This summer is unprecedented in the amount of damage caused by wind, rain, and tremendous storm surge. Even when hurricane season ends, we will be fixing the damage and become more aware of how to prepare for next year. So, what can you do after the storms die down to ensure that we come out stronger? Here are a few tips.

Begin to Rebuild

In the aftermath of a crisis, dozens of nonprofits and government agencies come out full force to help rescue those trapped in flood zones and begin to rebuild in hard-hit areas. However, with limited electricity and resources, it may be difficult to know who to call.

If you have suffered significant damage in the wake of a hurricane, the best organization to call is the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA for short. This government agency oversees distributing assistance to those impacted by major disasters.

Check with your billing companies too. If you are worried about making credit card or loan payments, some companies will allow you to postpone payments. Simply speak to a representative to find out. Need to rebuild completely? Many nonprofits will help those financially unable to reconstruct their lives such as Habitats for Humanity, which helped construct homes after Hurricane Katrina.

Help Those Affected

Even if a major hurricane did not affect you, it is important to be a part of the recovery.

Research organizations that work directly with relief efforts and donate as much as you can. Monetary donations are most effective because it allows organizations to buy exactly what is needed.

However, if you can’t donate money, items such as nonperishable foods, bottled water, batteries, clothes, blankets, toys, and other household goods.

Also, volunteer your time. You don’t have to be a member of the Cajun Navy, volunteers who take their boats to the heart of flood zones, to help those in need. Volunteer in shelters. Help build houses. Lend a hand at an animal shelter. Every little bit counts.

Prepare for the Next Storm

Unfortunately, hurricanes are not a once in a lifetime disaster. Hurricane season takes place every year between June and November. That means half of the year contains a threat for another major storm. Plus, recent studies have shown that we can expect stronger and bigger storms in the future.

If you live in a hurricane-affected area, it is imperative that you invest in a hurricane plan. Keep an eye on your local weather center for newly-formed storms. Buy supplies such as flashlights and generators ahead of time to avoid the rush at storms. Know if you live a flood zone and where you need to evacuate to in case you have to go. Be sure to pack any important documents or medications in watertight containers. Preparing ahead of time can save you the anxiety and overspending caused by the panic of an oncoming storm. Hurricanes are a force of nature. They cannot be stopped no matter how many times you shoot at them. All we can do is be smart and be prepared.
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