Union Fire District of South Kingstown Shares Tips for Recovering From A Disaster

September is National Emergency Preparedness Month

SOUTH KINGSTOWN — In the event of an emergency or natural disaster, Chief Steven Pinch and the Union Fire District of South Kingstown would like to provide residents with information and tips to assist them in recovering and moving forward.

National Emergency Preparedness Month is meant to promote family and community disaster planning throughout the year. The theme for this year’s national campaign is “Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plans Today.”

Emergencies and disasters can occur at any time and they often disrupt individual’s homes, communities and their health. Recovering after an emergency or disaster can be a long and gradual process. The process may include locating family and friends, temporary housing and emergency food as well as informing people you know that you are safe and replacing vital documents.

The Union Fire District encourages residents to follow these tips during the aftermath of an emergency, provided by USA.gov:

Notifying Family and Friends After A Disaster:

  • After a disaster, residents should register with the American Red Cross Safe and Well system so family and friends can find them.
  • Residents searching for missing family members should use FEMA’s emergency family locator system that helps people connect during presidentially-declared disasters. To use this locator residents should call 1-800-588-9822 when it has been activated.
  • If residents are searching for or caring for a lost child after a disaster, they should call 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678). This is the hotline for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
  • Get help locating a missing person by using the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUS).

Locating Housing and Emergency Food:

Returning Home:

  • Residents are advised not to return to their property until local officials have declared that the area is safe.
  • Prior to entering their homes, residents should check for safety hazards such as loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage. Residents can learn what else to check around their home and yard after a disaster here.
  • Residents should identify items that require special disposal and who they should contact to dispose of them properly as they begin clean-up.
  • Residents should familiarize themselves with tips for how to safely clean up their home to prevent injury and illness.

Replacing Lost/Destroyed Documents:

  • U.S. Birth Certificate: To replace a birth certificate residents should find the vital records office in the state they were born in to see if they can receive a certified copy of their birth certificate with no identification.
  • Driver’s License: If residents can’t receive a copy of their birth certificate first, they should replace their driver’s license. Residents should check with their state for its procedures.
  • Social Security Card: Residents should first find out if they need a replacement card, oftentimes residents just need to know their number and not show their card. If residents do need a social security card they should follow these steps to replace it.
  • Other Important Documents: To learn more about replacing other vital documents residents should visit here.


Those interested in assisting affected communities during the aftermath of an emergency or natural disaster can do the following if they are able to:

Residents are advised to not self-deploy to disaster zones as this may hinder local efforts. Local officials will give specific instructions about how to volunteer if residents are interested.

Additionally, following a disaster, many individuals are susceptible to becoming victims of scams or fraud while in their vulnerable states. Residents should be vigilant of those who may pose as FEMA or other government officials, aid workers, or employees from charitable organizations or insurance companies in order to get your personal information or take your money.