Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Sheriff Kendall Explains the Dos & Don’ts of Returning Home After Evacuating


The following is a message from Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall:

Hello, I’m Sheriff Matt Kendall.

Cal Fire released a report that stated by September 8th of 2020, California already had fires burn more acres than any year since CalFire starting recording these types of figures. We still have months to go before we can expect rain, so today, I’m not going to talk to you about preparing for an evacuation, but instead, I want to talk to you about how to go back home safely.

It’s sounds simple. We lift an Evacuation Order and you just go home, right? But no, it’s not really that simple.

The first think I’d like to ask you to do is check for the smell of gas. If you smell gas, leave your home and call PG&E to do a thorough inspection for you.

Then, before you get too comfortable, take a look around the outside of your property. Use extreme caution around trees, power poles and any other tall objects that may have lost stability during the fire. And definitely don’t touch any power lines. If you see any downed power lines, call PG&E and ask them to come out to inspect them for you.

Look for any smoke or sparks on your property, on your roof and throughout the house. Look for any hidden embers.

Don’t drink or use water from your faucet until you’re sure the water supply hasn’t been damaged or polluted as a result of fire damage between you and the source of your water supply. If you have a well please check the well and pipes leading to your home. If you have municipal water the please contact your water company to confirm your water is safe.

Throw away any food that has been exposed to heat, smoke, flood waters, or soot. I know that may be difficult for some folks from a financial standpoint with so many out of work these last few months, but I urge you to put your health and your family’s health first, so don’t take chances.

If you get home and you find there’s no power, check to make sure the main breaker is on. If the breakers are on and power is still not present, contact the utility company. And as always, I know you’ll use your own common sense in what’s safe and what’s not.

If you have any questions or concerns about going back home after a fire, please ask them below and I’ll do my best to get them answered.

Thank you and remember we’re #StrongerTogether.

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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