If you know someone who has suffered a house fire, there are many things you can do to help them during what is often a very difficult situation.
Here are some suggestions:
Be there to listen and support
Often, those who suffer a traumatic event like a fire need to “talk it out.” So, it can be a great benefit if you are there to listen to them.
While you listen, try to really understand what they are saying and don’t be judgmental. Also, avoid the urge to “present the bright side,” as this can frequently come across as invalidating or diminishing.
If you’re having trouble coming up with what to say to the house fire victim, consider these options:
“What’s on your mind and heart right now?”
“I appreciate you being open and honest about your feelings. I am available to you.”
“What is too much for you today? I want to support you in whatever way because I care about you.”
It is well known that disaster survivors may have an early outpouring of sympathy followed by a very abrupt decline once the news cycle moves on – so strive to be consistent with your support over time.
Help with debris removal
Another practical way to help house fire victims is to assist them in removing debris.
Be ready to work quietly and respectively as homes are filled with personal treasures, which means debris removal can be a solemn time for homeowners.
Also, before beginning to clean debris, always obtain advice from your local emergency services and go by their instructions – there can be toxic substances you need to be protected from.
Give them something they’ll love and appreciate
While donations are lovely, they may not suit your friend’s requirements at this difficult time when life has returned to its fundamentals, and the world is moving too quickly for them to spend a lot of time looking through boxes of old clothing and other used items.
Instead of giving them more boxes of worn, seemingly random stuff that they don’t have the time or place to organize …
Give them a warm winter jacket that makes them feel cozy and cared for because their beloved jacket was lost.
If you are not sure what items may be needed most, you can also give food and cash. These items are usually always needed following a significant house fire.
Help out with everyday tasks like cleaning and moving
Before finding a semi-permanent living situation, your friend could have to move more than once, which would require them to pack and unpack more than once.
Assist in the move by lending your car. Exchange your weekly weightlifting sessions at the gym for a few days’ worth of lifting boxes and supplies for your friend.
By showing up with cleaning products and sprucing up their temporary home, you can contribute to making their living conditions more welcoming.
Likewise, if you are skilled at troubleshooting home appliances, you could help a family with children by fixing a broken dishwasher, for example.
Assist with administrative tasks
Paperwork and administrative tasks are the less appealing but frequently overpowering other side of calamity and tragedy.
Homeowners who lost their homes in a fire will need to deal with insurance companies, employ contractors, work with banks and mortgage companies, consult with lawyers, work with utility companies, and at the very least, update government-issued paperwork.
Your friend will probably have to finish a personal property inventory as part of the procedure for recovering losses after a house fire, which may be a difficult and emotionally taxing undertaking.
Assist your friend by helping them in organizing the paperwork or in conducting the inventory. This will lessen the risk of overload.
Other ways to help include getting them to take breaks to refresh and providing meals to ease their stress and give them one less thing they have to worry about.
More ways to help include conducting some preliminary research on their insurance provider, so you are aware of the details required to submit a claim.
Rest assured, whatever you can do to lighten the load would be really helpful in relieving their tension.
If you are not nearby, ask how you can help
If you don’t live nearby, don’t worry, remote support can be beneficial, too.
One way to handle this situation is to expressly request a list of ways you can contribute. Additionally, you might have your own thoughts, such as planning a meal or sending gift card donations. When necessary, enlist the assistance of your own neighborhood.
It can also be very meaningful to remember significant anniversaries and occasions, such as birthdays and holidays, and then make contributions to mark those days.
Celebrating special events can serve as a reminder to house fire victims that they are loved and cared for.
The key is to be there consistently for house fire victims
Your friends may say “We don’t to be a burden,” or “It’s okay, you’ve already done too much.”
In this case, don’t listen to them. Make sure you are always there for them and let them know you are eager to help.
Make a commitment to show up for them whenever needed. Being present physically and emotionally when needed is referred to as “showing up.” And living up to your commitments can prevent a lot of pain.
Remember, it could take several years to recover from a house fire. Even after moving into a new permanent residence and experiencing financial recovery, both adults and children may still carry emotional scars from their traumatic experiences.
In the days, weeks, months, and years to come, your friendship and goodwill will be more appreciated than ever. You must be aware of how tragedy, ongoing stress, and anxiety can weaken a person’s fortitude since they might not always be able to repay your kindness or patience.
After the rubble has been cleared, continue to show compassion and understanding, and your kindness will serve as a foundation for your friend’s recovery from a house fire.
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