OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- If you lost your home or property during the May 10-13 storms, you undoubtedly have a lot on your mind right now. Amid the turmoil, don't forget the one detail that could ensure recovery assistance reaches you: Keep in touch with FEMA.
Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are working hard to make sure eligible Oklahomans get their post-disaster needs met. They urge applicants to keep their contact information current.
"As many as three applicants out of every 10 forget to let us know they've moved or changed phone numbers," said Federal Coordinating Officer Gregory W. Eaton. "We want to help. Just tell us how to find you."
Consider housing inspections, for instance. It's vital to keep your contact information up to date so a FEMA housing inspector can reach you to schedule a damage assessment of your property.
Within 10 business days of registering for Individual Assistance (IA) programs, you should receive a packet from FEMA containing the details of the aid program, a copy of your application and referrals to other potentially helpful programs.
If you haven't received the packet after 10 days or if you need to update the information it contains, call FEMA's Helpline at 1-800-621-3362 (FEMA) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for people with hearing or speech impairments.
Three problems frequently delay delivery of aid information to applicants:
- A minor mistake in the applicant's address, ZIP code or phone number is made on the application.
- Registration information is outdated because applicants temporarily move in with family or friends, repeatedly changing contact addresses and phone numbers.
- Postal regulations forbid letter carriers from delivering mail to a mailbox that has blown down or toppled over - a common situation after tornadoes or wind storms.
"Follow up on your application and tell FEMA about your changes so they can follow your trail," said State Coordinating Officer Fred W. Liebe. "Remember, it's a small step that could put money in your pocket at this critical point for you and your family."
If you haven't registered for disaster assistance yet, you still can. The deadline for IA registration is July 23.
There are two ways for homeowners, renters, business owners and representatives of nonprofit organizations to register:
- Call FEMA's toll-free numbers at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for those with hearing or speech impairments.
- Log on to www.DisasterAssistance.gov.
For more information on Oklahoma disaster recovery, click www.fema.gov/Oklahoma, visit the OEM website at www.oem.ok.gov or follow OEM on Twitter at www.twitter.com/okem. Users of smart phones and other mobile devices can visit m.fema.gov.
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.