The immediate danger of the disaster has passed and now is the time to begin getting your life back to normal. Here are a few steps that you will want to take.
1. Assess the Damage
As soon as it is safe, do a survey of your home and begin noting the damage to the structure and your belongings. If you have a video or digital camera, use that to document the damage. In this case the old adage holds true: a picture truly is worth a thousand words.
2. Contact Your Insurance Company
Contact your insurer(s) to let them know what has happened. If you do not have your policy number, they should be able to look it up by your name or address. Follow any instructions they give as far as filing claims.
3. Beware of Fraudulent Contractors
Following a disaster it is common for unethical repairmen and/or contractors to come to the area. Never hire anyone for repairs who cannot show you a current valid business license to work in Wyoming. In any case, never, under any circumstances, should you pay money up front for repairs. If you have questions, call your insurance company to see if they can refer you to a reputable contractor that they use in the area.
4. Apply for Federal Aid Through FEMA
FEMA may be able to assist some individuals following a disaster. Have the following information ready:
Current gross family income
Date of loss
Directions to the damaged property
If the damaged property is a primary or secondary residence
Name and type of insurance, insurance company name, and agent's name and phone number
Your immediate emergency needs
Your social security number and home phone number
Once you have all of that information together, you can go to FEMA's website to learn more and apply or call 1-800-462-9029. For the hearing impaired, the TDD line is 1-800-462-9029. When you conclude your call, be sure to write down your control number, since this is the way FEMA will reference your claim.
5. Help Others Around You
Maybe you weren't as heavily impacted by the disaster as your neighbors were. If that's the case, do everything you can to assist them in getting their lives back together. With all of its resources, the government can't provide people with what they really need following a disaster: a sense of community. Helping to clean up debris in someone's back yard or watching a neighbor's children while they are repairing their home can be infinitely more helpful than any assistance the government can provide.