Tag: fire (Page 2 of 2)

I’ve had a fire! What now?


What can you expect after you’ve had a fire at your property? Well that’s highly dependent on the extent of damage the fire caused. We’ll explain here some typical expectations after a fire that has caused a decent amount of damage to the property.

The first 24 hours after a fire:

The fire department has wrapped up from extinguishing the flames. You’ll need confirmation from the fire department that it is safe to enter the property.

Contact your insurance company and start a claim. Make sure to ask them for a claim number when reporting.

  • TIP: Save important information such as policy numbers, important telephone numbers, and insurance contacts on a cloud based storage and/or on your mobile phone. If these options aren’t available to you, store them at a secure off-site location.

Be prepared: Different restoration companies may arrive on site after hearing of the fire, eager to assist you. You’ll want to hire someone for the initial board-up services to secure the doors, windows, or any other areas exposing the house to the elements or theft. If you already have one in mind, give them a call a.s.a.p.

  • TIP: This can be a mentally taxing time. Save yourself confusion and anguish by doing your research before the fire. Search your local fire damage restoration company options. Don’t hesitate to call, request references, and ask questions. Save their information off-site, on the cloud, and or/on your mobile phone for easy reference, just like you would those important insurance and policy numbers.

Make sure that the power and gas companies have been notified that the house had a fire. Depending on the size of the fire, the fire department may have the companies pull the meters from the property.

The next few days after a fire:

You’ll be getting a call from an adjuster to schedule a meeting at the property. During this appointment for the initial walk-through, both the restoration company manager and the insurance adjuster should be present, so you may want to give the restoration company a call. The main purpose is to address the factors of contents, temporary living, and timeline of the restoration. By working with the insurance company directly and coming to an agreement on the scope of work, the entire process runs more efficiently.

If the fire was severe enough, use this time to call your cable, phone, and alarm companies to put a temporary hold on your services.

With approval, debris removal and pack-out services may commence.

  • TIP: Keep a home inventory list! Having all this information on file can do wonders for expediting the contents claiming. Depending on the extent of the fire, some contents may be unidentifiable. Make sure everything is claimed at its value by updating this list often and keeping it in a safe place. Knowyourstuff.org is one of many great resources for doing so. They even have a mobile application!

The next few weeks

The insurance company will agree on a scope of work. This will detail what the insurance company is allowing to be done.

The restoration company will apply for the appropriate permits. Dumpsters or storage pods may be delivered to the property. Debris removal and pack-out services will commence if they haven’t already.

Unless it’s already been covered, the restoration company may want to review the scope of work with you, making sure you understand exactly what the insurance company is expecting.

Demolition of damaged areas will commence as necessary.

Your restoration company will work as efficiently as possible to give you back your property completely restored. The timeline depends on the extent of the fire damage, selection decisions and ordering of materials, and how responsive you are to insurance and mortgage company requests.

The Final Conclusion

Each fire loss has its own unique process based on how many variables there are to be considered. Being prepared with an inventory list, off-site and mobile stored policy/contact information, and pre-loss research on reliable restoration companies is important to every one of them.



  1. Test smoke alarms. You’ll find this on almost every one of our handy household maintenance check lists. Batteries in smoke detectors should be replaced once a year and each unit should be tested often.
  2. Check your fire extinguisher expiration date. Not everyone realizes that these actually do expire. You don’t want to find this out when you actually need it. Add a helpful reminder and program the expiration date into your smartphone or online calendar.
  3. Clean your dryer vents! You should clean the entire dryer and ventilation system at least once a year. The flammability of lint is highly underestimated. Need some guidance? YouTube has a few great video tutorials for “dryer cleaning”, or contact the manufacturer of your machine. Make sure to not only clean the screen, but clear debris from the back of the dryer, and check that the exterior vent is also clear.
  4. INSPECT. This is another repetitive goodie. As with any prevention, regular inspection is key to detecting a problem before it becomes a disaster. Check all exposed wires, interior and exterior, for any loose areas or damage. Check for soot marks or damage to your electrical panel. Act immediately if you find a strong odor around your gas connections. Check any pilot lights and don’t forget about places like your attic where animals could chew wires. Make sure circuits aren’t overloaded and that all areas around major appliances are clear of dust and debris. The coils under that heater aren’t going to clean themselves.
  5. Clean your range hood, stove, and oven. Buildup of grease and cause a nasty kitchen fire. If you do experience a grease fire, remember not to use water! You must either extinguish it or smolder it.
  6. Maintain your heating sources. No matter the heat source, be it a furnace, fireplace, or space heater; be sure to have it properly maintained. Furnaces and duct work should be cleaned and the filter changed. Space heaters should be properly used within safe distances of flammable items, and their chords should be in perfect condition. Fireplaces should be cleaned and chimneys swept.Check for cracks and other hazards around the hearth. Be careful what you burn in there! Some woods pop excessively, like cedar.
  7. When cooking, stick around. Unattended cooking is of the most common causes of house fires. If you are going to leave the room, turn off your burners. The same goes for outdoor grilling.
  8. No smoking in bed! Or laying down anywhere for that matter. If you must still smoke, stay standing and prevent yourself from falling asleep.
  9. Install additional protection such as a sprinkler system and a lightning protection system. Sprinkler systems are great extra protection while you are there and peace of mind when you are not. These systems combined with smoke alarms will increase the value of your home and give you a greater chance of surviving a fire. A lightning strike on a property can ruin the entire electrical system and blow every connected electronic device in it. Lightning protection systems provides a safe route for the electrical current to follow, rerouting it from the sensitive routes within your home. You could take it a step further and add additional surge protection to prevent scenarios such as a small surge in the power lines from starting a fire in your electrical panel. If you are experiencing a storm capable of producing lightning, it is best to unplug all outlets, especially large electronics such as computers, televisions, and dyers.
  10. Consult a professional if you find that something is flickering frequently or if certain fuses blow often. This could be signs that there is a deeper hidden problem you’ll want to fix right away.

Please consider all of these tips strongly for the safety of your property. For the day you’ll spend checking them off, you’ll save yourself thousands of dollars and years of worry. Experiencing so many things that we can’t prevent such as major storm systems, tornadoes, and floods, gives us all the more reason to prevent the things we can.

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