After The Fire 

Recovering from a fire can be a long and difficult process. Always remember that you are not alone. There are many organizations in this community that will give you practical and emotional assistance. This brochure is filled with information you may need to get this process started.

Helping you and your family through the next few days…

First Steps After the Fire

Have all injuries attended to by a medical professional. Smoke inhalation problems can appear or last after the fire has been extinguished. Contact your doctor if symptoms include a persistent cough, wheezing, vomiting, high temperature, or breathing difficulty.

Call your insurance company as soon as possible. Do not wait for business hours. Most insurance companies have a 24-hour emergency line.

If you are a tenant, contact your landlord.

Inform the institution holding your mortgage that there has been a fire at the property.

Look into which community emergency organizations can assist you based on your needs. These things may include: food, shelter, household items, transportation, phone access, child care, and emotional support.

Should you not be permitted to enter the property, ask Brantford Fire personnel to gather necessary items for you, such as medications, eyeglasses, important documents, pet supplies, jewellery and weather-appropriate clothing.

After it is safe to enter the property, remove valuables from your house. A firefighter may escort you, and you may need safety boots, a hard hat, lung and eye protection, and/or other protective clothing/equipment. Children should not enter a home that has been damaged by fire.

Make an inventory of damaged personal property for your insurance company showing in detail the quantity, description, cost, and replacement value.

Ensure that the property is secure. Board up broken windows and cover doors that can no longer be locked shut. Consider draining water lines if it is winter and the house will be unoccupied for some time. Notify the police that your property will be unoccupied.

The utilities (gas, water, electricity) may have been disconnected or turned off during the fire. Contact your utility companies for assistance.

Do not consume any food, beverages, or medicines that have been exposed to heat, smoke, soot, or water. Prior to leaving the scene, let Brantford Fire know where you will be staying, and provide contact information. You may also wish you inform Canada Post, delivery services, (newspapers), utility companies, the bank, insurance and credit card companies, employers, schools, neighbours, and the police.


One of the first things to do after a fire is contact your insurance agency as soon as possible, and request that an adjuster come to the property immediately to assess the damage.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Ask which fire restoration companies your agency recommends, and choose one to begin the work.
  • Request a written account of what your insurance policy does and does not cover. Document any disputed items.
  • Obtain the necessary insurance forms to help you determine fire damage and loss, and fill out these forms, with the help of the restoration company, as soon as possible.
  • Record all expenses after the fire and ensure you keep receipts.

It’s important to remember that it’s your responsibility to limit secondary damage caused by water and smoke. In fact, the insurer can refuse to cover losses that occur as a result of not taking reasonable care to protect the property from further damage following a fire.

For information on insurance, visit the Insurance Bureau of Canada website at or call 1-888-227-5422.

If you are uninsured, your recovery from the fire loss will be based on your own resources and help from the community. Contact City of Brantford Social Services for help finding community agencies and organizations that may be able to offer assistance.

Replacing Documents and Records

It is important to be proactive about replacing any documents or records that were destroyed or damaged in the fire. Here is a listing to help you get started:

  • Driver’s license and any records
  • Bank book, bank cards, certificates, etc.
  • Bank book, bank cards, certificates, etc.
  • Insurance policies
  • Passports
  • Birth, death and marriage certificates
  • Divorce documents
  • Health card
  • Social insurance card
  • Credit cards
  • Titles to deeds
  • Income tax information
  • Mortgage documentation
  • Will and/or Powers of Attorney

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