I have experienced a fire in my home. What should I do now?
AFTER THE FIRE: THE FIRST 24 HOURS
The fire is out now, and we are sorry for your loss. There are a few things you need to know to help you begin to recover. We would like to help you. Here is a checklist for you to follow.
STEP 1: SECURING THE SITE
The site of the fire needs to be protected from further damage by weather, theft or vandalism.
If you are the owner, it is your responsibility to see that openings are covered against rain and entry and that outside doors can be locked or secured. The fire department will help with this activity.
Contact your insurance agent. He or she must be notified of the fire and may also be able to help you in making immediate repairs.
If you plan to leave the site, try to remove any valuables remaining in the building.
Do not leave until the site has been secured.
If you are a tenant, contact the resident manager, the owner or the owner’s insurance agent. It is the owner’s responsibility to prevent further loss to the site.
See that your personal belongings are secure either within the building or by moving them to another location, such as the home of a relative or friend.
Contact your own insurance agent to report loss.
The fire department will contact a local relief service such as the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army, or Contact Ministries if you are in need of temporary housing, food, eyeglasses or medicines destroyed in the fire.
STEP 2: CAUTIONS
Fire can rekindle from hidden, smoldering remains. Be watchful for signs of heat or smoke.
Household wiring which may have been water damaged should be checked by an electrician before current is turned back on.
Be watchful for structural damage caused by the fire. Roofs and floors may be weakened.
Food, beverages and medicines exposed to heat, smoke or soot should be discarded.
Refrigerators or freezers left unopened will hold their temperature for a short time.
The fire department will see that utilities (water, electricity, gas or heat) are either safe to use or are disconnected before they leave the site. If a utility is disconnected, contact the utility company or authorized service representative to have the apparatus checked for proper working order, make necessary repairs and reinstitute service. Do no attempt to reconnect utilities yourself.
Beginning NOW, get receipts for any money you spend. Theses receipts are important in showing the insurance company what money you have spent related to your fire loss and also for verifying losses claimed on your federal income tax.
STEP 3: LEAVING YOUR HOME
This may be your decision or one based on the building inspector’s judgment that the residence is unsafe.
Contact the local police. They will keep an eye on the property during your absence.
Temporary Housing: Local relief services, such as the American Red Cross, Contact Ministries, and the Salvation Army, should be able to help you with temporary housing.
If you are insured under a package homeowners or tenants policy, a section of your coverage may pay for the extra costs of temporary housing such as a hotel. If you are in need of immediate funds, ask you insurance agent about how soon you might get an advance on your eventual insurance claim settlement.
Try to locate the following items to take with you:
Vital medicines such as insulin or blood pressure regulating drugs.
Eyeglasses, hearing aids, prosthetic devices, etc.
Valuables such as credit cards, checkbooks, insurance policies, savings account books, money, jewelry, etc.
Do not attempt to open your safe. A safe involved in a fire may hold the intense heat for several hours.
Notify the following parties of your relocation:
Insurance agent or adjuster.
Mortgage company. Also inform them of the fire
Family and friends
Delivery services such as newspapers.
Fire or police department, if the fire is under investigation.
Utility companies; these include telephone, heat, power, water and trash collection.
STEP 4: ASKING FURTHER QUESTIONS
Your disaster relief service case worker, local fire department or insurance agent will help you with the many questions you will have in the coming days.
Do NOT throw away any damaged goods until after an inventory has been taken.
Do NOT contract for estimating, inventorying or repair services without first consulting with your insurance agent or adjuster.
Record Request Forms
I need a copy of of EMS report. How do I obtain one?
You will find a fire or medical reports. Please be aware that there is a $ 25.00 charge for each copy of a fire or medical report. **NOTE** Medical reports can only be released to the patient, or the patient’s guardian if the patient is a minor.
There is also a link to the Village’s general “Request For Public Records” form for requests being made under the Freedom of Information Act. For further information regarding requests made under the Freedom of Information Act, please contact the Village Clerk at (708) 534-6451.
If you have any questions or require further assistance with fire or medical records, please contact the Fire Department at (708) 235-4833.
Why did the sirens go off?
Weather warning sirens are tested at 10:00 a.m. on the first Tuesday of every month to assure that they are in proper working order. Should the area be experiencing severe weather during this time, the siren test will not be conducted until the first Tuesday of the following month. When you hear the sirens during severe weather, this means that a tornado has been spotted heading in our direction. Immediately seek shelter in a basement or other area below grade level that is not exposed to windows. Wait at least 30 minutes before exiting this safe area as we do not issue an “all clear” announcement. If available, you may tune your radio or television to an appropriate channel for information.
My smoke detector is making a short, intermittent beeping. What does this mean?
When a smoke detector’s battery is running low, it will beep intermittently to alert you to change the battery. You should also change your battery each spring and fall when the time changes.
I received a solicitation call from a representative of the South Cook County Professional Firefighters and / or the Will County Professional Firefighters – are they legitimate organizations?
The South Cook County Professional Firefighters and Will County Professional Firefighters are organizations associated with different Firefighters Unions in the Southern Suburbs. The University Park Professional Firefighters Association- MAF Chapter # 4 is currently NOT affiliated with either of these organizations and therefore does not receive any funds through their efforts.
Do you fill swimming pools?
Unfortunately, the Fire Department does not have time to assist individuals in filling their swimming pools as it puts emergency equipment out of service. However, in some cases, Aqua of Illinois Water Company may allow you to use a fire hydrant to fill your pool. By connecting a meter up to the hydrant, they can account for the gallons of water used, which you will then be charged for. Contact Aqua of Illinois Water Company at (800) 851-1305 for more information.
There is an open fire hydrant near my home. Who should I contact to have it turned off?
Should you notice an open fire hydrant, contact Aqua of Illinois Water Company at (800) 851-1305 and they will have someone correct the situation.