HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Community Relations (CR) Specialists from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are walking through neighborhoods, stopping at businesses and chatting with people on street corners all in an effort to reach out to those affected by the severe storms and flooding caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.
Once the presidential disaster declarations were announced, the energetic men and women in the familiar blue FEMA shirts were on the ground within 12 hours making contact with individuals, businesses, community leaders and local officials to assist them in dealing with the events.
They hit the streets in 27 Pennsylvania counties providing disaster assistance information to those who have sustained damage. Those counties include Adams, Bradford, Bucks, Chester, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe, Montgomery, Montour, Northampton, Northumberland, Perry, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, Snyder, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Union, Wyoming and York.
"I encourage you, if you suffered damage from the historic flooding, to register with FEMA to find out if you are eligible for the assistance," said Commonwealth Coordinating Officer John Forr.
"You may not think your damage is eligible, but you MUST register before a determination can be made."
The CR specialists are going door-to-door in affected communities. Their goal is to reach out to as many disaster survivors as possible, providing information about available federal assistance and helping them register.
"Our teams are working on the front lines, meeting face-to-face with disaster survivors," said Federal Coordinating Officer Thomas McCool. "Our goal is to give those affected by the disaster every opportunity to get their lives back together as quickly and efficiently as possible."
Pennsylvanians who suffered damages in the 27 affected counties should register with FEMA by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Disaster assistance applicants who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY should call 1-800-462-7585, or you can register at DisasterAssistance.gov; the screens will prompt you through the registration process. You can also apply by web-enabled device at m.fema.gov. For those who use Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. Operators assist callers seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
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.