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.
Now that you have more of an idea of what to expect, here are tips to follow to help you get your family back to normal!
What Do I Do Now?
- Take Care of Yourself and Your 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.
- 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. Contact your police department to let the police know that you will be away from your home. In some cases, you may need to board up openings so that no one can get in when you’re not there.
- Contact Your Insurance Agent- Contact your insurance company right away. Ask what to do about the immediate needs of your home. This includes pumping out water and covering doors, windows and other openings. Ask your insurance company what to do first. Some companies may ask you to make a list of everything that was damaged by the fire. They will ask you to describe these items in detail and say how much you paid for them.