Returning Home
Tips and Precautions to take Before Returning Home


  • Return home only after authorities advise it is safe to do so . Keep tuned to your local radio and TV stations for recovery information.
  • Beware of downed or loose power lines . Report them immediately to the Power Company, police or fire department.
  • Drive only if absolutely necessary. Avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.
  • Enter your home with caution.
    • Beware of snakes, insects and other animals driven to higher ground by floodwater.
    • Open windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home.
    • Do not use candles or open flames indoors. Use a flashlight to inspect for damage.
    • Check refrigerated foods for spoilage.
    • Use telephone only for emergency calls.
  • Inspect the utilities in your home.
    • Check for gas leaks – If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company from a neighbor's home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.
    • Look for electrical system damage – If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.
    • Check for sewage and water line damage – If you suspect sewage lines are damaged avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid water from the tap. You can obtain safe water by melting ice cubes.
    • Take pictures of the damage for insurance claims, and contact your service agent.
  • Let a relative know you are back at home. Tell them how to get in touch with you, if the phone lines are still down.
  • Monitor the radio or TV to learn how to apply for possible assistance, and to receive further official information.

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