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Fire Recovery Safety Tips
The following are tips for you to remember and follow when returning to your home after the fire. For full details on what you should prepare for upon return please see the brochure in the related articles….

REMEMBER – use caution and good judgment.  Hazards may still exist, even after the fire is controlled.
Electrical Safety Facts: An important part of the disaster recovery is hazard recognition.  Should you come across damaged or fallen power poles or lines, contact Southern California Edison at 800-684-8123 immediately.  DO NOT TOUCH THE DOWNED WIRES.  In the cleanup area, be especially careful when cutting trees and operating heavy equipment around power lines.  Vegetation and power poles may have lost stability due to fire damage.To Reset A Circuit Breaker

Try to find the cause of the overload or short circuit and correct it by disconnecting the defective appliance or appliances.  Turn the switch to “on” to reset and restore power.  If breaker trips again, leave it alone and contact a certified electrician.  Other problems may exist and should be found to remove the possibility of an electrical fire.

HEATING FUELS – Checking Propane Tanks ;
Propane suppliers recommend homeowners contact them for an inspection prior to reusing their system.  If the fire burned the tank, the pressure relief valve probably opened and released the contents of the tank.  Tanks, brass and copper fittings, and lines may be heat-damaged and unsafe.  Valves should be turned off and remain closed until the propane suppliers inspect the system.
Checking Home Heating Oil Tanks

Heating oil suppliers recommend homeowners contact them for an inspection prior to reusing their system.  The tank may have shifted or fallen from the stand and fuel lines may have kinked or weakened.  Heat from the fire may have caused the tank to warp or bulge.  Non-vented tanks are more likely to bulge or show signs of stress.  The fire may have loosened or damaged fittings and filters.  If the tank is in tact and heating oil remains in the tank, the heating oil should still be good.  If you have questions on the integrity of the tank, fuel lines, tank stand, or the fuel, or need assistance in moving the tank or returning it to service, contact your fuel supplier.

Solid Waste – Removing Debris
Cleanup of your property can expose you to potential health problems from hazardous materials.  Wet down any debris to minimize health impacts from breathing dust particles.  The use of a two-strap dust particulate mask with nose clip and coveralls will provide the best minimal protection.  Leather gloves should be worn to protect your hands from sharp objects while removing debris.

Drinking Water – Restoring Water Systems
Unless impacted by a fuel spill, the fire should not have affected wells at undamaged homes.  If your house was damaged, your water system may potentially have become contaminated with bacteria due to loss of water pressure.  In this case it is recommended that the well be disinfected and the water be tested before consumption.  To disinfect your water system, pour ½ – 1 cup of chlorine bleach inside the well casing and turn on all faucets until a chlorine scent in noticed.  Allow the chlorine solution to remain in the system overnight.  The following morning, open all faucets and flush the system until free of chlorine smell.

Is There Fire Retardant Gel On Your House?
Fire retardant gel or compressed air foam may have been applied to your home or other structures to protect them during fire suppression operations.  These chemicals are not hazardous to you or your pets and should not damage your paint or other exterior surfaces.  The gel may be removed by simply washing your home with a garden hose or pressure washer.  Please contact your local fire station if you have any questions or concerns.

Miscellaneous Safety Awareness: 
Ash PitsHoles created by burned trees and stumps create ash pits, which are full of hot ashes.  Mark them for your safety, as they can stay hot for many days following the fire, causing serious burns.  Warn your family and neighbors, especially children.  Tell them to watch for ash pits and to not put hands or feet in these holes—they are hot!

Evaluation of Trees Damaged by Fire: The following information will assist you in evaluating any trees that have been scorched or burnt by the fire.  Identification of the type of tree affected is important and can easily be done.  Two basic types of trees exist in this area:  deciduous and evergreen.  Deciduous trees are broad leaf trees that lose their leaves in the fall.

Important telephone numbers to remember:
Agency/Phone:
French Fire Information Line 760-515-7922;  California Insurance Fraud Hot Line 800-927-HELP; Department of Consumer Affairs 800-952-5310; Red Cross 714-481-5300;  Kern County Sheriff (Lake Isabella) 760-549-2100;  California Highway Patrol 800-tell-CHP;  FEMA Help Line 800-621-FEMA;  Sequoia National Forest 760-379-5646;  Arson Tip Line 800-540-8282;

Websites: 
Kern County Fire Department Website:    www.kerncountyfire.org
Kern County Department of Health Services: www.kcdhs.org