NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Numerous representatives from the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are working in West Tennessee communities to help individuals, families and businesses affected by the recent disastrous storms and flooding.
Joint TEMA-FEMA Community Relations teams go door-to-door, neighborhood-by-neighborhood to talk with people about assistance FEMA can provide and how to go about applying. Inspectors are in the field to document property damage. All personnel from TEMA and FEMA have official identification.
Community relations teams work dawn to dusk giving disaster survivors the chance to talk face-to-face with specialists who can answer their questions and address their concerns. They coordinate with local officials and emergency managers to find the areas and neighborhoods that have been affected, no matter how remote. They visit businesses, churches, community and senior centers, schools and other organizations where there may be survivors eligible for assistance.
In addition, their in-person contacts provide opportunities to identify survivors with access or functional needs and help them arrange for appropriate services.
After people register for help from FEMA, the agency assigns a contracted inspector to document their property damage. Survivors do not have to wait until after the inspector's visit to clean up and make repairs, but if possible they should photograph the damage first and save receipts.
Inspectors for FEMA carry photo identification. They will never ask for personal information, such as bank account or Social Security numbers. Their assignment is to make a record of damage and losses. They do not make decisions about FEMA grants.
The U.S. Small Business Administration and insurance companies also have inspectors in the field.
Survivors with insurance should contact their insurance companies to file a claim and also register with FEMA as there may help with disaster costs that their insurance doesn't pay.
People can register by calling 800-621-FEMA (3362), online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by Smartphone or tablet at m.fema.gov. Individuals with a speech or hearing impairment may call (TTY) 800-462-7585. Telephone lines are open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. CDT.
As the result of a presidential disaster declaration on May 9, federal funding is available to affected individuals in Dyer, Lake, Obion, Shelby, and Stewart counties for help with losses caused by severe weather and flooding beginning on April 19, 2011, and continuing.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.
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.