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Tornado Damage? 10 Steps to Jump-Start Recovery

SBP is committed to helping residents recently impacted by the tornadoes in Alabama, Georgia and Florida. The days after disaster are extremely trying times. We want to empower survivors to take immediate action to prevent a long and drawn out recovery.

The Golden Rule of Disaster Recovery

Advocate for yourself and never give up until you receive the assistance you need.

Here are 10 Steps to Jump-Start Recovery.

1. Inspect for Damage and Safety Hazards

When it’s declared safe to return, inspect your property for damage. Be on the lookout for safety hazards.

2. Document the Damage

Make sure to take photos/video of ALL the damage (inside and out) before beginning any cleanup.

3. Contact Your Insurance Company

Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible to report damage and begin the claims process. Use SBP’s Post-Disaster Insurance Guide for additional help.

4. Register with FEMA for Disaster Assistance

Go to disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-FEMA to register for federal assistance, or visit a Disaster Recovery Center in your area. SBP’s Navigating FEMA guide will help you advocate for yourself effectively.

5. Coordinate Inspections

Work with FEMA & insurance to schedule inspections. During visits, be thorough in showing them all damages caused by the disaster.

6. Access Local Resources

Call 2-1-1 to find out about available resources in your area.

7. Replace Important Records and Documents

Make sure toreplace any vital records that may have gotten lost in the damage. These are extremely important when applying for assistance.

8. Begin the Cleanup Process

Only clean up what you can safely handle. Look for qualified groups that may be providing cleanup assistance in your area. You can request assistance through Crisis Cleanup by calling 833-556-2476. Remove debris and damaged materials from your home to your yard. When possible, do not have items hauled away (unless hazardous), until after inspectors/ adjusters see them.

9. Prevent Additional Damage

Make temporary repairs to prevent further damage, such as tarping a damaged roof or boarding up broken windows. Insurance generally will not cover additional damage that could have been reasonably prevented. Talk with your agent about what’s needed.

10. Find a Reputable Contractor

Fraudulent contractors can make a homeowner’s road to recovery more difficult by stealing precious time and funds. Use the SBP Contractor Guide to safeguard your household from contractor fraud. Your goal is to secure an in-state, properly licensed and insured contractor with a history of doing satisfactory work in your area.

Remember, you are your own best advocate. The key is to never give up.

For additional preparedness and recovery resources, visit sbpusa.org/start-here.