What to Do After a Fire

  • Give first aid where needed. After calling 911 or your local emergency number, cool and cover burns, which reduces the chance of further injury or infection. Seriously injured or burned victims should be transported to professional medical help immediately.
  • Stay out of fire-damaged homes until local fire authorities say it is safe to re-enter. Fire may have caused damage that could injure you or your family. There may be residual smoke or gases that are unsafe to breathe.
  • Look for structural damage. Fire authorities may allow you to re-enter, but may not have completed a thorough inspection. Look for damage that will need repair.
  • Check that all wiring and utilities are safe. Fire may cause damage inside walls and to utility lines not normally visible.
  • Discard food that has been exposed to heat, smoke, or soot. The high temperatures of fire and its by-products can make food unsafe.
  • Contact your insurance agent. Don't discard damaged goods until an inventory has been taken. Save receipts for money spent relating to fire loss. Your insurance agent may provide immediate help with living expenses until you are able to return home, and offer assistance for repairs.