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Before & After the Catastrophe

Before the Catastrophe

When disasters happen, RIA members are here to help you recover from the devastation. This page features all the information you need prior to and after a disaster, including finding an RIA member in your area. 

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After the Catastrophe

Our after the catastrophe resources will help guide you through the steps and processes to follow immediately after disaster strikes. See below for resources to help you get back on your feet.

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Checklist for after a flood or fire

  • Compile a list of dates, times and persons who you talk to concerning your claim.
  • Get a copy of your insurance policy. This will define and determine your limits as well as your rights and responsibilities to and from your insurance company.
  • Have a clear line of communication with your adjuster.RIA Flooded Home
  • Ask what the process is for listing and identifying the value of personal property.
  • Ask about being reimbursed for any lost rent or interruption of business.
  • Ask your adjuster for a sufficient monetary advance for purchases that are necessary. Include enough money to assist with your first month and security deposit for a temporary dwelling. 
  • Save all receipts for any and all meals, hotels, purchases, toiletries, vitamins, cosmetics, etc.
  • Remember that it is your choice who the restoration company will be, not the adjuster's.
  • If you feel that you are being pressured to choose a certain company, you can contact your local Attorney General's Office to file a complaint.
  • Check reference, for any and all companies that you retain to perform work on your behalf.

From FEMA Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel

  • Alert any staff to potential hazards.
  • Work in pairs.
  • Look for areas with loose or downed power lines; avoid those areas and report to local authorities.
  • Look for electrical sparks, broken or frayed wires or smell of burning insulation. 
  • Turn off electricity at main switch if you can without risk.
  • Shut off water.
  • If you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing, open a window and immediately leave the building.
  • Turn off gas at main valve if trained to do so.
  • Do not reenter the building until declared safe by security or emergency management. 
  • Create a secure salvage area for supplies such as: fans, tables, shelves, plastic sheeting, drying materials and clean water.
  • Notify emergency officials concerning the extent of damage.
  • Building may be contaminated so do not enter without current tetanus shots, Hepatitis shots, protective gloves/clothing, hardhat and NIOSH-approved respiratory masks. 
  • If possible, reduce temperature and relative humidity to prevent mold outbreak. 
  • Cover broken windows with plastic.
  • Do not turn on heat unless truly necessary.
  • Remove any standing water and empty items containing water; remove wet carpets and furnishings.
  • If everything is soaked, use commercial dehumidification.
  • Do not move objects or collections without documenting their condition. 
  • Photograph or videotape conditions of collections and structure; make notes to go along with the photos or videotape. 
  • Make notes of each step of the salvage process.
  • If nothing in the house is dry, cover everything with loose plastic sheeting.
  • Separate damaged and undamaged items.
  • Label and retrieve all broken items.
  • Isolate items with mold and check every day for new mold growth. 
  • Make a rough estimate of materials affected and the extent of the damage.

Sources:
Begal Enterprises, Inc.
FEMA