Returning home after a fire

Do not enter your house if it is damaged unless you have to and you have been advised it is safe to do so.

It is the homeowner's responsibility to check water, electricity and gas supplies before returning.

If you can’t enter your home, you’ll need to arrange accommodation.

You’ll need to stay with family, friends or in a hotel for at least one night or longer if the house has been seriously damaged.

Cleaning up

Depending on the extent of the damage, you may need to hire a professional fire and water damage restorer. Check the Yellow Pages for local businesses.

Food safety

After a fire in your home you should:

  • discard all food, drinks and medicine exposed to fire, smoke or water
  • wash tins and jars in detergent and water
  • not eat tinned food if the tin has bulged or rusted
  • not refreeze food that has thawed.

Kitchen utensils and electrical appliances

After a fire in your home you should:

  • wash cooking pots and pans with detergent and water, then rinse and polish with a fine, powdered cleaner
  • have all electrical appliances checked by a qualified service person before you use them.

Furniture and furnishings

After a fire in your home you should:

  • dry out rugs and carpets as quickly as possible or they will begin to rot
  • scrub furniture with cleaner - brush and dry thoroughly in the shade where there is good ventilation to stop mould and mildew
  • remove drawers to dry - this will help stop them sticking.

Leather and books

After a fire in your home you should:

  • wipe leather goods with a damp cloth, then a dry cloth
  • stuff leather items and shoes with newspaper to help keep their shape
  • dry leather goods away from the sun
  • freeze wet books in a vacuum freezer, if possible.

Walls, floors and ceilings

You should clean soot and smoke from walls and floors with mild soap or detergent.

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Last updated: 27 June 2017