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Recovering from the wildfires: A guide for evacuees

“Dear family, I hope you find a home and school and food to eat. I hope you are safe and sound.”
                ~A note to evacuees from a young Edmonton student.
Several practical and emotional details need to be considered as your prepare to return home following an evacuation. Here are some important tips and considerations as you prepare to go home:
  • As you prepare to re-enter, make sure you have enough medication for a two week period
  • Recover important documents
  • Make sure your home is secured against further damage, record any damage that may have occurred
  • Inspect your home before clean-up, remove any hazardous materials, perishable food, and work to remove smoke, odour and soot
  • Take an inventory of lost and damaged items and contact your insurance company/mortgage broker – remember to keep all receipts related to living expenses as they may be requested
  • Dispose of food, water, and medication that may have been exposed to smoke, soot, or heat in the fire
  • Take care of your children, more tips and information can be found in our Guide for Wildlife Recovery for Parents and Caregivers
  • Get back into a routine and break tasks down into small steps that are manageable and can be accomplished
It is normal to experience conflicting emotions as you return home; anticipating conditions may help to feel more in control of the situation. Remember to take care of yourself. Here are some practical tips to help you manage:
  • Seek support in your community and use the services available
  • Make sure you get enough rest, that you stay hydrated and eat nutritiously
  • Whenever possible, take time to do things you enjoy and get as much physical activity as is practical
  • Accept help from others
  • Find a support network
  • Keep a record of your thoughts and feelings
  • Give someone a hug, physical touch is important for connection
  • Make plans for the future
Alberta Health Services are available in Fort McMurray and will be present at each information centre.

The Canadian Red Cross is on the ground in Alberta, where we are working hard to help those affected by the fires. In addition to immediate emergency assistance, and resources for re-entry, we are supporting community health and well-being. We will continue to be there in the days, months and even years ahead as Albertans recover. For more information and tips about how to prepare to come home, and recover your home and personal items, check out this guide to wildfire recovery.
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