Guide and tips when returning home
- Recovering from Disaster – (PDF, 4MB) This downloadable FEMA guide will help you return home, cope and help others. Learn about safety, health and mental well-being after a disaster.
- Department of Homeland Security tips – Learn what you should do before you enter your home after a disaster and what to watch out for once you enter. Also, learn what you might need to track for insurance.
- Supply list
Check your home’s safety
Cleaning up the damage
- Disaster recovery – Find guides, videos, resource links, and even an app from Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that can help you recover and rebuild a healthy home.
- Dealing with debris and damaged buildings – Learn how to safely handle different hazards from the Environmental Protection Agency. This may include structurally unsound buildings and chemical spills.
- Flood cleanup and the air in your home – Learn how to properly clean up after a flood and about air quality, as well as mold hazards.
- Harris County debris and damage assessment – 713-274-3880
Rebuilding stronger and safer
- Safer, stronger, protected homes, and communities – List of resources from FEMA to help home and business owners rebuild and prevent future damage.
- Building codes toolkit – Based on best practices, FEMA standards and input from field experts.
- Contractor fraud checklist
- Avoiding contractor fraud
- Harris County Permits Office
Caring for important documents and valuables
Debris Removal Guidelines
Tips to avoid home repair fraud
- Get several written bids or estimates from multiple contractors.
- Estimates should include a complete description of work to be done with time and payment schedules.
- Ensure that you use reputable companies that you know and trust.
- Ask for references and confirm by calling them.
- Check the Better Business Bureau.
- Check the courthouse for criminal history and civil cases against the contractor.
- Do not begin any work without confirming that the contractor is bonded and insured.
- Get a contract in writing with details of work to be done and pricing.
- Confirm that the contractor has received proper permits from the city and or neighborhood association before work begins.
- Do not pay for the entire job upfront.
- It is against the law for contractors in disaster areas to take any money up front unless they have had a local office in your county or one county over for at least one year.
- Insist on paying the full amount until after the work is completed.
- Do not pay in cash.
- Report bad contractors to the: