LawHelpNC.orgNorth Carolina

General: Disaster Preparation and Aftermath

Authored By: Legal Aid of North Carolina LSC Funded

Quick Facts



Prior to a Disaster

Plan ahead and make sure your household members understand your emergency plans.

When buying property, make sure it is not in a flood plain.

Resolve any issues about home ownership prior to a disaster.

Routinely check with your Insurance Agent to see that you have up-to-date renters, homeowners, vehicle or flood insurance for your property.

Ask your Insurance Agent if your homeowners and flood insurance covers the full value of home and vehicles. Ask what the insurance covers. If the insurance is less then you think ask if you can increase the policy coverage.

Do not let Insurance lapse or end.

Do not wait until a threat or a disaster or a storm to get insurance -You may not be able to get insurance near the time of an approaching disaster or serious storm.

Do not assume that there will be any financial help available beyond your own insurance after a disaster - Put aside money for an emergency fund to help you through such a disaster.

Do not assume there will be any help from the Federal or State Governments.

Inventory Your Home: Record major purchases, deeds, titles, warranties and their receipts and keep those documents in a fire proof box.

Take pictures or videos of the interior and exterior of your home or apartment, vehicles (including recreational), farm equipment, animals and other property. Date the pictures or videos. Identify the items in writing on the pictures. On videos add voice descriptions identifying the items and locations. Keep these visual records in a safe flood and fireproof location.

Update at least every 2-5 years.

Identify property with labels, tagging, branding, stenciling, computer-chip or by other means of identification.

Have a plan to relocate mobile items (lawn furniture, yard equipment, children’s play items, sports equipment, etc.) outside your dwelling into an interior location like a garage, barn or inside your home.

Organize important papers (insurance, marriage and birth certificates, bank accounts, identification, work/benefit information, investments), property (deeds, titles and warranties) and debt information in a fire and waterproof box that can be easily reached and removed for quick exit.

Notify family or friends what your emergency exit plan will be and how you may be reached (mobile and regular telephone numbers, addresses, etc.)

Take these important papers with you during a Disaster

  • Birth Certificates and Social Security Cards for all family members
  • Immigration/Passport/Visa Documents
  • Insurance Policies, Policy numbers and Types, Agents’ Names, Addresses and Telephone Numbers
  • Medical Insurance/Medicaid/Medicare Cards and Other Related Information
  • Prescriptions, list of doctors and medical providers
  • Food Stamps/Work First/WIC/Social Security Disability/Worker’s Compensation/Private Disability Insurance/Pension and/or Retirement Accounts’ Information
  • Military Base Access Cards
  • Bank Accounts
  • Credit Cards and latest invoices
  • Store Account Numbers and latest invoices
  • Other Debt Information
  • Telephone Directory-personal and area telephone books


After the Storm Passes

See to medical needs of your loved ones and yourself immediately.

Document all damages for the insurance companies, federal, state or
charitable agencies by taking pictures and keeping receipts for emergencywork done prior to insurance approval. The pictures should be dated and identified.

Check with the Emergency Personnel or other officials if your home seems to
be unsafe or unhealthy before returning to live at home.

Try to stay as calm as possible and be patient with Emergency Personnel.

Many people may be affected by the Disaster.


To find other Legal Aid of North Carolina materials, including any materials mentioned in this document, go to If you need legal help please go to


Last Review and Update: Jan 21, 2021