West Salem, WI -- Although thousands of Wisconsin residents suffered enough flood damage to be eligible for assistance, only about 500 have applied thus far according to state and federal officials.
"State and federal crews went out into the field in early May, and they saw real damage," said Al Shanks, of Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM). "We know there are Wisconsinites eligible for help, but we can't help them unless they register," said Shanks. "The only way to register is to call the 800 number." Shanks is the state coordinating officer of the state/federal disaster--recovery effort.
"Many people will be gathering this holiday weekend," Shanks said. "It would be great if everyone would check with family and friends, to see if they're registered. If not, they could urge them to call the FEMA registration line. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to get out a message."
"The call is free," said Federal Coordinating Officer Tom Davies. Davies, an official of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said the call is easy. "Operators guide applicants through the calls. Applicants should have their insurance information and repair receipts handy when they call," Davies said.
"Every WEM and FEMA program is completely voluntary," Shanks stressed. "Nobody has to accept our help, but we would like to help every eligible person who wants our assistance."
The toll--free registration number is 1--800--462--9029. The hearing or speech impaired can call 1--800--462--7585 (TTY). The lines will be closed Sunday, May 27 and Monday, May 28 for Memorial Day. After the holiday weekend, the registration lines will be open 8 a.m. through 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Thereafter, they will operate Monday through Saturday, until further notice.