Contacting Others After a Disaster or Trauma
The most important thing to realize is that you are safe. Now, let others know how you are — and where you are.
Call Your Family
Use a cell phone (if the system is up) or wait for the landlines to clear of emergency usage.
Keep the conversation short. You can e-mail updates and requests for assistant later.
Let them know if you'll be returning home or seeking temporary housing.
WHN Expert Tip: Safe and Well
There are many Internet pages devoted to searching for family members after a disaster, but Safe and Well is the only one directly sponsored by the Red Cross. If you are searching for a family member (or if you have survived a disaster and want to get word to your family), be sure to visit the Safe and Well site first.
Find Temporary Housing
If you can't stay in your home, investigate your lodging options. Consider your friends, a hotel or a shelter.
Use the Temporary Housing Data Sheet to write down your temporary housing details.
Notify The Following Agencies
Moving to temporary housing? Let the following service providers and agencies know.
Police and fire departments — so they know you're house will be unoccupied.
Delivery services (drinking water, newspapers, etc.) — so items don't pile up, alerting thieves that no one is home.
Post office — ask them to hold your mail or update your mailing address to a new one. Alternatively, rent a post office box.
Utility and telephone companies — you may need to arrange for service to be temporraily disconnected.
Your mortgage company — they may also need to know the status of the house
Your bank and credit card companies — they won't forward statements so update your address
Your insurance company — you may also need to arrange for an appraiser if your house has been damaged
Social Security Administration (if you are receiving Social Security payments) —they won't forward checks
Employers — so they know where and how to reach you
Schools — so they know where and how to reach you
Many of these organizations will have next-step instructions for you.
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