Returning Home

Before entering your home, walk carefully around the outside. Check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage. If you are concerned about safety, call an inspector or structural engineer to have your residence tested.

When you return home, check for damage. Watch for loose boards, slippery floors, broken glass and other hazards. Use a flashlight. Do not light matches or candles or turn on electrical switches if you suspect damage. Check for fires, fire hazards and other household dangers. Sniff for gas leaks, starting at the water heater. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open windows and get everyone outside quickly. Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline and other flammable liquids immediately. To learn more, go to

It may appear that your home is damaged beyond repair. Don’t lose hope. You may save many of your belongings. It may be possible to clean out and dry out your home. Many faith-based and volunteer organizations, like WV Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, help families recover after a disaster.