Tips for Disaster Survivors

About a year after the fire I asked other 2003 survivors if they had any tips to give. Rick and Sharon Cords lost their house to the Old Fire in San Bernardino. Here’s what they had to say:

“We would like to bring to the attention of those who are in the process of rebuilding to ask their contractors about the security of the build site and the security of the house.  Last Saturday night or early Sunday morning, our home was broken into and several thousands of dollars worth of tools and boxed fixtures that were placed into the garage to be installed this week were taken.  Our tile man is from San Diego, so he was leaving his tools on the job site, in a back room not seen from the street, as he worked while staying in a motel in town.  The "bad guys" took most of his tools, grinders, table tile saw, flood lights, and more. He figures about $6000 to $7000 worth.  Most of the fixtures taken were faucets, sinks, shower fixtures, toilets, etc. etc., but costs are in the thousands as well.  Guess these things are easily sold, according to the San Bernardino City Police, at swap meets, yard sales, etc.

“Please tell folks to make sure their contractor(s) is insured.  Have them ask their contractor what they are doing, or are going to do, for security on the job site?  We just didn't think about this ... the doors and windows were all locked, or so we thought.  At least we were not vandalized, as some other builds have been, or so we were told. 

“It is important that any items removed from property be reported to the police!  Even if it is just a few used bricks ... maybe those were needed in the rebuild!  Any vandalism should be reported as well.  We have asked that the police patrol the rebuild areas on a regular basis more often.  They made no promises, but if everyone that has a rebuild going on would request the same, then maybe it could be implemented for all of us.”


To those residents in San Diego County who lost their homes in the 2007 Southern California wildfires, USGBC would like to extend its support in helping these survivors rebuild their homes in a sustainable manner. To that end, USGBC agrees to waive all registration and certification fees (up to a $600 value) for those who intend to rebuild using the LEED for Homes rating system.

In order to take advantage of this fee waiver, applicants and their LEED for Homes providers should work through the normal registration process via the USGBC website ( Upon submittal, the Provider should email USGBC at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request the registration fee waiver for the project. A representative from USGBC will then confirm the registration fee waiver via email and, should the project ultimately move forward to certification, will ensure that the certification fee is also waived at the appropriate time.


About a year after the fire I asked other 2003 survivors if they had any tips to give. Rachael Hernandez’s family lost their house to the Old Fire in San Bernardino. Here’s what she had to say:

“It's all about patience, and take lots of pictures.  I have a scrapbook just on the house.  It's amazing how on some days it felt like nothing or no one was working on ‘our’ house and the kids loved to see the progress using the scrapbook.

“As for anyone who has lost their homes to a disaster, I would have to say that you have to find a focus.  For my self I focus on my kids and their well being…our lives still have to go on, we eat sleep, work, school…

“I still have some issues that I too need to work on such as a few weeks ago we had really bad winds….the wind is what blew the fire that day and the kids and I can smell smoke almost instantly and the siren from the fire engine. My kids are doing well, we talk about how they feel and they continue to adapt to everyday living ….we have learned that no matter what the situation is stay calm.”


Inspirational Quotes

... all of a sudden you realize how much you lost. Everything was gone and until I see it coming back, I didn't really realize the loss that we had had, it was 40 years of memories that are gone, 40 years of some things we'll never get back again. But yet I still feel that we're blessed to be in this place. It's just your heart aches for those things that you've lost.

Pamela Muntz,  Greenburg KS Resident, Episode 4; Greensburg


My husband and I wanted to let you know how helpful you and were after the loss of our home in the Waldo Canyon Fire last year. As you no doubt have already heard; Colorado Springs has been hit with another wildfire, the Black Forest Wildfire. We would like to ask you to please come out and help those affected this year. We know how valuable your knowledge in this area is.

Waldo Canyon Fire Survivor, 2012