BRIDGEPORT, W. Va. --? On the road to recovery from disasters like the early June storms that caused damage in north central West Virginia, property inspection is a vital step that can be properly executed only if storm victims keep their appointment with inspectors, officials of the Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) stress.
Homeowners, renters and business owners who were affected by the storms, flooding, tornadoes and other severe weather June 3-7 in West Virginia should first register for assistance. Registrants can begin the process by calling FEMA's toll-free number, 800-621-FEMA (3362), or TTY 800-462-7585 for the hearing- or speech-impaired. People can also register at the FEMA Web site, www.fema.gov
Once applicants are determined eligible, an inspector will call to schedule a time to review the damaged property. Expect to be contacted within 10 days. Inspectors are already in the field conducting damage assessments.
File any insurance claim promptly. It is not necessary to file before registering with FEMA but you will need to provide FEMA with a decision letter (settlement or denial) from your insurance company at the time of the inspection. The inspector will visit the property to assess the damage related to the disaster. During the inspection you must be present for your scheduled appointment and provide proof of ownership or occupancy to the inspector.
If applicants cannot be present, they may designate someone (over the age of 18 who is a resident of the dwelling) to meet the inspector on their behalf.
Inspectors are not FEMA employees. They are hired by FEMA and will wear a photo badge identifying them as inspectors under contract with FEMA. Always ask to see identification. If someone without proper photo identification seeks to inspect a property or charge an applicant for anything, notify local authorities and:
FEMA Office of Inspector General
Fraud, Waste and Abuse Toll-free Hotline
Inspectors file an electronic inspection report quickly, but they do not determine eligibility. There is no fee for the inspection. After the inspection, applicants will be asked to sign a form authorizing FEMA to verify that the information you have given is correct.
But all of this action will happen much later if applicants fail to keep their inspection appointment, and any eligible assistance will be delayed until an inspection occurs.
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.