When Confronted with a Fire
As a homeowner you don’t usually think about a worst case scenario such as a major fire to your home. Or at least it usually isn’t expected.
But, they do happen. And when it does, you can be caught off guard with the overwhelming amount of information and decisions that have to be made. Compounding this is the fact that you are usually in the middle of a tremendous emotional loss and confusion. This can cloud one’s observational abilities and it makes for an even more difficult job of being able to make the correct decisions that are best for you in managing the process of rebuilding your home.
My advice to any homeowner, is to not make or agree to any contract or major decision about the rebuilding process for at least 48 hours.
But, I recommend you do the following on an emergency basis:
1. Ensure the fire is completely out by the fire department.
2. Call your insurance company and open a claim.
3. Arrange to gain access by fire department’s permission to retrieve any valuables possible or important documents.
4. Arrange with a company to get your home boarded up and or fenced off for security (most fire departments have a construction company that they have contracted to come out and handle the board up and fencing, which you can use and you will need to sign a work authorization with them before they start the board up and fencing). This company will also help you to retrieve your valuables.
5. Arrange for temporary housing.
You will be inundated with public adjusters, remediation companies and construction companies calling or showing up at your home attempting to get you to sign with them for the repairs to it. You may find that one of these companies is the right one for you, but we strongly recommend that you allow yourself the time needed to adjust and weigh all the information to make an informed decision that is best for youbefore signing with one of them.
An individual under stress, duress and lacking enough data for an informed decision usually isn’t ready to make that decision. And just as important there is no reason to make that decision until you are properly informed. No matter what anyone tells you, you will not miss out on any opportunity by waiting a day or two.