WICHITA, Kan. -- Some residents of designated Kansas counties who suffered property damages or losses from severe storms and flooding that began June 26, and have registered with FEMA, will soon hear from damage inspectors under contract to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
An inspector will call the contact number the applicant provided and set up a time for an inspection appointment. If the homeowner cannot return at the time of the inspection, the applicant can arrange for an authorized representative, named by the homeowner, to represent the applicant during the inspection.
All FEMA contract inspectors carry official photo identification. An inspector reports any structural damage as well as personal property losses. Homeowners should identify all known damages and tell the inspector if they have a septic system or a well. The inspector documents the damage but does not determine eligibility for assistance.
"There is no need to wait for the inspector's visit before beginning cleanup," said Michael L. Karl, federal coordinating officer for Kansas recovery operations. "However, we recommend documenting damage by taking photographs prior to cleanup. You should always keep receipts for disaster-related damage repairs already completed, or items purchased for cleanup that may be eligible for reimbursement."
Insurance is primary in recovery so always contact your insurance company first. In some cases your home will not be inspected until you notify FEMA of your settlement outcome. Owners and renters must show proof of occupancy or ownership such as a mortgage payment, utility bill or valid driver's license.
There is no charge for a FEMA inspection. "We are advising applicants to ask for photo identification from anyone identifying themselves as FEMA inspectors," said Angee Morgan, state coordinating officer. "If someone asks you for money for an inspection or if you feel someone is misrepresenting themselves as an inspector, please contact your local police or call the Attorney General's office."
If you suspect fraud, call the police, sheriff or the Attorney General's Office of Consumer Protection at 800-337-3928.
Inspectors will make multiple attempts to contact you but make sure your application is updated with a current phone number. Call the FEMA Helpline, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), to update your application if your phone number has changed. The TTY number is 1-800-462-7585 for those with speech or hearing impairments.
To apply for disaster assistance, go to www.fema.gov or call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). The TTY number is 1-800-462-7585 for those with speech or hearing impairments. Both lines are available from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. seven days a week.
Disaster assistance may include grants to help pay for temporary housing, uninsurable items and other serious disaster-related needs.
Low-interest disaster loans are made available through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for homeowners and renters as well as business owners and non-profit organizations. Individuals with SBA questions may visit the Disaster Recovery Center or call the SBA Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or TTY 1-800-877-8339 or visit SBA's website at www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.