8 Things to Do After a Fire in Your Home

If you’ve just had the misfortune of hosting a fire in your humble home, first of all, deep breaths. Yes, it’s a big deal, but it’s not the end of the world. After the smoke clears and you’ve made sure you’re all okay, it’s time to tackle the aftermath, and that being the case, here’s your ultimate to-do list for bouncing back from a home fire in a calm and effective way.

Safety First, S’mores Later

Before you march back in to assess the damage, make sure the professionals say it’s safe. Fires can weaken structures, hide hot spots, or leave behind some nasty chemicals. Once the fire department gives you the thumbs up, it’s go time—but maybe leave the marshmallows behind this time.

Call in the Cleanup Calvary

Enter the superheroes of soot: professional fire damage cleanup crews. These folks come equipped with the gear and know-how to make your charred living room look less like a barbecue pit and more like a home again. They’ll handle smoke, ash, and even that weird smell you can’t quite describe.

Document Everything

Grab your camera or smartphone and start snapping. You’ll need photos for insurance claims and your records. Document damage to both the structure and the contents. If you’re feeling extra, make a spreadsheet. Who doesn’t love a good spreadsheet? Especially when it helps you keep track of what you’ve lost and what needs replacing.

Get in Touch with Your Insurance

Speak to your insurance company sooner rather than later. They’ll guide you through filing a claim and can provide some immediate advice on what to do next. It’s like calling your mom after you’ve had a bad day—except it’s about your house, and they actually give you money.

Secure Your Property

To prevent further damage or unwanted guests (because apparently, an open, damaged home is an invitation), secure your property. Board up broken windows and doors. Cover any breaches in the roof or walls with a tarp. It’s not just about keeping things out—it’s about keeping what’s left in.

Salvage and Clean

With the help of professionals, start the salvage operation. Some items can be cleaned, others will need to be tossed. It’s a good time to channel your inner Marie Kondo—does this smoke-damaged sofa spark joy? Or coughs?

Take Care of Yourself

Dealing with the aftermath of a fire is incredibly stressful. Make sure you’re looking after your mental and physical health. Reach out to community resources, talk to friends, or join a support group. Don’t go through it alone. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help—both for lifting heavy things and for lifting your spirits.

Plan Your Comeback

Once the dust (and ash) settles, it’s time to plan your comeback. Whether it’s rebuilding or refurbishing, think of this as an opportunity to create something beautiful from the ashes. Maybe it’s time for that kitchen remodel you’ve been dreaming about, or perhaps a chance to redesign your living space.

A fire in your home can feel like a full stop, but with the right actions, it really doesn’t have to be the end.

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