House fires are incredibly dangerous. They pose a serious threat to your life and safety, and the destruction they wreak can be devastating. If you experience a fire in your home, quick thinking and action can help you minimize the damage. Here are three crucial steps you need to follow during and after a fire:
1. Get to safety.
When there's a fire in the house, your first priority should be getting to safety. Don't waste any time taking personal belongings with you. Physical items can always be replaced, but your health can't be. Even if the fire seems to be under control, smoke inhalation can cause you to lose consciousness. Get outside and call 911 from a safe location. Have a planned meeting place for your family to gather a safe distance from your house; this can help you make sure everyone is accounted for.
2. Find somewhere to stay.
Even if the fire department is able to put the fire out immediately, you won't be able to reenter your house immediately. Houses can sustain structural damage as a result of fires, which means the walls, roof, or floor may suddenly cave in. You'll need to find somewhere to stay until your home is restored. If you have friends or family in the area, you may want to call to ask if you can stay with them. Otherwise, your best bet is finding a hotel to stay at.
3. Call a fire damage restoration service.
A fire damage restoration service has professionals available who are ready to help you rebuild your life after a catastrophe. They can perform a thorough inspection of your house and let you know if you'll need to have major construction work done. You may want to submit the results of their investigation to your insurance company. Homeowner's and renter's insurance usually covers fire damage in your policy, and a professional assessment of the extent of the damage can help your claim get processed faster.
Fire damage restoration services also deal with the soot and water left in your home as a result of the fire and the efforts to put it out. Call as soon as possible, since water damage can worsen the longer it's allowed to sit. The restoration team will use special tools including air scrubbers, industrial dehumidifiers, and wet vacuums to remove unwanted odors and moisture from your home. The team can also haul away debris and burned items.