Only return to your damaged home when the area is declared to be safe by local officials.
Returning home can be both physically and mentally challenging. Above all, use caution.
- Keep a batter-powered radio with you so you can listen for emergency updates and news.
- Use a battery powered flashlight to inspect the damage. Note: Turn on light outside house before entering - the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
- Watch out for animals. Be wary of wildlife.
- Use the phone only in life-threatening emergencies.
- Stay off the streets; watch for fallen objects, downed electrical wires, weakened walls roads, sidewalks etc.
Before you Enter your Home
Walk carefully around the outside and check for loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.
DO NOT ENTER if:
- you smell gas.
- floodwaters remain around the building.
- your home was damaged and the authorities have not declared it safe.
Going Inside Your Home
Enter your home carefully and check for damage. Be aware of loose boards and slippery floors. The following are things to check inside your home:
- Natural Gas: If you smell gas or hear a hissing/blowing sound, open a window and leave immediately. Turn off the main gas valve from the outside, if possible. Call the gas company from the neighbours residence. If you turn off the gas supply at the main valve, you will need a professional to turn it back on.
- Sparks, broken or frayed Wires: Check the electrical system unless youa re wet, standing in water, or unsure of your safety. Turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker, if possible. Do not turn on lights until you are sure they are safe to use. When in doubt, contact an electrician.
- Roof, foundation, and chimney Cracks: If the structure of the building may collapse, leave immediately.
- Appliances: If appliances are wet, turn off electricity and let them dry. Have appliances checked by a professional before turning them on again.
- Water and Sewage Systems: If pipes are damaged, turn off the main water valve. Check with local authorities to ensure water is safe to use (risk of contamination). Do not flush toilets until you know the sewage lines are intact.
- Food and other Supplies: Throw out all anything that you suspect may have become contaminated or come in contact with floodwater.
- Your Basement: If flooded, pump it out gradually (about one third of water per day) to avoid damage. The walls may collapse and the floor may buckle if the basement is pumped out while the surrounding ground is still waterlogged.
- Open Cabinets: Be alert for objects that may fall.
- Clean up Household Chemical Spills: Disinfect items that may have been contaminated by raw sewage, bacteria, or chemicals. Also clean salvageable items.
- Contact your Insurance Agent: take photographs of damages. Keep good records of repair and cleaning costs.