What To Do After a House Fire
A house fire is an unpredictable disaster. The US fire departments report that approximately 354,400 residential structures are destroyed by fire every year. Unfortunately when it happens, it can be a terrifying experience, and can change your life entirely.
More importantly, moving on with your life after a house fire can be devastating since you have no idea on who to call, what to do next, or even where to start. But it doesn't have to. Below is what to do after a house fire to help you and your family get started during this difficult time.
1. MAKE IMPORTANT CALLS
After a house fire, call your family members who may have been away and let them know what occurred and if everyone is safe.
2. FIND A SAFE PLACE TO STAY
House fires are overwhelming especially if there are children and pets involved. You need to relocate to a comfortable and safe place even for one night to help you figure out what to do next and for your family to rest.
If your friends and family aren't available, you can reach out to a disaster relief agency such as the Red Cross. They can provide a temporary shelter for free.
3. CALL YOUR INSURANCE AGENT
After relocating to a safe place, you should file your claim immediately. The sooner you contact your insurance agent, the sooner the documentation and reimbursement process begins. Most insurers can also cater for daily expenses also referred to as loss of use fund especially if you lost your debit and credit cards in the fire. Your agents can also help find abatement or cleaning services.
4. CHECK ON YOUR HOME'S SAFETY
House fires tend to weaken your home structures as well as leave toxic fumes from the burned stuffs. If you want to get back to the house to salvage some items, wait for a fire marshal to declare it safe. Also, you need to speak with your insurer before you re-enter your home to avoid problems during reimbursement.
5. SALVAGE UNDAMAGED POSSESSIONS
If your house was partly damaged by fire and deemed safe to enter, you can remove undamaged items. It is recommended to clean the salvaged possessions preferably by professionals since they have the tools and experience designed to restore items affected by fire.
You can also rent a storage unit to store the salvaged items. This way, your possessions will not be damaged further or make it difficult for the repairs. The cost of the storage units depends on the size among other factors.
6. MAKE A LIST OF ALL DAMAGED ITEMS
Make sure you list all items that were damaged or lost whether big or small in the fire to ensure you are reimbursed. This is because most insurers need detailed information such as serial numbers, models and receipts. You can also search online for bank statements for proof of purchase. However, it can be difficult if everything was completely destroyed.
If crucial documents such as driver's licenses, passports, birth certificates, and tax information among others were destroyed too, you should list them too. Your insurance agent will inform you on the documents you need for reimbursement so you can replace them first.
When disaster strikes, it can be a stressful and traumatizing experience especially when trying to figure out what to do after a house fire. But don't fret, you can count on SERVPRO. We have the tools, expertise and experience to help you clean, repair and restore your damaged property "Like it never even happened." Moreover, we work hand in hand with your insurer to quicken the claim process.
For more information on what to do after a house fire, including steps to repair damage, please contact us.
Natural forest fire in California putting smoke and flames into the sky
Preparation and readiness before a natural disaster strikes makes all the difference in losing valuable possessions, and salvaging your property. Natural fires can spark at anytime and spread quickly. Always make sure to have a flash light, fire extinguisher, and disaster plan in place for your family and business. These things will allow you to respond quickly and safely if an event where to occur. SERVPRO provides free Emergency Response Plans for businesses to help identify risk factors, key points in the building, and personnel notifications among many other things. Talk to your account representative about an Storm ERP at your niext visit.
Hurricane Recovery for Businesses
Call SERVPRO for Quick Response
Thankfully Hurricane Dorian caused less property damage than expected. However, there was still a lot of devastation and setbacks to businesses across the Carolina's and Georgia. Below are 5 key steps to recovery and getting back to your normal day-to-day business operations.
1. Safety is priority
2. Document everything that was damaged and that you did in response
3. Cleanup as quickly as possible
4. Communicate with internal staff, customers, and vendors/suppliers
5. Reach out to others in your local economy
Always remember that safety is the most important concern and should be the first steps taken. Once the people and the structure has been deemed safe, you can go to work inspecting and reviewing the damage caused. This is when it is best to call your local SERVPRO for assistance in cleanup and restoration efforts. Call SERVPRO of Aurora at 303-576-6868 with any questions on how your business can be better prepared when disaster strikes.
Call SERVPRO for Emergency Services
No matter where you live or work, you will experience severe storms at one time or another. It is important that you are prepared and educated in advance of this so you are best able to handle the circumstance. Whether you live in Tornado Alley, along the coasts, on a fault line, or in fire prone locations, the following is a lists of preparation steps you should take.
- Keep a battery powered radio at your residence
- Have a flashlight accessible
- Unplug electrical appliances from your home when gone for extended periods
- Ensure roof shingles are well secured and nailed down
- Employ a lightning protection system to avoid strikes on your home
- Board up windows and doors in advance of a major storm
These are just a few of many important steps to take to be prepared for a storm. Call SERVPRO of Aurora at 303-576-6868 with questions regarding storm safety and preparedness.
Industrial and Manufacturing Facilities Statistics
During 2011–2015, an estimated 37,910 fires in industrial and manufacturing properties were reported to U.S. fire departments per year.
- 6,730 outside or unclassified
- 7,770 structure fires
- 3,410 vehicle fires
- An estimated $1.2 billion in property damage per year
- Structure fires are more common in manufacturing or processing properties, while vehicle fires are more common in agricultural properties.
- Electrical distribution and lighting equipment was involved in 24% of structure fires, and heating equipment was involved in another 16% of these fires.
- Hot ember or ash was the leading heat source in 15% of outside non-trash fires in industrial properties.
- Vehicle fires are more common in the fall months, particularly in October, likely due to harvesting activities.
During 2011-2015, there were an estimated 37,910 fires at industrial or manufacturing properties (including utility, defense, agriculture, and mining) reported to U.S. fire departments each year, with associated annual losses of 16 civilian deaths, 273 civilian injuries, and $1.2 billion in direct property damage. The vast majority of these fires (71%) occurred in outside or unclassified locations, with another 20% taking place in structures and 9% of the fires in vehicles. The 20% of fires taking place in structures accounted for the largest shares of losses in all categories – 49% of civilian deaths, 80% of civilian injuries, and 67% of direct property damage. Almost two-thirds (65%) of the combined industrial or manufacturing facility structure fires occurred specifically in manufacturing properties (as opposed to utility, industrial, defense, agriculture, and mining properties).
Why Does Flooding Occur?
Floods are a natural part of the water cycle, but they can be terrifying forces of destruction. Put most simply, a flood is an overflow of water in one place. Floods can occur for a variety of reasons, and their effects can be minimized in several different ways. Perhaps unsurprisingly, floods tend to affect low-lying areas most severely. Floods usually occur when precipitation falls more quickly than that water can be absorbed into the ground or carried away by rivers or streams. Waters may build up gradually over a period of weeks when a long period of rainfall or snow-melt fills the ground with water and raises stream levels.
Flash floods are sudden and unexpected, taking place when very intense rains fall over a very brief period. A flash flood may do its damage miles from where the rain actually falls if the water travels far down a dry streambed so that the flash flood occurs far from the location of the original storm.
Heavily vegetated lands are less likely to experience flooding. Plants slow down water as it runs over the land, giving it time to enter the ground. Even if the ground is too wet to absorb more water, plants still slow the water’s passage and increase the time between rainfall and the water’s arrival in a stream; this could keep all the water falling over a region to hit the stream at once. Wetlands act as a buffer between land and high water levels and play a key role in minimizing the impacts of floods. Flooding is often more severe in areas that have been recently logged.
When a dam breaks along a reservoir, flooding can be catastrophic. High water levels have also caused small dams to break, wreaking havoc downstream. People try to protect areas that might flood with dams, and dams are usually very effective. People may also line a riverbank with levees, high walls that keep the stream within its banks during floods. A levee in one location may just force the high water up or downstream and cause flooding there. The New Madrid Overflow in the image above was created with the recognition that the Mississippi River sometimes simply cannot be contained by levees and must be allowed to flood. Not all the consequences of flooding are negative. Rivers deposit new nutrient-rich sediments when they flood and so floodplains have traditionally been good for farming. Flooding as a source of nutrients was important to Egyptians along the Nile River until the Aswan Dam was built in the 1960s. Although the dam protects crops and settlements from the annual floods, farmers must now use fertilizers to feed their crops.
Floods are also responsible for moving large amounts of sediments about within streams. These sediments provide habitats for animals, and the periodic movement of sediment is crucial to the lives of several types of organisms. Plants and fish along the Colorado River, for example, depend on seasonal flooding to rearrange sand bars.
For more information about floods please visit: https://courses.lumenlearning.com/geophysical/chapter/floods/
Tropical Storm Dorian
Tropical Storm Dorian was barreling toward the Caribbean Monday morning. It could hit Barbados Tuesday and Puerto Rico by late Wednesday.
Forecasters said the fourth tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season strengthened overnight as it moves toward the Lesser Antilles. The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said that Dorian could intensify to near hurricane strength over the eastern Caribbean Sea by Tuesday.
As of 8 a.m. ET Monday, Dorian's center was located about 205 miles east-southeast of Barbados and 315 miles east-southeast of St. Lucia and was moving west at about 14 mph. Maximum sustained winds remained at 60 mph. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center of the storm.
A tropical storm warning was in effect for Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. A tropical storm watch was issued for Dominica, Martinique, Grenada, and its dependencies.
Forecasters said Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Hispaniola should monitor Dorian's progress.
Several inches of rain are expected in affected areas.
They said Dorian could be near hurricane strength on Tuesday and Wednesday while it's over the Eastern Caribbean Sea.
The National Weather Service office in Tampa Bay tweeted Sunday it's "too early to speculate" if Dorian will impact Florida.
Emergency kit: essential items, all times
Having an Emergency Kit is an important step to prepare for, survive and cope with emergencies.
Know: All householders need to know where your Emergency Kit is kept.
Check: and update the contents of your kit regularly, to ensure everything is in working order and has not expired.
Discuss: your Emergency Kit with all householders and make sure everyone knows what to do in an emergency.
On this page is a list of items which should be in your kit at all times.
There is also a list of extra items which if you do not keep at all times you should add to your kit (PDF, 950KB) during storm or cyclone season.
Food and water
Range of non—perishable food items
Medical and sanitation
First Aid Kit and manual
Essential medications, prescriptions, and dosage
Personal hygiene items
Flashlight/torch with extra batteries
Battery-powered radio with extra batteries
Traditional wired telephone
Prepaid wired telephone
Prepaid phone cards and coins for phone calls
Clothing and footwear
Warm jumper, waterproof jacket, hat and gloves for everyone
Closed-toed shoes or boots for everyone
Tools and supplies
Whistle, utility knife, duct/masking tape
Plastic garbage bags, ties
Safety glasses and sunglasses.
Special items for infants (nappies, formula, etc)
Special items needed by the elderly or people with special needs
Spare house and car keys
Pet food, water, and other animal needs
Diabetes emergency plan (PDF, 406KB)
Keep original or certified copies of these documents in your Emergency Kit (PDF, 950KB).
Scan copies of them and save the files on a USB memory stick or CD to include in your kit. Keep all these items in sealed plastic bags.
Insurance papers for your house and contents, cars and for valuable items
Inventory of valuable household goods
Wills and life insurance documents
House deeds/mortgage documents
Birth and marriage certificates
Stocks and bonds
Medicare, pension cards, immunization records
Bank account and credit card details
A back—up copy of important computer files
Household Emergency Plan with emergency contact numbers
Fire Alarms at Home
Make Sure Your Fire Alarms are Operating Properly.
Smoke alarms are a key part of a home fire escape plan. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast. Working smoke alarms give you early warning so you can get outside quickly.
• Install smoke alarms in every bedroom. They should also be outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. Install alarms in the basement.
• Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
• It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds, they all sound.
• Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
• Current alarms on the market employ different types of technology including multi-sensing, which could include smoke and carbon monoxide combined.
• Today’s smoke alarms will be more technologically advanced to respond to a multitude of fire conditions, yet mitigate false alarms.
• A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms. They should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from the stove.
• People who are hard-of-hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
• Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.
- A closed-door may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
- Smoke alarms should be installed inside every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level. Smoke alarms should be connected so when one sounds, they all sound. Most homes do not have this level of protection.
- Roughly 3 out of 5 fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
Click here National Fire Protection Organization for more about fire safety education and tips.
What To Do When a Flood Happens
Failing to evacuate flooded areas, entering flood waters, or remaining after a flood has passed can result in injury or death. Flooding is a temporary overflow of water onto land that is normally dry. Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. Floods may:
Result from rain, snow, coastal storms, storm surges, and overflows of dams and other water systems.
Develop slowly or quickly – Flash floods can come with no warning.
Cause outages, disrupt transportation, damage buildings, and create landslides.
IF YOU ARE UNDER A FLOOD WARNING, FIND SAFE SHELTER RIGHT AWAY
Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn Around, Don’t Drown!
Stay off of bridges over fast-moving water.
Determine how best to protect yourself based on the type of flooding.
HOW TO STAY SAFE WHEN A FLOOD THREATENS
Know types of flood risk in your area. Visit FEMA’s Flood Map Center for information.
Sign up for your community’s warning system. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio also provide emergency alerts.
If flash flooding is a risk in your location, then monitor potential signs, such as heavy rain.
Learn and practice evacuation routes, shelter plans, and flash flood response.
Gather supplies in case you have to leave immediately, or if services are cut off. Keep in mind each person’s specific needs, including medication. Don’t forget the needs of pets. Obtain extra batteries and charging devices for phones and other critical equipment.
Purchase or renew a flood insurance policy. It typically takes up to 30 days for a policy to go into effect and can protect the life you've built. Homeowner’s policies do not cover flooding. Get flood coverage under the National Flood Insurance Plan.
Keep important documents in a waterproof container. Create password-protected digital copies.
Protect your property. Move valuables to higher levels. Declutter drains and gutters. Install check valves. Consider a sump pump with a battery.
For more information please visit the link below.
Floods | Ready.gov
Educate your children about fire safety.
According to an NFPA® report on youth and wildfire preparedness, only 21% of students interviewed in wildfire-prone regions have a family preparedness plan for when they are home alone. Even more amazing is that only 10% had evacuation bags prepared for themselves at home. However, 65% of these young people were aware that a fire could happen at any time and anywhere.
Discuss with your family what to do before and when a wildfire happens. Take a moment to discuss what the plan is when your young family members are home alone or if they are home, caring for younger children. Some ideas for developing your family plan include:
Connecting with a trusted neighbor close by who your children know who can evacuate them.
Or, setting up a schedule with other working parents in the neighborhood, so that one is always at home and can make sure the children are safe.
Packing a Go Bag with treasured items, water, food, prescriptions, etc. That they can grab and leave quickly with.
Practice together with their pets if time allows to be able to crate them and go.
Have a designated contact, such as an out of town family member’s number programmed into their cell phone so that you can find each other quickly.
The most important thing that you can do as a family is to make sure your home and the landscape immediately surrounding your home is well maintained for wildfire safety. You want to make sure that those you care about are safe and secure. For more information about wildfire safety tips check out NFPA’s Firewise USA® webpage.
Please visit the link below for more information: https://community.nfpa.org