What to do After a Fire: Your 5-Step Guide to Recovery

house fire

The aftermath of a fire leaves physical damage in your midst, as well as financial and emotional stress.

We know that a house fire is overwhelming, and understand that most people have no idea where to begin after a fire. With our expertise on your side, you can feel confident in knowing that you’re taking the safest, and most appropriate, steps for a speedy recovery.

Step 1: Secure & Protect Your Home

Your first step should be to protect and secure your home by calling a company to board-up your home. To do so, give us a call! This will ensure that your home is safe from the outside elements, pests/animals, or any other unwanted house guests that may try to enter your home after the fire. Woodard will provide 24/7 board-up and tarping service.

Step 2: Notify Your Insurance Provider

In order to get the ball rolling on your homeowner’s insurance claim, you should notify your agent of the house fire as soon as possible. Keep in mind: as the homeowner, you have the right to hire any company you choose. You should not feel pressured by your insurance company to pick a specific company. The choice is yours!

Step 3: Determine Extent of Fire & Smoke Damage

Only enter your home if it has been declared “safe” by the fire department. To classify a home as safe for entry after a fire, fire officials must note that utilities are either safe to use or have been disconnected before leaving the site; never attempt to reconnect utilities yourself. Additionally, homeowners are asked to refrain from entering the home until the insurance company has determined the cause of the fire. Once your team of fire safety and insurance professionals have completed the process, you may re-enter your home. Here are a few items to look for:

  • Driver’s Licenses & Social Security Cards
  • Insurance Information
  • Medications, Eyeglasses, Hearing Aids & Prosthetic Devices
  • Credit Cards, Cash & Jewelry
  • Cell Phones & Chargers
  • Firearms & Weapons

Delays in the recovery process can lead to further damage to the structure, as well as the items within it. Additionally, excess water and smoke residue will cause more damage the longer it remains untreated. It is in your best interest to have a professional restoration company evaluate your home immediately after the fire to determine the extent of the damage.

Step 4: Select a Restoration Company

Always select an experienced company to manage the restoration and reconstruction of your home. Obviously, it is best to work with a company that has years of experience, as well as positive reviews and references. When looking for a reputable contractor, ask people you trust (neighbors, family, friends, etc.) about other fire restoration companies they may be familiar with. When it comes down to it, a company’s reputation, experience, and rapport always speaks for itself.

Prior to selecting your fire restoration company, be sure to verify policy coverage with your insurance company, and gain a full understanding of how the insurance company will be paying for any restoration, mitigation, and remediation work completed.

Step 5: The Recovery Process

Recovery must begin as soon as possible after the fire to prevent further damage to your home and its contents. Here are a few things to expect:

  • Firefighters can leave excess water in your home. If water is left unchecked for more than a day, the chance of mold growth and water damage greatly increases.
  • Some items can be salvaged, others unfortunately cannot. Your adjuster and fire restoration company will review the fire damage to determine the outcome.
  • An itemized inventory of damaged contents and structure, along with photographs will be taken.
  • If items in your home are significantly damaged from the fire, they may need to be transported to a facility for proper cleaning.
  • Once cleaning, restoration, and reconstruction is completed, there will be a final walk through with the adjuster and remediation company to ensure your satisfaction of the work performed.

Rebuilding your home after a fire is a serious undertaking. Woodard’s cleaning, restoration, construction are here to help. Woodard is available 24/7.