Our thoughts continue to be with our clients, friends, and neighbors who have been or are currently being impacted by wildfires nationwide.
ABD’s first priority has been, and continues to be, making sure everyone is safe and has access to the information you need; second is to help as you navigate this disaster. Click here to see our recent blog with information on wildfire readiness and support to keep you informed during this difficult time.
Assessing the Aftermath
Returning to your premises after a fire or evacuation:
Returning to your premises after a fire or evacuation order is not only stressful but can be dangerous. Here are some suggestions when returning to either your home or business:
- Only return to a fire damaged premises if you have permission from authorities to do so.
- Check the ground around the premises for hot spots, smoldering stumps and vegetation.
- Check the roof, attic and exterior for embers or sparks.
- Turn off all appliances and make sure meter is not damaged before turning on the main circuit.
- Do not drink or use water from the faucet until authorities say it is okay, as it may have become contaminated.
- Call 911 if any danger is perceived or call your local utility for electrical problems, damaged equipment, or gas problems.
- For more safety suggestions post-wildfire, go to CalFire’s page on returning home after a fire.
Assessing the Damage:
Upon returning to your premises, it’s important to do an initial assessment of damage. We suggest beginning with the following:
- Evaluate and document the following with an itemized list with photographs or video:
- structural damage
- items needing to be repaired or replaced
- personal property
- inventory lost
- Make temporary repairs to ensure the premises is safe and to prevent any further damage. This will be considered loss mitigation and can be done without your carrier’s approval. Any large repairs should be approved by your carrier before you begin.
- Secure the premises as best as possible and preserve damaged contents for further investigation.
- Have an emergency vendor list with numbers you can call immediately after an initial evaluation of your damage. This list should include:
- Your insurance broker
- Disaster restoration/remediation contractor – one can be lined up ahead of time
- Security company (if the area needs to be protected from looters or other 3rd parties)
- Contacting vendors as quickly as possible will ensure you are at the front of the line for their services. This is especially important after a wide-spread disaster where demand for remediation and restoration services will exceed the supply.
- For wildfires that are declared an official disaster, DisasterAssistance.gov can also assist in finding local resources, programs and available services.
Once you have a general idea of your damages, it is time to decide whether to involve your insurance. Our next blog post will detail the steps to take when dealing with the claims and recovery process. Contact ABD today for more information or assistance on navigating the devastating impact of recent wildfires.