California wildfires: What happens next?

Disasters are unfortunately becoming commonplace news stories. Many people are dealing with tragic losses in the wake of both man-made and natural disasters. The recent fires that have ravaged California are now among the most devastating in U.S. history. This article from Digg provides a visualization of the scope of the fires.

While the priority for emergency resources and others involved is focused on the safety and health of those impacted, the reality is many people are grappling with what to do next when it comes to dealing with property damage or related insurance claims.

Here are five common-sense things to be aware of:

  1. First and foremost, make sure your family and friends are safe and secure. If you believe someone you know is missing, one resource is to check the Butte County Sheriff's website. In checking the list, if you see your name or others listed who are safe, please contact the Sheriff’s office to alert them.
  2. Remember, first responders are there to specifically help those in immediate danger and to secure the area to avoid additional loss. They have difficult jobs even after the disaster is over; help them by respecting their authority. 
  3. Consider the stress on local infrastructure. If you are in one of the impacted regions, even if you were not directly affected, consider how to manage within or outside of your local infrastructure. Whenever there is damage on the scale we are seeing in Paradise and Malibu, the local infrastructure is heavily impacted. Simple things like going to the grocery store or putting gas in your car can become complicated or even impossible. Plan accordingly if you are in one of these locations.
  4. Lend a helping hand to your neighbors, especially those who may not be as mobile as you. We are all better people when we reach out to help those in need. Realize that your neighbors need you and you need them.  
  5. Count on those who can help in the recovery process. The insurance industry is here to help with the financial consequences of a disaster. As a loss adjusting and claims management company supporting both insurance carriers and employers, Sedgwick’s team is working around the clock to help our business partners and those impacted by the disaster. This edge article offers additional advice on how to prepare your business and move through the disaster recovery process.

For those of us fortunate enough to enjoy Thanksgiving with our friends and family this week, we urge you to remember that caring counts for those in need. One way to give back and help the thousands displaced by these fires is by donating to the American Red Cross

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