Recovering After a Home Fire

Immediately after a home fire, take these 4 steps:

  1. Call 9-1-1. Give first aid where needed; cool and cover burns to reduce the chance of further injury or infection.
  2. Let friends and family know you’re safe.
  3. People and animals that are seriously injured or burned should be transported to professional medical or veterinary help immediately.
  4. Stay out of fire-damaged homes until local fire authorities say it is safe to re-enter.

Fire is traumatic and many will experience emotional responses. During this time it is important to care for your loved ones.

  • Pay attention to how you and your loved ones are experiencing and handling stress.
  • Discard any food that has been exposed to heat, smoke, or soot.
  • Watch pets closely and keep them under your direct control.
  • Help people who require additional assistance – infants and children, older adults, those without transportation, large families who may need additional help in an emergency situation, people with disabilities, and the people who care for them.

For additional fire safety resources and checklists, visit the American Red Cross Home Fire Safety page HERE.

  • Conduct practice drills. Physically place yourself in safe locations.
  • Learn first aid and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitations) from your local Red Cross Chapter or other community organization.
  • Keep a list of emergency phone numbers.
  • Learn how to shut off gas, water and electricity in case the lines are damaged. (Safety note: Do not attempt to relight gas pilot. Call the utility company.)
  • Check chimneys, roofs, walls, and foundations for stability. Make sure your house is bolted to its foundation.
  • Secure water heater and appliances that could move enough to rupture utility lines.
  • Keep breakables and heavy objects on bottom shelves.
  • Secure heavy tall furniture that can topple, such as bookcases, china cabinets or wall units.
  • Secure hanging plants and heavy picture frames or mirrors (especially over beds).
  • Put latches on cabinet doors to keep them closed during shaking.
  • Keep flammable or hazardous liquids such as paints, pest sprays or cleaning products in cabinets or secured on lower shelves.
  • Maintain emergency food, water and other supplies, including a flashlight, a portable batter-operated radio, extra batteries, medicines, first aid kit and clothing.
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