Disaster Supplies Kit
Thunderstorms and lightning
Winter storms and extreme cold
Landslides and debris flow
Hazardous materials incidents
Household chemical emergencies
Nuclear power plant emergencies
Radiological dispersion device events
Recovering from Disaster
Health and safety guidelines
Seeking disaster assistance
Coping with disaster
Returning home can be both physically and mentally
challenging. Above all, use caution.
Keep a battery-powered radio with you so you can listen for
emergency updates and news reports
Use a battery-powered flash light to inspect a damaged home
Watch out for animals
Use a stick to poke through debris
Use the phone only to report life-threatening emergencies
Stay off the streets
If you must go out watch for fallen objects, downed
electrical wires, weakened walls, bridges, roads and
What should I know about Returning to My Home?
Walk carefully around the outside and check for loose power
lines, gas leaks and structural damage. If you have any
doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a
qualified building inspector or structural engineer before
Do not enter if:
You smell gas
Floodwaters remain around the building
Your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not
declared it safe
Why should I worry about Going inside My Home?
When you go inside your home, there are certain things you
should and should not do. Enter the home carefully and check
for damage. Be aware of loose boards and slippery floors.
Also carefully consider:
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 the gas company from a
neighbor’s residence. If you shut off the gas supply at the
main valve, you will need a professional to turn it back on.
Do not smoke or use oil, gas lanterns, candles, or torches
for lighting inside a damaged home until you are sure there
is no leaking gas or other flammable materials present.
Sparks, broken or frayed wires
Check the electrical system unless you are wet, standing in
water or unsure of your safety. If possible, turn off the
electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If the
situation is unsafe, leave the building and call for help.
Do not turn on the lights until you are sure they’re safe to
use. You may want to have an electrician inspect your
Roof, foundation and chimney cracks
If think that the building may collapse, leave immediately.
If appliances are wet, turn off the electricity at the main
fuse box or circuit breaker. Then, 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.
Water and sewage systems
If pipes are damaged, turn off the main water valve. Check
with local authorities before using any water; the water
could be contaminated. Pump out wells and have the water
tested by authorities before drinking. Do not flush toilets
until you know that sewage lines are undamaged.
Food and other supplies
Throw out all food and other supplies that you suspect may
have become contaminated or come in to contact with
If your basement has flooded, pump it out gradually (about
one third 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
Other things to do:
Be alert for objects that may fall from cabinets or loose
Clean up household chemical spills
Disinfect items that may have been contaminated by raw
sewage, bacteria or chemicals
Clean salvageable items
Call your insurance agent
Take pictures of damages
Keep good records of repair and cleaning costs
Why do I need to be Wary of Wildlife and Other Animals?
Disaster and life threatening situations will intensify the
unpredictable nature of wild animals. To protect yourself
and your family, learn how to deal with wildlife.
Do not approach or attempt to help an injured or stranded
Call your local animal control office or wildlife resource
Do not corner wild animals or try to rescue them
Wild animals will likely feel threatened and may endanger
themselves by dashing off into dangerous areas
Do not approach wild animals that have taken refuge in your
If you encounter animals, open a window or provide another
escape route and the animal will likely leave on its own
Do not attempt to move a dead animal
Animal carcasses can present serious health risks
Contact your local emergency management office or health
department for help and instructions
If bitten by an animal, seek immediate medical attention