What to Do After a House Fire: A Guide

Published August 24th, 2020 by Claim Help Lawyers

No one ever expects to be a victim of a house fire. But U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 354,4000 house fires each year.

While you can't always predict a house fire, you can remain in control of the way you respond.

Are you wondering what to do after a house fire? Here's what you need to know.

1. Wait for Permission to Re-enter

Many people believe that a house fire is most dangerous while the flames continue to burn. On the contrary, your house remains dangerous even after the fire itself dies out. Smoke, sook, and off-gas toxins combined with unseen structural weaknesses make a burned home a dangerous place to be.

The fire department will permit you to re-enter after the fire. Until then, you can move on to the next few things you can do after a house fire. 

2. Call Your Utility Providers

Because you only have two to three minutes to get out of your house, there's no time to switch off your gas or electrical mains.

In some cases, firefighters will do that for you.

You'll need to shut off all utilities to your house for the foreseeable future. This includes not only gas and electricity but also water in some cases.

Don't restart your utilities until you have the all-clear. The Fire Marshall will let you know what to turn off and when it's safe to turn everything back on again.

3. Start the Insurance Claims Process

You need to notify your insurance provider immediately after the fire occurs. Often, they expect a call not long after the fire department leaves the scene. If your home insurance covers accidental fire, then it's time to pick up the phone.

You can call your agent if you have one. Otherwise, call your insurer directly.

Usually, your insurance provider will direct you to the claims form. If you can, fill this out with an insurance agent who can help prevent any mistakes.

Document a list as best as possible a list of any contents that may have been damaged during this horrible event. We suggest continuing with the list as you recall items.

The insurance company will send out an adjuster to manage your case. They'll look at the documents from the fire department, police department, and ambulance (if available). They'll also assess the potential damage with a property visit.

In some cases, you may want to ask an attorney to assist with the fire damage claim. Their expertise can be precious when you have a complicated or large claim.

4. Look for Fire Remediation Service

With your claim underway and assessment of damage from the fire department, it's time to start the clean-up. Fire remediation services restore your property to a liveable condition.

They don't just clean the house. They use dedicated tools and chemicals to make sure there's no lingering soot or off-gas that could cause you harm.

Learn More About What to Do After a House Fire

Most people find themselves at a loss when they try to figure out what to do after a house fire. While it can be a very confusing and emotional time, it's important to remember that there are lots of people on your side and ready to help.

Are you struggling with your insurance company? Get in touch to learn how the Knoerr Law Group can help you make your claim.

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