Recovering from the Disaster of Hurricane Sandy

November 20, 2012 • Fenny Peiffer

The following includes information regarding damage control immediately following Hurricane Sandy. Erik Braunitzer is a writer for Douglas Elliman, brokers for NYC, Long Island and Hamptons Real Estate.

The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy has crippled the lives of millions of people throughout the New York, New Jersey, and Long Island areas.  Many of those who were fortunate enough to escape with their lives lost their homes, clothes, and possessions.  Millions were left without power for days, as the harsh, wintry season begins to kick in and another storm headed towards the area.  Businesses have been lost, and workers have absolutely no way of getting to work and supporting their families.  As the entire area bands together in an effort to rebuild from one of the worst storms to hit them in hundreds of years, there are a few things to keep in mind while you attempt to return your life to normality after the storm has ended.

Returning Home
If your home is still in tact and you are lucky enough to return home, there are still major safety issues to bear in mind.  The structure of the foundation may be damaged, and if you suspect something is not right, call for help and find another place to stay until your safety is guaranteed.  Power was out in hundreds of areas, meaning food has gone bad, clothes cannot be cleaned, and there is no way to heat your home at night.  Furthermore, downed power lines are scattered throughout the city, a deadly danger for anyone nearby.  Be careful of downed trees blocking the paths, and potentially even more dangerous, trees that appear to be still standing but may fall down at any time due to the stress they suffered from the harsh winds.

Insurance Claims Should Be Filed Immediately
In situations like Hurricane Sandy, it is best to file insurance claims early.  With the volumes of claims being submitted to the insurance companies, it will take some time to receive reimbursement.  Thus, it is best to get the claim started while the evidence is still fresh. This will ensure you receive the funds you need. Ample documentation is required to receive prompt payment from the insurance company.

Beware of Rogue Vendors
Unfortunately, rogue vendors prey on unsuspecting victims of natural disasters. Hurricane Sandy is not different.  Rogue vendors may offer to help you restore your home. The problem is that they are not licensed, bonded or insured.  These people may or may not provide the type of service that will restore your home to its original luster. If this is the case, you will spend money on a vendor that cannot provide the proper services.  If you check the vendor’s credentials first, you can avoid unexpected expenses and substandard work.

Restocking on Supplies
Gas is in extremely short supply, and food and other emergency items may be next if things get any worse.  Make sure to restock on emergency supplies such as batteries, flashlights, water bottle, and imperishable food items as soon as you get the chance.  You never know when disaster may strike again, and a city is most vulnerable when it is already recovering from a recent one.  Furthermore, if your medication was damaged or lost completely in the storm, it is absolutely vital that you replace it as soon as possible.  Many people need their medication to survive, and if you do not take it for an extended period of time, you are putting yourself at risk.

Prepare for the Future
Contact your insurance company to find out how you can better prepare yourself in the future.  Take an inventory of all the items you have in your house and what you would like to be insured in case a storm like this strikes again in the future.  Remember to take pictures of your important items and include important details like serial numbers.  Keep the list somewhere safe where it will not be destroyed should worse come to worst.

Make sure you have an emergency plan for the future.Know where and how to evacuate, and keep an emergency supply of food, clothing, and money that you can access when you need it.

This article was contributed to us by Erik Braunitzer a writer for Douglas Elliman, brokers for NYC, Long Island, and Hamptons Real Estate. extends our sympathy to all of those who were affected by this natural calamity and wishes a speedy recovery back to normal life.  We are happy to join hands to spread the word on how best to recover from such disaster situations and hope this post will help anyone wondering how to get started on the rebuilding process.

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