Wild Fires: What To Do After Your Home Has Been Damaged
Did you know that a wildfire can move across the land at a speed of up to 14 miles per hour burning trees, brush, homes, and even people in their path? One strike of lightning, one act of human carelessness in nature, one criminal decision to commit arson, or volcanic eruptions are just some of the causes that trigger this fast-moving mass of destruction.
The suddenness and extent of fire damage wildfires leave in their path can leave you feeling like your life is in ashes. You may be asking: What do I do? How will I manage the recovery? Who can I go to for help? Taking in the amount of destruction to your home can be a lot to take in. With Rainbow International, you’re not alone. The professionals at Rainbow International are there for you, helping you put everything in perspective and giving you a sense of direction.
What do you do?
- Assess fire damage.
- Inspect the roof immediately for sparks and embers that could reignite.
- Visually inspect trees and landscaping, making yourself aware of ash pits, tree stability issues, and other hazards.
- If a power line or pole falls next to you, hop out of the area. You will be less likely to be shocked.
- Check for power or tripped breakers. If needed, contact the utility company.
- Be on alert, constantly re-checking your home (and attic) over the course of several hours for embers that could blow in and reignite.
- Have all heating oil and propane systems inspected prior to use.
- Don’t open safes or strong boxes until they have cooled – the contents could burst into flame!
- Listen to advice.
Public health officials will give you guidance on safe cleanup following fire damage, such as wearing leather gloves and thick-soled shoes, utilizing a two-strap dust particulate masks, wetting debris to minimize dust particles, and disposing of potentially hazardous waste such as aerosol cans, batteries, fuel storage containers, paints and solvents, fertilizer, fluorescent lights and cleaners.
- Be wary of water.
Until water has been declared safe, do not use it to wash hands, brush teeth, prepare food, make ice, or baby formula. Wells at undamaged homes should be safe, however water supplies at or near damaged sites should be tested before consumption.
- Let family and friends know you are okay.
Register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well website or call 1-866-GET-INFO.
How will you manage the recovery?
- Be aware of future hazards.
Wildfires can drastically alter terrain and ground conditions. Be vigilant about the possibilities of floods and landslides for up to 5 years after a wildfire. The aftereffects of a wildfire may also include erosion, debris flows, increased presence of insects, and a change in water quality.
- As you rebuild…
Be certain to consult the Rebuilding Fact Sheet from FEMA to ensure the future fire safety of your home. This will include recommendations for defensible space, landscaping, building materials, safety equipment, and more that will best protect your home in the event of another wildfire.
- Don’t neglect emotional needs.
Pace yourself and be patient. Rebuilding after fire damage is not an overnight affair. You may find yourself responsible for others. Remember, disaster related difficulties could be devastating emotionally. Get help. Contact FEMA, Red Cross, other volunteer agencies, your local church, or health insurance agency for professional counseling.
Who can you go to for help?
FEMA offers assistance for victims of wild fire in areas declared federal disaster areas.
- Red Cross
The American Red Cross offers recovery help, including a safe place to stay, meals, emotional support, health services, cleanup materials, and more to victims of wild fires.
- State and local help
State and local help should be available for victims of fire damage. Listen to your local news and radio stations for information on assistance available to you following the disaster.
Has your home suffered from fire damage? Contact Rainbow International® today. Our caring restoration professionals have what it takes to get your life back on track fast.
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