The hours, days, and weeks following a fire in your home or business can be completely overwhelming but are also crucial to the cleanup, repair, safety, and efficiency of getting your life back to normal. 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. All Brite Cleaning and Restoration has some DOs and DON’Ts that will hopefully make this process easier and less stressful on your end.
DO take precautions and always try to keep yourself safe. If you are unsure about something and find yourself not knowing what to do, you are better off waiting for a qualified professional. You are ALWAYS better off safe than sorry.
DO take pictures of the damage. You will need to prove to your insurance company that anything damaged was actually damaged in the fire, so take pictures of everything you can to make that step easier.
DO stay organized. This can be difficult amidst your scorched surroundings but if you do, it will make this process smoother and more efficient.
DO take notes. Start blotting down every conversation or online correspondence that you have with your insurance agent or restoration professionals. In a stressful situation, miscommunication can happen so it will only be to your benefit to keep track and prevent that from happening.
DO save receipts and original documents. This will be to your benefit when it comes to your insurance claim.
DO make your first call 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 the damage.
DO have a qualified and restoration company be next on your call list. These guys have been trained to cleanup and repair after a fire damage and ultimately will help make this process as easy on you as they can. They will work with your insurance company to initiate a fire damage recovery plan that includes the complete restoration of your structure.
DO NOT wipe or attempt to wash fire residue from walls, ceilings, or other absorbent surfaces. It is important not to tamper with any of the damage before it has been assessed by your insurance agent.
DO NOT use carpeting or upholstered furniture impacted by heavy smoke residues or debris until they have been safely cleaned.
DO NOT use food items or canned goods that were exposed to the heat of the fire.
DO NOT turn on computers, televisions, stereos or electrical appliances until they have been professionally cleaned and checked. The fire could have damaged the electrical circuits which may be hazardous.
With preparation, organization, resources, and trusted professionals in place—plus a healthy dose of patience and perspective —you and your family or co-workers will make it through the process of fire damage recovery.