MOBILE, Ala. -- Members of FEMA and state of Alabama community relations teams are canvassing hard-hit disaster areas offering one-on-one assistance to Alabamians who were victims of Hurricane Ivan. Teams go door-to-door offering information and personal assistance, and provide telephone access to victims to the 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA) registration line.
"Community relations teams are a vital part of our outreach strategy," said FEMA's Federal Coordinating Officer Michael Hall. "They put a face on our efforts to help residents and businesses recover from this disaster."
Community relations workers are making a special effort to be sure that the elderly, those with special needs, individuals needing language assistance and others who have not yet registered with FEMA are aware that help is available.
"We want to make sure that everyone affected by this disaster is able to call the 800-line to register. There are translators available for most languages," said State Coordinating Officer Bruce Baughman. "The first step toward recovery starts with this phone call."
Individuals who have not registered can begin the application assistance process by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing- or speech- impaired. Disaster officials are asking people to be patient, and to call during off-hours if possible to reduce call volume at peak times.
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 the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.