After a Disaster
Following any disaster, such as an earthquake, tsunami, flood or fire,
there are a number of suggestions you should consider the following
in order to keep you and your family safe.
- Before going inside your home or any building, walk carefully around
the outside and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural
damage. Do not enter the building if it appears to be dangerous.
- Wear sturdy work boots and gloves when working around or in your
home or 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.
- Leaking gas or other flammable materials may be present. Do not smoke.
Do not turn on the lights until you are sure they are safe to use.
- Enter the building carefully and check for damage. Check for cracks
in the roof, foundation and chimneys. If it looks like the building
may collapse, leave immediately. Be aware of loose boards and slippery
- Check for gas leaks, starting at the hot water heater. 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 house. If you shut off the gas supply
at the main valve, you will need a professional to check the connections
and turn it back on.
- Check the electrical system. 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, even if the power is off in your
neighborhood. However, do not touch the fuse box, a circuit breaker
or anything else electrical if you are wet or standing in water. Rather,
leave the building and call for help.
- Try to protect your home from further damage. Open windows and doors
to get air moving through. Patch holes.
- Check the water and sewage
systems. If pipes are damaged, turn off the main water valve.
- Keep a battery-powered radio with you at all times you so you can
listen for emergency updates.
- Use a battery-powered flashlight for light. Do not use oil, gas lanterns,
candles or torches.
- Check appliances. 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.
- Contact your utility supplier for inspection of propane tanks, oil
tanks, etc. and for any required utility repairs.
- Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches and gasoline. Open cabinets
carefully. Be aware of objects that may fall.
- Look for valuable items such as jewelry and family heirlooms and
- Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. The mud left behind
by floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.
- Check with local authorities before using any water; it could be
contaminated. Wells should be pumped out and the water tested by authorities
- Throw out fresh food that has come into contact with flood waters.
Check refrigerated food for spoilage. Throw out affected cosmetics
- Call your insurance agent. Take pictures of damages. Keep good records
of repair and cleaning costs.
How the Public Can Help After a Disaster
When disaster strikes, people everywhere want to help those in need.
To ensure that this compassion and generosity are put to good use,
you can help in the following ways:
- Before donating any food or clothing, wait for instructions
from local officials. Immediately after a disaster, response workers
usually do not have the time or facilities to set up distribution channels
too often these items go to waste.
- Volunteers should go to the Emergency Social Services Volunteer
Centre. The personnel there will know what is needed and are prepared
to orient and train walk-in volunteers to deal with that need.
- Financial aid is an immediate need of disaster evacuees. Announcements
will be made at the time of a disaster as to which organizations are
accepting donations on behalf of people affected by the disaster.