Get help after a disaster finding family and friends, temporary housing, emergency food, tips to let people know you are safe and steps to replace important vital documents. Also, learn what to do before and after returning to your damaged home and how to start cleaning up.
Get help locating a missing person by using the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUS). The program can help with printing missing person posters, getting free forensic services like DNA analysis, and more.
Register Yourself as Safe
If you are safe after a disaster, national emergency or overseas civil unrest and want to let people know your status or reunite with family:
Get Food Assistance After a Disaster With D-SNAP Benefits
If the president has declared your area as a disaster zone, you may be able to get short-term financial assistance for food under the D-SNAP program. If you’re in your home, follow guidelines for food safety after a power outage or flood.
Create Safe Drinking Water After an Emergency
If you need emergency water and can’t get bottled water, you can make safe drinking water by either boiling it or disinfecting it with bleach. Boiling water is the better choice because it kills more of the bacteria that can make you sick.
If the water is cloudy, let it settle and then filter it through a clean cloth or coffee filter.
Boil water for one minute. Let it cool before storing.
If you can’t boil it, add 8 drops (⅛ teaspoon) of 6% unscented household liquid bleach to a gallon of water. Stir it and let it sit for 30 minutes.
If you don’t have bleach, look in your medicine cabinet or first aid kit for iodine. Use five drops of 2% tincture of iodine for each quart of water. You can also use water purification tablets, found at pharmacies and sporting goods stores.
Store water in clean containers with covers.
Returning Home After a Disaster
Wait to return to your property until local officials have declared that the area is safe.
How to Replace Your Lost or Destroyed Vital Records After a Disaster
Replacing all important documents that were lost or destroyed in a flood, fire, or other disaster can be overwhelming. Although the process varies from state to state, these general steps can help you get started.
1. Make Other Arrangements for Mail Delivery If Your Home Was Destroyed
Government agencies usually mail replacement vital documents to your home.
If you lost your home, contact your local post office. Ask if you can pick up your mail there or request to have your mail forwarded to a temporary location.
2. Replace Your U.S. Birth Certificate
Find the vital records office in the state where you were born. Check to see if you can get a certified copy of your birth certificate with no identification. If you can, follow the ordering instructions.
Some states accept alternate ways to verify your ID. You may have to contact your state to find out what it requires. For example:
A state may accept your sworn statement of identity.
Another state may accept a notarized letter from your mother or father whose name is on your birth certificate, along with a copy of their photo ID.
If you do need your own government-issued photo ID to get a copy of your birth certificate, start with step 3.
3. Replace Your Driver’s License
Get this first if you can’t get your birth certificate.
Check with your state for its procedures. In some states, you can order a replacement online without providing any ID.