Natural Disaster Guide: Be Prepared and Organized After a Natural Disaster

disaster guide


Houston had a terrifying natural disaster last week, on a day that seemed like a regular day with lots of weather. That followed an emergency just 2 weeks before from another weather alert. Emergency preparedness is no joke all year long, not only during Hurricane Season. We have lots of lists of how to be prepared for an emergency. What do we do after that emergency happens?

Preparing a disaster kit

A disaster kit can be useful no matter what situation occurs. The kit contents can be stored in a water-tight bin. Being organized with your kit gives you peace of mind in the event of a difficult situation.  The best case is to gather the supplies this week and review the contents once a year. The American Red Cross recommends you have the following basic supplies in your kit however you may want to add more items depending on your home and your situation.


Contacting others

We are all in contact with our families. However, during an emergency, keep in contact as much as possible. Gather your neighbors’ contact information and keep everyone’s information on your cell phone. Group text streams and social media are reliable, although family members are eager to hear your voice with a phone call. You can share on a family text thread on text to share news and updates. Staying in contact keeps everyone aware of what’s happening.


Contacting the appropriate agencies and insurance people after a natural disaster

Be organized with the insurance company app on your devices. It lists important numbers, ways to connect online, and details of your coverage. Get in touch with your own insurance company right away to make a claim. Inspect your home for structural damage, gas leaks, water damage, or electrical issues. Be sure it is safe to re-enter if you have evacuated. Document the damage with photos, videos, and detailed notes for insurance claims. Save all insurance information digitally for documentation and follow-up. You can seek disaster assistance from local, state, and federal agencies such as FEMA. Visit the FEMA website or call the FEMA helpline at 1-800-621-3362 (TTY 1-800-462-7585). Complete the online application form with details about the damage incurred. It is going to take time. The disaster recovery process involves a series of coordinated steps to help individuals and communities return to normalcy after a disaster.

Supporting others during a disaster

Houston is a major city where sections of the city may not be equally affected by a natural disaster. There are ways you can support others during a natural disaster. Offer your home as temporary shelter if it’s safe and you have the space. Share resources like food, water, blankets, and first aid supplies with those in need. Ensure your neighbors, especially the elderly, are safe and have what they need. Maintain a calm and positive outlook to help reduce anxiety and panic among those around you. Equally important is support for your mental health during a crisis.


Stay informed

Be prepared with the necessary items to stay informed from local television and radio stations. A battery-operated or hand-crank radio is invaluable in an emergency. Keep portable power banks charged and ready to recharge your mobile devices. Solar chargers are another option for keeping devices charged when conventional power sources are unavailable. Portable generators can keep your refrigerator running for days. Disasters unfold over days. Be alert and continue listening to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay updated. Ongoing information about the situation will help you stay on track in your response.


Take care of yourself

Stressful times require extra self-care. Be sure to keep your routines of meals and bedtimes as rituals as much as possible. Accept help as it is offered with the idea of paying things forward later. With more rest, nutrition, and hydration, you will be more resilient.


We are here to support each other during emergencies. Keep this list where you can find it for reference if needed. A plan is priceless when emergencies happen.


2 replies
  1. Linda Samuels
    Linda Samuels says:

    Ellen- There are more and more ‘surprise’ weather events now. Were you personally affected by the hurricane? I was thinking of you. These storms that come from nowhere are especially frightening.

    Your list of preparedness advice is fantastic! The time to do something is BEFORE disaster strikes, and you make a compelling argument for why that’s important. I also like your emphasis on staying in touch with neighbors, family, insurance companies, and other resources.

    It’s always good to be prepared. Let’s hope we never need to use the emergency supplies.

    Stay safe, my friend.

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