So where DO you start when everything has been lost?

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Once again, nightmare tornadoes have destroyed homes, businesses, and lives across central and southern America.  Piles of debris are all that remain of homes and lifetimes of memories.  In the initial hours and days following such a disaster, what do you do?  Where do you start when everything has been lost?

In a crisis, it’s easy to lose perspective and fear causes us to, quite literally, not think clearly.  A “To Do” list is needed.  Here are a few tips from my book.

  • You need help! Check to see if a relative or a  friend can provide temporary housing for your family. This is no time to be proud. You need help, and your true friends will be more than willing to do anything they can to help.
  • If a Red Cross or FEMA shelter isn’t an option, you’ll have to stay in a hotel or a tent. If you’re a timeshare owner, this might be a good time to use up some of those banked weeks!
  • Access your important documents in your Grab-n-Go Binder, or the one you have stored with a trusted friend, and begin to contact your insurance companies.
  • Quickly access any funds you have in your banking account(s). Remember, in an emergency “Cash is King!” If the power is out, chances are that your debit and credit cards will be useless, and vendors may not be willing to accept checks.
  • Use your cell phone or digital camera to begin documenting the damage to your home, vehicle, and property. E-mail the photos to yourself, so you’ll have easy access to them in the future and will be able to forward them to your insurance agent.
  • Now, more than ever, spend time with people who lift you up and always seem to see the silver lining behind every cloud.

Above all, guard your mental and emotional health.  Be willing to seek out a pastor, counselor, or mental health professional and understand that it’s okay to cry and grieve.  Recovery, in every sense of the word, is going to take time.

When our kids are looking to us for guidance and comfort, we moms have to keep it together.  We’re resilient like that.

There may be links in the post above that are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission, which does not affect the price you pay for the product. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

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I'm the original Survival Mom, and have been helping moms worry less and enjoy their homes and families more for 5 years. Come join me on my journey to becoming more prepared to handle everyday emergencies and worst case scenarios.

(5) Readers Comments

  1. I live in Huntsville, AL. Our area was devastated in the April 2011 storms and were hit hard again last week. I am a member of our county Certified Emergency Response Team (CERT) and again spent the weekend helping with recovery efforts. Between last year’s storms and this one, I learned something that I would do immediately following a tornado (or other event) that damaged our home. If there was enough damage to the structure that the home was unsecured, but items were salvageable… the first phone call I would make is to the POD company (or one like it). For about $250, POD will come deliver a lockable storage “trailer” to your property, come back to the house to pick it up and store it off site if desired, for up to one month (of course, you can pay to keep it stored longer) and then deliver it back to you at your new location. For people without a truck and the ability to transport belongings to a nearby storage facility (which is much cheaper but you’re doing all the transporting and loading on and off a truck yourself), this can be a huge help. Plus, when it’s time to move into a new location, the items are already loaded and ready to go… no need to reload from a regular storage facility. The worry about looters is removed, your items are immediately protected from the elements, and it gives you time to figure out what you are going to do next. PODs can be delivered quickly… they have a disaster program and know what they are doing. Check them out… and add their phone number to your Grab-and-Go binder… and no, I do NOT work for them. :-)

    • That’s an excellent suggestion and would work for many other types of disasters.

    • Fantastic idea! I immediately added the ph# to my phone. Tornados scare the bejeesus out of me! They are so completely unpredictable!

  2. Because of tornadoes in my area recently and many times past; one a near miss in ’95, I rented a large safety deposit box at the credit union. (I’m 90 mi from the gulf coast). It holds quite a lot of documents, house papers, etc. I don’t store coins, money or jewelry, S.S., 401k papers, and stock certificates. I suggest this to everyone living in an area that has storms. S.mall home fire safes are ok for some items. We keep extra cash on hand at all times. After seeing all the damage over the years on the news, I wonder if it even pays to own a house!

  3. PODs are great but are not the only ones anymore. PackRat, UPAK and some others have pop up. Check your local listing and keep checking every 6 months when you update your numbers. Some new ones may have come in and even old ones closed by the time you may need them. Also rental car companies like Enterprise will bring a vehicle to you and may run out of them quickly right after a disaster. Keep a list of closest ones to your location and also list with them any member numbers and discounts you may be able to get with each company, ex: because you are an AARP, Cosco, Sams Club, AAA member.

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