Return to RMEHA Home page>
The person with an environmental illness has especial challenges in dealing with disasters, either man-made, or natural. If one is forced to evacuate a home, one may be expected to face evacuation support centers where there is no control over exposures to toxic materials.
In general, plan to totally take care of yourself independently of the evacuation authorities and their support facilities. Many people with an environmental illness live in remote areas. Make contact with the local authorities, such as starting with the fire chief. Be open and upfront that you have hypersensitivities or severe intolerances to many materials that you do not expect them to control for your benefit, but you do wish to be included in communications. Be prepared to support yourself with a written statement from a board-certified doctor that you have multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), or severe intolerances, with the ICD-9 code 989.9.
For example, one RMEHA member who had to evacuate several times during the High Park fires in Colorado has a small half-camper that let her evacuate her home and stay near the evacuation support facilities.
A subtle problem for people with electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) is that wireless communications will be used widely in most disaster situations. Find out where transmitters are located or may be planned. (You don't want to be assigned a parking area next a cell phone tower.)
The rest of this page, which was developed by the Gold Hill Volunteer Fire Department, contains links to a wide variety of sources of information, Public Health, Governmental Resources, that may be of use dealing with a disaster.
Returning Home after a Disaster: A supply list of things to bring with you
Steps To Take After The Disaster
Returning Home After Disaster-Turning Gas/Electricity Off
Household &Personal Property Inventory Book -Record what was Lost/ Damaged
Disaster Clean-Up: Questions About Cleaning Products
Disaster Clean-Up: Guides For Clothes and Household Textiles
Identifying & Handling Spoiled/Unsafe Food and Drinks after a Disaster
After the Disaster-Considerations for Older Adults
Helping Families in Distress-What Friends Can Do
Emotional Reactions to Disasters
Helping Families in Distress
Helping Children After a Disaster
FEMA for Kids
Beware of Fraud After Disasters
Preventing Fraud Following a Disaster
Changes Related to National Disaster Relief
Disinfecting Water after a Disaster
Disinfecting Water Wells by Shock Chlorination
Shock Chlorination of Stored Water Supplies
Removing Odors from Refrigerators/Freezers after Food has Spoiled
Clearing Debris from Land
Portable Generators: Use them Safely
Selecting a Consulting Forester
Buying Replacement Appliances
Rent to Own
The following discussions, while not directly dealing with emergencies, are useful background for developing your own fire-safe home environment.
Weed/Replanting Information. For more detailed information, call Claire DeLeo, 303/678-6205, Boulder County Parks and Open Space.
People are asking about native grasses appropriate for revegetating after a forest fire. Please see
The NRCS fact sheet called `Revegetating After Wildfires` inside some green packets give outdated advice by advocating the use of annual ryegrass for quick establishment of grass.
The NRCS representatives agreed that annual ryegrass should not be used. Research results in Larimer County this year cautions against using the winter annual ryegrass (aka feral/cereal rye) in reclamation after a fire.
In fact, it creates a fine fuel for fire, then outcompetes native grasses after a fire. In other words, it behaves like cheatgrass. For further info about annual ryegrass, contact Tim D'Amato, Larimer County Weed Management Coordinator (tdamato AT larimer.org).
A summary of the FEST team's findings is available on the
Here are several search engines in case you wish to do more research from this page -
Follow the links below to learn more about RMEHA and Environmental Illness.