Returning Home After a
Returning home after a major disaster can be both dangerous and
difficult. Be careful when entering a disaster area, and be ready
to adapt to the conditions at hand.
- Put on sturdy, hard-soled, shoes and work gloves for protection
against glass or other debris.
- Use the phone only to report a life threatening emergency.
- Keep a battery operated radio with you to hear any emergency
- Call your insurance agent.
- Keep records of all clean-up and repair costs.
- Don't throw away any damaged goods until a complete inventory
is made, and photos are taken of your home and the damaged goods.
- Notify your local disaster relief service if you need housing,
- Secure personal belongings.
- If you are a tenant, notify the landlord.
- If you smell gas or hear a hissing sound open a window and
leave the building. Shut off the main gas valve outside.
- If there is electrical damage, switch off the power at the
main control panel.
- Check for injured or trapped persons. Give first aid where
appropriate. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they
are in immediate danger of further injury.
- If water pipes are damaged shut off the water supply at the
- Do not flush toilets until you know that sewage lines are
- Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline and other flammable
- Stay away from flood waters.
- Stay away from downed power lines.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and clean water if you
come in contact with flood waters.
- Clean and disinfect everything that got wet in the flood.
The mud left behind by flood waters can contain sewage and chemicals.
- Throw out food, cosmetics and medicines that have come into
contact with flooded waters.
- If your basement is flooded, pump it out gradually (about
1/3 of the 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.
- Stay out of burned structures.
- Ask the fire department for assistance in retrieving important
- Be prepared for aftershocks.
- Be careful when entering a damaged building. If you have any
doubts about the integrity of the building have the structure
inspected by a professional before entering.
- Open cabinets cautiously. Beware of objects that can fall
Washington State Military Department, Emergency Management