Disaster Recovery Resources

Are You Ready? An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness (IS-22)

FEMA's most comprehensive source on individual, family and community preparedness. The guide has been revised, updated and enhanced in August of 2004 to provide the public with the most current and up-to-date disaster preparedness information available.

The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA)

Charged by state statute to reduce the vulnerabilities of the people and communities of Nebraska from the damage, injury and loss of life and property resulting from natural, technological, or man-made disasters and emergencies.

Livestock

Documenting Livestock Losses

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) is encouraging producers who suffered livestock losses due to tornados or other storms to keep detailed records document those losses as they continue to work to address storm damage.

Assessing Crop Hail Damage

Hail storms with quarter- to golf ball-sized hail hit corn, soybean, and wheat fields in several areas of Nebraska. Depending on the point in the season, replanting may be an option, but is it the right option for your field? Several Nebraska Extension resources are available to help you assess crop damage at various growth stages and determine your management options. Consult these resources if you're assessing recent damage of if hail strikes your farm in the coming weeks.

Yield loss data in these publications is based on information from the National Crop Insurance Agency.

2014 Storm Recovery Information

Evaluating Hail Damage to Corn

Assessing Flood/Hail Damage to Crops and Remedial Actions

Evaluating Hail Damage to Grain Sorghum

Evaluating Hail Damage to Soybeans

Additional Resources

               

               

Water Safety

Obtaining a Safe Drinking Water Supply

Food Safety

Is food in the refrigerator safe during a power outage? It should be safe as long as power is out no more than 4 hours. Keep the door closed as much as possible. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers) that have been above 40 °F for over 2 hours. Never taste food to determine its safety! You can't rely on appearance or odor to determine whether food is safe.

Refrigerated Food and Power Outages: When to Save and When to Throw Out

Keep Food Safe in an Emergency

eXtension: Food Safety During an Emergency

Food Safety and Defense

Frozen Food

A fully stocked freezer will usually keep food frozen for two days after losing power. A half-full freezer will usually keep food frozen for about one day. If the freezer isn't full, quickly group packages together so they'll retain the cold more effectively.

Separate raw meat and poultry items from other foods. If raw meat and poultry begin to thaw this will prevent their juices from getting onto other foods. Always discard any items in the freezer that have come into contact with raw meat juices.

If the power will be out for a longer period than the freezer will maintain the cold, dry ices may be placed in the freezer. CAUTION: Never touch dry ice with your bare hands or breathe the fumes. Place the dry ice on cardboard or on empty shelves in the freezer around the items to be kept frozen. Thirty pounds of dry ice should hold a full, normal-size freezer below freezing for at least a couples of days. Place blankets or quilts over these appliances to act as additional insulation. (Source: LSU Extension)

Frozen Food and Power Outages: When to Save and When to Throw Out

Using a Grill

Some people may be without cooking appliances; don't use cooking grills indoors or in enclosed sheltered areas. In doing so, you risk both asphyxiation from carbon monoxide and the chance of starting a fire that could destroy your home. Carbon monoxide has no odor and can kill you.

Tree Damage

Repairing Storm Damaged Trees -Trees or limbs falling on a house or vehicle during a storm is the most obvious hazard. However, removing broken branches still hung up in the tree canopy, removing branches tangled in power lines or that could come in contact with power lines when removed, and the danger of coming in contact with a power line with ladders, loaders or pole saws are a greater danger. In many cases, hiring a professional arborist may be the best strategy. The link below gives many practical tips on repairing storm damaged trees. The one thing not covered in this publication is to NOT apply any kind of wound dressing or sealant to the tree when branches are removed. For more information, see:

Tree Hazard Awareness

Nebraska Forest Service Storm Damage Series for trees

Pruning Storm Damaged Trees

First Aid for Storm-Damaged Trees

               

               

               

Chain saws can cause serious injuries - use them safely. These can be hazardous, especially if they "kick back." to help reduce this hazard, make sure that your chain saw is equipped with the low-kickback chain. Look for other safety features on chain saws including hand guard, safety tip, chain brake, vibration reduction system, spark arrestor on gasoline motors, trigger or throttle lockout, chain catcher, and bumper spikes. On new saws look for certification to the ANSI. Always wear shoes, gloves, and protective glasses. If you are in doubt about your own ability to handle the job or not familiar with chain saw operation, have a qualified professional do the job. (Source: Shirley Niemeyer, Professor Emeritus, Retired, Nebraska Extension)

Flood Damage

Flood Resources  

Nebraska Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Flooding Information

Flooding Clean Up

Attempts to clean up, using a wet-dry vacuum cleaners, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions to avoid electric shocks. Do not allow the power cord connections to become wet. Use a ground fault circuit interrupter to prevent electrocution. Never remove or bypass the grouped pin on a three-pronged plug in order to insert it into a non-grounding outlet. And never allow the connection between the machine's power cord and the three-wire extension cord to stand in water or become wet. Use safe practices when using a wet-dry vacuum cleaner to clean up water damage.

Do not use electrical appliances that have been wet. Water can damage the motors in electrical appliance, such as furnaces, freezers, refrigerators, washing machines and dryers.

Water in the Basement

Water in basements is always a problem with large amounts of rain and flooding. Water seeping through basement walls and floors is a common sight. This is because water seeks its own level. When the soil surrounding a basement foundation wall is saturated or flooded with water, the pressure exerted against the solid side of the basement wall is increased. The pressure provides the force to encourage leakage through cracks, splices or at the connection of the foundation wall to the footing. The method of basement wall construction, whether a reinforced poured concrete or block construction, has a large effect on how to handle basement water. An unreinforced block basement cannot stand very much pressure and will collapse quite easily. If a lot of water is seeping in, it may be better to let the basement flood.

If your basement is flooded, shut off electricity in the basement, but don't do it standing in water! The electrical service panel is commonly in the basement and any shorted out receptacles should trip the breakers. To shut off the electricity, use a dry, wooden stool which is higher than the water, wear rubber boots that aren't wet on the inside, and wear rubber gloves, if this is not possible, have the power company cut the power if there is not shut off outside of the house.

No matter the type of basement wall construction, if the basement is flooded with more than 6 inches of water, don't be in a big hurry to pump it out. More damage could be caused by pumping the water out too soon than by letting it remain. Water in the basement helps brace the walls against the extra pressure. If pumped too soon, floors may push up and walls cave in. Don't pump until water around the house recedes. Then pump out about one-third of the water each day, make sure it is well away from the house. Use a gasoline powered pump or one connected to an outside line, not the house electrical system. While pumping out the dirty water, wash off the walls with clean water and remove any mud while it is wet. (Source: NDSU Extension)

Drying Out Buildings

Allow Buildings/Houses to Dry Out: This can reduce or prevent mold growth, but must be done quickly, usually in 48 hours or less. Open doors and windows, and open up wall cavities if walls have gotten wet. Remember that these measures will only be effective if outside humidity is low. Use fans to move air in and around the cavity to speed up drying.

Take steps to prevent mold growth

While the most crucial 48-hour period has passed for airing out water-damaged structures, continue to be vigilant about monitoring relative humidity in the home and don't be in a hurry to re-paint or re-paper wet walls or ceilings.  According to experts at Mississippi State University, "In most instances, homes wetted by rainfall have experienced roof damage."  In these homes they recommend removing ceilings and insulation above them, if wet.  Certainly, in our situation, it might also be wise to take similar precautions when dealing with water-saturated walls surrounding broken windows. 

MSU experts also recommend replacing insulation and wall coverings only after verifying that the moisture content of building materials is below 20%.  This includes wood studs within the wall cavity that may have also sustained water damage.  Failure to do so, they say, can contribute to mold grown.  Moisture meters that can be used to measure the moisture content of building materials such as wood and drywall are available at home and hardware stores.  Nebraska Extension in Washington County also has a device that is available for loan.

Similar considerations apply to flooring.  While carpets can be salvaged by being professionally cleaned, padding is difficult to save.  And, these types of floor coverings should not be replaced until the flooring and floor joists are thoroughly dry.Take steps to prevent mold growth

While the most crucial 48-hour period has passed for airing out water-damaged structures, continue to be vigilant about monitoring relative humidity in the home and don't be in a hurry to re-paint or re-paper wet walls or ceilings.  According to experts at Mississippi State University, "In most instances, homes wetted by rainfall have experienced roof damage."  In these homes they recommend removing ceilings and insulation above them, if wet.  Certainly, in our situation, it might also be wise to take similar precautions when dealing with water-saturated walls surrounding broken windows. 

MSU experts also recommend replacing insulation and wall coverings only after verifying that the moisture content of building materials is below 20%.  This includes wood studs within the wall cavity that may have also sustained water damage.  Failure to do so, they say, can contribute to mold grown.  Moisture meters that can be used to measure the moisture content of building materials such as wood and drywall are available at home and hardware stores.  Nebraska Extension in Washington County also has a device that is available for loan.

Similar considerations apply to flooring.  While carpets can be salvaged by being professionally cleaned, padding is difficult to save.  And, these types of floor coverings should not be replaced until the flooring and floor joists are thoroughly dry.

Glass

Are you still dealing with cleaning up the remnants of shattered glass?  Glass clean up can be tedious.  After picking up the larger pieces and sweeping up what you can, experts also recommend wet-wiping hard-surface areas.  But, they admit, because wind-driven glass may be imbedded into textiles and wood, some furnishings may need to be discarded. 

Use caution when laundering clothing, bedding or other textile products that may contain tiny pieces of glass.  If you must wash keep and launder them, run the washer through a second wash cycle with the appliance empty to rinse out any remnants of glass so they don't spread to subsequent loads. 

 

Securing Property

Secure damaged buildings from looters when you are not present. Doors and windows should be locked, or secured with plywood, if possible. Portable valuables should be removed to a secure location.

Youth & Families

Storms and Damage from Storms can be Highly Stressful for BOTH Adults and Children
Keep the family together for mutual support. Discuss problems with others -- friends and neighbors can offer mutual support, too. Take care of and comfort your kids. During the clean-up, take breaks and don't forget to eat nutritional foods.

More Information on Coping with Disaster 

Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska - a valuable ally during the aftermath of natural disasters dealing with financial farm crisis and mental health challenges of farm families in distress.

Impact on Children and Families

Early Childhood Trauma

Resources for Parents and caregivers

Helping Children Cope

Talking with Children When Talking Gets Tough

Stress and Natural Disaster

Understanding the Impact of Disaster on Family and Children

Effective management of stress and crisis

Positive Communication

Smoothing out the bumps in family life

Through thick and thin

How strong families manage stress and crisis

Financial

Making A Record of Losses and Damage

Take photos. Do this inside and out. You can't have too many pictures. Pictures should show any structural damage to the building and furnishings, and any items of particular values.  In addition to roof, siding and window damage, note damage to the landscape where plants might need to be replaced.  Indoors, photograph water-stained walls and ceilings, water-soaked textiles like carpeting and upholstery, and electronics or appliances that might have gotten wet.    Record the serial numbers of any appliances or equipment that is thrown out. This information is valuable for filing insurance claims and for documenting losses for other purposes, such as tax deductions.

Recovery After Disaster: The Family Financial Toolkit

Additional Recovery Resources