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Throw away frozen food that might've thawed during a power outage. Also, throw away food that was not in airtight containers, but was exposed to the air, like food stored in cardboard boxes. According to the County Department of Health, food in sealed glass jars and metal cans should be safe. Toss plastic bottles, like bottles of water, that have ash on the caps. According to the County Department of Health, rinsing off the bottle caps is not enough to decontaminate the containers. Put any ash you do collect into a plastic bag, so it doesn't blow away.

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If using a generator, use an extension cord to plug appliances directly into generators — no power strips, just one appliance per outlet, to avoid an overload that could shut the generator down Don't Don't turn on your electricity if you see any damage to your meter. Don't try to fix any damaged gas meters, gas lines or propane tanks.

Instead, Cal Fire says to call your local utility provider. Don't touch any downed wires. Again, call your utility provider. Don't let kids play in the ash, whether its dry or wet. Don't let ash linger on your skin. If ash does get on your skin, wash it off using warm water and soap. Don't eat the food in your refrigerator if there was a long power outage. Don't kick up more ash into the air. That means avoid using your leaf blower to clean up the ash.

Insurance companies will often have approved restoration contractors that you can call for board up, structural drying, contents cleaning and structural cleaning and repair. BBB and Angie's List are also good places to find trustworthy contractors.

Fire Safety Do’s and Don’ts | Environmental Health & Safety

Seek counseling if needed and reassure children. Having your house damaged or destroyed by fire is extremely traumatic and can have lasting impacts on each family member, depending on his or her ability to cope. Common feelings are helplessness, disorientation, pining for belongings, deep sadness , a sense of deprivation, despair and a loss of routine and structure.

Reassure each other and let the emotions happen. Keep a close eye on children and be truthful with them about what has happened and if you do not know what is going to happen next, at least reassure them that you have one another, that things can all be replaced and that the only way is up from here on. It can be as fast as 30 seconds for a house to be covered in black smoke so you can't breathe, and two minutes until it's so hot that everything combusts.

Modern houses filled with modern materials tend to reach flashpoint much faster than older houses with older materials inside. Watch YouTube videos showing flashpoints to get a really good idea of how fast fire moves. Not Helpful 7 Helpful What is the best way to select a company to come and do clean-up? Do the insurance companies choose or do I have a say? Ask your insurance carrier who to use and search for yourself. Get estimates for property removal, cleaning, and storage.

Ask for references to check their customers' experiences with their service.

Ask your agent what your policy covers. Find out how the clean-up company will be paid: Be careful with items too damaged to clean, some companies will try anyway wasting your money. What if the fire started on the electric box in the house? Does the municipality fix the burnt house or what? No, even when fault can be assigned to a municipality, they are not going to give funds to help citizens recover. It's an accepted risk we all unknowingly agreed to for city provided utilities, it's actually in the fine print we tend to not read when signing up for services.

Be sure to have insurance coverage or a cheap house that is cheap to rebuild. Not Helpful 6 Helpful Not Helpful 11 Helpful You should call your insurance providers, they will send an agent to the site with equipment to examine the damage caused by the fire. You will need a report from the local fire department too in order to collect on your claim. Not Helpful 0 Helpful 1.

Fire Safety - What To Do After A House Fire - ServiceMaster Restore

Does the fire department turn off the gas and electric? Will my pipes freeze and create more damage? It is possible they turned off all or some utilities depending on the severity of the fire and where it was located n your home. Contact your local electric, water, gas department if you unsure - they should be able to check. You could also ask the firefighters who responded. Not Helpful 0 Helpful 0. You should not re-enter the house at any point until you have been cleared to do so by firefighters.

Make sure to take pictures of the damages first, for your insurance claim. Also, make sure your repair works meet the minimum standards for construction.


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Electrical works, piping for gas or water, wall building, even flooring, are all subject to minimum quality requirements. You may need to prove that the repairs have been done in such a way that meets those requirements.

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Not Helpful 1 Helpful 0. Does the inventory of contents happen on site or does the insurance company move everything to another location? Answer this question Flag as Does the "leave it to a professional" apply if the fire occured in a detatched garage with no car inside, resulting in the total destruction of the garage? Can I stay on my property if my house burnt down out side in a tent?


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    Already answered Not a question Bad question Other. Tips If the fire got past the wallboard, you will need to remove all of the wallboard, and clean the structure of the house. If any timbers were charred, sandblasting to remove the burnt parts will be needed. If this is the case, it is unwise to perform the cleanup yourself, as it is a major undertaking, and potentially dangerous. Keep an accurate inventory of any personal property being removed by the clean up company. Use deodorizers to cover up the odor of a fire.

    It will linger for a long time, so keep letting in as much fresh air as possible. Removal of soot removes the odor of the fire, so the more collected, the better. Remember, the insurance adjuster is there to minimize the claim. If you feel that they are taking shortcuts cleaning rather then replacing voice your concerns. You also have the right to use a certified public adjuster who will be your advocate not the insurance companies. Loss of pets is extremely traumatizing. If you believe that your pet may have escaped the fire, you might wish to put up posters asking for assistance in finding your pet.

    Always keep your valuables such as jewelry, money, etc.