Before You Enter Your Home

  • Walk around the outside of your home and be aware of gas leaks, downed or loose power lines, tree limbs that might be ready to fall, and any structural damage. 
  • If your home has been declared unsafe by the authorities do not enter.
  • Bring a flashlight with you to inspect your rooms.
  • Be aware of any animals, particularly snakes which may have come in during a storm and be hidden in debris.
  • There may be weakened walls or electrical wires which are down. Be careful.
  • Have your cell phone with you.
  • Keep your battery powered radio with you so you can listen to any updates.
  • If you smell gas leave immediately and alert the authorities.

Going Inside Your Home

  • Be aware of loose boards and floors that may be slippery.
  • Electrical system - If possible, turn off the electricity at the main circuit breaker. Do not turn on lights until you are sure that they are safe to use.
  • Natural gas -  If you smell gas or hear a hissing noise, open a window or door and leave the building. If you know where the turn off valve is outside the house, turn the gas off.  Call the gas company.
  • Foundation, roof, and walls - Check them for any cracks.
  • Electrical appliances - If appliances are wet, unplug them and let them dry out before use.
  • Water and sewage - Check for leaks an standing water. Check with authorities to make sure water is safe to use as it may have become contaminated.
  • Refrigerated food - Dispose of any contaminated food.

Hint: Returning home can be an emotional event. You may be overwhelmed by damage and loss, but keep your wits about you and a positive spirit as much as you can. This will help you emotionally as well as your family and neighbors who need your strength.