It’s something we all wish won’t ever happen to our homes, or maybe something we believe we are lucky enough to avoid, but property fires sadly do happen. After a traumatic event, it’s likely you will be in a state of distress, and with important steps to be taken, we have created a clear checklist. Follow our simple step-by-step guide of what to do after your property encounters a fire.
Call emergency services
If your property is alight whilst you remain inside, take care in exiting quickly and safely. Do not stop to attempt to put the fire out yourself – often this could do more bad than good. Contact the fire brigade as soon as possible, and the police afterwards. The fire fighters will have the knowledge, skill and equipment to put out the fire safely whilst the police will work with you to file a fire report.
Remain clear of the property
To remain safe, you should remain away from the perimeters of your home, even after the fire has been extinguished. The fire brigade will inspect the property, deeming it safe or unsafe, and until this decision has been reached, you should remain in a safe place, most likely marked by police tape.
Assess the damage
Once deemed safe to do so, you will be able to enter your property. You may be accompanied by a member of the emergency services for safety and reporting purposes. There will be items within your property that may have been contaminated with soot or ash, if not burnt themselves, and will need to be disposed of. This could be medication, food or drink. You should also take time to locate valuable documents such as driving licenses, passports and birth certificates.
Leave the property secured
It may be that the fire brigade advises you to stay elsewhere whilst your property is assessed further, cleared of damage and restored to safety. If this is the case, your insurance company will expect you to leave the property fully secured – close and lock any doors and windows and remove any valuables, taking them with you.
Contact your insurers
If possible, try to locate the paperwork proving the insurance of your property when contacting your insurers. Do not worry if you cannot locate this, or if it has been damaged, as they will have your details on their system. Your paperwork will simply speed up the claim process, but it won’t be vital. You should inform them of what has been damaged and, during the rebuilding or restoration process, send copies of receipts for replacement items or work carried out.
Contact your electricity, water and gas suppliers
Even if harm seems minimal, you should contact your electricity, water and gas suppliers. These systems may have been damaged or cut off during the fire and you will need professionals to assess and restore your supplies. Do not attempt to carry out these actions yourself, as you could cause additional damage to your property and yourself.
Replace valuable documents
If you were unable to locate valuable documents whilst assessing the property, you should inform the relevant authorities and apply for a replacement. After proving your identity, these should be available upon request, but you may be charged for the duplicate documents.
If you are struggling to forget the traumatic, terrifying experience, you should seek help and advice on how to move on. This could either be by a friend or relative, or professional. It is important to know that there are resources available.
Install fire protection
They say lightning never strikes twice, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Once you are back in your property, you should ensure it is kept as safe as possible. It may feel as though you are acting too late, but installing (or re-installing) fire safety systems in your home can give you the peace of mind, as well as confidence. If the worst was to reoccur, you could be alerted and kept safe. From fire blankets to fire alarms, protection will always supply you with the best chances.
Here at DNA Security, our team are on hand to provide you with home security methods tailored to your property, providing you with peace of mind that you remain safe and protected. For more information on our range of fire alarms and smoke detectors, or for advice in relation to your home security, get in touch by giving us a call on 01424 718 844.