“Hello 911. ” the operator answers cool and calm. “My house is engulfed in flames. Please hurry!” the homeowner explains frantically. “Help is on their way. ” the operator replies.
This phone call is one that all of us think about at one time or another. We hope that we are prepared if a fire ever strikes our home. Do you know what you would do? Of course we would all like to feel that we are prepared but can you ever truly be prepared for an accident or natural disaster? Whether you are in a flood or a fire surviving the event is monumental. How do you proceed to get your life back in order back to some resemblance of what it was before the fire?
Most of us realize that we will need to find away to begin the process of restoring our home and the items that belong to us. This process will take time. Not only will your belongings have been damages by fire but water damage will also be an issue. Who or where do you turn to first? Did you have the proper insurance? Are your ducks all aligned and how fast can you get back on your feet? If this situation ever happens to you be prepared.
Here is a list of the major dos and don’ts involved in the process of restoring your home when fire wreaks havoc.
1) First things first call the insurance agent immediately. As you are watching the fire fighters fighting to save your home call and let your agent know what is going on. They will be able to get the ball rolling for fire restoration professionals to assess the damage. It will also be necessary for them to help you find a place to stay in the mean time.
2) Don’t reenter the home until you are sure it is safe structurally and that ventilation has been established. Windows and doors with fans blowing are a good start for evacuating smoke from the environment.
3) Electricity to the area should be shut off and not turned on until a professional is out to evaluate the environment.
4) Start by removing anything that you notice is visibly damaged beyond repair. All food should be disposed of. Do not eat anything that has been exposed to fire. The chemicals that certain materials give off when on fire could be hazardous to your health if ingested.
5) The urge will strike to wash walls and the contents of your home. Do not attempt to do this on your own. More damage could be done. It is best to have a professional service in to survey the area and give advice before cleaning is attempted.
6) Make sure as the restoration process is attempted that you change the filters on all heating and cooling systems.
7) Pets should not be removed from the premises. Do not allow pets to roam amongst the damage. It is not safe for their health and could be dangerous in the unstable conditions the fire has caused.
It is so important that fire alarms are installed throughout your home. A quick response by a homeowner coupled with a responsive fire team will yield the best overall result in saving your home and family. Be as prepared as possible. Make sure you go over fire safety often and that you are in regular contact with your insurances agent. Being prepared for accidents and natural disasters will help in the long run if something does happen to your family and home.