In The Event Of A Fire – Restoring Your Property


Depending on the extent of damage, you may need to hire professional fire and water damage restorers. Check the Yellow Pages under ‘flood and fire restoration work’.


  • Discard food, drinks and medicine exposed to the fire, smoke or water. It is not safe.
  • Wash tins and jars in detergent and water. Don’t eat tinned food if the tin has bulged or rusted. Don’t refreeze thawed food.

Kitchen utensils and electrical appliances:

  • Wash cooking pots and pans with detergent and water, then rinse and polish with a fine-powdered cleaner
  • Have all electrical appliances checked by a qualified service person before you use them.

Walls, floors and ceilings:

  • Clean soot and smoke from walls and floors with mild soap or detergent, or the following cleaner. Wear rubber gloves.
  • 4 to 6 t emulsifying solvent cleaner (this substance is an effective cleaning agent that can be purchased from a hardware or paint shop)
  • 1 C household cleaner or chlorine bleach
  • 4 l warm water
  • Rinse with clear warm water, then dry thoroughly.

Furniture and furnishings:

  • Rugs and carpets should be dried as fast as possible because they will begin to rot. A carpet dealer or professional carpet cleaner can give specific advice.
  • Scrub furniture with cleaner and a brush and dry thoroughly in the shade where there is good ventilation to stop mould and mildew. Wooden furniture must be dried away from heat and sun or it will warp. Remove drawers to dry and to stop them sticking.

Leather and books:

  • Wipe leather goods with a damp cloth, then a dry cloth. Stuff purses and shoes with newspaper to retain shape. Leather goods should be dried away from the heat and sun. When dry, clean with saddle soap.
  • 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. In the meantime, put them in a household freezer to stop the pages sticking together and rotting until you can find a vacuum freezer. A local librarian or book restorer may be able to give you more specific advice.


  • Damaged notes and coins will usually have some value. To receive payment on damaged cash, take it to a bank or the Reserve Bank in Wellington. The Reserve Bank is liable to pay on currency it issues, provided it is still recognisable.


– The smell of smoke and soot and can sometimes be cleaned from clothing. Follow the care instructions on the garment, or try:

  • 4 to 6 t emulsifying solvent cleaner
  • 1 C household cleaner or chlorine bleach
  • 4 l warm water
  • Mix well then add your clothes. Rinse with clear water and dry thoroughly.


information courtesy of Fire and Emergency New Zealand

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