It can be overwhelming trying to decide how best to help out friends and family in the wake of a disaster—or even how to help yourself! Here are some broad guidelines and tips for starting the healing and recovery.
For Dealing with Home Damage
1. Call your insurance company and make a flood claim, not a homeowner’s claim.
2. Call your car insurance company to claim automobiles (they will be a separate claim from your home).
3. Call FEMA (800-621-3362) and get a case number. Have the social security numbers for all family members on hand, and keep your case number at the ready, as you’ll need it to apply for assistance.
4. Call a water recovery service and get on a list. It’s also a good idea to sign a contract that specifies the cost of the repairs beforehand.
5. Take photos of everything, including water lines, air condition compressors, windows and all flooded possessions. Mark a water line on the outside and inside of your house to show the adjuster how high the water got. Also, you might want to jot down make and model numbers of damaged items.
7. If you are on a long list for recovery, start pulling up carpets and cutting dry wall (minimum of 4-foot high). Place all soggy stuff on the curb. If you can get blowers and dehumidifiers, go for it. Regular fans won’t cut it and aren’t worth even trying. If you can, turn on your air conditioner. It helps along the drying process, too.
Ideas for Helping Others
On-site cleaning up and packing is helpful, but there’s not always room for everyone at the flooded house. Here are some other crucial things you can do to help out.
1. Laundry. Even if clothing didn’t get wet, it will smell like flood water. Everything in the house that’s being saved will need to be washed.
2. Stashing away important items for others, such as jewelry, silver, photo books, record albums, etc. If you’re able to keep keepsakes dry and safe, that is a huge help.
3. Contacting storage unit companies, movers, etc. and researching the cost.
4. Drying out pictures/artwork.
5. Providing childcare, a place to stay or a home-cooked meal.
No matter which way you choose to help, your efforts will mean so much and make a huge difference. #HoustonStrong #TexasStrong