Here are some actions to take and things to consider if a fire should occur.

Identification papers

They must be replaced if they have been damaged or destroyed. You will find a list of organizations to contact here: Important Phone Numbers.


After a fire, your mailman will hold your mail for 24 hours. After this period, however, it is your responsibility to contact Canada Post and to arrange to have them to hold your mail for a prolonged period. You will be billed for this service, so keep your receipts. 

Your network

Contact your network (relatives, friends, employers or business associates) to inform them of your situation. They can help bring your life back to normal.


There are many unforeseen expenses following a fire. Keep all your receipts (gas, food, hotel, clothing, etc.) because they may be eligible to reimbursements from your insurance company.

List of your belongings

You must make a list of all your lost possessions. Give all possible details about each item (brand, color, model, serial number, cost, date of purchase). If you have managed to save or retrieve your receipts, they will prove very useful. Waste no time in preparing a list if you wish to speed up reimbursement.

You should always keep a list of all your possessions, with pictures, stored in two different places (e.g.: in a safety deposit box, with a family member).

Insurance company and adjuster

The insurance adjuster is the person who investigates damages in case of a fire. He prepares damage estimates and negotiates a settlement.

There are two types of adjusters*:

  • adjusters working for insurance companies or independent firms who must determine if the incident is covered by the insurance and negotiate a settlement with the persons insured;   
  • public adjusters whose role is to guide and counsel their clients in preparing their claim for their insurance company. This type of expert is generally called to work on cases where the insured person has suffered major losses in order to help him meet his obligations and prove his losses.

Generally, the insurance company is responsible for assigning an adjuster to your case.

Source: Québec Financial Markets Authority. 2010. Analysis of the profession of insurance adjuster. [Online]. 47 p. [consulted on 01-29-2013].

Company representatives

Sales representatives from various cleaning and renovation companies may offer you their services. Do not start any work before having consulted you insurance agent or adjuster. 

Renovation work

Your insurance agent or adjuster will help you prepare for renovations. Don’t forget that you must obtain a permit before starting work. Ask for information at the urban planning department of your borough or city. In some cases, your contractor will request the permit. Be sure he has obtained it before starting renovations.

Loss of a loved one in a fire

If you’re looking for a missing loved one in case of a fire, please contact the Montréal police's criminal fires department, or call 911 .

If you have lost a loved one in a fire, you or family members may need counselling or moral support. Don’t hesitate to call a specialized organization. For a complete list of organizations, see this page: Important Phone Numbers.

Income security recipients

Please contact your local employment centre as soon as possible to inform them of any special needs. The centre has your file, and you may be entitled to some compensation under the law.

Clothing, food, lodging and furniture

You can obtain clothing and food and find temporary shelter through various support organizations. You may, however, prefer to stay with family members.

Remember that food remaining in the house after a fire is no longer edible. Your insurance company will pay to replace it.

Dispute between an owner and a tenant

If a dispute arises between a building owner and one or more tenants following a fire, you must contact the Régie du logement.

Documents for download