Emergency Information: It’s important to follow the directions from emergency personnel before, during, and after a disaster. Call the Ventura County department at (805) 465-6650 for more information, or visit their website www.readyventuracounty.org.
Shelter & Supplies: During natural disasters, many organizations (including the Red Cross) are available to provide shelter, food, supplies, medical assistance, and other disaster recovery services in Santa Barbara, CA .The Ventura Red Cross chapter can be reached by calling (805) 987-1514. They assist in connecting you to the right resources and shelters.
Sorting through the Debris: When it’s time to return home after a fire, you should follow safety measures before handling anything. Please keep the following in mind:
If you need to enter a dwelling, use a N95 mask and an air purifier with HEPA filtration until air quality returns to safe levels. For more information, visit www.venturacountyrecovers.org/returning-to-your-home-or-business-after-a-fire/.
Insurance Compensation Guide: If you have insurance, it’s important to follow the proper guidelines to ensure you are compensated. File your claim as soon as possible, as well as keep accurate records of damages and communications with your insurance company. A useful guide can be found at www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/dealing-with-insurance-after-disaster-29640.html.
Avoid Insurance Claim Mistakes: Mistakes can be costly when it comes to dealing with your insurance company. This helpful article explains how to avoid them: www.insure.com/home-insurance/home-insurance-claims-mistakes.html.
Federal Assistance Programs: Take advantage of assistance provided by the federal government. They provide loans and other reimbursements for items not covered by insurance. The FEMA site is here: www.fema.gov/individual-disaster-assistance.
Tax Relief if Damages Are More Than $10,000: Has damage to your property exceeded $10,000? If so, you may qualify for property tax relief. Visit http://assessor.countyofventura.org/taxsavings/calamityclaims.html.
Fee Waiver for Tax Deadline: If you missed the property tax deadline for December 11 due to the fire, you can still apply for a fee waiver. Visit www.ventura.org/images/TTC/Tax_Collector_Cancellation_of_Penalty.pdf.
Consider Filing Losses in Your 2017 Return: Based on the new federal tax plan for 2018, there may be a reduction in the amount the federal government pays for natural disasters. This could change, but it is still highly advised to assess and include losses in your 2017 tax return. Visit www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc515.
How to Choose Your Contractor: When you are ready to rebuild, it’s not easy to know how to choose between hiring independent architects, engineers, and contractors. You could also hire a design/build firm that oversees the entire process from start to finish. Those who already have a specific architect or contractor picked out may want to go the independent contractor route. However, if you do not have a lot of time to find and hire multiple independent contractors, you’ll want to hire a design/build firm.
Get Bids from Multiple Firms & Contractors: Restore your property and save money in the process. It’s essential to get bids from multiple firms. For a list of local contractors and/or design and build firms, do a simple online search or fill out your information on one or more online contractor locator sites like Houzz, Thumbtack, or Home Advisor.
Contact us if you have questions about getting help after a natural disaster. We proudly serve the communities of Santa Barbara, Isla Vista, Mission Canyon, Montecito, and Summerland, California, plus the surrounding areas.