Disasters start with an initial response stage when immediate actions are taken to preserve life and property on the individual to municipal scale, and in the public and private spheres. Recovery starts as soon as the disaster does, and recovery takes place in overlapping ways until the response tapers off. Response is measured in hours and days, and recovery weeks to years.

The best way to recover from a disaster is to avoid it in the first place if possible, and if you can’t, lessen its effects through prudent mitigation and preparedness measures. Do not count on state or federal disaster aid, as that only is available for larger disasters, and is nowhere near fast enough or large enough to fulfill all of people’s needs.

Any immediate life safety needs should call 911. Towns needing urgent state assistance with a disaster should contact Vermont Emergency Management. They have a 24/7 Duty Officer available at 800-347-0488. 

Individuals seeking recovery assistance should contact their towns first with requests for assistance. Towns can then pass this through to TRORC, who will send it to the state.

Businesses can get help from the VT Small Business Development Centers. 

After the initial period of disaster response is over, Towns and governmental-type entities (schools, libraries, emergency services, etc.) should work with the state on recovery. Most of this is through the VEM Public Assistance office. Towns can also contact TRORC for assistance. This guide from FEMA on equitable recovery can help towns ensure they are not leaving those with the least means or access behind during recovery.

Remember, only flood insurance covers flood damage, and everyone can buy flood insurance, no matter where you live.

TRORC and the Vermont Agency of Transportation district offices also assist towns in recovery. Any recovery work in or next to streams needs to be coordinated with your respective river engineer.  

REMEMBER, document damage through photos and copies of all receipts, and report damage promptly. If there is an active disaster in the region, we will make information regarding such disaster available on our home page.

Vermont Municipal Flood Guide

This document is meant to assist all types of Vermont town officials, boards, staff, volunteers and others, with considerations and resources related to flooding disasters.  The Flood Guide shares actions and steps to be taken by each role at each stage: from proactive and smart advance preparations, to advance preparations to do when a major storm is forecast, and on to actions to be taken during the storm, as well as during recovery.  This comprehensive guide is meant to be an active tool that is kept both electronically and in hard copy with your Local Emergency Management Plan.  Numerous state and federal agencies had input into the creation of the Flood Guide.  Our goal is that towns will share this guide both internally and with their neighboring towns, to foster resiliency throughout Vermont.

View the document here: Vermont Municipal Flood Guide