Disaster Assistance, how to begin.
Recovering after a declared disaster takes time and knowledge of state and federal policies and procedure.

Welcome to Truck And Tools Disaster Assistance pages.

Post Disaster To Do list.

  1. Return to your property as soon as it's safe.
  2. Do not move or enter building until you have fully documented the damage with photographs that include date time or meta data to extract date time later.
  3. How to photograph your disaster property. 
    1. Start at the street included a street name or mailbox with address on it and the house or property in the background.
    2. Walk a completely around your home staying far enough away to capture full side views of your home and property.
    3. First 360 degree pass is made up of 6 pictures
      1. Mailbox
      2. Street sign
      3. Front view
      4. Right side view
      5. Rear view
      6. Left side view
    4. Second 360 degree pass around your home is made up of more images closer to the home so details of the home can be clearly seen. I recommend between 10 and 20 feet away from home and stager your pictures about 10 to 15 feet overlapping the previous images so not to miss any details. 
      1. One (1) picture every 10 to 15 feet around the home or property.
      2. Between 10 to 20 feet from the structure.
      3. Make good high definition pictures with your date time stamp included. See your phones watermark settings for your camera.
      4. DO NOT EDIT your pictures smaller. If you edit your location information and your meta time stamps may be removed.
  4. When entering your structure check to make sure it is safe. Have a person walk with you holding a light so you can see what you are taking pictures of. Be aware of your surroundings when entering your home or structure after it was damaged by a storm.
  5. Take pictures ever few feet making sure you show as much detail as possible and document all of your personal property before you touch it or move it out of the structure. Repeat taking pictures ever few feet until you have documented your whole structure.

Clearing out personal items and damaged items.

  1. Document every item you drag to the curb of your street for debris pickup. With or without insurance you should document items so if you are given a grant to replace these items you can prove you spent your grant money correctly. For those that have insurance you should know that you must document all items if you are covered for replacement at full cost. If you are covered for replacement value you have to go much more detailed to recover your full insurable amount. 
  2. If coverage is replacement value you must do the following and present the data to your insurance adjuster. 
    1. Take a picture of the item. 
    2. Take a picture of the Serial Number, Model Number, Name, Part Number or any other identifiable amount. 
    3. Do a quick search on eBay or the internet to determine it's market value. (used items)
    4. If you are not able to find used for sale items that match search for the retail value of the items and use your insurance market value adjustment percentages. Example: New price $100, age deprecation 80% market value $20 less condition before disaster. Get with your adjuster to better understand your insurance companies requirements and policy. 

Federal Agencies you must apply with if you are looking for any type of financial assistance in the form of loans or grants.

  1. File a claim with your insurance companies. Home, auto, airplane, boat, etc.
  2. Register with FEMA
  3. Complete the SBA Disaster Loan Application 
    NOTE: Do not accept the loan offer until you read your options I provided you. You have time, don't be fooled into signing your Loan Agreement too early. 
  4. File for housing assistance with FEMA and your State.
  5. File for volunteer assistance. Accept help from any and all groups that offer help without you having to pay for the help. Ask friends and family that have phone and internet to sign you up with not for profit and faith-based originations.  
  6. Find out where you can collect food, hot meals, ice, water, fuel and any personal items you need to be able to work at your property.
  7. DO NOT HIRE HELP to repair your home until you understand where the money is going to come from and you have your local municipality permitting office advising what they require from you so they can report the repairs to include mitigation repairs to FEMA.
    1. If your home is inspected by FEMA inspectors and was determined to be damaged more than 50% of it's market value based on their determination you will need to contact your building permit office for your process. In most cases, you'll be offered options of 
      1. Repair in place if elevation meets building code and FEMA elevation requirements. Keep in mind grants often require base flood elevation plus 2 feet. New FEMA regulations will make base flood elevation + 3 feet your goal from 2022 moving forward until FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program makes additional changes that impact your household financially. 
  8. Create your temporary housing assistance plan now, within 72 hours of being displaced. Your FEMA Grants may assist you in making repairs to your home but look for Rental assistance then Mortgage assistance if you are forced into renting while still paying on your mortgage. DO NOT defer your mortgage payments if you can secure mortgage assistance or pay normally. All assistance is designed to pay forward so no reimbursements will be made except via FEMA temporary shelter programs. 
  9. Check back here for updates and follow the menu links to the specific agencies you need to review. Most updates in the first 30 days will be FEMA related. Then it will be allocations and request from HUD for CDBG-DR Grant funds.

Keep the faith and don't give up. Your state will not make this easy, it's by default a cash cow for your state. The more homeowners the state doesn't provide federal tax dollars allocated to your disaster recovery means the more money your state keeps in it's coffers to spend on other programs.

Relax, you have just completed 2 to 4 weeks of work in days. Eat, sleep, stay healthy. Your recovery is just starting and you need to stay strong for all the pitfalls that await you in the days to come. 

Follow on @TruckAndTools twitter for disaster recovery updates updates. 

If you are planning to rebuild on your own or act as your own contractor you might be interested in our community and projects section linked in the menus.