After a fire or other emergency incident

prepare for emergencies

It is often difficult to recover from a traumatic event such as a fire or natural disaster. We prepared this guide to help you to get your life back to normal as quickly as possible.

Prevent additional losses

Your first responsibility after the emergency response team releases your home back to you is to protect your home from additional losses. Remove all valuables if you cannot live in your home. Secure doors, windows, and other areas against unauthorized entry.

Record the name of the Firefighter or Fire Investigator, if one accompanies you to review your home.

Your insurance policy may require that you take steps to prevent further damage to your home and its surrounding property. Talk to your insurance agent before attempting any cleaning or repairs.

Contact your insurance provider

If you own your home, contact your insurance company or agent. The insurance agent will know which parts of the damage are insured. In some cases the insurance agent may be able to provide names of reputable contractors to provide restoration services, even to parts of the home that are not insured.

If you rent your home, notify the home owner. If you do not hold a property rental insurance policy, your possessions may not be covered.

Locate your important documents


Property and financial records

  • Birth Certificate
  • Driver's License
  • Senior's ID Card
  • Family Services ID Card
  • Passports
  • Social Insurance Cards
  • Income Tax Records
  • Medical Health Cards
  • Medical Records
  • Citizenship Papers
  • Marriage Papers
  • Divorce Decree
  • Death Certificates
  • Burial Contracts
  • Title to Deeds
  • Insurance Policy
  • Automobile Title and Registration
  • Credit Cards
  • Bank Books
  • Payment Books
  • Stocks and Bonds
  • Wills
  • Warranties
  • Papers for Animals

Get more help

If you have no insurance or are unable to reach friends or family for help, Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services brings in the City's Disaster Assistance Team (DAT) to look after you.

DAT volunteers are always on call, and will help you at the fire scene to provide you lodging, meals, clothing, and other basic needs for up to 72 hours after a fire. Emergency Management BC will cover approved costs for this period provided that you have no insurance.

If your residence is damaged to the point where you cannot return home, you may be able to obtain assistance from the Provincial Emergency Program in conjunction with the Ministry of Social Development, Canadian Red Cross, and the Salvation Army.

The Canadian Red Cross and Salvation Army are volunteer organizations that assist the Ministry of Social Development to provide food, clothing, shelter and transportation to the less fortunate victims of fire.

What to do after an emergency

During and after an earthquake

What should you do when an earthquake strikes? Learn how you can protect yourself during and after an earthquake to stay safe.

Restoring utility services after an emergency

After a fire or other emergency involving your property, learn who to contact to restore utility services to your home.

Dispose and discard hazardous material after an emergency

Learn the proper way to dispose of hazardous material after a fire or other emergency.

Request a fire incident report online

Order an incident report online about a fire, vehicle accident, or other emergency where Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services responded.

Fire recovery information booklet

After the Fire is a free booklet that contains much of the recovery information on these pages.

To request a mailed copy, send an email with your address and phone number to

Where to get help

Emergency Support Services

Ministry of Social Development
(Provincial Emergency Program)

Salvation Army

Canadian Red Cross