New Rebuild Healthy Homes Guide and Resources from HUD
April 11, 2016
A version of this article appears in the May/June 2016 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
When a disaster strikes, survivors face the daunting and dangerous task of cleanup and repair. They are understandably eager to restore their homes and lives quickly, yet are typically unaware of all the potential hazards that restoration may entail.
To address this need, HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH) has created a collection of new, free educational resources in varied forms for consumers, workers, and stakeholders. They are available from www.hud.gov/healthyhomes. Click the OLHCHH Post Disaster Recovery and Resources link under Popular Topics.
The flagship publication is Rebuild Healthy Homes: Guide to Post-disaster Restoration for a Safe and Healthy Home. It’s a detailed, heavily illustrated, and comprehensive how-to guide to help homeowners, volunteers, and other workers safely restore homes damaged by each type of natural disaster—from floods and hurricanes to wildfires and earthquakes. The goal of Rebuild Healthy Homes is to help disaster survivors end up with more than just a livable home; to create a silver lining; to reward their recovery efforts with a safer, more-resilient, durable, comfortable, and healthy home.
Content includes sections on personal protection; hazard assessment; preparation; best practices for clean-out, tear-out, gutting, decontamination, and repair; ways to “restore for more than before” with hazard-resistant, energy-saving, and healthy home improvements; and links to additional resources. The 72-page guide was extensively reviewed and vetted by disaster survivors and stakeholders across the nation, and it conforms to the new federal interagency common recommendations for dealing with mold, lead, asbestos, and radon after disasters. It is available as a free online pdf file that can be printed in whole or part, as well as a free mobile app for both iPhone and Android devices (search Rebuild Healthy Homes in the app stores).
Here are some other new HUD disaster resources:
- The OLHCHH Disaster Recovery Toolkit is a 15-page directory of HUD’s collection of resources, with brief descriptions and regional contacts.
- The Healthy Homes Disaster Recovery and Response videos are three short videos on YouTube for disaster survivors—a handy resource to display in disaster recovery centers and supply outlets. Topics include Restoring Your Home After a Natural Disaster, Returning to Your Flood- Damaged Home, and Addressing Mold After a Disaster.
- The Indoor Environmental Pollutants brochures for families and for contractors were developed by a federal interagency working group to create consistent guidance on postdisaster cleanup and hazard reduction from asbestos, lead, mold, and radon in homes.
- Consumer Tips for Post-Disaster Home Restoration is a 12-page online pdf that provides a brief overview of home health hazards and restoration safety steps.
- Guide for Team Leaders to Help Disaster Victims Get Back to a Healthy Home is a 14-page online pdf.
- Important Information for Volunteers in Helping Disaster Victims Get Back to a Healthy Home is a two-page online pdf fact sheet designed to create awareness of restoration hazards.
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