After the evacuation: Here's what should be checked when returning home

ByMichael Finney and Randall Yip KGO logo
Friday, November 1, 2019
What to check after returning from evacuation
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For those heading back into their homes after the evacuation, there is a lot to do.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- For those heading back into their homes after the evacuation, there is a lot to do. Here are a few tips.

If your neighborhood had a power outage, start by:

  • Checking in with your neighbors to see if they need help or not.
  • You will, no doubt, remember to reset digital clocks, timers and alarms, but you will also need to reset your network routers, alarm systems and garage doors.
  • You may need to restart your heating and air-conditioning system, too. That gets complicated. Check the owner's manual or call a professional.
  • If your home was in or near a wildfire zone, look for hot embers around your house especially on the roof, under decks, and in crawl spaces.
  • There could be water damage from firefighting, so keep an eye out for mold.
  • Check for utility poles that might have been weakened.

We just spoke with Roy Drake of Servpro. He also warns against opening your refrigerator too soon after getting home.

"So when you first enter your home, don't open your refrigerator... You've had no power and the refrigerators been off, the last thing you want to do is open up that refrigerator and have the odor of the rotting food come out into the room," said Drake. "It's very hard to get rid of, it's actually harder than the soot. So you can determine that right away -- you can open for like half a second and then you'll know right away if its rotted. If it is, then you need to. The next time you open it up, is dumping all the contents out of there and getting it out of the house as soon as possible."

A couple of other tips from Emily Rusch at Calpirg. Run your car's air conditioner on recirculate so as not to bring any smoky air into your car. Inside your home, you'll want to change the air filter on your HVAC system.

For the latest stories about PG&E's Public Safety Power Shutoff go here.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.