What Should You do After a House Fire?
According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are over 1 million fires each year in the United States. These fires result in $11.6 billion in property damage, 3,275 deaths and 15,775 injuries. Those who are lucky enough to survive fires are left with the daunting task of picking up the figurative and literal pieces.
Depending on how severe the fire damage in Montana is, survivors may have to start to rebuild all aspects of their lives from square one. There are steps you can take to ensure all your bases are covered while recovering from the disaster.
Find and replace important documents
If you keep important personal documents at home, you’ll need to make sure they weren’t damaged in the fire. Identification documents such as birth certificates and social security cards can be time consuming to re-obtain if they’re lost in the fire. As a preventative measure, it’s not a bad idea to keep those in a fire proof safe, or in a safe deposit box at your bank. Speaking of bank, make sure you’ve got your checking/savings book. You may be writing a lot of checks to replace items that your insurance doesn’t cover and it’d be a shame to have to go get a new check book.
Contact your insurance company
Assuming you have insurance that’ll cover a house fire, you’ll need to contact your insurer as soon as you can to alert them about the disaster. Your insurance company will be invaluable in helping you rebuild your life. While they can’t replace family heirlooms or pictures, they can start giving you money to replace other tangible goods that were destroyed. Your insurance company will also be able to tell you how to start cleaning up after the fire and everything else that comes with filing a claim.
Find temporary housing
If your home is inhabitable after the fire, you’ll obviously need to find a place to stay for a while. Family or friends should be willing to help you out but if that’s not the case, contact local disaster relief organizations. The Red Cross will help you find a place to live for the time being and can also help replace medicines that were lost in the fire.
Wait to use your utilities
Hopefully the fire department was able to make it to your home to help put out the fire, so they should already know about your tragedy. After the fire they’ll let you know when it’s safe to use your water, gas, and electricity again. Turning on one or more of the utilities before they give you the go-ahead can be very dangerous and lead to more problems down the road.
Contact the police
As mentioned, if your fire damage in Montana is severe enough, you won’t be able to stay in your home after the tragedy. If this is the case your home will be vacant for a while and will be at risk of vagrants or other ne’er-do-wells sneaking into your home and wreaking havoc. Alert the police that you won’t be in your home so they can do check-ups to make sure nothing fishy is going on while you’re gone.
Hopefully you never experience fire damage in Montana. But if you do, contact us at 406-885-2320 to find out how we can get your home back to tip-top shape and help you move on with your life.