After the Fire
The fire is now out, what do you do next. If you know someone who has a fire in their home please share this information. It is hoped that this information will assist in reducing your losses and help speed your return to a normal lifestyle.
First, we would like to answer some questions you might have about our fire operations and procedures.
1) Was it really necessary to break the windows and put holes in the roof?
As a fire burns, it moves upward, then outward. Removing windows and cutting holes in the roof, ventilation in firefighting terms, stops that damaging outward movement of smoke and heat and enables us to locate potential victims, and fight the fire more efficiently, resulting in less damage in the long run. This procedure also reduces the risk of serious injury to firefighters.
2) Why did the firefighters put holes in the walls and ceiling?
They had to be absolutely sure there was no "hidden" fire inside the walls, ceilings and partitions
Securing the site
Protect the fire site from any further damage by either weather, theft or vandalism. Do not leave the site unsecured.
If you are the owner: it is your responsibility to see that openings are covered against rain and entry. Make sure outside doors to the property can be locked or secured. The Fire Brigade and the Police will help secure the premises until responsibility can be handed over to the occupier, Insurance company or Local Authority.
If you are the occupier: contact your landlord and inform them of the fire. If you cannot contact them and you need professional assistance in boarding up the premises, contact the Police or your insurance company who will have a list of recognized contractors who can help.
If you plan to leave the site, try to remove any valuables remaining in the building.
Contact your own insurance company or Local Authority to report the loss.
Things to think about
Household wiring which may have been water damaged should be checked by a licensed electrician before power is turned back on.
Check for structural damage caused by the fire. Roofs and floors may be weakened. The local Council's Building Inspector may be able to help.
Food, drink and medicines exposed to heat, smoke or soot should be discarded in the appropriate manner.
Refrigerators and freezers left unopened will hold their temperature for a short time. However, do not attempt to refreeze thawed items.
The Fire Department will call for the services of the local gas, fuel and electricity suppliers to disconnect services before they leave the site.
If a utility - gas, electricity or water - is disconnected, it is your responsibility to have the services checked and reconnected by a licensed trades-person. Do not attempt to reconnect the service yourself.
Start collecting receipts for any money you spend. These are important because you can use them to show the insurance company what money you have spent relating to your fire loss and also for verifying losses claimed.
Contact your insurance company and inform them that you have had a fire, They will take details and than send out an assessor.
Obtain a claim form and make a list of all items that have been damaged and what items need to be salvaged. Your insurance assessor will be able to advise of this. All insurance companies have different policies in handling claims so the sooner you contact them the sooner this can get moving.
Try to make an inventory, as soon as possible, of household items either inside or outside the buildings which have been damaged by the fire. The inventory of damaged items will further speed the claim when the loss assessor makes contact. Do not throw away any damaged goods until after the inventory is made by the insurance assessor. If you have made a previous inventory list prior to the fire use this to aide the formulation of what has been damaged.
IT IS ADVISABLE TO MAKE AN INVENTORY OF ALL ITEMS IN YOUR HOUSEHOLD AND CURRENT REPLACEMENT VALUE.
Leaving your home
Your insurance company will be able to advise you if you are entitled to stay in a hotel as part of a temporary housing clause in your policy, or how soon you might get an advance on your eventual insurance claim settlement.
If you can gain entry to your property, try to locate the following items to take with you:
2) Medical items that you need, such as drugs and equipment.
3) Glasses, hearing aids.
4) Valuable items such as credit cards, check books, policies (Insurance), savings account books, money and jewelry, passports.
You may need to notify these people of your new address.
1) Your employer.
2) Family members and friends.
4) Electric, gas, and water providers.
At your main Post Office you can have them hold or redirect your mail.
If you have newspapers or other deliveries to your property then you may need to advise them as well.
The Police might need to know you new address just in case they need to make further inquiries.
Please note that these are just ideas and suggestions. Please make sure you follow instructions from your local fire department/ city government.