2 Tips for Contacting Others After a Disaster or Trauma

Now that you are safe, update your family and friends using one or both of these methods.

  1. Call family and friends on a cell phone (if the system is up) or wait for the landlines to clear of emergency usage. Keep the conversation short. You can e-mail updates and requests for assistant later.
  2. Use the Safe and Well website, sponsored by the Red Cross. This site will let you search for a family member as well as let you get the word out to your family that you have survived a disaster.

Temporary Housing

Can’t return to your home? You may need to find a temporary location– a friend’s home, hotel, shelter. If so, follow these tips.

  1. Once you’ve relocated, write down your temporary housing details.
  2. Notify your police and fire departments that you will not be in your home for an extended period of time and how they can reach you in case of emergency.
  3. Stop any delivery services (water, newspapers).
  4. Have the post office hold your mail. If your stay is going to be extended, you might want your mail forwarded.
  5.  Notify utility companies that you aren’t staying in the house and ask what the proper procedure is.
  6. Notify your mortgage company that you aren’t in your home, and what the status is of your home’s condition.
  7. Notify your bank, credit card companies, investment and pensions providers and Social Security Administration (if you are receiving Social Security payments)  of the situation. (If you are having your mail forwarded, not all mail can be sent to a different address without notifying the sender.)
  8. Notify your insurance company where you are staying and how they can reach you.
  9. Notify your employers, your children’s school and primary care physician about your temporary address.

Many of these organizations will have next-step instructions for you.