Support for victims of fire or flood

We also provide suggestions about the things you should do after a fire or flood, and who 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.

You should consider contacting your:

  • insurance company
  • mortgage company, landlord or agent
  • employer
  • family and friends
  • schools
  • utility companies
If you have been forced to relocate, you should remember to contact the Post Office to redirect mail to your new address and any delivery services that regularly attend your property. 

To access financial support for households and businesses affected by the December 2015 floods, please visit this page.
Below is a list of numbers that may be useful to you if you have become a victim of fire or flood.

  • Social Services - 0345 600 6400 (8.30am to 5:30pm, Monday to Thursday and 8.30am to 4.30pm on Friday) or 0345 600 5252 (outside normal office hours)
  • Department for Work and Pensions - for help with social security benefits in the Northumberland Area, please call and ask for your local Job Centre - 0345 604 3719
  • Northumbrian Water - 0345 717 1100 (24 hours)
  • Northumbria Police HQ - 01661 872 555
  • Age Concern Northumberland - 01670 784800
  • Citizens Advice Bureau - 03444 111 444 (this number covers the whole of Northumberland)
  • The Salvation Army divisional office - 0191 293 1360 (this number covers the whole of Northumberland)

Local housing departments:

  • Northumberland County Council  – 0345 600 6400
  • Bernicia   – 0844 800 3800
  • Karbon homes 0808 164 0111  
This service is designed to meet the needs of people who have suffered damage to their home following fire, flood or similar incident.

The service is free and 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 victims of fire, flood or other similar incident.
Here you will find helpful advice for those who have suffered from a fire or flood.

  • Fire can rekindle from hidden, smouldering remains. Be watchful for signs of heat and smoke. If in doubt, contact the fire and rescue service.
  • Buildings that have suffered a fire or flood may have been damaged structurally and roofs/floors may have been weakened. Be watchful of any signs of structural damage. If in doubt, do not enter the property and seek expert advice.
  • If you have a safe in your home, 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 it has cooled down, the entering air, combined with the high temperature 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, contact the landlord or his agent as soon as possible.
  • Contact your insurance company at the earliest opportunity. They should be informed of the incident and you should complete 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. 
It is the responsibility of the owner to ensure the property is secure 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 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, but if clothing can withstand bleach, it can be treated with the following mixture: half a cup of domestic ammonia to two gallons of water and 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 fire. Contact a specialist cleaning company, or for less severe smells, use a room deodorising product.
  • Ceilings and walls – Unpapered walls may be washed down with a mild soap or detergent by washing small areas at a time and rinsing with clean water immediately. Unless washable, wallpaper cannot effectively be cleaned but you can try a cloth soaked in mid detergent (wrung out) and clean with water, re-pasting any edges 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.

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

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

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

If any gas appliances have been affected by fire, the fire service or British Gas will turn off/disconnect your supply. It is important either British Gas or an approved installer inspects and rectifies any problems in the system before any attempts are made to reconnect or turn on the supply. Do not attempt this yourself.

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

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.
If you need any further advice, please contact us either by dropping in to your local station, or:

  • Telephone: 01670 621 110 (during office hours) and 01670 627 599 (outside office hours)
  • Email: (during office hours) and (outside office hours).
  • Office hours: 8:30am to 5pm, Monday to Thursday, and 8:30am to 4:30pm on Friday