What Gets Saved?
What have you seen homeowners save from a fire? Usually it is the family Bible or a photo album, but I've seen arm loads of clothes and a goldfish bowl carried out. Once the fire is extinguished, we try to bring out valuables or sentimental items-once we were asked to try to retrieve the refrigerator...If it were me, I'd try to grab my father's watch on the way out.
We only usually worry about things like wallets, purses, medication, and car keys, things people need to have in the next 24 hrs. We don't usually hang around for the other stuff. We leave that to the fire damage clean up companies.
We do the same as Johnsb does. I would add we try to recover and guns that are in the property with the help of PD of course. If they specifically ask for something I.E. photos, bible, family member ashes. we will grab it. The important thing to remember is that what appears to be trash to you may not be to them. So it is important to not just toss it.
Pretty much anything they can.
Remember that at one time a prime piece of equipment that firefighters carried was a bed key, so they could save what was probably the prime possession a family had - the bed(s).
After that, from where I sit, it comes down to volatility - That may "only" be a picture album, but it may be the only album that contains pictures of long-lost loved ones. The credit cards, ID, etc, can be replaced in no time, while those photos or other such records may be literally irreplacable.
For your own planning - that's a good reason to scan all those old photos and records and make sure there are copies of the files in other places.
My Mothers ashes would be the only thing I would risk my *** trying to save if my house went up, Family already has their pre planned escape routes and we practice the escape drill quarterly. Keep them detector batterys checked and your good to go, Also doesn't hurt to have a fire extinguisher in your home, Can pick one up at walmart for around $25.
I searched two bedrooms last week in what ended up being the total loss of someone's home. I loaded up every picture I could carry on my way out of each room. They were quite grateful.
We try to save everything possible. While most we dont bring out of the house once the fire is out we do try to protect it best we can. During overhaul we dont just go in tossing and smashing everything in out way. We take the time to move the lamp or sofa or whatever instead of just giving it the boot. While most things may not seem like much to us they mean everything to the homeowner. We are not there to play with fire and flashing lights we are there to save lives and property and try to make the homeowners day just a tiny bit better by showing them and their belongings the respect and courtesy they deserve.
Last year, we responded mutual aid into a neighboring county for a house fire. They were very short staffed, so we ended up filling a number of roles. Although the house was well-involved as a result of a wind-driven fire, there were two rooms on the rear which were still tenable. We sent a crew to each room to salvage everything they possibly could, and they did a fantastic job.
After the family arrived home, we found out that one of the rooms belonged to their daughter, who was abducted and killed several years ago, and had quite a bit of local media coverage. To say that they were grateful would be an understatement.
We'll generally try to recover anything that's practical to carry out, as something that may look worthless to us might have great value to them.