Fire Loss - What Do I DO Now ??? | SERVPRO® of Hershey/Harrisburg East (717)-533-FIRE
The hours, days and weeks following a fire in your home or business can be simply overwhelming. Surrounded by your soot-covered and flame-damaged possessions, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture: As long as everyone got out—thanks to proper disaster planning and preparation—everything else is just stuff. But once the smoke clears, you will need to deal with that stuff, and the sooner the better.
From the get-go, it’s imperative to stay organized amidst the chaos of your scorched surroundings. A three-ring binder with pockets is your new best friend. Take notes on every conversation and online correspondence with your insurance company and restoration professionals, because in any stressful situation, miscommunication can happen. Save all receipts and original documents; only give photocopies upon request.
Binder in hand, your first call should be to your insurance agent. Not only is it required that you file your claim as soon as possible, it is also in your best interest. At this time, you’ll be asked to submit a proof of loss claim. The sooner you get the ball rolling, the sooner an insurance adjustor will arrive at your door to begin assessing damage.
A reputable local cleaning and restoration team should be next on your call list. If you can find one that also specializes in professional construction services, you’ll save yourself time, money and headaches. Depending upon the extent of damage, your property will first need to be secured (boarded up, for example), and a high quality restoration team with carpentry skills can perform that service for you. On a side note, be sure to remain vigilant in the days ahead, because a fire-damaged residence or business is an easy target for theft and vandalism.
Your restoration team should work with your insurance company to initiate a fire damage recovery plan that includes the complete restoration of your structure. Again, if your team is truly “full service,” the construction side will assess the structural damages while the cleaning and restoration specialists will work closely with you and your adjustor to determine which of your possessions can be cleaned…and which need to be inventoried for replacement. Often these services can be provided on site, but in the event that your contents have to be removed, make sure your team also offers the capability to electronically inventory, package, transport and store your belongings in a safe, heated facility.
Now that you know the initial steps of the fire damage recovery process, here are a few tips on what NOT to do before the pros arrive:
- Do not wipe or attempt to wash fire residue from walls, ceilings, or other absorbent surfaces
- Do not use carpeting or upholstered furniture impacted by heavy smoke residues or debris
- Do not use food items or canned goods exposed to heat
- Do not turn on computers, televisions, stereos or electrical appliances until they have been professionally cleaned and checked
With preparation, resources and trusted professionals in place—plus a healthy dose of patience and perspective, after the fact—you and your family or co-workers will make it through the process of fire damage recovery.
SERVPRO of Hershey / Swatara can handle EVERY aspect of remediating your fire loss. We service the entire Harrisburg area. We will make it "Like it never even happened." Give us a call at 717-561-1404 and we will be happy to assist you!