We recently partnered with RIMKUS for a “live burn” – which basically meant we were going to burn down a box, which replicated the living room in a home. We worked closely with the kind folks from the Pasadena Fire Department to hold this controlled burn in the parking lot of the Pasadena Convention Center (right outside of Houston, Texas). The reason for holding this event there was that about 100 insurance adjusters were attending a continued education session on the topic of fire damage fraud.
Around 3:30 pm, all the attendees were gathered and brought out to the parking lot and the match was lit and tossed inside the wooden box. This was the first time I have encountered a live fire, and I was shocked at the amount of destruction and smoke damage that occurred within seconds. Of course, the fire department was quick to put the fire out, but the state of the items inside the box were destroyed. Here are some pictures of the process.
After attending the event, I realized that I have no clue what steps to take if my home or office building were faced with a disaster like a fire – which is why I wrote this blog.
What to do if your property experienced a Fire
- Ensure the health and safety of all occupants.
- Contact a restoration company to secure your property with temporary board up of any exposed areas and to start the mitigation process.
- Contact your insurance agent.
- Stay way form the area where the fire originated.
- Turn off heating or A/C system to prevent spreading soot. If you MUST use the system, change the filter first. Open windows for ventilation.
- Take pictures of the structure and damaged contents for documentation.
- Retain all receipts related to your loss. This will help you document your expenditures for insurance purposes.
What NOT to do if your property experienced a Fire
- Do not use any electronics or appliances until having them checked.
- Do not use food items or canned goods that were exposed to heat.
- Do not wipe fire residues from walls or ceilings.
- Do not attempt to clean carpets, furniture or other items, as further damage can be caused from improper cleaning methods.
I hope to never experience the devastation of a fire, but pre-planning and being prepared is the key to a successful recovery. In addition, knowing who to call to help recover from fire and smoke damage is equally important. It is a terrifying thought, but hopefully we can provide information and other resources to ensure you are prepared should a fire ever affect your property.