10 Steps You Should Take After a Fire
Fire is not something that people think about too often. That is until it affects them in some way.
When fire ravages your home or office, it can be a stressful and confusing time. It can leave you feeling vulnerable and alone. However, you don’t have to deal with the aftermath of a fire on your own. There are fire cleanup companies who can help you understand and navigate the entire process.
If you ever find yourself in the midst of a fire disaster, don’t lose hope. Stay calm and remember the steps to take following a fire. Before you know it, things will get back to normal and you’ll be “back on your feet”.
1. Initiate Emergency Contact
First things first, when dealing with a complicated fire situation that’s out of your control, it’s best to call in emergency responders. It’s not the same for all parts of the world but in the U.S., you should dial 911. When your local fire department responds, they should eventually compile a fire report. Don’t forget to ask how to get a copy of this report.
Next, research the fire cleanup companies in your area. There is one thing to remember here: Don’t settle for anything less than 1 company who can provide 100% restoration. In the Dallas area, SERVPRO of North Irving is a full-service fire and water damage restoration firm. With a wide range of services, we’re a one-stop-shop for customers:
- 24/7 emergency service available
- Board-up and roof-tarp services
- Water damage remediation
- Cleaning and taking inventory of belongings
- Help with moving in, moving out, and storage
- Restoration of textiles and electronics
- Removing smoke and fire odors
- Roof replacement
- Reconstruction (if we tear it out, we’ll rebuild it)
- Live, 24-hour security
During initial contact, we ask questions about the fire event to determine what equipment and resources are appropriate. Then, we arrange to begin the cleanup and restoration job immediately.
2. Make Sure It’s Okay To Enter The Building
Before you or anyone else enters a fire-damaged building, make sure to get the go-ahead to do so. Depending on the severity of the fire, the structural integrity could be compromised. Emergency responders should advise when it is safe.
3. Contact Your Insurance Provider
Let your homeowners' insurance company know about the fire. This is when you should give them the details of the disaster restoration company you want to use (i.e. tell them you’re using SERVPRO for cleanup and reconstruction). The adjuster should give you a claim number to pass along to the cleanup company. Always remember that it’s your right to go with a fire damage restoration firm of your choosing.
4. Schedule An Inspection and Fire Damage Assessment
Once you’re given the okay to re-enter a structure, it’s time to get to work (or rather, put the fire cleanup companies to work). An inspection should be completed to identify the extent of the fire damage. This is key in establishing the right plan of action.
When our SERVPRO technicians visit a property, they conduct a comprehensive inspection. They document the scope of the damage and prepare an estimate for the client’s insurance company. From there, our team works with insurance adjusters to get the claim approved as soon as possible. After claim approval, we can move forward with additional fire damage services.
5. Secure The Property
As previously mentioned, fire can result in damage to the structural integrity of a building. In some situations, the walls, windows, and roof are weakened to the point where belongings are exposed to the elements (and possibly criminals).
The solution here is to immediately tarp the roof and board up the exposed areas of the building. This not only protects the structure from further damage but also provides some security. Fire cleanup companies like SERVPRO of North Irving are experienced in board-up and roof-tarp services. Moreover, if it’s necessary, we’ll send a security guard to watch your property while it’s exposed.
6. Find Shelter
Unfortunately, a fire can do so much damage to a home that it’s deemed temporarily unlivable. In this case, you’ll want to organize for a place to stay. If you don’t have family members or friends who can provide shelter, there are other resources available such as Insurance policies with short-term housing options, disaster relief organizations, and government programs dedicated to large-scale disasters (i.e. FEMA or state agencies)
7. Employ A Water Removal and Drying Service
If water is present, it should be handled in a specialized manner. Hidden moisture can cause a whole mess of problems including mold and bacteria growth.
When considering fire cleanup companies, look for a firm who has extensive experience in water removal and extraction. For example, SERVPRO of North Irving utilizes state-of-the-art equipment to ensure water is properly removed and items are effectively cleaned. Additionally, we are the only SERVPRO in Dallas who is Esporta certified (we can clean textiles affected by contaminated water).
But wait, there’s more. We carry a whole host of other certifications as well:
- WRT (Water Damage Restoration Technician)
- ASD (Applied Structural Drying Technician)
- FSRT (Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration Technician)
- IICRC Certified Firm
- OSHA (10-hour General and/or Construction Industry Training Program)
- RRRP (Lead-Based Paint Activities and Renovation)
- ECTP (Employee Certification Training Program)
8. Remove Smoke and Soot
After a fire, there’s a ton of cleaning work to do. More than likely, you’ll find soot on belongings. And, there may be an overwhelming odor of smoke. Qualified fire cleanup companies should be well versed in the specific procedures to clean smoke and soot.
At SERVPRO, we use propriety chemicals to remove smoke and soot. We clean the entire property as well as the items inside to ensure all smoke particles are eliminated.
9. Clean and Sanitize Structure and Belongings
If items and structures are salvageable, they should go through a heavy-duty cleaning and sanitizing process.
After we remove smoke and soot, we clean, sanitize, and disinfect belongings to bring them back to pre-fire condition. This includes using ozone, air scrubbers, or foggers to deodorize property and possessions.
10. Restore The Structure
Restoration involves anything from minor repairs to reconstruction. Keep in mind not all cleanup firms can provide full restoration services. Many companies will tear out damage, but they’ll leave the homeowner or business owner deal with reconstruction.
As a full-service restoration firm, the techs at SERVPRO of North Irving can rebuild anything that needs to be torn out. We work hard to ensure properties get back to their former glory.
Rely On Fire Cleanup Companies You Can Trust
Really, it comes down to finding a company who can do all the heavy lifting for you. As you’ve probably gathered by now, SERVPRO of North Irving is that company for folks in Dallas. Our goal is to take as much weight off our customers’ shoulders as we possibly can. You should expect nothing less than this!
If you’d like to learn more about SERVPRO of North Irving, get in touch!