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Step 2: Secure Your Property
By Jonathan Meyer
After eliminating fire-related hazards you should take steps to protect and secure your property and personal belongings from further damage.
It is important to ventilate your property. However, security is also important. Lock and secure your property when not occupied to prevent looting. Keep in mind that alarms may malfunction if the electricity or telephone service has been interrupted.
If your property is looted or vandalized, notify the police immediately. You will most likely need a police report to file an insurance claim.
If it is not hazardous to do so, consider securing your property to prevent burglary and theft.
Board up burnt windows and doors. Confirm that all fire hazards have been eliminated and cover damaged walls and roofing with plywood.
After securing the structure, try to salvage your belongings by relocating them to a well-ventilated part of the structure.
If you do not feel safe handling this job yourself, get professional help.
Severely Damaged Properties
If your property is too damaged to be secured against burglary, remove your survived valuables to a trusted location such as the home of a friend or a storage unit where they will be kept during the restoration process.
Valuables will include:
- Personal documents
- Money, credit cards, checkbooks, etc.
- Items with sentimental value, like photographs and letters
To protect larger items such as furniture and appliances, you may also want to consider a partial or complete move-out.
Whether you secure your property or evacuate it temporarily, the costs are often covered by most homeowner or business insurance policies. Contact your insurance agent to verify the property protection coverage.