Recovering From A House Fire? 4 Things You Need Before You Go Back Into Your Home

If you've just experienced a house fire, you not know what you should do next. After the smoke has settled, the first thing you'll need to do is contact your insurance company so you can file a claim. The next thing you'll need to do is arrange for cleanup. A fire damage restoration team can help you deal with the mess. If your home has not been completely destroyed, you might be able to get back into your home to start the cleanup. Here are four things you need to know that will help you avoid additional troubles.

Wear Protective Clothing

Before you enter your home, be sure you're wearing protective clothing. The soot left behind from the fire may be hazardous to your health. In fact, research shows that fire fighters have an increased risk of developing cancer. This increased risk is associated with the chemicals they inhale through the smoke. Those same chemicals are in the soot that's left behind after the fire. To protect yourself, be sure to wear gloves and a face mask. It's also a good idea to wear long pants that you can tuck into your boots, and long-sleeved shirts that you can tuck into your gloves.

Don't Eat the Food

If you find food that survived the fire, don't eat it. This includes all canned goods. The food might look good on the outside, but it's been exposed to chemicals and extreme temperatures. Your canned food was probably cooked from the inside out, which means it's no longer safe to eat. Take note of all the food you had in your home – for your insurance claim – and then toss it all in the trash.

Limit Your Activity Through the House

If the fire was confined to one area of the home, try to limit your activity through the rest of the home. Walking from a smoke-damaged area to a clean area could result in cross-contamination. If you must walk from a contaminated area to a clean area, lay plastic sheeting down on the ground to prevent the transfer of soot and other contaminants.

Don't Turn on Any Electrical Equipment

If the majority of your home looks intact, you could still have hidden damage inside the walls. This is particularly true when it comes to your electrical devices, such as power outlets and lighting fixtures. Water or firefighting chemicals could have soaked through the walls and damaged the wiring. To protect yourself, don't turn on any electrical devices in your home until the electric company has completed their inspection.

House fires can be devastating. If your home has suffered a fire, don't take chances. The information provided here will help you know what to do once the smoke has cleared and the firefighters have left. If you have questions or concerns about the cleanup process, be sure to speak to your fire damage restoration company.