Your home may be affected by smoke, soot and ash, chemicals, structural damage, and water damage. This information is a collection of health and safety items to think about as you start to repair your home. It covers many general topics. Not all of the information may apply to your situation.
Food, medicines, cleaners, cosmetics, and other personal care products can be damaged by heat, smoke, and the chemicals used to fight the fire.
There will be items that will need to be properly disposed of after your fire-damaged home has been inspected. Before getting rid of these items, make sure that you put them in your inventory as part of your fire insurance claim.
Please note that you may need to throw out items not listed in this document.
Your fridge and freezer may also have been without power for some time now and could smell.
Check the food in your home and
throw it out if:
Be safe. If in doubt, throw it out.
Fridges and Freezers
Contact your insurance company to see if you need to replace your fridge or freezer and if you have coverage for this. Follow your local guidelines for what to do with the old fridges and freezers if you need to replace them.
If you are keeping your fridge or freezer, clean, disinfect, and deodorize them once you have thrown out all the spoiled food.
To do this:
Medications and Personal Care Products
Contact your insurance company and take lots of photos before throwing anything out.
There may be smoke damage and soot in your home after the fire.
If you will be doing the cleaning:
Contact your local municipality to make sure there are no water or sewage restrictions before rinsing the exterior of your home.
Fabric, carpets, and clothing
If your home was damaged by water, you will need to get rid of all excess water to limit the potential for mould growth.
If you find a small amount of mould (typically under 10 square feet), and you wish to do the work yourself, more information is available here:
Steps for Mould Remediation In Private Homes
If you’re a tenant, notify your landlord of any mould concerns and work with them to arrange for proper cleanup.
Your yard and surrounding areas may be impacted by fire ash and soot.
If you decide to manage this yourself:
Some fire retardants can make people and pets sick if swallowed. Fire retardants can cause eye irritation, dry skin, and stinging to cuts and scrapes on your skin. See your family doctor as soon as possible if you have any reaction to these products.
If your home was sprayed with fire retardant or the wind blew some onto your house it should be removed. The siding and roof of your house and your vehicles should be cleaned. Also to be cleaned are any outside toys, furniture, or tools. A fire restoration contractor will be able to help you with this.
For additional information on wildfire recovery please go to the
Environmental Public Health website.
Current as of: June 26, 2018
Author: Environmental Public Health, Alberta Health Services
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