We answer questions survivors might have in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Among the most frequently asked questions in Puerto Rico are:
Can I appeal my FEMA determination letter?
Yes. All applicants for FEMA disaster assistance have the right to appeal if they are unsatisfied with their determination. Appeals should include:
- Your individual registration information
- A letter stating the exact reasons you are appealing your determination
- All relevant documents associated with your appeal
How do I check the status of my FEMA application?
You have several choices:
- Visiting a Disaster Recovery Center. Find the nearest center at https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4339/disaster-recovery-centers.
- Applicants with an email account can create an online account at www.DisasterAssistance.gov. Once you have created the account, click on "Check Your Status" (on the bottom right side of the homepage) and log in.
Who is eligible for NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program)?
If you are a renter, homeowner or business owner in any of the 78 communities, you may purchase an NFIP policy. To find out which policy may work best for you, please contact an insurance agent and ask if they sell insurance through the NFIP.
How can I protect my home against water damage or flooding for future hurricanes?
Storm panels, window shutters, and laminated window glass, impact windows with much tougher glass than ordinary windows can help protect your home from water damage. Sandbags can help prevent water from coming into your house through doorways and other low openings. Another option is building concrete walls around your house to prevent flooding.
What’s the best way to secure a roof against storms?
Check to see whether the framing is braced on the inside. If not, braces can be added fairly easily. But you should have a contractor perform the work to make sure the bracing is properly designed and attached. This will help prevent roof failure, which can lead to major damage of the entire structure and its contents.
How should garage doors be reinforced?
Wind retrofit hardware (like thicker brackets) is available for many garage doors but must be installed per the manufacturer’s installation instructions to be effective. Professional garage door installers in Puerto Rico should be able to assess the wind load requirements of your garage door, based on size, wind speed and location on the structure, among other factors.