Guide to Recovering From a Home Fire
Over the past 5 years in the United States, home fires have been the cause of 2,620 deaths and $6.9 billion in property damage, according to the NFPA. Whether it’s a small kitchen fire, electrical fire, or even a lit candle or open fireplace, there are a number of risks at home that can easily get out of control and be devastating for you and your family.
We hope you’ve never experienced a home fire and never will in the future, but if you do, we’re sure there are a number of questions you’ll have about what to do next. Who do you call, what can you do, and where do you go? Our team at Bearingstar is here to help and we’ve created a checklist to help keep you and your family safe as you begin the recovery process.
What to Do After a House Fire
- Check on children and pets to ensure their safety and This can be an incredibly scary experience for everyone involved and it’s important to make sure everyone is safe first and foremost.
- Contact family members and loved ones to inform them of the accident. After an event like this, you’ll need the support of those around you and may need a place to stay while your home is inspected, repaired, or you can find a new
- Call all utility providers (electric, gas, water) and inform them of the fire. They will likely need to come to your home and conduct an investigation and/or safety check depending on the level of damage to the
- Find out what sections of your home and belongings are On average, a fire can bring temps of over 100 degrees to parts of the home that aren’t even engulfed in flames, so the damage may be more extensive than what you can see at first glance from the outside.
- Call your homeowners insurance company to begin the claim process. A Bearingstar agent can walk you through the process of filing a claim and will help you navigate this challenging
- Read through and understand the fire report issued by the responding fire department and make sure you get a copy. A fire report is an official document that details the specifics of the incident and is essential for the insurance claim
- Document all fire Take photographs and detailed notes of damage to property. If you have a home inventory, now is the time to review it and start taking notes of the value of your losses.
- If possible, retrieve valuable belongings and irreplaceable heirlooms before you leave the property and take them with you wherever you plan to stay in the
- Contact your local police department to notify them that your home will be temporarily
- Contact your local post office to temporarily hold or transfer your
- Start the process of replacing important documents lost in the fire (licenses, passports, birth certificates, )
- For disaster relief, contact your local Red Cross or The Salvation Army who can help you get the necessities you may need in the
- Find temporary housing or begin your search for a new home or rebuilding
Emotional Impact of a House Fire
House fires can be tragic disasters that devastate your home and family, leaving lasting effects long after the flames are gone. If you’re feeling unsettled, stressed, scared, and sad, you’re not alone and these are all common following an incident like this. Take time to talk with your family about what happened and to tend to everyone’s needs and feelings. A professional counselor can offer additional support to help you all begin to recover from tragedies such as a home fire.
Remember, there is no timeline for emotional recovery so take the time you and your family need to regroup — especially children.
What Not to Do After a House Fire
Now that we’ve covered the steps to take after a home fire, here are a few things you should avoid immediately following:
- Do not enter your home until you’re advised that it’s safe to do
- Do not turn on gas, water or electricity. A utilities professional will come and check to make sure it’s working
- Do not start or move your vehicle if it has been
- Do not try to clean any of the smoke or soot damage A professional with the proper equipment can come and help you.
Our agents take a collaborative approach in order to provide customized homeowners insurance solutions and guidance to safeguard what matters most to you. We are also here for you if you should suffer a loss to help you each step of the way. Contact your local Bearingstar Insurance office or agent for a policy review today.
NFPA, Home Structure Fires”, Marty Ahrens and Radhika Maheshwari. 2021