It is very difficult to put your life together after any traumatic event, but after a fire it can be especially challenging. Not only will you need to deal with the emotional aftermath of the event, but you also need to organize your belongings and arrange a place for your family to live for as long as it will take to make your home livable again. When you understand all the steps you need to take after a fire before it happens to you, you might be better prepared to deal with the aftermath. Here is a list to help you in the event that you are affected by a fire.
- Make sure you and your family have a safe place to stay. Make sure you have a place to sleep, clothes to wear and a place to bathe. If you need eyeglasses, prosthetics, food, certain medications or any other basic living essential, contact your local charitable and emergency management organizations like the Red Cross and they should be able to offer you a temporary supply or contact information to a group that can.
- Notify your loved ones about where you will be so that they know you are in a safe place. Your fire might make the evening news, and leaving your loved ones to find out about it that way is maybe not a good idea. Make some calls and ask others to spread the word for you so that no one in your circle is unduly concerned about your family’s well being.
- Do not linger on the premises until you get the all-clear from the police and fire department.
- Call your insurance company to have an adjuster come out as soon as possible. You should do your best to leave the site intact until the adjuster arrives. Do not begin any cleanup efforts or sort through the rubble until after the insurance adjuster has met with you and completed the list of personal effects that are missing or damaged. You should also give your adjuster copies of any pictures you have of your home and contents taken before the fire.
- If possible, try to find your driver’s license, social security cards, passports and other important personal documents first along with copies of your insurance policies. Leaving them exposed could open you up to the risk of identity theft, something that you really don’t need to deal with during this difficult time.
- Remove items that are salvageable and find out how to properly clean them. You may have some possessions that can be salvaged after a fire but don’t assume that just because they look intact that they actually are. Find out how to restore them so that they are once again safe to use.
- Call your post office and utility companies. You may want to have your mail held until you are once again able to inhabit your home, and you should consider having your utilities temporarily shut off.
For more details about how to safely handle yourself after a fire, you can visit the U.S. Fire Administration website. You can also contact us 800.220.5582 for more information about home insurance or to get a free Livonia home insurance quote.