What to do After a Fire in Your Home
A home fire can cause serious damage. The structure, and many of the things in your home may be damaged by flames, heat, smoke, and water. You may find that things the fire did not burn are ruined by the smoke or soaked with water used to put out the fire.
Anything you want to salvage or reused will need to be carefully cleaned. For this, we recommend you secure these items in a dry unaffected area using gloves, apron, long sleeves, pants, and a face mask, as in the aftermath of a fire, toxins may linger for some time. Never allow the soot of a fire to come in contact with your skin. Should that have been unavoidable, wash the area thoroughly with soap and water. Firefighters may have cut holes in the walls and. or ceilings of the home to locate and extinguished any hidden pockets of fire.
At times they may have had the cut a hole in the roof to vent the heat and smoke which can prevent further fire spread, and enable the interior firefighters a smoother, safer approach while attacking the fire.
The process to clean valuables and restore your home is a process that will take time and patience.
SO, WHAT TO DO FIRST AFTER A FIRE?
First, take care of your family… The shock and horror may be taking a toll. Advise your East Meadow Fire Chief of a need for a place to stay. The Chief will reach out to the American Red Cross or Salvation Army who are trained to assist your family in any way possible after a fire.
Is anyone hurt?? Please tell us right away. Our Rescues 4 and 5, stand ready at any serious fire in the event of an injury to a firefighter or a resident.
Once you have arranged for a safe place for your family to stay, notify your insurance firm of the fire. They will be your next step to guiding you through this process. Your insurance agent should be on board for anything you do that falls under their insurance parameters, so their guidance is essential.
Of the first things that need to be done are to secure your home, and prevent any further damage, such as a broken water pipe. Depending on the severity of the fire, the electric will be turned off to an area or the entire house. Other utilities such as gas will be shut down as well.
Service such as water may be more difficult to see as water will be dripping anywhere there was fire, however your East Meadow volunteers can turn that service off as well.
It’s important to know, that you will not be permitted to enter your home at any time until the Fire Chief deems it safe. Should there be something in the home that is of great importance to your the family, such as
heirlooms, jewelry, and /or medication you must retrieve, your East Meadow firefighters would be happy to get it, once they themselves receive permission from the Chief.
Once you are given authorization to view the damage and need to collect any urgently needed items, it would also be a good time to take pictures of the damage while all is still wet.
Securing your home may require calling a firm that would immediately responds to board up your home at any broken windows, doors, or penetrations. This will give you the security you will need to protect your family’s valuable possessions. Again, consult your insurance agent for specific details.
On the same subject, reach out to our police department, and inform them that you will not be in the home. In many cases officers will also be on the fire scene provided crowd or traffic control. When on patrol these officers can pass by your home to increase the level of security.
In the days after the fire, the insurance company should continue to guide you with the steps to be taken for a more semi permanent living space until your home is restored. In many cases our residents will live in a portable trailer on the property that can usually establish some normalcy, neighborhood support, and the comfort of remaining with your home as the restoration process moves forward.
On behalf of the Chief’s Office, and the Officers and members of the East Meadow Fire Department, we hope you never have such a horrible event, however, know for certain that if you need us for a fire, our well trained volunteer fire department will be there to resolve your emergency.
- East Meadow Fire Department 516-542-0578
- Red Cross long island Chapter (Mineola) 516-747-3500
OTHER PERTENANT LINKS: