The smoke is beginning to clear, and authorities have told you that it’s safe for you to return home. But, before you dig in and start cleaning up, here are a few of the dangers that could still be lurking around and what you can do to protect yourself and those you love.
Have a professional electrician check your household wiring before you turn the current back on. Avoid damaged or fallen power poles or lines and downed wires. Be alert for fallen or damaged trees as well, especially if they are near power lines.
Ash pits are holes full of hot ash, created by burned trees or stumps. They can continue to be very hot for long periods of time. Stay clear of ash pits if you feel any heat emanating from it.
Keep a “fire watch” even after the fire is out, as even small sparks can ignite again, causing a larger fire inside or outside your home. While you’re cleaning your home and property, wear protective glasses or goggles to protect your eyes, gloves to protect your hands, and sturdy shoes and long pants and long sleeves (preferably 100% cotton) to protect your feet and body.
Small sparks or embers can continue to smolder for hours or even days, so thoroughly inspect your attic, roof, and home’s exterior from a distance before getting too close.
If any food, beverages, or medicines were exposed to heat, smoke, or soot, discard them, as they may not be safe anymore. Boil the water from your faucets until emergency officials have told you that the water is safe to drink.
Do not try to open your safe or strong box right away, as these types of containers can hold intense heat for several hours after the fire is out.
Speak to an independent agent about your insurance needs.