A devastating fire can leave your family reeling in the aftermath. Even without any injuries, you may face massive property damage that can affect every inch of your home in severe circumstances.
Because even minor fires can cause so much damage, it is important to check multiple areas of the home to ensure they are safe to use. Here are a few areas to assess once authorities say it is safe to do so.
Throw away any consumable items kept in the home, as they are probably contaminated with smoke. Chemical spills involving household cleansers, paint, and other potentially hazardous substances require immediate cleaning. Protect yourself with gloves and other safety equipment when coming in contact with these chemicals. Remove appliances and check them for damage. Also, remove fabric items, such as clothing and furniture, for deep cleaning. However, items that are substantially damaged require immediate replacement.
Major systems include HVAC, plumbing, and electrical. Only check these systems when it appears safe to do so, particularly when it comes to the electrical panel. For instance, if there is water in or around the electrical panel, call an electrician before taking any other action. Visible damage to heating and cooling equipment or plumbing also requires professional help. It is best not to use these systems until they have been thoroughly inspected.
Structural damage is a definite possibility after a house fire, especially when the fire was substantial. First and foremost, seek an assessment from a building inspector to ensure that it is safe to enter the home. Missing support structures, such as beams and walls, can render the entire property unsafe. Once inside, look for things like sagging ceilings and floors, which indicate substantial moisture damage.
You will most likely need professional home repair and remediation to restore your property. Be sure to choose a reputable contractor who possesses the right tools and the knowledge to perform the job correctly.