People often assume that a disaster cannot happen in their area. Yet, especially as the world deals with climate change, disasters are hitting in new, unexpected ways. Hurricanes are getting stronger while traveling more slowly. These storms are dropping more water in areas that have rarely dealt with floods. In addition, aging infrastructure means that mild earthquakes can cause damage to gas lines, structures, and roads. If you have never experienced a natural disaster, it is important to think about how to respond wherever you live.
Assess Your Situation
In the aftermath of a disaster, the primary concern is the personal safety of you and your loved ones. Interesting Engineering, Inc. says there are several things you can do to prevent further harm being done to you. You need to check your home and determine whether it is safe to enter. For example, moisture trapped in drywall can be a breeding ground for dangerous mold after storms or flooding. This mold poses a danger long after the waters have receded. You will need to find temporary shelter until the affected drywall has been removed. If your home is safe, you can begin to examine the damage and lost items. This process is especially important as you prepare to make an insurance claim.
Deal with the Emotional Toll
A natural disaster is an extremely stressful situation. Not only do you have to deal with the loss of your possessions, but you may also be dealing with the loss or injury of a loved one. American Addiction Centers explains how many people develop post-traumatic stress disorder after living through a natural disaster. Long after the event has passed, they are replaying their fearful emotions again and again. It is important to seek professional help if you or a family member cannot get some distance from the trauma. PTSD can lead to insomnia, depression, and suicide if it is not treated. It took a great deal of strength to get through the disaster, you need to let people help you recover emotionally.
Some natural disasters are made worse by the negligence of others. If a company knew that its structures were not sound, they may be held responsible if their oversight created more damage. Custodio & Dubey explains that you may have homeowner’s insurance, but the compensation from those responsible can help with pain and suffering, injuries, and other losses that aren’t covered by insurance. Pay close attention to news about the disaster as it will give you an idea of the source of local damage. Seek legal help if you think a third party is responsible for some of the harm you experienced.
Plan Your Next Move
A natural disaster can change your world in a few moments. Suddenly, many things you took for granted as being permanent fixtures in your life are gone. If it is a widespread event like a hurricane, it may cause damage to your employer, requiring a temporary break in income. It might damage your children’s schools, causing a delay in education. The question many people face is whether to stay and rebuild or to start somewhere new. Normally, you would take a great deal of time to make this kind of decision. After a disaster, you may have to make the choice much more quickly. It may be that the only way to fully recover is to move on. USA.gov has information on where to find local emergency shelters and recovery centers if you are not able to return home.
If you are fortunate, you will never have to deal with a life-changing natural disaster. However, it is foolish to assume that one could never happen to you. Just as you have a plan for a house fire or a safety kit for a power outage, you need to have a disaster plan in place for your family. Some mindful preparation can make your recovery from a disaster a little easier.
If you found this article helpful, please read “Why Even Metal Buildings Should Be Inspected and Restored After a Flood”.