Post-storm Information

While pre-storm preparation is important in ensuring personal safety, having the correct post-storm information is the key to “getting back to normal” and recovering from the effects of an emergency situation. It is critical that you stay informed and listen to local officials, public awareness notices and news broadcasts for the latest information about your area. You need to get the official “all clear” message to ensure your safety before venturing outside. There may be downed power lines, flooding, risks of physical danger, and generally unsafe conditions which must be avoided.

Following a disaster, focus should be directed at ensuring your safety and the safety of your family. If you need assistance, contact your local agencies and first responders (police, fire, rescue, etc.) to inform them of the situation so they may respond as quickly as possible. Once your safety is assured, it is important that any losses you have experienced are properly identified. One of the best ways to do this is by taking pictures of damaged property, documenting what happened, and detailing the extent of your losses. Insurance claims should be filed as soon as possible after all of the appropriate documentation has been assembled.

There is a great deal of information available about disaster assistance, immediate needs, moving forward, community response and more at the Disaster Assistance website listed in the resource section below. It has additional links to other informational sources and it is suggested that viewers also visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the NY State Emergency Management Office (SEMO), the American Red Cross (ARC) and Insurance information websites which are also listed in the resource section.

It is important to remember than all emergencies begin and end locally. Local government, county, state and federal agencies all assist in recovery efforts as needed. In an emergency situation, the Suffolk County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is activated and emergency representatives from local governments, NY State, Utilities, Transportation, Fire Police, Health, EMS, Public Works, Volunteer agencies and the private sector all work together to meet needs. In Suffolk County, as specific needs grow to exceed local capacities, resources are requested and drawn from higher levels of authority. For example, local Towns can request assistance from County levels, who in turn can request assistance from State levels and eventually Federal levels.

Following a disaster event and a Presidential Disaster Declaration, the federal authorities offer assistance in recovery efforts based on certain criteria. There are federal programs to provide for:

  • Public Assistance - for public properties and critical facilities. Assistance is based on per-capita dollar measured threshold levels which must be met at both the county and state levels before federal aid can be provided.
  • Individual Assistance – for private property and economic losses. Assistance provided to residents and businesses if damage exceeds threshold criteria levels which are measured by the extent of physical damage.
  • Small Business Administration – low interest loans for residents, businesses and non-profit organizations. Criteria for loan applications is based on uninsured losses.

Information about these programs can be found at both the FEMA and NY SEMO websites (see below).

Please take the time to visit all of these sites – being informed and educated is one of the primary defenses against losses.

RESOURCES

Disaster Assistance - www.disasterassistance.gov

FEMA - www.fema.gov

SEMO - www.semo.state.ny.us

American Red Cross - www.redcross.org

Insurance - www.floodsmart.gov