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FEMA Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams Blanket Illinois’ Storm-Damaged Areas

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Release date: 
December 8, 2013
Release Number: 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.—Federal Emergency Management Agency Disaster Survivor Assistance crews, or DSA crews, are now canvassing areas affected by the Nov. 17 Illinois tornadoes to provide information, identify immediate needs, give survivors an opportunity to register for disaster assistance, answer questions related to an individual’s FEMA application status, and provide referrals to other governmental and nongovernmental assistance providers.

Nearly 75 DSA crew members are visiting homes, businesses, organizations and high-traffic locations in affected areas. They also meet with local officials and community leaders to identify disaster-related issues and unmet needs.

“FEMA is sending teams directly to Illinois communities affected by this disaster to expedite the recovery process,” said Donald Keldsen, the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in Illinois. “This staff is equipped to register people on the spot, answer questions about federal assistance and provide referrals for additional help if it’s needed.”

While DSA crews are offering in-person service, it’s important that Illinois survivors remain vigilant about protecting their personal information. For example, residents should always ask for identification. Federal and state officials always have and official photo identification badge clearly visible. If someone represents themselves as a federal or state employee, but does not produce identification, ask to see it.

DSA crew members may offer residents the opportunity to use a tablet computer to register, or ask to enter information on their behalf.  Illinois residents will not be required to share personal information unless they wish a DSA crew member to help them with an in-person registration or answer specific questions about their FEMA application status. Residents are reminded to ask for federal identification before providing personal information.

Disaster survivors in counties designated for FEMA assistance in Illinois can also register online at or by mobile device at If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free Helpline at

For the latest information on Illinois’ recovery from the Nov. 17 storms, visit Follow FEMA online at, and The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

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. 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.

SBA is the federal government’s primary source of funding for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts, and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover uninsured and uncompensated losses and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For information about SBA programs, applicants may call 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339).

Media Contact: Don Jacks, 304-542-6258


Last Updated: 
December 9, 2013 - 10:53
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