Camp Fire Aftermath

The previous weekend of April 13th we were a volunteer contractor for the VCE booth at the Chico Home and Garden Show. We had the opportunity to talk with a few Camp Fire survivors about their current housing situation and what they were thinking about doing next. I am trying to put together a list of common questions with answers to them. Hopefully I can provide some insight into the process of redevelopment or relocation. And fill in all of the in-between. My post the previous week began touching on some of the subjects surrounding the aftermath of the fire. If you haven’t read that post, I would check it out here. This post I will be going into more about the trauma and going over more of the questions that pertain to rebuilding or moving.

Eight Core Actions

The trauma of the fire can be in the past for some, but for many it is still an every day struggle. There are eight core actions that you engage in to find some peace of mind.

1. Contact and Engagement

Seeking to talk with  those around you, community leaders, rescue personnel, and any others that can help answer questions. Communicating with those around you is a big way to find relief. Engaging in community meetings with the leaders will help give you some comfort and inform you about the whole process.

2. Safety and Comfort

This is an ongoing question that many have. The displacement has caused thousands to look at alternative housing for the short term or long term. It’s important to be comfortable and feel safe after any disaster. If will help heal you from your losses. In the Camp Fire survivor’s case it is particularly difficult due to not having a lot of options for housing in the immediate area, and moving away isn’t always what you want either. So in the meantime, make where you are staying as comfortable as you can.

3. Stabilization

By this time the need to know whether you are moving back or moving elsewhere is a constant thought. If you have made your mind up that you are done with Paradise and are okay with where you are living now, great. Or if you have found a place to move to soon, that’s great too. If you already decided that you are moving back to Paradise regardless then you’ve already set a place for you to live and that’s awesome. All of these have eliminated a lot of question marks. If you are waiting to hear about your cleanup and what the city is requiring for the rebuild process, you will definitely feel some instability. No one wants to be wondering if it would be better to live elsewhere or to move back to Paradise. But in the meantime you can make a couple different plans for what you are going to do once you hear the news.

4. Information Gathering

Everyone is doing this. Each person has been looking for more information since the fire started. We all need as much information as we can get before we make any decisions about our future housing. If you haven’t decided if you are moving back or living elsewhere, continue to find information from the city about what you need to do and what they are requiring. A big starting point is to get your property cleaned up. You have two options for this. Either go with a private contractor or wait for FEMA to clean it up. Any insurance money that is designated for cleaning will all go to FEMA. If you go with a private contractor you can potentially save some of that insurance money if the contractor is able to clean your property up in a way somewhat differently than FEMA. If you aren’t in a rush you can wait for FEMA, they will get to your house eventually but they aren’t prioritizing any specific property to clean up. With a private contractor you get to have your property cleaned up sooner. And one more thing to consider if choosing a private contractor, make sure they are licensed to remove dangerous chemicals, such as lead and asbestos. (note: Only necessary for homes built prior to the 80’s)

Trauma Assistance Continued

I will post the remaining half of the eight core actions in Sunday’s post. But for now lets recap what we are talking about in this current blog discussion. There is a certain degree of trauma that has occurred for each individual that went through the Camp Fire. We have all grieved, and many are still grieving. With the loss of so much in the town of Paradise it has raised the question, “should I stay or should I go?” There are a lot of questions to be asked in order for you to come to an answer. With some tools in your pocket you will be able to overcome any of the trauma you may be experiencing. And in addition to overcoming your trauma, figuring out a solution to your housing problems.