What to Do After a Fire
Thursday, August 13, 2015
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, each year there are more than 350,000 house fires which cause over 2,500 deaths and 12,600 injuries in the United States, with direct property losses estimated at $7.3 billion annually. Those are serious statistics. But what if suddenly they are no longer just statistics, and you become an individual number among them? What if you personally experience a fire loss in your home or business, and you are faced with the dilemma of what to do after a fire?
Recovering from a fire can be an extremely overwhelming process. When fire strikes, lives are turned completely upside down. Often, one of the hardest parts is knowing where to begin after the flames are out. The following checklist from the U.S. Fire Administration and Ready.gov serves as a quick reference for what to do after a fire:
- Contact your local disaster relief service, such as the American Red Cross, if you need temporary housing, food, medicines, or other necessary items.
- Contact your insurance company or agent right away for detailed instructions on protecting your property, conducting inventory, and connecting with approved fire damage restoration companies. Do not throw away any damaged goods until after you speak with your insurance company.
- Upon initially returning to your property, check with the fire department to make sure the building is safe to enter. Be watchful of any structural damage caused by the fire.
- The fire department should make sure that utilities are either safe to use or are disconnected before they leave the site. DO NOT attempt to reconnect utilities yourself without first checking with the fire department.
- Try to locate valuable documents and records, such as passports and marriage certificates. If you need to replace such documents, refer to www.usa.gov/replace-vital-documents for more information.
- If you vacate your property, especially for an extended time period, contact the local police department to let them know that the site will be unoccupied.
- Begin saving receipts for any money you spend related to fire loss. The receipts may be needed later by your insurance company and/or for verifying losses claimed on income tax.
- Notify your mortgage company concerning the fire.
- Check with an accountant or the Internal Revenue Service about special benefits for people recovering from fire loss.
Joe Taylor Restoration currently serves as the approved and preferred vendor for over 45 insurance carriers in the South Florida market, including industry leaders such as Federated National and Frontline. If you experience the trauma of fire damage and are wondering what to do after a fire, you can rest assured that we will handle the situation with the expertise and compassion that this kind of loss requires. For more information, please refer to our web page www.jtrestoration.com/fire-damage or call us at 888-814-1455.