House fires are more common than you think. Fire departments across the country usually respond to fires every 23 seconds. And each year, 346,800 homes experience structural fires. So, if you deal with a house fire, you are not alone.
Many people have dealt with a similar situation. You too can do the same and emerge stronger, even when you have lost everything. However, you need to learn what to do after fire emergency situations.
Below are the various approaches you can take to get assistance after house fires. The last thing you want is to participate in fire victims' fund sweepstakes that are actually scams.
Immediate Help After Fires
Before you can deal with insurance issues and find ways of rebuilding, you need to get immediate help after a fire. And the best way to get the aid you need is by reaching out to your local disaster relief service provider, such as Salvation Army, Red Cross and public agencies like your local public health department or your state or municipal emergency services office.
When you ask these organizations for help, many of them will offer help after a house fire especially when you have no insurance. You may be able to obtain clothing, food, medicine and a temporary place to stay until your house, if it still stands, can be declared safe for you to enter. They may even provide help afterward.
You may also want to contact your local crisis-counseling facilities, especially the nonprofits. Their staff will provide you with the psychological help you need to cope with the fire and its effects. You will benefit tremendously from their help if you have lost a loved one.
It is also worth contacting your local fire department. If they are part of the Firefighters Charitable Foundation, you may be able to obtain a mailed house fire care package in the form of hygiene kits containing items like toothbrushes and toothpaste, shampoo, shaving cream and deodorant among others. Everything counts when you have lost everything in a fire and help is hard to come by.
Lean On Your Community
As a member of your local community, it doesn’t hurt to lean on those around you after a house fire. There is no shame in asking your family and neighbors for help. And local businesses can also play a role in helping you rebuild after a fire. So can local community groups.
Also, if you are religious and part of your local church, mosque or temple, tap into your network and get support after a housefire.
Let your religious leaders know what you are going through and what you need. They may organize emergency fundraisers and open their doors to you so you can obtain temporary shelter. For example, when the Marshall Fire swept through Boulder County at the end of 2021 and affected over 1,000 individuals and businesses, Bishop Samuel J. Aquila of the local Catholic church organized a Fire and Disaster Relief Fund Catholic Appeal that raised $250,000 to help those who needed help.
Don’t underestimate the human capacity for love. People will surprise you by how helpful they can be when they come together to help those in their community who have been affected by a disaster.
Let Your Insurance Company Do the Heavy Lifting
If you paid for homeowners insurance and experience a fire, your insurance company can be very helpful in your trying times.
Depending on the kind of policy you have, your insurance company may pay for temporary housing, relocation expenses, pet boarding expenses and other costs you may incur while your home is inhabitable. In addition, you will get compensated for the items you lost and even get money to help you rebuild or repair your fire-damaged home.
Also, if you have no idea where to start with the cleanup process, your insurance company can recommend suitable professionals. Their expert advice will also enable you to safeguard whatever is left of your home until the repairs begin.
Read More: How Does Insurance Work?
- NFPA.Org: Fire Loss in the United States During 2020
- NFPA.Org: Home Structure Fires
- FEMA.Gov: After the Fire
- FFCF.Org: Hygiene Kits
- DenverCatholic.Org: Marshall Fire victims find aid in Archdiocesan Fire and Disaster Relief Fund
- Policygenius: Does homeowners insurance cover fire damage?
- FEMA.Gov: After the Fire FA-46 | January 2019
I have been a freelance writer since 2011. When I am not writing, I enjoy reading, watching cooking and lifestyle shows, and fantasizing about world travels.