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Returning Home

If you evacuated for an emergency, check with local officials both where you’re staying and back at home before you travel. Residents returning to disaster-affected areas after significant events should expect and prepare for disruptions to daily activities and remember that returning home before storm debris is cleared is dangerous.

  • Let friends and family know before you leave and when you arrive.
  • Charge devices and consider getting backup batteries in case power outages continue.
  • Fill up your gas tank and consider downloading a fuel app to check for outages along your route.
  • Bring supplies such as water and non-perishable food for the car ride.
  • Avoid downed power or utility lines; they may be live with deadly voltage. Stay away and report them immediately to your power or utility company.
  • Only use generators away from your home, and NEVER run a generator inside a home or garage, or connect it to your home's electrical system.

Safety First

Beware of potential structural damage and debris before re-entering your home. And stay away from all downed power lines. For safety purposes, always assume that a fallen power line is live and dangerous.


Cleaning and disinfecting your home after an emergency is important to help prevent the spread of illness and disease. Ensure you take proper steps to clean up any flood damage and debris:

  • 1

    Make sure you remove any wet items from your home

  • 2

    When in doubt, throw it out!

  • 3

    Check for signs of water damage or mold growth

Assistance Organizations

If you need assistance immediately following a disaster, dial 2-1-1 or telephone your local American Red Cross chapter. Only dial 9-1-1 for a life-threatening emergency.

Virginia 2-1-1

Virginia 2-1-1 can connect you with voluntary and state agencies that can assist you.

Visit the VIrginia 2-1-1 website.

The American Red Cross

American Red Cross (ARC) assistance may take the form of small emergency cash grants and free temporary lodging. The ARC also makes referrals to other non-profit, government and faith-based agencies that provide assistance beyond what the ARC can provide.

Visit the American Red Cross website.