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Checklist After a Flood or Fire

You can be very overwhelmed after you have a disaster, such as flood damage or fire damage, to your property. There are many things to take care of, all the while being without the normal comforts of your dwelling space. Here is a checklist to help guide you through the restoration and recovery process.


Just After

  • The fire department will tell you if your utilities (water, electricity, and gas) are safe to use. If not, they will shut these off. DO NOT try to turn them back on by yourself.
  • Check for structural damage before re-entering your home to avoid being trapped in a building collapse.
  • Let an electrician inspect your electrical system before turning it back on.


  • Contact your insurance company.
  • Ask what you should do to keep your home safe until it is repaired.
  • Find out from the insurance company how to make a list of things that were lost or damaged.
  • Get a copy of your insurance policy.
  • Try to find valuable documents and records that you kept in your residence.
  • Make a list of damaged or lost items and include: purchase date, value (with receipts) and compile with the inventory list you took prior to the disaster.
  • Take photos of all damaged areas.
  • Damaged items may require disposal ? keep photographs of these items.
  • Ask about being reimbursed for any lost rent or interruption of business.
  • Save all receipts for any and all meals, hotels, purchases, toiletries, vitamins, cosmetics, etc. The receipts may be needed later by the insurance company and’to prove any losses claimed on your income tax.
  • Compile a list of dates, times and persons who you talk to concerning your claim.


  • Have a clear line of communication with your adjuster.
  • Ask your adjuster for a sufficient monetary advance for purchases that are necessary. Include enough money to assist with your first month and security deposit for a temporary dwelling.
  • Ask what the process is for listing and identifying the value of personal property.


  • Remember that it is your choice who the restoration company will be, not the adjuster’s.
  • Check reference, for any and all companies that you retain to perform work on your behalf.
  • If you feel that you are being pressured to choose a certain company, you can contact your local Attorney General’s Office to file a complaint.


  • Contact your local disaster relief service, such as the Red Cross. They will help you find a place to stay for awhile and find food,’medicines, and other important things.
  • Check with an accountant or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) about special benefits for people recovering from fire or water damage.