When a family or business owner experiences a fire loss it can be devastating and overwhelming. Knowing what NOT to do when you experience a fire may seem trivial but is important to know.
- Don’t enter your home to assess the damage until it has been cleared to do so by the fire department.
There are many safety hazards such as compromised structural components, falling debris, electrical safety issues or slippery surfaces. Make sure the structure is sound before entering to assess damages and go through contents.
- Do not attempt to use or clean any electrical appliances, TV’s, or computers that have been close to the fire, water or heat.
- Do not turn on ceiling fixtures or fans if ceiling is wet. Wiring may be wet or damaged and cause electrical shock.
- If your car is burned do not start or move it without permission to do so.
- Do not turn on gas, water or electric utilities until you have been given permission it is safe to do so.
Below are things that Sage Restoration will handle for you but are good for you to be made aware of.
1. Do not eat any foods that may have been contaminated by soot or smoke damage.
If there is any doubt, discard the item. And do not keep plastic food containers affected by the fire. This includes canned goods since chemicals used to put out a fire or exposure to heat may have compromised the food inside of the can. Foods inside of the refrigerator or freezer needs to be thrown out as well. The home probably has been without power for a length of time after the fire was put out. The rule of thumb is better safe than sorry when it comes to throwing away food after a home fire. Normally Sage Restoration will handle the itemization of food items and dispose of them for you.
2. Don’t forget to itemize and take pictures of contents, furniture and clothing for your insurance adjustor.
Do not discard any damaged goods before listing and photographing them. If possible, and sometimes it is not, retrieve copies of receipts, credit card statements or other proof that proves the cost of higher value items. Never move items from their position that may have been the source of the fire. Insurance adjustors, fire inspectors and other authorized personnel must be able to examine these items just as they were prior to the fire. Normally Sage Restoration will handle the itemization of these items and disposal of non-salvageable items and cleaning of salvageable items.
3. Do not attempt to clean contents, furniture, walls or anything damaged in the fire.
This includes trying to wash clothing or other textiles. This can make the damage worse or create irreversible damage to items to the point that you may never be able to use them again. Contents, furniture, clothing, etc. need to be cleaned by a professional who has experience in fire, smoke and soot damage, even though it may seem like a matter of wiping something down with a cloth or rinsing it under the sink. Normally Sage Restoration will handle the itemization of these items and disposal of non-salvageable items and cleaning of salvageable items as well as the proper cleaning necessary of structural items in the home.
4. Do not leave your home’s windows and doors open, no matter the extent of fire damage.
Not properly boarding up your home’s windows and doors can attract looters, who can add insult to injury. This puts your property and belongings at even more risk of damage or theft. Also, tarping the roof can prevent additional damage from rain or snow.
As you can see what not to do when you experience a fire loss, is just as important as what you do in terms of saving your belongings etc. Between your insurance adjustor, and other professionals that might be needed, you can rest assured that the Sage Team will handle it all and make the recovery process easy and fast!