Moving Back Home After a Fire or Storm
While it's very difficult, think of this as an extremely extended camping trip as you cope over the next few weeks and months.
- Be safe. Be smart. Be patient.
- This is a time of emotional and physical stress. Look after yourself and your family during cleanup and repairs.
- Keep a manageable schedule. Make a list and do one job at a time.
- Rest often and remember to eat.
- Even when there is rebuilding or cleanup to be done, playtime with children is time well spent.
- Food Safety
- Your fridge may have been off for some time. Think of it as a picnic basket that’s been left too long in the sun, and rifle through it accordingly.
- Power outage? Some foods may be spoiled.
- Do not consume any food, beverages and medicine exposed to flood waters, mud or other contaminants.
- Don’t assume frozen food is safe to eat.
- Read our Food Safety Guide on what foods could be contaminated and which items may be salvaged. Remember: When in doubt, throw it out.
- Water Safety
- Think of water in your yard as swamp water. Waterborne illnesses may be present.
- Do not allow children to play in floodwater areas, make sure you and your family wash your hands frequently (always before meals)
- Do not allow children to play with flood-water-contaminated toys that have not been disinfected.
- Avoid drinking tap water until or unless an authority gives the OK; public supplies may be contaminated. Undamaged water heaters or melted ice cubes are good sources of fresh drinking water.
- To protect yourself from mosquitoes, use screens on dwellings, and wear long-sleeved and long-legged clothing. Use insect repellent. Read our article Mosquitoes for more information about safe protection from bites and disease.
WHN READER TIP: Clean Zone
Make a “clean zone” to play, eat and sleep in. Choose a dry, non-contaminated area to keep toys and important items. Try to stay in the clean zone as much as possible and keep it clean.
- When you shop or ask for clothing from relief workers, imagine that you’re filling your backpack for a camping trip. A surprising number of people forget to ask relief workers for underwear and socks, something for pajamas, including long underwear for cold nights.
- Read our article Cleaning Your Possessions and Home for tips on cleaning your clothing, walls, carpets, important papers, furniture, photographs, etc.
- Toxic cleaning products and solvents may have been blown from their cabinets or your neighbors’ garages. Steer clear. Do not try to clean up the toxic products yourself. Call a professional or emergency worker for assistance.