Step 3) Re-entering Your Home

If you have been forced to leave your home because of the disaster, you will want to go back in, if possible, to retrieve possessions and take stock of damage. Being well prepared and proceeding cautiously will help you stay healthy and avoid injury when you re-enter your home.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings.
  • Assemble the thing you may need:
    • Flashlight
    • Camera
    • First Aid Kit
    • Tools: crowbar, hammer, etc.
    • Drinking water
    • Trash bag
    • Hard hat and gloves
    • Hard-soled shoes
    • Bleach


Pick a place to meet after a disaster. Designate two meeting places. Choose one right outside your home, in case of a sudden household emergency, such as a fire. The second place you choose needs to be outside your neighbourhood, in the event that it is not safe to stay near or return to your home.
  • Before going inside, walk around the outside of the house. Carefully check for signs of damage or danger.
    • Loose power lines
    • Leaking gas, smell of “rotten eggs”
    • Check foundation, roof, chimney and steps for damage
    • Don’t go inside if there is standing water around the house
    • Take pictures of the outside damage for insurance claims
  • When entering the building, use extreme caution. Move carefully inside the house. Building damage may have occurred where you least expect it. Carefully watch every step you take.
  • Check for gas leaks.
  • Examine walls, floors, doors, staircases and windows to make sure the building is not in danger of collapsing.
  • Look for electrical system damage.
  • Check for sewage and water line damage.
  • Take pictures of the damage inside.
  • Watch for animals.
  • Disinfect standing water. Measure 2 Litres (2 Quarts) of liquid bleach and distribute it evenly over any standing water. Stir bleach and water as much as possible. Repeat every four to five days for as long as the water remains.
  • Keep track of your expenses and time in cleaning up. Keep all receipts from cleaning supplies and rental equipment. These records will be useful if you are making an insurance claim.