Get Back on Your Feet After a Natural Disaster

Few regions of the world are immune to natural disaster. From earthquakes to raging fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods, U.S. presidents have declared almost 2,000 major disasters in each of our 50 states and the District of Columbia in the past six decades.

The ten states that have experienced the most disasters include Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, New York, Oklahoma, California, and Texas, reports BankRate. Since 1953, the Lone Star State has declared 86 major disasters including hurricanes, wildfires, floods, and tornadoes.

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No matter where you happen to live, a natural disaster can strike. Knowing what to do to regroup and recover can make the process that much smoother.

Returning home

Following any type of natural disaster, going back into your home can be dangerous due to possible electrical, structural or other hazards. Before entering, be sure to check with local authorities to make sure it is safe. When it is clear to do so, inspect your home and the surrounding property to ensure that there are no ruptured gas lines, dangling wires or other hazardous issues. If a flood has occurred, keep in mind that floodwater may be contaminated by a number of different substances like sewage, fuel, oil, or other chemicals.

When entering a damaged structure, wear sturdy shoes and gloves for protection. If you have doubts about your safety, have your home inspected by a professional first.

Asking for assistance

If you need help, check with your local community, the American Red Cross, or another governmental agency. They may be able to provide you with a voucher or other form of assistance so that you can obtain food, clothing, medications, furnishings, or other necessary items.

If the area where you live has been declared a federal emergency area, you can contact your local FEMA office to find out about financial assistance. Always verify the identification of relief workers to be sure you aren’t giving your personal information to someone who is not trustworthy.

Attorney Richard Gaudreau advises those who are in the process of recovering from a natural disaster to only provide the last four digits of a social security number if someone wants to verify it. If a person who is purporting to be an official insists on more information, obtain a phone number where his or her identity can be verified.

Call your insurance agency

If you have insurance, call your agent as soon as possible. Take pictures of all of the damage and be sure to keep all records and receipts related to repairing and cleaning up the damage.

Clean-up

If the area where you live has not been declared a federal emergency area, you may still be facing a lot of clean-up work. A disaster like a tornado or a hurricane can cause everything from minor to major damage leaving a wide array of debris in its path. Order a dumpster delivery from a service like Next Day Dumpsters so you can get rid of all the rubbish that is left behind.

Remember that a house damaged by water will likely need special attention in order to avoid the growth of mold. If so, call in mold experts to ensure your home does not become a hazardous environment.

Recovering from the emotional toll

A natural disaster doesn’t just result in physical damage. Post-traumatic stress disorder is common in those who have gone through this type of event. Remember that it can take a long time to recover from a traumatic experience. Be sure to watch for signs of distress in family members as well as yourself and don’t be afraid to seek professional help. Therapy can offer a way to process what happened and find a way to move beyond it.

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