Sherwood, AR -- Inspectors from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other disaster assistance agencies are in the field as an important part of the recovery process for individuals and business owners in the 19 Arkansas counties affected by the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding from May 2 through June 10, 2003.
The following 19 counties are eligible for individual assistance: Benton, Chicot, Cleburne, Columbia, Conway, Craighead, Crittenden, Cross, Faulkner, Fulton, Jackson, Lonoke, Nevada, Perry, Phillips, Poinsett, St. Francis, White, and Woodruff.
"In every instance the inspector is responding to document the damage received by a homeowner, renter or business applicant, said Sandy Coachman, federal coordinating officer. "It is important to the completion of the assistance process to cooperate with inspectors who are in place to assist the applicant and move the process forward."
Should there be any doubt that an inspector is who they claim to be, or fails to provide a photo identification badge, applicants should re-schedule the inspection and call the local police department to report the incident.
The following are points to remember during inspections:
- All inspectors wear a current photo identification badge.
- Clothing with names or insignias is not an indication they work for the agency.
- All FEMA inspectors carry a hand-held computer. It has information about the person whose household they are inspecting on the computer.
- The computer is only for FEMA programs. It has no other use to anyone else.
- Inspectors do not determine any dollar amounts. They only look at reported damage and document the damage.
- Inspectors come to a household by appointment only.
- Inspectors do not carry money.
In addition to FEMA inspectors other inspectors or verifiers may visit. After the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) application has been completed and returned to SBA, an SBA verifier will make an appointment for an inspection. The American Red Cross may conduct a home visit to verify loss and the need for Red Cross assistance. This visit is done in teams of two or more.
Local building and safety inspectors may be sent to see if damaged buildings are safe to occupy. All inspectors and verifiers carry official photo identification. If an inspector is not wearing an identification card or badge, ask to see it.