The First 24 Hours
The First 24 Hours - Securing Yourself and The Site Contact your local disaster relief service such as the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army to help with your immediate needs, such as:
- temporary housing
- other essential items
The Gloucester Fire Department can request the Red Cross respond directly to the fire scene for you. Immediately contact your insurance agent/company.
Normally, the Fire Department will see that utilities (water, electricity and natural gas) are either safe to use or are disconnected before they leave the site. Do not attempt to turn on utilities yourself.
Be watchful for structural damage caused by the fire and firefighting efforts. Roofs and floors may be damaged and subject to collapse. Food, beverages, and medicine exposed to heat, smoke, soot and water should not be consumed.
Leaving Your Home
Contact the Police Department to let them know the site will be unoccupied.
It is important to ensure that your home is secured. In some cases it may be necessary to board up openings to do so. There are many board-up service companies available in the area; work with your insurance agent or adjuster to coordinate this when possible.
Immediately after the fire, save all receipts for any money you spend. These receipts are important in showing the insurance company what money you have spent related to your fire loss and also for verifying losses claimed on your income tax.
If it is safe to do so, try to locate the following items:
- identification, such as driver’s licenses and Social Security cards
- insurance information
- medication information
- eyeglasses, hearing aids, or other prosthetic devices
- valuables such as credit cards, bank books, cash, and jewelry
There are many people/entities that should be notified of your relocation, including:
- your insurance agent/company
- your mortgage company (also inform them of the fire)
- your family and friends
- your employer
- your child’s school
- your post office
- any delivery services
- your fire and police departments
- your utility companies
Do not throw away any damaged goods until after an inventory is made. All damages are taken into consideration in developing your insurance claim.
If you are considering contracting for inventory or repair services, discuss your plans with your insurance agent/company first.
Other helpful links:
"What to Do After a Home Fire" - American Red Cross
"After the Fire...Returning to Normal" - Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)