After Home or Office Fire Checklist

By: Tom Hartel
A home or office fire can be devastating, and it is hard to know what to do next after such a shock. The next steps may vary depending on whether it was a home or office fire or how far the fire spread. However, there are also a few universal things that need to be done after a fire. Knowing what comes next may help take some of the stress out of your situation. There are a few definite things you should do right away and other things you should not.

Do not!

One big thing not to do after a home or office fire is to enter the building before you are given the okay from the fire department. Even after the fire is well extinguished, the structural integrity of the building is not clear. The building can still collapse, or the floors can fall through. Salvaging your belongings may be on your mind, but do not enter unless the fire department tells you that you can. The resulting injuries or death are not worth whatever you are looking for in the building. If you are allowed back in, do not turn any utilities on. Gas, water, and electricity should not be touched. The fire caused a mess, but cleaning should be left to professional restoration specialists. They will have the proper safety equipment to do the job.

Notify People

First thing is first, make sure none of your loved ones or employees were injured. Seek medical attention for those who need it then it is time to address family, supervisors, or employees that were not in the fire. Notifying others can help you with your sanity as well as get you the help you need right now. Whether it was a home or office fire, chances are you are not the only one affected by this fire.

Locating any pets that may have been in the building should be another priority. Fires are stressful for everyone including pets. Stress reactions for animals include biting and scratching, so be careful handling your pets while they are in distress. It is better to keep them away from the house when you can enter again for their safety.

Start Insurance Claim

Start the insurance claim process as soon as possible. Before you take any other actions, you should contact your insurance agency. You cannot start any repairs without having done so first. They will also be able to help with housing costs in a residential situation. Depending on what insurance you have, you may also be reimbursed for any expenses used between the fire and moving into a permanent residence.

Find a Place to Stay

Finding a place to stay is one major difference between a home or office fire. Residential fires will bring concerns about where you will stay while the issue is resolved. If you have relatives nearby that you can stay with, you should check on that as soon as possible to take your shelter needs off your mind. If you do not have family in the area, you can contact a disaster relief service. They will help you with food, clothing, shelter, and medicine. Your insurance may cover temporary housing in the event of a fire. Check for vacancies at local hotels, motels, or even Airbnb’s that you can check into at least for the night while you make other arrangements.

Who Else to Notify?

If your cards and bank information were lost in the fire, you will need to notify your bank about what happened. They may also be able to wave late fees if you are understandably behind on your bills. If any vehicles were damaged in the fire, you should notify your automotive insurance. The sooner the better so you can get a claim going as soon as possible. If the fire happens in the winter, you will need a plumber to come and drain your waterlines to prevent further damage from a burst pipe. While the heat is off, the water in your lines can freeze and expand. Valley Fire Protection & Plumbing can help you with winterizing your home or office. Your mortgage lender or landlord should also be notified quickly.

Document the Damage and Salvage

For your insurance and records, you need to document the extent of the damage. When you are allowed back into the building make a list of things that were lost. If you still have receipts from bigger purchases or serial numbers, you will need those to help with your insurance claim. If anything survived the fire, now is the time to remove it. Vandals are known to target wreckage and abandoned properties.

Fire Restoration Services

Now you are on the road to recovery! It is time to start getting your property back in order by hiring a fire restoration service to clean up the damage. Depending on the damage, you may need fire, water, and smoke restoration. This is where your homeowner’s insurance claim comes in handy. This will be able to cover the cost of restoration experts to do the reconstruction or repairs after your home or office fire. After a fire, you will also need to make sure your fire protection system is back online before anyone goes back to work.

Valley Fire Protection & Plumbing can help protect your business against fire with sprinkler system installation or repairs. We can also help get your fire protection system back in order in the event of a fire. Contact us with your fire protection system needs.

Related Topics: Fire Protection
By: Tom Hartel
I acquired my expertise by directing day-to-day operations of the business for over 20 years. Continuous hard work helped me become a nationally recognized speaker and expert on fire protection, fire sprinklers, special hazards, and plumbing systems. In this blog, I share my knowledge that will hopefully help you make better decisions for your projects.

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