Cridersville, OH -- Flood victims in nine northeast counties* who have registered for federal/local disaster assistance following the July storms can expect a visit from a federal inspector in the near future.
Inspectors are from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
Inspections are mandatory. Before any application can be completed and approved, the location must be inspected. Inspectors verify the nature and extent of the damage suffered by those who have registered for federal disaster assistance. This includes inspections for FEMA housing assistance and/or SBA low-interest disaster assistance loans.
FEMA schedules inspections within 7 to 15 days from the date of application. SBA sends loss verifiers to inspect damaged property of those who have submitted completed loan applications. Local building and safety inspectors may schedule an inspection to see if damaged structures are safe.
Disaster officials caution storm and flood victims to be careful about letting unfamiliar visitors into their homes, even though they may introduce themselves as an inspector.
"Ask for identification from anyone claiming to be an inspector," urged Ron Sherman, federal coordinating officer with FEMA. "Our inspectors are required to display their picture identification badge at all times."
More than 3,527 applicants have registered with FEMA's toll-free registration line since the disaster was declared. Those who have not yet registered can apply by calling the toll-free registration number at 1-800-621-3362. Persons who are speech- or hearing-impaired can call 1-800-462-7585.
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages Citizen Corps, the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.
*Declared counties include, Carroll, Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit and Trumbull.