Birmingham, AL - Federal and state disaster officials issued the following tips Thursday to help residents of Alabama's 29 counties that were declared tornado disaster areas as a result of storms between Nov. 5-12 expedite their applications for assistance.
- Take action. To receive disaster assistance you must register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) toll-free. For persons with speech or hearing impairments the number is 1-800-462-7585. If you are unsure you live in a county that was declared a disaster area by the President, you can learn that when you call.
- Your damage will be inspected. Be sure that FEMA has a telephone number at which you can be reached and that the address at the damaged structure is prominently displayed.
- Even if you are covered by insurance, you should register. This will protect you if damage is discovered after you have settled with the insurance company. All damage must be disaster-related, but you don't have to own real estate to get help recovering from your losses.
- Your property does not have to be flood damaged to get assistance. For example, financial help is available to pump, repair or even replace septic tanks. Assistance also may be available to restore damaged wells that are a sole source of water.
- Fill out and return the Small Business Administration loan application. No one is required to accept a loan, but the information in the application may determine your eligibility for other state and federal programs.
- Renters forced from their homes by a disaster may receive rental assistance for other quarters while necessary repairs are made. Also, help may be available to replace personal property in a rental home damaged or destroyed in a disaster.
- FOLLOW UP - If you need to change your application or check on its status call the same numbers you used to register: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or, for the speech or hearing impaired, 1-800-462-7585.