Picking up the pieces after a disaster

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Husband. Dad. Career and leadership development savvy by day, huge DIY fan by night.
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Seattle - House damaged in Perkins Lane landslide, 1954

Getting your life back together after a disaster can be a challenge. Sometimes, it’s hard to know where to begin. Whether your family has been affected by a tornado, flooding, a hurricane or any other disaster, the event itself is only the beginning of what can be a long, slow recovery.

Recovering from a natural disaster takes time, and rebuilding your life can be a very difficult experience. However, there are ways that you can go about the entire process that will make it much easier and less stressful on you and your family. Here is a list of helpful ways to pick up the pieces:

Be safe

If you evacuated your home, your first instincts may be to immediately return to your home and check for damage. Depending on the damage, doing this can be extremely unsafe. There could be any number of hazards that may not be apparent at first glance. If flood waters have crept into your home, wear protective clothing like boots and rubber gloves when you go inside.

Ask for help

Never be afraid to reach out for help following a natural disaster. Rebuilding your

life is going to take time and, more likely than not, you are going to need help. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has many resources for helping people affected by disaster. It can even help you find family and friends, if you’ve been cut off from each other.

Find medical help

If you or anyone in your family has been injured during the event or in the aftermath, then be sure you seek medical treatment immediately. There is a good chance that emergency services will be stretched thin, which is why it’s a good idea to have a first aid kit in your home that you can grab if you have to evacuate.

Contact your insurance company

One of the most important steps in rebuilding your life after a traumatic event is to contact your insurance company. Your provider will be able to walk you through all of the necessary steps, help you file claims and give you the support you need. Just be sure you contact your agent as soon as possible, so they can begin to help you quickly.

Deal with your emotions

Often, people forget about their emotional state after a major event like a natural disaster. You need to watch your family closely for a while after the disaster. Be sure no one is depressed, in shock or having trouble controlling their emotions. Emotional pain can be very damaging to a person, so seek help if you or anyone in your family exhibits ongoing fear, sadness, helplessness, or other negative emotions.

Remember that rebuilding your life and picking up the pieces after a natural disaster is going to take time. You may feel overwhelmed at first, but with all of the avenues for getting help and support, you will get through it.