MIDLOTHIAN, Va. -- Some Louisa County residents are reluctant to register with FEMA for earthquake assistance because they fear FEMA will condemn their homes and they'll have no place to live. Many earthquake survivors have told Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) Community Relations teams, they have not registered because of this fear.
"It's very important that everyone understands," Don Keldsen, Federal Coordinating Officer added, "FEMA does not condemn property."
"We urge Louisa County residents and business owners who suffered earthquake-related damage, to begin the disaster application process by registering online at
- www.DisasterAssistance.gov or 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,
- Anyone who uses 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS) should call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers are available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Sunday, and, added Keldsen,
- Face-to-face assistance is available at the FEMA/VDEM Disaster Recovery Center in the City of Louisa. The DRC is located in the Triangle Plaza, 502 E. Main St., and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It is closed on Sundays."
Whether you apply online, over the phone or visit the DRC, you should have the following important information:
- Your Social Security number.
- Current and pre-disaster address.
- A telephone number where you can be contacted.
- Insurance information.
- Total household annual income.
- A routing and account number from your bank (only necessary if you want to have disaster assistance funds transferred directly into your bank account).
- A description of your losses that were caused by the disaster.
FEMA Assistance can include:
- Rental payments for temporary housing for those whose homes are uninhabitable. Initial assistance may be provided for up to two months for homeowners and renters. Assistance may be extended if requested after the initial period based on a review of individual applicant requirements.
- Grants for home repairs and replacement of essential household items not covered by insurance to make damaged dwellings safe, sanitary and functional.
- Grants to replace personal property and help meet medical, dental, funeral, transportation and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance or other federal, state and charitable aid programs.
"Once you register, a FEMA inspector who can identify earthquake damage will call to set up an appointment and visit the property."
The FEMA inspector will ask questions that are important in determining what damages are eligible for FEMA grant programs, Keldsen explained. That information is protected by the Privacy Act. "FEMA does not share this information - and we do not condemn property. FEMA inspects damaged property for disaster recovery program purposes only."
- The inspection is free.
- It generally takes 30-40 minutes and consists of inspecting all areas of the home and personal property.
- The inspector enters damage-related information into a hand-held computer and sends that data to a FEMA processing center.
- The inspector does not determine whether an applicant is eligible for assistance.
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.