Recovering from a fire can be a physically and mentally draining process. When fire strikes, lives are suddenly turned around. Often the hardest part is knowing where to begin and who to contact.
The United States Fire Administration (USFA) is a directorate of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The USFA has gathered the following information to assist you in this time of need. Action on some of the suggestions will
need to be taken immediately. Some actions may be needed in the future while others will be on going. The purpose of this information is to give you the assistance needed to begin rebuilding your life.
The following checklist serves as a quick reference and guide for you to follow immediately after a fire strikes. Open the PDF file below to view the complete recovery guide.
- Contact your local disaster relief service, such as the Red Cross, if you need temporary housing, food and medicines.
If you are insured, immediately contact your insurance company for detailed instructions on property, conducting inventory and contacting fire damage restoration companies. If you are not insured, try contacting private
organizations for aid and assistance.
- Check with the fire department to make sure your residence is safe to enter. Be watchful of any structural damage caused by the fire.
- The fire department should see that utilities are either safe to use or are disconnected before they leave the site. Do not attempt to reconnect utilities yourself.
- Conduct an inventory of damaged property and items. Do not throw away any damaged goods until after an inventory is made.
- Try to locate valuable documents and records.
- If you leave your home, contact the local police department to let them know the site will be unoccupied.
- Begin saving receipts for any money you spend related to fire loss. The receipts may be needed later by the insurance company and for verifying losses claimed on income tax.
- Notify your mortgage company of the fire.
- Check with an accountant or the Internal Revenue Service about special benefits for people recovering from the fire loss.
After the Fire