SALT LAKE CITY, Utah -- Disaster recovery teams are now in the field inspecting homes and businesses damaged in the recent tornado, according to state and federal disaster officials. Individuals who have applied for disaster assistance can expect to hear from several different inspectors within the coming week.
"FEMA inspectors generally will schedule an inspection within a week to 10 days to review damaged property to obtain more information about losses," said Federal Coordinating Officer Steve Olsen of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). "The Red Cross may also send inspectors to meet with disaster victims, and local building and safety inspectors may come to see if damaged structures are safe." Olsen added that the U.S. Small Business Administration will send loss verifiers to inspect damaged property of those who have submitted disaster loan applications.
Earl Morris of Utah Emergency Management cautioned residents about the inspections. "We advise applicants to ask for identification from everyone saying they are damage inspectors. All inspectors carry official photo identification. If an inspector is not wearing an identification card or badge, ask to see it."
At the request of Governor Michael Leavitt, Salt Lake County was designated for federal disaster aid through the disaster declaration signed by President Clinton on August 16. The declaration makes available financial assistance for those temporarily displaced by the tornado, low-interest loans to repair or replace real or personal property, and, in some cases, grants to help meet essential disaster-related needs not covered by other assistance programs.
Individuals and business owners who believe they have suffered losses in the tornado are urged to call FEMA's toll-free registration line at 1-800-462-9029 between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The registration line for persons who are hearing or speech impaired is TTY 1-800-462-7585.