Archive for May 2013

Getting Help After a Disaster

Edited by Dr. Jacqueline McBride, CPM, CVA

Access to Disaster Help and Assistance

Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in these affected areas are encouraged to apply for assistance by registering one of three ways:

Survivors, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.

Disaster Recovery Center locator at

SBA Disaster Assistance:

Disaster Loan Application:

SBA Fact Sheet for Homeowners and Renters:

Don’t Wait for Insurance Settlement to Apply for an SBA Loan:


 What Can You Do On

 Find disaster assistance that meets your personal needs

Locate over 70 forms of assistance from 17 federal agencies

Apply for disaster assistance

Check the progress of your applications


How to Find a Shelter

If you are in immediate need of shelter during a disaster:


How to Locate Loved Ones during an Emergency

Phone lines may get congested. To get in contact with friends and family, use text messaging services and update social media networks.

You can also let your family and friends know you are safe and well after an emergency via This website is designed to help make communication between family members and friends easier.

To register yourself on the site, click on the “List Myself as Safe and Well” button.  To search the list of those who have registered themselves, click on the “Search Registrants” button. The successful search results will display a loved one’s first name, last name and a brief message.

The Red Cross Safe and Well secure website provides a way for people to find information on survivors affected by the storms. To register, visit Open Red Cross shelters can also be found on

Individuals with a Blackberry, Android or Apple device can download the FEMA app to access safety tips, shelter locations, and more.

Resources to Recover & Rebuild

Meet with someone in person at a federal disaster recovery center

Find rental properties identified and provided by federal agencies

Need to talk about your disaster? Call the Disaster Distress Helpline toll-free anytime at 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746 (standard rates apply)

Get information on FEMA’s Public Assistance Program, which provides assistance to states, local and tribal communities, and certain types of nonprofit organizations.

Find a hotel participating in the Transitional Shelter Assistance (TSA) Program at


Helping Children Cope with Disasters

“Disasters can leave children feeling frightened, confused and insecure. Whether a child has personally experienced trauma, or has seen the event on television or has heard it discussed by adults, it is important for parents and teachers to be informed and ready to help if reactions to stress begin to occur.

Here are some suggestions to help reassure children:

  • Provide factual information about the recent disaster and current plans for insuring their safety along with recovery plans;
  • Encourage your children to talk about their feelings;
  • Re-establish your daily routine for work, school, play, meals and rest;
  • Involve your children by giving them specific chores to help them feel they are helping to restore family and community life; and
  • Praise and recognize responsible behavior.”

For more information, visit and


Helping Pets:


Cleaning Up and Returning Home After a Disaster

“After a disaster strikes, use extreme caution when returning home. You may be anxious to see your property but do not return to your home before the area is declared to be safe by local officials. Before entering your home, be sure to take the following measures:

  • Check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage;
  • Keep a battery-powered radio with you so you can listen for emergency updates and news reports;
  • Use a battery-powered flash light to inspect a damaged home; and
  • If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.

When cleaning up damage, take the following safety precautions:

  • Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves;
  • Learn proper safety procedures and operating instructions before operating any gas-powered or electric-powered saws or tools;
  • Clean up spilled medicines, drugs, flammable liquids and other potentially hazardous materials; and
  • Beware of post-disaster fraud by asking for identification of federal or state officials and safeguarding personal information.”

For trusted organizations to donate money or learn about ways to serve visit:

Information on volunteering and donations can be found at

Stay informed of FEMA’s activities online: videos and podcasts are available at and; Follow us on Twitter at and on Facebook at


References:  Retrieved 5/22/13