Lansing, MI -- Disaster recovery teams are now in the field inspecting homes and businesses damaged in the recent flooding, according to Capt. Edward Buikema, State Coordinating Officer, Michigan State Police/Emergency Management Division (MSP/EMD), and Suzanne Schmitt, Federal Coordinating Officer, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Individuals who have applied for disaster assistance can expect to hear from several different inspectors within the coming weeks.
"FEMA inspectors generally will schedule an inspection soon after registration to look at damaged property, and inspectors do not charge any fee," Buikema said. "Local building and safety inspectors may come to see if damaged structures are safe." Schmitt added that the U.S. Small Business Administration will send loss verifiers to inspect damaged property of those who have submitted disaster loan applications.
Schmitt advised residents that the inspectors carry photo IDs. "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 John Engler, Wayne County was designated for "Individual Assistance" through a disaster declaration signed by President Clinton on Oct.17 for damages occurring on Sept. 10-11 in Wayne County. The declaration makes available a wide range of federal disaster assistance programs that could include financial assistance for those temporarily displaced by the flooding, low-interest loans to repair and replace real or personal property, and 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 flooding are urged to call FEMA's toll-free registration line at 1-800-462-9029 between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., seven days a week. The registration line for persons who are hearing- or speech-impaired is TTY 1-800-462-7585.
FEMA and MSP/EMD also have established a toll-free Helpline 1-800-525-0321(TTY 1-800-462-7585) to aid individuals who have already registered for assistance and have questions on the status of the application or need to report changes in information or give additional information -- such as insurance coverage or change of residence or phone number.