Disaster Zone

How to Immediately Help Your Citizens Recover from Hurricane Florence

What they need is information to help them through the recovery process.

by Eric Holdeman / September 19, 2018

Emergency managers and fire chiefs are trying to scrape by day-by-day with the limited budgets that you have for normal operations. But, in a presidentially declared disaster, like that from Hurricane Florence, you have several new funding options available to you to help your citizens restore their damaged property and work through the recovery process. 

The No. 1 thing they want is good information to make all the individual decisions that they need to make to bounce back from the damages that the disaster has caused. The tool to do that is The Red Guide to Recovery. This step-by-step manual guides individuals and families through the many challenges and pitfalls that present themselves in post-disaster scenarios. These include health and safety concerns, reuniting with loved ones and pets, navigating the insurance claim process, etc. There are only two types of people that emerge from a disaster, survivors and victims, and a little knowledge can make all the difference.

Here are five examples of what this guide will do for your citizens:

1) Protect them from disaster predators (fly-by-night contractors, unscrupulous flood dry-out companies, movers, scammers, looters, opportunists, etc.)

2) Help them face the challenges of dealing with insurance claims (low-ball estimates, Band Aids vs. replacement of damaged items, etc.)

3) Help them create an inventory of their personal property when all is lost — after the disaster ...

4) Tips on how to vet and select the right contractor to rebuild their home 

5) How to deal with mold, floodwater contamination, asbestos, and other hazardous materials.

The cover on these books can be customized for your individual jurisdiction with credit being given to the agency or jurisdiction providing the books to their residents. These books can include a personal message on the inside, from the fire chief, emergency manager, mayor or other senior county official. Many thousands of these books have been given to disaster survivors by their communities for fires in the West or flooding that occurs nationally. It is a proven way to show value and care for your community members.

Here are four ways you can fund these books:

1)  Your elected officials, be they councilmembers or commissioners will want to show that they are proactively doing something for their citizens. Year end funds can be used to purchase these books now before the end of the fiscal year. This will make an immediate impact!

2)  Better yet, the federal checkbook is open for this disaster. Federal disaster recovery funding can be used to purchase the books, as has been done for previous disasters by other jurisdictions, and thus cover the 75 percent cost with the local jurisdiction picking up the other 25 percent of the cost share — a bargain by any definition!!

3)  You have your own agency "year-end funds" that perhaps you have not totally expended, or there have been salary savings from personnel vacancies, that can be used to purchase the books and be seen as providing material support to the people looking for help now!

4)  Local corporations may be willing to donate funds toward the purchase of these books, and all you have to do is make a request to them and show the value.

By now you know that I only endorse quality products that I personally believe in and trust the accuracy of the information or performance of the product. I highly recommend this publication to you and know that it will provide the value that I outlined above.

The disaster response is over, now is the time to get disaster recovery launched! Remember, FEMA is only a small part of the solution. They will not do what this book can do for the people you serve.