How to Take Back Your Home After a Fire: 8 Vital Steps

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: January 26, 2022

A home fire can occur with very little warning and cause extensive damage to the house and your personal belongings. No matter how well you prepare for this kind of emergency, it’s an overwhelming experience.

In an earlier post, we covered the essential steps to take when a fire breaks out in your home, but dealing with the aftermath can be just as difficult. It’s always best to know what to expect, so we offer these important points to remember after a home fire strikes.

Your First Reactions Are Critical

fire man with axe

As Chicago’s leading fire restoration company, we help families recover from house fires all the time. We know that you want to take care of your damaged property and belongings right away, but it’s critical to understand the dangers that exist in your home immediately after a fire.

1. It May Not Be Safe to Enter

Even when the flames are out, a house can still pose a dangerous hazard. Damaged roofs and floors can collapse, and fires can quickly flare up after the initial blaze has been extinguished. Don’t return to your home until the fire department determines that it’s safe to enter.

2. Carefully Assess the Situation

As a safety precaution, fire fighters often disconnect gas and electrical connections to a house. If this is the case in your home, don’t try to turn anything back on. Let a professional fire restoration company take care of this and verify that it’s safe to operate your appliances and HVAC system.

3. Avoid Smoke-Damaged Food and Drink

A house fire can easily damage packaged foods and canned beverages. The heat causes spoilage while smoke and pollutants penetrate plastic containers and bottle caps. Firefighting chemicals are toxic, so be prepared to throw away anything that might have been contaminated. The USDA has written an informative guide on Fires and Food Safety, for those would like to know more about this.

4. If Necessary, Have Your Home Secured

You don’t want to spend the first days after a fire at the house. Residual smoke, soot and extinguishing chemicals pose health risks, so make arrangements to stay somewhere else. If necessary, have the property secured and boarded up until you finalize a restoration plan.

Don’t Try to Handle It Alone

fire damage restoration vans

Fire damage cleanup is never a DIY job. A home fire leaves behind contamination that you can’t see or reach, and your best efforts can make things worse. By calling in a professional fire damage restoration contractor right away, you have the help you need to begin recovery quickly and efficiently.

5. The Drying Process Starts Immediately

Extinguishing a house fire leaves the property soaked, and that damages the structure and sets the stage for mold and mildew growth. A fire restoration company removes standing water, pulls up wet flooring and uses industry-approved equipment to dry out and dehumidify your home.

6. Smoke Damage Is Quickly Addressed

Traces of smoke and fine soot continue to pose health hazards up to 72 hours after a fire is extinguished. Both contain microscopic particles that irritate eyes and respiratory systems, but professional cleanup techniques eliminate residual smoke and soot from your home’s structure. If you’re consider going the DIY route, proceed with caution and plan your smoke damage cleanup well.

7. Belongings Can Be Saved

Many flooring and furniture materials are synthetic, and they produce complex chemical reactions during a fire that quickly contaminate your belongings. Expert cleaning by a restoration specialist addresses this type of damage and minimizes expensive property loss.

8. You Have Help with the Insurance Company

After a house fire, few homeowners are prepared to handle the documentation and paperwork that are part of the insurance claims process. A restoration contractor has years of experience dealing with insurance carriers and can help you navigate the details with confidence.

Depend on Us

Those first few hours and days after a house fire can be very hard to face. Be extremely careful about reentering your home, and remember that successful recovery depends on addressing the aftermath as soon as possible.

You can always depend on ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba. We’re here for you 24/7 with professional fire damage restoration services that get you back on your feet and return you to your home quickly and safely. If you need help now, give us a call now.