“We may have lost our house, but we did not lose our HOME.”
Fire Recovery Checklist – compiled by Shaina Sovel
Contact Insurance Agent
• Get a claim number (this applies for both renter or owner)
• Ask for complete copy of home Insurance Declaration Page (this is the cover sheet which contains the details for your selected insurance coverage policy)
• If replacement premium requires contractor plans, find one now.
• Start tracking and listing lost items (don’t feel like you need to do this all at once – just start doing it).
• If claiming value of inside property: assemble pictures where they support your claims.
Contact Mortgage Holder (if property owner)
• Let them know your house burned – Future reimbursement by insurances will also be including the mortgage holder.
• If renting, notify your landlord.
Find Temporary Housing
• Keep spreading the word if you are still looking
– networking is helpful.
• Contact a realtor you trust.
Immediate Supply Needs
• Get necessary immediate supplies & clothing.
• Find where to go. There are many donation centers located throughout the county. Our community and even other states
• Re-route your mail: Get a PO Box or re-route to friend/ family address.
• Make a list of all places that send you mail (credit cards, medical plans, insurances, social security, banks or financial institutions, FastTrack, memberships, Amazon, utilities). Inform them via email or calls.
Replace Personal Identification
• There are currently ‘central hubs’ set up to help with this, free of charge. (i.e. in Santa Rosa, go to the Press Democrat building in the downtown)
• Some items to replace: drivers license, auto pink slips, passport, social security card, Medicare card, birth certificate, marriage license. Contact County Assessor (If property owner)
• File re-assessment claim form with county assessor.
• Apply for duplicate copy of title.Contact Dept. of Environmental Health and Safety
• This is optional: Obtain/review debris removal permit. For Sonoma County the address is 625 5th Street, Santa Rosa
• Register with FEMA Online (approx. 20 min process). https://www.disasterassistance.gov/ Even if you are not asking for assistance, this has been a continual recommendation. Many programs are supportive of regrouping/rebuilding and this FEMA identification can serve as a reference point for them.
Cancel all utilities
• Also request waiver of early termination, where applicable.
• Water, garbage, sewer, television, phones, internet (keep your email address), power.
• Is your head spinning with items lost? Start making spreadsheet lists. Just start tracking and get these items out of your head and onto paper.
• You are in shock, as is much of your support system of friends/family are as well. It will show in many ways, such as difficulty making decisions or even anger.
• It is ok to get counseling.
• Remember to have compassion and kindness. We can all pull through this together, supporting one another.
Are you a Survivor and your house is still standing?
• You may be experiencing “ survivor’s guilt. ” It is ok to have this response.
• For the survivors, when talking to those that lost their house:
find out what they need, not how they feel (they have likely been getting asked this over-and-over and it forces reliving the emotions).
• Giving back and providing within your own means (this could be physical items or of your own personal time) is the best way to help our community rebuild.
More Resources to Receive Help
North Bay Fire Relief by Redwood Credit Union, The Press Democrat, State Senator Mike McGuire and business leaders:
Neighbors who lost their homes can apply for an immediate $1,000 to assist with essentials such as rent, food, clothing and other personal necessities.
• Every student in Lake, Sonoma, Mendocino and Napa Counties can receive a $250 gift card to replace school clothes and supplies.
To apply in Sonoma County: Click here for the application.
Return completed applications directly to United Way of the Wine Country, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or drop your completed application at: 975 Corporate Center Pkwy., Suite 160, Santa Rosa, CA 95407 (open M-F 8AM to 5PM)
• The deadline to apply is 4 weeks after the fires are listed as 100% contained by CalFire. Unemployment and Disability Insurance:
State Supplemental Grant Program (SSGP): California’s State Supplemental Grant Program (SSGP), administered by California’s Department of Social Services, Disaster Services Bureau, may provide grant funds to assist people who have suffered damage in a disaster area declared by the President when the federal assistance to IHP is implemented. If you have questions about the State Supplemental Grant Program, you may contact SSGP at 1-800-759-6807, or for the speech- or hearing-impaired, the TTY number is 1-800-952-8349. Click on the following links for more detailed information about the SSGP.: State Supplemental Grant Program (SSGP) Information Sheet (Spanish Version) State Supplemental Grant Program (SSGP) Information Sheet
Ways to Help
The Press Democrat has created lists of various ways to help, including volunteering and donating. Click here for a list and here for another list .
United Way of The Wine Country: https://www.unitedwaywinecountry.org/
North Bay Fire Relief:
• Visit https://www.redwoodcu.org/northbayfirerelief
• Visit any RCU branch (www.redwoodcu.org/locations)
• By Mail: RCU Community Fun, P.O. Box 6104, Santa Rosa, CA 95406. Checks payable to RCU Community Fund, including 2017 North Bay Fire Relief in the memo line.
Donations to Santa Rosa City Schools district: The Santa Rosa City Schools is just beginning to assess the needs of our school community after the devastating fires. The best way to help is to donate money or gift cards. If you do not specify that the donation is for a particular school, we will make sure your donation goes to those in our district who need it. The need in our school community is unimaginable. Thank you for your donation! – From the SRCS website.
• To donate: :
1. Send checks or gift cards to Superintendent’s Office, Santa Rosa City Schools, 211 Ridgway Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA, 95401.
2. Contribute using this PayPal link
HOW TO HELP CHILDREN COPE WITH TRAUMA/GRIEF
– Provide opportunities for children to talk and express whatever they are feeling and thinking.
2. Be supportive and non-judgmental
– Let children have their own reactions. Don’t tell children what they should or should not feel.
3. Support children in expressing feelings, verbally and non-verbally
– Talking, crying, drawing, writing and playing are all helpful ways to process reactions. Children will often work through their feelings through play and may re-enact the death, trauma, funeral, etc. with playmates, dolls and other toys. This is a normal and healthy way for children to heal.
4. Be honest and provide accurate information appropriate to the child’s ability to understand and wish to know
– In order to cope,children need to trust that we will be honest with them. The unknown and the imagined can be much more terrifying than the truth.
5. Be patient
– Realize that this will take time. Children may take longer than adults to resolve trauma and grief. Their processing of it may be intermittent. They may need to ask the same questions over and over.
6. Share your feelings
– It is okay for children to know that you are human and have feelings, too, but don’t overburden your children with your anxieties. Make sure you take care of yourself and have good support from other adults.
7. Provide affection and reassurance regarding safety issues
– Let your children know that they are loved and that the adults in their lives will do their best to keep them safe. Children may temporarily need extra safety measures: i.e., sleeping in your room, leaving lights on, etc. You may want to say, “We will do this for a while and then get back to normal.”
8. Maintain order, security and stability in your children’s lives
– Children need regular routines and structure to continue as much as possible.
9. Give choices so that children have a sense of control and participation
– Ask: What would help you feel safe? Do you want to go to the memorial service?
– Light candles. Create a scrapbook or memory book. Write letters to the person who has died. Ritual helps us heal.