Home Fire: How To Protect Your Family

A home fire is one the most devastating events a family can face. While some families walk away with a manageable amount of damage, some people walk away with a total loss. As a result, the process for each family is different. If your family faces this tragedy, it's essential you know how to move forward in this instance to protect your home, but also your family.

Seek Shelter

Fires can cause structural damage. However, even with a small fire, there is always the potential for broken glass and wet ceilings and floors. All these hazards create safety concerns for you and your family. For example, a damp ceiling could send pounds of sheetrock crashing down onto you and your family. 

If the damage is nominal, it might be best for you and your family to seek shelter someplace else until the damage can be cleaned up. If the damage is extensive, you must arrange for long-term housing. Review your insurance policy as you may have a temporary shelter clause that can help cover some of the cost you incur.

Avoid Cleanup

Particularly when it comes to a small fire, many homeowners have the urge to clean up right away. However, this innocent step could lead to challenges when it comes time to file a claim with the insurance company. To process a claim, the insurance company needs to see what happened and the amount of damage that was caused as a result. 

Cleaning up is basically the same as altering a crime scene in that it destroys the evidence. Only move those items that are essential, such as your clothing and important records. Leave everything else in place. 

Restoration Vs. Rebuilding

In the days after the fire, you will likely be contacted by a variety of different contractors. You'll have to decide whether or not you want to hire a restoration contractor or a rebuilding contractor. Restoration companies typically work to erase the damage, in that they clean and remove the smoke damage in an effort to restore the contents and surfaces inside your home. 

A rebuilding contractor will remove the damaged areas and reconstruct them. The method you choose should be based on the extensiveness of the damage you have. The more damage, the more likely you are to have to rebuild. It's also important to note that you may require both services for different areas of your home. 

Each of the above tips can help your family move through the complicated process much easier, and hopefully, faster. If you have questions about the handling of fire your claim or you face resistance from your insurance company, don't hesitate to contact a public adjuster service, like Skipton Claims Management, for assistance.