Safety Tips On Restoring Your Home After A Fire

There is a special sense of devastation when your family home catches on fire and some of your family heirlooms go up in smoke. When there is a fire in your home, your first and only priority is getting all of the people and pets out of the home quickly. Once the home has been vacated, you should call 911 immediately if your neighbors have not already called.

Most of the belongings you have in your home can be replaced by your homeowner’s insurance policy. The items that are irreplaceable, such as generational family heirlooms and old family photos, will have to be counted as part of the devastating loss your family feels. Your homeowner’s insurance will also help your family to find a place to stay while your home is rebuilt. There is a future to look forward do, but there is still the damaged home to deal with.

What do you do to your family home after it has burned? How do you protect it from opportunistic criminals that look for such opportunities to take possessions from families that are already feeling pain? Once your family is safe and the fire is out, your next priority becomes rebuilding your home and it starts with securing your burnt home so that you do not experience any further loss.

Securing Your Home After A Fire

After the fire is over and the damage has been done, it is time to secure your home as you make the arrangements to have it rebuilt. There are several issues you need to consider when it comes to securing your home after a fire that can have a significant impact on what happens before the work begins.

Crime

As we mentioned earlier, there are criminals who consider a home damaged by fire to be an opportunity. If the fire was significant enough, it may have opened up entrances to your home that had not been there before and criminals will use those openings to sneak into your home and do their damage. At the very least, criminals know that families do not stay in burned homes, so they consider your empty home to be an invitation.

Weather

Any damage to your roof or walls could open up ways for rain and snow to get into your home and do even more damage. Moisture that gets into your home can cause mold that could grow out of control, and it could weaken your home’s wooden frame considerably. Moisture that gets into your home could also damage your possessions and force you have to buy all new furnishings before you can consider the project completed.

Pests

Most homeowners have an ongoing battle with pests of all kinds to keep those unwanted guests out of their homes. After a fire, there could be hundreds of new ways for flying and crawling pests to get into your home and build their nests. If you do not take action immediately, then you may have to pay an exterminator to get rid of the new roommates you took on after your house fire.

The Solution

The best solution to securing your home after a fire is to call in a professional emergency home board-up service that has experience professionals who know exactly how to protect your burned home from the elements and pests. A professional board-up service will also make sure that any openings created by the fire are properly secured to help protect your home from criminals. To enhance the work done by the board-up company, you should ask your neighbors to keep an eye on your home while you are not there and call the police if anything suspicious is happening.

You should report the fire to your insurance company while the fire department is still putting the fire out to make sure your family gets the accommodations it needs to be safe for the night, and to discuss a board-up service. Most insurance companies cover the costs of a board-up company, and it will give you the peace of mind you need to get to the task of putting your family’s life back together.

Inspecting Your Burned Home

As the homeowner, it is tempting to want to enter your burned home the moment the fire is put out, but that is not a practical or safe approach. Professional firefighters know that a fire can re-ignite or be hidden in an enclosed area just waiting to be exposed. You should never get close to your burning home until the firemen tell you that it is all clear and that you can enter. It is critically important to remember that when a fireman tells you that you can enter your home, that does not mean that the home is safe.

Fire investigators and structural engineers have to inspect your home before the extent of the damage can truly be understood. If you enter your home before it is inspected, then you are taking on several unnecessary risks that could cause more damage or even get you injured.

Unstable Floors

Fire can not only destroy parts of a home, but it can also weaken the floors with damage that cannot be seen. The fire can burn around the supports under any of your floors and make your floors weak. If you were to walk into a room with a floor that has seemingly invisible damage, you could find yourself falling through the floor and getting severely injured.

Unseen Dangers

A house fire creates a lot of damage, and the methods the firefighters use to put that fire out can add to the mess. Firefighters sometimes use axes on doors, the roof and the walls to reach areas where the fire is inaccessible. When the fire is out, the damage left behind can be hiding a wide variety of unseen dangers. Some of the more prominent dangers in a burned home include nails sticking up that are hidden by the mess, large shards of glass and large wooden splinters that could be in walls or floors.

Soft Walls

In most cases, there is a lot of water that goes into putting out a house fire. Water has a tendency to weaken drywall, and a lot of water can cause drywall to go soft. As you are inspecting your burned home, you may try to lean against a soft wall and find yourself coming into contact with your damaged electrical system or with any number of sharp objects.

Safe Entry Of Your Burned Home

The best approach to take when it comes to entering a burned home is to wait until all of the necessary officials and experts have inspected your home and let you know where you can safely walk. Remember that even in burned homes that are considered safe for entry, there are still plenty of surprises that could cause injury. When you do enter your burned out home, you should take several safety precautions and listen to every piece of advice the experts and officials give you.

Proper Way To Enter Your Burned Home

If you want to gain access to your burned home, your first step is to call an expert to help you do what needs to be done to properly access your home. It would be helpful to try and access the engineer or government official who inspected your home after the fire was put out because they would have knowledge of the areas to avoid and any dangers that would be hiding in the mess. You should wear the proper safety gear as outlined by the expert, and you should never walk in areas that the expert determines are unsafe.

Allowing Children To Access Your Burned Home

It is going to be extremely difficult to keep your children out of your burned home, especially if they are concerned about their possessions. Under no circumstances should you or anyone try to walk on the upper floors of your home without the permission of an expert. The site of your burned home is scattered with debris and potentially dangerous items such as glass, nails and large wooden splinters. You should keep your children away from the site until your home has been rebuilt.

Friends And Family

Your friends, family members and neighbors are going to be curious about your home and concerned about you and your family. As much as friends and family will want to see the inside of your burned home, you should never allow it. If someone is injured in your home when you know that the home is not safe, then you could be sued.

Hazards To Avoid

The reality is that it is best for you to avoid the site of your burned out home until your home is rebuilt. There are hazards that may not be readily recognizable, but could cause serious long-term damage if they are not treated properly.

Electrical Service

For most house fires, the firefighters will recommend that you have the power to your home turned off until the rebuilding begins. A live electrical system in a burned out home presents several dangers, including serious electrocution. If your electricity is still running, then any exposed wires could make contact with the wet floors and walls and create an electrocution hazard. Frayed electrical wires that still have power running through them could also re-ignite the fire, which is why firefighters always recommend that you have your power turned off.

Airborne Fibers

In the wake of any house fire, there is always the possibility that airborne fibers or contaminants can be released and make the area around the home unsafe. If you have an older home, then the possibility that some kind of hazardous material could be released into the air is higher. This is why experts will always recommend that homeowners who insist on entering their burned out homes should wear respirators that protect them from any possible airborne hazards. It is important to keep in mind that while respirators do a great job at protecting you, they do not offer 100 percent protection and you should limit your time spent in the area to prevent any long-term medical issues.

The loss of a home due to a fire can be a horrific event for any family. But with the help of your community, your insurance company and your friends you can make it through this traumatic event and get your family home re-built. The decisions you make immediately after the fire has been put out are just as important as what you do in the days and weeks after the fire happened. By making good decisions and listening to the experts who are there to give you advice, you will be able to keep you and your family safe at a time when there is a great deal of uncertainty and confusion.

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