The storm is gone, how do you find housing, find aid, find help? American Red Cross will have aid and shelters, or housing options for victims, whether you are sheltering in place, with friends or in public shelters this event has impacted many people at various levels of damage. Recovery may take a while visit American Red Cross for Tips after the storm [PDF] and FEMA for how to cope after a disaster.
Hacer frente a los desastres Cómo ayudar a los niños a confrontar una catástrofe http://1.usa.gov/Sx3lTK [PDF]
We would like to share a few things that may help you navigate the recovery process.
1. You Survived! First and foremost, be patient, with yourself and others. You made it through the storm! Take a walk outside and relieve your stress. Knowing that you survived the worst is the big thing, the rest of this is all the little stuff. Don't forget to Register that you are safe
Find Food - call your local Red Cross or 211 for services
Find Shelter - check with your local Red Cross or churches
Find Water - Water techniques
2. Plan for current needs. Did you lose your house? Is it still flooded? Does it look like you can’t go home for a while? You’ll need to think of your long term living arrangements and Red Cross will most likely ask you what your long term plans are. Think about it, but you have time to make decisions. For now find an interim living arrangement that works for your family and work on the future one day at a time. Food, clothing and shelter are key aspects right now and there are many options.
3. Take care of small tasks every day, a few may include
a. Forward your home phone
b. Forward your mail, you can do that online via U.S. Post Office
c. Notify your family where you are
d. Notify your insurance company where you are
e. Depending on damage you may need to stop utilities.
f. Depending on damage you may need to clean up. In most situations, cleanup kits and advice are available from your local Red Cross. Debris removal instructions will come out locally or check your state or local Emergency Management website. Stay informed on their advice. You may need to shut off utilities in some impact areas to avoid fires.
4. Accept help, it’s what it’s there for, don’t think in terms of “charity” think in terms of “humanity” this is a disaster, and friends helping friends is an important step in the healing process for everyone. So, please accept help.
5. Employment/Unemployment: Did you lose your ability to work? Often emergency unemployment may be available in disaster declarations. This may be approved for your area, keep up to date on the news of the disaster declarations and what’s being offered in your area for your situation.
6. What about FEMA? Once aid is activated for your area, application times vary. Estimates can vary from a few days to a few weeks so you will need to plan for your family’s needs. In the meantime you will need to arrange for food, housing. Read #8 below for more help. So when its declared, what type of aid is available from FEMA? Visit their rebuild page. Some assistance may be available other than housing. For other types of assistance and more read this helpful link. Also, Take a moment to get familiar with FEMA’s three step process Once FEMA funds are approved for your area, there are different methods to apply, you can
a. Locate a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center,
b. Apply Online
c. Via Mobile Phone m.fema.gov
d. Call (800) 621-3362 / TTY (800) 462-7585
7. What about American Red Cross? If you are sheltering in a Red Cross shelter you may be interviewed for potential funds available for victims. If you are sheltering in place or with friends, call or visit the closest local red cross, you may be eligible for a portion of immediate needs funds. Often call lines are very busy so it may be more convenient to go in person.
8. What about other agencies? Many Red Cross offices keep a list of other services available in your area, or you can inquire what local community services are available by calling 211 for general information on local nonprofits and faith or non-faith based groups, or call 311 for local government and county services. Call and ask what services may be available
9. What did you lose? When you have a moment to sit and think, make a list of everything you lost, house, vehicles, contents, papers. It helps you get organized and it will be good for insurance purposes. If you don't have insurance, its good for tax reasons at the end of the year.
a. If you need to replace identity papers the local department of transportation can usually help with that.10. What about your Cell phone? Check your plan and rates, you might exceed your minutes call your company and work with them. Keep the battery charged; check settings so they are at the lowest battery usage to save power. You may want to occasionally turn it off to save power especially if you’re still suffering power outages.
b. If you have insurance it will take a while for the claim to be processed. Report it as soon as you can. If you don’t have insurance you might also check with local government services such as, DFACS (Department of family and child services) as some aid may be available there as well.
c. Were you receiving checks by mail? If you can’t return home soon, or if you lost your home completely, and you may want to get online to temporarily forward your mail to a new location. FEMA will also often send mail to victims because not everyone lost their home so make sure you take care of this in a timely manner.
Please take your time, treat all flashing traffic lights as a four-way stop and be patient and helpful to your neighbor on the road and your neighbor in life. Recovery is a journey, celebrate small victories and we're so very glad you have weathered the storm!!