How to Help Home Fire Survivors
As restoration professionals, we at SERVPRO of Sunland/Tujunga frequently work with homeowners going through the worst disasters of their lives. We’re proud to be able to help and to fix what’s been damaged. We know the joy of making homes “Like it never even happened.” But what do you do when someone’s home is actually destroyed by fire?
How can we as a community step up when a family loses everything in a fire? If you know the family, the simplest way to help is to give your neighbors the items that survivors of house fires need the most:
- Immediate necessities. Imagine walking into a hotel room with no bags. What do you change into after your shower? How do you brush your teeth? Gently used clothes from your own closet are generally considered appropriate since they’re immediately available and don’t require the time and effort of wardrobe shopping. But on your way to deliver them, stop by Walmart or Target and grab some new socks and underwear.
- Short-term basics. Now imagine moving into a new apartment with no boxes—no towels to put in the linen closet, no dishes to put in the cabinet. As you’re preparing to help a neighbor in need, mentally walk through your day and think about all the things you use daily.
- Long-term help. Now if you really know the family, work with them to provide assistance as they go through the process of recovery. Are you good with organizing? Maybe you can help them work with the insurance companies? Do you know their kids? Suggest a playdate while the parents work their to-do lists? Create a meal calendar for their friends or just take them out and let them talk.
If you don’t know the family affected by fire damage (or if it’s a community-wide disaster you’ve seen on the news) the best way to help is to donate money. You can give through gofundme.com or local charities, but the Red Cross is a consistently reliable organization with years of experience helping in exactly this sort of situation.
No one can know exactly what it's like to survive a house fire, but we know enough to know that we're needed and that's where we need to start.