It can be easy to panic after a traumatic event like a home fire. But sometimes the decisions we make under duress turn out to be mistakes in hindsight. Familiarize yourself with these common mistakes now, so that you can avoid them if you ever experience a fire in your home.

Don’t go into the house! Even if you think things look fine or the damage seems mild from the outside, never re-enter a burned building until the fire department has investigated. Once they tell you it’s safe to do so, you can go back inside the home.

Don’t eat food that was exposed to heat, soot, or chemicals. These foods might be contaminated or spoiled.

Don’t turn on the lights (unless the fire marshall said it’s safe to do so). If your walls and ceilings got wet, the wiring could be damaged. Turning on the lights might be dangerous.

Don’t touch things with bare hands. This one surprises a lot of people, but the oils on your hands can cause soot to “set” as a stain on walls, furniture, clothing, and more. Cover your hands when touching things in the house, to give yourself the best odds of removing those stains later.

Don’t use or clean electrical appliances. A repair service can give you a better idea of how to repair these items.

Don’t try to clean the walls, carpet, furniture, etc. It makes sense that you would feel in a hurry to get things back to normal. But if you use the wrong cleaning solutions, you could actually make soot stains worse. Let the experts advise you before attempting to clean expensive items or anything you would be sad to lose.

Don’t wash your clothes, either. Unfortunately, the same rule goes for clothes. You don’t want to set soot stains in everything you own, so seek expert advice first.

Don’t delay calling for help. Call us right away after a home fire, and we can advise you on proper cleaning methods. We can also assist with filing a claim with your insurance company, and help you restore your home back to its former glory.