A fire in any type of home can cause serious damage. Many of the things in your home can be damaged by flames heat smoke and water, and those things that are not damaged will be ruined by smoke. It is important to be cautious after a fire and understand the health and safety risks that could make you sick.
What can you do now?
- Contact your local disaster relief service such as the Red Cross or Salvation Army
- Help your pets by finding them a home or somewhere safe to stay
- Make sure you do not enter your apartment or home unless the fire department says it is safe to go in.
- Make sure utility services (water, electric, and gas) are safe to use.
- Contact your insurance agent and ask them what they want you to do first. They may ask you to make a list of things damaged, make sure to add as much detail as possible.
- If you do not have insurance contact: American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Religious Organizations, Non-profit crisis counseling, or state or municipal emergency service office (one of these organizations may be able to help you)
- When deciding how to handle damage make sure that your insurance can cover the cost of the restoration. Many people will have these companies come out before contacting their insurance and are stuck with the bill.
- Contact your landlord or mortgage company about the fire.
- Try to find valuable documents and records, to see if you need new copies.
- If you leave your home contact the local police department to let them know the site will be vacant.
- Begin saving receipts for any money you spend related to fire loss.
Frequently Asked Questions about Fire Department actions
- Why did they break windows and cut holes in the roof?
- As a fire burns, it moves up and down and across, growing very fast. Breaking windows and cutting holes in the roof is called ventilation. This can slow the fire's growth. In the end, ventilation can help save lives.
- Why do firefighters cut holes in walls?
- This is done so that the fire department is sure that the fire is completely out and that there is no fire left inside the walls or in other hidden places.
- How can I get a copy of the fire report?
- In most places, fire reports are public documents. You can ask for it at the fire department or fire marshal's office.