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Disaster Recovery

Returning home after a disaster is often a top priority. Families want to determine the effect of the disaster on their property and begin the recovery process. Before you enter your home, follow these guidelines to make sure it is safe to do so:

• Walk carefully around the outside to check for loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damages.
• If you have doubts about the safety of your home, have an inspection by a qualified building inspector.
• Do not enter your home if you smell gas, floodwater surrounds the building, your home was damaged by fire, or officials have not declared it safe.
• Enter your home carefully to check for damage. Beware of loose boards, slippery floors and interior debris.

The emotional toll of disasters is a difficult one to manage. It is normal to feel anxious about your safety and the safety of your friends and neighbors. Grief, anger, and profound sadness are normal reactions to an abnormal event. There are basic steps that you can take to meet your physical and emotional needs:

• Try to return to as many of your personal and family routines as possible.
• Get rest and drink plenty of water.
• Limit your exposure to the sights and sounds of disaster, especially on television, the radio, and newspapers.
• Focus on the positive.
• Recognize your feelings.
• Reach out and accept help from others.
• Do something that you enjoy. Do something as a family that brought you joy in the past.
• Say connected with your family, faith, and other support systems.
• Realize that recovery is a long process, and may take longer than anticipated.

Our pets are often considered members of our family and they too experience stress from emergency and disaster situations. If you have pets, try to find and comfort them. Remember that scared animals may react by biting and scratching. Handle your pet carefully and calmly. Some pets may become upset and react in unusual ways such as spraying urine, defecating on floors or destroying property.
    Picture of Pet
Pets need regular care and attention to help them calm down. Try to leave pets with a family member, friend, veterinarian or boarding facility while you are cleaning up your home. Animals are naturally inquisitive and could be injured if brought back to a damaged home. Small things that you can do to help your pet cope after a disaster include:
• Leaving toys, a blanket, or favorite human's unsoiled clothing to provide comfort.
• Make sure your pet follows his usual diet and has plenty of water.
• Visit your pets regularly, speak calmly and take time to play with them. This may also aid in your recovery as well.