As you read about fire restoration, you’ll learn:
- Why you should leave fire mitigation to the professionals instead of tackling it yourself
- What steps to take after a fire
- How you can help the restoration process
A fire can be devastating. Not only can this type of natural disaster ruin your personal belongings, but it can also destroy your house and leave you homeless. Your house needs to be rebuilt in some situations, but if the structure is salvageable, a good fire restoration company can bring it back to its original condition. Complete restoration is often possible, but you’ll need to use these five fire damage restoration tips to return your home to its former glory.
Step 1: Contact Your Insurance Agent
Your insurance company will pay for fire damage repair in many cases, but you have to complete certain steps to ensure coverage. If you’ve been the victim of a fire, one of the first things you should do is contact your insurance agent to verify coverage and find out which steps you need to take.
During this conversation, make sure to discuss the claims process. You can also ask to see what you can do to speed up the process so you can get back into your home more quickly. Ask about any allowances you may not be aware of. Your insurance company will often cover the cost of temporary housing if a fire destroys your home.
Step 2: Request a Copy of the Fire Report
Fire reports are easy to obtain because they are public documents. You should get a copy of your fire report as soon as it is available because the information it provides is invaluable to your insurance company. You don’t want your insurance company to revoke coverage based on a technicality, so it is crucial to provide your insurance agent with a copy of the following information:
- The location of the fire
- The date of the fire
- The time of the fire
- An account of the fire damage
- The cause of the fire
Step 3: Start the Mitigation Process
You may think that the danger has passed once the fire has been put out, but this isn’t always true. The smoke residue left behind by a fire can cause toxic gasses to build up inside your home, and these chemicals can be harmful to your health. You may also have hidden structural damage. If the fire has damaged pipes, they could burst at any time, and the stagnant water could pose additional health risks. If the fire compromised the integrity of your home’s structure, the building could start to cave in before the restoration process begins.
Because you could be harmed by staying in a house with fire damage, starting the mitigation process immediately is important. The process requires special tools and knowledge, so you can’t do it on your own. It’s best to trust a certified fire restoration company for fire mitigation.
Step 4: Clean the Property and Remove Undamaged Items
Fire damage can make your house look chaotic. Not only do you need to sort through damaged areas of the building’s structure, but you also need to sift through your belongings. You can’t know the full extent of the damage until you start sorting through your possessions.
You can’t begin the restoration process until you have sorted through the mess, but you may be overwhelmed by the size of the project. It can be helpful to go through one room at a time and make two piles of belongings. Place damaged items in one pile to document your losses later and pile undamaged items together. You can then quickly remove all of the undamaged items to make the scene look a little more presentable.
Keep a Record of All the Damaged Items
The good news is that most homeowners’ policies cover lost contents. If your home is damaged in a fire, your belongings aren’t a complete loss. However, the insurance company needs to know exactly what you lost in order to cover the items. You can simplify the process by making a list that includes all of the items damaged by the fire. Once you’ve removed your undamaged belongings from the scene, you can go through the pile of damaged items and list everything for insurance purposes.
Step 5: The Restoration Process
You don’t have the proper tools for restoring your home to its original condition after a fire. This is never a task you should undertake on your own because it requires special knowledge. You need to find a licensed contractor to work with you to restore your home.
While your contractor works to restore your home to its pre-damaged condition, you need to document the costs. The restoration process is usually expensive, and you want to be sure that your insurance company covers all of the costs. You can simplify the reimbursement process by tracking the expenses so your insurance company will pay up quickly.
The sooner the restoration process is complete, the sooner you and your family can resume your normal lives. Documenting expenses speeds up the process so that you spend less time in temporary housing.
What NOT To Do After a Fire
While waiting for the restoration process to begin, you can do a few simple tasks to clean up the scene and make it less chaotic. Separating destroyed and undamaged items is a good start, but you should never go into a deep-cleaning frenzy because you could run into a wide variety of problems. Never do these things while waiting for fire restoration and repair to begin:
- Send smoke-damaged clothing to your regular dry-cleaner: If clothing items aren’t cleaned properly, the smoke odor could penetrate more deeply and become impossible to get out. It’s best to leave the cleaning to specialists who know how to work with smoke-damaged clothing.
- Clean any surfaces: You’ll probably be tempted to wipe off counters and walls that are covered in smoke residue. You could make the issue worse if you aren’t using the right supplies.
- Turn on ceiling fixtures: If the ceiling is wet, you could damage the wiring and cause extensive problems when it comes to restoration.
- Clean electrical appliances: Any electrical appliances in the same vicinity as the fire could be dangerous. Let a professional analyze them to ensure they are in proper working order before you attempt to clean or use them.
- Consume food or beverages that have been affected by smoke: If you had any food or drinks that were near the fire and could have been affected by smoke, it’s best to throw them out. Never consume them because they could be spoiled.
Fire Damage Restoration in Chicago
If you live in Chicago or one of the surrounding areas, the Brouwer Brothers Steamatic is ready to help you with fire restoration services so your life can get back to normal as quickly as possible. Our location near the Tri-State Tollway and South Cicero Avenue intersection on 123rd Street allows us to respond quickly when you need mitigation for fire repair. Contact us today if your home has been devastated by a disaster and needs fire damage restoration.
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