After a disaster
You may not know where to start after a disaster, between restoring essential services to getting emotional support. Remember that you’re not alone. There are programs and services that can assist you, your family, and your business when recovering from a disaster. Regardless of the type of emergency or disaster, there are several key steps you can take to care for yourself and your family and get things back to normal.
Immediately following an emergency
Check to see if you or others are injured
Do not move injured or trapped people unless they are in immediate danger. Seek immediate medical assistance by calling 9-1-1. Administer First Aid when appropriate.
Check for any property damage
Survey the interior and exterior of your home for damage or hazards if it is safe to do.
Stay tuned to updates from local emergency management officials
Staying informed can keep you and your family safe and can prevent further injury or damage to your property. If you were evacuated, only return home when officials say it is safe to do so.
Follow the instructions of the authorities
Check in at any reception or emergency centres that have been set up so you can be accounted for and reunited with any missing family members.
Be cautious when handling and approaching debris
Injuries due to emergencies and disasters are often caused after the event has ended, when people are walking among debris. Be sure to wear proper personal protective equipment, like gloves, boots, goggles and a mask when in contact with debris. Do not go into damaged areas until it is safe to do so. Watch out for:
- sharp objects like nails and glass
- downed power lines or electrical wires
- ruptured gas lines (if you smell gas, get away from the source and call 9-1-1)
Once safe to do so
Identify insurance coverage
Contact your insurance broker to find out what is covered in your policies. Assess and document any property or vehicle damage. Be as detailed as possible when providing information and report all damages or losses. If possible, assemble proofs of purchase, photos, receipts and warranties. Take pictures of the damage to your home and its contents. Keep all receipts related to cleanup and living expenses if you have been displaced. Your insurance representative can provide advice and instructions on what expenses you may entitled to and for how long.
Help others, safely
If you want to help others, reach out to a trusted community organization that is trained and can support volunteer operations or donations. Of course, reach out to your own neighbours and friends to offer assistance first. If you are assisting your neighbours or families with clean-up efforts, please be careful and use proper safety equipment like gloves, masks and proper footwear.
Restock your emergency supply kits and review your Emergency Action Plan
Replenish supplies like food and water you may have used during the emergency. Review your Emergency Action plan and make any updates needed, like changing contact information, and share the plan with others.
Re-evaluate how you could be better prepared next time
Does your roof require repairs to improve its integrity for future storms? Is there an item you wished you had had in your emergency kit? Do you need additional insurance coverage added to your policies? Are there items that should be stocked in your car in the event of another emergency or disaster?
Take care of your emotional well-being
In the period following an emergency or disaster, individuals start to deal with the impacts of the event and process the outcomes. Some of the common signs of stress include:
- Physical signs, such as headaches, sickness, low energy
- Emotional signs, such as irritability, feeling of helplessness or guilt
- Withdrawal, isolation
- Problems with sleep
- Substance abuse
If you’re spotting these signs in yourself or others, please reach out for help by accessing a support agency below.
Support services for after a disaster
After an emergency, you may need help restoring essential services, or getting emotional or financial support. The programs and services below can assist you, your family, and your business when recovering from an emergency.
403-266-HELP(4357) or 403-543-1967 for the hearing impaired.
The Distress Centre offers a 24-hour crisis support line. Calls are confidential and lines are answered by highly-trained volunteers with the support of professional staff.
403-266-4357 9:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.
The Mobile Response Team is a team of trained nurses, social workers and psychologists who work with people in crisis.
Phone 211 for information to access community, social and government services.
carya, formerly known as Calgary Family Services offers supportive counselling for all families.
The Community Resource Team works with families and children in crisis, in person and over the phone.
The Way In provides counselling and connection to services for older adults.
1-888-671-1111 weekdays from 8:15 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Disaster Recovery Programs can offer some financial support in returning your property to a basic standard. If you have experienced property damage caused by a disaster, call to see if a disaster recovery program has been started in your area.
Eastside Counselling provides free walk-in counselling at 255 495 36 St. N.E. (in Northgate Mall).
Search volunteer opportunities to help those affected by an emergency.