What Now? How to Navigate the Aftermath of a Disaster
It can be a stressful and disorienting time after your home suffers fire or water damage, especially if the damage is particularly devastating. There are many steps to take to move on from this incident, and it can be overwhelming to figure out what to do next. This blog aims to give some guidance to help move you in the right direction in the aftermath of a disaster.
Take Care of Yourself and Family
Contact your local disaster relief service, such as the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army. They can help you find a place to stay, as well as food, clothing, and medicine. Make sure that you have a safe place to live temporarily. Get plenty of rest and ask for help; do not try to do it all alone.
Help Your Pets
Try to leave pets with a family member, friend or veterinarian if you are visiting or cleaning your property. Keep your pets out of the house until the cleanup is complete to keep them safe.
Security and Safety
Do NOT enter a damaged property unless the fire department says it is safe. Watch for damage caused by the incident; roofs and floors may be damaged and could fall. The fire department will make sure the utility services (water, electricity, and gas) are safe to use. If they are not safe, firefighters will have your utilities turned off or disconnected before they leave. DO NOT try to turn them back on yourself. Contact your police department to let them know that you will be away from your property.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Contact your insurance company right away. Your property will have immediate needs such as covering windows, doors and more.
If you do not have insurance, there are organizations that can help, such as:
- American Red Cross
- Religious organizations
- Public agencies, such as the public health department
- State or municipal emergency services office
Get in touch with your landlord or mortgage lender ASAP. Contact your credit card company to report credit cards that were lost in the incident and request replacement. Save all of your receipts for any money you spend; these may be needed later by the insurance company to prove any losses claimed on your tax return.
Handling the Damage
Call a company that specializes in cleaning and/or restoring personal items, such as SERVPRO. Whether you or your insurer buys this type of service, be clear on who will pay for it. Be sure to ask for an estimate of cost for the work and agree to it in writing.
- Secure your home against more damage
- Estimate and repair damage to your property and renew items of personal property
- Store repaired household items until needed
SERVPRO of Elk Grove/E. Schaumburg/Itasca/Roselle and SERVPRO of Palatine/Rolling Meadows are ready to respond 24/7 to your emergency. Contact (847) 593-3055 for service that is Faster to Any Size Disaster!