9 Resources to Help You After a Disaster

After a disaster, local and regional authorities — police officers, firefighters, ambulance services and state or municipal service workers — may be dispatched to severely affected areas.

Here’s what you should do ASAP:

  • Pay close attention to instructions from emergency management and law enforcement agencies.
  • Listen to your radio for updates. The media will be doing its best to keep local, state and federal information coming to you.

WHN Reader TIP – Cell Phone Updates: Can’t get any local stations on your radio? If you can, use your cell phone to call a relative away from the affected area and ask them what the national news cable stations are reporting about your situation. Use this opportunity to also update your family on your condition.

Relief Organizations

Depending upon the extent of the damage, relief organizations may or may not arrive at the storm scene. However, even if a representative is not there, the organization may be able to help you.

You can contact any of these groups for information and possible assistance. When calling, be prepared to give your current contact details, the details of the damage and what your immediate needs are (food, clothing, shelter, etc.).

Ask them what they are doing for your area and where you can go for help. Be patient and remember: They are there to help, but are probably also helping many others.

  • Red Cross
  • Civic Organizations
  • Department of Social Services
  • FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
  • Humane Society (for pet assistance or to report lost pet).
  • Your insurance agency
  • Nonprofit crisis counseling centers
  • Religious organizations
  • The Salvation Army

Local TV or radio stations will also have information about where to go for assistance.

Your Immediate Needs

Not sure what you need? Here’s a starter list that you can use.

  • Clean-up kit
  • Clothing
  • Counseling
  • Eyeglasses
  • Food
  • Hearing aids or other prosthetic devices
  • Medicine
  • Other essential items
  • Other physical aids
  • Pet needs
  • Temporary housing

 WHN TIP – Red Cross Assistance: The Red Cross may be able to provide you with a voucher to purchase new clothing, groceries, essential medications, bedding, essential furnishings, and other items to meet emergency needs. Contact your local Red Cross chapter or call 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767).