This is a sad day for some people like Johnny Galecki of the Big Bang Theory. Johnny Galecki’s home in San Luis Obispo, CA burned in the night. It appears that the fire is contained and that he and other homes around him are safe. This is a relief!
When it comes to a house fire, there are some steps that you can take to stay safe and to protect your belongings. You never know when something like this can happen to you.
Putting Small Fires Out
First, if you do have a fire extinguisher and the fire is small like a kitchen fire, use the fire extinguisher to put the eliminate the fire. If you do not have fire extinguishers around your home, make an investment and purchase them. This little added item can prevent a fire from growing and causing more damage than necessary and add a lot of peace of mind.
Leave Your Home
If the fire is large or you are not comfortable trying to put a fire out, leave your home immediately. Your life is precious and fire and smoke can cause death and illness. Gather your family and leave now. It is important to develop an exit strategy with your family in case of a fire. If you have not developed this exit strategy and plan, it is a good idea to have this developed before a fire occurs. Also, practice or review your exit strategy with all family members periodically. Good practice will help if the need arises. Think airline safety checks and cruise ship emergency exit plans.
If your home is near other homes, also knock on your neighbors doors and ask them to leave their homes. Fires can spread fast and keeping your neighbors safe is also important.
Remember all pets in these situations. Our pets are overlooked, so make sure you are able to get to them quickly and include them in your exit plan.
Once you are safely out of your home, it is now time to call 911. The fire department is trained to put out the fire before it can spread throughout whole neighborhoods causing more home damage and risk of injury and death.
If your family is not with you, it is important to alert all family members. Family members not present of the burning home will worry about you and others. You do not want them worrying because they cannot find you if you are safe and out of your home.
Prepare for the Aftermath
After a fire, you need to understand next steps. Make sure all family members are safe and protected. Make sure your neighbors are safe and protected. Speak with the fire department and secure any records you will need to submit to your insurance company about the fire. Speak with your insurance company to understand how they can help you immediately. Does your homeowners policy cover expenses when your home is not livable? Will the insurance company cover local hotel stays until you can get your home repaired? Can you stay with family or friends nearby? Ask to borrow clothes from friends and family until you get on your feet to buy more garments. Let your employer know of the situation so that you have plenty of time to deal with house fire.
After the immediate needs, you will then focus on long term needs. What is necessary to rebuild your home? How does your insurance company help? How long will you be out of your home? Having this information will help you understand the details you need to get back into your home. What specific information does your insurance company need to move the rebuilding process forward?
Getting Prepared Prior to a Fire
There are steps you can take prior to a fire, take precautions to be prepared. Have an exit strategy, have fire ladders in upstairs bedrooms, check the batteries in your smoke detectors, invest in fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors, and know what you own by documenting it and keeping records.
By all means in case of fire, remember that your life is precious! Stay safe and leave your home when a fire occurs!