Immediate Safety

If fire or other emergencies re-emerge after you return home, call 9-1-1.

The danger is not always over after the flames are out. Stay away from your home or business until fire officials tell you it is safe to return.Gardinier_ Toroda Cr July 17 (4)

Immediately after the fire and for the duration of recovery, pay close attention to how you and your loved ones are handling the stress and emotional toll disasters can take. The American Red Cross offers free 24/7 support through its Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990.

If you are in need of immediate shelter, text “SHELTER” and your zip code to 43362 (a dedicated FEMA number) for options in your area.

Click here for more tips to stay safe immediately after the fire.


  • Keep a “fire watch”. Look for smoke or sparks throughout and around the house.
  • Keep a “flood watch”. Flash floods after fires are real and dangerous. Watch for rain and have an evacuation plan. See the Flood Risk page for more information.
  • Let friends and family know you are safe.
  • If you need to re-evacuate due to fire or flood risk, remember these 5 P’s
    • People and Pets
    • Paper (important documents)
    • Prescriptions and other medical needs
    • Pictures
    • Personal computer
  • In addition to the 5 P’s, use this Supply Kit Checklist to plan for evacuation.
  • Utilize battery-operated radios for emergency updates and news reports.
  • Turn on flashlights outside your home before your inspection starts. Not all flashlights are rated to be turned on in a gas leak area, if present.
  • Use extreme caution around burned areas. Trees and power poles may be unstable.
  • Contact your utility company, propane supplier, heating oil supplier, etc. for system inspections before use.
  • Document damage with photos and contact your insurance carrier before starting cleanup efforts.


  • Drink water from the faucet. Contact your water utility to assess quality.
  • Eat food that may have gone bad. When in doubt throw it out.
  • Start cleaning or throwing away anything before you have contacted your insurance company.
  • Touch any power lines.
  • Attempt to cross flooded areas or roads.
  • Turn on appliances before checking for meter and circuit breaker damage