Recovering from a Disaster

Recovering from a disaster can be an overwhelming process and a lot of people do not know what to do when disaster strikes.  Your primary concern is the safety of you and your family. Then, if and when assistance is available, knowing how to access it makes the process faster and less stressful. This page offers some general advice on steps to take after a disaster in order to begin getting your home, your community and your life back to normal.

Have damages following a disaster? Contact your local emergency manager.

  • Letting your local officials know of any damages you may have and what immediate assistance you may need will begin the process of getting the right resources out to you. 
  • Local officials and voluntary organization such as The Red Cross or Texas Baptist Men are options for immediate needs such as food and shelter or clean up assistance at your home.

Do you have insurance? Contact your insurance agent to file a claim.

  • Make sure to document all your damages. Take photos and make lists of all damages done before you clean up. 
  • Save all your receipts for post-damage repair and clean up. There are some categories for receipts available for insurance claims:
    • Valuable Electronics
    • Appliances
    • Jewelry
    • Furniture
    • Sports or hobby equipment
    • Significant home improvements

Please follow up with your insurance company about more information on saving receipts. 

  • Flood insurance may be separate from your homeowner's insurance. This is because some insurance companies do not feel the need to force extra coverage on a homeowner who do not live in a high flood area. If you live in a floodplain area, contact your insurance company for more information on flood insurance.  

Insurance Picture

Hazard Vs. Risk

Safety issues created by a disaster.

  • There are some safety precautions you should take following a disaster. Be aware of hazards that could have been created by the disaster. Watch for damaged electrical wiring and slippery floors, broken glass, gas leaks, contaminated water, contaminated buildings and washed-out roads. 
  • If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering. Inform local authorities about any health and safety issues.
  • Do not enter your damaged home if: 
    • You smell gas.
    • Floodwaters remain around the building.
    • Authorities have not declared it safe to enter. 
  • Safety is your first priority. If you notice a hazard, do not go near it and call your local authorities. 

Recovery from a disaster is a gradual process, take care of yourself and family

  • If you are returning home after a disaster, know it can be both mentally and physically challenging. You may be anxious to see your property, but do not return home before local officials say it is safe to return.
  • Administer first aid and seek medical attention for any injured person following a disaster. 
  • Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of death of further injury. If you must move an unconscious person, first stabilize the neck and back, then call for help immediately.