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After a Tornado or Major Storm

Open Burning of Yard Debris >

NC Department of Environmental Quality

Severe Weather 101 - Thunderstorms >

The National Severe Storms Laboratory

Severe Weather 101 - Tornadoes > 

The National Severe Storms Laboratory

Tornado Myths, Facts, and Safety >

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Global Climate Monitoring

After the Fire - Returning to Normal

  • Contact your local disaster relief service, such as The Red Cross, if you need temporary housing, food and medicines.

  • If you are insured, contact your insurance company for detailed instructions on protecting the property, conducting inventory and contacting fire damage restoration companies. If you are not insured, try contacting private organizations for aid and assistance.

  • Check with the fire department to make sure your residence is safe to enter. Be watchful of any structural damage caused by the fire.

  • The fire department should see that utilities are either safe to use or are disconnected before they leave the site. DO NOT attempt to reconnect utilities yourself.

  • Conduct an inventory of damaged property and items. Do not throw away any damaged good until after an inventory is made.

  • Try to locate valuable documents and records. Refer to information on contacts and the replacement process listed below.

  • If you leave your home, contact the local police department to let them know the site will be unoccupied.

  • Begin saving receipts for any money you spend related to fire loss. The receipts may be needed later by the insurance company and for verifying losses claimed on income tax.

  • Notify your mortgage company of the fire.

  • Check with an accountant or the Internal Revenue Service about special benefits for people recovering from fire loss.

Replacement of Valuable Records and Documents

Department of Motor Vehicles >

Driver’s License, Auto Registration


Contact Your Bank, As Soon As Possible

Bank Books (Checking, Savings, etc.)

Contact Your Insurance Agent

Insurance policies

Department of Veterans Affairs >

Military Discharge Papers

U.S. Department of State - Bureau of Consular Affairs > 


NC Department of Health and Human Services > 

Birth, Death and Marriage Certificates in NC

Circuit Court

Divorce Papers

Contact Your Credit Card Company, As Soon as Possible

Credit Cards

Cumberland County Register of Deeds >

Titles to Deeds

Contact Your Broker

Stocks and Bonds

Contact Your Lawyer


Contact Your Doctor

Medical Records

International Revenue Service >

Income Tax Records

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services > 

Citizenship Papers

The Humane Society of the United States > 

Animal Registration Papers

Contact Your Lending Institution

Mortgage Papers


Issuing Companies

- Warranties

- Prepaid Burial Contract

Salvaging Hints

Clothing and Furniture

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

  • Wear rubber gloves when using these products. Read the labels carefully.

  • 4-6 tbsp. of Tri-Sodium Phosphate

  • l cup Lysol or any household chlorine bleach

  • l gallon warm water

  • Mix well

Add clothes, rinse with clear water and dry well. Be aware that Tri-Sodium Phosphate is a caustic substance used as a cleaning agent. It should be used with care and stored out of reach of children and pets. To remove mildew, wash the fresh stain with soap and warm water. Then rinse and dry in sun. If the stain has not disappeared, use lemon juice and salt, or a diluted solution of household chlorine bleach.

Walls may be washed down while wet. Use a mild soap or detergent. 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 the walls and ceilings are completely dry.

Wallpaper also can be repaired. Use a commercial paste to repaste loose edges or sections. Contact your wallpaper dealer or installer for information on wallpaper cleaners. Washable wallpaper can be washed like an ordinary wall, but care must be taken not to soak the paper. Work from bottom to top to prevent streaking.

Do not dry your furniture in the sun. The wood will warp and twist out of shape. Clear off the mud and dirt by scrubbing with a stiff brush and a cleaning solution. You can also rub the wood surface with a 4/0 steel wool pad dipped in liquid polishing wax, wipe with a soft cloth and then buff. Remove the drawers and let them dry thoroughly so there will be no sticking when you replace them. Wet wood can decay and mold, so allow it to 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 a half cup of household ammonia and a half cup of water. Wipe dry and polish with wax, or rub the surface with a cloth soaked in a solution of a half cup turpentine and a half cup of linseed oil. Be careful because turpentine is combustible.


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 cans have bulged or are dented or rusted. If your home freezer has stopped running, you still can save the frozen food. Keep the freezer closed. Your freezer has enough insulation to keep food frozen for at least one day – perhaps for as many as two or three days. Move your food to a neighbor’s freezer or a rented locker. Wrap the frozen food in newspapers and blankets or use insulated boxes. Do not re-freeze food that has thawed.

To remove odor from your 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. Some baking soda in an open container, or a piece of charcoal can be placed in the refrigerator or freezer to absorb odor.

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