A fire in a home can cause serious damage. The building and many of the things in your home may have been badly damaged by flames, heat, smoke and water. You may find things that the fire did not burn up but are now ruined by smoke and soggy with water used to put out the flames. Anything that you want to save or reuse will need to be carefully cleaned. The firefighters may have cut holes in the walls of the building to look for hidden flames. They may have cut holes in the roof to let out the heat and smoke. Cleanup will take time and patience. Food facilities need to seek Environmental Health Services prior to reopening your facility. Contact Environmental Health at 707-565-6565.
All persons accessing burned structures should be aware of the potential hazards associated with those sites. Cleanup efforts at these sites may expose you to ash, soot, and fire decomposition products that can cause health effects including, but not limited to, eye/skin/respiratory irritation. If possible, try to AVOID direct contact with ash. If you get ash on your skin, in your eyes, or in your mouth, wash it off as soon as you can, with clean or sterile water. Find out more below.
Household Hazardous Waste
Household hazardous waste has to be handled separately from other burn debris and may not go into local landfills. Residents are strongly urged to leave all HHW in place and are encouraged to NOT remove any HHW or damaged containers from their properties. HHW includes unused or leftover portions of products used in your home that contain toxic chemicals. Products labeled Caution, Warning, Danger, Poison, Toxic, Flammable or Corrosive are considered hazardous.
Upon returning to your property you will see one of three different tags posted by the City of Santa Rosa’s Building Department – a Green Tag, a Yellow Tag or a Red Tag.
Green: The Green Tag means the structure is “Safe for Occupancy”. Your property is safe to live in, as long as you have water, electricity and gas service.
Yellow: The Yellow Tag means the structure is “Habitable but Repairs are Necessary”. Your property is safe to live in, but your home needs repairs that will require permits from the City.
Red: The Red Tag means “Limited Entry”. Your property is not safe to live in but you can access the property to search for valuables at your own risk. In some cases, there is a handwritten note on these Red Tags that reads, “Not Safe. Do Not Enter.” Absolutely do not enter these properties, not even to sift for personal property.