What to Do after the Fire is Out

As your mind is racing about all the things that need to be done after a fire, here are some helpful tips to help make this process easier.

A firetruck hurrying to a fireFirst Step:

After the fire department personnel leave, the building becomes your responsibility. You will need to remove all valuables if you are not able to live in the house. If there is a firefighter or fire investigator on the scene, they will accompany you. You are responsible for securing doors and windows and other areas against unauthorized entry and ensuring that there is no further damage to the structure or contents.

Next Step:

Property Insurance - If you own or are purchasing the property, contact your insurance company and agent as soon as possible. If you are renting or leasing the property, you must also contact the owner. Your insurance agent may be able to assist by providing names of full-service fire/smoke and water restoration companies that specialize in securing homes, inventory and removal of contents, and 24-hour emergency service.

Note: All items in the building should be inventoried and no item should be thrown away without the approval of the insurance company.

Final Step:

The final step is to start the clean-up process. There are several companies that specialize in this type of clean-up. Go on the advice of your insurance company, as there might be problems with your claim if you do not follow their direction.

For detailed information about what to do after the fire, please see the Federal Emergency Management Agency's advice (PDF).