Fire can have a devastating effect on your life when it destroys property and possibly even causes injury. Many people lose family heirlooms, memorabilia, photograph albums and other items of sentimental value that are irreplaceable. Your furniture, your home and everything in it could be destroyed or damaged by a fire. While there is no way to regain these items, you need to be able to pick up the pieces and continue on with life.
Do not go back into your house, not even if the fire is out, unless a qualified professional has declared the place safe. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible so that the repairs and replacement of items can start happening as soon as possible. There are many other considerations that have to be taken into account before your home becomes livable again, contacting your insurance company or agent will help you with some of this. This includes safeguarding your home against possible theft, creating an inventory of the items lost, arranging for somewhere to stay until the home is livable again, getting in a professional to assess the damage to the home and how to proceed. Check with your insurance company what is covered and what is not (generally it is better to know this before paying premiums on a policy) as some of the things you would need to do can be quite expensive. Contact the local disaster relief organizations, they may be able to help with temporary accommodation and food if you have no other options.
You could check with your insurance company with regards to an advance to cover items such as clothing and toiletries. Your insurance may also cover you for reasonable board and lodging. Make sure you know exactly what will be paid and what won’t so you don’t incur extra expenses.
Make sure you advise your mortgage bond holder of the disaster, as well as any other lending companies you are dealing with, this may allow you to reduce payments for a period of time with these companies. Advise your local post office and utilities companies as you may need to halt these services for a period of time. Notify your children’s school. Advise the local police of the situation as well so they are aware the home is being left vacant for a period of time. If you lost vital medication, contact your doctor to issue you with a script to replace the medication.
Hopefully you managed to keep your important papers in a waterproof box in a safe place and are able to recover these items. If not, you may need to start the process to replace all of these important documents especially passports, birth certificates, marriage certificates, drivers license, tax records, vehicle registration, school records, social security cards, any other forms of identification and other records you may need.
Consult professionals to do a thorough inspection of your home to discover the extent of the damage. You would want your insurance company involved in this process as they would need to let you know what cost they will be covering as per your policy. Do not return to your home until the damage has been repaired and a through clean-up has been done. It is not worth risking injury or illness to you or members of your family to move back in before the home is full repaired and soot and odor free. You may need to consult your financial institution if necessary regarding a loan to cover the costs which your insurance does not cover.
A fire can be disastrous, but in most cases, the home can be repaired and furniture replaced and you can continue to live in your home after the worst has been taken care of.