Immediately or soon after an emergency or natural disaster, many people want to help. Here are some ways to help – review these, be safe, be smart.
- Stay away from disaster areas unless local authorities request volunteers.
- If you are needed, bring your own drinking water, food, and sleeping gear.
- Donate money
- Another way to help is by donating money to a recognized relief organization like your local Red Cross chapter. Do not donate food, clothing, or other personal items unless they are specifically requested.
- Help those who need special assistance
- In large-scale disasters or highly emotional events, help a neighbor who may require special assistance. People who care for them or who have large families may need additional assistance in emergency situations.
- Talk with your children
- Talk with your kids about what has happened and how they can help during the recovery. Being involved will help them deal with the situation.
- Stay tuned to your local media
- TV, radio, newspapers – and their websites – have the latest information, contact details, and locations of relief organizations and efforts in your area.
- Check government websites
- Check websites of local, state, and federal officials that may also have information on road conditions, curfews, and happenings in your area. Pay close attention to instructions from emergency management and law enforcement agencies.
- Make a difference through travel
- Check out Voluntourism: Travel That Makes A Difference for information on how you can give back while traveling around the country or the globe.
For More Information
The following is a list of agencies that provide disaster relief assistance:
- American Red Cross
- The Humane Society of the United States
- American Library Association Library Disaster Relief
- American Heart Association Disaster Resources
- TeensHealth from Nemours Natural Disasters: How to Help
- Disaster Center Disaster Relief Agencies