10 Tips For Dealing With Fire Damages
Plus a Bonus Tip on Dealing With Your Insurance Company
Call A Fire Damage Mitigation Company First Thing
A fire damage mitigation company works for you, not for your insurance company, and they help you every step along the way to recovery. The fire restoration company will help you with fully documenting your claim, as well as negotiating on your behalf with the insurance company.
It is important that you hire a fire damage restoration company as soon as possible after a fire has occurred. They will help you file your claim and will quickly repair your damaged property to avoid further acidic corrosive damages. The longer soot sits on finishes, the more it will corrode and causing even more damage.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Your insurance provider must know that you have a claim from a fire. You can potentially wait until a fire damage restoration company shows up to verify that you do not likely have a $0 value claim, but you need to file a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible.
At times the insurance company will want to send out their own adjuster. The company you hire to clean up smoke and fire damage will get started immediately and should document damage as they go. The sooner you let the insurance company know what has happened, the sooner you can move your claim along.
If the fire damage happened to your home, you will need somewhere to go. Your insurance company likely has funds available as a part of your claims process to provide you with safe lodging, and may also provide you with temporary belongings, like clothing, while your property is being salvaged.
Protect Your Health
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is important to help you protect your health and welfare after a fire. Fire leaves a lasting effect on more than just your belongings.
There are many chemicals and dangerous substances in the air after a fire, you do not want to expose yourself to those toxins any more than necessary. Prevent pets and vulnerable people such as sick, frail, elderly, children from getting anywhere near fire or smoke damaged areas.
Seek medical help if you or someone you love does experience health problems from being exposed to the fire from smoke, soot, or heat. An abundance of caution is urged, anyone who was part of the fire event should be checked out by a qualified medical professional.
Get a Copy Of The Fire Report Along With Names and Numbers
At the actual time of the fire cleanup, get the name of the first officer (the first person on the scene) and the name and number of the lead investigator. Sometimes a fire investigation occurs to verify that there is no suspicious cause nor arson involved, it is helpful to get the name and number of the lead investigator to follow up on the case when necessary.
The fire report is an important document to have when going through the claims process. The fire report notates what happened, what caused the fire, and more. You may need to submit a copy to your insurance company, or to give your adjuster the name and number of the lead investigator.
Limit Movement In and Around the Area
Moving around in the smoke damaged area, or in an area that a fire just ran through, can cause soot or smoke damage to be fully absorbed into soft surfaces, such as carpets. This causes even further property damage. It is recommended to keep away from damaged areas until your fire restoration team has done whatever possible to mitigate the damage and make it safer to move around and minimize damage.
Record EVERY Damaged Item
Make sure to document every item that was damaged. Depending upon your agreement with your fire restoration company or private adjuster, these service companies may record damaged items for you. The adjusters for the insurance company will often try to group things together, because it is easier to put a lower price on a group of items than when the items are listed individually. Record EVERY item individually to maximize the damages that are recuperated.
Document All of the Damage
You can say something was damaged all you want – without some form of proof, to the insurance adjuster it never happened. It is important to take careful photos of every item that you are claiming as lost or damaged as part of your insurance claim. Make sure to take a photo of the item before handling too, this will help in verifying that the item was indeed in a place that was damaged by the fire or the smoke. A reputable fire restoration contractor can help you with all of this and more. There are also special technologies available on the market like 3D cameras that are very helpful with this step.
Discuss with your personal adjuster or your fire damage restoration company technicians whether it is okay to throw out any of the smoke or fire damaged items. The insurance company may disagree with the stated damage of certain items. You may need to hold on to them until the insurance company is finished with the claim.
Empty YOUR Refrigerator and Freezer
If the electricity is out, which it typically will be, find a new place to store your cold food. To prevent mold or mildew from growing inside those appliances, prop open the doors. This step is often neglected in the aftermath of a fire event and can lead to further damage due to rotting foods, lingering odors, and potentially leading to a biohazard waste cleanup too.
Clean The Property Thoroughly
Many people want to clean the damage themselves and are doing themselves a disservice. It is best to work with professionals who know how to properly clean your items and property after the damage of a fire to prevent further loss.
Whenever possible a fire damage cleaning professional should be handling the cleaning of the fire and smoke damage for you. Our pros here at Heroes Restoration Inc. handle these types of jobs regularly and can help you through every step to make sure that your home or business gets cleaned thoroughly, safely, and completely.
Save Anything Salvageable
Some keepsakes or memories may be salvageable. Discuss this with the professionals who are helping you clean up after your fire. Even if you are saving some of your belongings, it may be damaged beyond repair, or it may still be a part of the insurance claim, so discuss this with whomever is helping you deal with the aftermath of the fire event.
Fully Dry Everything and Beware of Mold!
There is usually a tremendous amount of water that gets inundated within your property after a fire event. When filing smoke and fire insurance claims, water damage is often the reason that things are destroyed outside of the fire itself.
Make sure that you thoroughly dry, or hire a professional mitigation company to thoroughly dry, anything and everything. The potential danger of not drying your property fully and completely using mold mitigation techniques, is that mold can quickly and catastrophically take over making damages far worse. Make sure you dry everything thoroughly.
Do Not Use Appliances or Electronics
You should get your appliances and electronics checked out by a qualified technician before using them after a fire event. The fire, smoke, and soot can change the chemical makeup of your items, which can create a new fire hazard as the electricity can flow in ways not initially intended.
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