If you have been impacted by the recent wildfires in Southern California, you are not alone. It is normal to not know what the next steps to take. Many people have not gone through this type of disaster and when you and your family are affected, the world becomes chaotic.
We are here to bring some normalcy into your life during this chaotic time and at least guide you through some questions that you may have to recover from these wildfires.
A majority of people will be able to enter there home once evacuations are lifted and find that their home is still in tack. Some unfortunate people will find only the rubbles of what is left of their homes. If you were part of the fortunate group of people that found that your house is 100% intact, something to consider is smoke damage.
If you have been evacuated due to the wildfires, these are some common questions to ask yourself once evacuations have lifted:
1. What do I do once I enter my home and find that it is unlivable due to smoke odors and smoke damage?
The first thing you should do is a document with photos. Do not clean anything and find a hotel to stay in temporarily. The smoke particles can be toxic and damaging your health if you choose to stay inside of smoke damaged home.
2. Do I need to file an insurance claim?
In many cases, you are able to file an insurance claim. If you are unsure, you can have a professional like Allied Restoration to guide you through the process and conduct a physical or virtual walkthrough of your property. We are able to guide you to take the next best step.
3. Do I need a professional restoration company to clean or can I just clean the property myself?
Smoke damage is not easily cleaned even with powerful household products. Smoke odor can be behind your walls and inside of insulation, vents, attics, and crawl spaces. Without professional cleaning, the smoke odor may never dissipate.
4. Should I clean while I wait for the insurance adjuster and restoration company to inspect my property?
It is very important to not clean your property if you plan on filing a claim. You will need photo documentation and proof that the home is unlivable due to wildfire damages. The moment you enter the property, your first steps are to document with photos and video and lock up before finding an alternative living space.
5. Can I stay in my home if the smoke odor and damages are not severe?
It is very risky to be inhaling and breathing smoke particles, especially for the older population and for people with health conditions. You will need to clean the air quality within the home with industrial-grade air scrubbers and fans to make sure that inside air quality is livable.
6. What do I need to take with me if I leave my property due to unlivable conditions or have been evacuated?
Refer to a checklist that is published by ReadyforWildlife.org.
Bring some emergency supplies and important documents like insurance policies, driver licenses, passports, etc.
There are not many items that can not be replaced in your household, so just be sure to evacuate promptly.
7. What are some hazards to be aware of as I walk my property?
Due to the wildfires, some water may have got in your property while the firefighters are defending your home. We are aware of any down power lines, puddles of water and any smell of gas.
8. Do I need to board up my property if it will be left vacant?
In some cases, vandalism and theft may occur due to knowing there will be periods of occupancy. You can send a professional board-up company to assist you in securing your property from vandalism and mother nature.
Wildfire damages in California are at an all-time high and everyone will be scrambling to get back into their homes as soon as they can. It is very important that you beat the demand of needing a professional restoration company like Allied Restoration to come out to your property for an inspection. Allied Restoration has a Wildfire Assistance Program that will provide priority service to those that are on the list.
The Wildfire Assistance Program assists homeowners to return home as soon as evacuations lift and guide the homeowners through the next steps with an early appointment and inspection. Without being on the priority list, many homeowners have waited 3-6 weeks before they can get an inspection. Get on the list today and get back into your home.