Episode-757- Marc Hallee on Dealing with a Fire’s Aftermath

Marc Hallee Joins Us To Discuss Fire's Aftermath

Marc Hallee is a practitioner of wilderness skills, martial arts instructor, Girl Scout Leader and recently published his first article in Self Reliance Illustrated Magazine. He is also husband and father of 3.

Recently Marc and his family experienced the disaster of a house fire in Feb 2011,  and he joins us today to inform TSP listeners on what to avoid and how to protect their property and items during the rebuild process.

To sum it up, they had the house fire,  they were then robbed and vandalized the first night by the builders boarding up the house.  Just about all dry cleaned items were destroyed by the cleaning process, the ServiceMaster company lost many items and stole even more.

On the other end of the scale they found out who there true friends were and how great some people can be in a time of need.   Today he will tell us about his experiences and go over a checklist he has been working on to help others be better prepared for fires and other home destroying disasters.  His checklist and further resources can be found at SurviveTheFire.com

Join us Today as we Discuss…

  • Preps to make before a fire to be prepared if one occurs
  • Why you should never leave workers unsupervised in the clean up process
  • Who you can turn to for assistance in after a house fire
  • Several things you should never do after a home is lost to a fire
  • The good, bad and ugly of dealing with insurance companies
  • The importance of post and pre disaster record keeping
  • Finding a temporary residence during the rebuilding process
  • Helping children cope during a period of loss
  • Why you will never really be prepared for such a loss
  • Protecting data, valuables, cash and cash equivalents
  • The importance of a fire safe
  • Keeping some items and possessions off site

Additional Resources for Today’s Show

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK and you might hear yourself on the air.

33 Responses to Episode-757- Marc Hallee on Dealing with a Fire’s Aftermath

  1. Jack,
    This one hit home. Two years ago, I had a house fire. Fortunately I had insurance, and it took almost 5 months to get things back together again.
    That year I actually had two fires. The insurance company I was using and had since late 1999 at the time for renewal of the home owners insurance elected to NOT provide coverage any longer.

    Folks, Please listen to this podcast and review your coverage, inventory your property and get a plan together. Other than service animals, most shelters if you have to get to one, will not take your pets.

    Please take this seriously even if you only give half a thought to the previous podcasts. Additionally, Home Owners Insurance does not cover flooding, so get that checked out as well.

    Thanks so very much Jack.

    • Grog, Sorry to here about your misfortune. Having it happen twice is just as likely as it having it once. My prayers go out to you. I would appreciate you sending me your story if you have the time. Thanks for listening.

  2. Wow. This is exactly the kind of thing I needed to hear today. Great show. Now to get that documentation package done!

    • Jen, Thank you for listening. Let me know if you have any furthur questions on comments. My webpage is only a week old and I’ll be building on a lot more as the weeks progress.

  3. A few years back I had smoke coming out of the wall socket when I was blow drying my hair. In seconds the smoke went from a what is that size to oh my gawd the house is on fire!

    I ran from the bath to the electrical panel threw the breaker (It was on the way to the phone) Got to the kitchen dialed 911. Looked in the cupboard for our fire extinguisher (it was not there) Grabbed a box of cereal and started calling the pups for a snack. Threw the box out the door sprinkling cereal all over the yard and shut the dogs out.

    911 instructed me to go back to the bath room if I didn’t see smoke coming out the door. I did not. Then I was instructed to touch the wall to see if it was hot. It was. Then I was instructed to get out of the house fire dept is on the way.

    As I looked out the window I saw the trucks at the bottom of the drive. Looked down and realized I hadn’t gotten dressed yet. Grabbed an arm full of dirty clothes off the floor ran out the back got dressed just as a firefighter got out of his truck.

    They checked everything out and it was fine. The chief asked me what had happened I told him he said shutting off the breaker is what had prevented a bigger fire. We were very very lucky. The fire department was there in just a few minutes and said they would have been their faster but our house numbers were not visible. He also told me we did not have enough smoke detectors. You must have one in the laundry room and in each room of the house for that matter. He advised that we should have an electrician inspect all the connections in the house. That wires over time have a way of working themselves loose. If people would check the connections in outlets and switches and breaker panels that could prevent many electrical fires. Well now we have smoke detectors fire extinguishers. We have had an inventory list but it is over 15 years old.

    After our little ordeal I thought we had it together but this show has pointed out that we really don’t. I am grateful we didn’t have to learn the hard way. Thank you for all the info I will implement it ASAP.

    • Roundabouts, Thanks for sharing your experience with us. It’s amazing how fast a fire can start. Many times they can’t find an exact cause and just list it as electrical. For us the, one of the main power wires coming into the home was touching the panel itself. It melted a hole right thru the metal and started throwing a flurry of sparks. The rest is history. Thanks for listening and be sure to check out our web page.

  4. While listening to this episode the fire alarm went off in my building…turned out to be a false alarm, but this episode along with the fact that I’m on the 32nd floor got me thinking about work fires as well as home fires.

    • Brandon, Great point. I bring a laptop backpack to work with me everyday. When the alarm goes off all I do is stick my laptop in my bag, grab my coat and out the door. I’ll have to add a fire in the workplace section of my work book. Thanks for listening.

  5. I just replaced my 2 smoke alarm’s 9V batteries.

    I have had 2 occasions where I have had to use a fire extinguisher in the house. I have also had 1 occasion where we had to use a fire extinguisher on an engine. I have one in my truck at all times, one in the kitchen and one in the garage.

    • Tom, thanks for sharing. Reminded me of the temporary apartment we moved into. The smoke detectors were battery and hard wired so before we moved in, I tested the detectors and they just started screaming and wouldn’t turn off. I had to turn off the breaker to stop it. I had them replace them all or I was going to find another place to live. Thanks for sharing. I had almost forgotten about the smoke detectors at the new place.

  6. I’m so sorry to hear about your personal disaster. Thank you so much for sharing your story.
    Jack, personal stories like this one really bring home your message. I think it would be very helpful to have more episodes like this one.

    • Janice, thanks for listening and your sympathies. I wanted to do the interview to hopefully help someone else avoid the same fate. Fires happen and there’s only so much you can do to prevent them. I could have talked another hour on just how bad the restoration companies treated us and out belongings. Hind site, it would have been less stressful to loose it all instead of being treated like trash by the money hungry companies. Stay safe and follow us on facebook.

  7. Great episode and a good example of the value of talking to someone who has been through the real deal. Thanks to your guest.

  8. Jack, the Tornado that you referred to in South Arlington and the Bank One building is the March 28th, 2000 Fort Worth tornado.

    That event woke me up and started me on my journey that I am on/in with my family.

    Great show. I’ve been listening since your article in the Fort Worth Star Telegram.

    Keep up the great work!

  9. Excellent episode!
    As far as documenting and inventorying your household items (including stuff in the garage, storage & yard), what about keeping a digital copy with a cloud service like dropbox or amazon, in addition to have a thumb/usb drive. This would allow you to access your data from any computer with an internet connection and there are apps available for most smart phones.
    On another note, it’s time to replace our household fire extinguishers, they are around 10years old and I don’t know if they are good anymore, i’ve heard the contents can settle and clump over time.

    • Ryan, great point. Having a backup on the net is a great safety. For me I choose not too because that data is out there and you lose some of your privacy rights with the free services. I like a usb stick so I can just go to a Staples and just print it out if I have too. But having both would really be a great backup for all situations. Thanks for listening to the show.

      • using the program truecrypt, you can encrypt the file and you’ll lose no privacy.
        I too use USB drives, each of them have a “file” that is mounted as a drive using TrueCrypt. Once mounted the file appears as a “drive’ on your computer.

  10. Rich Hrazanek

    Does anyone know of any software that would allow you to record a room by room inventory?

    • Rich, I haven’t seen any real software that will allow inventory. The best I’ve found is some excel and access templates from Microsoft that can at least get you started. Inventory is kind of a personal item since everyone will be different. But good template will at least get you started. The inventory list will be a very big section in my workbook. Thanks for listening to the show.

  11. Really makes me reevaluate where I keep the bug out bags. So hard to regulate temp and there is the issue of theft leaving it in a car. But to have the bag ready to go and have it go up in flames. Hearing this makes me happy in my decision to use a cloud service for backup of my photos and movies on top of off site dvd back up.

    More reason to go thru and photo inventory everything, including close up of serial / model numbers. Also instead of scanning receipts I just take a picture of them with the phone or point and shoot. Not perfect but shows all relevant info.

  12. Do you guys think there’s a market for home inventory software? I’ve thought about building an app to do home inventory as well as things like pantry/food storage inventory, preparedness checklists, etc.

    I think it would be extremely useful, but that it would be tough to comvince people to use it given the time consuming nature of data entry.

    • Modern Survival

      I do, specifically if you took a picture and it tagged and filed that picture based on the item, etc.

    • Brandon, I think that would be a great software to have. Having a simple interface where you just enter the items and can print reports and search would be awesome. Let me know if you get it done and I’ll like it to my site. Thanks for listening.

      • Yeah, I’m very interested in building that software. My idea was to create a website with the application(s), and then to create mobile apps to interface with the site (data entry for example). It’s quite a bit of work to do what I want and do it right, which is why I would want to be sure that people would actually use it. Like most developers, I suck at the marketing side haha.

        • Brandon, Maybe we can work together to acheive both our goals. I’m not a coder so I wouldn’t be able to create and interface that would be simple too use. Go to my site and send me an email if you would like to discuss more.

        • Archangel Mike

          Brandon and Marc,

          I don’t want to distract from topic, but it may easily be able to accept food rotation as “inventory”. One idea I had last year.

          I’m good with the server/web platform/database stuff.

          We might want to form a working group to spin this off.


  13. Alex Haddox said make a video inventory of your stuff. harder for you to fake. Easy to back up on hard drive in sealed firebox as well offsite. I have been needing to do this myself. Need to get my butt in gear and get it done. Very good podcast.

  14. A friend of mine was renting out a house. She told her renters to get insurance. They didn’t. House was struck by lightning, went up quickly, even though pouring down rain. Family got out safely but lost their belongings and my friend lost a house.
    It took months for her to get the insurance straightened out, $ so she could have the debris cleared away, start the rebuilding process. She did what she could to help her renters. Gave them their deposit back. Returned that month’s rent. They were still upset with her for not replacing their household goods. “You got your house replaced, we lost everything” Well she had insurance, they did not. Funny thing is my insurance agent ran into the same couple. They were renting another place. Not paying renters insurance. They felt like they shouldn’t have to have any, because they were renters, the owner should cover their stuff. Their stuff is still not covered, didn’t learn. My friend now requires all renters to have insurance.

    • Thanks for sharing. It is turely amazing how some people just can’t mentaly assume responsibility for their own well being. As a parent you have a priority to do what ever you can for your family and children. Renters insurance is litterally about $14 per month for about $50K in coverage. It’s cheaper than any other bill you have. My heart goes out to the family in your story, it is very difficult losing what took so long to get. But sympathy can only get you so far when stupidity gets in the way. Thank you.