Is it safe for you to stay at home?
It may not be safe to stay in your house after a fire or other disaster. The Fire Officer in Charge will tell you whether or not it is safe to stay. In some cases, the Officer may need to contact the local council’s building inspector to assess the building’s safety.
The fire department or the provider of these services may have damaged, destroyed, or disconnected gas, electricity, water supply, and/or telephone lines as a result of the fire.
The property owner is responsible for having the services inspected and repaired by a qualified tradesperson, as well as having the provider reconnect the services
The property will be returned to you once the emergency services have completed their duties. You are then in charge of your property’s security.
Weather, theft, and vandalism might all cause additional harm to your property. To secure your home, you may need to hire a shutter and/or temporary fencing company.
If you live in a rented house, you must notify the real estate agent or the owner/landlord in order to keep your home secure.
Be aware that your insurance company may deny coverage for any damage to your home that occurs after the emergency as a result of not protecting your property. Your insurance company might be able to assist you in safeguarding your home.
If you are insured, the most significant component of recovering from a fire loss will be your insurance. Insurance is a type of protection.
One of your first responsibilities after a fire is to tell your insurance provider or broker as soon as possible. If circumstances have forced you to leave the damaged house, inform the claims manager of the nature of the incident, the loss or damage, and give them with a forwarding address and phone number. Inquire with your insurance about the steps you need take. It is critical to take efforts to preserve your property and implement reasonable precautions to prevent further damage or losses from weather, theft, or vandalism, such as covering any holes in the roof or walls, in collaboration with your insurance company. The insurance company may refuse to pay for damage incurred after the fire. Any receipts for emergency repairs should be kept.
Make a list of the items that have been damaged, including the quantity, description, original purchase price, purchase date, damage estimate, and replacement cost. If at all feasible, take images. For more information, consult your insurance policy
Before contracting for any services, make sure to consult with the insurance adjuster or loss assessor. If you hire cleaning or repair contractors without informing or obtaining permission from your insurance provider, you may be left with bills to pay that would otherwise be covered by insurance. The faster your insurer or broker is alerted, the faster your insurance claim will be processed.
Damaged products should not be discarded or thrown away without first consulting your insurance company or performing an inventory. If you can’t recall your insurance company’s name or can’t find the information you need, contact the Insurance Council of Australia (1300 728 228 8:30am-5:00pm Monday to Friday).
If you are unable to remain in your home, check with the Fire Officer in Charge before leaving your property to ensure that it is safe to enter. It is recommended that you bring the following items with you if it is safe to do so:
Driver’s license, Medicare card, and passport are all acceptable forms of identification.
Contact information for the insurance company and the policy
Checkbooks and/or credit cards
Prescriptions and medications (medication exposed to heat and smoke should be disposed of)
Mobility aids, glasses, hearing aids, and other personal aids
Personal belongings such as jewelry, photos, cash, laptops, and other valuables.
Documentation required by law
Keys to the car and the house
Charger and mobile phone
If you are unable to remain in your home, the best alternative is to stay with family, friends, or neighbors until more permanent arrangements can be made. The expense of lodging may be covered by some insurance policies.
Water and smoke can cause damage to your home and its belongings. If you have insurance, your insurer/loss adjuster (the person hired by the insurance company to handle your claim) can help by arranging for professional cleaning, salvaging, and removal of damaged objects and materials.
Some goods that have been damaged by heat, smoke, or water but are otherwise undamaged may be salvageable. Keep in mind that property damage often extends beyond what the naked eye can see. Smoke and soot can spread to adjoining rooms, causing damage to walls, carpets, upholstery, curtains, clothing, and other personal items.
Here are some cleaning suggestions:
Allow the air to circulate. Ventilate places by opening windows. To circulate air, use a fan.
Wet goods should be dried as quickly as possible.
Take your non-washable clothes and curtains to the dry cleaners.
Regular clothing should be washed in warm water with detergent.
Wear rubber gloves and wash with detergent to remove soot and smoke off walls, furniture, and floors.
Before using electrical items that have been exposed to fire or water, have them checked by an electrician or a qualified service provider.
If you’re going to leave your house:
Make plans to stay somewhere.
Take only the personal goods you’ll require.
To terminate services, contact your gas, electricity, water, and phone companies.
All delivery services should be canceled (e.g. Australia Post to redirect mail, newspapers etc.)
Notify critical contacts, such as your employment, children’s schools, insurance company, and neighbors, of your new address.
Make contact with the police department in your area. Notify them that your property was damaged in a fire and is now unoccupied.