Steps to take following a home fire
Steps to Take After a Fire in Your Home
Fire DamageA fire in your home is both traumatic and often disruptive to everyday living for an extended period of time. If the fire will cause you to be displaced from your home for a period of time, contact your local disaster relief service such as the American Red Cross. If your home will be vacant while fire damage restoration and rebuild services will be conducted, notify the local police department to let them know that the house will be unoccupied. Insurance If you have insurance, contact your insurance company promptly and ask for their guidance during the fire restoration process, including how to secure your home until the repairs are completed, how they would like to you list lost or damaged items, and the process they would like you to follow to facilitate the restoration and repairs to your home. If you do not have insurance, there are often local agencies that can assist with interim housing and the restoration/rebuild process. Re-entering your home after Fire DamageBefore you re-enter your home, be sure to check with the fire department to ensure that it is safe to do so and use caution when you first enter the house because walls, floors and ceilings may not be as structurally sound as they look. If the fire department has turned off your utilities (water, electricity, gas) do NOT turn them back on yourself. Turning on utilities of these types can be dangerous and require a qualified professional. If you are renting your home, promptly notify your landlord, or if you own your home, promptly notify your mortgage company. Once you are able to safely re-enter your home, try to locate valuables, including jewelry, artwork and other items of value which should be stored safely, either in your home or at an alternative location. Locate important documents if possible, including homeowners and life insurance policies, checks, savings account passports, stock certificates and any other critical documents. If any documents have been destroyed, contact the appropriate agency or company to procure replacement documents. If paper money is damaged, handle it as little as possible and either take it to the local Federal Reserve or office or send it certified mail, return receipt, to The Department of Treasury Bureau of Engraving and Printing. If coins have been damaged or melted, they can be taken to your local Federal Reserve Bank or mailed to the Superintendent U.S. Mint. Keep Records of Expenses
Save the receipts from all purchases that need to be made as a result of the fire: interim housing, restoration services, rebuild services and any other expenses result in an out-of-pocket expenditure. Your insurance company will require that you submit documentation for monies spent and backup will be needed to the extent that you claim a loss on your tax returns. A qualified accountant should be contacted to assist you in determining what are/are not appropriate items to deduct in preparing your income tax returns. In some instances, the Internal Revenue Service provides special benefits from people who have had a fire loss in their home.