When it comes to house fires, the aftermath usually revolves around two aspects: what events lead up to the fire and dealing with the impact afterwards.
Putting out the flames is not the end of your worries, and you may have property damage, health concerns from smoke or burns, and you’re mental wellbeing after the trauma of a fire.
LifeSafe examines some of the necessary steps of fire safety aftercare and offers guidance on how you can get back to normality.
If a serious fire has broken out in your home, there are several things you will have to do once the emergency services have dealt with it.
Domestic Procedures After a House Fire
First, assess the damage to your property, whether that’s appliances, furnishings, or other items in the household or if the structural integrity has been affected.
Fire authority officers at the scene should help you evaluate this, and they may designate some restricted areas. If this is the case, you must ask permission to enter these vulnerable areas to retrieve valuables or household necessities.
Unless the damage is extreme, you will only need temporary accommodation in this instance. The social services or local housing association can help source this if you contact them.
Alternatively, the ranking officer responding to the incident can call a Fire Victim Support Vehicle, with trained staff who will provide guidance and emotional support. The critical thing to remember in these situations is that there are plenty of resources available that can aid you in the immediate aftermath.
Physical and Mental Health Support
If anyone is seriously hurt in the fire, emergency services will provide rapid assistance.
However, there are health concerns that may not be immediately apparent that you should watch out for particularly with your mental wellbeing.
There are things you can do to help alleviate stress levels after an incident. Intentional distractions can play a significant role in getting back to your typical headspace.
You shouldn’t feel guilty if you find yourself watching more TV than usual or just generally relaxing. Your mind might require these external stimuli to calm down.
Similarly, changes to your sleeping pattern should come as no surprise either. Take as much time to rest as you need throughout the day and, if you need it, time off work to recuperate fully.
If you’ve noticed any changes in your pet’s demeanour, such as disinterest in playing or refusing to eat, you should contact your local vet as soon as possible. Our furry friends may also be traumatised after a fire.
Clean Up From a House Fire
There is no escaping it; the aftermath can be very messy.
The clean-up is not down to the residue from smoke or fire. Fire-fighting methods often leave behind waste material and can cause damage to property as well.
It is particularly true for fire hoses since they will almost certainly leave a soggy mess. Mopping the water up and leaving it to dry can help, but a water vacuum will work much more effectively.
Ventilating the property is useful too and not just in this regard. Smoke fumes can linger for a long time afterwards, so open doors and windows to allow residue to escape (and to let fresh air flow in to dry soft furnishings better).
Firefighters may have knocked holes through your doors or smashed windows to put the fire out. Check for any such damage, and be sure to list everything down for your insurance claim.
If you aren’t up for the clean-up yourself, there are many companies throughout the UK offer services for this very task.
They can help eliminate the lingering smell of fumes and remove any other residual waste from the house fire that you may be struggling to deal with on your own.
Most have the facility to salvage valuable and essential items, like passports or other documents, that you may have thought lost to the fire.
Any company you do use should have a waste carriers licence, so verify this before moving forward.
You should contact your insurance company as soon as possible after a house fire. Most will have communication channels open 24-hours a day.
Once it is safe, catalogue all the damaged or lost items in your home, taking photos as you do, as this will be useful for your claim.
Ensure you make a record of any work needed for the property too, as receipts are the easiest way of verifying the cost.
Be Prepared with LifeSafe
A house fire can be devastating, but you can limit the losses if you can act quickly. There are steps you can take yourself to tackle the blaze when it is still small and containable, but only if you’ve got the right equipment.
The Stay Safe 5-in-1 Fire Extinguisher from LifeSafeis our innovative 200ml Aerosol spray and is one of the most lightweight extinguishers on the market. It can fit in most kitchen draws and cabinets too, meaning it’s not cumbersome or difficult to store.
The product utilises LifeSafe's patented eco-friendly extinguishing solution, that leaves no toxic residue behind and less mess for you to clean up. Stay Safe is a practical, fast-acting way to tackle fires in your home.