Recovering from a fire may take a long time and many of the things you have to do will be new to you.
If you are not insured, your recovery from a fire loss most likely will be dependent upon your own resources. Private organizations that can help include the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. You also could talk with your church or synagogue. Local civic groups such as the Lions or Rotary Clubs also can be of help.
If you are insured, your insurance will be the most important single component in recovering from a fire loss. A number of coverages are available such as - homeowner's, tenant's or condominium owner's insurance policies.
Your insurance policy is a contract between you and the insurer. The insurer promises to do certain things for you. In turn, you have certain obligations. Among your duties after a fire loss would be to give immediate notice of the loss to the insurance company or the insurer's agent.
Protect the property from further damage by making sensible or necessary repairs such as covering holes in the roof or walls. Take reasonable precautions against loss, such as draining water lines in winter if the house will be unheated for some time. The insurance company may refuse to pay losses that occur from not taking such reasonable care.
Make an inventory of damaged personal property showing in detail the quantity, description, original purchase price, purchase date, damage estimate and replacement cost.
Cooperate with the insurer or his/her adjuster by exhibiting the damaged property.
Submit, within a stated time period (usually 30 - 60 days), a formal statement of loss. Such a statement should include:
A pre-fire inventory along with a videotape of all your property could prove to be a valuable record when making your claim.
When adjusting your fire loss or in claiming a casualty loss on your Federal income tax, you will have to deal with various viewpoints on the value of your property. Some terms used are listed below:
"Loss adjustment" is the process of establishing the value of the damaged property. This is the result of a joint effort among a number of parties. Basic parties to the process are the owner or occupant and the insurance company and its representatives.
The owner or occupant is required by the insurance contract to prepare an inventory and cooperate in the loss valuation process. An insurance agent may act as the adjuster if the loss is small. The insurer may send an adjuster who is a permanent member of the insurer's staff, or the company may hire an independent adjuster to act in its behalf. It is the insurance adjuster's job, as a representative of the insurance company, to monitor and assist in the loss valuation process and to bring the loss to a just and equitable settlement.
Either you or the insurer may hire the services of a fire damage restoration firm or fire damage service company. These firms provide a range of services that may include some or all of the following:
It is important to coordinate with the insurance adjuster before contracting for any services. If you invade the insurer's responsibility area by contracting without its knowledge or consent, you may be left with bills to pay that otherwise would have been covered by the insurer.
Item Who to Contact Driver's license Local department of motor vehicles Bank books Your bank, as soon as possible Insurance policies Your insurance agent Military discharge papers Local Veterans Administration Passports Local passport office Birth, death, marriage State Bureau of Records in the state certificates of birth, death or marriage Divorce papers Circuit Court where decree was issued Social Security or Local Social Security Office Medicare cards Credit Cards The issuing companies, as soon as possible Titles to deeds Records department of city or county in which the property is located Stocks and bonds Issuing company or your broker Wills Your lawyer Medical records Your doctor Warranties Issuing company Income tax records The Internal Revenue Service Center where filed or your accountant Auto registration title Department of Motor Vehicles Citizenship papers The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service Prepaid burial contracts Issuing company Animal registration papers Society of registry
4-6 tbsp. of Tri-Sodium Phosphate
l cup Lysol or any household chlorine bleach
l gallon warm water
Mix well, add clothes, rinse with clear water and dry well.
Be aware that Tri-Sodium Phosphate is a caustic substance used as a cleaning agent. It should be used with care and stored out of reach of children and pets. Wear rubber gloves when using it. Read the label carefully. To remove mildew, wash the fresh stain with soap and warm water. Then rinse and dry in sun. If the stain has not disappeared, use lemon juice and salt, or a diluted solution of household chlorine bleach.
If your home freezer has stopped running, you still can save the frozen food. Keep the freezer closed. Your freezer has enough insulation to keep food frozen for at least one day - perhaps for as many as two or three days. Move your food to a neighbor's freezer or a rented locker. Wrap the frozen food in newspapers and blankets or use insulated boxes. Do not re-freeze food that has thawed.
To remove odor from your refrigerator or freezer, wash the inside with a solution of baking soda and water, or use one cup of vinegar or household ammonia to one gallon of water. Some baking soda in an open container, or a piece of charcoal can be placed in the refrigerator or freezer to absorb odor.
Rugs and carpets also should be allowed to dry thoroughly. Throw rugs then can be cleaned by beating, sweeping or vacuuming, and then shampooing. Rugs should be dried as quickly as possible. Lay them flat, and expose them to a circulation of warm, dry air. A fan turned on the rugs will speed drying. Make sure the rugs are thoroughly dry. Even though the surface seems dry, moisture remaining at the base of the tufts can quickly rot a rug. For information on cleaning and preserving carpets, call your carpet dealer or installer or qualified carpet cleaning professional.
Wet books must be taken care of as soon as possible. The best methods to save wet books is to freeze them in a vacuum freezer. This special freezer will remove the moisture without damaging the pages.
If there will be a delay in locating such a freezer, place them in a normal freezer until a vacuum freezer can be located.
4 to 6 tbsp. Tri-Sodium Phosphate
1 cup Lysol or any chloride bleach
1 gallon warm water
Wear rubber gloves when cleaning. After washing the article, rinse with clear warm water and dry thoroughly.
Walls may be washed down while wet. Use a mild soap or detergent. Wash a small area at one time, working from the floor up. Then rinse the wall with clear water immediately. Ceilings should be washed last. Do not repaint until the walls and ceilings are completely dry.
Wallpaper also can be repaired. Use a commercial paste to repaste loose edges or sections. Contact your wallpaper dealer or installer for information on wallpaper cleaners. Washable wallpaper can be washed like an ordinary wall, but care must be taken not to soak the paper. Work from bottom to top to prevent streaking.
Do not dry your furniture in the sun. The wood will warp and twist out of shape. Clear off the mud and dirt by scrubbing with a stiff brush and a cleaning solution. You can also rub the wood surface with a 4/0 steel wool pad dipped in liquid polishing wax, wipe with a soft cloth and then buff. Remove the drawers and let them dry thoroughly so there will be no sticking when you replace them. Wet wood can decay and mold, so allow it to dry thoroughly. Open doors and windows for good ventilation. Turn on your furnace or air conditioner, if necessary. If mold forms, wipe the wood with a cloth soaked in a mixture of borax dissolved in hot water. To remove white spots or film, rub the wood surface with a cloth soaked in a solution of a half cup of household ammonia and a half cup of water. Wipe dry and polish with wax, or rub the surface with a cloth soaked in a solution of a half cup turpentine and a half cup of linseed oil. Be careful because turpentine is combustible.
U.S. Treasury Department
Main Treasury Building, Room 1123
Washington, D.C. 20220
Mutilated or melted coins can be taken to the Federal Reserve Bank, or mailed via FIRST CLASS REGISTERED MAIL to:
Superintendent, U.S. Assay Office
32 Old Slip
New York, NY 10005
If your U.S. Savings Bonds have been mutilated or destroyed, write to:
U.S. Treasury Department
Bureau of Public Debt
Division of Loans and Currency
537 South Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60605
Attn: Bond Consultant
Include name(s) on bonds, approximate date or time period when purchased, denominations and approximate number of each.