Nobody likes to think about their home suffering a disaster, but it can happen to any of us. If your home has been through a fire, there is support available for you and your family, both in the immediate aftermath of the fire and during the clean-up afterward. Here’s what to do.
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Contact Your Insurance Company
After a fire, you should get in touch with your insurance company as soon as you can. They can advise you on what to do next to make a claim and start making repairs to your home.
Contact Electricity, Gas, And Water Suppliers
If any of these supplies were damaged in the fire or had to be disconnected after it, contact your supplier to arrange any needed repairs and to have it reconnected. Do not try to reconnect or turn the supply back on yourself. If you need them, you should be able to find contact information for gas, water, and electricity companies in the local phone directory, which can usually be accessed for free at a library.
Replace Valuable Documents and Records
If any important personal documents were lost or damaged in the fire, you will need to get in contact with a few different organizations to get them replaced. For example, make sure you still have copies of your:
- Driver’s license
- Birth, marriage, and death certificates
- Divorce papers
- Benefits and social security payments
- Property titles or deeds
- Income tax records
- Vehicle registration
Cleaning Up After The Fire
Before you start to do any cleaning, make sure you speak to your insurance company first. You might be dying to get started so you can go home, but your insurer might want you to use their preferred cleaning or fire and smoke damage restoration company. If you do handle any of the clean-up yourself, a lot of dirt and soot left behind by the fire can be washed off with soapy water.
There are some parts of the clean-up where you will need to be extra careful if you’re doing it yourself.
- Electrical appliances. Do not use any appliances that could have come into contact with fire, water, or steam, until you have had an electrician come in to confirm that they are safe.
- Food. Throw away any cans that look like they have bulged or have become dented or rusted. If you’ve any food has been thawed or partially thawed due to the power being out, do not refreeze it. This will have to be thrown out.
The clean-up after a fire can be a slow, complex process. It is important to make sure that you do it properly and safely. It’s a good idea to use expert companies to help you get your home back to normal, as they will know how to do any work needed safely. If you cannot return to your home for a little while, you could stay with friends or family, or see if there are any services available that can offer your temporary accommodation.