What Should I Do After a House Fire?
Dealing with the aftermath of a house fire can seem overwhelming. You need to handle the insurance company, manage safety hazards, salvage water-damaged furniture and other belongings, and rebuild as needed. The following list of procedures will help restore your property with less stress.
1. Make Safety Your Number One Priority
Don’t enter until you get an all-clear from emergency professionals that the building is structurally sound.
Turn off water, gas, and electricity to affected areas.
Don’t breathe in smoke, soot, and ash!
Wear HEPA filter safety masks to avoid inhaling dangerous particles.
Wear gloves when touching burned, soot-covered items.
DO NOT clean walls, furniture, and fabrics with soot on them. This only grinds in the soot.
DO place towels or sheets on carpet traffic areas and furniture.
Do empty refrigerator and freezer if electricity is off. Prop doors open to avoid mold growth and damage.
DO wipe clean metal surfaces as soon as possible before acid in soot damages the surface. (doorknobs, cabinet handles, stainless steel appliances).
2. Contact Your Insurance Company
Call your insurance agent. Discuss the fire damage restoration process and find out exactly how much your policy covers for house fire damage.
Make a list of affected belongings.
Take pictures and video of the fire-damaged areas and their contents.
Keep receipts of any expenses you have related to the fire.
Arizona Total Home Restoration offers insurance mitigation including help filing your claim, filing the claim on your behalf, and billing your insurance company directly. We can also cover up to 50% of your insurance deductible.
3. Secure Your Property
Lock all exterior doors.
Board up windows and unlockable doors to deter looters.
Tell the police department and neighbors your property is unoccupied and a home restoration company will be onsite performing damage repair. Provide them with your contact info.
Arizona Total Home Restoration provides the following Fire Restoration services:
- 24/7 Emergency Response.
- Onsite assessment, testing services, and a detailed estimate.
- Board-up, roof tarp, and interior containment.
- Pack-out, storage, and content cleaning of your personal items.
- Demolition and debris removal.
- Water extraction and professional dry-out (if water damage is present).
- Cleanup to include smoke odor removal, antimicrobial cleaning, and air purification.
- Duct cleaning.
4. Give Special Attention to Your Children and Pets
This is a stressful time for everyone. You’ve got a lot to do to move past a house fire trauma. But you will recover, both materially and emotionally.
Pets and children need help coping, too. It is especially difficult on them because they are in an unfamiliar environment.
You can help them by:
- Providing everyone a few comfort items and familiar objects not affected by the smoke, soot or fire.
- Keeping a routine, especially mealtimes and bedtime.
5. Get Professional Fire Damage Restoration Services
Before you hire a professional restoration company:
- Ask them to provide a written estimate.
- Document insurance mitigation to ensure you get the insurance coverage you deserve.
- Make sure they are properly licensed. A water damage restoration company should have all the credentials, certifications and licensing needed for a proper repair and rebuild of your home.
- Check out their reviews and meet the staff of house fire restoration companies you are considering to be sure you feel comfortable.
Your insurance company or HOA may refer you to one of their “partner” home restoration vendors, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have a positive experience.
Remember, losses aren’t limited to fire damage.
Soot pits and corrodes metal like doorknobs and stainless-steel appliances, pitting and tarnishing them within hours.
Water used to put out the fire damages electrical appliances, causes water-damaged furniture, flooring and fabric.
Toxic mold growth starts in as little as 24-48 hours in wet environments.
Smoke odors linger in the air and settle into your belongings, causing another hazard to your health and property.
The team at ATH understands what you're going through, and offers a sympathetic ear, expert guidance, and professional damage restoration company services. Browse heartfelt reviews from our customers and view project galleries of our work.
House Fire FAQs
Did you know...
- House fires often start while homeowners are away traveling or on vacation?
- The smoke smell lingers long after a house fire. Here are some DIY smoke odor removal tips.
- Nearly 4,000 people in the United States die in homes fire each year and over 20,000 are injured. Learn about the best smoke alarms for your home.
- Cooking is among the leading home fire causes and source of fire-related injuries in the United States. Get some kitchen fire safety tips.
- Smart home devices go a long way in helping prevent water and fire damage.
- It’s estimated that electrical failures or malfunctions account for 13% of all household fires. Here are 6 ways to prevent electrical fires.
Get a Free House Fire Damage Consultation
More fire damage FAQs will help you prevent a house fire. But we know how devastating the effects of a house fire can be if you've already experienced one. Our team has helped thousands of people just like you. We can salvage your belongings and restore your property back to its pre-damaged condition in a timely and professional manner.