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After a Disaster
Get help after a disaster finding family and friends, temporary housing, 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 persons posters, getting free forensic services like DNA analysis, and more.
Let People Know You're 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:
How to Replace Your Lost or Destroyed Vital Records
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.
Replace your birth certificate. Find the vital records office in the state where you were born. Check to find out if you can obtain a certified copy of your birth certificate without any identification and follow the instructions. A few states don’t require a government-issued photo ID, or accept other solutions like a sworn statement of your identity. Some states allow your mother or father whose name is on the birth certificate to submit a notarized letter 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 2.
Replace your driver’s license. Get this first if you cannot get your birth certificate. This task varies from state to state. In some states, you can do it online.
Replace your marriage certificate. You’ll need a certified copy as proof if you changed your name when you got married. Contact the vital records office in the state where you were married.
Government agencies usually mail replacement vital documents. But if your home was destroyed in a disaster, you might not be able to get your mail. Contact your local post office and ask if you can pick up your mail there or request to have your mail forwarded to a temporary location.
After a disaster, such as a hurricane or tornado, gas stations may raise gas prices to levels that are very high, unreasonable, and unfair. This is called price gouging and it is illegal. If you believe that you are a victim of price gouging, contact your state attorney general.