After an Emergency

There are certain things you might have to do to recover from a significant event or emergency, especially when you get home after an evacuation.

You and your family might also need to find ways of coping with the event.

Fallen TreeReturning Home

Don't re-enter your home unless authorities tell you it's safe to do so.

If you suspect or smell a natural gas leak when you arrive home:

  • Leave the house.
  • Go to another location, call 9-1-1, and ask for the Fire Department, who will respond and notify the gas company.

Once it's confirmed that there isn't a natural gas leak and you re-enter your home:

  • Check for blown fuses and short-circuits in your home wiring and equipment. If you suspect a problem, call your utility company.
  • Dial 9-1-1 to report any emergency situations.
  • Contact your insurance agent or broker if your property is damaged.
  • If the gas was shut off, don't try to turn it back on. Contact the gas company.

Returning after a flood

Re-entering your home after a flood requires certain specific actions:

  • If children must be present during the clean-up, supervise them closely.
  • Before entering a flooded building, check for foundation damage and make sure all porch roofs and overhangs are supported.
  • Wear rubber gloves, rubber boots and protective eyewear when cleaning up.
  • If your basement is full of water, drain it in stages, about a third of the volume of water per day. Draining too quickly can damage your home structurally.
  • Using a dry piece of wood, turn off the electricity at the main breaker or the fuse box.
  • Do not use wet appliances or motors unless a qualified electrician has serviced them.
  • Contact your local heating repair company to inspect your furnace and chimney.
  • Don't use your regular water supply or septic system until it's been inspected and declared safe.
  • Check that all your sewage lines are intact before you use the toilets.
  • Report damaged water, sewage, and gas lines to the proper authorities.
  • Dispose of all contaminated / spoiled food.

Visit the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's After the Flood - A Homeowner's Checklist for more information.

Be sure to check your well water supply

Floodwater might be heavily polluted with sewage and other pollutants that can seriously threaten your health.

Know who to contact before returning to your home after a flood.

Wells that have been flooded should be tested for bacteria and declared safe before anyone drinks water from the well.

Visit or call Peel Public Health at 905-799-7700 for information on getting water sample bottles and instructions for disinfecting your well. Residents in Caledon can call 905-584-2216 free-of-charge.

Coping after an emergency

During or following a traumatic event, it isn't unusual to have physical and emotional reactions.

Following these guidelines may help you cope:

  • Recognize that the way you reacted / are reacting to the event is normal.
  • Try not to make big life changes.
  • Talk to family members and friends.
  • Listen to one another and help each other with daily tasks.
  • Try to strike a balance between rest and activity.
  • If necessary, seek counselling to help cope with the emotional trauma associated with the event.

Children and emergencies

Children's fears and anxieties are very real to them and should be taken seriously.

Parents and caregivers can help by:

  • Encouraging children to express themselves through play or drawing.
  • Take their children's' fears seriously. Talk about what happened and what's being done to fix it.
  • Comfort young children with physical care - lots of holding and hugging.
  • Keep your family together as much as possible.
  • Give children age-appropriate information they can understand.

Revised: Friday July 04 2014

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