What to do After a House Fire
The impact of a house fire can linger long after the flames are extinguished. Homeowners coping with loss and shock must juggle a number of tasks to get back to everyday life. If a candle, faulty wiring, or cooking accident causes the unthinkable, it helps to have a plan for your response.
What to Do After a House Fire
Your first priority after a house fire is to make sure all family members (pets included) are safe and accounted for. In some cases, you may need to find temporary housing until it is safe to return to your home.
1. Don’t re-enter your fire-damaged home.
You might think it is safe to return home once the fire is extinguished, but you must wait until the fire department gives you the all-clear. The following are numerous potential hazards in a fire-damaged structure, therefore it is recommended that before entering a fire structure one should wear at least an N-95 safety mask:
- Fumes and particles from smoke and soot
- Mold and water damage
- Structural issues, like a waterlogged ceiling, or a weak floor or ceiling joist system
- Gas leaks
- Electrical hazards in standing water (note: depending on the severity of the fire, the local Fire Department may have pulled the electrical meter and cut off the gas)
If you re-enter a space too early, you may become exposed to any of these items and risk your health and safety.
2. Call your insurance agent.
Most homeowners’ insurance policies cover the cost of a hotel, short-term rental, or food if your home is damaged due to a fire. You’ll also need to begin the claims process to cover home repairs and the replacement of damaged belongings.
3. Reach out to local organizations for extra support.
Suppose you don’t have homeowners' insurance. In that case, other community resources (like programs, charities, or benefits) may be available to assist you after a fire. These additional resources can help fire victims get back on their feet faster. Some of these organizations that can help after a house fire include:
- Salvation Army
- American Red Cross
- Public agencies such as the health department
- Religious organizations
- State or municipal emergency services office
If you’re unsure where to start, connect with your community’s town or city office for guidance.
4. Get an inspection and damage assessment.
Our seven-step fire damage restoration process begins with a call to our emergency service center. The SERVPRO® team will send an inspector to your home to assess the extent of the fire and create an effective remediation plan.
With more than 50 years of experience in cleanup and restoration, SERVPRO® has preferred vendor status with many insurance companies. We’ll manage the homeowners' insurance claims process for a faster, more accessible experience.