Immediately Following the Fire

Take Care of Your Immediate Needs
The Fire Department will ask you if you have assistance to help with your immediate needs and temporary housing. If you need help, the Fire Department will contact the American Red Cross for you. The American Red Cross will help with your immediate needs, such as:
  • Clothing
  • Food
  • Other essential items
  • Temporary housing
The Fire Department and building official will let you know if your home is safe to occupy.

Contact Your Insurance Agent / Company
Caution: Do not enter your home unless the Fire Department or building official tells you that it is safe to do so. Normally, the Fire Department will see that utilities (water, electricity, and natural gas) are either safe to use or are disconnected before they leave. Do not attempt to turn on utilities yourself.

Structural damage caused by the fire may have made roofs and floors unsafe and subject to collapse.

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

Leaving Your Home

Contact your local Police Department to let them know the site will be unoccupied. In some cases, your home may need to be boarded to close openings to discourage trespassers.

Beginning immediately, save your receipts for any money you spend. These receipts are important in showing the insurance company what money you have spent related to your fire loss and also for verifying losses claimed on your income tax.

Locate the Following If Safe To Do So
  • Eyeglasses, hearing aids or other prosthetic devices
  • Identification, such as driver's licenses and Social Security cards
  • Insurance information
  • Medication information
  • Valuables, such as credit cards, bank books, cash and jewelry
Notify the Following People / Entities About Your Relocation
  • Any delivery services
  • Your child's school
  • Your employer
  • Your family and friends
  • Your insurance agent / company
  • Your mortgage company (also inform them of the fire)
  • Your post office
  • Your utility companies
Do not throw away any damaged goods until after an inventory is made and you receive permission from your insurance company. In many cases, your insurance company will take care of inventorying your belongings with you present. All damages are taken into consideration in developing your insurance claim.

If you are going to contract for inventory or repair services, make sure you have the permission of your insurance agent / company first to assure that your expenses are covered.