Returning Home After Fire
For Food, Garbage Service, and Electricity
Please keep in mind that you may be returning home to areas where fire-related power outrages occurred. It is important to review health and safety information below on what to do when returning home.
If your refrigerator has been non-operational for an extended period of time, the food inside has gone bad. When it doubt, throw it out! Remove packaging and place all food waste in your green compost cart. Clean and dry food and beverage containers can be placed in your blue recycle cart.
Regular garbage, recycle, and compost service provided by Recology will resume as evacuation orders are lifted. Perishable food items likely need to be disposed creating additional waste. To help with the additional waste disposal, Santa Rosa Residents who have been allowed back into their homes may place extra bags of garbage next to their service bins on their regularly scheduled collection day for removal at no additional cost.
If electricity is off, before turning it on, make sure all appliances are turned off. Once you are sure all appliances are turned off, there is no fire damage to your building and the meter does not have any visible damage, you may turn on the main circuit breaker. PG&E: 800-743-5000
Steps for Assessing and Repairing Your Standing Home
The City is working to make sure every home impacted by the fire can recover quickly and completely. In the days after the fires, City staff performed rapid assessments of potentially damaged properties. Homes marked with a yellow or red placard, are required to have a full inspection completed. If you have a green placard or don’t believe your home was initially assessed, you still may want to consider a full assessment. Below are steps for how to proceed with that process.
Step 1: Get a Detailed Assessment of Your Property
The City of Santa Rosa is offering a free detailed assessment for all properties, including detailed results and guidance for any potential fees or permits needs. To schedule your assessment please call: (707) 543-3200, EXT 1
You also may hire a qualified professional (licensed contractor, architect, engineer, or building designer) to perform the inspection for you.
Step 2: Prepare Plans for Repair
In the event that your detailed assessment reveals any damage or required repairs, you will need to prepare plans for your repair. We recommend working with a contractor, engineer, or design professional to complete these plans, but if you feel comfortable, you may also prepare the plans yourself.
Note: Pay close attention to exterior walls or other elements of your building that were exposed to heat. Electrical wiring within walls can melt and become dangerous when reenergized.
Step 3: Fill Out a Building Permit
It is very likely that some of your required repairs will require a Building Permit prior to starting work. Your design or building professional will be able to help you complete this application and submittal if you like. Permit Applications and requirements can be found at the Planning and Economic Development webpage, and can be submitted at:
Planning and Economic Development
100 Santa Rosa Avenue, Room 3
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
Note: Your City Assessor or qualified professional can help you figure out what repair will require a building permit.
For a printable step-by-step guide to fire damaged structures, CLICK HERE.
Heat and smoke from the fire can cause unseen damage. If you think your structure may have suffered damage, here are the three steps you can take to make sure your home is safe:
Step 1: Contact a Licensed Inspector
Contact a licensed inspector. Smoke damage investigation, assessment, remediation, mitigation/abatement and consulting services should be performed by an individual recognized as a specialist through one of the following:
- The American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC)
- Council of Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards (CESB)
- The American National Standards Institute
The City of Santa Rosa recommends using laboratories accredited by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA), American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), or another industry recognized certifier to provide the City with a ‘Standard Operating Procedure’ upon request.
Step 2: Mitigation Report Determines Extent of Damage
Following the inspection and assessment, you will get a mitigation report that determines the extent of cleanup, repair, and/or removal and replacement of interior and exterior wall finishes as well as HVAC and other systems.
Step 3: Repair the Smoke Damage
If repairs and/or removal are required, you will likely need to get a building permit and undergo inspections to verify compliance according to the California Building Code.
Under State guidelines, an individual or consultant that conducts the investigation, assessment, or prepares the remediation plans for a site CANNOT conduct the remediation or abatement activity on the same site.
For a printable step-by-step guide to smoke damage assessment, click here.
For questions regarding smoke damage, email [email protected] or call (707) 543-4649.