Jul 1, 2012 6:49 AM by Garrett Boyd

Safely returning to your home after a wildfire

Proper identification to enter will be required. Once given clearance to initially return to your home, here are things you should look for inside and outside to ensure you and your family remain safe.

No pets please during this initial re-entry visit.

Be properly dressed. Bring water and snacks.
-Wear boots, long pants and long-sleeved shirts. As there may be smoke and ash present you -may want a dust mask and gloves as well. These items may be available at the check point.
-There will be four stations of dumpsters, monitored, for food disposal only.
-Cleaning products, paint, batteries and damaged fuel containers need to be disposed of properly to avoid risk. There will be future information on how to handle disposal of these materials.

Watch out for:
-Charred trees and power poles that may be unstable
-Smoldering debris
-Items moved when firefighters were on location during the fire
-Ash pits (holes created by burned trees filled with hot ash)
-Stay on sidewalks if viewing a destroyed home. Please do not walk on to the property.

BEFORE you enter your home
-FIRST be sure there is no gas smell. If you smell gas, leave immediately and contact utilities at 719-448-4800 and alert emergency personnel in the area. Gas service will not be turned on in the Mountain Shadows area until utilities has finished capping all the lines. This is expected to take several days or even weeks.
-Do not allow children to play in the area.
-During the fighting of the fire items may have been moved, removed or relocated so do not be alarmed if deck furniture or items previously in your garage are now outside the home.


Once inside your home
-Beware of hot spots, dust, ash, broken glass and other sharp objects.
-Animals, reptiles and insects may have entered your home to avoid the flames. Be aware as you open closets, storage areas, garage and outbuildings.
-Humane Society will be standing by to offer assistance. Contact animal control if an animal is injured or unwilling to leave your home at 473-1741.
-Do not start cleaning or throwing away anything until you have contacted your insurance company.
-Be prepared to cover broken windows, doors and other exposed areas you may need to secure at your home. Save receipts for insurance purposes.
-Take pictures or videos and begin a list of damaged belongings.
-Do not sift through debris. We recommend you not handle ash and soot for health and safety reasons.
-Discard any food that may have been exposed to smoke, ash, heat or soot. Dumpsters will be located in the neighborhoods for disposal for food disposal ONLY.
-Do not drink water that may have been contaminated. This includes running your dishwasher, ice maker and other items that may have a central water system.
-If you have air quality concerns inside your home please notify staff at the check point exit when you leave for

» There are multiple updates to this story. Please click here to get the latest information.


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