How to Recover From a Natural Disaster

How to Recover From a Natural Disaster
  • Opening Intro -

    With the remnants of Hurricane Irene moving out of New England, millions of Americans are now taking stock of their properties to see what needs to be repaired and what can be salvaged.

    Rain and wind damage will cost insurers billions. When everything is tallied, this storm could prove to be the most expensive one to strike the United States ever.


Get back on your feet quickly by following these steps.

Recovering from a natural disaster takes time, but can move forward if you play an active part in this process. With this in mind, the following are some action steps to take as you seek to recover from a natural disaster:

Secure your belongings — Whether it is your house, a car or some other personal possession, you will want to ensure that what you own has been secured. If the roof has been blown off of your home, have workers install a tarp. Take pictures, notify your insurance agent, but make sure that your home won’t sustain further damage. If your car has been damaged by a tree or flying debris, secure the same. Attempt to retrieve possessions that have been scattered; be mindful of downed power lines and other hazards as you begin your recovery.

File your insurance claims — As soon as you can, file your insurance claims. If you cannot reach your insurer immediately, begin to make repairs, but take pictures and keep your receipts. Most insurance carriers will have teams of adjusters scouring neighborhoods looking to settle claims on the spot. Be prepared to present insurance information, but if your files have been destroyed, offering your social security number should be sufficient to establish identity and to process your claim.

Recover your computer data — So much of what we own or manage is kept on computer hard drives. If your computer was damaged, all is not lost — plan to take your computer to a repairman who might be able to retrieve your data. Hopefully, you have a backup system in place whether that be a hard drive or remote storage. If neither, let this experience serve as a wake up call to protect your computer data from subsequent natural or other disasters.

Seek personal help — Following a disaster, nerves are frayed. After days of preparation, waiting for the storm to pass and beginning recovery, you may find yourself on edge. This is a normal reaction. You may feel as if you went through a war; in some ways you have, sharing a similar experience with combat veterans. If you’re stressed, having difficult sleeping and can’t seem to organize yourself to react properly and promptly, then seek medical assistance.

If possible, have a neighbor or friend help you out. Contact your church, a civic organization, your neighborhood association or other group for assistance. If you’re in imminent physical danger because of looters, then call the police. Call the fire department if you smell gas or need to have your power shut off. And call for an ambulance if you’re hurt and need medical assistance.

Further Reading

So You Have Hurricane Roof Damage, Now What?

5 Pet Evacuation Tips for Hurricane Season

Money Management reference:

reducting credit card debt

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