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FireUsing a Fire ExtinguisherHere are some helpful tips and suggestions about fires and the use of fire extinguishers. Need more? Talk to your local fire and police officials about safety training programs in your area. Remember - be safe and be smart.Wildfires What Homeowners Need to KnowThe more you know and understand about the causes of wildfires, the better you can protect yourself, your family and your home from wildfire loss and injury. What Firefighters DoFire fighting is no easy task. Here are some basics about these truly heroic people. Fire Safety Questions and AnswersWhat to know before a fire.Apartment Fires What You Should KnowThis list accompanies Help – House Fire. [WHN page link TK] Be sure to read that as well as the following tips.After a Fire Questions You May Be AskedAfter the fire, you may have a meeting or interview with a fire chief, fire marshal and/or arson investigator. This helps the fire department decide the cause of the fire, which may also impact your insurance claim.After a Fire Common Homeowner MistakesIn the aftermath of a house fire, most homeowners are too distraught to think clearly about what to do next such as secure the property, remove important documents and notify the mortgage company.Top 10 Cooking Safety TipsCooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S. It is also the leading cause of home fire injuries. Educate yourself now on fire prevention and what to do if a fire does occur.Testing GFCI Electrical OutletsHere's what you need to know about GFCIs.Smoke Alarm Safety GuidelinesOver 90 percent of U.S. homes have at least one smoke alarm, according to the United States Fire Administration (USFA). Here are some tips from their site.Preventing Carbon Monoxide PoisoningAccording to FreeMD, carbon monoxide is the leading cause of death by poisoning in the United States. Learn how to avoid becoming one of those numbers.Kids and Fire SafetyGetting kids involved in fire safety is important…and often not the first thing kids want to do when they could be playing with friends. Here are some tips to get your kids input on family fire safety.4 Fast Facts About FireThe United States Fire Administration (USFA), a division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), believes that fire deaths can be reduced by teaching people the basic facts about fire. Below are some simple facts from the USFA .Quick Fire Preparedness TipsWe've found we've found several blogs where people have said that their own home took only 5-10 minutes to burn. Whether you have 5 minutes or all afternoon, here are quick tasks could save you from a financial heartache down the road.Emergency Window Decals Why NOT to Use ThemDo you have fire decals on your windows? Interestingly, nearly all modern fire departments around the country do not recommend using them. Here are some reasons from the National Fire Prevention Association.Campfire Safety 101Toasting marshmallows and roasting hotdogs over a crackling campfire is one of the most popular American summer activities. Be safe and follow these tips.Backyard Fire Pit Safety TipsSitting around a fire is an American summer past time we hold dear to our hearts. However, not all of us can escape to the woods for the true campfire experience. Backyard fire pits are becoming a popular alternative to camp fires.BBQ Safety TipsGrilling is an American favorite. But if you're not careful, it can be a fire hazard. Read through these safety tips from the Home Safety Council.

After a Fire: Common Homeowner Mistakes

In the aftermath of a house fire, most homeowners are too distraught to think clearly about what to do next such as secure the property, remove important documents and notify the mortgage company.

Mistake #1 — Not Hiring an Expert ASAP

Hiring a licensed general contractor, ideally one with experience in fire, water and smoke damage, is often the most crucial step toward being able to return home and regain a sense of normalcy.

"One big mistake is not choosing a general contractor quickly enough," says Wesley Phillips, President of Bryant-Phillips Associates, a North Carolina-based licensed general contractor specializing in fire, water and smoke damages restoration. "A general contractor should be able to assist you with securing your home, generating an estimate and doing all the repairs on the home. The faster the homeowner selects a qualified contractor, the faster repairs can be made and the family can return home."

Mistake #2 — Going DIY To Save Dollars

Another error is trying to cut costs by doing the repairs themselves or with a friend or relative without the necessary expertise or experience. That can lead to problems down the road, Phillips cautions.

Mistake #3 — Not Getting Your Goods

Once the fire department has deemed the premises safe to enter, don't delay in removing valuables and furnishings. "The faster you get an item out, the better chance you have of repairing and salvaging it. Even though the fire is out, water and smoke will continue to damage items left inside," Phillips says.

However, when it comes to food, err on the side of caution and toss it all. Keep a running list of what you discard—frozen, refrigerated and shelf-stable items— since the insurance company needs to reimburse you for everything you lose in a fire, including food (see WHN's Federal Food Safety Guidelines for more).

Mistake #4 — Overestimating the Damage

Homeowners often assess damages at 100 percent when they are really only 25 percent. And it's easy to overestimate the severity of a fire because in some cases, it looks worse than it is. For example, sheet rock is designed to keep fire out and once the black and charred material is removed, it is often undamaged underneath. Almost anything can be repaired.

Mistake #5 — Settling for the Smoke Smell

Homeowners think they will never get rid of the smoke smell but it can be eliminated. Hire a reputable company that guarantees to permanently eliminate the odor. If the smoke smell remains, request an additional treatment.

Mistake #6 — Having Unrealistic Expectations

It takes time to repair a house. Homeowners need to prepare themselves for the fact that restoration can be time consuming. Since restoration can involve stripping the house to the studs and rebuilding, homeowners need to think in terms of months, not days or weeks.

FireUsing a Fire ExtinguisherHere are some helpful tips and suggestions about fires and the use of fire extinguishers. Need more? Talk to your local fire and police officials about safety training programs in your area. Remember - be safe and be smart.Wildfires What Homeowners Need to KnowThe more you know and understand about the causes of wildfires, the better you can protect yourself, your family and your home from wildfire loss and injury. What Firefighters DoFire fighting is no easy task. Here are some basics about these truly heroic people. Fire Safety Questions and AnswersWhat to know before a fire.Apartment Fires What You Should KnowThis list accompanies Help – House Fire. [WHN page link TK] Be sure to read that as well as the following tips.After a Fire Questions You May Be AskedAfter the fire, you may have a meeting or interview with a fire chief, fire marshal and/or arson investigator. This helps the fire department decide the cause of the fire, which may also impact your insurance claim.After a Fire Common Homeowner MistakesIn the aftermath of a house fire, most homeowners are too distraught to think clearly about what to do next such as secure the property, remove important documents and notify the mortgage company.Top 10 Cooking Safety TipsCooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S. It is also the leading cause of home fire injuries. Educate yourself now on fire prevention and what to do if a fire does occur.Testing GFCI Electrical OutletsHere's what you need to know about GFCIs.Smoke Alarm Safety GuidelinesOver 90 percent of U.S. homes have at least one smoke alarm, according to the United States Fire Administration (USFA). Here are some tips from their site.Preventing Carbon Monoxide PoisoningAccording to FreeMD, carbon monoxide is the leading cause of death by poisoning in the United States. Learn how to avoid becoming one of those numbers.Kids and Fire SafetyGetting kids involved in fire safety is important…and often not the first thing kids want to do when they could be playing with friends. Here are some tips to get your kids input on family fire safety.4 Fast Facts About FireThe United States Fire Administration (USFA), a division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), believes that fire deaths can be reduced by teaching people the basic facts about fire. Below are some simple facts from the USFA .Quick Fire Preparedness TipsWe've found we've found several blogs where people have said that their own home took only 5-10 minutes to burn. Whether you have 5 minutes or all afternoon, here are quick tasks could save you from a financial heartache down the road.Emergency Window Decals Why NOT to Use ThemDo you have fire decals on your windows? Interestingly, nearly all modern fire departments around the country do not recommend using them. Here are some reasons from the National Fire Prevention Association.Campfire Safety 101Toasting marshmallows and roasting hotdogs over a crackling campfire is one of the most popular American summer activities. Be safe and follow these tips.Backyard Fire Pit Safety TipsSitting around a fire is an American summer past time we hold dear to our hearts. However, not all of us can escape to the woods for the true campfire experience. Backyard fire pits are becoming a popular alternative to camp fires.BBQ Safety TipsGrilling is an American favorite. But if you're not careful, it can be a fire hazard. Read through these safety tips from the Home Safety Council.