What to Do After a Disaster

Whether returning home or venturing outside for the first time, beware of new dangers that may have arisen because of the disaster. You may experience washed-out roads, downed power poles, contaminated drinking water or other hazards. Report problems promptly to local officials so that corrective measure can be taken.

Inspect Your Home for Damage

  • Look for structural damage, loose or damaged electrical wires, and gas leaks before re-entering your home
  • If you doubt the safety of the structure, contact a professional before entering
  • Do not enter a fire-damaged house until authorities have inspected it
  • Check the refrigerator and discard spoiled food
  • Contact your insurance agent

Help Children Cope

A child can be traumatized by a disaster whether it is experienced first-hand, seen on television or learned about from adults. Monitor the nature and quantity of disaster-related programming your children are exposed to and contact your school to determine how teachers are dealing with the situation. If your children have questions about the disaster, answer them truthfully, but don't allow the subject to dominate your conversations. Provide reassuring words and affection.