After A Fire

The First 24 Hours – Securing Yourself and The Site

Contact your local disaster relief service, such as the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army, to help with your immediate needs, such as:

  • Temporary housing
  • Food
  • Medicine
  • Eyeglasses
  • Clothing
  • Other essential items

Contact your insurance agent/company.

Do not enter the damaged site. Fires can rekindle from hidden, smoldering remains.

Normally, the fire department will see that utilities (water, electricity and natural gas) are either safe to use or are disconnected before firefighters leave the site. Do not attempt to turn on utilities yourself.

Watch out for structural damage caused by the fire. Roofs and floors may be damaged and could collapse.

Food, beverages and medicine exposed to heat, smoke, soot and water should not be consumed.

Leaving Your Home

Contact your local police departments to let them know the site will be unoccupied.

In some cases it may be necessary to board up openings to discourage trespassers.

Save receipts for any money you spend. These receipts are important to show your insurance company what money you spent related to your fire loss and also to verify losses claimed on your income tax.

If it is safe to do so, try to locate the following items:

  • Identification, such as Driver’s Licenses and Social Security cards
  • Insurance information
  • Medication information
  • Eyeglasses, hearing aids or other prosthetic devices
  • Valuables, such as credit cards, bank books, cash and jewelry

Make sure to let people know you have relocated. Consider the following:

  • Your insurance agent/company
  • Your mortgage company (also inform them of the fire)
  • Your family and friends
  • Your employer
  • Your child’s school
  • Your post office
  • Any delivery services
  • Your fire and police departments
  • Your utility companies

Do not throw away any damaged goods until you make an inventory. All damages are taken into consideration when your insurance claim is developed.

If you are considering contracting for inventory or repair services, discuss your plans with your insurance agent/company first.