October 7-13, 2012 is National Fire Prevention Week. In our previous post 16 fire prevention tips for home and work we shared ways to prevent a fire. Today we look at ways to be prepared in case the worst scenario happens.

Take photos of all your stuff

Angel Cook, owner of the Angel Cook Insurance Agency, offers this advice: “Have an inventory or at least photos of all your things.” This will prove invaluable if you sustain a loss and need to document your possessions for a claim. “Pictures will help you produce a list when an adjuster asks for it.” There are many businesses that will help create your inventory, for a fee, if you need assistance.

I’ve had fire damage…now what?

Call your insurance agent first when you have a loss, says Cook. As mentioned in our earlier post on water damage, your agent will expect you to take the necessary steps to protect the property and prevent further damage. Keep the following in mind:

Safety, security and weather protection

Your primary concerns at this point are safety and security. Windows, doors, and other openings may need to be boarded. A temporary fence and 24-hour security may be necessary for a large incident such as at a multifamily complex. Weather protection may be needed, such as a tarp to cover a hole in the roof or side of a building. (A reputable disaster restoration company can help with these needs.)

Preserve the fire scene

It’s very important that the scene be preserved so fire and insurance investigation parties can determine the cause and origin of the fire.

Time is critical

The first days, hours, or even minutes, are critical for salvaging some items following a fire. Depending on what an item is made of, the acids and residues present after a fire can cause irreversible damage if not treated quickly. A professional fire damage restoration company can identify the most pressing needs and prioritize accordingly.

Best time to make a decision

Pre-qualifying and choosing a restoration contractor before disaster strikes is a good idea. After all, the best time to make a decision is NOT in the middle of the night during a crisis. It’s now, during peace and quiet.

If the unavoidable happens, Disaster One will perform fire damage restoration including cleanup, water extraction, reconstruction, and contents restoration. Visit us at www.DisasterOne.com or call us at 800-277-4787 to learn more.