EARTHQUAKES: Recover right
IN THE EVENT OF A major earthquake, survival is the most important thing.
However, once aftershocks and after-effects have subsided, the journey to reclaiming your life may be a long and hard road to navigate.
Following aftershocks, continue to check for gas leaks, chemical spills, damaged electrical wiring and broken water pipes.
Take pictures of any damage to your property and home.
Contact your insurance agent or company right away to begin your claims process. Keep records of any repair or cleaning costs.
Check on the condition of your neighbours, especially those who are seniors or disabled.
Be in communication
Monitor local radio or television reports about where to get emergency housing, food, first aid, clothing, and financial assistance.
Place all phones back on their cradles.
Update your out of area contact, tell them your status, then stay off the phone. Emergency responders need to use the phone lines for lifesaving communications.
Food and water
If power is off, plan meals to use up refrigerated and frozen foods first. If you keep the door closed, food in your freezer may be good for a couple of days. Save canned goods for later.
If your water is off or unsafe, you can drink from water heaters, melted ice cubes, or canned vegetables. Avoid drinking water from swimming pools or spas.
Do not eat or drink anything from open containers that are near shattered glass.
In the next few weeks
If your gas was turned off, you will need to arrange for the gas company to turn it back on.
If the electricity went off and then came back on, check your appliances and electronic equipment for damage.
If water lines broke, look for water damage.
Locate and/or replace critical documents that may have been misplaced, damaged, or destroyed.
Contact the Department of Emergency Management, Red Cross, or any other official body to find out about financial assistance.
If you need repairs to your home, check with the contractors and consultants to ensure your quotations for rebuilding are accurate. Fraud is common following a disaster.
Talk with your family about how they are feeling. Children and older adults are of special concern in the aftermath of disasters.
Reach out to neighbourhood or community organisations and get involved. Your voice is important in deciding how your community will rebuild in the years to come. (NN)