Experiencing a house fire is frightening, even if it is a small one that does not consume the whole residence. However, even little fires can cause large damage.

If you find yourself in this situation, you may not know what to do or where to start after calling emergency responders. Take these steps to be on your way to getting your life back in order.

Leave the house

Even if the fire was only in one room, it is best to leave the house until the fire department has evaluated the situation and told you it is safe to re-enter your home and use the utilities. You also want to give your house time to air out to avoid breathing in smoke. Be sure to keep receipts if you have to stay in a hotel. Also let the police know your home is empty, as damage and vacancy after a fire attract thieves.

Notify your insurer

It is important to tell your insurance provider about the fire right away, especially if you have to stay somewhere else, as your policy may cover the expenses. The longer you wait, the harder it can be to get sufficient compensation for your claim. You can also find out what steps you should take to help your claim, such as requesting the fire report, and which services you have coverage for, such as restoration. 

Assess the damage

For insurance purposes, take inventory of your belongings to see what the fire damaged. Make a written report and take photographs as well. Some things you can retain or have a professional clean up. However, other things, such as clothes, food and furniture, you may have to throw away to safeguard your health. If you need to replace certain items right away, keep the receipts from any purchases you make.

Take care of your family

Whoever witnessed the fire may be feeling some trauma, including pets. Do what you can to provide comfort and support. Take care of yourself, too, during this stressful time. 


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