After a fire, many people want to return to their house as soon as possible to sort through and gather up any remaining belongings.
However, before attempting to return, there are a few important safety factors that you should keep in mind.
Fire damaged houses can be dangerous, some are just as unsafe as a burning house. Hidden dangers are often worse than the obvious ones.
One of the biggest concerns about entering a house after a fire, are the health hazards that could be present. Smoke leaves behind dangerous residues that contain chemicals. Soot also poses a dangerous threat to your respiratory system. It can also cause asthma flair ups, as well as other serious health related issues.
After a fire, the structure of your house could be seriously damaged. Depending on the extent of the fire damage, it could be extremely dangerous to enter your house. While it may appear safe, the supporting structures could have been severely compromised, and the added weight of a person could cause the already shaky structural elements to give out completely. The ceilings could collapse, or the floor could give out.
The electricity in the house will need professional evaluation. Not only are damaged cables and components a danger, but if any time has gone by after the fire there could be water damage which could lead to potential electrical shortages.
Heating Oil Tank
If you have a heating oil tank system, be sure to turn off all the valves. If you are unsure of how to do this, contact a professional. Do not attempt to turn it back on until your house has been professionally inspected and cleared as safe.
It’s also advisable to prepare for the emotional toll that entering your fire damaged house could cause. Often people find that going back to their fire damaged house is an emotionally trying time.
Be sure to leave children with friends or family when you go to your house. Seeing the damaged house may upset them and even cause long term effects.
Be Sure to Have an Inspection First
Before entering the house, be sure to have it cleared by the fire department. Once it has been cleared, it’s advisable to have a building inspector come by and take a look at the structural integrity and electrical issues. Never enter a fire damaged house without having it inspected first. When you go, make sure you take proper safety precautions and bring masks and gloves.