After a Fire

fires caused by sunlight through glassware

The advice given here has been broken down into logical sections for easy reference but should you need any more assistance please contact us. 

If at any time after a fire you feel unwell or suffer the after effects of smoke inhalation, contact your doctor or hospital Accident and Emergency department. 

If you have had a fire at your property, and your property is in an insecure condition: 

  • Close all doors and windows as these are an open invitation to thieves. 
  • Board up windows or doors – if needed.  Should windows or doors require boarding up, a contractor can be found online to fulfil this service. As insurance policies differ widely it is impossible to state definitely whether this will be covered by your policy. If you are a council tenant and require a “boarding-up service” please contact your local Housing Department or direct works department who will carry out the services free of charge. 
  • Contact your local Police. Ensure that they know your property is empty and insecure and remove cash and valuables. 
  • We may use large sheets to protect your property. This is a temporary measure only and you should arrange to have them replaced within a reasonable length of time. 

If you have had a fire at your home, you should do the following as soon as possible: 

  • Contact your insurance company, inform them of the incident, obtain and complete a claims form. 
  • Return the form to the address shown on the claims form. They may wish to inspect your property before anything is moved. 
  • If you are un-insured, you may be able to get financial help or furniture from your local Social Security office. 
  • If you have money that is partially burned it can be taken to a bank for replacement. 
  • If you rent or lease the property you may be required to contact the landlord/landlady or his agent. 


If your internal supply has been affected, your energy supplier will have to re-connect the supply after a qualified electrician has repaired it (even if only a temporary circuit) and notified your supplier of completion. 

Do not attempt to re-connect or turn on the supply yourself. 


If any of your gas appliances have been affected by fire, the fire and rescue service or British Gas will turn off or disconnect your supply. It is important that either British Gas or an approved installer inspects and rectifies any problems in the system before any attempt is made to re-connect or turn on the supply. 


A plumber will be required if your water supply has been affected. 

Do not attempt to turn on your water until your system has been attended by the plumber. 

Temporary lighting or heating units are potentially dangerous, especially if they have been unused or stored for some time. Do not forget to have these units checked by the manufacturer or qualified dealer before use. 

If you have had a fire in your home, please read the advice below on how to clean up your house after the fire. 

Carpets and rugs 

A wet/dry vacuum or water extractor cleaning machine is excellent for this job. They can be rented from various shops. Allow them to dry out thoroughly. 


Always read the label. If the clothing can withstand bleaching it can be treated with the following mixture: half a cup or domestic bleach to 2 gallons of water. Rinse in vinegar (wear kitchen gloves). If the clothes require dry cleaning – contact a specialist shop for advice. 


This is a complex problem due to the materials used in the home and those which have been involved in the fire. Contact a specialist cleaning company or, for less severe smells, use a room deodorising product. 

Ceilings and walls 

Unpapered walls may be washed down using a mild soap or detergent. Wash a small area at a time. Rinse with clean water immediately. Wallpaper cannot be effectively cleaned unless it is washable. Use a cloth soaked in a mild detergent and wrung out. Clean with water and repaste edges of paper if necessary. 


For upholstered furniture, a wet/dry vacuum can be used or contact a specialist cleaning company. White spots on wood may be removed using turpentine or ammonia, then dry and polish. 


If in doubt – throw it out. Fresh food should generally be thrown out if contaminated by smoke. Food in glass jars should be discarded if the jar is cracked and has been subjected to heat. Tinned food should be thrown out if the tin has bulged or been subjected to heat. 

If you have a fire in your home, volunteers from the British Red Cross provide help and assistance day or night. 

The British Red Cross volunteers are trained to provide emotional support, which means they can care for those affected while the firefighters deal with the fire. 

Find out more about the British Red Cross

If you have doubts about the suitability of your accommodation after a fire, please contact your local housing and social services department regarding alternative accommodation, or your local Police who will try to make contact on your behalf.