The aftermath of a house fire can be as overwhelming and emotionally taxing as the disaster itself.
Here are five essential tips for recovering after a house fire and getting back on track.
1. Make all important phone calls
Let your family and friends know you are safe and beginning the steps to recovery. Ask the fire department when it’s safe to go near your property and follow their guidance. They can also help you with information about home fire preparedness for the future.
Next, notify the post office, your insurance company, utility companies, your landlord or mortgage lender, and your bank so that they can all take appropriate action.
2. Find safe housing
Ensure you have a safe place to stay, either temporarily or long term, as recovery can take a while. Friends and family can provide temporary refuge or help point you in the direction of rental options.
If you have a landlord, see if they have a policy about subsidizing rent in case of fire and restoration.
3. Inspect your property and record inventory
Upon approval from the fire department, inspect your property while looking out for weakened or falling trees and power lines.
If you don’t already have an inventory of your valuables, start writing down the items that were damaged or destroyed by the fire—this will be important for insurance purposes. Keep these notes on hand so you can jot down any items you remember at intermittent moments.
For the future, keep in mind that maintaining an up-to-date inventory of your belongings can be very useful when the unexpected happens, such as loss or theft.
4. Contact your insurance company and restoration services
Your insurance company will walk you through the process of this overwhelming situation and how to begin filing the claim on your home. Be sure to look into your options when it comes to benefits and assistance you may be qualified for.
If your home is salvageable, search for a reputable restoration company that specializes in repairing flame, heat, smoke, and water damage. A company with a good online presence and positive reviews is your best bet.
5. Accept help!
Family, friends, community members, shelters, and disaster relief are all there for moments like this. Let them help and comfort you. Some people may even have experience with this very situation and could offer invaluable advice.
Lastly, register with shelters as well as organizations like Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.