As devastating as a house fire can be, returning to your home too soon afterward can be even more dangerous. Without taking the proper precautions your home could end up causing serious health issues or may have lingering structural problems that need to be addressed. If your home is still standing after a fire you need to know what steps to take in order to make it a safe and secure place to live again.
Surveying the Damage
If fire crews reported to your home the first step is receiving clearance to re-enter the structure from the local fire marshal. This effectively certifies that the home is not at risk of a catastrophic failure and is required for any structure fire. Even if you are cleared to return to your home there is yet more you need to do before you should begin living there again.
The most dangerous part of any fire is the smoke it produces, and this remains true long after the flames have been doused. Make sure you bring in a building inspector who specializes in smoke and fire restoration. This should be done both to determine whether the house is safe to live in and what needs to be done to return it to its original state.
Beyond the Fire
There are many aspects of a house fire that can pose a serious risk that have nothing to do with the flames. Most people know about smoke damage, but depending on the agent used to extinguish the fire you may have other risks to deal with as well. Consider chemical fire extinguishers, many of which use a fine particulate to smother the flames and can linger in your air ducts or carpet. Leaving this behind can create breathing problems and other health issues.
Even if a fire crew simply turns a hose on the fire you still have water damage to deal with following the fire. Make sure any cleanup you do also addresses any parts of your home which may have become saturated as a result. This includes walls, masonry, ceramic, and concrete surfaces in extreme situations.
Everyone knows that smoke damage can cause you serious risk, but most people aren't aware of what needs to be done before repairs can begin. Further, it's not just the smoke and fire that you need to be concerned about. Make sure you're cleaning up all traces of the fire, including the agents used to put it out.