LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Are you a disaster survivor in Franklin or Johnson County wondering how to reach the road to recovery faster? The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) might be able to help.
Here are some tips to help you determine the forms of assistance available as a result of the July 8 presidential disaster declaration and, even more important, how you may qualify for aid:
Register by telephone or online as soon as possible. If you are a homeowner, renter or business owner who sustained damage in the storms that hit Arkansas from May 24-26, you should register with FEMA at 1-800-621-3362, (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. The lines are open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.; multilingual operators are available. You can also register online at www.disasterassistance.gov or at m.fema.gov on a web-enabled phone.
Have some important information ready when you apply. When you contact FEMA, be ready with your current address, the address of the damaged property, your current telephone number, your insurance information if you have it, and your Social Security number.
Register, even if you're insured. Your insurance may not cover everything, so FEMA might be able to help out. Keep in mind, however, that FEMA assistance cannot duplicate insurance coverage.
Stay in touch with FEMA and keep appointments after you've registered for assistance. If you make an appointment with a FEMA inspector to survey your damaged property, make every effort to be there on time. FEMA inspectors operate on a very tight written schedule. You can always call if you need to change the appointment.
Visit a Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) to meet face to face with recovery specialists, especially if you have any questions about the application process. In Franklin County, the DRC is in the Ozark Elementary School cafeteria at 1601 Walden Drive, Ozark. In Johnson County, the DRC is in the Marvin Vinson Center at 1611 Oakland Street, Clarksville. Hours at both centers are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Respond promptly. A quick response to any query you receive from FEMA will mean a quicker decision on your eligibility for FEMA assistance. And, if you receive an application for a low-interest loan from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), be sure to fill it out completely even if you don't want an SBA loan. The application is instrumental in identifying other forms of potential disaster assistance.; Remember: you are not obligated to take out an SBA loan if you don't want one.
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.