Follow these steps immediately after a home fire:
- Call 911. Give first aid where needed; cool and cover burns to minimize the chance of additional injury or infection.
- Tell family and friends that you are safe.
- People and animals who are seriously injured or burned should be taken to professional medical or veterinary help as soon as possible.
- Do not enter fire-damaged homes until local authorities say it is safe to enter.
- Remain calm; pace yourself. Realize that, sometimes, recovery can take time.
- Stay connected with your family or other support systems.
- Drink water and get some rest.
- Limit your exposure to the sights and sounds of disasters.
- Recognize your feelings.
- Reach out and accept the help of others.
Recovering your Home
- Take precautions and abide to directions from local authorities.
- Use caution when entering burned areas; there may still be hot spots that may flare up with no warning.
- Smell or sniff for gas leakages.
- Beware of animals that may have entered your home.
- Objects may be unstable; be very cautious when walking towards them.
- Open windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home.
- Disconnect and check all appliances before using them.
- When it comes time to clean up, wear protective gear; boots, safety glasses and rubber gloves are necessary.
- Household items often take several cleanings to rid the smoke odors, soot and stains.
- Make sure all food and water is safe to consume. Discard food that might have been exposed to heat, smoke or soot and do not drink contaminated water.
- Contact your local 360 agent.
- Write an inventory and take pictures of damaged furniture, appliances, books, etc.
- If possible, keep damaged items until the claims adjuster has visited your home.
- Make sure to keep all receipts that are related to living expenses, repairs, etc.
- Make copies of all documents and pictures given to your claims adjuster.
Check out the American Red Cross’s guide for more detailed information on what you should do after a fire.
Sources: American Red Cross, Canadian Red Cross