Steps to Rebuild After Disaster
During the calendar year 2018, the US sustained $91 billion in damage from disasters. People may sustain significant physical and emotional stress following a disaster. During the immediate aftermath of a disaster people are often confused about what to do next. If you experience a disaster the following list provided by United Way may help.
Steps to Take After Disaster
- Make sure you, your family members, and pets are safe and accounted for. If family members are missing, seek help from first responders.
- Make sure everyone takes their go-bag and your lockbox of essential and financial documents.
- Attend to physical injuries and emotional distress.
- If you have a home standing, but there is damage, secure your property. This may mean making temporary repairs.
- Take photos of the damage.
- If you can, remove valuable items that cannot be secured in your home. Get these to the home of a friend or family member outside of the disaster area, if possible. You can also try to find a storage unit. Your insurance policy may cover the cost of storage.
- If you can still live in your home, but it requires some critical repairs, contact your insurance agent. Be sure to take photos before work is started. Save all receipts related to the repair for your claim. Remember to watch out for home repair scams.
- If you need another place to shelter, keep track of all expenses you incur during this time. Collect receipts and put them in an envelope until you can meet with an insurance representative. Many homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies provide limited coverage for hotel, meals, and other expenses following a disaster.
- If you do not have money to afford a place to shelter or do not have insurance, go to a local community shelter. Communities of faith and schools are often converted into shelters following a disaster. Staying in these shelters is no cost to you.
You may also register for disaster assistance at https://www.disasterassistance.gov. You may also register by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362)/1-800-462-7585 (TTY) or by visiting a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC). To find a DRC near you, use FEMA’s online locator.
Additional Resource Articles for Rebuilding After Disaster
- Recovering from Disaster FEMA Guide (PDF)
- Recovering from Disaster Tips from Ready.gov
- What to Do After a Disaster (United Way)
- After a Disaster (USA.gov)
- How to Rebuild Credit
- Rebuilding After Disaster: Do you Stay or Leave
- Disaster Recovery: Getting the Most from Your Homeowners Insurance
- Buying or Selling a Car After a Disaster
- Salvaging Possession and Valuables After Disaster
- Picking up the Pieces After Disaster