A real-time moment by moment journal of survival
Nick's Super Storm Survival
The damage from Hurricane Ian along the Ft Myers, Sanibel, Captiva, Pine and other barrier Islands is horrible. I survived SuperStorm Sandy with my life but nothing else. If anybody has contact with those affected, after they are saved or extracted, please relay to them to do a few things that will help immediately: 
  1. ESTABLISH YOUR FEMA NUMBER! Call the FEMA hotline 800-621-FEMA (3362) and establish your FEMA number, it means everything as you need it to enter for the paperwork and to enter the Rental Assistance Program (RAP) programs, Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) programs. You cannot enter into these programs until you have an established FEMA number. The backup will be enormous, do it immediately.  

  2. GET TO YOUR BELONGINGS NOW – If you are on a barrier island with bridges out, roads impassible, etc, contact people who have boats now to access your home if you can find it, and get any stuff now by The Army and National guard will lock it down in the next few days and you will NOT have access to see if you have a home or find anything of yours for weeks or months. Thieves will steal and pose as firemen and helpers, there are professional looters who will steal your possessions before the authorities get in to lock it down. If you can get back to find possessions, do it now. Its probably not legal, but do what you have to do without putting anyone in harms way.

  3.  CLOTHING AND TOILETRIES - Go to Red Cross https://www.redcross.org//Salvation Army https://salvationarmyflorida.org/fortmyers/  /Catholic Charities https://catholiccharitiesdov.org/charities/catholic-charities-lee-hendry-glades-counties/for clothing, toiletry supplies and bedding. 

  4. LOOK FOR SHELTER -  Contact the Rental Assistance Program (RAP)https://www.leeclerk.org/home/showpublisheddocument/10353/637511526506400000 to get you immediate shelter into hotels and occupancies to stay in the next few weeks and months.  

  5. ESTABLISH YOUR IDENTITY – You may have lost your birth certificate, passport and drivers license. You will be asked who you are. Whatever you have left that proves who you are, you need it to enter programs that help. Have people available to accompany you that can prove who you are. 

  6. MONEY AND CLOTHING - Do not be ashamed to ask for or accept food, clothing, money and shelter from friends  

  7. GAS – If roads exist and are drive-able, gas stations will be lined up for miles and may ration out supply. Either have someone hold your place in line with a car, bring 5 gallon red buckets to fill up,but be sure to fill your car up first in allowable sanctioning, then many will only allow 2.5 to 5 gallons for generators. Get someone who is capable to wait in line as it could be 24 hours or more of a wait.  

  8. INSURANCE - Write down everything you remember you lost possession wise, insurance companies will ask everything down to the toaster to determine payout. I mean everything, from clothes, furniture, cars, carpeting, try and get all your documentation together if it is not lost, i.e tax statements, mortgage statements, receipts.  

  9. MENTALLY GET STRONG – You don’t have time to cry about things now. Get to work. Get things aforementioned in order now immediately or you will be in a long line of people in your same situation. They go by the order they came in, not by dire need. It will take months to get some assistance you feel you need now, so do it all immediately and wait for it to come to you.  

 

It took me 10 years for resolution after Sandy. Be prepared for the long haul but pray things have gotten more streamlined. I will post more help day to day to help navigate your new life for those affected.

POST DESTRUCTION MENTAL NAVIGATION

ESTABLISHING SURVIVAL NOW

Your old life and community will not be the same – ever.  Prepare for that. It will not be what you wish it was before. So you have to operate seriously to get some assemblance of normalcy and navigate the legal and governmental system as an avalanche of laws will befall you and bleed you out unless you start to fight now.
  1. MENTAL SHOCK - You won’t know the actual devastation until two weeks from after the event. Your area will not to be up and running in a few months or even a year. You are looking at massive years before things are rebuilt, infrastructure complete and legal rebuilding efforts to be in place. The system is going to change now. The life you had before is gone and now is going to have an earth shaking shift.  

  2.  A NEW WORLD - After the initial panic and shock subside, every greedy developer or entity will change laws townships, etc to and it will all shift, million dollar buyouts of simple bungalow or friendly local communities will happen the old way of life will change. Redevelopment interest from all around the world will swoop down to take advantage of the situation. Be prepared for it.  

  3. CONTROL THE REBUILD – Attend every governmental function to voice your input on how the redevelopment will happen. Zoning will inevitably change, insurance companies will put new restrictions on rebuilding and architectural constraints, now is the time to give your input in to control your destiny. If you don’t fight for it, you will be rezoned out, or have to pay exorbitant expenses to get back to what you expect.  

  4. GET A GOOD LAWYER – You’re going to battle insurance companies in negotiations as policies may only cover “flood damage” or “fire damage” and not “Hurricane damage”. Your fight is just starting to get back what you had so you need to be legally represented to articulate coherently in the system what you need to get back and how it was destroyed.  

  5. HAVE A ONE YEAR PLAN – Lay out where you are going to live after the RAP program, hotels and friendly accommodations run out. Nothing happens fast.  Plan to rent a place for a year or more ahead of time if you are lucky enough to start rebuilding within a year. Most rebuilds will take 1 to 2 years at the very least to occur. Remember, to rebuild any house in any situation, it takes months to a year in normal circumstances to go through the system of approvals and variances. They will not fast track anything just because you are in dire need. I waited 10 years and lived in 15 different rentals since Sandy. 

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