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Burn Kits

The members of Roby Christian Church regularly collect items for our burn kits. We prefer to keep 2 kits ready to go at all times. Our burn kits are big tubs with lids that contain the various items that a family needs within the first 24 hours after a house fire. We strongly believe in helping those in our community who have lost everything in their home due to a fire or other natural disaster.

Types of items used in our " burn kits" include but are not limited to:

*Personal hygiene items or toiletries
*Gift cards

Tips for After a Fire

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

When fire strikes, lives are suddenly turned around. Often, the hardest part is knowing where to begin and whom to contact. Here in Cambridge, all agencies of the City of Cambridge will do all we can to assist you in the process of returning your life to normal.  The Cambridge Emergency Management Department has gathered the following   information from publications of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the United States Fire Administration and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. Action on some of the suggestions will need to be taken immediately. Some steps may be needed in the future while others will be on going. The purpose of this information is to give you the advice needed to assist you as you begin rebuilding your life.

The First 24 Hours

Securing Yourself and The Site

  • Contact a local disaster relief service, such as the American Red Cross or a local church group to help with your immediate needs, such as:

>Temporary housing





>Other essential items (the Red Cross has "Smoke Kits" to help get smoke from clothing.)

  • Contact your insurance agent/company. Please see the information on insurance shown below.


  • Do not enter the damaged site. Fires can rekindle from hidden, smoldering remains. Also, the fire may have weakened floors or ceilings and you could be injured if the structure fails.  Always ask the Fire Department if you can reenter the house.
  • 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. Contact the utility company for advice on restoring utilities.
  • 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 or neighbors to let them know the site will be unoccupied.  They cannot watch the building around the clock, but depending on where you live, the officers or your neighbors may be able to pay particular attention for anything suspicious.

  • If you reenter your home to remove valuables and other property, be aware that the local police may often check out individuals removing items from a fire damaged building. This is done to protect your property.  Try to bring identification with you if possible.
  • In most cases it will be necessary to board up doors, windows and other openings to discourage trespassers and vandals. Fire insurance should pay for the costs of the boarding up.  If you are a tenant, stay in contact with your landlord to make sure you get a key to the temporary lock.
  • 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 it is safe to do so, try to locate the following items:

> Identification, such as driver’s licenses and Social Security cards

> Insurance information

> Medication information

> Eyeglasses, hearing aids, false teeth  or other prosthetic devices

> Valuables, such as credit cards, bank books, cash and jewelry

> Items of sentimental value that cannot be replaced

> Deeds and/or leases

There are many people/entities who should be notified of your relocation, including:

> Your family and friends.  Please call them as soon as possible.  They may hear of the fire on the news and be very worried

> Your insurance agent/company

> Your mortgage bank or mortgage company (also inform them of the fire)

> Your employer

> Your child’s school

> Your post office

> Any delivery services

> The local fire and police departments

> Your utility companies

Oftentimes, your temporary location will change rapidly.  Try to have a family member or friend serve as a point of contact for those who need to get in contact with you.  Voice mail from the telephone company can also be a very useful way to stay in contact.

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 permanent repair services discuss your plans with your insurance agent/company first.

    Pets - Your dogs, cats and other pets

If you have had a fire, after ensuring the health and safety of your family, you probably are concerned about the safety of your pets. Dogs tend to bark and run from the fire building.  You may need to search the neighborhood as often dogs are scared by the noise of the fire trucks and run some distance from the fire.  Hopefully, your dog has a current dog license and tag with your address.  If you cannot find your dog call the check with neighbors or the local animal control/police department.

Cats tend to hide from the fire by going under the furniture and into closets.  Cats also seem to be more vulnerable to smoke inhalation than dogs.  If the cat is found unconscious, it often can be revived by having it inhale oxygen.  Any cat that has been in a fire is often covered with smoke and soot. Cats tend to clean themselves by licking themselves and will lick themselves until there is no smoke odor.  During this process they will ingest the soot and other byproducts of the fire and they may make themselves quite ill.  A cat that has been in a fire should be carefully and thoroughly shampooed in lukewarm water with a mild baby shampoo.  You may do this yourself but many pet owners find there is less stress on the cat and less bloodshed by the pet owner if this is done by a qualified veterinary or a member of the vet's staff.

Birds are very vulnerable to smoke and should be checked by a vet who is experience in avian veterinary medicine, as should any concerns you have about the care of reptiles or other types of pets.


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