After the Fire

The Orlando Fire Department compiled the following information to help victims of residential fires pick up the pieces and to empower residents to create an action plan for worst case scenarios.

Information to have Readily Available

  • Insurance information, including medical, homeowners or auto policy numbers
  • Medical information
  • Drivers license, social security card, credit cards and cash
  • Log fire information, including:
    • Date
    • Time
    • Location
    • Fire incident number
    • Fire investigator name

First Steps

  1. Check with the fire department to make sure your residence is safe to enter because of structural damage or toxic gases.
  2. Make sure all gas valves are shut off.
  3. Conduct an inventory of ALL damaged property and items, and save receipts for any money spent related to fire loss. The receipts may be needed later by the insurance company and for verifying losses claimed on income taxes.
  4. Try to locate valuable documents and records.
  5. If you leave your home, contact the local police department to let them know that the site will be unoccupied.
  6. City of Orlando code requires that the property be secured— the doors and windows may need to be boarded up to prevent theft.
  7. Take photographs of the damage.
  8. Have a professional check for issues with electricity, plumbing and AC units.


  • Local disaster relief service, such as Red Cross, if you need temporary housing, food and medicine, American Red Cross of Central Florida
  • Your insurance company
  • Notify your mortgage company
  • Check with the Internal Revenue Service about special benefits for people recovering from fire loss.
  • Fire Incident Report
  • Utility Company
  • Post Office
  • Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Social Security Office
  • Salvation Army Orlando
  • City of Orlando
  • Before moving forward with renovations, make sure you or your contractor obtain the necessary permits.

Things NOT to Do

  • DO NOT reenter the building with fire department approval.
  • DO NOT reconnect utilities yourself.
  • DO NOT turn on appliance that have been exposed to water.
  • DO NOT consume anything exposed to the fire, i.e. food, drinks or medications.
  • DO NOT allows pets back into the home until you get an all clear from the fire department.

Be Aware

  • Toxic gases and airborne contaminates may be present in the air.
  • Structural damage may cause roof or floor collapse.
  • Firefighters may have to cut holes in the structure to ventilate the building or check for smoldering hot spots.

Salvage Tips

  • Make sure to wash all of your clothing, furniture, flooring, cooking utensils and appliances thoroughly.
  • Baking soda will help to remove odors.
  • Local photography shops may be able to restore damaged pictures.
  • Your regional Federal Reserve bank may replace currency if half or more of the bill is still intact.