Who Will Help You After a Disaster?

After a storm, local and regional authorities — such as police officers, firefighters, ambulance services and state or municipal service workers — may be dispatched to severely affected areas.

  1. Pay close attention to instructions from emergency management and law enforcement agencies.
  2. Listen to your radio for updates. Media will be doing their best to keep local, state and federal information coming to you.

    WHN READER TIP: Cell Phone Updates

    Can’t get any local stations on your radio? If you can, use your cell phone to call a relative away from the affected area and ask them what the national news cable stations are reporting about your situation. Use this time to update your family on your condition.

Relief Organizations

Depending upon the extent of the damage, relief organizations may or may not arrive at the storm scene. However, even if a representative is not there, the organization may be able to help you.

  1. You can contact any of these groups for information and possible assistance. When calling, be prepared to give your current contact details, the details of the damage and what your immediate needs are (food, clothing, shelter, etc.). Feel free to ask them what they are doing for your area:

    • American Red Cross
    • Civic Organizations
    • Department of Social Services
    • FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
    • Humane Society (for pet assistance or to report lost pet).
    • Your insurance agency
    • Nonprofit crisis counseling centers
    • Religious organizations
    • The Salvation Army
    • Listen to the TV or radio to find out where to go for assistance.
  2. You can ask the Red Cross, FEMA and other volunteer organizations for help with your immediate needs such as:
    • Clean-up kit
    • Clothing
    • Counseling
    • Eyeglasses
    • Food
    • Hearing aids or other prosthetic devices
    • Medicine
    • Other essential items
    • Other physical aids
    • Pet needs
    • Temporary housing

  3. The American Red Cross may be able to provide you with a voucher to purchase new clothing, groceries, essential medications, bedding, essential furnishings, and other items to meet emergency needs.
    • Listen to the radio or TV to find out where to go for assistance, or call the Red Cross at 1-800-REDCROSS (1-800-733-2767).
    • Be patient and remember: They are there to help, but are probably also helping many others.