SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--According to the National Fire Protection Association, there is an average of 487,500 structure fires each year - causing an estimated $9.5 billion in damages. That is roughly one structure fire every 65 seconds. Plus flooding, tornadoes, hail, wildfires, and other disasters cause additional billions in damages to countless homes, businesses, and communities.
Once the fire is out or the storm passes, people find themselves faced with the daunting task of trying to pick up the pieces and rebuild their lives. This is when contractors, public adjusters, cleaning companies, and other “disaster chasers” show up to cash in. With the lure of a big insurance payday, vulnerable disaster survivors become prime targets for those who make a living off of disasters. Although some companies that chase disasters may be legitimate, many are not. All too often, people who have suffered the loss of their homes fall prey to scams, misinformation, or high pressure sales tactics that ultimately devastate them further.
Until recently, when first responders left the scene of a disaster, the survivors were left to figure out their recovery on their own. Now fire departments have a new tool to help people get back on their feet that also raises awareness of the many pitfalls that present themselves in the aftermath of disaster events. It's called The Red Guide to Recovery - Resource Handbook for Disaster Survivors.
Written by Sean Scott, a restoration contractor with over 35 years of experience in construction and disaster restoration, this unique book walks disaster survivors step-by-step through the recovery process in a detailed, but easy-to-read format. It covers a wide range of topics including how to avoid scams, how to handle insurance claims, safety tips, hazardous material precautions, smoke and water damage issues, and much more.
Recently adopted by the City of Los Angeles Fire Department, the City of San Diego Fire - Rescue Department and the City of San Francisco Fire Department, The Red Guide is routinely handed out after structure fires as well as large-scale disaster events.
“When we saw The Red Guide for the first time, we knew we wanted to be able to provide this to the residents of the City and County of San Francisco to give them some direction and to assist them in beginning the recovery process as soon as possible,” said San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes–White.
“After seeing what people went through after wildfires swept through San Diego County in 2003 and again in 2007, which destroyed over 6,000 homes and damaged countless others, I felt compelled to create a resource for first responders so they wouldn't have to leave people empty handed,” explained Scott. “To this day, there are vacant lots in my community where homes used to be that are stark reminders of the lives that were forever changed by the fires. Most of those families will never return home and were victimized by circumstances that in many cases could have been avoided. The Red Guide provides first responders with a lifeline they can hand out free of charge, so people will have the information they need to rebuild their lives.”