If you’ve been through a fire, smoke, or water damage tragedy, you need to know what steps you should take to secure your home or business and your belongings. We provide these tips to you as part of our comprehensive service. We’ve been through many, many fire situations and these tips can help you, your family, and your insurance company get you back on track.
FIRE & SMOKE DAMAGE
The First 24 Hours – Securing Yourself and the Site
Contact your local disaster relief service, such as the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army, to help with your immediate needs, such as:
- temporary housing
- other essential items
Contact Classic Construction Company.
Contact your insurance agent/company.
Do not enter the damaged site. Fires can rekindle from hidden, smoldering remains.
Normally, the fire department will see that utilities (water, electricity, and natural gas) are either safe to use or are disconnected before they leave the site. Do not attempt to turn on utilities yourself.
Be watchful for structural damage caused by the fire. Roofs and floors may be damaged and subject to collapse.
Food, beverages, and medicine exposed to heat, smoke, soot, and water should not be consumed.
Leaving Your Home
Contact your local police departments to let them know the site will be unoccupied.
In some cases it may be necessary to board up openings to discourage trespassers.
Beginning immediately, save receipts for any money you spend. These receipts are important in showing the insurance company what money you have spent related to your fire loss and also for verifying losses claimed on your income tax.
If it is safe to do so, try to locate the following items:
- identification, such as driver’s licenses and Social Security cards
- insurance information
- medication information
- eyeglasses, hearing aids, or other prosthetic devices
- valuables, such as credit cards, bank books, cash, and jewelry
There are many people/entities that should be notified of your relocation, including:
- your insurance agent/company
- your mortgage company (also inform them of the fire)
- your family and friends
- your employer
- your child’s school
- your post office
- any delivery services
- your fire and police departments
- your utility companies
Do not throw away any damaged goods until after an inventory is made. All damages are taken into consideration in developing your insurance claim.
If you are considering contracting for inventory or repair services discuss your plans with your insurance agent/company first.
Valuing Your Property
You will encounter different viewpoints on the value of your property in adjusting your fire loss or in claiming a casualty loss on your federal income tax. Knowing the following terms will help you understand the process used to determine the value of your fire loss:
Your personal valuation : Your personal loss of goods through fire may be difficult to measure. These personal items have SENTIMENTAL VALUE to you; however, it is objective measures of value that you, the insurer, and the Internal Revenue Service will use as a common ground for discussion. Some of these objective measures are discussed below.
Cost when purchased : This is an important element in establishing an item’s final value. Receipts will help verify the cost price.
Fair market value before the fire : This concept is also expressed as ACTUAL CASH VALUE. This is what you could have received for the item if you had sold it the day before the fire. The price would reflect its cost at purchase minus the wear it had sustained since purchase. Depreciation is the formal term used to express the amount of value an item loses over a period of time.
Value after the fire : This is sometimes called the item’s salvage value.
- Operate TVs, vacuums, or other appliances while standing on wet carpet or floors, especially not on wet concrete floors. Serious injury may result.
- Use heat to dry closed building interiors; mildew and expanded moisture damage may result.
- Leave wet fabrics in place; space them apart and dry as soon as possible.
SOOT (FURNACE) DAMAGE
While soot may resemble smoke residues from a fire, the restoration of soot damage often requires different techniques, incorrect action can make restoration more difficult and delay the return to normal.
DO NOT: ATTEMPT TO WASH WALLS, CEILINGS, OR CONTENTS WITHOUT PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE!
This can cause irreparable damage to your home/business!
Call Classic Construction Company, Inc. at (304) 522-1016, 1-800-319-7140, or a click away.