What Resources Do People Need in a Disaster?

Immediately after a disaster occurs the scene will very likely be confusion and chaos. However, with planning and preparedness, your community can begin the job of recovering soon.

One important aspect of that recovery is being able to access the resources you will need. Just reaching your insurance agent may be difficult because telephone communication may be down.

There are many local, state, and federal agencies that can help you. Some general guidelines offered by FEMA:

  • Financial aid is an immediate need of disaster victims. Financial contributions should be made through a recognized voluntary organization to help ensure that contributions are put to their intended use.
  • Before donating food or clothing, wait for instructions from local officials. Immediately after a disaster, relief workers usually don't have time or facilities to set up distribution channels, and too often these items go to waste.
  • Volunteers should go through a recognized voluntary agency such as the Medical Reserve Corps, American Red Cross or Salvation Army. They know what is needed and are prepared to deal with the need. Local emergency services officials also coordinate volunteer efforts for helping in disasters.
  • Organizations and community groups wishing to donate items should first contact local officials to find out what is needed and where to send it. Be prepared to deliver the items to one place, tell officials when you'll be there, and provide for transportation, driver, and unloading.