The Cottage Grove Department of Public Safety will host a fire prevention open house Oct. 12 from 10 am to 2 pm at the Central Fire Station at 8641 80th St. Visitors can take tours, watch "quick fire knockdown" demonstrations and climb inside a fire engine.

Kids can also try on firefighting gear.

The Cottage Grove Fire Department recently published a booklet titled "After the Fire," a survival guide for property owners who have been burned out of their home.

Fire chief Rick Redenius said they compiled the book because they've seen how confused and overwhelmed people can be after a fire. Fire victims are often not sure how to begin the process of picking up the pieces, he said.

"After a fire, people are dismayed and distraught," he said. "And you really can't think about 'What am I forgetting?'"

The booklet, written by Cottage Grove communications assistant Christopher Hetland, covers subjects that few may think about until they are burned out of their home.

Even if a home is not a total loss, the occupants won't have access to their possessions for a while. That could mean buying everything from a new toothbrush, shampoo, paper towels and aspirin. That can be a lot to remember, so the booklet provides a checklist.

What do they do with their pets? A list of kennels and veterinary hospitals is provided. What if their computers are damaged or destroyed? The Park Grove Library has computers people can use.

For those coping with shock and emotional distress, the booklet lists numbers of local clergy and support organizations such as the Red Cross.

A section titled "People You Will Encounter Along the Way," explains the function of insurance adjusters, the Cottage Grove chief building official, fire marshals and inspectors, and fire restoration companies that specialize in cleaning and restoring homes damaged by fire and water.

Redenius suggests people take photos of their possessions, from clothing to cars to appliances. It can help expedite a claim.

They should also get to know their insurance agent. It's always best to deal with a real human being. And the more local, the better — after a fire is not the time to be calling an 800 number.

Since it's not printed on fireproof material, copies of "After the Fire" are available only to those who have an immediate need for them, Redenius said.