What to Do After a Fire

A house fire is devastating. After a fire you will need to assess the damage and start to salvage, repair and restore your personal belongings. The emotional trauma and destruction a fire leaves behind is not easily forgotten. The Milton Fire Department can help you in your time of need; assisting in reducing your losses.

The first thing to do after a fire is to protect yourself from additional losses. Under some insurance policies, there is an obligation by the insured to prevent further damage to the property if it is reasonably possible.

Contact Your Insurance Provider

Major insurance companies have 24-hour hotlines and will generally treat your problem promptly. Ask your insurance company to recommend at least three fire restoration companies. Choose one to start the immediate work - making your house and property secure, removing water and seriously damaged materials, drying the house and contents and removing smoke residue.

Work with your insurance company agent or representative to find out what your insurance plan covers and what may be subject to further discussion. Get all this in writing as soon as possible; this information will help you prioritize your needs.

Be sure to document any disputed items or classes of items that are supposedly not covered. There are arbitration processes that you can use to get a final determination (short of going to court) of what is actually covered. In general, insurance companies want to find a fair and reasonable scope of needed repairs.

Your Responsibilities

You are responsible for notifying all affected parties and arranging for security of the site, rapid drying and smoke cleaning and all other steps needed to minimize secondary damage. To do this you will likely hire a company that specializes in fire restoration.

Your insurance company may suggest specific firms with which they have established relationships. But it is not only your right to choose the best contractors and to ensure that they do the work promptly and well - it is your responsibility.

You define the scope of the work, with help from your insurance professional and advice from the contractors you select. Make sure that you know what your insurance will cover and what you will have to pay yourself. Your insurance company calculates what it will pay for according to industry-accepted standards.

Call the Company that Holds Your Mortgage

You have to call the financial institution that holds your mortgage. Fire lowers the value of your house and affects your mortgage. Properly restoring your house will restore its value, but the mortgage company must be involved until your house is restored.

Questions of the Milton Fire Department

The fire has been extinguished, we have attempted to clean up some debris and water and protect some of your belongings. Here are some common questions about firefighting operations.

Why are windows broken or holes cut in the roof?

As a fire burns, it moves upward and outward. Breaking windows and/or cutting holes in the roof for ventilation stops that damaging outward movement and enables firefighters to fight the fire more effectively, resulting in less damage to the structure.

Why are holes cut in the walls, floors and ceilings?

This is done so the Fire Department is absolutely sure the fire is completely out, and that no fire exists inside the walls or hidden places.

Re-ignition can occur if the fire is not completely extinguished. Damage may appear unnecessary, however without the use of these fire fighting techniques, the building could suffer total destruction by fire.

To assist you in your time of need the Milton Fire Department has generated the After a Fire guide to help you and your family.