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PEHSU Factsheet: Children's Health and Wildfires > What should be done after a wildfire?

What should be done after a wildfire?

posted on Sep 3, 2021
  • Before children return to an area affected by wildfires, make sure there are: safe drinking water; running electricity; safe road conditions; structurally sound homes; and sewage, ash, and debris have been removed. 
  • Children should not be at a cleanup site, nor should they do cleanup work. Fires may deposit large amounts of ash and dust contaminated with harmful chemicals such as asbestos, arsenic, and/or lead. Fires can lead to other hazardous conditions such as broken glass and exposed electric wires. 
  • Adults should avoid tracking contaminated substances and ash back to areas frequented by children (e.g. homes, cars) on clothing or shoes. Remove shoes at the doorway, wash clothing separately, and change out of clothing prior to interacting with children or returning home.
  • If your child has contact with any potentially hazardous substances call Poison Control (1-800-222-1222) or your local Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (https://www.pehsu.net/findhelp.html).