Post-Disaster Recovery Plan
Whether a disaster has the scope of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 or the personal intensity of a single-family home fire, recovery planning is a vital piece of disaster survival. Having a disaster recovery plan can determine how quickly and successfully your family recovers from disaster.
The best recovery plan is one formed ahead of time. Take the time now to research and assemble supplies and plans needed during and after a disaster. Organizations such as the American Red Cross can provide information on making a plan and gathering important supplies. Keep in mind that children, the elderly, the disabled and pets may require special supplies or assistance during a disaster.
After a Disaster
Information is your most important resource during and after a disaster. During large disasters, a working radio will keep you in touch with the rest of your community. Officials will provide information on remaining dangers, air and water safety and how to get help. Tune into the same stations you regularly turn to for traffic and weather information.
Keep copies of important contact information and documents in safe locations in case of disaster. Make sure these documents are kept in one place and are easily retrievable during a disaster.
Caring for the physical needs of your family should take top priority. Immediately after a disaster, check both yourself and your family for injuries or sudden illnesses. During large-scale disasters, dial 9-1-1 for life-threatening emergencies only. Keep a stocked and updated first aid kid in your home in case of illness or injury.
The safety of your surroundings is important for the safety of your family. Do not remain in damaged buildings. Listen to your radio for information on evacuation routes and any protective measures you may need to take when you go outside.
After disasters the size of a home fire, you may choose to stay with friends, check into a hotel or seek shelter with a local emergency organization.
During larger disasters, local municipalities will open disaster shelters. This information will be announced on the radio. Do not assume that emergency officials will open a particular shelter site. Shelters are opened based on the size of the disaster, the location of those affected and the safety or condition of potential shelter sites. Disaster shelters provide food, water, a place to sleep and access to basic medical care.
Once immediate needs have been met, it is time to plan for your family's long-term survival. Contact your insurance agent, your employer and your child's school. If you have loans, mortgages, credit cards or other bills it is a good idea to contact these service providers. Some may be able to offer deferred payment plans during emergency situations.
This is also an appropriate time to follow up on assistance offered to people affected by disaster. Emergency agencies such as the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have funding and resources available. They can also refer you to other local agencies involved in the relief effort.