Post-Fire Cleanup: 5 Things You Need to Prepare For
A fire in your home is a terrifying prospect, as there's so much at stake, from your personal property to your family's well-being. As the ash settles, not knowing what to do next can worsen an already highly stressful situation.
Though you can't always anticipate a fire in your home, you can prepare to deal with any fallout. With that said, here are five things you should be ready to tackle during your post-fire cleanup:
1. Determine What's Worth Salvaging
Choosing what should stay and go is a challenging and gut-wrenching process, but it's an enormous first step if you want to be ready for the cleanup. The faster you can get through it, the faster the cleanup effort will be.
Unfortunately, some things or sections of your home won’t make it, but parting with them and moving forward is a sign of progress. There's even the potential for your home not being worth salvaging, which, while devastating, is essential to know upfront before any reconstruction efforts begin.
2. Organize Your Thoughts
Emotions will run high—loss, fear, uncertainty, frustration—after a house fire. However, as vital as they are to process, they can sometimes get in the way of reconstruction efforts, and maintaining a clear head as much as possible during the cleanup is instrumental in ensuring you don't miss anything.
Start by organizing your important documents, making the necessary calls, such as to a restoration expert or your homeowner's insurance, and developing a plan of action together. That might also be an excellent time to contact your utility companies to explain the situation to them if you plan on staying away from your home for an extended period.
3. Find a Place to Stay
Unfortunately, there's a good chance that if you’re here and reading this article in the first place, your home is in bad enough shape that it's not safe to live in right now. Even if you think it might be, staying somewhere else while cleanup is underway is probably best. It can also be an excellent way to decompress and destress so you aren't constantly reminded of the damage.
Staying with a friend, family member, or even a hotel is a great option, and it's wise to plan your temporary lodging right away so you aren't scrambling to find somewhere to rest your head when night falls.
4. Secure What's Left
Anything essential that's survived the fire should be sorted through and kept safe. There's still much potential for further damage from soot, the water used to extinguish the fire, or even accidents while moving things during cleanup. If you find anything meaningful to you, whether personal belongings or something you'd instead not replace, find a place where it can stay out of harm's way.
5. Call in a Fire Cleanup Professional
Firefighters are experts who know what to do and what to use to put out a fire safely and quickly. As such, it makes sense that you'd want the same knowledge and professionalism to deal with the aftermath. You already have so much on your plate; being responsible for the cleanup can feel overwhelming.
Do yourself a favor and make these tough times easier on yourself by hiring a restoration service. It will get you back in your home faster and simplify a process that can take a toll on anyone dealing with it.
Be Ready for Anything
Preparation is critical in these challenging situations, and though it's normal to feel lost, confused, and afraid when you lose part (or all) of your home, there's strength in knowing the steps to take next.