Regaining Your Life After a House Fire
House fires can be devastating. Because of our 24-hour access to news, we hear often of the tragic news stories where people die and homes are completely obliterated. But any fire, no matter how minor or severe, has an impact on its victims. At the very least, it causes inconvenience, and it always carries a monetary cost.
When I was in high school, I distinctly remember sitting in my art class and hearing lots of sirens. It turned out that those fire engines were heading to my house, which was less than a mile away. An old radio we kept plugged in all the time on top of the stove had shorted out and caused a fire in our kitchen. (Did you know that electronic equipment can short and cause a fire? We didn’t, but we learned it on that day!) Luckily for us, my mom was home at the time and noticed the burning smell right away. Also lucky for us was that we lived within a mile of the fire station and they arrived very quickly. My mom worked in the healthcare field, so she was able to stay calm and react quickly. Unfortunately, that bravado also earned her a trip to the emergency room. She tried to put out the fire herself and ended up with some pretty nasty burns on her arms. Granted, it could have been way worse: She got sent home with second-degree burns and some prescription creams. Our kitchen was damaged as well, but the fire did not spread beyond that area.
After the immediate danger of the fire was handled by the firefighters, there were some effects that still needed to be dealt with. First of all, my mother needed emergency medical care. Obviously, the authorities on the scene took care of this aspect. But after the scene was secured, my mother was taken care of, and the fire trucks and ambulances went back to the station, we were left with the task of picking up the pieces. Here are some of the steps that are involved in getting your life back after a house fire.
- TEND TO THE LIVES AFFECTED
The first and most obvious step involved in recovery after a fire is taking care of the people and animals involved. (Pets are affected by fires, too!) It is obvious during the fire that the living beings need to be saved and evacuated, but after the fire, there will still be physical and mental issues to deal with. One thing that is not always obvious at first is that the family will need to find a place to stay, even if it is only needed for one night in order to recoup and make a game plan. Many times, recovery from injuries take an extended period of time. Burns are very painful, and they will affect the things you can and cannot do for a while. Another aspect, at least for the human beings involved in a fire, is the mental distress it causes. Professional counseling is very beneficial, and sometimes very necessary, at a time like this.
- CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE AGENT
If you are insured, you will need to contact your insurance agent to help get the recovery process rolling. There will need to be inspections to determine the amount of damage and the steps necessary for remediation. A restoration company such as Shrock Restoration is also an immediate contact option. We will stand by you and your family through this process from dealing with insurance companies, to finishing the renovation and getting you back home.
- SECURE THE PROPERTY
If damage has been significant, only enter your home once it has been declared safe to do so by the fire department and your insurance carrier. If it hasn’t been done already by the authorities, you will want to temporarily suspend utilities and things such as cable, internet, etc. that you won’t be using at the property for the time being. Utilities left on in a damaged environment can cause more problems later. If there has been enough damage to compromise the integrity of the structure, or if there are now holes where walls, windows, roofs or doors used to be, you will want to secure the property as well as you can. Board and tarp up any holes to deter intruders and help to keep out weather and pests, avoiding further damage. This is something you can do yourself, or you can hire experts such as Shrock Restoration to do this for you.
- TAKE AN INVENTORY OF DAMAGED ITEMS
You will want to make detailed lists of any items, large or small, that were damaged or destroyed because of the fire. If any of your personal documents such as your license, birth certificate, or Social Security card have been damaged, you will need to get those replaced immediately. If the damage to the home is extensive, you should also remove any items that have not been destroyed from the property so they can be properly cleaned and kept from being further contaminated. Shrock Restoration offers inventory and removal of possessions and other contents for cleaning and restoration at our clean, safe, insured, off-site facility.
Dealing with the aftermath of a fire is a complicated matter. Shrock Restoration is unmatched in resources and we are unrivaled experts in fire restoration. We will be by your side throughout the entire process after a devastating fire. From answering all your questions, to educating you on the process & what happens next, to working with all insurance companies so you don’t have to, we will help you put the pieces back together. Nothing can undo the trauma of a fire, but our goal is giving you peace of mind and get you back home as quickly as possible.