House fires the morning after

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For anyone who has suffered the traumatic experience of a house fire, can fully understand the ramifications of total devastation to their lives. Your entire life suffers an upheaval, over which you seemingly have no control what so ever — key word being seemingly. It is definitely a life changing situation, but do not allow it to be life shattering. There are some actions you can take, following the fire to ensure your stability, and gather a semblance of order, even if only a small one.

Directly following the fire, if you and your loved ones have not suffered any injuries or health issues, then be grateful, and merely rest. The shock needs to wear off, and your nerves need to straighten out before attempting to deal with anything extremely traumatic. During the first 24 hours following the fire, the most immediate needs you must consider are where you can stay temporarily, what medicines you may need to obtain, clothes to wear, replacement eyeglasses if you have lost yours, food, and other necessities that may arise. Contacting your local American Red Cross or Salvation Army could prove useful to obtaining these necessities. They are helpful disaster relief organizations, and definitely help those that need it. Be aware, that it is highly unsafe, and not recommended that you enter your home anymore during the next 24 hours. This is due in part to structure instability, as well as fires being hidden in smoldering remains. All it takes is a spark, and the fire could rekindle. Any food, drink, or medications that were exposed to the elements (smoke, water, soot, or heat) should no longer be considered useable, and should be disposed of properly if able to at that time.

Upon leaving your home, if there are openings that allow access, you may want to consider boarding these up to deter trespassers from entering, as well as contacting your local police department to inform them that your home will be unoccupied for an unknown amount of time. Retain each and every receipt for any money you spend from this point on, as proof to the insurance company of the money you have had to spend as a result of the fire. This will also help you later when you are filling out your income tax forms and you are required to verify the losses you will claim. IF you are able to re-enter your home, plan out in advance, if possible, where the items are located, and try to set up an order to your walk through the house. This lets those outside know where you will be as well as save you time while minimizing your presence in the un-safe environment. The most important items you will need are any forms of identification, such as your drivers license and social security cards, any insurance information you have, as well as medication information. Either refill or prescription information. If you or anyone in your family has lost their eyeglasses, try to find them and any other hearing or other ambulatory devices that are used in your family. Try to gather the most valuable of jewelry, any bank books, cash, or credit cards as well.

Keep in mind that you will need to notify certain people of your relocation, even if it is only temporary. Your family and friends will, of course, be worried about you and will need to be notified, as well as your employer and the school your children attend. If you have delivery services for anything, you will need to inform them of your new address, or put the deliveries on hold for an indefinite period of time. The post office and utility companies need to be given your new address followed by the police department and fire department in case there are any questions or situations that arise from the fire. Following the fire, the hardest part is trying to remember it will all be organized, it just takes time.

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