By Roxanne Turnbloom
When a fire happens, your life can change more than you could think. However, knowing where to start can help you out. No matter what type of building you reside in, fire damage can be quite severe. Many of your things and the building itself can be severely damaged by the smoke, flames, water and heat. Some things that didn’t burn up are now ruined because of the smoke and also soggy with water which was used to put the flames out. Anything that can be salvaged will have to be cleaned carefully. You also could find that the firefighters have cut holes into the walls so they can find any flames that are hidden. There could be holes cut into the roof as well to allow smoke and heat to escape. The cleanup will take patience and time.
You should realize the risk to your health and safety even after the fire is extinguished. The dirty water and soot left behind can have things in it which could make you ill. Therefore, be quite careful if you do go in your home and touch any items that were damaged by the fire. Speak with the fire department, your insurance agent, local building official and restoration specialist before you start any repairs or cleanup. You should not enter your damaged structure in the first place unless the fire department has deemed it safe to do so. Fires can begin again even after they look to be extinguished. Floors and roofs could fall from the damage that was done.
The fire department will check that your utilities such as gas, water and electricity are safe to use or not. If they are not, they will disconnect them all before they leave. Do not attempt to turn them back on by yourself. Speak with the police department as well to alert them that you’ll be away from your home for a time. You could need to board up any openings in some cases so that no people or animals can get in while you are not there.
Handling The Damage
A company who is trained in fire damage restoration need to be contacted since they will be the experts at restoring or cleaning your items.
Ask for an estimate of the costs for the work before anything begins and has an agreement in writing drawn up. You can find names for these companies in the phone book and on the Internet, or you can speak to your insurance company for ones they have used in the past. Talk to someone who has used a particular company you are considering before you hire them.
Services You Should Expect:
● Securing your home from more damage
● Estimating the damage
● Doing any needed repairs
● Estimating the cost of repairs or replacement
● Storing your items that are salvageable
● Hiring repair or cleaning subcontractors