Ten Things You Might Need after a Disaster

by Ted Ricasa on Mar 26, 2013

Family standing togetherIf you have been displaced from your home due to a fire, flood, landslide, or other unexpected disaster, you have so many overwhelmingly big things on your mind that you might understandably overlook some of the little things.  Yet, it is precisely those little things that can help you and your family cope through this emotionally devastating time. 

The following is a checklist of items you might need if you have just experienced a disaster that forced you out of your home.  Many of these items can be obtained through disaster relief agencies and other local charitable organizations:

1. Toiletries

The things we take for granted are often the things we need the most.  You will need to obtain such basic hygiene products as toothbrushes, tooth paste, shampoo, soap, razors, deodorant, hair brushes, and washcloths.

2. Baby and Pet Supplies

If you have a baby, you need to have a supply of diapers, formula, and blankets.  Likewise, if you have a pet that you cannot have someone else care for temporarily, you will want to obtain pet food, litter, and any medications your pet may require.

3. Underwear, Socks, and Sleepwear

It may be possible to wear a single pair of pants or even a shirt for days after a disaster.  However, clean underwear, fresh socks, and comfortable, warm sleepwear can make a terrible situation somewhat more tolerable.

4. Medications and Basic First-Aid Materials

If you lost prescription medications in the disaster, it is important that you contact your physician and, if necessary, your medical insurance company to have them replaced immediately.  You will also want to have basic over-the-counter pain medicine, bandages, and other first-aid materials on hand.

5. Feminine Hygiene Products

Women may not immediately think of replacing their tampons or maxi-pads after a disaster, but having essential feminine hygiene products handy when they do become necessary is very important.

6. Cell Phone/Camera

If your cell phone was destroyed in the disaster, you probably feel like you are missing a resource you had grown to depend on in your daily life.  Since working pay phones have become scarce and hotel phones can be expensive to use, replacing your cell phone would be helpful, particularly with all the calls you will be making in the days after the disaster.

If you do have a cell phone, but it is not equipped with a camera, it is a good idea to purchase at least a disposable camera.  For insurance purposes, it is important that you document the damage to your home with photographs.

7. Snacks

Although you may have access to hot meals and even meals at restaurants after a disaster, it’s a good idea to have snacks on hand, especially if you have kids.  Granola bars, canned nuts, and even candy bars can help to settle your hunger between meals and provide you with much-needed comfort.  (You may also want to invest in a can opener.)

8. Clothing Suitable for Work and School

It is highly possible that you will have to return to work and, if you have children, that they will have to return to school before you are able to return to your home or relocate to a new permanent residence.  Be sure to think sensibly in obtaining clothing for work and school; you will want to dress for the season.  If you purchase new clothing (as opposed to receiving it from a charitable organization or friends and family), keep careful track of your receipts so that you can submit them to your insurance company.

9. Gift Cards or Cash

If you have friends or family that are asking to donate goods to you, don’t be afraid to request gift certificates (be specific) or cash.  Likewise, don’t be afraid to ask for, or accept, luxuries that might seem frivolous.  You have just suffered a tremendous loss; having dinner at a nice restaurant may make all the difference in the moods of you and your loved ones.

Many times, people donate gift cards to department stores or restaurants to disaster relief agencies or charitable organizations.  These may be available for the asking.

10. Toys, Books, and Other Personal Comforts

If you have children, remember that something as simple as a stuffed animal or small toy could have a profound influence on their emotional recovery from the disaster.  Also, don’t forget about yourself and any other adults in your family.  Books, magazines, and other personal comforts that help to pass the time will make the days and weeks after a disaster far easier to endure.  While you will have many necessary tasks to fulfill in order to rebuild your life, you will also have a lot of time to occupy.  If you and your family are able to fill that time with simple entertainments, you will actually aid your transition back into normalcy.

For further information about your rights and options as a homeowner after a natural disaster, please contact Fast Home Help today.

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