If you have been the victim of a house fire, you may have no idea where to even start. There is so much to do, from collecting your remaining possessions to contacting the insurance company, and figuring out who can help with the cleanup process itself. Wouldn’t a cleanup checklist after a house fire help make things easier?
Thankfully, this cleanup checklist after a house fire can help you get back on your feet as soon as possible. Working with a skilled and experienced cleanup company is a must, but there are other things that you will want to take care of after the fire as well.
Knowing what to do can make the process of taking care of you and your family after this kind of disaster much less stressful.
What Do People Need Most After a House Fire?
The first thing that comes up when your home has been destroyed or damaged due to fire, is lodgings. Where are you and your family going to live while your home and property are being cleaned up and repaired?
Construction can make it impossible to live in your home even if it did not completely burn down, and there might be health risks associated with moving back into your home before the cleanup process is completed.
After you sort out lodgings, you will need to figure out who is going to come to clean up the mess and start the process of getting your home or your property ready for repairs. The company that you call for this job is key to your experience with getting your home back to a livable condition.
You should make sure that you work with a company that is experienced in these kinds of jobs and that you do not pick a company that doesn’t have the resources that you need to get a quick resolution to the claims and cleanup process.
Reaching out to an experienced cleanup company is critical, and this is often the very first thing that people do once they have figured out where they are going to be staying for a while. All of these steps should be on your cleanup checklist after a house fire.
What Should be Cleaned Up Following a House Fire?
Many homeowners are not sure where to even get started after a fire hits their home. Having a comprehensive cleanup checklist after a house fire can help you know where to start.
House fires can cause all kinds of different damage to property. In some cases, smoke damage is the main problem, but this means that there will need to be a lengthy cleanup process that includes making sure that the HVAC system is cleaned out.
If your home has been completely destroyed by a fire, there will be property cleanup that should be done. Then you will need help to figure out what to do about environmental hazards and other issues related to the fire. This can take a few weeks, and you should be prepared for a long wait before construction can begin again if your entire house has been lost to a fire.
For those who have a home that has been partially burned down, an inspection must be done to check the status of the remaining structure for safety and any related smoke and water damage.
These kinds of jobs often start with an inspection to assess what all the job will entail, and then work can be done to seal up the remnants of the house, dry out any areas that were damaged by water when the fire was put out, and recover personal items that were not destroyed by the event.
Your Cleanup Checklist After a House Fire
Once the house fire has been contained, you may feel like there are a million steps you need to complete. Our cleanup checklist after a house fire can help with the following steps:
1. Contact a Cleanup Team
A fire restoration company should be called out to your location to start the cleanup process. This is a key aspect of getting your home back to its former condition. Make sure that you contact a skilled company that specializes in these kinds of jobs.
The right experience is going to help make sure that the home is cleaned up well and that you will be able to start the necessary restorations to the property quickly.
These companies are available at all hours of the day, and you should expect a quick response to your call. If you feel that the company expects you to wait a few days for help, hang up the phone and call someone else to take care of you and your family.
The cleanup crew will be responsible for most of the first stages of the process to prepare your home for repairs and rebuilding, and you do not want to have to wait any longer than necessary for this process to be started.
2. Contact Your Homeowner’s Insurance Company
This is the second step that you should take after you have contacted a cleanup crew. You should reach out to your homeowners’ insurance company to start a claim as soon as possible. This will make the entire process much easier and help you get the money that you need for the rebuilding process so that construction is not delayed.
When you work with a skilled cleanup and restoration company, they will usually be more than happy to work directly with your insurance company to get the claim process started. Insurance companies will often need a report and estimates from the restoration company before they can release any funds to start the process of getting your home fixed up again.
Many restoration companies are also able to work with the insurance company to make sure that you do not have to pay anything to them for their time in creating an estimate of the damages and needs of the property for recovery from the fire.
3. The Inspection
A thorough inspection should be done to check the damage to your home. There might be water damage to areas of the home that are still standing due to the fire being put out. These will need to be sealed off and dried out by the restoration team.
If your home has a lot of smoke damage, a unique cleanup process should be done to take care of this issue. You might also need the cleanup crew to take care of your HVAC system during the smoke damage cleanup process.
Construction costs and some other variables can fluctuate in cost over time, and your restoration company can help create an estimate for the total cost to rebuild and return your home to its former condition.
The insurance company will request an estimate of the complete cost of restoration, as well as photos and a report of the damages from the restoration company before they will release funds to start the process of repairs and construction.
The inspection is a key aspect of this kind of restoration process since your homeowners’ insurance needs to sign off on the claim amount and approve the funds to be released to you. They will not take any of these steps until the inspection has been done and all of their potential questions about it have been resolved.
You can see why it is so essential to have a skilled company working on this part of the process. There will be no movement on the claim until the inspection has been completed.
4. Secure the Property
Your home can be at risk of vandalism or being broken into when it has been damaged by a fire, and the restoration team that you reach out to will need to make sure to secure the property so that no one can get into your home.
Restoration teams have access to temporary fencing that can be placed and locked closed so that your home and your possessions will be safe until your home has been rebuilt. This is one of the key aspects of a successful restoration effort, and you will want to ask about this when you reach out to a company to help you after a fire.
If your property has not been secured, you might open yourself up to all kinds of issues that will not be covered under insurance due to things that happened after the fire. Make sure that your home and property will be secured right away to avoid other problems that you do not want to deal with on top of the fire and the cleanup process.
5. Remove the Water and Dry Things Out
Once the estimate is complete, it is time to start drying out the part of the house that is still standing. Water damage from putting out the fire can be pervasive. You will probably have a lot of areas of the home that need to be sealed off and dried out.
This is an important step to get done, along with sealing up the remainder of the house to prevent rain or the weather from damaging the house while it is getting cleaned up and rebuilding is being done.
Drying out floors, walls, and other parts of your structure can take up to a week. Working with a skilled company that is experienced in this kind of work can make all the difference when it comes to a successful drying-out process.
In some cases, you may have a mold infestation problem too, especially if the water was allowed to sit in the home for some time. If you are worried that this may be the case in your home, working with the right company will help find and remove the mold to keep your family safe.
6. Sorting Through Possessions
Sorting through possessions can be quite a process. There will be many things that are not going to be in good enough condition to keep, but some things can be cleaned or serviced and salvaged.
Clothing will almost always be too stained to save and will typically smell like smoke no matter how many times they are washed. Furniture and mattresses can sometimes be restored, but in many situations, this is not the case.
You will probably need some help to decide which of your possessions can be repaired and cleaned and which things need to be taken away.
Make sure to throw out haircare products and cosmetics, as well as all the food that was in your house at the time of the fire. Chemicals and other kinds of contaminants from the fire can make these items unsafe to consume or use again. Medicine should also be thrown out and replaced for the same reasons.
Sanitization of some parts of your possessions can be handled by your restoration team. Part of the inspection process will include a bid for the cleanup of these items so that they do not need to be replaced or thrown out.
7. Rebuilding and Restoring
The construction process can take weeks or months. The severity of the fire will dictate just how long it will take to get your home back to livable conditions again. You will need to work with a variety of different kinds of contractors and technicians to take care of all the various parts of the rebuilding and restoration process.
A quality restoration company will be able to help you expedite a variety of processes that are needed to get your home back to its former glory. They can also help to connect you with contractors and work with the insurance company to make sure that you are not waiting for months to get back into your home.
When you complete all of the steps on your cleanup checklist after a house fire, you will be able to get your home back to normal again.
What is My Home Cannot be Salvaged?
This is one of the questions that people ask when their home has been partially damaged by a fire. Part of the inspection process is checking to see if the heat of the fire has undermined the stability of your home or caused damage that cannot be repaired.
In some cases, so much of the home has been exposed to heat that you will end up having to build a new home from the ground up. This is part of the information that your insurance company will need to have to be able to decide how much to pay out on your claim.
You can trust a skilled restoration company to be able to verify this part of the information needed to determine what is to be done about restoring or rebuilding your home. It can be scary to face the thought of having to build your home all over again, but this is always for the best if the structural damage is so significant that your home cannot be trusted to be safe.
Working With a Quality Restoration Company is a Key
If your home has been damaged by a fire, you should not hesitate to reach out to us at Kingsley LLC. We can help you with every stage of the process of cleaning up after the fire and getting your home back to its former beauty and usefulness.
You should not have to wait for months to get moved back into your home after a fire, and we can make sure that you do not have to wait around before anything is done for your needs.
Working with a skilled restoration and cleanup company is critical after a disaster like a fire and should be on. your cleanup checklist after a house fire. We will take care of the entire process from start to finish to get you back on track and moved back into your home.
How long after the fire will I be able to move back in?
The answer to this can vary. Your home might need to be completely rebuilt, or it might be possible to just clean smoke from the home and repair a small area. The repairs and cleaning could take weeks or months.
You should be prepared to live somewhere else for an undefined amount of time when you are dealing with the aftermath of a house fire. The restoration company that you work with should be able to give you a rough estimate of the time to expect for your home to be livable again.
Do I need cleanup services even after a small house fire?
Yes, even if you have just caught something on fire in the oven, you need to have someone come help with the cleanup process. Soot and smoke damage can be very hard to clean up, and these substances can pose a health risk to you and your family.
The sooner that you get your home cleanup job done, the better when it comes to any kind of fire, even a really small one. You would be surprised at the damage that can be caused in your home just from chemical changes to paint, countertop surfaces, and things like carpet burning during a fire. Make sure to add this to your cleanup checklist after a house fire.
How will I take care of my pets after a house fire?
If you cannot have pets at your new home while you are waiting for the cleanup and restoration process to be completed at your real home, you might need to see if you can leave your pets with friends who have room for them.
Pets should also see the vet after being in a house fire to make sure that they get treatment for smoke inhalation if they need it. This is something that can be forgotten from time to time, and it can lead to emergency vet bills that you probably want to avoid.
Is it safe to live in a house with smoke and fire damage?
Besides the obvious issues that might have happened that make it hard to lock your home or keep the weather out after a fire, there are other risks that you should be aware of. The HVAC system in your home will need to be cleaned, and chemicals removed from surfaces all throughout the house.
Until the damaged part of your home has been sealed off or repaired, you might be exposed to chemicals and other substances that have been deposited by the fire. You should always consider a home that has not been professionally cleaned after a fire to be unsafe to live in.
What if I don’t have homeowners’ insurance?
If you do not have insurance and your home has been damaged by a fire or has burned down, you might need to reach out to the American Red Cross for help. This organization can help you to find ways to fund a new home build and can direct you to shelters where you can live until you have figured out what to do about your situation.
Make sure that you do not pay for utilities to your property while you are not able to live there, and talk to any other organizations that might be able to help you in your local area.
Do I need a fire report?
Yes, you should always get the fire report from the responding fire department who came out to the fire. This report has valuable information in it that your insurance company will need to see. The report will also detail the extent of the fire resolution process and explain which chemicals were used on top of the water to put out the blaze.
All of this information can be helpful to the restoration process as well as the claims process. This is a lot like getting a copy of the police report when you are in a car accident. You will need to make sure that you have as much information as possible on hand before you start the process of rebuilding your home.
Do wildfires qualify me for extra support?
In some counties and states, wildfire damage to your home can be covered in part by assistance programs that are federally or state-funded. You should explore these avenues of support if they exist related to your home fire.
There are places in the US that are at risk every fire season for this kind of loss, and there are often programs that help people to rebuild after a wildfire. The Red Cross and The Salvation Army are also present in nearly every city and town, and you should be able to get additional help as needed from these organizations.