With the increasing regularity of wildfires, a devastating number of homes are damaged or destroyed annually. California was hit particularly hard last year. According to the Insurance Information Institute, over 8,700 structures were destroyed by fires in Northern California in October 2017. Then, in December, five major wildfires in Southern California destroyed over 1,000 homes and buildings and damaged many more.
If a recent wildfire in your area forced you to evacuate from your home, and you have since returned to find it damaged but still standing, you may feel unsure of what to do next. Here are some restoration tips and resources for homeowners impacted by wildfire damage.
Use Caution When Returning Home
After a local law enforcement authority gives the all clear to return home, you should be prepared to combat hazards that could put you and your family’s safety at risk. Here’s what to do:
- Investigate the roof and exterior of your home for any smoldering embers or sparks. Wet them down to prevent them from reigniting.
- Look around the property for damaged trees that may pose a threat if they fall. If you find any, call The Grounds Guys for tree removal services.
- Do not enter your home if you see a cracked foundation, leaning chimney, or sagging ceilings. These are signs of structural failure that could lead to a collapse at any time.
- Wear boots, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, rubber gloves, a hard hat, and a mask for protection while inspecting the inside of your house.
- Tread carefully. The floors may not be structurally sound in some spots.
- Watch out for broken glass, nails, and other debris that could cause injury.
- If you smell gas when you enter the house, turn off the fuel supply via the exterior valve and call your utility provider.
- Flip the main circuit breaker in your home’s junction box to turn off the power and prevent electrocution until you complete your inspection.
Start the Home Restoration Process
After addressing immediate danger from unstable trees, leaky gas lines, and other threats, it’s time to begin restoring your home. The first step is to make some important phone calls:
Call Your Insurance Company
To increase your chances of receiving adequate compensation for your losses, don’t clean or throw anything away yet. Take pictures or videos of the damage and make a list of the items you lost and their estimated value. Ask your insurance provider about boarding up windows, pumping out water, and other activities you can do to secure your home until restoration begins.
Find Wildfire Relief Aid in Your Area
The best organizations to contact for help include:
- The Red Cross
- The Salvation Army
- Local emergency social services
- Non-profit crisis centers near you
- Religious organizations in your area
- Your municipal emergency coordinator
Contact a Fire Restoration Company
Your best chance of making a full recovery after your home suffers wildfire damage is to work with a certified fire restoration company. A professional knows how to safely and thoroughly remove the damaged parts of your home and rebuild where necessary to make the structure safe and livable again following a devastating wildfire.
Rainbow International® is one of the top-rated home restoration companies in the US and Canada. We work closely with your insurance provider during the restoration process, leaving you free to recover from the emotional trauma of almost losing your home in a wildfire. This is just one of the many ways we assure a positive customer experience during this difficult time.
Contact us today to learn more about our fire restoration services or to schedule an appointment.