JACKSON, Tenn. -- Keeping contact information current is as important as registration in the disaster recovery process.
That is the message federal and state officials here are stressing to Tennesseans affected by the recent tornadoes. Residents need to stay in touch with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and update their contact information as it changes.
“Unfortunately, if we can’t find you, we can’t provide the assistance you need,” said Mike Karl, FEMA’s coordinating officer for disaster operations here.
Following a disaster, displaced residents often move a number of times as they look for suitable housing. Sometimes in that process, they may forget to update their contact information. Being out of contact can delay a damage inspector’s visit, thereby delaying a family’s recovery.
FEMA officials prefer residents to register and update contact information by calling the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or the TTY line at 1-800-462-7585 for the speech or hearing impaired or by going online at www.fema.gov.
All residents registered for assistance with FEMA also are urged to update their mailing address with the U.S. Postal Service by calling 1-800-275-8777 or visiting www.usps.gov. Change-of-address forms also are available at any post office.
Residents should keep their contact information current with the Social Security Administration and any other government agency they routinely do business with or that may impact their recovery.
Following these guidelines can improve victims’ chances of speedy recovery by shortening the amount of time it takes for assistance to arrive.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.