Emergency preparedness is what you do to get ready before an emergency happens. Knowing what to do when disaster strikes may determine how damaging the incident will be.
Taking the right steps in the first few minutes or hours after a catastrophe can save your life, and the lives of others and reduce the financial impact of the event.
Although, nobody wants to contemplate the possibility of a negative event happening, accepting that the event can happen will help you deal with it better.
That’s because you are better able to manage the fear and anxiety that follows that thought. It also helps you think about the best course of action to take beforehand.
What is the risk of a fire outbreak happening in your home?
According to data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), from 2015-2020, $6.9 billion worth of property damage and 2,620 deaths were caused by house fires.
Each year, around 358,500 American homes experience a fire outbreak. The common causes of these fires were cooking accidents, heating equipment, and electrical malfunctions.
These statistics show that house fires are caused by everyday household activities and appliances. They are more common than you think and can happen to anyone, warns Keyrenter Austin Management Team.
The best way to deal with a house fire is to prevent it. However, after taking steps to prevent a house fire, you should also know the steps to take in case you have a fire in your home.
In the unlikely event of a fire outbreak in your home, what should you do after the fire? That is the question this article will help you answer.
A checklist of what to do and not do after a house fire
Your first impulse after the fire has been put out may be to enter your home to see how much damage the fire has caused. This is quite natural, but you must resist the impulse. Entering the house before it is safe to do so will only endanger you. It can also affect your ability to make an insurance claim.
Here is what you should do after a house fire:
- Your family’s health is of the greatest importance. Fires can be very frightening for small children and seeing their homes destroyed is hard for anyone to handle. Make sure family members are not physically harmed or suffering from smoke inhalation. Do your best to calm and reassure everyone.
- If you have pets, look the animal over for injuries and try to reassure it. Afterward, you should have your vet check the pet for burns or other damage you may not have seen.
- Contact your relatives to let them know what happened.
- Pay attention to your own mental health and if you need medical help, ask for it.
5. Contact your insurance company and inform them of the incident. Your insurer will want to have details of the fire, if you are not sure, do not give details until the fire report comes out.
6. Your insurer will contact the damage restoration company on your behalf or tell you how to do this. They will also provide information and help with emergency lodging and living expenses.
7. If you have your preferred damage restoration company, contact them. Make sure they have expertise in fire damage restoration and smoke damage repair. This step is applicable only if your home was damaged, not destroyed, by the fire.
8. Talk to the fire department; ask the person in charge of the operation if it is safe to enter your house. If they permit you to enter your home, proceed cautiously; there might be structural damage to the building.
9. Do an inventory of your damaged items. Hopefully, you had an inventory of your belongings before the fire. Do not throw away any damaged items; separate them from the items that are still in usable condition.
10. Do not attempt to connect the utilities. The fire department will make sure it is safe before the utilities are reconnected. If it is not safe, they will disconnect the utilities before leaving the site.
11. If you are going to need temporary housing, contact your local disaster relief service. They will find a safe place for you and your family. Even if the damage to your home is minimal, do not stay there.
12. Before you leave your home, take steps to secure it from unlawful entry and further damage by the weather. You may report at the local police station, so they can keep an eye on the house.
13. Get a copy of the fire report from the fire department. It will contain the department’s findings on the cause of the fire. This information is important to the insurance company and for making your insurance claims.
14. Keep the receipts for any money you spend in connection to the fire loss. They may be required by the insurance company and can help make the insurance claims process easier.
15. Do not neglect your mortgage payments, even if your home is destroyed. With the help of your homeowners’ insurance, you can get your home back, but not if you fail to pay the mortgage.