You are here: Homepage
Returning to a Damaged Home/Building
Returning to a damaged home can be both physically and mentally challenging. Be very careful when re-entering your home/building.
- Keep a battery-powered radio with you so you can listen for emergency updates.
- Wear sturdy work boots and gloves.
- Before going inside, walk carefully around the outside of the building and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage. If you smell gas, do not enter the home - leave immediately. Do not enter if floodwater remains around the building. If you have any doubts about safety, have your home inspected by a professional before entering.
- If your home was damaged by fire, do not enter until authorities say it is safe.
- Check for cracks in the roof and foundation. If it looks like the building may collapse, leave immediately.
- A battery-powered flashlight is the best source of light for inspecting a damaged home. CAUTION: The flashlight should be turned on outside before entering a damaged home as the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
- Do not use oil, gas lanterns, or candles for lighting inside a damaged home. Leaking gas or other flammable materials may be present. Do not smoke. Do not turn on the lights until you're sure they're safe for use.
- Check for loose boards and slippery floors.
- Watch out for dangerous insects. Use a stick to poke through debris.
- If you smell gas or hear a hissing or blowing sound, open a window and leave immediately. Turn off the main gas valve from the outside, if you can. Call for immediate assistance - DO NOT USE A CELL PHONE in the vicinity of a gas leak.
- Check the electrical system where visible and accessible. If you see sparks, broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If, however, you are wet, standing in water or unsure of your safety, do not touch anything electrical. Leave the building and seek assistance from CUC.
- Check appliances. If appliances are wet, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. Unplug appliances and let them dry out. Have appliances checked by a professional before using them again. Also have the electrical system checked by an electrician before turning the power back on.
- Check the water and sewerage systems. If pipes are damaged, turn off the main water valve.
- Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches and gasoline. Open cabinets carefully. Be aware of objects that may fall.
- Try to protect your home from further damage. Open windows and doors to allow air to move through.
- Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left behind by floodwaters can contain sewerage and chemicals.
- Check with local authorities before using any water; it could be contaminated. Cisterns should be pumped out and the water tested by authorities before using.
- Throw out fresh food, cosmetics, and medicines that have come into contact with floodwaters.
- Check refrigerated food for spoilage - your power supply may have been disrupted during the emergency. Throw out all spoiled food and any food that you suspect might be spoiled.
- Call your insurance agent. Take pictures of damage. Keep good records of repair and cleaning costs.