OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- Oklahoma residents have one month to register for wildfire disaster help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
The deadline for residents to apply for disaster assistance for damages or losses caused by April wildfires is Tuesday, August 18, 2009.
"If you live in one of the counties declared eligible for disaster assistance, don't disqualify yourself for possible aid by failing to register," said Federal Coordinating Officer Kenneth R. Tingman, who heads the FEMA recovery team. "Even if your losses were minimal, signing up with FEMA by the deadline can put you in a position for possible disaster program funding and other services."
A toll-free line is available between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. every day to take registrations. The number is 800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 800-462-7585. Individuals and business owners also can register for help online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov.
Federal and state recovery aid to residents can include:
- grants for emergency disaster housing and essential repairs;
- grants for necessities not covered by insurance or other sources; and
- low-interest loans from the SBA.
People who have registered with the American Red Cross or other volunteer and civic agencies also must register with FEMA if they want access to the wide array of federal and state aid that becomes available when a major disaster is declared by the president.
Residents in the following 9 counties can register for assistance: Carter, Cleveland, Grady, Lincoln, McClain, Murray, Oklahoma, Payne and Stephens.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is the federal government's primary source of money for the long term rebuilding of disaster damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes and private, nonprofit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts, and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) prepares for, responds to, recovers from and mitigates against emergencies and disasters. The department delivers service to Oklahoma cities, towns and counties through a network of more than 350 local emergency managers.