Monday, November 19, 2018

The Do’s and Don’ts After Property Fire Damage

The Do’s and Don’ts After Property Fire Damage

What you do in the immediate aftermath of a fire can determine how quickly you recover. It can also determine how smoothly your dealings with your insurance company will be. If you are visiting your fire-damaged property in the immediate aftermath of a fire, here are some fire damage dos and don’t you should keep in mind.
1. Check with the fire authorities about when it’s safe to return to your property.

2. Watch out for flare-ups. Until ash is safely cleared, fires might restart long after the initial blaze is put out.

3. Wear a NIOSH-Approved N95 mask while inspecting a fire-damaged property. Breathing unfiltered air in the immediate aftermath of a fire risks damaging your lungs.

4. Wear sturdy boots and walk carefully while inspecting the fire-damaged property. An area that is covered in water and ash is a slipping hazard.

5. Document property damage with photographs.

6. Conduct an inventory of what valuable items on the property were damaged or destroyed.

7. Check the property for hot spots, sparks, or embers.

8. If you smell gas, leave the property, turn the supply off via the outside valve, and contact your utility provider.

9. Dispose of food or medications that were affected by the fire. They may have been affected by chemicals that make them dangerous to consume.

10. Ask your insurance provider or reconstruction specialist about steps to secure the damaged property. You may need to cover broken windows and doors. You also will probably need to safely pump out water.


1. Don’t begin cleaning the property to dispose of damaged items until you contact your insurance company. Think about safety first, then focus on documenting the damage. The more information you collect about the damage, the better.

2. Don’t turn on electricity until cleared to do so by an electrician.

3. Don’t switch on a flashlight inside a damaged home until you’re sure the scene if free from gas leaks. A small spark could start a new fire.

4. Don’t use a leaf blower to clear away ash. That will just kick up ash into the air, making the air more dangerous to breathe.

5. Don’t try to repair any fire-damaged gas lines or propane tanks. Always contact your utility provider.

6. Don’t touch or approach fire damaged electrical wiring. Again, your utility provider will have the best guidance on what to do next.

7. Don’t let ash stay on your skin for long. Shower immediately after your visit to a fire damaged property or do any cleanup.

8. Don’t touch a safe or fire-proof box you keep on the property. It can be dangerously hot even several hours after a fire is extinguished.

9. Don’t use a residential vacuum cleaner to clear away ash. That will just kick up particles into the air. Instead, use a shop vac with a clean HEPA filter.

10. Don’t use any contaminated water for drinking, bathing, or brushing your teeth. You may need to contact your utility provider before knowing that the water doesn’t contain any contaminants. 

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