House fires can be one of the most stressful, devastating events you’ll ever experience in your lifetime. However, being well prepared in the event of a house fire can make the recovery process easier, smoother, and faster. Here is a rundown of some things you need to know in order to be prepared for a house fire and know how to deal with the consequences after the fact.
- Fires are Fast, Hot, and Dark
Fires happen fast. In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can transform into a serious fire. Thick, black smoke can completely fill your home in the span of just a couple of minutes. Room temperatures during a house fire can rise to 600 degrees incredibly quickly, and the heat can often be more dangerous than the flames themselves. Hot air can scorch your lungs and melt your clothes into your skin.
You might think fire would make everything blindingly bright, but the black smoke actually throws your home into complete darkness. While the flames and heat are certainly dangerous, it’s actually the smoke and toxic gases that are the most dangerous parts of a house fire. When inhaled, they can leave you drowsy and disoriented, making it harder to find a way out.
- Get Out as Soon as Possible
You need to get out of your home as quickly as possible during a fire. Leave all your valuables behind if you can’t immediately grab them on your way out. It’s simply not worth the risk. Crawl under the smoke line and cover your mouth and nose with a damp cloth. If you have to open doors to get out, do so slowly, and feel if the doorknob and doors are hot or if smoke is entering the room through the cracks before opening. If the door is hot, it’s best to find an alternate exit if possible. If you can’t get out, plug up all cracks around your doors with clothes or tape and signal firefighters from a window with colored cloth or a flashlight.
- What to Do After a Fire
Talk to your fire department to see if it’s safe to re-enter your home. If it is, inventory all damaged property and items and take as many pictures as possible. Don’t throw anything away, as you may need it for your insurance claim. Call Delta Disaster Services immediately, so their team of experts can start the mitigation and cleanup process as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your property and possessions. Locate valuable items and documents and notify your insurance and mortgage companies of the fire. Save all receipts for any money you spend on fire remediation or restoration. You’ll need these to pass along to your insurance.
- Fire Prevention Tips
Always, always, always stay in the kitchen while you’re cooking. If you leave even for just a few minutes, turn off the stove. Stovetop fires are one of the most common causes of house fires, but they’re easy to avoid if you take the right steps. Keep barbecue grills at least 10 feet away from your home, deck railings, and overhanging eaves or branches. Never leave while it’s still lit.
Create a fire safety plan and practice it with your entire family at least twice a year. Identify two ways to get out of each room, and make sure your windows are easy to open and that your screens are easy to dislodge. Practice feeling your way out of the house in case of impenetrable black smoke and teach your kids not to hide from firefighters.
Make sure your smoke alarms are all working properly. Test their batteries once a month and replace them at least once a year. Install alarms on every single level of your home, and never ever disable them while cooking. Contact your local fire department for tips on maintaining and using a fire extinguisher and keep at least one in the house at all time. Review your insurance plan to make sure you have proper fire coverage, so you’re not left in a huge financial lurch after a fire.
Experiencing a house fire is a truly terrifying experience.
With these tips, you’ll be better prepared in case a house fire does happen, and you’ll be better equipped to prevent fires in the first place. Delta Disaster Services is always here to help you recover as soon as the fire is put out. Our team of fire and smoke mitigation and cleanup specialists can be at your home in just two hours or less after your initial call. Delta Disaster Services gives you peace of mind during uncertain times, and we’re proud to do our part to get you back to normal faster.