Natural disasters can strike at any time. People in the path of such disasters can have their lives turned upside down in a matter of moments. Knowing what to do, including who to call, when a natural disaster strikes can help people get back on their feet.
Call your family immediately after the storm to let them know you’re safe and sound and to confirm that they are as well. If you’re incapable of doing so due to downed phone lines or interrupted mobile or internet service, do so the moment you regain access to such services. If you’re having trouble reaching a family member who also was in the line of the storm, contact a government agency, such as FEMA in the United States or Public Safety Canada in Canada, for help finding a missing loved one.
Local utility company
If there are any downed power lines on or around your property, contact your local utilities provider immediately. Contact the company even if you suspect your neighbors might have already called. Downed power lines pose a dangerous threat to anyone within their vicinity, so avoid them until the company responds.
Police can direct callers to shelters if they need lodging or food and water after a natural disaster. Police also can help people who were hurt during a storm or those who may be safe but incapable of getting out of their homes on their own. In addition, police might be able to conduct wellness visits to see if relatives you cannot reach are safe. Such visits may not always be possible, as police and other first responders tend to be busy in the wake of natural disasters, but the police may know that certain areas are dealing with a lack of electricity, even though residents are otherwise safe.
Whether you own or rent your home or apartment, contact your insurance agency in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Agencies may send inspectors to assess the damage, and the earlier you call the more quickly such inspections can take place. Calling as soon as possible after disaster strikes can get your claim on the books and hasten the reimbursement process if inspectors find any damage that’s covered under the terms of your policy. Drivers also should contact their insurance companies immediately if their vehicles were damaged during a natural disaster.
Knowing who to call in the wake of a natural disaster can calm people’s nerves and start them on the path to recovery.