After a Disaster

What To Do After a Property Disaster | DISASTER411Disaster can strike suddenly, even for those who have prepared over the years or have been alerted to a potential incident in their area such as a seasonal storm or wildfire.  So it is natural for disaster victims and for those who care about them to become flustered or sometimes feel a sense of helplessness.  On the other hand, it is also common for adrenaline to kick in and for natural survival instincts to take over.


Regardless of the Situation When Reacting to a Disaster It is Usually Best To:

  1. Remain as Calm as Possible and Support Those Around You in Also Doing So
  2. Maintain a Sense of Urgency
  3. Establish a Chain of Command and Each Others Roles
  4. Identify the Priorities
  5. Implement a Plan of Action


Top Priorities To Keep in Mind Immediately After a Disaster

  • Your Personal Safety and For Those Around You
    • Tend to One’s Immediate Needs First and Find Some Help
    • Get Proper Medical Assistance if Needed
    • Secure Shelter and Stability for the Victims
    • Maintain Emotional Support for the Victims
  • Are There Any Potential Hazards or Liabilities to Be Aware of?
  • Locate, Preserve, and Secure Personal Property
    • Sensitive Documentation
      • Birth Certificates
      • Social Security Cards
      • Photo IDs
      • Insurance Policies
      • Credit Card Statements
    • Valuables
      • Cash
      • Credit Cards
      • Jewelry
      • Firearms
    • Prescriptions
      • Medication
      • Eyewear
    • Clothing and Personal Hygiene Needs
    • Sentimental Items Such as Family Photos or Heirlooms
  • Secure the Building Structure
    • Is it Safe?
    • Do the Utilities Need to Be Shut Off?
    • Does the Property Need to Be Secured?
      • Board-Up Unsecured Doors, Windows, and Roof Openings if Possible
      • Have a Temporary Fence Installed Around the Perimeter of the Property if Necessary to Help Keep Neighboring Children or Potential Burglars Away.
    • What Needs to Be Done Immediately in Order to Preserve the Property and Mitigate Damage?
    • If You Have Questions About Any of These Items Then You Should Probably Call Your Insurance Agent or Insurance Company.
  • If in a Commercial Setting, What Can Be Done to Limit Business Interruption?


Who Are All of These People?

Common household disasters such as flooding due to a pipe break can go unnoticed in the community, but in most other cases such as a fire they can become high profile very quickly.  Generally, most people who respond have genuine good intentions and want to help whether the victim solicits it or not, but unfortunately there are also some people without such noble intentions and view someone else’s disaster as their own personal opportunity.


Here are Some Different Kinds of People or Entities That You May Expect To See at Your Property After a Disaster.

  • First Responders
    • Fire Department and Investigators
    • Police Department
    • Search and Rescue
    • National Guard
    • FEMA
  • Neighbors and often Kids in the Neighborhood
  • News / Media
  • Disaster Relief Volunteers
    • The American Red Cross
    • Salvation Army
    • Churches
    • Etc.
  • Contractors
    • Restoration
    • Plumbing
    • Electrical
    • Roofing
    • HVAC
  • Insurance Adjusters – There are two very different kinds
    • Insurance Carrier Adjusters or Independent Adjusters
      • They Represent the Property’s Insurance Company
      • These Adjusters are Assigned a File to the Claim
    • Public Insurance Adjusters
      • They Represent the Insured for a Fee
      • These Adjusters Solicit the Property Owner to Be Hired
  • City Utility Companies and Inspectors
  • Burglars and Vandals


How Did They Find Out?

Disasters can become high profile very quickly in today’s day and age especially to those who work within the industry.  Here are some common ways that people find out about a disaster.

  •  “They just happen to be in the area” has always been the favorite line of someone who monitors and solicits disaster situations, but is sometimes actually the case. 
    • Loud noises such as explosions, smoke, or sirens certainly alert neighbors or those who happen to be in the area.
  • Scanner Services
    • Police and Fire Department Activity is Public Information, and there are companies who provide this real time information to subscribers such as news and media outlets, public adjusters, contractors, etc.
  • News / Media Broadcasts
  • Social Media Outlets
    • Twitter
    • Facebook
    • YouTube
  • Cell Phone Text, Photo, or Video Messages


Helpful Disaster Links