Tahoe chief’s corner: Emergency preparedness – disaster recovery
Special to the Bonanza
The last several weeks we’ve reviewed the steps involved in Emergency Preparedness and the necessary steps to take before an emergency, but how do we proceed after an emergency or disaster?
What are the next important steps to take during the recovery process?
During the first 24 hours after a disaster, the following checklist serves as a quick reference guide to follow:
• Contact your family to let them know of your loss and your condition. Your family and friends are a critical part of your internal support group. If communication with family and friends is difficult, register with the American Red Cross “Safe and Well” website: safeandwell.communityos.org
• Contact your insurance company about the loss and request that the house be secured, if necessary. Do not throw any items away until an inventory has been made.
• Stop by the Fire District’s Administration Office, 866 Oriole Way, Incline Village, for a complimentary Home Inventory USB drive. It contains important preparedness information and provides a place for you to store your home inventory and scanned household documents.
• Contact your doctor’s office or pharmacy to request replacement prescriptions, if necessary.
• Ensure that your immediate disaster caused needs are met, including food and water for you, your family and your pets, and clothing. This may include contacting your local chapter of the American Red Cross for assistance.
• Arrange for temporary shelter. This may also include contacting the American Red Cross.
• If structure is still standing: Do not re-enter the damaged home or building unless fire authorities say it is safe to do so. Allow proper authorities to reconnect utilities. Do not attempt to reconnect them yourself. Do not eat or drink medicines food or beverages that have been exposed to heat, smoke, soot, chemicals or flood waters.
• Start creating a list of lost inventory, room by room for your insurance company.
• Begin plans to rebuild and/or locate a new home or apartment. Do not rush into signing contracts for rebuilding or public insurance adjusting services. Give yourself time to get professional counsel and think things through.
This checklist will help you to get started on the necessary steps towards recovery. For more information go to theredguidetorecovery.com.
“Chief’s Corner” is a regular feature in the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza from North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District Chief Mike Brown, offering information, tips and education material on fire safety, emergency preparedness and other pertinent topics.