Download our latest “After the Fire” booklet in English and Spanish.
Tips for what to do after you have become the victim of a fire:
Before Entering the Residence…
- Check with fire officials to make sure it is safe for you to enter the structure.
Contact your insurance claims department representative.
- You should contact your insurance company or agent as soon as possible after the incident.
- Your insurance carrier, agent, or adjuster will want a copy of the fire report. Copies of fire reports are available, generally within 10 working days after the fire, by contacting the Columbia Fire Department at 573-874-7391. You may also stop in at Fire Administration located at 201 Orr Street to obtain a copy. It is recommended that you call us first to make sure the report is complete and ready to be released.
- You should not discard any damaged belongings. Do not contract for any repair work until authorized to do so by your insurance.
Make sure your home is protected from the elements and illegal entry.
- Cover all openings in windows or walls with plywood.
- Make sure all door and window locks are tightly secured.
- If the house will be left unattended, contact the Columbia Police Department at there non-emergency number and ask for a “Watch In Passing.” They will patrol the area more closely for a limited time.
- Other private service companies offer services for protecting your home. Look under “fire and water restoration” in the yellow pages.
If you rent…
- Contact the property owner or representative to inform them of the situation. It is the owner’s responsibility to secure the property.
- If you have renters insurance, contact your insurance agent immediately.
Your utilities may have been disconnected to protect you and the fire fighters from the dangers
of the gas or electricity. You can find out from the Fire Official if the utilities have been disconnected.
- If temperatures are below freezing it will be important to protect water pipes by restoring heat or by draining plumbing.
- If your home electrical or gas systems have been damaged, it may not be possible to reconnect the electric or gas service.
- Only the utility companies may restore your utilities. The Columbia Fire Department WILL NOT turn on your gas or electricity. Look for the appropriate phone number at the bottom of this article.
- Your mechanical, electrical and gas systems may need to be checked by a professional, even if they do not appear to be damaged.
- If your house has been damaged by fire, the utilities will not be restored until the Protective Inspection Division of Public Works has approved the reconnection.
Other useful tips…
- If you or anyone else has inhaled smoke or have gotten burned seek medical attention immediately.
- Do not enter the structure until you meet with the Fire Official in charge. Inform the Fire Official of the presence of important papers or valuables.
- Be sure to protect your personal belongings from the elements, either inside the building or by moving them to a safe location.
- Retain receipts for any money you spend. These receipts may be necessary for possible insurance reimbursements.
- Nothing should be thrown away until the items are listed on an inventory of damaged belongings.
- If you need emergency housing, food, clothing, basic furniture, counseling for your or your children, you may contact the Red Cross, Salvation Army or your church or synagogue.
- A copy of your fire report will be available from the Fire Administration Office. You can expect the report to be available five work days after the incident.
- Let friends and family members know where you will be staying at temporarily.
- If you must move inform the Post Office, your bank, utility companies, credit card companies, magazine/newspaper providers and friends and relatives of your new address.
- If your pets have inhaled smoke they should be taken to a veterinarian as soon as possible. If your pet has been lost in the confusion, contact the Humane Society.
- If you have lost your credit cards contact your credit card company to inform them of the lose and the reorder new ones.
- If you have lost your drivers license you may need to go to the License Bureau to receive a new one.
- You may also need to contact the Social Security Administration to receive a new Social Security Card if it has been lost.
- It is good to inform your children’s school of the incident so teachers are aware of what is going on at home.
- Employers should be notified especially if you plan to not attend work due to the incident.
- Losing your home and your possessions can have a traumatic affect on you or others in your house. If someone is having difficulty dealing with the situation they should seek help whether it be professional or just a friendly ear to listen.
Phone Numbers You May Need:
|Salvation Army Family Services||442-3229|
|Harbor House Lodging||442-1984|
|American Red Cross||445-9411|
|City of Columbia|
|Columbia Fire Dept (Non-Emer)||874-7391|
Columbia Fire Dept (After Hours)
|Columbia Police Dept (Non-Emer)||442-6131|
|Solid Waste Collection||874-6291|
|Central Mo. Humane Society||443-3893|
|Ameren Union Electric||1-800-552-7391|
|Arthur Center (Columbia)||875-7995|
|Mid-Missouri Mental Health Center||884-1300|
|After Hours Veterinary Clinic||875-3124|
|All Creatures Animal Hospital||875-0907|
|Columbia Veterinary Hospital||443-7274|
|Horton Animal Hospital (Paris Rd)||474-3508|
|Horton Animal Hospital (Central)||445-4466|
|Horton Animal Hospital (Forum)||446-3227|
|Noah’s Ark Animal Hospital||445-1388|
|Rock Bridge Animal Hospital||443-4501|
|Vet. Med. Teaching Hospital (UMC)||882-2121|
If you have further questions, feel free to contact The Columbia Fire Department.
We are here to serve you.
Columbia Fire Department
201 Orr St.
Columbia, Missouri 65201