The final weekly topic for National Preparedness Month will cover the recovery efforts you can expect after a disaster.   

What are considered recovery efforts for disasters?   

FEMA defines recovery as “[the] actions taken to return to a normal or an even safer situation following an emergency…[and] includes getting financial assistance to help pay for the repairs.”  

What do I do after a disaster?  

After a disaster occurs, there will be a lot of emotions and questions if you are directly impacted. One of the first things to do is to take care of your mental health and mitigate the stress on your family and pets. Once that is done, it is time to assess the damage/impacts. 

  • Alert your local emergency management office of damages sustained.
    • Typically, they will have set up specific communication lines related to recovery efforts. 
    • You may qualify for Individuals and Households Program financial assistance through FEMA in a declared disaster.
  • If part of your disaster mitigation efforts included obtaining disaster-specific insurance, call your insurance provider and start the claims process.
    • Remember to save all receipts related to post-damage repair and clean-up. 
  • If you need food and shelter, there are many volunteer organizations, such as Catholic Charities and the American Red Cross, that you can contact immediately following a disaster.
  • One final thing to consider is your safety before returning home (if you evacuated). There may be unseen damage or hazards that pose a safety risk, so be careful when re-entering your home and look for:
    • Standing water, which can harbor disease and bacteria 
    • Gas leaks
    • Downed power lines 

Additional Resources  

For more tips on how to handle the recovery process, check out the Ready.Gov website. You can also check out FEMA’s Key Post-Disaster Recovery Resource Topics for a robust resource library of disaster recovery-related information.  

Closing Notes 

After disaster strikes, simply rebuilding as it was before is not enough. This will only lead to the same result when disaster inevitably strikes again. During the recovery phase, it is best practice to build resiliency into these efforts to mitigate against future disasters. This is why emergency management is considered a cycle that never ends. Once recovery begins, the cycle starts over to create a more resilient community. 

The four phases of emergency management: Mitigate, Prepare, Respond, Recover with description of each and times at which the phases occur: Before, During, and After a disaster.

Thank you for your time if you made it this far, and I hope you all got something out of these posts.