Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Five R's of Fire Damage

Many people don't give fire damage a thought as they walk out the door to work or lay their head on the pillow at night, but it happens every day. Would you know what to do if a fire damaged your home?

Here are five quick tips to consider.

1) Remedial Attention

Care for immediate needs during or after the fire. If there are injuries, attend to them with gentleness. Call 911. Ask for help from a neighbor. Calm yourself. Try to calm any pets. Animals can become very anxious and can literally turn on their owner. Do NOT attempt to enter the burning building even to rescue people or pets. Allow the professionals to work.

2) Restoring Health

Physical injury after a fire can be devastating. It's vital you seek professional medical help. Follow your doctor's instructions. Don't attempt to treat injuries without seeking medical attention. You'll only be hurting yourself and/or your family and may even slow down the healing process or risk infection.

3) Recovering Emotional Stability

When emotional instability is lost, it's sometimes challenging to recover. Get back to your routines. Take care of your emotions as you would take care of your physical injuries. Think positively. Seek therapy. Do things you enjoy. Don't isolate yourself. Know recovery can take time.

4) Recovering Financial Stability

Contact your insurance company immediately with all fire damage details. Even though difficult, provide a list of lost items and their value within your home or business. The insurance agent will probably visit your home to see the items on your list so don't throw away anything until after the visit. This is especially crucial if you've never taken pictures of your home inventory previously and stored them elsewhere. Keep copies of all paperwork from insurance claims.

5) Rebuilding Your Home

Many people don't realize after a fire, a building permit will be required to begin the rebuilding process. A reputable contractor will know this but if you hire a friend to help you rebuild, be aware of it. Install sprinklers. Make sure all codes for fire alarms, electrical systems, etc. are being adhered to.

Learn from your tragedy. Create a family disaster plan which includes an escape route, first-aid kit and anything else you can think of which will make your life easier after fire damage. Even giving blood is a viable option. Be sure to purchase or update your homeowner's insurance to include disaster coverage.

Keep all important documents and policies in a fire safe or even stored off the premises.

Being involved in a major fire with profound fire damage is one of the most unwelcome life changes. But many people say, in the long run, it was one of the best educational things to ever happen to them. They've learned not to take things for granted, and they've learned how to be prepare for it should it happen again. You can recover or even prevent much of the devastation fire can bring if you know what to do either afterward or ahead of time.

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