After the fire: community recovery

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Bolster recovery efforts, advocate for federal, state, and local assistance, and fortify the reliance of a community in advance of the next fire. 

Risk assessment

Document damage

Collect data on which areas of your community were most impacted. A damage assessment conducted by local inspectors utilizing GIS can help local government applications for Federal relief so that your local government can make crucial decisions about how to utilize the funds when they arrive and support survivors in the interim.  

Work with the federal government

Before your local government receives federal funds, the federal government will need to assess the damage. You should work alongside them and keep the dialogue open so that you can leverage the damage assessment to prioritize tasks in your recovery plan. Getting federal funds takes time, so you’ll need to get in touch with the federal government as soon as possible to expedite the time it takes to get federal relief funds. 

Community services 

Mental health services

Residents affected by a wildfire may experience distress from the traumatic event; Psychological First Aid can help alleviate and manage distresses by fostering adaptive functioning and coping. Psychological First Aid aims to promote safety and support individuals in the aftermath of disasters and is provided through mental health and disaster response workers. These qualified individuals are typically a part of disaster relief organizations, including first response teams, emergency health care services, school-based crisis preparedness, and response teams, charitable organizations for nonprofits affiliated with faith-based groups,  nationwide volunteers of Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), Medical Reserve Corps, and the Citizens Corps. Source.

Repair and reconstruction

Update old infrastructure  

Oftentimes after a fire destroys old infrastructure, it is worthwhile to update buildings to prevent similar damage in the future. When replacing destroyed homes and buildings, encourage the use of fire-resistant materials to mitigate the damage when another fire occurs. 

Rebuild better

Mitigate the risk of future fires by ensuring reconstruction follows the latest fire regulation standards and policies. In areas where rebuilding is necessary, require construction material to be ignition resistant, and follow standards such as minimum road widths, secondary access, and adequate water supply. 

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