Austin has seen plenty of structural fires back in the last few years. Both residential and commercial property owners should take steps to prevent fires, but even then, accidents can occur. After the fire, however, property owners may be unsure about the steps to take (or avoid) once the fire has been put out.
From fire damage restoration for Austin properties to cleaning up the remains of fire and smoke damage, we’ve created a list of things to do and not do after experiencing a devastating property fire.
Do: Contact Your Insurance Company
For fire damage restoration on Austin properties to begin immediately, property owners need to contact their insurance company as soon as possible. You will also need to obtain a fire report from your local fire department or as needed by your insurance provider. It’s important to be honest about your claim and ensure that everything indicated on your forms are correct.
Depending on your insurance coverage, your insurance company may only provide an estimate and won’t provide full payment until you’ve submitted all the necessary documentation. Make sure that the final payout is correct before signing on your insurance claim.
Do: Take Pictures of the Damage
Take as many pictures of the damage as soon as it’s safe to enter your property. Consider this as taking inventory to show to your insurance agent. This can help you get a sense of what kind of damage needs to be handled with fire damage restoration services in Austin.
After taking pictures, avoid throwing away any of your belongings. Disposing of anything before getting the advice of your agent or a professional restoration company may result in you losing essential items necessary for your insurance claim.
Do: Secure Your Property
After a fire, it’s not recommended to remain on the premises until you seek the advice of a professional. If it’s your home, you may have to find alternative accommodations until it’s safe to inhabit your home once more. However, before you leave, ensure that your property is secure against looters or anyone who might try to salvage what they can from your property.
Police, local officials, and fire and smoke damage restoration technicians may be able to help. They can help you set a perimeter or board areas in your property that could serve as an entry point. Make sure all the doors and windows are locked.
Do: Ask for Help
In case your home is uninhabitable until it’s been repaired or restored, consider your options for temporary alternative accommodations. If you have nearby family or trusted friends, you and your household may be able to stay there for a few days or until restoration is complete. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your local disaster relief center for assistance.
Don’t: Go Back Into the Property Without Consulting a Professional
Aside from the potential structural issues, there are a number of risks that could occur if you try to enter the premises without seeking a professional’s assistance. There’s also the risk of falling debris, electrical hazards, and the presence of carcinogens lingering in your indoor spaces.
Don’t: Clean Up Your Property
Let the professionals handle cleaning up the damage from your property. Depending on the severity of the fire, using too much force or the wrong cleaning technique can cause more damage to your property. There’s also the risk of coming across the debris and electrical hazards. This includes getting rid of fire residue and other debris around your home.
On top of this, avoid throwing away any of your damaged furniture and other belongings before consulting with a professional restoration company. It’s possible that some of the damage can be repaired, and it may be more practical to have these fixed than disposing of them and buying new ones.
Don’t: Repair or Replace Anything on Your Own
Wait for the go signal from your insurance provider or a restoration professional before trying to repair or replace anything damaged during the fire. Your insurance agent can let you know if your belongings are covered for repairs and replacement. This can prevent you from disposing of items that could have been repaired or making unnecessary purchases.
Don’t: Turn on Any Electrical Devices
If necessary, your local fire department may turn off utilities like gas and electricity. Avoid turning these back on and let a professional handle them. There may be damaged wiring in your home or electronic devices with damaged wiring and that could short circuit. This could permanently damage your electronics.
Contact Restoration 1 of Austin to Bring Your Home Back to its Former Condition
Even if there’s minimal visible damage, there’s no telling the extent of the damage left by fire and smoke. To reduce the risk of further damage, it’s best to contact a reliable Austin fire damage restoration provider to inspect and take immediate action on areas on your property that are at risk of deteriorating.
In case of fires on your residential or commercial property, get in touch with Restoration 1 of Austin for immediate property restoration services you can rely on.