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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

What to Do After a House Fire in Fort Worth: 7 Tips

9/3/2020 (Permalink)

house on fire If you've experienced a house fire, contact the Fort Worth fire damage restoration professionals at SERVPRO. We're available 24/7 to help.

Few things can bring a house to ruin faster than fire.  For communities who have been devastated by wildfires, they know all too well how rapidly fires will consume homes. Then there are isolated incidents that cause a single home house fire: faulty wiring, cooking, candles, falling asleep while smoking, lightning strikes, arson, etc.

In emergencies like these, we try to keep our wits about us as we face hardship.  In this article share advice on how to manage this unfortunate event along with actionable tips on what to do after a house fire. 

What Not to Do After a House Fire

When reeling from house fire aftermath, the homeowner may not be thinking clearly. Below are things to avoid after a house fire, even when they seem harmless at the time.

  • Don’t re-enter the home: Property owners may be anxious to re-enter the home to take account of possessions and look over the damage. It's best that you wait until the fire marshall or the insurance company has given you the go-ahead to go back into the property. Going back inside too soon could impact your insurance claim.
  • Don’t turn on utilities: Fire damage may compromise the safe operation of water and gas connections in the home. It is best to leave utilities off during the recovery process. 
  • Don’t attempt to start or move a fire-damaged vehicle: After a fire damage loss, you are likely to be pooling all your remaining resources together (including transportation). It is best that you do not attempt to drive a vehicle once it’s been damaged by fire. This may not be safe and it could interfere with your insurance claim. 
  • Don’t do your own fire damage cleanup: After dealing with a house fire loss, there is that urge to get back to normal.  It seems productive to get started with cleaning, but it's unsafe. With extensive fire damage, professional clean up services are necessary.

Aside from the above rules, other questions may come up about what to do after a fire in your home. When in doubt contact your insurance company or SERVPRO for guidance.  SERVPRO in Fort Worth is available 24/7 to assist you with any inquires on what to do after a house fire.

What to Do After a House Fire: 7 Tips

When a home is destroyed by fire, the house may be all that you can think about. These tips on what to do after a house fire remind you to prioritize personal welfare matters.  

1. Tend to Your Loved Ones 

Getting everyone out of a structure engulfed with flames is only the beginning of a long process.  

Once everyone is settled, you’ll want to check on the welfare of those who live with you including any pets that you have been able to rescue. 

Medical treatment should be sought for any medical concerns (such as smoke inhalation), especially for pets who are unable to verbalize symptoms.  People with special needs will need a physician’s evaluation for the same reason.

Also important is the mental welfare of those affected by the event. Lean on one another during this time and help secure counseling for those who are struggling emotionally. 

2. Find a Safe Place to Stay

Once immediate medical issues are addressed, it’s time to seek temporary shelter. Reach out to family and friends to ask who might be able to offer a place to stay.

Booking a hotel room or an Airbnb are also options. Some homeowner insurance policies may reimburse you for temporary housing expenses. 

However, some may be low on funds or unable to front the money until insurance claims are approved. In that case, you may be able to turn to churches or disaster relief agencies like the American Red Cross or Salvation Army for free temporary shelter.

Emergency Services may provide trauma assistance that includes housing assistance. Additionally, in the event of fire damage due to a wildfire, you may be able to apply for Fire Management Assistance. Check with fire and EMS on the scene about places that can help after a home fire.

3. Contact Insurance Agent 

Once you’ve taken care of your family's immediate needs, the next most important thing to do is to contact the insurance company for your homeowner’s policy to start a claim. The sooner you initiate the claim, the sooner you can collect upon the policy’s benefits.

The insurance agent will guide you through the post-fire recovery process. Ask your agent any questions you have about what actions you should take and also what the insurance company’s actions will be. You may be required to provide documentation to the insurance company such as a fire report or photos of the damage as part of the claims process.

You’ll also want to look into securing "loss of use" cash if you are eligible for it. This covers expenses incurred from displacement. Save your receipts as the insurance might ask for this later.

The insurance company also assists in securing abatement and cleaning services. At SERVPRO we work directly with the insurance company to make the process more efficient for our clients. 

4. Take Inventory  

Perhaps what homeowners look forward to the most is taking inventory to recoup and salvageable possessions.  This involves sorting through the contents of the home to determine what can be saved and what cannot.

Items you wish to save go into two categories: what is in good condition and what needs fire damage treatment. Good condition items can be put into storage and fire damaged items will be handed off to cleaning specialists (like SERVPRO).

Once you've gathered everything you wish to save, Items that have made it through unscathed can be moved to storage, and damaged items that you wish to recover should be in a separate collection for fire damage. 

There is consolation in finding items that we're spared.  Another benefit of clearing out possessions is to make way for cleaning crews or potential abatement services. Just remember to wait until the property has been deemed safe for re-entry. 

This is also the time to replace important documents like identification documents, passports, etc. Contact the appropriate agencies to order duplicates.

Now for the unpleasant part: itemizing your lost valuables and possessions.  As part of your insurance claim, you will need to provide a complete list of items that could not be recovered. Make this list as you walk around the property to help you remember things that may have slipped your mind.

5. Address Your Finances 

While it may feel like the world has stopped during a house fire recovery, unfortunately, expenses won't. If debit cards or personal checks perished in the fire, arrange replacements for these through your bank.

Mortgage and car payments also continue to be due through the post-loss process.  Your insurance policy or any supplemental coverage you may have might cover some of these payments.

Stopping utilities such as water, electricity, gas, internet, trash collection, etc. saves money as you recover. 

 This is also the time to start calculating other post-loss related expenses incurred during this time such as new clothing or other personal items.

6. Contact a Cleanup Crew

You've done your part. Now it’s the cleaning crew’s turn. SERVPRO’s goal is to make it like it never happened with our complete cleaning and fire restoration services.

SERVPRO in Fort Worth is equipped to handle more than one recovery project at a time.  In addition to fire damage restoration, we do Esporta wash system textile recovery, water damage restoration, and reconstruction of the house. 

One company managing several necessary recovery tasks saves time and makes the process more efficient.  If you hire specialized companies individually, the process could take longer, especially when insurance approval is needed. 

When we work directly with the insurance company, we consolidate the work to make the process more efficient. Our goal is to complete the recovery process quickly so that homeowners get back to normal as soon as possible.

7. Destress!

On top of having to deal with all the stress of your house burning, there are so many action items to manage and address. Remember to pace yourself as you go and take breaks between tasks when you need to.

Take it easy on yourself and turn to your favorite destressing activities. Stress relief activities are a nature walk, getting a massage, watching your favorite movie or TV show,  or getting a family together for a fun activity. With all you've been through, it's important to gain relief through doing the things you enjoy.

SERVPRO is here to take some of that burden from your shoulders. For fire damage restoration in Fort Worth, we are faster to any size disaster.  Call us any time 24/7 at (817) 589-1499 for emergency contact and assistance.

Contact SERVPRO North Richland Hills Today for Fort Worth Fire Damage Restoration

SERVPRO’s Fort Worth fire restoration services are at the ready to respond when disaster strikes. After our customer care agents ask you important intake questions, we dispatch our IICRC certified crew right away. 

What our crews do:

  • Roof tarping and board-up
  • Content cleaning
  • Clothing and textile sanitization
  • Electronic service restoration
  • Moving services and storage
  • Fire and smoke odor deodorization
  • Roof replacement
  • Repairs and reconstruction

For over 30 years, we’ve been helping Fort Worth, TX homeowners through the house fire recovery process step by step. This includes working directly with your insurance company to ensure that the process goes as smoothly and efficiently as possible. We’re in your corner! Check out our before and after Fort Worth property fire damage restoration photos.

Call us as soon as possible, 24/7, at (817) 589-1499 for emergency contact so we can get started on your recovery process right away!

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