WASHINGTON -- FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell will join President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. today to survey heavily damaged areas and meet with Gov. Ron DeSantis and response officials about ongoing efforts to help survivors and hard-hit communities in Florida. FEMA has already registered hundreds of thousands of households of Floridians and continues going door to door in 11 counties assisting with applications and answering questions about types of federal assistance available.
Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams continue to go door to door to meet people where they are and help survivors with their unique needs. Mobile Registration Intake Centers are opening throughout the state. Survivors can visit these sites for help applying for assistance.
Disaster Recovery Centers are also opening. Yesterday, FEMA along with state partners, opened a disaster recovery center in Lee County. Centers are accessible offices staffed by state, federal and volunteer organizations that let everyone access recovery information. As centers are added, real-time locations will be updated at FloridaDisaster.org.
Disaster unemployment assistance is available to eligible survivors. To file a claim for loss of income caused by Hurricane Ian, go to Disaster Unemployment Assistance - FloridaJobs.org and select “Apply for Hurricane Ian DUA,” visit a local CareerSource Career Center, or call 800-385-3920. Customer service representatives are available Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET.
Safety Considerations for Residents
- Beware of fraud and scams. All FEMA employees carry official identification. Federal and local disaster workers do not solicit or accept money. Call the FEMA helpline at 800-621-3362 right away if an inspector comes to your house but you haven’t applied for assistance. This might be a sign of identity theft. Report fraud and scams by emailing StopFEMAFraud@fema.dhs.gov or by calling 866-223-0814.
- Clean mold and flooded items. Make sure you disinfect anything that’s touched floodwater. Any structure that’s been flooded may have mold. Scrub mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water and dry completely.
- Be alert for rumors. Do your part to the stop the spread of rumors by finding and sharing information from trusted sources and discouraging others from sharing information from unverified sources. Find facts about common disaster related rumors at FEMA.gov.
- Only use a generator outdoors and far from open doors and windows. Generators help during a power outage but can present serious health and safety risks. Visit ready.gov to learn how to use a generator safely.
State, Federal Response Actions
- Rescue efforts and power restoration, with a priority on hospitals, healthcare facilities and barrier island communities continue to be top priorities. More than 3,800 people and 200 pets have been rescued by state and federal teams. Visit missing.fl.gov if you or someone you know needs assistance or a safety check. Safe and found persons can be reported safe at safe.fl.gov.
- Nearly 2,800 FEMA staff are supporting Ian response efforts. Nearly 1,300 other federal staff are assisting with the Ian response. More than 1,800 emergency management personnel from 26 states were deployed to Florida through an Emergency Management Assistance Compact.
- The U.S. Coast Guard is coordinating Combat Rubber Raiding Craft and civilian tour boats to evacuate survivors, provide food, water and medevac service on Pine Island. The National Guard and U.S. Coast Guard are landing helicopters on barrier islands to perform search-and-rescue missions. A Fish and Wildlife Service Incident Management Team and heavy equipment task force conducting road clearance, debris removal and transportation of personnel and supplies to Sanibel Island to support first responder activities.
- Field kitchens and canteens in the hardest hit counties are operational. Feeding partners distributed 168,000 meals and 133,000 Meals-Ready-to-Eat yesterday.
Resources to Jumpstart Floridians’ Recovery
- Florida survivors can apply for federal assistance at www.disasterassistance.gov, by calling 800-621-3362 or by using the FEMA App. Survivors using a relay service, such as a video relay service, captioned telephone service or others, should give the FEMA operator the number for that service.
- Small Business Administration disaster loans are available to businesses, homeowners, renters and nonprofit organizations in some Florida counties. An SBA Business Recovery Center is open in Hillsborough County. SBA expects to open additional centers this week. Applicants may also apply at sba.gov under declaration #17644. For help, call 800-659-2955 or send an email to DisasterCustomerService@sba.gov.
- Operation Blue Roof is now available to homeowners in Charlotte and Lee counties. Homeowners can sign up online at blueroof.us or call 888-ROOF-BLU (888-766-3258) for more information.
- FEMA authorized National Flood Insurance Program insurance company partners to pay claims based on adjuster reports alone, without a signed proof of loss by the policyholder. A policyholder may still submit a signed proof of loss later if they have additional covered costs or expenses or if they disagree with the adjuster’s report.
- Floridians who use Veterans Affairs medical centers and clinics and need urgent care services should call 877-741-3400. Find a list of open VA centers or pharmacy refill locations at VA.Gov.
- Survivors experiencing emotional distress can call or text the Disaster Distress Helpline at 800-985-5990. The national hotline provides free 24/7, crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. Deaf and Hard of Hearing callers can use a videophone or ASL Now.
- If you need assistance locating a missing friend or relative call the Red Cross at 800-733-2767 and provide as much detail as you can. You can also complete a form at missing.fl.gov for yourself or with the last known location of your loved one(s).
- The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has free reunification assistance for children and families impacted by disasters. If you or someone you know is missing a child related to a disaster or any other incident, please immediately call 911 and then 800-THE-LOST for assistance.
- If you need assistance with damage from Hurricane Ian, call the Crisis Cleanup Hotline at 800-451-1954. You will be connected to volunteers from local relief organizations, community groups and faith communities.
- A free legal helpline is now available for Hurricane Ian survivors who cannot afford an attorney. Call 866-550-2929 to get free help with home repair contracts, insurance claims, re-doing legal documents like wills, price gouging and landlord or tenant issues. Leave a message if calling after hours.
- The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies hosts the Disability and Disaster hotline at 800-626-4959. The hotline provides information and resources to people with disabilities and those assisting them. The hotline can be accessed at any time, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- FEMA published a Hurricane Ian webpage with information on how to donate, volunteer, dispel rumors and find assistance. The page is available in multiple languages.
How You Can Help
To make the most of your contributions, follow guidelines for donating and volunteering responsibly.
- To volunteer as part of the Hurricane Ian recovery, visit Florida’s official volunteer portal at VolunteerFlorida.org. A list of agencies with volunteer opportunities can be found on the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster website at www.nvoad.org.
- Cash is the best donation. After a disaster, people always want to help, but It’s important to donate responsibly. When people support voluntary organizations with financial contributions, response organizations can purchase what they need. Find national and local charities at www.nvoad.org.