends). Let them know everyone is safe and accounted for.
The American Red Cross-If your home is not habitable or the damage is large scale, someone may need to contact the local American Red Cross for help in securing temporary housing and emergency services.
The Insurance Company-Contact your insurance company immediately. Alerting them to the incident will begin the tedious (and sometimes long) process of filing a claim. More than likely the next step will be submitting a Fire Investigation Report to your insurance company for review. NOTE: It is imperative as part of your pre-planning to have important documentation such as insurance policies, personal records and financial documents (do not forget images and serial numbers of valuable items) stored in a secure location such as a fire-resistant/water-resistant safe or bank deposit box.
Secure the Property
After officials have deemed the property safe for re-entry it is important to take steps for securing the property and any valuables that are not damaged. Take careful measures when re-entering the property as safety is the biggest concern. Valuable items should be removed and stored safely offsite whenever possible. If you are a company owner, there may be a need to acquire outside security representation to meet insurance requirements.
Obtain a Fire Investigation Report
A fire (investigation) report is a document outlining the condition of the structure, the location and details as well as the individuals involved at the scene. Often this report is available by contacting your local fire department. Do not forget to get copies for both yourself and the insurance company. Most insurance companies will require this report as part of the claims process.
Fires are traumatic especially for children. Feelings of depression, anxiety, hopelessness and loss are common for adults and kids. Seeking help to deal with the emotional toll is common and should be part of the healing process. The American Red Cross, local community services as well as many company human resources, can offer contacts for counseling services.
Clean up and Restoration can be a massive undertaking especially for a commercial property. Document-Media Recovery and Restoration is of particular concern for companies. These tasks often require knowledgeable, certified experts to assure proper security for proprietary and confidential documentation.
In addition, to assure that standards properly meet insurance requirements, fire restoration and reconstruction procedures must be closely followed. Due to the environmentally toxic hazards, safety issues and security concerns associated with fires it is best to leave the clean up to trained professionals rather than attempting to do it yourself.
The Reliable Restoration Experts
The RR Fire Restoration Experts are trained to address even the most complicated home or commercial fire restoration and reconstruction needs. In addition, our administrative team is able to work directly with your insurance company to assure that all repairs meet the standards for efficient claim disbursement.
Choosing Reliable Restoration means choosing caring, certified and conscientious experts. Available 24/7, our knowledgeable team can walk you through the complicated process of coming back from a fire. Contact us at choosereliable.com or call (678) 325-1633 to schedule a free on-site estimate.