Relief & Recovery

Recovering from a residential fire

Is it safe to stay in your home?

After a fire or other emergency it may not be safe for you to stay in your home. The Fire Officer in Charge will advise you if it is safe or not. In some situations the Officer may need to call the local council building inspector to assess the safety of the building.

Gas, Electricity, Water and Telephone

As a result of the fire, gas, electricity, water supply or telephone lines may have been damaged, destroyed or disconnected by the fire brigade or the provider of these services.

It is the owner’s responsibility to have the services inspected and repaired by a qualified tradesperson and reconnected by the provider.

Property security

After the emergency services have finished their work, the property will be handed back to you.

You are then responsible for the security of the property.

Your property may need to be protected from further damage by weather, theft and vandalism. You may need to engage a provider of shutters and/or temporary fencing to secure your home.

If you live in rental housing you must inform the real estate agent or owner/landlord to secure the home.

Insurance

If you have property or contents insurance you should contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the fire.

  • Ask your insurer for advice on actions you should take
  • Do not discard or throw away damaged items without first consulting your insurance company
  • Make a list of items that have been damaged and take photographs if possible
  • Keep receipts for any emergency repair work

For further details on insurance advice visit:  http://mfb.vic.gov.au/Community/atf.html

If you can’t stay in your home

Before you leave your home check with the Fire Officer-in-Charge that it is safe to enter. If safe to do so, it is recommended you take the following items:

  • Identification – driver’s licence, Medicare card, passport
  • Insurance contact details and policies
  • Credit cards, cheque books
  • Medicines and prescriptions (medication exposed to heat and smoke should be disposed of)

For more recommended items to take visit: http://mfb.vic.gov.au/Community/atf.html

Where to stay

If you can’t remain in your property, staying with family, friends or neighbours until more permanent arrangements can be made is the best option. Some insurance policies may also cover you for the cost of accommodation.

Cleaning up

Smoke and water can damage your house and contents. If you have insurance, your insurer / loss adjuster may assist by arranging specialist companies for cleaning and salvage, and removal of damaged items and materials.

You may be able to salvage some item that are affected by heat, smoke or water but are otherwise intact. Keep in mind that damage to the property often goes beyond what the eye can see. Smoke and soot can travel and penetrate into other rooms affecting walls, carpet, upholstery, curtains, clothing and any other belongings.

For general cleaning tip visit:  http://mfb.vic.gov.au/Community/atf.html

If you are leaving your home:

  • Organise somewhere to stay
  • Take the personal items you will need
  • Contact gas, electricity, water and telephone providers to cancel services
  • Cancel all delivery services (e.g. Australia Post for redirect of mail, newspapers)
  • Notify important contacts about your change of address such as employer, children’s schools, insurance company and neighbours
  • Contact local police. Inform them that your property has been involved in a fire and is vacant

Assistance:

If you do not have family, friends or neighbours who can assist you, you may be eligible for

other assistance. For organisations that may be able to provide assistance visit: http://mfb.vic.gov.au/Community/atf.html

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