The members of the Exeter Fire Department No.1 understand how difficult the next few days will be for you. We offer this information in an effort to continue the service we have already provided, and we hope it will assist you in returning your world to normal as quickly as possible.
ELECTRIC AND GAS SERVICE
Firefighters may have turned off your electric and/or gas service for safety reasons during the incident. Before you attempt to restore any utility service, you should check with the appropriate utility company for their advice.
In addition, it is possible that during firefighting operations electrical wiring and components as well as gas lines may have been damaged creating an additional risk to you and your property if the utilities are restored without being professionally inspected. Electrical wiring, outlets, appliances and fixtures that have been exposed to water should be checked and repaired by a licensed electrician BEFORE electricity is restored.
The contact numbers for National Grid are 1-800-870-1664 for gas and 1-800-322-3223 for electricity
Gas leak and gas emergencies 1-800-640-1595
Electrical Hazard identification hotline:1-888-625-3723
Once the fire is extinguished and the emergency is over, security should be a primary consideration. If you can no long stay in your home due to fire damage or the property can not be secured you need to take definitive steps to protect your property.
If you have homeowners insurance, contact your insurance company immediately. They may be able to provide funding approval for a boarding company to secure the property and/or hire a security detail.
You may also contact the Rhode Island State Police. The contact number for the Wickford barracks is (401) 294-3371 and the
We recommend that you use extreme caution when dealing with any unsolicited contractors that contact you following the fire.
FOOD, CLOTHING OR SHELTER ASSISTANCE
The American Red Cross offers a variety of services to fire victims and can be contacted at (401) 831-7700. They are located at 105 Gano Street Providence, RI 02906.The Red Cross may be able to offer temporary accomodations, food, replacement clothing and benefit assistance to people who have experienced fires in their homes.
Your insurance company or agent should be notified of the fire as soon as possible. The insurance company will be an important ally in your battle to return to normalcy after the fire. The sooner they are notified, the sooner they can begin helping.
Because your insurer may want to verify your damages, we suggest that you do not to dispose of any damaged property or debris without first checking with your insurance company.
The Exeter Fire Department No.1 does not conduct investigations into the cause of any fire. Such investigations are the responsibility of the Rhode Island State Fire Marshalls Office. You can contact the Fire Marshalls Office at (401)462-4200.
If the Exeter Volunteer Fire Department No.1 can be of any further assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact us at (401) 295-3173. We are happy to help.
Now that the fire is out there are a few things you need to know that can help you. Here is a list for you to follow:
SECURING THE PROPERTY
The owner or the tenant of a fire damaged property is responsibile for securing the property from intruders as well as mother nature. While some intruders may be theives, some may be curious onlookers and some may be children. In any event, plywood coverings over unsecured doors and windows is advisable to keep intruders out.
In addition to concerns about intruders, consider covering all openings unsecured with plywood against rain or weather. This may include holes in the roof, holes in exterior walls above the first floor, and broken windows above the first floor. You may choose to cover such openings with plastic, tar paper, or tarps.
As we have indicated above, contact your insurance agent as soon as possible. He or she may be able to help you in securing your property by authorizing payment to a boarding contractor. If you cannot reach your agent or you need professional assistance in boarding your home, a general contractor, fire damage restoration firm or fire service firm can help. We suggest you check your Yellow Pages or the Internet.
If you plan to leave the fire site, try to remove any valuables remaining in the building. Do not leave until the site has been secured. Please do not venture into any hazardous portions of the dwelling that you feel may be unsafe. After the fire there are still plenty of dangerous hazards present, from toxic fumes, broken glass, weakened structural members, nails protruding, slippery floors/stairs, and the potential for structural collapse. Use extreme caution. Always have another adult family member or buddy accompany you through this process.
If you are a tenant, contact the property manager, the owner or the owner's insurance agent. See that your personal belongs are secured either within the building or bymoving them to another location, such as the home of a relative or friend.
Contact your own insurance agent to report the loss.
Contact your local disaster relief services such as the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army if you are in need of temporary housing, food, eyeglasses ormedicines that were destroyed in the fire. Emergency relief is given withoutregard to income. Again the contact information for the Red Cross is (401) 831-7700. They are located at 105 Gano Street
Fire can rekindle from hidden smoldering remains. Be watchful for the signs of heat or smoke. Household wiring which may have been water damaged should be checked by an electrician before current is turned back on. Be vigilant for structural damage caused by the fire. Roofs and floors may be weakened. Food, beverages and medicines exposed to heat, smoke or soot should be not be used.They should be discarded properly. Refrigerators or freezers left unopened will hold their temperature for a short time. However, do not attempt to refreeze thawed items.
If a utility is disconnected contact the utility company or authorized service representative to have the apparatus checked for proper working order, make necessary repairs and re-institute service. Do not attempt to reconnect utilities yourself!!!
Be sure to save all receipts for any money you spend. These receipts are important in showing the insurance company what money you have spent related to your fire loss and also for verifying losses claimed on your Federal Income Tax.
LEAVING YOUR HOME
The decision to leave your home may be one you make, or may be one made for you by the building inspector based upon his judgment that the residence is unsafe to inhabit. Please understand that in the end it is your responsibility to secure protection of your home and property. The American Red Cross and Salvation Army may be able to help you with temporary housing.
If you are insured under a Homeowner's or Tenant's policy, a section of your coverage may pay for the extra costs of temporary housing such as a hotel. If you are in need of immediate funds, ask your insurance agent about how soon you might get an advance on your eventual insurance settlement.
A few items that should take paramount when deciding what to take with you are, a form of identification, vital medicines such as insulin or blood pressure drugs, anything prescribed, glasses, hearing aids, prosthetic devices or any other necessary personal aids. Valuables such as credit cards, checkbooks, insurance policies, important documents, money, jewelry and other items should be taken with you or secured at a safe location.
We caution you in retrieving items from a safe. A safe involved in a fire may hold the intense heat for several hours. If the door is opened before the safe has cooled down, the entering air, combined with the high inside temperature, may cause the contents to burst into flames.
Please notify the following people and agencies of your location after a fire: Your insurance agent or adjuster.Your mortgage company. Inform them also of the fire.Your employer. Family and friends.Your children's schools.Your post office. Have them either hold or forward your mail depending on the length of time you expect to be relocated.Delivery services such as those for newspapers and milk.Your Fire or Police Department, if the Fire is under investigation.Utility companies. These include telephone, cable, heat, power, and water (if applicable).
ASKING FURTHER QUESTIONS.
Do not throw away any damaged goods until after an inventory is made. All damages are taken into consideration in developing your insurance claim.
Do not contract for estimating, inventory, or repair services without first consulting your insurance agent.
AFTER THE FIRE RETURNING TO
These are called the indirect fire losses. Both direct and indirect fire losses may be covered by insurance. Some, if not all, of your damaged property (the direct fire loss) will be covered. The extent will depend on the type and amount of the insurance policy and the scope of coverage. Also, a portion of extra living and medical expenses (indirect fire losses) may be covered by homeowner and medical insurance's. Lost work time cannot be insured, but the financial effect may be lessened by applying sick leave or vacation time to missed hours or days.
Some of the expense's not reimbursed by insurers may be deductible on your Federal Income Tax return. For instance, portions of the actual cash value of a loss that are not reimbursed by the insurer (as might happen in a case where you did not comply with the 80 percent rule) are deductible after the first $100. Also, most monies you collect as part of disaster relief services or that are reimbursed by the insurer as additional living are not added to your income and therefore, are not taxed. Expenses and lost value due to damage must be documented by receipts and appraisals. I.R.S. Publication 547, the I.R.S.information service or an accountant can give you the details you will need.Contact your local
Recovery from a fire loss may result in financial gains in some portions of the recovery picture. A gain may result when structures or contents are covered for replacement cost. When these buildings or possessions are in fact, replaced, it is likely that their current value will be greater than their depreciated value at the time of the fire. For instance, the total or near-total rebuilding of at en-year old home with a replacement cost of $80,000.00 gives the owner an$80,000 home current to the time's value. Immediately previous to the fire, the same home may have had a depreciated value of $60,000.00. However, few if any owners ever realize an overall gain from a fire. If insurance agencies did this it would undermine the basic insurance agreement. Gains realized in any one aspect of a loss are usually offset by losses not insured against or not fully reimbursed in other areas.
A word of caution before you begin. Several of the cleaning mixtures described in the section contain the substance Tri-Sodium Phosphate. (This can be purchased in your hardware store under the brand names TSP and Oakite.) Tri-Sodium Phosphate is a caustic substance used commonly as a cleaning agent. It should be used with care and stored out of reach of children and pets. Wear rubber gloves when using if you have tender skin. Read the label for further information. There are also many agencies you can talk to or contact that work in fire clean up. Check your yellow pages or the Internet for different companies.
Smoke odor and soot can sometimes be washed from clothing. The following formula will often work for clothing that can be bleached:
4-6 Tbsp. Tri-Sodium Phosphate
1 Cup Lysol or any household chlorine bleach
1 gallon of warm water
Mix well, add clothes, rinse with clear water. Dry well.
To remove mildew, wash the fresh stain with soap and warm water. Then rinse and dry in sun. If the stain has not disappeared, use lemon juice and or a diluted solution of household chlorine bleach.
Test colored garments before using any treatment.
If you are taking woolen, silk, or rayon garments to the cleaners, first remove trimmings, shoulder pads, etc. Then, if the garment is damp or wet, dry in a well-ventilated area. Shake and brush well and take the garment to the cleaners as soon as possible.
Your pots, pans, flatware, etc., should be washed with soapy water, rinsed and then polished with a fine-powdered cleaner. You can polish copper and brass with special polish, salt sprinkled on a piece of lemon, or salt sprinkled on a cloth saturated with vinegar.
Don't use appliances that have been exposed to water or steam until you have a service representative check them. This is especially true of electrical appliances. In addition, steam can remove the lubricant from some moving parts.
If the fire department turned off your gas and power during the fire, call the electric or gas company to restore these services. Do not attempt to do this yourself. Serious injury or death may occur.
Wash your canned goods in detergent and water. Do the same food jars. If the labels come off, be sure you mark the contents on the can or jar with a grease pencil or something of that nature. Do not use canned goods when cans have bulged or are dented or rusted.
If your home freezer has stopped running, you can still save the frozen food:
KEEP THE FREEZER CLOSED. Your freezer has enough insulation to keep food frozen for at least one day. Perhaps for as long as two or three days.
MOVE YOUR FOOD To a neighbor's freezer or a rented locker. Wrap the frozen food in newspapers and blankets, or use insulted boxes.
DO NOT RE-FREEZE FOOD THAT HAS THAWED.
To remove odor from, your refrigerator or freezer wash the inside with a solution of baking soda and water, or use one cup of vinegar or household ammonia to one gallon of water. Some baking soda in an open container, or apiece of charcoal can be placed in the refrigerator or freezer to absorb odor.
FLOORING AND RUGS
When water gets underneath linoleum, it can cause odors and warp the wood floor. If this happens, remove the entire sheet. If the linoleum is brittle, a heat lamp will soften it so it can be rolled up without breaking. If carefully removed, it can be re-cemented after the floor has completely dried. Small blisters in the linoleum can be punctured with a nail and re-cemented if you are careful. Dilute regular linoleum paste thin enough to go through a hand syringe and shoot adhesive through the nail hole. Weigh down the linoleum with bricks or boards.
It is usually possible to cement loose tiles of any type. Wait until the floor is completely dry before beginning.
Rugs and carpets should also be allowed to dry thoroughly. Throw rugs can cleaned by beating sweeping, or vacuuming and then shampooing. Rugs should be dried as quickly as possible. They should be laid flat and exposed to circulating warm air. A fan turned on the rugs will speed the drying. Make sure the rugs are thoroughly dry. Even though the surface seems dry, moisture remaining at the base of the tufts can quickly rot a rug. For information on cleaning and preserving carpets, call your carpet dealer or installer or qualified carpet cleaning professional.
Reconditioning an innerspring mattress at home is very difficult, if not impossible. Your mattress may be able to be renovated by a company that builds or repairs mattresses. If you must use your mattress temporarily, put it out into the sun to dry. Then cover it with rubber or plastic sheeting.
It is almost impossible to get smoke odor out of pillows. The feathers and foam retain the odor.
LEATHER AND BOOKS
Wipe leather goods with a damp cloth, then a dry cloth. Stuff purses and shoes with newspaper to retain shape. Leave suitcases open. Leather goods should be dried away from heat and sun. When leather goods are dry, clean with saddle soap. You can use steel wool or a suede brush on suede. Rinse leather and suede jackets in cold water and dry away from heat and sun.
Wet books must be taken care of as soon as possible. The best method to save wet books is to freeze them in a vacuum freezer. This special freezer will remove the moisture without damaging the pages.
If there will be a delay in locating such a freezer, place them in a normal freezer until a vacuum freezer can be located.
A local librarian can also be a good resource.
LOCKS AND HINGES
Locks, especially iron locks, should be taken apart, wiped with kerosene, and oiled. If locks cannot be removed, squirt machine oil through a bolt opening or keyhole, and work the knob to distribute the oil. Hinges should also be thoroughly cleaned and oiled.
We at Exeter Volunteer Fire Department No.1 wish you the best of luck and send you our sincerest condolences regarding the incident in your home or dwelling.If you have any questions feel free to contact us.