Disaster recovery is a broad process that includes, to the best extent possible, returning residents, businesses, cities, the county and special districts to their pre-disaster state. The process involves a variety of agencies working together to connect needs with resources.
Disasters are incredibly hard. We know there are a wide range of emotions and fears that come with a disaster. Riverside University Health System's Behavioral Health Department is available to help residents cope with loss. To get help, please call the CARES hotline at: (800) 499-3008.
Generally, there are a number of programs that a disaster may qualify to assist in recovery. Public Assistance (PA) provides assistance to state agencies, local governments, special districts and eligible private non-profit organizations impacted by a disaster. The following state and federally-funded disaster assistance programs available to state agencies, local governments, special districts and eligible private non-profit organizations are: California Disaster Assistance Act (CDAA), Federal Disaster Assistance (DR & EM), and the Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG). The recovery function of the Emergency Management Department works to ensure that all state and federal support available is extended to applicants in an efficient and timely manner in order to assist in recovery from a major disaster or emergency.
With any disaster, time is of the essence. Many of the recovery programs have deadlines requiring damages be reported within a specified time period following the event.
Survivors are always encouraged to file insurance claims for damage to their homes, personal property, businesses and vehicles before they apply for other assistance.
Residents and businesses that already receive assistance such as Cal-Fresh, CalWORKS, etc. should reach out to their normal caseworker to determine the assistance available through those programs.
As people return to their homes in a fire area, there are several steps they can take to protect themselves from the ash and soot that may be spread throughout some neighborhoods.
- We recommend that people wear a mask or respirator while outdoors to reduce exposure to smoke, dust, and debris. A properly fitting N95, KN95 or P100 respirator provides the highest level of protection against dust and smoke. For those without access to an N95, KN95 or P100 respirators, dust masks, surgical masks, and other face coverings are a good alternative and provide greater protection than not wearing a face covering, mask, or respirator.
- For those with medical concerns, such as asthma, heart disease or other respiratory illnesses, consult your doctor before engaging in any strenuous cleanup activities.
- Do not use water to hose down driveways and property. The dirty run-off may get into the drainage system.
- Do not use motorized air blowers to clear off driveways, lawns, and roofs. The blowing dust and dirt may contain caustic materials that could be breathed into the lungs.
- Wear gloves, long-sleeve shirts, and long pants during cleaning activities.
Clearing hazardous debris after a fire
After a fire there may be a number of hazardous conditions that need to be made safe before residents can return to their property. Before experts can mitigate any hazards, a Right of Entry form must be completed and signed by the property owner. The forms and additional information can be found in the following documents.
Right of Entry forms
Helpful resources describing the process of removing hazardous materials after a fire
- CalOES Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0IjA53wyb0
- DTSC Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kQhcT3iIKa0&t=1s
- CalOES Fact Sheet
- Cal EPA Fact Sheet