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After a fire: what to do next

How should I keep my home safe and secure after a fire?

After the fire is extinguished, the building may retain heat for a period of time and some noises may be heard from the cooling down of construction materials. 

Fires produce smoke and hot gases and it is necessary to remove these to prevent fire spread and further damage.  The Fire Service may need to cut away part of a building's structure in order to access concealed fire pockets.  This damage may seem unnecessary; however, this work is required to ensure that the fire is completely extinguished.

If your property is insecure and you have to leave it unattended, you may require a boarding-up contractor; you can find these in the telephone directory.

  • if you are a tenant, this service would normally be arranged by the relevant housing department, association, or your landlord
  • insurance policies vary and therefore you should check your policy to see whether any boarding-up charges will be covered
  • if you have to leave the property, remember to remove any valuables, important documents, vital medicines and visual / hearing aids

What should I do about my utilities?

If any gas or electrical appliances, pipes or wires have been affected by fire, it may be necessary to isolate the supply.  In addition to this, it may be necessary for the service provider to disconnect the supply.  If you are unsure, contact your provider for advice.  All repairs to gas, water and electrical fixtures should be carried out by a suitably qualified engineer.

Do not be tempted to turn on any isolated supply until it is safe to do so and following the advice of an engineer.

What should I do if my vehicle caught fire? 

  • after a fire in your vehicle, remove any valuables, including the insurance disc
  • make contact with your insurance company, who may be able to arrange recovery of your vehicle.  If not, contact a reputable garage or recovery service to arrange removal
  • inform the Police if you suspect that the fire was started deliberately, or if it has been involved in a road traffic collision

How can my insurance company help?

  • call your insurance company's (24 hour) emergency helpline as soon as  possible. They will be able to provide information on dealing with your claim and provide assistance in getting things back to normal
  • your insurers may wish to inspect the damage before you remove items from your property
  • if emergency or temporary repairs are required, you should keep the invoices or receipts for these to help with any future insurance claim
  • if you are not the owner of the property, buildings insurance claims will normally be dealt with by the relevant housing department, association or your landlord
  • your insurance company may require a fire report

How do I obtain a fire report?

The Fire and Rescue Service produces a report on every incident they attend.  This report may be made available upon written request.  The administration fee for the preparation and issue of a fire report is £132. 

When would a fire be subject to an in-depth investigation?

All fire reports completed by the Fire and Rescue Service contain information as to the most likely cause of the fire. If this is not immediately clear, specialist fire investigators from the Fire and Rescue Service may be called in to conduct a more detailed investigation.

This may involve:

  • interviewing people at the scene of the fire
  • a thorough and detailed examination of the fire scene and debris
  • taking photographic evidence

In the course of their duties, specialist Fire and Rescue Service fire investigation officers may liaise with loss adjusters, insurance companies and other specialists to assist in settling claims and determining the cause of a fire. ​

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