La Crosse, WI --- The flood waters are gone. You registered with the Red Cross, notified local officials of your damage and even reported to the county emergency manager. You're all set, right?
Maybe not say, say state and federal disaster officials.
"The Red Cross and other volunteer and local agencies do fine work, but they can't register disaster victims for federal assistance," said Al Shanks, of Wisconsin Emergency Management, who heads the state side of the recovery effort.
"Registering for federal disaster aid is easy," said Tom Davies, of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) "All it takes is one telephone call, but if you haven't called our teleregistration line, you aren't registered for FEMA assistance."
Davies, as FEMA federal coordinating officer for the Wisconsin disaster, heads the FEMA side of the recovery effort.
"The call is free. FEMA operators will guide applicants through the process," Davies said. "Just call 800-462-9029, 8 a.m. through 6 p.m., seven days a week. The special line for the hearing impaired is 800-462-7585."
"Help is available, but we have to know who needs it," Shanks said. "The only way to register is to call the FEMA 800 line. If you're not sure you're registered, call and check."