Hurricane Michael impacted thousands in southwest Georgia, along with Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Many are still waiting for the power to be restored. Recovery from any natural disaster takes time. When returning to your home there are an overwhelming number of things to deal with. The purpose of this blog is to provide links to reliable information as you face decisions about how to handle food, family stress, mold, and rebuilding.
If you have returned home, you have probably already dealt with most of the food and water issues. If not contact your local county Extension office for help or check out the links below. In Georgia you can call 1-800-ASK-UGA1 to locate a county office near your home.
- What food is safe to use? (FDA)
- Safe Well Water after Flooding (UGA)
- Food in my fridge – keep it or toss it after a power outage (UGA)
- What do I do if my freezer stops? (UGA)
Housing & Finances
If you have a mortgage, contact your mortgage servicer once FEMA has declared your area to be a Major Disaster Area. A local HUD approved Housing Counseling Agency can provide counseling and information. Other resources to help you with immediate concerns are listed below.
- Financial Recovery and Risk Management (UGA)
- Housing Counseling Disaster Recovery & Emergency Preparedness Toolkit (HUD)
Removing Mold and Restoring Your Home
Before you move back home you often have to deal with mold and water damage. HUD developed a helpful Healthy Homes Disaster Recovery Toolkit. This 15 page document is a directory of resources, including the Rebuild Healthy Homes App and 41 page guide to post-disaster restoration (HUD). Additional resources and information on removing mold and salvaging furnishings are listed below.
- Homeowner’s and Renter’s Guide to Mold Cleanup after Disasters (CDC, EPA, FEMA, HUD, NIH)
- Removing mold in your home (UGA)
- Recovery Fact Sheets from NC State Extension Disaster Information Center on cleanup, returning home, mold, carpets, furnishings, appliances, and more. Some cleanup information sheets include a list of supplies.
- Salvaging furniture (LSU Ag Center)
- Gutting a home – FAQs (LSU Ag Center)
An important and often overlooked part of recovery has to do with your family. We need to pay attention to the impacts and stress on families and relationships in general in times of natural disasters. Below are some helpful resources.
- Tips for Parents During Times of Trauma (Parents as Teachers)
- Tips for Handling Family Stress after a Disaster (NC State Extension)
- Hurricane Tools and Links (The National Child Traumatic Stress Network)
- Children, Stress, and Natural Disasters (University of IL Extension)
- Disaster Recovery, Stress & Decision Making (eXtension)
Prepare before the next disaster.
You can’t foresee all the impacts a natural disaster will have on you and your family, but you can lessen the impact by planning ahead. Below are some resources to help you prepare.
- Prepare because you care – kit checklist and preparation resources (UGA)
- EDEN – Extension resources to help you prepare and recover
- Ready.gov – Information on preparing for a variety of disasters
- American Red Cross – Creating a survival kit
- Preparing your finances – eXtension