East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service logo
East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service logo

After a fire : what to do

There is support available to help you and your family after a fire, including temporary accommodation.

Find out what services you can access, what actions you need to take and your responsibility to protect your property from further damage.

Making sure your home is structurally safe 

After the fire is put out, the emergency services will tell you if they think the building is unsafe. If it is: 

  • they will tell the local building control officer

  • public access may be fenced off and the building repairs left to you

  • they may shore up or demolish the property to avoid danger to the public

Support available 

The fire and emergency support service is provided by British Red Cross volunteers using a specially adapted vehicle. 

They will arrive at the scene of any incident within 90 minutes of being called out, providing practical help and emotional support to those affected by fire. 

The service is able to provide: 

  • immediate temporary shelter in the vehicle

  • help finding temporary accommodation

  • first aid and emotional support

  • support with the care of children and pets

  • shower and toilet facilities

  • clothing, toiletries and light refreshments

  • the use of a phone and camera to help with insurance claims 

The service will respond to a request from the fire and rescue service. 

If you can't stay in your home 

If you can't live in your home after a fire, you could: 

  • arrange temporary accommodation with relatives or friends

  • contact your local council's housing office 

If you are made homeless by fire, there is help available

Financial assistance 

This is available to people who need financial help after an emergency or disaster.

First actions to take 

Make your property secure 

When the emergency services leave, you are responsible for the security of your property. 

Your insurers will expect you to make sure your home is secure. 

  • Remove all valuables from the property if it's safe to do so and close all doors and windows.

  • If windows and doors need boarding up, contact your local council if you are a council tenant.

  • If you're not a council tenant, you can find a glazier in a local phone directory, you can get access to the internet and phone directories at your local library.

  • Tell the police if you leave the property before it's secure, explaining any arrangements you have made with trades people. 

You will probably be charged for any services to make your home secure. You may be able to claim some costs back through your home insurance, so keep all receipts and paperwork.

Contact your insurance company 

Following a fire, it's advisable to contact your insurance company as soon as possible.

Energy and water suppliers 

If your electricity, gas or water supplies were damaged in the fire, or disconnected following it, contact your supplier to arrange repair and reconnection. 

Don't attempt to reconnect or turn on the supply yourself. 

You can find contacts for gas, water and electricity companies in a local phone directory (you can access one for free at a library).

Valuable documents and records 

If important personal documents are lost or damaged in your house fire, you'll need to contact a range of organisations to get replacements. 

Consider whether you need to get replacements for the follwoing documents, there may of course be others: 

  • driver's licence

  • passport

  • birth, marriage and death certificates

  • divorce papers

  • benefits and social security payments

  • property titles or deeds

  • income tax records

  • vehicle registration

Latest Update : 11 March 2020
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