City of Nederland Logo
City of Nederland R. A. "Dick" Nugent, Mayor
Don Albanese, Mayor Pro Tem
Talmadge Austin, Councilmember
Billy Neal, Councilmember
Craig J. Belaire, Councilmember
Christopher Duque, City Manager

P.O. Box 967 * Nederland, Texas 77627 * 409.723.1503 * Fax 409.723.1550
 
After the Fire: Returning to Normal

Recovering from a fire can be a physically and mentally draining process.

The United States Fire Administration and the Nederland Fire-Rescue Services has gathered the following information to assist you in this time of need. Action on some of the suggestions will need to be taken immediately. Some actions may be needed in the future while others will be on-going. The purpose of this information is to give you the assistance needed to help you as you begin rebuilding your life.

THE FIRST 24 HOURS

SECURING YOURSELF AND THE SITE

Contact your your local disaster relief service, such as the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army, to help with your immediate needs, such as: temporary housing, food, medicine, eyeglasses, clothing, and other essential items. Also contact your insurance agent/company.

CAUTIONS

Do not enter the damaged site. Fires can rekindle from hidden, smoldering remains.

Normally, the Fire Department will see that utilities (water, electricity, and natural gas) are either safe to use or are disconnected before they leave the site. Do not attempt to turn on utilities yourself.

Be watchful for structural damage caused by the fire. Roofs and floors may be damaged and subject to collapse.

Food, beverages and medicine exposed to heat, smoke, soot, and water should not be consumed.

LEAVING YOUR HOME

Contact your local Police Department to let them know the site will be unoccupied.

In some cases it may be necessary to board up openings to discourage trespassers.

Beginning immediately, save receipts for any money you spend. These 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 income tax.

If safe to do so, try to locate the following items: identification, such as driver's license and Social Security cards, insurance information, medication information, eyeglasses, hearing aids, and other prosthetic devices, valuables, such as credit cards, bank books, and cash and jewelry.

There are many people/entities that should be notified of your relocation, including: your insurance agent/company, your mortgage company (also inform them of the fire), your family and friends, your employer, your child's school, your post office, delivery services, fire and police departments, and your utility companies.

Do not throw away any damaged goods until after an inventory is made. All damages are taken into consideration in developing your insurance claim.

If you are considering contracting for inventory or repair services discuss your plans with your insurance agent/company first.

IF YOU ARE INSURED

Give notice of the loss to the insurance company or the insurer's agent/company.

Ask the insurance company what to do about the immediate needs of the dwelling, such as covering doors, windows, and other exposed areas, and pumping out water.

Ask your insurance agent/company what actions are required of you. Some policy holders may be required to make an inventory of damaged personal property showing in detail the quantity, description, and how much you paid for the items.

IF YOU ARE NOT INSURED

Your recovery from a fire loss may be based upon your own resources and help from your community. Private organizations that may be sources of aid or information: American Red Cross, Salvation Army, religious organizations, department of social services, civic organizations, state or municipal emergency services office, and non-profit crisis counseling centers.

VALUING YOUR PROPERTY

You will encounter different viewpoints on the value of your property in adjusting your fire loss or in claiming a casualty loss on your federal income tax. Knowing the following terms will help your understand the process used to determine the value of your fire loss:

Your personal valuation: Your personal loss of goods through fire may be difficult to measure. These personal items have SENTIMENTAL VALUE to you; however, it is objective measures of value that you, the insurer, and the Internal Revenue Service will use as a common ground for discussion. Some of these objective measurers are discussed below:

Cost when purchased: This is an important element in establishing an item's final value. Receipts will help verify the cost price.

Fair market value before the fire: This concept ia also expressed as ACTUAL CASH VALUE. This is what your could have received for the item if you had sold it the day before the fire. The price would reflect its cost at purchase minus the wear it had sustained since purchase. DEPRECIATION is the formal term used to express the amount of value an item losses over a period of time.

Value after the fire: This is sometimes called the item's salvage value.

RESTORATION SERVICES

There are companies that specialize in the restoration of fire damaged structures. Whether you or your insurer employs this type of service, be clear of who will pay. Be sure to request an estimate of cost for the work. Before any company is hired check their references. These companies provide a range of services that may include some or all of the following: securing the site against further damage, estimating structural damage, repairing structural damage, estimating the cost to repair or renew items of personal property, packing, transportation, and storage of household items, securing appropriate cleaning or repair subcontractors, and storing repaired items until needed.

REPLACEMENT OF VALUABLE DOCUMENTS AND RECORDS

Here's a check list of documents you will need to replace if they have been destroyed, and who to contact for information on the replacement process.
ITEM
WHO TO CONTACT
Driver's License
Department of Public Safety
Bank Books (checking, savings, etc.)
Your bank, as soon as possible
Insurance policies
Your insurance agent
Military discharge papers
Department of Veterans Affairs
Passports
Department of State
Birth, death, and marriage records
City or County
Divorce papers
Circuit court where decree was issued
Social Security or Medicare cards
Local Social Security office
Credit Cards
The issuing companies, as soon as possible
Titles to deeds
Jefferson County
Stocks and bonds
Issuing company or your broker
Wills
Your lawyer
Medical records
Your doctor
Warranties
Issuing company
Income tax records
IRS
Citizenship papers
U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service
Prepaid burial contract
Issuing company
Animal registration papers
Humane Society
Mortgage papers
Lending institution

SALVAGE HINTS

Professional fire and water damage restoration businesses may be the best source of cleaning and restoring your personal belongings. Companies offering this service can be located in the phone directory.

CLOTHING

A word of caution before you begin: test garments before using any treatment, and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Several of the cleaning mixtures described in this section contain the substance Tri-sodium Phosphate. This substance can be purchased under the generic name TSP. Tri-sodium Phosphate is a caustic substance used commonly as a cleaning agent. It should be used with care and stored out of the reach of children and pets. Wear rubber gloves when using if you have sensitive skin. Read the label for further information.

Smoke odor and soot can sometimes be washed from clothing. The following formula may work for clothing that can be bleached:

4 to 6 tbsp. Tri-sodium Phosphate
1 cup household cleaner or chlorine bleach
1 gallon warm water
Mix well, add clothes, rinse with clear water. Dry thoroughly.

An effective way to remove mildew from clothing is to wash the fresh stain with soap and warm water, rinse, and then dry in the sun. If the stain has not disappeared, use lemon juice and salt or a diluted solution of household chlorine bleach.

COOKING UTENSILS

Your pots, pans, flatware, etc., should be washed with soapy water, rinsed and then polished with a fine powdered cleaner. You can polish copper and brass with special polish, salt sprinkled on a piece of lemon, or salt sprinkled on a cloth saturated with vinegar.

ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES

Don't use appliances that have been exposed to water or steam until you have a service representative check them. This is especially true of electrical appliances. In addition, steam can remove the lubricant from some moving parts.

If the fire department turned of your gas or power during the fire, call the electric or gas company to restore these services - do not try to do it yourself.

FOOD

Wash your canned goods in detergent and water. Do the same for food in jars. If labels come off, be sure you mark the contents on the can or jar with a grease pencil. Do not use canned goods when the cans have bulged or rusted. Do not refreeze frozen food that has thawed.

To remove odor from you refrigerator or freezer, wash the inside with a solution of baking soda and water, or use one cup of vinegar or household ammonia to one gallon of water. Baking soda in an open container or a piece of charcoal can also be placed in the refrigerator or freezer to absorb odor.

RUGS AND CARPETS

Rugs and carpets should be allowed to dry thoroughly. Throw rugs can be cleaned by beating, sweeping, or vacuuming, and then shampooing. Rugs should be dried as quickly as possible - lay them flat and expose them to a circulation of warm, dry air. A fan turned on the rugs will speed drying. Make sure the rugs are thoroughly dry. Even though the surface seems dry, moisture remaining at the base of the tufts can quickly cause the rug to rot. For information on cleaning and preserving carpets, call your carpet dealer or installer or a qualified carpet cleaning professional.

LEATHER AND BOOKS

Wipe leather goods with a damp cloth, then a dry cloth. Stuff purses and shoes with newspaper to retain shape. Leave suitcases open. Leather goods should be dried away from heat and sun. When leather goods are dry, clean with saddle soap. Rinse leather and suede jackets in cold water and dry away from heat and sun.

Wet books must be taken care of as soon as possible. The best method to save wet books is to freeze them in a vacuum freezer. This special freezer will remove the moisture without damaging the pages.

If there will be a delay in locating such a freezer, then place them in a normal freezer until a vacuum freezer can be located.

A local library can be a good resource.

LOCKS AND HINGES

Locks (especially iron locks) should be taken apart and wiped with oil. If locks cannot be removed, squirt machine oil through a bolt opening or keyhole, and work the knob to distribute the oil. Hinges should also be thoroughly cleaned and oiled.

WALLS, FLOORS AND FURNITURE

To remove soot and smoke from walls, furniture and floors, use a mild soap or detergent or mix together the following solution:

4 to 6 tbsp. Tri-Sodium Phosphate
1 cup household cleaner or chlorine bleach
1 gallon warm water

Wear rubber gloves when cleaning with this solution. Be sure to rinse your walls and furniture with warm water and dry thoroughly after washing them with this solution.

Wash a small area at one time, working from the floor up. Then rinse the wall with clear water immediately. Ceilings should be washed last.

Do not repaint until walls and ceilings are completely dry.

Your wallpaper can also be repaired. Use a commercial paste to re-paste a loose edge or section. Contact your wallpaper dealer or installer for information on wallpaper cleaners. Washable wallpaper can be cleansed like any ordinary wall, but care must be taken to to soak the paper. Work from bottom to top to prevent streaking.

WOOD FURNITURE

Do not dry your furniture in the sun. The wood will warp and twist out of shape. Clear off mud and dirt. Remove drawers. Let them dry thoroughly so there will be no sticking when you replace them. Scrub wood furniture or fixtures with a stiff brush and a cleaning solution. Wet wood can decay and mold, so dry thoroughly. Open doors and windows for good ventilation. Turn on your furnace or air conditioner, if necessary. If mold forms, wipe the wood with a cloth soaked in a mixture of borax dissolved in hot water.

To remove white spots or film, rub the wood surface with a cloth soaked in a solution of 1/2 cup household ammonia and 1/2 cup water. Then wipe the surface dry and polish with wax or rub the surface with a cloth soaked in a solution of 1/2 cup turpentine and 1/2 cup linseed oil. Be careful - turpentine is combustible.

You can also rub the wood surface with a fine grade steel wool pad dripped in liquid polishing wax, clean the area with a soft cloth and then buff.

MONEY REPLACEMENT

Handle burned money as little as possible. Attempt to encase each bill or portion of a bill in plastic wrap for preservation. If money is only half-burned or less (if half or more is still intact), you can take the remainder to your regional Federal Reserve Bank for replacement. Ask your bank for the nearest one. Or you can mail the burned or torn money by "registered mail, return receipt requested" to:

Department of the Treasury
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Office of Currency Standards
P.O. Box 37048
Washington, DC 20013

Mutilated or melted coins can be taken to your regional Federal Reserve Bank or mailed by "registered mail, return receipt requested" to:

Superintendent
U.S. Mint
P.O. Box 400
Philadelphia, PA 19105

If your U.S. Savings Bonds have been destroyed or mutilated, you must obtain Department of Treasury Form PD F 1048 (I) from your bank or www.ustreas.gov and mail to:

Department of the Treasury
Bureau of Public Debt
Savings Bonds Operations
P.O. Box 1328
Parkersburg, WV 26106-1328

TAX INFORMATION

Check with an accountant, tax consultant or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) about special benefits for people with limited financial needs after a fire loss.


LOCAL INFORMATION

Important numbers you may need during recovery time.

Fire-Rescue Department
Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergency: 723-1531

Police Department
Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergency: 723-1516
Animal Control: 723-1516

Public Works
Water leaks: 723-1541
After 3:30 PM: 723-1540
Garbage pickup: 723-1541 or 723-1542

City Offices
City Secretary (Records): 723-1505
Building Official: 723-1508
Utility Billing: 723-1513

Library
Library Office: 722-1255
(To report destroyed books, etc.)

Other important numbers:
American Red Cross-Jefferson County: 832-1644
Salvation Army-Beaumont: 896-2361
Salvation Army-Port Arthur: 983-2229
Entergy: 1-800-286-8313
Southwestern Bell Residental Customer: 1-800-246-8464
Southwestern Bell Business Customer: 1-800-286-8313
Time Warner Cable: 727-1515
Texas Gas Service: 1-800-959-5325
Entex Gas: 866-1011
Poison Control Center-Galveston: 1-800-764-7661

EMERGENCY AND NON-EMERGENCY NUMBERS

Please print and fill this form in with your local phone numbers and keep copies at locations other than your home.

Medical policy number:____________________

Home policy number:______________________

Auto policy number:_______________________

Bank number(s) :___________________________

Personal Doctor number(s) :____________________

Pharmacy number:_________________________

Family numbers:__________________________
_______________________________________
_______________________________________

Neighbor's number(s):__________________________
Work number:____________________________

Other numbers:____________________________
________________________________________
________________________________________
________________________________________


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