One of the first considerations is securing shelter for you and your family for the next 3 days or so. The soot and hydrocarbons produced by the fire will typically render your home unlivable for a period of time. The effects on a persons respiratory system is both irritating and harmful after prolonged exposure. Those with sensitive allergies will be most affected. If you have pets, shelter and/or care needs to be secured for them as well. If the fire dept. has released the scene and declared your home safe to enter, gather important documents like passports, birth certificates, jewelery, credit cards and financial documents. If feasible, gather 2 or 3 days of clothing for everyone. They may smell smokey but 1 trip to the laundromat will provide some usable clothing in the interim.
The next crucial step is to make arrangements to secure your property to protect it from further damage, vandalism and theft. This would include boarding up broken windows and doors, tarping off holes in the roof and sometimes covering over 1st floor widows to prevent access to your home, providing temporary power, and drying down the structure to prevent additional water damage or mold growth.
To assist you with everything that must be done, contact a local restoration contractor. These folks are dedicated to their profession. They answer the phone 24/7, have the equipment and expertise to perform everything you need to have done and the good ones will provide you direction on the proper steps to take to help the whole process go smoothly. If you don’t know who the reputable restoration contractors are contact your insurance agent or the local Home Builders Association. Your insurance agent has a personal interest in you and your family so you can trust their advice. Members of the Home Builders Association are local to your area, licensed and insured, and their work is quite visible to the community at large and customer referrals, and feedback can usually be found on their web site.
There is much more to be done but this is a good start.