After the Fire
Insurance and Other Assistance:
Note in detail the quantity, description, cost, how long you have had the items, the damage sustained and replacement cost. Take photographs if possible. Do not throw away damaged goods until the inventory has been done.
If You Have to Leave Your Home:
Remember to take the following:
·Eyeglasses, hearing aids, or other personal aids
·Valuables - credit cards, checkbooks, insurance policies, savings account books, money, jewelry, etc.
If you relocate, notify:
·The Fire Department – 441-4000
·Family and friends
·Your insurance agent
·The mortgage company
·The Post Office
The following is a checklist of documents that are commonly lost in a fire. Under the type of document is the institution or agency to contact for a replacement.
Identification and Licenses:
Money, Coins, Savings Bonds:
Handle burned money as little as possible. Attempt to encase each bill or portion of a bill in plastic wrap for preservation. If money is only half-burned or less (if half or more of the bill is intact), you can take the remainder to your local Federal Reserve Bank for replacement. Ask your personal bank for the nearest one. Or you can mail the burned or torn money via FIRST CLASS REGISTERED MAIL to:
MainTreasuryBuilding, Room 1123
Mutilated or melted coins can be taken to the Federal Reserve Bank, or mailed via FIRST CLASS REGISTERED MAIL to:
Superintendent, US Assay Office
32 Old Slip
New York, NY10005
If your US Savings Bonds have been mutilated or destroyed, write to:
For Bonds, include name(s) and address(s) on bonds, approximate date or time period when purchased, denominations and approximate number of each.
US Treasury Department
Bureau of Public Debt
Division of Loans and Currency
537 South Clark Street
Attn: Bond Consultant
Soot, smoke and water stains can often be washed from clothing. Use the following formula.
Mildew may be removed by washing the fresh stains in soap and water, rinsing and drying in the sun. NOTE: mildew is a bacteria growth, not simply dirty. If stain and odor are not removed initially try: Lemon juice and salt, or 1 tablespoon of perborate bleach in 1 pint of lukewarm water, or diluted solution of household chlorine bleach.
Flooring and Rugs:
Beverages, food and medicines exposed to heat, smoke or soot should be discarded.
Remove odor from your refrigerator or freezer:
·Wash inside with a solution of baking soda and water
·Or use 1 cup of vinegar or household ammonia to 1 gallon or water
·Baking soda in an open container, or a piece of charcoal can be placed in refrigerator or freezer to absorb odors
Leather and Books:
Locks and Hinges:
Walls, Furniture and Draperies:
To remove soot and smoke from walls furniture and floors, do the following. Mix together:
·4-6 tablespoons of TSP
·1 cup Lysol or any chloride bleach
·1 gallon warm water
·Wear rubber gloves when cleaning.
Wash articles, rinse with clear warm water, and dry thoroughly. Walls may be washed down while wet, use a mild soap detergent, wash from the floor up, rinse immediately, wash ceilings last. Do not repaint until walls and ceilings are completely dry. Wallpaper - contact the local wallpaper dealer for more information. Loose wallpaper can be reattached with a commercial paste.
Wood Furniture and Fixtures:
Smoke and soot will often travel to areas where the fire has not reached. Therefore, for smoke and soot damage as well as water damage, care must be taken when cleaning wood furniture and fixtures to prevent surface scarring:
·Wipe off all finished surfaces with a soft cloth dampened with a mild cleaning solution
·Remove all drawers and open cabinets so they can dry thoroughly. This will prevent sticking.
·Clean friction surfaces (tracks and guides) with a stiff brush and cleaning solution.
·Dry thoroughly; wet wood can mold and decay. Open doors and windows for ventilation and if necessary, turn on a heater or air conditioner.
·If mold is present or forms, wipe the area with a cloth soaked in a mixture of water and kerosene or Borax dissolved in water.
·Do not dry furniture in the sun. The wood may warp and twist out of shape.
·To remove white spots or film, rub the surface with a cloth soaked in a solution of 1/2 cup of household ammonia and 1/2 cup of water. Wipe dry and polish with furniture wax or a solution of 1/2 cup turpentine and 1/2 cup of linseed oil.
·You can also rub the wood surface with a 4/0 steel wool pad dripped in liquid polishing wax, wipe with a soft cloth and then buff.
·For draperies damaged by smoke or odor, a reputable drapery cleaner should be contacted for a free estimate.
CAUTION: Most furniture polishes and the turpentine-linseed solution are flammable. The cloth used in applying them is susceptible to spontaneous ignition, so hang the cloth outdoors to allow to dry.
US Fire Administration, After The Fire – Returning to Normal, FA-46 March 1987
Various Fire Service Web Sites