ATLANTA, Ga. -- Inspection is an essential part of the process of obtaining federal aid to repair or rebuild property damaged by the recent tornadoes, according to officials of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Being prepared for the inspection will help speed the process of obtaining assistance.
"Inspectors are in the field to confirm applicants’ losses from the May 11-12 storms," said Federal Coordinating Officer Jeff Bryant of FEMA. "We continue to encourage tornado victims with property damage to register quickly with FEMA and to be ready to welcome our inspectors. Generally, inspection occurs no later than three days after someone registers for assistance."
Anyone with property damage in the 10 counties eligible for federal assistance should register by calling FEMA's toll-free registration number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585 for the hearing or speech impaired or by going online to www.fema.gov .
"We want to ensure that all individuals and businesses that suffered storm-related damages have the opportunity to apply for the assistance programs available," said Deputy State Coordinating Officer Joe McKinney. "To obtain aid, everyone must complete the process, including inspections and any required paperwork."
Here is what to expect:
- Inspectors call registrants to schedule appointments, which is why it is critical that applicants provide a phone number where they can be reached.
- Either the property owner or someone designated to act on the property owner’s behalf must meet the inspector at the property. Inspection cannot occur unless there is someone to meet with the inspector.
- All inspectors employed by FEMA carry photo identification. Never allow anyone to conduct an inspection without seeing official identification. If in doubt, call the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-3362.
- FEMA inspectors verify and document damages. The inspector addresses damages to a home’s foundation, roof, flooring, drywall and heating, cooling, plumbing and electrical systems. The inspector will create a record of all disaster-related damages. Damaged personal property, such as clothing, transportation and appliances, will also be addressed.
- Inspectors visit only to survey and record damages. They do not make decisions about aid.
- There is no charge for a FEMA inspection.
- Homeowners will need to show proof of ownership, such as mortgage payments, homeowners insurance, tax receipts or a deed or title for manufactured homes. Homeowners and renters should be able to prove their occupancy, such as with a utility receipt or valid driver’s license. If insurance papers are available, they should be shown to the inspector.
- Applicants should tell the inspector about any important losses such as clothing, medical equipment, tools needed for a trade and educational materials.
- Homeowners and renters with storm-damaged private septic systems and wells should point out these facilities. FEMA assistance may be available.
- Applicants should give clear, accurate directions to the damaged property.
- The amount of time the inspector will need varies depending on the level of damage.
- An inspector will try three times to schedule a damage inspection appointment. After that, unnecessary delays may occur.
- More than one inspection may be required, depending on the type of aid under consideration. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) may require its own inspection before issuing a low-interest loan.
As a result of a presidential disaster declaration on May 23, individuals in Bibb, Carroll, Douglas, Emanuel, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Laurens, McIntosh and Twiggs counties are eligible for...