After the water leak has stopped, the fire is out, or the burglar is gone, the property owner needs to take certain actions to get the claim process started, limit further unnecessary damage, and get the restoration job started.

  • Contact your insurance representative as soon as possible.
  • If the building has broken windows, or doors, a hole in roof or siding and is no longer secure, use plywood and /or tarps to board up the outside of the building. Call Don D. Rutherford and Sons, Inc. for assistance.
  • To prevent further interior damage to building and contents, excess water must be removed from the structure and contents as soon as possible. If necessary to protect salvageable contents, move them to a safe area within the building. If you plan to stay in the damaged structure, clean only the areas necessary for you to continue to live or work until the insurance adjuster examines the damage. For extensive cleaning or damage to contents, hire a reputable cleaning company as soon as possible to clean your building/contents. Call Don D. Rutherford and Sons, Inc. for assistance.
  • In the event the utilities have been turned off, you will need to hire a local utility contractor to obtain the necessary permits to restore them. Call Don D. Rutherford and Sons, Inc. for assistance.
  • In the event of freezing temperatures and heat can not be restored, contact a plumber to winterize the plumbing system. Call Don D. Rutherford and Sons, Inc. for assistance.
  • If no one will be able to spend the night in the structure and it is less than normally secure, remove valuables such as jewelry, money, and important papers from premises.
  • Inventory any unsalvageable contents for insurance and/or tax purposes, (including any items that may have been put in the debris pile by the fire department.) If items are insured, do not dispose of anything until adjuster has seen it.
  • Any food or beverage that has had contact with smoke, soot, or heat should be discarded. Wash your canned goods and jars with soapy water. If labels come off and you know the contents, remark them with a marker. Don’t use canned goods when cans have bulged, dented or show rust. Be sure to include all that is discarded in your property inventory.

Words of Caution
1) After a fire or extensive damage by wind or tornado, check with Fire Officials before entering the structure. They will inform you if it is safe to enter the building or what areas of the building are unsafe.

2) Immediately following a fire the quality of the air in your home or business can be very poor. People with lung or respiratory problems can have adverse reactions. Check with Fire Officials about this problem before entering.