After a house fire has ravaged your home, it's understandable to feel unsafe, unsettled, and unprepared. No one can be fully prepared for such a situation, so the best you can do now is to make the most of your restoration and repair opportunities. Your damage contractors will be working with you closely to repair fire damage and water damage, replace essential components of your home systems, and restore your furniture and treasured possessions. Cooperating with them to the best of your ability is vital to getting your home up and running again. How can you make sure your home restoration goes as smoothly as possible? Here are four tips on how to be the ideal restoration client, making life easier for yourself and your restoration team.
1. Stay safe:
Your damage contractors know the risks of damaged homes, and they don't want you to injure yourself. Observe these safety practices and any others they recommend:
- Get your home boarded up right away to prevent vandalism or unsafe exploring by curious children.
- Stay away from food, including canned food, that may have been exposed to heat. Fire, soot, smoke, and steam can render food unsafe to eat.
- Electrical devices and appliances may be damaged. Don't turn them on! If internal or external wiring is compromised you may be in danger of electric shock.
- Check furniture for damage before using it. In addition to becoming structurally unsound, it can react with soot and other materials during a fire to create poisonous substances.
Articulating what you want and need to your restoration team will help them tailor their project to your wishes and result in a more satisfactory experience all around. Use these tips to achieve the best organizational outcome.
- Make lists of the belongings you want your contractors to repair during "pack-out," a process in which the team will remove items from your home for restoration.
- Draw a diagram of your home's floor plan to help the team find the items on your list.
- Before the team moves in, note special considerations, such as any priceless collections you own or any particular dangers the team might encounter (for example, if you own explosives, or if one or more walls is unstable, you should let the team know in advance).
This starts as soon as the fire is out. Don't waste any time calling your damage contractors! Soot continues to cause damage after a fire is over, so the sooner your team can get to the restoration process, the more you'll be able to salvage and the fewer belongings you'll have to replace outright. Restoration may even cost less if you act immediately. You'll also need to communicate with your insurance company right away. You may be able to get an advance on your claim to cover living expenses incurred by the fire. But don't let the insurance company talk you into waiting before you call the damage contractors. Remember, waiting can result in even more damage.
4. Let them work:
Once you've called in a restoration team, leave the work to them as much as possible. You can give them lists of the belongings that are most important to you, but you should keep in mind that they will assess the damage and prioritize by dealing with severe safety hazards first. This doesn't mean that they need your help. The team wants to preserve your home as much as possible, and if you wipe or scrub soot without the proper materials you may inadvertently worsen the situation. If you're not sure whether they want help or not, ask first.
Your home deserves the best restoration a damage contractor like Disaster Specialist can provide. Use these strategies to foster a positive relationship with the restoration team and facilitate the return of your home to its former glory!