Steps To Take After a Fire
No landlord likes to think about the damage that an apartment fire can cause. It's important to know what to do in case it happens in your building in New Bern, NC, though. Here are the steps you should take immediately after a fire.
Ensure Apartment Fire Is Out and Everyone Is Safe
As soon as you know there's a fire in the building, dial 911. Then focus on your responsibilities:
- Alert all tenants quickly by text.
- Check on elderly and disabled tenants to see if they need assistance escaping the building.
- Exchange contact information with the fire officer on the scene.
Your primary concern should be the safety of your residents, but it's also vital that you make sure the fire is put out as soon as possible. The more damage you can prevent, the less expensive restoration will be.
Contact Insurance Company and Restoration Professionals
Once the fire is out, call your insurance provider. The company will send an adjuster who will assess the damage to the structure to help you get the claims process started. You also need to contact fire damage restoration experts so that they can assess what needs to be repaired and begin the mitigation process.
Provide Tenants With Information About What They Should Do
As the landlord, you are only responsible for covering the cost of the damage the apartment fire did to the structure and the property itself. Tenants are responsible for their own belongings. Ideally, the people who live in your building have renter's insurance so that they can get help with temporary relocation costs and the replacement of personal items.
If they don't have policies that compensate them for their losses, they may be able to get help from organizations such as the Red Cross.
Document Damage To Your Building
It's a good idea to accompany the restoration team or insurance adjuster on the walkthrough of your building. That way, you can take pictures or videos of the fire's aftermath. Take notes and make a list of repairs that need to be made so that you have the information you need for the insurance company.
Include Fire Report and Restoration Estimate in Claim
Other documentation you should gather includes the official fire report from the officer who was in charge of taking care of the flames and the estimate given to you by the head of the restoration team. These documents can corroborate your own records and thus increase the likelihood that your claim will be accepted.
Keep Tenants Informed Throughout Process
Tenants will likely be concerned about when they can return to their homes. Provide them with a general timeline, but maintain contact throughout the process to reassure them. Taking the initiative to keep them informed is good customer service and can help to put their minds at ease.
There is a lot to do after an apartment fire. You have a responsibility to make your building habitable again and to keep residents notified as new information comes to light. If you complete this checklist, you should be able to file a successful claim for the fire damage to your building.