Recovering After a Fire

Dec 7, 2017 by

A fire in the home is always a frightening experience. The degree of severity certainly matters, as a fire that destroys half the house is more traumatic than one where the damage is limited to one room. But even relatively small fires can leave lasting scars on both your house and psyche. It’s tough to think of a recovery plan when your mind is racing and you keep flashing back to the moment the fire started and wondering if you could have done something differently. The good news is that you won’t feel this way forever, and there are tangible steps you can take to get your house back in working order. The sooner you get your house back, the sooner you’ll feel like you’ve got your life back.

Mitigate the damage

Touring a house damaged by fire isn’t a pretty sight. There’s a smoky, charred smell that permeates the place, and many of your most cherished possessions will look burned beyond recognition. It can be upsetting, but it’s important to remember that your house won’t look like that forever. Fast action is critical to any restoration efforts. The longer you wait, the harder it’s going to be to salvage your stuff. Just because some of it’s a total loss doesn’t mean all of it is. After a fire, you typically hear people say, “We can replace possessions; we can’t replace people.” That’s very true, but that doesn’t mean you should throw out everything immediately. Ask around to find a reputable smoke and fire restoration company.

Water damage is also a big concern after a fire. Obviously, you need water to put out a fire, but houses were not designed to be full of water, just like they weren’t designed to be on fire. You need to get someone out there to clean up the water damage as soon as possible. It may be the same people who fix the smoke damage, or it may be someone else, but it’s not something you should delay doing. Water that sits around too long can cause all sorts of problems, including mold. And while mold can be dealt with, it’s a lot trickier to remove than water.

Your mental health

Once restoration efforts are in full swing, you’ll probably start to feel better. You may even feel a lot better. But if you don’t, that’s OK. We’re good at minimizing unsettling events. We say things like, “At least it wasn’t a total loss” or, “At least no one died.” Being grateful that it wasn’t as bad as it could have been doesn’t mean you can’t be sad about what did happen.

It’s common to feel anxious and sad after a house fire. If those feelings linger, see about setting up an appointment with a therapist who specializes in helping people process traumatic events. It’s possible to develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in the wake of such events. Even if it’s not full-on PTSD, you shouldn’t feel ashamed about getting help for any residual bad feelings that crop up long after the fire’s been extinguished.

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