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How to minimize damage after a fire

If you're one of the unfortunate people to experience a fire in your home, prompt action can help reduce permanent damage. Often, the following Dos and Don'ts can help reduce additional damage and help restore some of your furnishings.

These suggestions should be undertaken only after the Fire Department or other responsible party has okayed re-entry into the building.


  • First, contact your agent as soon as possible. They can also provide you helpful information about what to do immediately following a fire.
  • If the temperature is below freezing, take steps to see that freezing pipes won't produce more damage.
  • Pour environmentally safe antifreeze in sinks, tubs, and toilet bowls if inside temperature is below freezing.
  • Cover good carpet areas with towels or old linens to prevent more soiling.
  • If the fire came near the kitchen, discard opened food packages that might be contaminated. Keep a list of discarded goods for your insurance record.
  • If the electricity is off, clean out the refrigerator and freezer and leave the doors propped open.
  • Use soap and water to clean chrome and metal fixtures. They may tarnish permanently if left uncleaned for more than a couple of hours.
  • Air out the house as much as possible by circulating fresh air.


  • Don't attempt to personally wash any papered or flat painted walls. Incorrect cleaning can compound the problem.
  • Don't attempt to clean the carpet yourself.
  • Don't use appliances which were in the proximity of the fire or were wetted down by the firemen.
  • Don't eat food exposed to fire or smoke.
  • Don't attempt to paint over areas that have been exposed to fire.

NOTE - Human safety should be the most important concern.

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