Before You Enter the House
If you were evacuated, contact your insurance agent or company to ask for help. Ensure you let them know how you can be reached. Keep receipts for temporary living expenses, like motel room and meals. Do not return to your home until re-entry is permitted by law enforcement officials. Do not cross a barricade or hazard tape without permission. Things to do before entering the house:
- If you decide to use a restoration company to clean and restore your personal items and home, ensure that your insurance covers these services. Ask your insurance agent for restoration company recommendations. If you obtain a restoration quote, be sure to get this in writing.
- If you lack insurance, contact community groups such as American Red Cross, Salvation Army , or religious organizations for help with food, clothing, medicine or a place to stay.
- Be careful when entering your neighborhood, as charred trees and power poles maybe unstable, fires may flare up without warning, and live power lines may be on the ground.
- Watch out for ash pits — holes created by burned trees filled with hot ash.
- Check to see if your gas and electric utilities are working properly. If you smell gas, shut off the gas supply at the main valve, leave immediately, and call the gas company. If the electricity is not working, check to see if the main breaker is “on”. If it is and there is no power, call your power company.
- Your house and yard may be covered in ash and may still have live embers present. Wear protective clothing and a dust mask.
- Check for and extinguish any burning embers on the roof, in rain gutters, on the porch or elsewhere on your property.