Some buildings with fire damage.

In the News: Feature Articles

December 2021
International Fire Fighter Magazine CoverDioxins – the most hazardous substance in structure fire environments by Sean Scott (opens new window)
Firefighters encounter a vast array of hazardous substances generated in structure fire environments, one of the most toxic, is TCDD Dioxin. This substance is a combustion byproduct created when PVC, plastics, wood, paper, and many other materials burn or smolder. Dioxin is a known carcinogen that can enter the body through dermal absorption, inhalation, and ingestion. This article provides a general overview of TCDD and the effect it can have on firefighters.

April – December 2021
Restoration & Remediation Articles by Sean Scott
Keeping busy in 2021, Sean released a set of articles primarily for restoration contractors, but also informative for the disaster survivor who wants to know more. Here is the list of published works:

September 2020
After the Wildfire: Watch out for these Disaster Recovery Pitfalls
The loss of a home and a lifelong accumulation of belongings is one of the most traumatic experiences a person can face. Survivors often rush to their homes to assess the damage, sifting through the debris looking for keepsakes in shorts and flip flops. What they don’t realize is that wildfires generate high concentrations of toxic chemicals, poisonous gases and heavy metals. In this article, Sean highlights some of the pitfalls and safety concerns in recovery after a wildfire.

Dioxins – The Most Hazardous Substance in Structure Fire Settings – Part 2
In this part two article about Dioxins in the September 2020 Restoration and Remediation magazine, Sean and Brianna Scott describe how to better understand the the toxic properties of TCDD by describing how it, and other toxins, are measured.

August 2020
Dioxins – The Most Hazardous Substance in Structure Fire Settings – Part 1
Sean and Brianna Scott were honored to have their article on Dioxins featured on the cover of the August 2020 issue of Restoration and Remediation. See the digital magazine, with this and more interesting articles.

October 2019
Lead Contamination in Structure Fires: Lessons learned from the Notre Dame Cathedral fire
On April 15, 2019, fire broke out beneath the roof of the Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral in Paris. Over 400 firefighters fought the blaze, which grew uncontrollably and consumed approximately two thirds of the roof structure, including the 300-foot wooden spire. The spire ultimately crashed through the roof, bringing down with it stone, stained glass windows, and the handcrafted, vaulted oak ceiling dating back to the 13th century. The damage was not just to the building, only a few months later, reports began to emerge of an unexpected threat to residents in the vicinity of the cathedral: lead poisoning. Read more about the hidden threats of fire. See Article in Magazine Format

January 2019:
Partnership with Native Americans brings added support to Tribal Communities with Disaster Preparedness Handbook (PDF 575 KB)
Developed with input from Native groups, The Native Family Disaster Preparedness Handbook will offer crucial knowledge to strengthen community resilience and hopefully prevent Native families from becoming victims after a disaster.

November 2018:
Smoke remediation expert says treat site of Iqaluit fire like “a hazardous waste site” (Nunatsiaq News)
A typical structure fire may generate tens of thousands of toxic chemicals and gasses and in this article, Sean Scott shares how an improper clean up can leave people exposed to hazards after a fire.

How Clean is “Clean”? (PDF 1MB / Claims Magazine)
During a structure fire, toxic smoke, volatile organic com-pounds (VOCs), and particulate matter are generated from the vast array of building materials, con-tents and household products that com-bust. These chemicals interact with each other to create a vast array of carcinogens, poisonous gasses, acids and other toxins that can cause acute and chronic illnesses, cancer and even death. Some are so toxic that the EPA has designated them as having a zero level of permissible exposure limit (PEL).

September 2018:
After the disaster: Not all vendors are created equal (Property Casualty 360)
Fraud concerning property repair usually involves unethical or incompetent building contractors. Read Sean Scott’s reminders for consumers and insurers to be aware of red flags involving building or repair contractors.

August 2018:
Playing with Fire: Avoiding Toxic Exposures (PDF/Claims Magazine)
Although the flames are out, the smoke has cleared, and the fire department has removed the yellow tape, the fire scene is not as safe as one might think.  Read Sean Scott’s cover story article for Claims Magazine and find out more about the health risks anyone must consider when exposed to a structure fire.

Toxic Exposure: Structure Fire RestorationToxic Exposure-Restoration & Remediation Magazine Cover (Restoration & Remediation)
Many restoration contractors may not realize is that boarding-up a fire damaged structure can create an extremely hazardous environment. Find out more about safety considerations when working around fire damage.

January 2018:
Personnel Power – A Focus on Workforce Management: It’s Time to Change the “Preparedness” Message (PDF/Los Angeles Business Journal)
Are your employees truly prepared for a natural disaster? In the event of a catastrophic event, how resilient will your employees be? Read Sean Scott’s article on the importance of planning for recovery to help strengthen your employees’ resiliency to disasters.

December 2017:
In the aftermath of the Lilac Fire (Valley News)
Read about how The Red Guide is supporting the December 7, 2017 declared state of emergency for San Diego County, by providing assistance in recovery of the Lilac Fire.

‘Red Guide to Recovery’: A step-by-step guide if you’ve lost everything in a fire (CBS8-San Diego) Coverage from an on-air report with Sean Scott in San Diego on how The Red Guide can help those who are recovering from  devastating fires.

New Improved Edition of The Red Guide to Recovery Now Available Nationwide Our December 2017 press release announces our update to The Red Guide to Recovery in light of recent natural disasters that have pummeled various parts of the country (the devastating hurricanes in Houston, South Florida, and Puerto Rico and the horrific wild fires in Northern California).

October 2017:
Time to Recover: What to Do When You Return Home (Huffpost)
When first responders leave the scene of a disaster the survivors are typically left to figure out the recovery process on their own. For those who have lost their home or who have been displaced, this can be the beginning of a nightmare, especially if they have not prepared or planned for recovery in advance. Read more about Sean’s tips for the next steps you should take in your disaster recovery.

September 2017:
Are You Truly Prepared for a Disaster? (Chicago Now)
In this article by The Good Life author Eraina Ferguson, Sean explains that preparedness is not only about safety and survival, but also about having the ability to rebuild your life afterwards.

April 2017:
Your Insurance Guide to Storms
(U.S. News & World Report) This article from U.S News & World Report provides a prediction for an particularly rough storm season for 2017 and features advice from The Red Guide to Recovery author Sean Scott on what to do after the storm.

May 2016:
Red Guide to Recovery San Bernardino County Edition (OES Quarterly Report). We are pleased to announce that the County Office of Emergency Services (OES) of San Bernardino County has received a San Bernardino version of the Red Guide to Recovery.  The guides are available for OES personnel to hand out at the scene of a disaster event.

TANF Newsletter (PDF from Southern California Tribal Chairman’s Association) The Rincon Indian Health Council (IHC) provided copies of The Red Guide to Recovery at their Celebration of Native Songs and Stories event.  Laurie E. Gonzalez, council member of the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians, wrote in the Guide about the devastating 2003 and 2007 wildfires that tore through the reservation.

March 2016:
2016 Individual and Community Preparedness Awards Announcement (FEMA, Sean Scott was recognized for his work with the disaster recovery and preparedness community as a recipient of a 2016 FEMA Individual & Community Preparedness Award.  Sean received an Honorable Mention in the categories of Community Preparedness Champions and Awareness to Action.

September 2015:
The Risks of Buying Cheap Insurance (U.S. News & World Report)
You get what you pay for, as the saying goes, and it may turn out that you won’t get much of anything.  The next time you buy into a cheap insurance plan, or if you have a plan known for its rock-bottom premiums, you’d do well to review the risks you may be taking.  Read Sean Scott’s contribution to a revealing article about the consequences of buying cheap insurance.

Earthquakes, Hurricanes and 8 Other Natural Disasters Everyone Should Be Prepared For (The Active Times)
Author Sean Scott of The Red Guide to Recovery provides input to this informative article about disaster preparedness, and assessing what risks you should prepare for.

Red Guide to Disaster Recovery Releases Native American Edition (Indian Country Today)
Originally conceived to help local tribes deal with the aftermath of reoccurring regional wildfires, The Red Guide to Recovery Native American Edition empowers tribal victims of any disaster with the knowledge they need to become survivors.

July 2015:
What is Community Resilience? (Emergency Management)
Sean Scott contributed his knowledge and expertise in this feature article by Emergency Management about being resilient.  Although many feel they have planned for an emergency, this article describes how critical it is have a resiliency plan as well.

May 2015:
Meet the Pro: Sean Scott, Author and Disaster Recovery and Restoration Expert
Sean Scott spoke recently with David Treffer of ProPac about The Red Guide to Recovery.  Read this great question and answer style interview to find out more about Sean.

Wildfires 2014 Recovery: One Year Anniversary of May Wildfires (Supervisor Bill Horn)
As San Diego faces a fourth year of drought conditions, we are reminded of how quickly over $30 million in private property damage occurred just one year ago.  This year, Supervisor Bill Horn sent a press release featuring The Red Guide to Recovery as a resource for preparing and recovery.  The article highlights the special edition for Tribal Lands.

April 2015:
Emergency Management Agencies Adopt “The Red Guide to Recovery” as Disaster Recovery Tool (San Fernando Valley Business Journal)
The Red Guide to Recovery is a featured resource in the San Fernando Valley Business Journal.  Many emergency management agencies including the City of Los Angeles, San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, and the Northeast Colorado Emergency Managers Group, have adopted The Red Guide as an important resource for their communities.

June 2014:
Homeowners should know their rights when it comes to disaster recovery (San Diego Source, The Daily Transcript)
Many San Diego homeowners are facing recovery and rebuilding efforts after the recent wildfires.  In this article, Sean Scott shares the inspiration for The Red Guide, and offers specific tips how the type of help disaster survivors need as they recover.

October 2013:
San Francisco FD Adopts The Red Guide to Recovery Book (FirefighterNation)
Chief Joanne Hayes-White, fire chief of the San Francisco Fire Department, saw the guide after the 2010 San Bruno gas explosion and realized the value it would have for her community. “As a first responding agency, we are focused on the response and mitigation of an incident but know all too well that when we leave the scene, the road to recovery for most will be long and hard. When we saw The Red Guide for the first time, we knew that we wanted to be able to provide this to the residents of the City and County of San Francisco to give them some direction and to assist them in beginning the recovery process as soon as possible.”

September 2013:
Disaster Recovery or Gifts Preppers Give (The Daily Prepper News)
Thanks to The Daily Prepper News, read an article about how The Red Guide to Recovery provides support to even the most prepared! “Even with the experiences of being prepared for just about anything and having lived without telephone, no indoor plumbing and other “old ways”, this book still had information to offer. It made me think of things I could do that I had not done, as well as things that inspired me to do that I otherwise would not have thought about.”

August 2013:
Red Guide helps turn disaster victims into survivors (
After the 2012 Hurricane Sandy disaster, The Red Guide helped survivors with a free mobile app that provided support with all stages of recovery.  This USA TODAY article highlights the many ways The Red Guide offers help to disaster victims and how resources like this handbook are invaluable to those faced with the process of recovery.

July 2013:
Don’t be a victim twice!  Red Guide to Recovery helps navigate post disaster events.  The July 11, 2013 issue of the La Jolla Light highlights The Red Guide to Recovery.  Click below to read the full article starting on Page 12.

February 2013:
The California Fire Service Magazine – “Recovery”, details that it may be more complex than response
In the January/February 2013 Guest Column of The California Fire Service Magazine, author Sean Scott and Fire Chief (retired) Pat Dennen describe how The Red Guide to Recovery can be a critical community tool that supports disaster survivors with their recovery.

October 2012:
The Red Guide to Recovery Provides Free Disaster Recovery Mobile App for Hurricane Sandy Victim (Business
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Sean Scott, the San Diego based author of The Red Guide to Recovery – Resource Handbook for Disaster Survivors, has announced he is providing a free hurricane recovery app for those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

May 2012:
A Message from the Editor of E-Newsletter, Volume 4, Issue 5
FDNN recently had the opportunity to meet with Sean M. Scott, author of The Red Guide to Recovery. This excerpt from their newsletter shares how the guide can  assist anyone that experiences a devastating loss due to a fire, earthquake, flood, tornado or any other major disaster

October 2011

California Senate Certificate of Recognition

Sean Scott receives California Senate Certificate of Recognition

On October, 25, 2011, State Senator Joel Anderson (R-CA) presented Sean Scott with a California Senate Certificate of Recognition in “honor of outstanding dedication to providing readers with disaster relief through The Red Guide to Recovery“.

This recognition by the State of California is a gracious distinction and received with great appreciation.

September 2011:
San Diego fire departments hand out informative book to survivors of disaster (Fire Rescue Magazine)
In San Diego County, fire departments spend just one to two minutes with disaster survivors and yet they’re still able to give them all the advice they need. That’s because departments across the county are handing out The Red Guide to Recovery, a small but comprehensive book that outlines what to do when faced with a disaster and its aftermath, from board-up to insurance claims to grief counseling.

August 2011:
Supervisors Create a Disaster Recovery Working Group
Helping people when they need it is part of why San Diego County Board of Supervisors is establishing a working group to further develop its disaster recovery plan.  The plan to help individuals recover includes the Red Guide to Recovery, which is distributed by fire agencies and emergency response teams.

June 2011:
MEDIA ADVISORY: Supervisors Approve New Disaster Recovery Plans
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the “Resilience and Advanced Post-Disaster Recovery Initiative” which includes continuing the distribution of The Red Guide to Recovery to local fire agencies, and will print and distribute a Spanish-language version funded through a Neighborhood Reinvestment Grant.

May 2011:
The 39th Annual Spirit of Courage Awards Banquet was held on May 26, 2011 in La Jolla, California.  This year, Sean Scott was selected as the recipient of the San Diego County Fire Chiefs’ Association Maltese Award, in honor of The Red Guide to Recovery.

Maltese Award 2011-Sean Scott and August Ghio

Sean Scott & San Diego County Fire Chiefs’ Association President, August Ghio

“The Maltese Cross is a symbol of protection, and it means that the firefighters who wear this cross are willing to lay down their lives for the protection of others.  The story of the Maltese cross is hundreds of years old and began on the small island of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea.  The original firefighters were a band of courageous crusaders known as the Knights of St. John.  These brave individuals were awarded the cross, as a badge of honor, by fellow crusaders because they risked their own lives in an effort to save the lives of other crusaders.

The San Diego County Fire Chiefs’ Association Maltese Award was established in 2006 to recognize outstanding individuals who embody that spirit.  This year we are proud to present Sean Scott of The Red Guide to Recovery – a comprehensive disaster resource guide designed to inform and streamline the recovery process for citizens and businesses alike.

After the devastating fires of 2007, Scott had a vision to improve the information pipeline for those facing the loss of their homes and property.  Scott partnered with The San Diego County Fire Chiefs’ Association, the Burn Institute, San Diego County Office of Emergency Services, County Board of Supervisors, and the San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter of the American Red Cross to design, develop, fund and publish this important guide.

In these times of declining local revenues, reduced levels of emergency services and an ever-increasing demand for service, The Red Guide to Recovery provides an essential recovery resource to our citizens that otherwise would not be available.”

August Ghio -President, San Diego Fire Chiefs’ Association

April 2011:
MEDIA ADVISORY: Supervisors Take Next Step in Future Disaster Recovery Process
The April 12th San Diego County Board of Supervisors news release states, The Red Guide to Recovery is the most comprehensive disaster resource guide ever produced for our [San Diego] region.

December 2010:
The Red Guide to Recovery on
The Fire Department Network News TV website shares how the Red Guide helps disaster survivors and provides a video that describes how the book is being used and distributed in San Diego County.

September 2010:
New resource guide available for fire victims – San Diego County
Vice Chairman and Fifth District Supervisor Bill Horn, along with the Office of Emergency Services (OES), the San Diego/Imperial County Red Cross, and the San Diego Fire Chiefs Association announced the release of a new resource guide to assist people to recovering from the devastation of losing their home or business.

The City of San Marcos website shares news that the San Marcos Fire Department carries and provides a free copy of the Red Guide to Recovery to homeowners that have suffered a loss of property.

The Red Guide to Recovery
Fallbrook Bonsall News describe how the 184-page pocket-sized handbook for disaster survivors came to fruition, and plans for a Spanish language guide.

MEDIA ADVISORY: Down and Out, But Not Alone After A Disaster: The Red Guide To Recovery
San Diego County Fire Chiefs’ Association Media Advisory released September 2, 2010

Red Guide To Recovery Helps Disaster Victims
From NBC San Diego, the County of San Diego unveils the “Red Guide to Recovery” for disaster victims.

County Produces New Guide For Disaster Victims reports the County’s Fire Chiefs’ Association announcement of The Red Guide. Listen to the audio report aired on KPBS.

San Diego County Gets Disaster Guide (
San reports The Red Guide Development by San Diego County Office of Emergency Services with help from county Supervisor Bill Horn, the American Red Cross of San Diego and Imperial Counties, and the San Diego Fire Chiefs’ Association.