Going home after a wildfire or other disaster.

Blog Post created by faithberry Employee on Sep 12, 2017

Photo credit NFPA

There have been so many fires burning across the country.  Many of these fires have been contained and residents are returning to their homes.  Our hearts and thoughts are with them.  Hazards abound in areas that have recently been impacted by wildfire.  After the wildfire has been contained and emergency services personnel have lifted the evacuation order, allowing residents to return to their home, it is important to enter with caution. Follow some simple tips can keep you and your family safe, protect your property, and help begin the daunting task of rebuilding if necessary after a wildfire has passed. 

Photo credit NFPA

 1.  Listen to news updates for information about the fire. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.

  • 2. Proceed with caution to your home site.  Look for downed trees, power lines and other hazards on the road.

    3. Once you are home look for hot spots in and outside of the home.  Sometimes these can flare up after a fire has passed.

    4. Keep a close eye on children and pets if they return with you.  Hot ashes and smoldering embers can burn feet and paws. Make sure everyone on site is wearing gloves, hard soled shoes, and long sleeves and pants.

    5. Be aware of any health hazards that may be on site.  Residues from items burnt during a fire may pose a health hazard risk.

    6. Secure your property.  Remove valuables if not staying at the home. Turn off utilities if there is damage to the home. Follow NFPA’s guidelines in 70B, Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance.  Use wood and other waterproof materials to protect damaged areas from the elements

    7. Contact your insurance agent immediately to report a loss.  Work with them to understand what is covered in your policy.  Get estimates from licensed and bonded contractors for the work.  Make sure that their license is for the type of work that they are doing.  Beware there are many scam artists that prey upon disaster victims.

Photo credit NFPA


Also be aware that after a fire torrential rains can pose an increased flash flood risk.  Learn about the topography from local emergency managers and subsequent risk to yourself and your property.  Protect your property with sandbags and other measures. FEMA has a good tip sheet regarding flood hazards after a fire.  Sadly if you have to rebuild, NFPA’s Firewise USA ™ program has free resources to make your new home more fire resistive.