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Understanding what steps to take in the aftermath of a house fire is crucial, as the effects of the fire, including acidic soot, smoke damage, and lingering odors, can begin to compromise your property immediately, even after the flames have been extinguished.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there are 358,000 structural house fires every year. Fire and smoke are two elements that can cause extensive property damage.

It’s essential to refrain from entering your fire-damaged home until authorities confirm it’s safe to do so. During this time, it’s crucial to reach out to key individuals for assistance and guidance.

  • 1. Contact Key People

    Your Insurance Company

    There are four things you need to address when calling the insurance company:

    • Your claim: Start the claims process immediately because restoring a fire-damaged house can take weeks or months, depending on the extent of the damage.
    • Security: Ask about safeguarding your property. You may need to board up windows or erect a temporary fence for security.
    • Restoration services: Inquire about a professional fire restoration company because you cannot manage the restoration on your own.
    • Policy coverage: Ask what your policy covers for temporary accommodations and expenses.

    Your Mortgage Provider

    Following a fire incident, it’s imperative to continue making mortgage payments for your home. However, you may qualify for a forbearance arrangement, enabling you to temporarily halt payments or make reduced payments for an agreed-upon period.

    Your Fire Damage Restoration Company

    Contact 1-800 WATER DAMAGE of North Dallas as your fire damage restoration company and connect us with your insurance company. You should not take on fire and smoke damage cleaning and restoration on your own.

    Employers and Schools

    Notify employers and schools if there will be absences from either while you get settled with new accommodations.

    2. Secure Accommodations

    Before returning to your home in McKinney, make arrangements for temporary accommodations. If you need to stay in a hotel or another temporary residence, be sure to keep all receipts for any out-of-pocket expenses. Some insurance policies include coverage for Additional Living Expenses (ALE), so it’s important to keep track of all related expenses and retain receipts for documentation purposes. 

    This refers to coverage for a homeowner, condominium owner, or renter that covers the additional costs of living incurred by a policyholder should they be temporarily displaced from their place of residence.

    3. Secure Your Property

    Once you’ve reached out to the necessary contacts, it’s time to focus on your property in McKinney. Depending on the severity of the damage, certain measures to secure your fire-damaged property, like tarping the roof, boarding up windows and doors, or repairing any openings to prevent weather damage, should be handled by a professional. It’s essential to wait for the approval from authorities before re-entering your property.

    4. Manage Utilities

    Fire authorities will evaluate the utilities (water, electricity, gas, and heat) to determine if they are safe to use or if they need to be disconnected. If a utility is disconnected, you must contact the utility company to have the apparatus checked for proper working order or arrange any necessary repairs to reinstate service. Do not reconnect utilities yourself.

    5. Salvage Items

    When it’s been deemed safe by authorities to re-enter your home, there are several steps to take. They include:

    • Locate and collect key items to take with you, such as medication, personal aids (eyeglasses, hearing aids, etc.), and valuable and personal belongings.
    • Perform a damage assessment and identify salvageable items
    • Document everything

    A key element to remember is to document everything you do after a fire. This includes expenses you incur and items that cannot be salvaged. The restoration company will do the same. This will aid with the claims process.

    The Role of Damage Restoration Services

    Restoring and cleaning your home after a fire is not a job to do on your own. Soot, smoke damage, and odors need to be handled by professionals with the proper gear, cleaning solutions, and processes. Not only is this work dangerous, but you can further damage your property if you don’t perform this work appropriately.

    1-800 WATER DAMAGE of North Dallas technicians are trained to handle smoke damage restoration. Once on-site, we will take the following action:

    • Assess the damage: We carefully survey the property to evaluate the extent of the damage, including assessing damage to structural elements, salvaging items, and determining the cleaning processes.
    • Create a plan: Working with your insurance company, we create a plan to address damage and how to clean most efficiently.
    • Remove debris: We remove damaged debris, including drywall, ceiling tiles, flooring, and other items. If furniture, appliances, and other personal belongings have been deemed salvageable, we will set them aside and protect them for the necessary next steps.
    • Clean Residue Our technicians clean and remove soot and smoke residue from surfaces in every room.
    • Remove Odors: An important part of the specialty cleaning process involves removing smoke odors.

    Depending on the extent of the damage, this process can take days, weeks, or even months to complete.

    Contact 1-800 WATER DAMAGE of North Dallas

    You can reach us by calling (972) 888-6013 or by completing our online form. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, to respond to your need for our fire damage remediation services.

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