Support for victims of fire or flood

If you have been a victim, have a look at our advice and find out where you can find more support.

If you have become a victim of a fire or flood then we can point you in the right direction of organisations that can provide support. We also provide suggestions about the things you should do after a fire or flood and the people you should consider contacting.

If at any time after a fire or flood you feel unwell, contact your Doctor or Hospital Accident and Emergency department.

Who should I contact after a fire or flood?

If you have been a victim of a fire or flood, you should consider contacting the following:

  • Insurance company
  • Mortgage company, landlord or agent
  • Employer
  • Family and friends
  • Schools
  • Utility companies i.e. telephone, gas, electricity, water, refuse collection

If you have been forced to relocate following a fire or flood, then you should also remember to contact:

  • Post Office (re: redirection of mail to your new address)
  • Any delivery services i.e. milk, newspapers

These telephone numbers may be useful to you

  • Social Services - 0845 600 6400

(8:30am to 5:30pm, Monday to Thursday and 8:30am to 4:30pm on Friday) or 0845 600 5252 (outside normal office hours)

  • Department for Work and Pensions – 0845 604 3719

For help with social security benefits in the Northumberland Area please call and ask for your local Job Centre

  • Northumbrian Water – 0845 717 1100 (24 hours)
  • Northumbria Police HQ – 01661 872555
  • Age Concern Northumberland –0845 140 0088
  • Alnwick - 01665 604135
  • Berwick - 01289 330222
  • Blyth - 01670 367779
  • Hexham - 01434 605254
  • Morpeth - 01670 518814
  • Wansbeck - 01670 522008 (this number covers Ashington, Bedlington, Choppington, Newbiggin areas)
  • Alnwick - 0191 293 1360
  • Ashington - 01670 857943
  • Bedlington - 01670 829356
  • Cramlington - 01670 712443
  • Hexham - 01434 600462
  • Newbiggin - 01670 815545
  • Divisional Office - 0191 293 1360 (this number covers the whole of Northumberland also)
  • Northumberland County Council Homefinder Team – 0845 600 6400
  • Four Housing – 0300 004 4444
  • Homes for Northumberland – 01670 542424
  • Bernicia Wansbeck Homes – 0844 800 3800
  • ISOS Housing – 0300 300 1505 (this number covers the whole of Northumberland)

Red Cross Fire Victim Support Service

The Red Cross Fire Victim Support Service is designed to meet the needs of people who have suffered damage to their home following a fire, flood or similar incident. The service is free and is delivered by specially trained British Red Cross volunteers who work in co-operation with the Fire and Rescue Service.

Red Cross Volunteers use an adapted vehicle to provide practical and emotional support to the victims of a fire, flood or other similar incident. They will arrive at the scene within 90 minutes of being called by the Fire and Rescue Service.

The volunteers will provide:

  • Immediate temporary shelter in the Fire Victim Support Vehicle
  • Assistance in seeking temporary accommodation
  • Emotional support
  • Sign-posting to other organisations
  • Support with the care of children and pets
  • Use of shower and toilet facilities
  • Provision of toiletries
  • Clothing
  • Light refreshments
  • Use of a telephone
  • Use of a camera to assist with insurance claims
  • First aid

The Fire Victim Support Service relies upon the generosity of the local community. If you would like to support the service by making a donation or becoming a volunteer, or want more information, please contact your local British Red Cross Branch.

What do I need to think about after a Fire or Flood?

If your property has experienced a fire or flood you should be cautious and should consider the following advice:

  • Fire can rekindle from hidden smouldering remains. Be watchful for signs of heat and smoke and, if in any doubt, contact the Fire and Rescue Service.
  • Structural damage – buildings that have suffered a fire or flood may have been damaged structurally and roofs and floors may have been weakened. Be watchful for any signs of structural damage. If in doubt, do not enter the property and seek expert advice.
  • If your property has experienced a fire and you have a safe DO NOT OPEN IT until it has had time to cool down. A safe involved in a fire may hold the intense heat for several hours. If the door is opened before the safe has cooled down, the entering air, combined with the high temperature inside the safe, may cause the contents to burst into flames.
  • If you have money that has been partially burned, take it to a bank to be replaced.
  • If you rent or lease the property, you should contact the landlord or his agent as soon as possible.
  • Contact your insurance company at the earliest opportunity. You should inform them of the incident and obtain, complete and return a claims form. They may wish to inspect your property before anything is moved.
  • If you are uninsured, you may be able to get financial help or furniture from your local Social Security Office.

Notify the following if you have temporarily or permanently relocated because of a fire or flood:

  • Insurance company
  • Mortgage company
  • Employers
  • Family and friends
  • Schools
  • Post office
  • Utility companies i.e. telephone, gas, electricity, water, refuse collection
  • Delivery services i.e. milk, newspapers.

It is the responsibility of the owner to ensure the property is secured following an emergency incident.

However, in most cases the Police will arrange for the property to be secured against theft and vandalism and the Fire and Rescue Service will arrange to protect the property from further damage by the weather.

  • Carpets and Rugs- A wet/dry vacuum or water extractor cleaning machine is excellent for this job. It can be rented from various shops - look at the Yellow Pages. Allow them to dry out thoroughly.
  • Clothing - Always read the label. If the clothing can withstand bleaching it can be treated with the following mixture: half a cup or domestic ammonia to 2 gallons of water. Rinse in vinegar (wear kitchen gloves). If the clothes require dry cleaning - contact a specialist shop for advice.
  • Smells - This is a complex problem due to the materials used in the home and those which have been involved in the fire. Contact a specialist cleaning company, or for less severe smells, use a room deodorising product.
  • Ceilings and Walls – Un-papered walls may be washed down using a mild soap or detergent. Wash a small area at a time. Rinse with clean water immediately. Wallpaper cannot be effectively cleaned unless it is washable. Use a cloth soaked in a mild detergent and wrung out. Clean with water and re-paste edges of paper if necessary.
  • Furniture - For upholstered furniture, a wet/dry vacuum can be used or contact a specialist cleaning company from Yellow Pages. White spots on wood may be removed by turpentine or ammonia, then dry and polish.
  • Food - If in doubt - throw it out. Fresh food should generally be thrown out if contaminated by smoke. Food in glass jars should be discarded if the jar is cracked and has been subjected to heat. Tinned food should be thrown out if the tin has bulged or been subjected to heat. DO NOT re-freeze thawed food items.

Electricity

If your internal electricity supply has been affected by a fire or flood, your Electricity Board will need to re-connect the supply after a qualified electrician has repaired it and notified the Board of completion. Do not attempt to reconnect or turn on the supply yourself.

While you wait for your supply to be reconnected, you may choose to use temporary lighting or heating units. However, these units are potentially dangerous, especially if they have been unused or stored for some time. Do not forget to have these units checked by the manufacturer or qualified dealer before use. If you are unsure of the precautions to take when positioning or filling these appliances, contact your local fire station.

Do not forget to read and follow the manufacturer's instructions when using these appliances.

Gas

If any of your gas appliances have been affected by a fire, the fire service or British Gas will turn off or disconnect your supply. It is important that either British Gas or an approved installer inspects and rectifies any problems in the system before any attempt is made to re-connect or turn on the supply.Do not attempt to re-connect or turn on the gas supply yourself.

Water

You will need a plumber if your water supply has been affected by a fire or flood. Do not attempt to turn on your water until your system has been checked by a qualified plumber.

Reduce your risk of a fire before it happens to you

Prevention is always better than cure. Do not hesitate to contact us to find out how you can prevent a fire from occurring in your home, business, farm or school. Further information and contact details can be found on the following pages:

We also have a 24 hour contact number you can call to request advice on keeping your home safe from fire – please call us on 0800 731 1351.

 

Where else can I get advice?

If you need any further advice then please contact us:

in person: at your local fire station

phone: 01670 621110 (during office hours) and 01670 627599 (outside office hours)

email: FireReception@northumberland.gov.uk (during office hours) and Fcontrol@northumberland.gov.uk (outside office hours).

Office hours: 8:30am to 5pm, Monday to Thursday, and 8:30am to 4:30pm on Friday