Protect Yourself & Your Property

Refrigerators & Freezers

Sometimes odors are difficult to remove due to the dampness of the insulation which in turn absorbs the odors: however, here are some recommendations:

  • Defrost and wash all surfaces with water and dishwashing detergent, rinse with two tablespoons baking soda per quart of water, and re-rinse with clear water
  • Wash with solution of one cup of vinegar to one gallon of water
  • Wash with solution of one cup household ammonia to one gallon of water

After one of the alternatives has been used, let the appliance air dry.

Caution - When cleaning or discarding any refrigerator or freezer. Be sure the doors are removed or secured against closing on a child.


If in doubt, throw it out!

What to do when the Freezer Stops - How long food will stay frozen depends on:

  • A full freezer will stay cold many hours longer then a freezer only a quarter full
  • A freezer full of meat will not warm up as fast as a freezer full of baked foods
  • The colder the food, the longer it will stay frozen
  • A well insulated freezer will keep food frozen much longer then one with little insulation

If dry ice is placed in the freezer soon after the power is shut off, 25 lbs. should keep the temperature below freezing 2 to 3 hours in a 10 cubic foot cabinet with half a load; 3 to 4 days in a fully loaded cabinet; or, the entire contents of freezer can be moved to a commercial freezer firm or use a friend's or neighbor's freezer.

Partial Thawing

  • Partial thawing and re-freezing will reduce the quality of foods, particularly fruits, vegetables, and prepared foods
  • It is considered a safe practice to refreeze foods that have partially thawed, if the foods still contain fusible ice crystals
  • Meat products are unsafe to eat when they thaw and sit for a time. Bacteria multiply very rapidly in thawed or non-refrigerated foods. If the color or odor of the thawed product is questionable, get rid of it
  • Ice Cream or Ice Milk - Do not use or eat after the product has melted
  • Do not use canned foods where the can is; bulged, is badly dented or has rusted

Remember, if in doubt, throw it out!

Dishes, Pots & Pans

  • Dishes - Wash in very hot soapy water. Rinse in hot water. Dishwashers are excellent for cleaning dishes due to the high temperature of the water. Note: Most dishes can be soaked in a solution of 1 tablespoon or ordinary household bleach to 1 gallon of warm water for 30 minutes prior to washing.
  • Pots and Pans - Pots and pans can be sterilized by boiling in water for at least 10 minutes. Caution: Some parts (handles, knobs, etc.) of the pots and pans will not withstand the high temperature involved with boiling water. Remove such where practical.

Wall, Paint & Wallpaper

Walls may be washed down while still wet. Use a mild soap or detergent and rubber gloves. Wash a small area at one time, working from floor up. Rinse in clear water immediately. Ceilings should be washed last. Do not paint until thoroughly dry. Any questions, contact a paint professional.

Wallpaper / Walltex

  • Heat and ventilate room for several days to dry the plaster as well as the paper
  • If mildewed paper is washable, wipe it with cloth wrung out of thick soap suds, clean with clear water
  • Re-paste edges or loosened sections
  • When washing wall paper, work quickly so paper does not become soaked. Work from the bottom to the top to prevent streaking

Caution: For safety, keep all cleaning cloths saturated with cleaning solutions or compounds (other than water) in a metal container equipped with a tight fitting metal cover.

Upholstered Articles, Mattresses & Rugs

  • Remove loose mold from surfaces by brushing with a broom. Do this outdoors to prevent scattering mildew spores in the house
  • Vacuum surface to draw out more of the mold
  • If mildew remains, sponge lightly with thick detergent suds using only the foam; wipe with a clean, damp cloth
  • If molds have grown into the inner part of an article, send to a reliable dry cleaner

Removing White Spots from Wood Furniture

  • Rub with a cloth wrung out of turpentine or camphorated oil
  • Wipe dry at once and polish with wax or furniture polish
  • For deep spots, use a drop or two of ammonia on a damp cloth and polish
  • A dry mixture of vegetable oil and cigarette ashes rubbed in with the fingertips is often effective in removing white spots

Care Of Documents, Money & Books

Documents can be easily damaged or destroyed as a result of a fire or other disaster. The following documents should be located as soon as possible after the incident:

  • Alien Resident IDs
  • Animal Registration and Medical Records
  • Automobile Titles and Registration
  • Bank Books
  • Birth Certificates
  • Burial Contracts
  • Citizenship Papers
  • Death Certificates
  • Divorce Decree
  • Driver's License
  • Income Tax Records
  • Insurance Policies and Insurance Cards
  • Marriage Papers
  • Medical Records
  • Military Discharge Papers
  • Passport
  • Payment Books
  • Senior Citizens IDs
  • Social Security Card
  • Stocks and Bonds
  • Titles and Deeds
  • Warranties
  • Wills

Note: It is wise to store all important documents in an approved container that is specifically designed for the protection of valuable documents.

Damaged Money or Securities

To reclaim paper money or coins, check with any local commercial bank or contact:
Currency Redemption Division
Treasury Department
Washington, D.C. 20220

Property & Income Tax Adjustments

Property which is extensively damaged by fire may qualify for re-evaluation and a reduction in the property tax assessment. Information and applications are available from the Salt Lake County Assessor's Office 801-468-3381 or 801-468-3050.

Uninsured loss of property, both real and personal, may entitle you to deductions on your property tax. Information is available from the Salt Lake area office of Internal Revenue Service at 800-826-1040.