The first responders who arrive at the scene will concentrate on keeping you safe and helping you to escape from the fire. When they leave, the reality of what has happened starts to hit and it can be overwhelming. You will need to understand that restoring your home may take a while and you may need to find another place to live in the meantime. Some homeowner’s policies will pay for meals, shelter and other expenses.
While it is safe to re-enter the building you will need to allow time for proper ventilation. Some toxins can still be trapped in areas of the building and without fresh air ventilation these toxins will continue to negatively affect your long term health. If you start to experience symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, or nausea you should see a doctor.
As soon as the fire is extinguished, you should begin the process of securing your property. This could include boarding up windows and doors or placing tarps on holes in the roof or walls to prevent further water and weather damage. You should also consider contacting disaster relief services through your local Red Cross chapter, your church or other community groups who can provide assistance with food, shelter and other essential needs.
Before beginning the process of re-entering your building you will need to contact a fire department plan reviewer. Depending on your city’s ordinance the extent of fire department involvement in plan reviews can vary from very basic to a highly technical review.