- Smoke alarms save lives. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out.
- Replace batteries in all smoke alarms when we Spring ahead and when we Fall back. If an alarm “chirps”, warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
- Replace all smoke alarms, including alarms that use 10-year batteries and hard-wired alarms, when they are 10 years old or sooner if they do not respond properly.
- Pull together everyone in your household and make a fire escape plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors.
- Choose an outside meeting place (i.e. neighbor's house, a light post, mailbox, or stop sign) a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they've escaped. Make sure to mark the location of the meeting place on your escape plan.
- The use of a portable fire extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and is not growing; everyone has exited the home; the fire department has been called or is being called; and the room is not filled with smoke.
- For the home, select a multi-purpose ABC type extinguisher (can be used on all types of home fires) that is large enough to put out a small fire, but not so heavy as to be difficult to handle.
The Springfield Fire Department compiled the following information to help victims of residential fires pick up the pieces and to empower residents to create an action plan for worst case scenarios.
Information to have Readily Available
- Insurance information, including medical, homeowners or auto policy numbers
- Medical information
- Driver’s license, social security card, credit cards and cash
- Log fire information, including:
- Fire incident number
- Fire investigator name
- Check with the fire department to make sure your residence is safe to enter because of structural damage or toxic gases.
- Make sure all gas valves are shut off.
- Conduct an inventory of ALL damaged property and items, and save receipts for any money spent related to fire loss. The receipts may be needed later by the insurance company and for verifying losses claimed on income taxes.
- Try to locate valuable documents and records.
- If you leave your home, contact the local police department to let them know that the site will be unoccupied.
- City of Springfield code requires that the property be secured— the doors and windows may need to be boarded up to prevent theft.
- Take photographs of the damage.
- Have a professional check for issues with electricity, plumbing and AC units.
- Local disaster relief service, such as Red Cross, if you need temporary housing, food and medicine, American Red Cross of Western Massachusetts
- Your insurance company
- Notify your mortgage company
- Check with the Internal Revenue Service about special benefits for people recovering from fire loss.
- Fire Incident Report
- Utility Company
- Post Office
- Department of Motor Vehicles
- Social Security Office
- Salvation Army Springfield
- City of Springfield
- Before moving forward with renovations, make sure you or your contractor obtain the necessary permits.
Things NOT to Do
- DO NOT reenter the building without fire department approval.
- DO NOT reconnect utilities yourself.
- DO NOT turn on appliance that have been exposed to water.
- DO NOT consume anything exposed to the fire, i.e. food, drinks or medications.
- DO NOT allows pets back into the home until you get an all clear from the fire department.
- Toxic gases and airborne contaminates may be present in the air.
- Structural damage may cause roof or floor collapse.
- Firefighters may have to cut holes in the structure to ventilate the building or check for smoldering hot spots.
- Make sure to wash all of your clothing, furniture, and flooring, cooking utensils and appliances thoroughly.
- Baking soda will help to remove odors.
- Local photography shops may be able to restore damaged pictures.
- Your regional Federal Reserve Bank may replace currency if half or more of the bill is still intact.