A home is typically a large part of the foundation on which we build our lives. It gives us shelter, community, a place to rest, a place to grow our families, or even just a space to put our things. That being said, the degree of devastation that follows any damage to a home is therefore quite reasonable. Our homes are important, which is why we want to help you handle them.
Depending on where you live, being prepared for something like fire damage might not seem practical. In Southern California, however, most people know all too well the hazards of fire season: the dry wind, the blazing temperatures, the utter lack of moisture, and, inevitably, the fires themselves. The people who have been through it though will tell you just how critical it is to take the right steps.
You might wonder then, what are those things? As with any other issue that occurs in a home, problems will arise with the property, the possessions, and, of course, emotions about it all. Fire damage does not come without a loss. It might be that you find you have lost your sense of security, or your favorite photograph, or any of the other invaluable things that live in our homes with us. Despite that, there are many steps to move forward in the right direction. Here, we’ll try to list the best of them – the do’s and don’ts of dealing with fire damage.
- Do make a list of everything you have lost
These are the things that you love and, while many people don’t plan on losing them, it’s important that you keep an account of your belongings for that very reason. Among other insurance claim tips for homeowners, this one is perhaps one of the most significant: being that, if you don’t have proof of your possessions, how can you be compensated for such a loss? Take pictures, keep notes, and help your insurance company help you get back to how things were as quickly as possible.
- Do contact your insurance agent immediately
Another way to get back on your feet as fast as possible is to get the ball rolling as quickly as you can. Being that most insurance policies require you, the policyholder, to file the claim, that means that you have to take the first step. According to Enlighten Me, it is extremely important that you contact your homeowners’ insurance agent directly after a house fire, as time is of the essence when dealing with fire and water damage. It’s true that mold and mildew can begin growing within 24 hours after a house fire, making it essential to start the house fire restoration process as soon as possible.
- Do take care of the property
Make certain that you ask your insurance company what steps you are required to follow. For instance, it’s important to ask whether or not there are any immediate actions you must take to prevent further damage. In fact, After Disaster asserts that, if the damage is extensive enough to require that you leave your property, you need to make sure to notify the police. Request immediate assistance from them as well as your insurance company in making arrangements to board up any openings and to help protect what remains.
- Do focus on recovering
In the middle of a crisis, it can be tough to balance the responsibilities of managing the damage, the property and the possessions that people take care of before they take care of themselves. Losing a home, however, is a substantial and emotional loss. For many, there are memories or sentimental belongings – a history. Remember that those things are natural and also equally as important as the rest.
- Don’t be reckless about what you take
Fire damage does not end on a structural level. Soot and grime will settle on blankets, curtains, and clothing. It invades so much of what you own that you have to be extremely careful when even thinking about removing items from a house that has been affected by smoke and fire: both for health and insurance reasons. In fact, it might be better just to say, “Don’t be reckless.” In the end, having a hands-off approach will be the most helpful for all parties involved until they can all enter the home and assess that damage together.
- Don’t linger
Limit your presence. Obviously, this is hard. It’s difficult not to look or to want to clean or simply to linger. Walking around, however, can stir up soot, ash, and other residues, thus making the cleaning and recovery process that much more challenging. Ultimately, leaving it be is your best choice.
- Don’t do it yourself
Cleaning without the help of a professional is dangerous to your health and likely a step backward in your home’s recovery process. As we said before, unnecessary movement in the house should be avoided, but cleaning even more so. Without the proper tools or knowledge, even the best efforts can result in further danger and contamination.
- Don’t hesitate to ask for help
Restoration companies exist for this reason. At Jarvis Restoration, we understand the significance that underlies all of the soot and the char. We want to help you work with your insurance company to achieve a kind of service that provides the most efficient, gentle, and personal process possible. We understand the value of a home, which is why we have made it our profession.