The days and weeks following a disaster can be difficult. There are numerous financial issues and personal concerns to address.

Below are some steps to take following a natural disaster such as a wildfire.

  • Register for Federal Assistance
    If FEMA assistance is available, register online at www.disasterassistance.gov.
  • Make a List of All Property Damage
    Make a list of all property damage and contact your insurance company as soon as you can. Do not throw out any damaged items until your insurance company has a chance to inspect and advises you it is ok to do so. For more information visit the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
  • Contact Your Mortgage Servicer
    Talk to your mortgage lender right away and tell them about your situation. Damage to your home does not eliminate your responsibility to pay your mortgage, however your lender may be willing to work with you given the circumstances.
  • Contact Your Credit Card Companies and Other Lenders
    If you don’t think you will be able to pay your credit cards or loans, be sure to contact your lenders as soon as possible. Explain your situation and ask your creditor to work with you.
  • Contact Your Utility Companies
    If your home is damaged to the point you can’t live in it, ask the utility companies to suspend your service. This could help free up money for other expenses.
  • Beware of Scams
    Be cautious of scams after a natural disaster. Be careful giving out personal and financial information. If an individual is trying to sell you a product or service, this is a red flag.
  • Seek Assistance from Non-Profit Organizations
    WA211.org can help connect you to local resources in your area. Local organizations can help you find temporary shelter and housing, food, and other support.

Helpful Resources

Managing Finances

Credit Cards

Mortgages and Homes


Emergency Shelter and Housing

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Contact Information

Washington Emergency Management Division
(253) 512-8000

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner

Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

Red Cross
1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767)