Madison, Wis. -- Individuals affected by the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding that began on June 5 are urged to begin cleaning up their homes and personal property as soon as possible. Officials from Wisconsin Emergency Management (WEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) emphasize that it is not necessary to wait for an inspection before beginning this process.
"Individuals affected by the disaster need to keep their health and safety as the number one priority," said Federal Coordinating Officer Dolph Diemont. "In the process of cleaning up, they can document the losses and damages by taking photos. Then, when program inspectors arrive, simply provide them with copies of the pictures. Also, applicants are urged to keep receipts for all purchases and services used in order to document expenses that may be reimbursable by FEMA."
Shortly after an individual applies for disaster assistance by either calling 1-800-621-FEMA or Online at www.fema.gov, a FEMA inspector will contact them and set up an appointment to verify the damages and losses. Those with hearing or speech impairments may call 1-800-462-7585. Both phone numbers and the web registration services are available 24 hours a day until further notice.
"However, keeping their personal safety in mind, individuals should not simply rush in and attempt to get their homes cleaned up," said WEM Administrator Johnnie Smith. "Every precaution concerning possible electrical and natural or propane gas problems and structural safety should be considered before going into a damaged home."
Individuals and business owners in Columbia, Crawford, Dodge, Green, Milwaukee, Racine, Richland, Sauk, Vernon, Washington, Waukesha and Winnebago counties are now eligible to apply for federal and state disaster assistance.
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 terrorism.