Next Steps

Use these checklists to guide your plan of action for recovery.

For Your Family

  • List your available financial resources
  • Identify other sources of financial assistance
  • Make a list of things you will need to replace
  • Take photos of damage that has occurred
  • Stay in touch with family and friends
  • Consider joining a support group (or start one of your own)
  • Return to normal routines as soon as possible
  • Talk about your feelings

For Your Children

  • Give lots of reassuring hugs 
  • Provide factual information about the disaster
  • Encourage them to talk about their feelings– and be honest about your own
  • Spend extra time with them at bedtime
  • Return to regular schedules for work, play, school and rest
  • Involve your children in the recovery with specific chores
  • Praise responsible behavior

For Yourself

  • Eat properly and drink plenty of liquid
  • Exercise helps reduce stress– take a brisk walk 
  • Don’t take on too much as you begin to rebuild
  • Get plenty of rest – nap if you can’t sleep
  • Talk about your fears and concerns
  • Consider talking with a counselor who can help you manage your stress
  • Don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it

For Your Home or Apartment

  • Contact FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
  • Be sure your residence is safe before you return
  • Contact your insurance agent– don’t guess at your coverage
  • Get more than one estimate for repairs
  • Set up a safe place to keep receipts for all your expenses
  • Determine what you can do by yourself 
  • Determine what you can do with the help of a few friends
  • Determine what requires an expert (electrical, plumbing, etc.)
  • Check references carefully
  • Check contractor and repair firms with the Better Business Bureau

Get Into a Routine

During this difficult period, it is especially important that you take care of yourself. As quickly as possible, resume your usual activity patterns. Establishing a regular routine will help you and other family members begin the recovery process. 

Take Care of Yourself

Try to eat properly. Choose foods that include the basic food groups and offer a balance of fruits, vegetables, protein, carbohydrates and other essential nutrients. Limit junk foods, especially for children, and drink plenty of fluids. Healthy eating will help you rebuild your strength during the trying times ahead.

Sleeping away from familiar surroundings can be very difficult. Make every effort to get as much sleep as possible so that you will be rested and able to face each day’s challenges. Return to regular sleeping times as soon as you are able to do so. This will help your body refresh and restore itself.

Take Control

Although it may seem that fate has taken charge of your life, it is essential that you reassert control as quickly as possible. Begin to plan for your recovery, even though you may feel that there is little you can do. Assess the damage you have experienced and identify resources that are available to storm victims. Make a list of tasks each day so that you can celebrate small successes as you build up to larger accomplishments.


Share your feelings with others. Everyone affected by the disaster has a story to tell. Do not hesitate to share your experience and be a good listener for others who need to talk. Be open about your concerns, ask questions and express your emotions as they surface. 

Tune In to Your Children

You know how overwhelming the disaster has been for you as an adult. Be sensitive to the fact that your children may be particularly in need of your love and attention. Encourage them to talk about their fears. Acknowledge their losses and allow them to take an active role in the recovery process. The structure of a regular routine is especially important for children. Be sure they eat properly and get enough sleep just as soon as conditions permit. At times like these, lots of extra hugs and kisses can be very therapeutic for you and your children.